Sunday, December 30, 2012

Multiplication Fun!

My kiddos love, love, love to play Multiplication War.  This is a great game to play to practice those dreaded multiplication facts!  All you need is a pack of regular playing cards per partner set.  (Any dollar store generally has playing cards.  They are usually about $1.00 per pack). 
Here's how to play:
1.  Shuffle a deck of playing cards and deal them facedown.  Each player receives the same amount of cards until the deck runs out.  
2.  Assign the picture cards, (jacks, queens, and kings), a value of 10.  Aces receive a value of either 11 or 1.
3.  Both players turn two cards face up, multiples the  numbers on the cards, and gives the product of the two cards.  For example, if one card is a 4 and the other card is a 6, then the product will be 24.  Once the answers, or products, are given, the player with the highest product receives all 4 cards.  These cards will be placed under the bottom of the winning player's pile.  (My class plays the game where if one player is unable to give the correct product, after a reasonable amount of time, the other player automatically wins the round).
4.  If both players end up with the same product, look out, its war!  Each player puts four cards facedown and turns up only 2 of them.  The player with the largest product wins the eight cards. 
5.  I set a timer for 15 minutes.  At the end of this time, both players count their cards.  The player with the most cards is declared the winner.  If one player runs out of cards before time is up, the other player automatically wins.  

Multiplication War!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Proud Momma

Just wanted to brag a moment.  17 years ago, I was told I was having boy/girl twins.  I dreamed of one day seeing my son on the football and his sister cheering the team on.  Well, I have watched the twins for years on Friday nights and believed my dream had come true.  We are from a small GA town and even though football has always been a big draw on Friday nights, we have never dared believe we would make it to the big lights...the Georgia Dome.  This year, however, with the twins being Seniors in high school, our high school has made it to the final game at the Georgia Dome.  Our small community is beside itself with excitement and awe.  I am right in the middle of the excitement and am loving it!  Wow...I can now check off an item from my bucket list. :)  I am going to get to see my son play and my daughter cheer at the Georgia Dome.  Win or lose, it is a memory my family, along with the whole community, will always have! :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Modeling Equivalent Fractions has been several years since I have needed to teach equivalent fractions in 4th grade.  However, with the new Common Core Standards, equivalent fractions are back.  I am attempting to go slow with equivalent fractions since I have actually taught them throughout the years in elementary and middle school, and know how essential they are as benchmarks with other fraction standards.
We began modeling fractions by using fraction tiles.  The students created mini-posters of equivalent fractions by using fraction tiles.  I assigned my students specific fractions, such as 8/12.  They had to use the fraction tiles to problem-solve other equivalent fractions, then trace their solutions. 

Once the mini-posters were finished, our next lesson involved filling out a handout on equivalent fractions.  The fractions were created on the handout so that the fraction tiles will not work on the handout.  Students used fraction tiles to problem-solve actual equivalent fractions but, they had to convert this knowledge to the handout.  The only purpose the fraction tiles served on the handout was as a ruler to draw a straight line. :)  

This paper was used to begin allowing students to function without fraction tiles when modeling fractions.  You can find this handout, along with 94 other pages on equivalent fractions, in my TPT store by clicking on any of the 4 pictures below.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

I would like to share an acronym mini-poster for helping with the order of operations.  I know that everyone is familiar with "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally."  In 4th grade, although the standards required teaching the order of operations, "exponents" were not part of the standards.  I always use "Protect My Dear Aunt Sally."  I have the kids pretend we are at the mall shopping and while we are in a store purchasing some items, someone is trying to steal Aunt Sally's purse outside the store.  We can't get to her in time, so we all yell, "Protect My Dear Aunt Sally!"  Silly, I know, but, it does the trick every year. :)
However, after I posted an Beginning Algebra Expression unit on TPT, I had a very nice lady ask me if I could make her a PEMDAS handout for her students to keep at the desk with them.  The rest of the story is history. :)  Please feel to click on the mini-poster below if it can be of any help to your students.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Milestone :)

