Good morning! I just wanted let you know that I have been losing weight for the past month. As of today, I have lost 8 pounds. I'm not dieting or exercising. I'm simply taking a little pink drink, similar tasting to Crystal Light, each day. (It really is good!) I can eat what I want...I just don't want as much. Anyway...I like it so much that I am going to begin selling it. I am giving away (2) 3-day trial packets on the blog I created for Plexus Slim.
If you have time, or are interested in losing weight...I actually lost weight over Thanksgiving...click on the image below and sign yourself up for the giveaway! Have a great week-end.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving day! For once, I did not overeat...trying to lose a little weight. I know...I'm crazy beginning my weight loss during the holidays. Oh well, I have never done things the easy way. :) I am excited that I have lost 6 lbs in a couple of weeks' time. It hasn't been difficult at all. Yay me!
I just wanted to invite everyone over to TPT this coming Monday and Tuesday for the big sale. I already have a MAJOR wish list going. I have been saving my TPT points for this sale too! I am prepared...bring it on!
If you would like to view any items in my shop, just click on the image below. Happy Shopping!
I don't know about other counties and states, but, my county took our math textbooks away from us seven or eight years ago. This upset me. I wasn't upset about the textbooks leaving thinking I wouldn't be able to teach any longer. I never used a textbook faithfully anyway. I began making my own lesson plans and activities way before TPT or Teacher's Notebook came along. I was upset because there were no longer examples of how to work out a problem or extra work for children to take home that needed extra help. Plus, if a student was absent what better way to help him or her catch up. I won't even go into all the parent complaints about not being able to help their child at home since there is no longer a textbook.
Over the years, I have tried various things to make up for the loss of a textbook. Well, by golly, this year, I hit the jackpot. I decided to have students use a spiral notebook for math, that doubles as a textbook with examples of problems, vocabulary, and problems to work out. I absolutely love it!
The idea is very simple. However, before we wrote one single number or letter, students had to understand they may NEVER take a page out. It is forbidden! :) Each child has his or her own spiral notebook. It must be taken home each night. (I give a daily review check each evening even if I don't assign other homework. Therefore, the spiral notebook must be taken home too!) I bought bunches of these, (I teach 100 students a day), at Wal-Mart during summer for $0.17 each for children who could not or would not purchase their own.
We use the spiral notebooks almost everyday. Below are a few examples of how they are used. I guess you could call them interactive notebooks!
Example 1 - Writing vocabulary with examples.
This way, especially when beginning a new unit, when students forget the material for the day, they can look back at it.
Examples of work completed in class.
Example 3 - Showing how to break up the problem into smaller segments. (We know that even students who "get it" during class oftentimes get home and are completely lost.) Parents oftentimes have not had the same standards as we are teaching students today. Parents appreciate the examples too!
Example 4: Of course, there is the truly interactive activities that go into the spiral notebooks. We worked on this candy corn during our unit about the ways to represent a number. Students wrote the problems on the outside of the candy corn and wrote the form, standard, expanded, or written on the inside. This particular interactive activity came form Rundee's Room, Interactive Math Journals on TPT...great resource!
The bottom picture is a rhyme I made for my NBT.2 unit on using zero as a place saver. Students could look back at these 2 pictures when working with representing numbers various ways.
Example 5: Sometimes I simply have students label a page with the unit we are studying and I hand out copies of the vocabulary. They simply glue it into their spiral notebook. We did examples on the following pages as we came to that particular vocabulary word. The vocabulary come from my individual place value units. (Click on the picture below to view this place value unit).
Example 6: Examples of rounding and a place value rhyme to help students remember what to do. (The rhyme came from my rounding unit. Click on the picture is you would like to view it).
Example 7: This is from my addition unit. Students worked out problems on grid paper. They cut out four examples to place in their math spiral notebook.
I guess I need to come up with a cool name for my notebooks. The kids and I are so familiar with calling them "spiral notebooks" that it easily rolls off our tongues.
I used these spiral notebooks during our parent-teacher meetings. It was very helpful to me to have something I could show parents that they could use to help their child at home. It was also very nice to tell parents that Little Johnny did have examples and everything else he needed to complete his homework each night. :)
When introducing place value, my students always start out confused by the differences of places and periods of numbers. I try many different strategies, including lots and lots of place value charts. After a bit of practice, I always include a flashcard activity of places and periods.
Below, I have posted some pictures of the place value flashcard activity I use in my classroom. Each child receives 6 laminated cards: ones / tens / hundreds / Ones / Thousands / Millions.
