Friday, September 6, 2013

Five for Friday

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

1. My baby had his very first day of school. (tears) He is in a Tuesday/Thursday prek program; so he only goes to school on my teaching days. We still get to have our Mommy/Lukie time (that's what he calls it!) on Monday/Wednesday/Fridays while Logan is at school. I can't believe all my boys are in school now-no more babies at my house.

2. On Tuesday, my sub did the color mixing with playdoh science investigation with my first graders. We have been working on discovery skills/scientific method in first grade science. My firsties are loving it! My kids had so much they were still talking about it on Thursday when they came to class!

3. Speaking of the sub, one of my parents told me their son (4th grader) said the sub was good and nice and that he liked her, but she wasn't as fun and lively as Mrs. Shaw. That made my day! Although that was probably a little bit my fault. We rarely use the textbook in class, and if we do it's just a very small part of our time. They had their whole lesson from the textbook that day. Two hours of textbook lessons don't usually lend themselves to fun and lively. I'm sure my first graders probably think the sub is more fun than me because they got to use play doh with her! Ha!

4. On Thursday, my first graders investigated who runs faster-boys or girls. It was so hot and my babies had already had an hour and half of PE mostly outside earlier in the day, so we conducted our races in the hallway outside our classroom. I told them we had to be very quiet so we would not disturb the other classes. The kids were the absolute cutest doing their silent cheers! By the way in both classes, boys were faster. I will be updating my Science Learning Fun packet soon with this activity and a few other resources. You purchase it here and then you'll get the updates for free.

5. Also on Thursday, my fourth graders had a table competition working perimeter problems using this excellent resource I found on teachers pay teachers. It's called Perimeter and Area Task Cards with Interactive PDF slides. You can get it here. My students had so much fun! I saw a couple of them today when I went to pick Logan up from school, and they were asking if we could play it on Tuesday.

     I had the boys' pictures made for back to school a couple of weeks ago and I just love how they turned out! Here's one of my favorites. My very talented friend Meg of 3 Birds Photography took their pictures. You can check her blog out here.

Happy Friday, friends!!!

Science Safety

      We have started our year in first grade science learning about science safety. We read Science Safety Rules, and then introduced our own science safety rules. We practiced our rules by acting them out. For following directions, we played Mrs. Shaw says, and the students absolutely loved it. I also introduced our safety vocabulary words: safety, goggles, safety gloves, and lab apron.

      Then we read a science safety book I wrote about safety tools and safe practices. Then we drew a picture of ourself wearing safety goggles and a lab apron and holding a science tool. I had introduced a few tools so they could distinguish which tools actually help keep scientists safe from ones that measure or are used to collect information. We also discussed and wrote how goggles protect our eyes and why hand washing is important. We also drew a tool in our hand and wrote about our tool and what it is used for. 

     We also acted out the safety rules and talked about safe practices. Then we sorted situations as being safe or unsafe. Students talked with their partner and gave examples of things in science that were or unsafe. We took a safety quiz where students identified situations as safe or unsafe. 

     These activities are from my Science Learning Fun unit. You can purchase it here.

Monday, September 2, 2013

CUBES, Mathematicians, & Place Value, Oh My!

     On the first day of math class, we began by making our promise about how we would behave and treat each other. You can read about that in the previous post. Then we read The Boy Who Loved Math and talked about mathematicians. Then as a whole class, we created a tree map about mathematicians. I see two classes for math, so I wrote their answers on stickies with different color marker and stacked overlapping responses on top of each other. As we were discussing and creating our tree map, the students were guided to the fact that we are all mathematicians. Then students came up with a real life example of when they use their mathematician skills to share in their table groups.

     Then I introduced my students to the CUBES problem solving strategy. I modeled using it for them. Then as a class we worked through three review problems together. I gave each student a little card with the strategy steps on it, so they'll remember what steps to go through as they work homework. We made this anchor chart to leave up in our room as well. 