I received a message from a friend a few weeks ago, asking me to check Teacher Pay Teachers Top 100 Products.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my product listed there!  I rushed into the family room and proudly announced to my family that I had made TpT's Top 100.  Everyone was pleasantly unenthused.  My daughter looked up from the television and said, "Cool," while my son just smiled and charitably commented, "You go mom." My husband asked why I didn't have the #1 product yet.  (They don't get it.  They just don't get it!)  However, I did not let this dampen my spirit!  I ran back to my computer and looked at the Top 100 again...then again a few minutes later.  I woke the next morning and checked to make sure it was still there.  :)  Seriously...I did. This week my unit, The Road to the White House, is #11 on the Top 100, Grades 3-5, #23 - Middle Grades, and #52 - All Grades.  I don't believe that anyone who has reached #1 could be any more excited.  
It's always nice to know that people appreciate all the hard work and long hours that go into creating these units.  There are so many talented people on TpT.  Therefore, it makes me proud as a teacher to be anywhere on the same ball field with these creative, professional men and women.  It is a small milestone but, it is still a milestone and I am very excited and happy about it.    

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This Clip Chart is a Lot of Work :)

I have been on Pinterest again!  That is always  dangerous since I love so many of the ideas on that site.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and started the behavior clip chart at the beginning of the year.  I bet everyone has seen this chart.  It is the one where you use clothes pins and move them up and down the chart depending on the behavior.  It is suggested that every student begin on "Ready to Learn" in the middle of the chart each day and then the clothes pins are moved up one place at a time until WOW is reached.  A student can also "clip down" as the day progresses.  The good news is that a student who "clips down" can also move back up the chart.  That is my favorite part of the whole chart!  A student who messes up at the beginning of class is not doomed for the day.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel for that student.  
I tried moving students to "Ready to Learn" each day but, that just proved too much!  I teach 4 different classes and have each class for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.  I was practically having to reward students for looking nice just to get someone on WOW before the end of class. :)  For the last few weeks we have made the clip chart a weekly event. This has worked out much better.   Students' clips are moved back to "Ready to Learn" only on Mondays.  This allows students time to really deserve "clipping up."

 Students are responsible each day for getting the charts from the back of the door and putting them on the white board.  

Once students reach WOW they get to put a glitter gem sticker on their clothes pin.  Once students get 3 stickers they get to "retire" the clothes pin.    

I have designated a bulletin board and named it the "Wall of Fame" board.  (This is where my hard work begins!)  I make a label for each student who retires their clothes pin.  I have collected ribbon and the student gets to pick out their ribbon of choice.  They absolutely look this part!  I cut the ribbon and place the ribbon and clip on the bulletin board.  Hint:  Do not take for granted that your students will understand why you do not have their ribbons up the next time they enter your classroom. :)

The fun never ends.  Once a clothes pin is retired, the student receives another one. This time I supply a colored marker for color coding it and a permanent marker for writing the student's name.  (It is quite an ordeal, since we are still trying to have class through all the excitement).  The students will repeat the procedure of the first clothes pin using the colors of the behavior chart as the colors for their new clothes pins.

Although the clip chart is time consuming, I have never seen such tremendous efforts to be good and respectful.  Additionally, my students are so excited and love this system.  I do not have to hand out treats or bribe them with prizes.  In fact, the really amazing part of the clip chart is that there are no prizes and treats.  Coloring a clothes pin is what they want!  No one asks what they will get.  They all know they want to "retire" a clip and get a new one. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Absent? Never Fear, Your Homework is Here!

I absolutely love, love, love Pinterest.  I had seen the Absent? idea on Pinterest several times, so, this past summer I decided to finally pin it.  I am so glad I did.  The idea is relatively simple.  Place the numbers 1-31 on hanging file folders for the days of the month, place the folders in a white crate, place a label identifying the crate on the outside...and eureka!  The responsibility of keeping up with students' assignments when they are absent is no longer on the teacher.  The student is responsible for collecting the assignments.  
I simply place any handouts and papers for the day in the hanging folder of the day of the month it happens to be.  The student will collect the assignments on their first day back.  

~ Students HAVE to be trained to collect their own  assignments.  After 4 and 1/2 weeks of school, students are just now catching on to the routine.
~ If there is more than 1 assignment for the day, the assignments have to be separated.  (I place white dividers, the type you place in notebooks, between the different assignments for the day).
~ I teach 4th grade.  Students in lower grades may not be able to handle the responsibility.
~ Extra papers have to be taken out each month.  Still not a problem in my classroom.  I assign a student the responsibility of taking out the extra papers and recycling them to my math "scratch" paper crate.  Everyone wants to be the Absentee Monitor!

