Thursday, September 15, 2016

Usborne Learning Palettes

At the end of last year a fellow teachers posted about these learning palettes on Facebook.  She went on and on about how amazing they were.

I looked into them and thought they were pretty neat, but honestly didn't see what all the fuss was about.

But since I was moving toward implementing Math Workshop into my class this year, I decided to use some of my classroom money and purchase a few.  I thought they might work for a station.

I ordered 5 palettes and 5 sets of cards.

I chose Algebra Concepts Levels 3 and 4, Decimals and Percents, Fractions, and Geometry and Measurement.

Each set comes with 12 different cards.  

Y'all these truly are amazing learning tools.

And they have cards for reading and language too!

Here is how they work.

Students choose a card and place it on the palette.

The example of above is practicing input, output or patters.

Students would determine that the first missing number is 12.  They would take the purple disc and place it next to the 12.

(I purposely put it in the wrong place to show you what happens when a student makes a mistake.  I'll show you that in a minute).

Here the student sees that the number missing between 8 and 12 is 10 so they put the corresponding disc next to the ten.


Once students have answered all of the questions, they flip the card over.

They can then check their answers.  You can see that I got the red disc with the hole in it correct.

But we missed this one.  It should have been the orange disc.

Can you see the possibilities?

I have seriously fallen in love with these palettes.  They are amazing!!

So far I am using them for my SPED kids who are only in my math class for about 20 minutes.  It is a great way for them to practice different skills and check their work without my help.  They beg to "play" with these.

These palettes are made my Usborne.  I strongly encourage you to check them out.  They are well worth the money.

I love them so much I'm hosting a party to get some more.

If you would like to check them out, click on this link.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Best Sharpener

Last year when I moved into my new classroom, it came fully equipped with two electric pencil sharpeners.  

One of them lasted about a week.

The other one almost survived the whole school year.

It finally gave out with about a month left of school.

I'm amazed that in all my years of teaching, I've never really thought much about the pencil sharpener in my classroom.

This is probably due to the fact that the majority of my students have always used mechanical pencils.

The past few years though my students have not been allowed to use mechanical pencils.  One of my coworkers is partially blind and struggles to see student work when they use them because they write so lightly.

So it was last year in my tenth year of teaching that I discovered one of my biggest pet peeves.  

The sound of an electric pencil sharpener.

Oh how I hated that sound.

And it seems there were a few students who ALWAYS needed to sharpen their pencils.

It was constant.

Since I was no longer in possession of a working sharpener for this year, I planned to take advantage of the opportunity to find the world's quietest sharpener.

I knew the perfect place to go for advice.

All of you on Instagram.

And oh my!

You did not disappoint.

You unanimously voted for Classroom Friendly Supplies.

I'll admit I was a little hesitant.

After all it wasn't electric.

But with everyone saying it was THE BEST, I decided to try it.

Days before school started, this beauty arrived at my house.

I fell in love with it immediately.

It's quiet and sharpens pencils better than any other sharpener I've ever seen.

I'll admit that I didn't love it the first day or two of school.

Every student had brand new pencils that needed to be sharpened.

Not a single one of them knew how to use this sharpener.

It was a slow process.

During those first few days I was wishing I had two or three of these in my classroom.

I do plan to add at least one more soon.

Now that the students know how to use it, we all love it.

Students are asking their other teachers if they can come to my room to sharpen their pencils because my sharpener is the best.

Not only does it work great, but it comes in lots of cute colors as well.

If you are in the market for a new sharpener, Classroom Friendly Supplies is most definitely the way to go.