     We began working with place value of whole numbers through the 999,999,999. We also began working on comparing and ordering whole numbers as well. We created this anchor chart for our classroom. The anchor chart matched the notes the students were filling in. 

     Whew! I know that looks like a lot and it is. My 4th mathematics students only see me on Tuesdays and Thursdays for two hours each day. We take advantage of every second we have together.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Our Promise

     We always begin our year by talking about how we all want to be talked to and treated. We also spend time giving examples and nonexamples along with acting out both. What I do is a modified form of the social contract from Capturing Kids' Hearts.

     I teach first and fourth grade. First grade (most of them) doesn't really understand what a contract is, but they understand promises and keeping your word. So I switched to calling it Our Promise a couple of years ago. Usually all I have to do is point to where our promise is on the wall and remind them we said... and they usually correct their behavior. I call it "our promise" in 4th as well for consistency purposes. 

     I teach 1st Science and 4th Math. We make one chart for each grade. I write on sticky notes with a different color marker for each class. Then I go back later, remove the stickies, and write on the chart what we agreed upon. This year I titled my charts Our Science Promise and Our Math Promise. When I was in the traditional classroom, I just titled my chart Social Contract or Our Promise because I had the same students all day for every subject. 

     We have been in school for two and a half weeks, and I have students in all four classes reminding each other about our promise. It's a beautiful thing. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School Sale!

     I'll be joining in the big Teachers Pay Teachers back to school sale, tomorrow (August 18th) through Monday (August 19th). My entire store will be on sale for 20% plus if you enter the code BTS13, you can receive an additional 8% off for a total savings of 28%! Click the link below to go to my store or on the button on the right hand side of my blog.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

     It's time again for Favorite Pins Friday! Here are a few of my favorite pins from this week.

Hair Styles:

     I love Lucy Hale's hair style. I'm thinking about getting long layers like this.


      How true is this quotable from Weddings are Beautiful?!

Fitness Inspiration:

     I love this quote from Skinny Ms. I'm doing a healthy challenge with some friends right now, and I've been looking at this quote every morning.


     How cute is this outfit from Polyvore?! Especially the top and earrings. :)

Statement of Teal
Statement of Teal by huiwenzheng featuring a collar necklace

     I adore this nail art, especially the crosses. It's from INK361.


     I love how this white board is used and the idea of the no late work club from Fifth in the Middle.

     I will definitely be using this idea from Flap Jack when comparing fractions this year. I'm sure my 4th graders will love the opportunity to play with play doh! 

     I may try out this idea from Melissa Culver with my son this year. After all, boys love to throw things, and it'll make word wall practice more fun. 

     You can pin with me here

     Link up with Cara Carroll from The First Grade Parade to share your favorite pins from this week.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday & a Freebie

     Original post: January 22, 2012
     You can view the original post here.

    We started our lesson by identifying numbers and using the students as manipulatives on our ten frames I taped off on the floor. Once they organized themselves on the ten frames, we practiced making one/two more/less and identifying the new number. Then students went to the tables where I had put ten frames mats, manipulatives, and a number. They had to represent that number on their ten frames. While they were doing that, I worked with one table making one/two more/less and comparing the numbers with the emphasis on the students using comparative language to describe the relationship between the number they started with and their new number. They rotated through all the tables. I noticed after I worked with each group the students began asking each other to make one/less, two more than their original number. I love when the students mimic what we've worked on together without being asked to!


     I always taped one or two ten frames on the floor using painter's tape and then used the students to build numbers on the frames before I ever passed out ten frame mats and manipulatives. I updated the ten frame mat I used. You can grab it by clicking on the picture below.

     I copied two class sets. I would copy, cut each sheet into two, and then laminate so I had a set of single ten frames. I also would would copy and laminate so I had a set of double ten frames when we worked on numbers 11-20. 

     Link up with Cara Carroll from The First Grade Parade to share your own Throwback Thursday post! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Currently July

     Today I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade  for Currently July!