I have almost worked out all the kinks in the system and I am loving it. :)  

I also have a white crate right bride the Absent? crate that I use for graded work.  I list the names of my students on tabs of hanging folders and place the graded work in these hanging folders.  On Fridays, I hand out the graded work. Sometimes it gets stapled, sometimes it doesn't. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thanks Ashleigh!

It's been a few weeks since my students completed the Almanac Scavenger Hunt but, I wanted to share this activity with everyone all the same.  I want to thank Ashleigh a.k.a. Ashleigh's Educational Journey for sharing this idea with me several years ago.  The Almanac Scavenger Hunt allows students fun practice with locating places of large numbers and the value of numbers.  I borrowed all the Almanacs I could find from the Media Center. (I know the librarian hates to see me walk through the doors in September :)  Ashleigh supplied me with a form but, since I teach a grade higher than her, I tweaked it a bit.  The kids love looking for the numbers and values in this activity. 

~Example:  Find a number with a 9 in the thousand's place.  
~Example:  Find a number with a 7 that has the value of 70,000.  

This is a partner activity however, I learned long ago to supply each student with a form to fill out as they go through the activity.  It gives each student a sense of ownership in the activity and motivates them to participate.

Number Scavenger Hunt!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Little Change of Scenery

I am so proud of some of the new "stuff" I have put up in my classroom this year and I just wanted to share some pics of the decorations.  Like many other teachers this year, I'm into the "owl" theme.  Some of these I created...some I purchased.  

I made this Welcome Back banner and placed it over the first place my children go when they come into my room..."the backpack hooks."

Since we practice multiplication facts all year, beginning with the first week of school, I made this multiplication facts bulletin board.  I tried to match the color scheme of the new tree decal I placed on my wall beside the bulletin board.

My Favorite!  I know I have already blogged about this owl tree but, I am in love with it and had to show it again :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Place Value Fun

My kids had a blast this week completing several place value activities.  One activity that is always a hit in my classroom is called Place Value Partners.  It is a simple idea.  There is a Sender board and Receiver board.  Students take turns sending and receiving numbers and then reading the number created.  Both partners have to agree that the number read by the Receiver is read correctly.  This is a great way to practice reading large numbers and placing numbers in the correct place value columns.
I have created a variation of the boards I used and put this activity on TpT.  It is called, "Send Me a Digit."  Please feel free to check it out!  It looks different from the boards you see in the pictures on this blog but, the idea is the same.
Place Value Sender/Receiver Activity

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Getting My Classroom Ready

Well, it's almost time for school to start and I have spent several days this summer trying to "beautify" my classroom.  I have seen so many gorgeous, organized classrooms in the last few weeks.  Wow!  Seeing all these great classrooms made me want to do something exciting to my own.  I began by putting some stickers on my classroom wall.  The wall in my room is a block wall and I kept reading and hearing that stickers would not adhere to textured walls.  So, it was with much apprehension that I put up these stickers.  It took several hours and the entire time I was worried about them sticking.  I just knew when I walked into my classroom several days later, the decals would be peeling from the walls and some of them laying face down on the floor.  So, far nothing has moved.  I am keeping my fingers crossed though!    
                 I am very proud of how these turned out!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

TpT Sale!

Just wanted to say I am so excited about the Teacher Pay Teachers sale tomorrow and Monday, (August 12 -13)!  I have my Wish List ready and waiting to go!  
Be sure and check out my store Mrs. C's Classroom using the link below.  Along with the sale TpT is throwing, I am taking an additional 20% off ALL my items in my store. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Still Have a Few More Weeks

I have been relaxing some more and spending time in Florida.  It is nice to go places, but it is always nice to come home :)  I know a lot of school districts around me have already began inservice and several are already having classes.  I still have a few more weeks to prepare.  Thank Goodness!  I believe I have relaxed too much this summer :)  I need to get hopping!  The one thing I always want to do is get my house spotlessly clean before I go back to the classroom in the fall.  So far, I have never succeeded in this task, but that doesn't keep me from trying.  I think I can!  I think I can!  
If you need any more beginning of the year forms, I have one you might like.  It is a form that is filled out at school by students and teacher.  It has school phone numbers, websites, etc... More importantly, it has the phone numbers of three other students in the classroom.  No more excuses about leaving the assignment at school, or forgetting what the assignment was.  Students now have 3 friends to call in case of emergencies :) I hold them accountable for calling their peers.  After the form is filled out, it is taken home to the parent.  I always suggest placing the form on the refrigerator. Here is the link, and I hope this form is helpful to you: BACK-to-SCHOOL @ HOME INFO SHEET 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Getting Anxious

I have been busy this evening reading posts about getting classrooms ready for the beginning of school. This makes me both anxious and excited.  I am anxious because I cannot get into my classroom until after July 22.  I am so envious of educators who are allowed to spend the summer fixing their rooms up at will. I am excited because I have been working on ideas here at home to use and have seen some wonderful classroom set-ups on teacher blogs and on Pinterest.  Classrooms have certainly come a long way from the time when I began my teaching career back in 1989! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tangrams: Part II

The second day of experimenting with Tangrams, I began the class by reading the book, Grandfather Tang's Story by Ann Tompert. My students then got an unexpected treat.  We spent the remainder of the class playing a Tangram game on the iPads.  








Sunday, July 8, 2012

How to Beat the Summer Heat :)

I hope everyone is having a great summer break!  It has been in the 100's the last couple of weeks here in NW Georgia, with record breaking temperatures.  One evening around 8:00 p.m. I passed 2 marquees in a row which posted the temperature at 103 degrees.  Really?  103 degrees right before nightfall.  WOW!  I found the perfect way to have fun and stay cool yesterday in this sweltering heat.  It's not a very flattering picture at all, but the water felt wonderful and looking good was not part of my plan. :)  Everyone stay safe and stay cool!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back to School Packet

Sorry I have been away soooo long.  I have been vacationing and taking a break from all things school.  But, I'm back and ready to go!  I am so excited.  I just finished a back to school packet and listed it on TPT last night.  Be sure to take a look at it!  
Use this link to take a peek at my new unit.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Last week my students got a chance to work with a 7 piece Chinese puzzle - the tangram.  Day 1, I began by reading the book, The Warlord's Puzzle.

Next, I challenged my kids to make their own square with a 7 piece set of puzzle pieces.  Most students were saying they would have the puzzle completed in 2-3 minutes.  It didn't take long, however, before everyone realized the puzzle was going to be a challenge.

  Eventually, some of the kids began to put the puzzle together correctly.  Then, after a couple of hints, everyone began to get the hang of it :)

After the "square" challenge, I handed out folders of tangram puzzles I had collected over the years.  I had laminated each set of puzzles and had a folder and set of tangrams for each student.  The kids spent time building tangram puzzles within an outline.

Finally, on Day 1, my students practiced making tangram puzzles without the outlines.  They looked at a smaller version of the completed version of the puzzle and put it together on their desk.

It was a fun activity and the kids really enjoyed the puzzles.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Mother's Day!  It is rainy here in N.W. GA but, it has still been a good day.  I have celebrated by having all of my children clean, clean, and clean their rooms :)  I wanted to share an activity my students had fun with last Friday.  Since CRCT is over, (Yee Haw!), my students are reviewing and practicing their multiplication facts again.  Since my students love Fortune Tellers, (or Cootie Catchers), I created one last winter with random multiplication facts on it.  However, we were so busy trying to finish the standards, we never got to try it out.  Even though the pictures are winter themed my students loved the activity anyway.  (I don't even think they noticed the pictures were wintery).  I have included the link to my TPT store in case you want to check it out.  There are directions for folding the Fortune Teller, directions for the activity and a picture code included with the activity. Click here to view:  Multiplication Fortune Teller

My kiddos had a blast with these Multiplication Fortune Tellers!  They forgot they were reviewing and learning.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm finished!

I just had to post that I have finished all my assignments 2 weeks early for my EdS educational specialist degree!  I am so grateful to be finished.  I don't think it has completed soaked in yet that I won't have to work on assignments in the evenings and all week-ends.  I am so ready to get my life back and spend time with my family. My twins' Junior prom is in 2 weeks and I am so excited that I am going to have time to do all the "memory stuff" with them with no nagging feelings about needing to study.  Well, good-night everyone and have a great week!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fraction Pictures

When I began my unit on fractions I put some of my fraction magnets to good use.  Each day for a week, I made a picture using fractions on the white board.  The kids loved coming in and seeing the new picture each day.  I plan on having the kids make their own fraction pictures :)

My students can't
wait to make their
own designs.  The 
book, Picture Pie, was my inspiration.