     Yep! Little boys making motorcycles noises in the other room for NO reason at all except they can. Seriously, they're sitting in front of each other making the noises. What entertains them amuses me. :)

    When I say cool temps in Texas I mean upper 80's at the beginning of last week and 90's this weeks. That's cool...for July. Just saying.

     We are going to the lake this weekend for my family reunion. If I can get my boys healthy. They've had phantom fever (only symptom) since last Monday. The following weekend we're going to Yogi Bear Park in Burleson, TX with my in-laws for the weekend. I need to make my list for the trips and start packing. 

     I want, no NEED, summer to slow down. It's going way too fast. And I've been out since May 16th. I have a lot I still want to accomplish before I go back on August 8th. Sigh.

     I desperately need to clean my formal dinning room table off and set it again. If I don't keep it set (dinnerware and all), it becomes the catch all in the house for everyone's stuff. Besides, I just like the way it looks when it's set.  Update: I actually wrote this post on Saturday and forgot to schedule it, so I did get my table cleaned off. Now I just need to decide what decor I'm going to put on it.

     My blogging tip: it should be fun. You shouldn't feel like you have to post every day or do every linky party you come across. That goes for teacher and personal blogs.  When it isn't fun, slow down the amount of posting you are doing or take a break for awhile. :)

Happy July!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Building Mathematical Comprehension, Chapter 5

     Chapter 5 is about visualizing mathematical ideas. An advantage Sammons points out is students today are surrounded by visual images through technology and media. The disadvantage is these images are given to them-they do not have to create them on their own. Students have to create their own when reading or problem solving. Comprehension is increased when students are able to create these mental pictures automatically. The opposite is also true, students who struggle with creating mental images on their own struggle with problem solving.

     Skilled mathematicians use visualization to help them during the problem solving process. Students need explicit instruction to understand the importance of visualization in math. They need this strategy modeled through think alouds and then the opportunity to implement this strategy with teacher support before they are held responsible for using this strategy on their own.

     Students need to be able to visualize multiple representations during problem solving. Students use their background knowledge and new information when creating mental images. When their new information disagrees with their background knowledge and they are able to work through that, their understanding of math is increased. The more representations they are able to generate means the greater their ability to decide which representation best represents the problem solving situation.

     Sammons gives 7 steps you can use to teach students to create mental images from words.
  • Create mental images of observed concrete objects. 
  • Create elaborate mental images of imagined concrete objects.
  • Envision familiar objects and settings from their own experiences.
  • Add familiar acts and events, then relationships and settings. 
  • Picture characters, settings, details, and events while listening to a story read or told aloud. 
  • Study text illustrations. and use them to create internal images. 
  • Create mental pictures independently.
     Sammons also suggests taking a picture walk through your math textbook or other math related book so students can add those mental images to their bank to recall at a later time. I think this would be great to do when introducing a new concept so as you begin to get into the specifics of of that concept students have an image to build on. She also discusses using the visualize, draw, share strategy. The teacher reads over a list of statements about a concepts, students visualize, draw their images, and then share with each other. This gives students another opportunity to stretch their understanding and add images to their mental banks by seeing and discussing each other's images. She also suggests having students use a multiple representations graphic organizer. You can grab the one I created by clicking on the image.

     The two suggested math stretches for visualization are:
  1. What do you visualize when you think about _____________? You fill in the blank with your concept, for example: multiplication. Then students write on a sticky their image of multiplication. They could draw an array or area model. They could write that multiplication is repeated addition or a real life example: My mom bought a box of pop tarts last night. They are 4 pouches in the box and 2 pop tarts in each pouch. There are 8 pop tarts in the box. They could also write an equation 3 X 3 = 9. Emphasize that their contributions should be unique. They add their sticky to the chart, and then as a class discuss the different images for the concept. 
  2. What does this representation mean to you? This is opposite of the first stretch. You draw an image on a chart and they record what the image represents. You could draw two groups of apples with 3 apples in each group. They could write 3 X 2 = 6 or 6 / 3 =2. They could write 2 girls each have 3 apples. They have six apples together, etc. 
     Sammons ends the chapter by suggesting you use children's literature and poetry to help students create mental images. She outlines a daily plan for implementing poetry in the classroom which is very similar to what I did during the poetry section of shared reading when I taught kindergarten.

  • Day 1: Read, modeling fluency. Then read together for enjoyment. 
  • Day 2: Focus on vocabulary, especially math vocabulary and take time to correct misconceptions.
  • Day 3: Highlight a mathematics skill related to the poem.
  • Day 4: Come up with and perform actions for the poem.
  • Day 5: Visualization practice occurs. Students create mental images and share out. Then they illustrate their poem and add it to their poetry notebook or journal.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

     I'm linking up with Cara Carroll from The First Grade Parade for:

     These are just a few of my favorite pins from the week! Click on the images for the original link. 

Teaching Pins:

     This first one is actually a little teacher gift for the first day. I'll be making these for Logan to give his teachers! The first day is always a crazy one. His teachers will have a little chocolate (not sure which chocolate I'll actually use) to get them through the day or to celebrate surviving the first day! 

     I'm always looking for ways to jazz up my handwriting on anchor chart and make them look a little more cutesy. This pictures shows different handwriting styles you can use. I'm looking forward to trying these out this year!

     I love this Math about Me! What an awesome way to make math relevant to students and help them identify math in every day life. I definitely want to do this at the beginning of the school year. 

Funny Pins:

     I saw this and laughed so hard. It comes from someecards, but I could not find the direct link. 

     This one reminds me of my mom-don't talk to her before her first cup of coffee! I could not find the direct link, but was able to link to the tumblr it came from.

Nail Pins:

     I love this teal and chevron. I would want to do this with more a turquoisey color. This pin led to nothing. If you know where it came from, please comment and let me know.

    I love the hot pink with glittery gold and the chevron. I couldn't find the direct link, but did link to the site it came from.

Praise Pin:

     The boys and I have been listening to and singing this song so much lately. Every time we get in the car, we listen to it at least once and often over and over. 

Recipe Pin:

     We eat a lot of chicken. This has become a new family favorite; every ONE gobbled it up! It was crispy, tender, and all around AMAZING!

Keepsake Pin:

     This is another pin that I could not find the direct link-just the general site. This is Logan's first season playing tball and I plan on doing this at the end of the season. I'll do his hand print on one side and his name and Summer 2013 on the back. I'll probably display it in a shadowbox with his team and individual pictures. 

     Want to see what else I'm pinning? Click here to follow me! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Throwback Thursday on Friday

     I'm linking up with Cara Carroll from The First Grade Parade for Throwback Thursday!

     When I taught kinder, one of my favorite subjects was ladybugs! It was a student favorite too. Our district ordered ladybugs we got to keep to in our classroom through out our study, and then we would release them in the school garden at the end of our study.


Original post: April 25, 2012

    We began our study of Ladybugs by sharing our schema (what we think we know) and then we added to our new learning all week.

    We read From Larva to Ladybug and charted the life cycle. Then students created their own ladybug life cycle.

    We read Ladybug Fiery Red and Bright. Then we graphed our favorite color ladybug and analyzed our data.

    We used a leaf mat and ladybug counters (ladybug stickers on index cards, laminated, and cut out) to tell addition stories. We recorded in our math journals.

   We went to the science lab to find out which temperature ladybugs like better. We graphed our predictions before we did the experiment.

    Students used a hand lens to observe the ladybugs in the tubing.

    Then we put one end of the tubing into ice water and one end into warm to hot water and observed where the ladybugs went.

    Then we recorded on a small sheet of paper where we observed our ladybugs once we put the tubing in the water cups.

    For teachers who are interested, these activities (and more) can be found in my Ladybug
Learning Fun  unit.
You can see the original post here!

Today only, my Ladybug Learning Fun unit is on sale for $4! Click the image below to get your copy.


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