I hold onto the flashcards. I put one flashcard under the document viewer at a time, (the cards can simply be held up for the class to see too), and the students decide on which place and period the highlighted number on the flashcard is located. They look through their cards and find the correct place and period. At my signal, everyone holds up two cards. I go through all the flashcards in this manner.
Beside being excellent practice, this activity is a quick assessment of where the students are, and who needs more help!
The cards in the pictures are my first, original cards. I have updated them since first using them in my classroom. You can find them the updated versions of the cards by clicking on the following link:
I place the flashcard on the document viewer, but, they can be held by hand and shown to the class.
When I give the signal, all children hold their place and period card up at the same time. I usually have the students hold the cards in their hands like they were playing a card game, so students won't be tempted to look at each others cards until we hold them up.
This activity is really helpful for me. It allows me to get a quick assessment of what each student knows.
We have a discussion after each turn. As the activity moves along, I see more and more students catching on.
I just wanted to share my new Social Studies unit, The Louisiana Purchase. I taught Social Studies for years and years and I love it! This unit includes a lot of information about Lewis and Clark but, I do include the second expedition that was led by Zebulon Clark.
There are daily 5 Minute Check reviews, vocabulary/word wall cards, worksheets, activities, research items, an assessment, task cards, and more!
If you would like to take a look just click on any of the links below. I would love to have you visit my TPT shop!
Three or four weeks ago, I wrote a post about the flagged pencils that always appear on Pinterest. You know...the pencils with duct tape banners at the top. The idea is that when students borrows pencils, if the pencil has a colorful flag attached, the students will remember to put the pencil back before leaving the classroom. I teach four math classes each day with approximately 100 students so, I was excited to see if this simple idea worked.
I placed 5 flagged pencils in a container on a shelf. I instructed my kiddos what I expected and left the poor pencils defenseless against a flurry of 9 year olds coming in and out of my classroom all day.
Result: After 3 weeks, I still have all 5 pencils. No, I am not kidding. They are still intact. I have had a couple of the pencils leave my room, only to be brought back by an apologetic student.
The pencils three weeks ago...before students were let loose on them. They looked so pretty. :)
As you can see from the picture below, the pencils, (and flags), have seen better days.
Actually, I think these pencils are in really good shape, considering what they go through daily.
I am convinced this is something I will continue to do each year. The days of missing pencils seem to have have disappeared!
I just had to share this idea with everyone. It actually came to me from a parent who was working with her son at home on his multiplication facts. It is simply a coupon holder made into a math multiplication card holder.
A picture is worth a thousand words!
Take a look!
The facts are written on index cards. The answers are written on the back of each card.
I use paper clips to hold the cards together just in case they fall out.
The coupon holders had sticker labels to label the facts through 12's. (My fourth grade class begins with the 2's multiplication facts. If you begin with 0's and 1's, you may have to combine them. This coupon holder only had 1 tab left).
When I saw the holder that the mom of my student had made, I was so excited, she drove down to the dollar store and bought ALL the rest of the coupon holders for me! She got them at the Dollar General Store. I don't know how much they were originally. However, they were on sale for $0.75, then marked down to $0.30 a piece. I am in multiplication fact heaven! I can't wait to use these next week!
I am feeling extremely organized now! If a student gets finished early with an assignment, or if a someone needs extra help, the multiplication facts are at their fingertips.
When closed, the coupon holders do not take up much room at all. I am storing mine in a large plastic container.
I generally begin my year teaching place value. This year I decided to mix it up a bit and begin the year with an algebra unit using patterns. In fourth grade, this includes patterns with shapes, symbols, and numbers, and input / output function tables. I wanted to begin the school year with something that would hook my students and allow every child an opportunity to feel confident about math. Since they have been creating and finding patterns since pre-k or before, I figured this unit was a winner! We have completed patterns about any way you can think of. I created a algebra pattern unit this last summer that I am using. It has made my life a bit easier.
I created and included an input / output machine named Mumsford with this unit. I am excited that my kids will finally get to meet him next week! I placed magnets on the back so he can be placed on my white board and velcro on his hands and the coordinating pattern cards.
I have included a color and black/white version of Mumsford in my unit.
If you are interested in viewing this algebra unit, click on any of the links below.
There are 93 pages, including vocabulary/word wall cards, the standard and essential questions, 4 daily review 5 Minute checks with assessment, an assessment used for pre and post assessments, activities, recording sheets, and answer keys where applicable.
The mini-posters give you an instant focus-walk bulletin board!
I love to eat salads for lunch. The school salads at my school are decent but, there is only lettuce, an occasional tomato, and on a good day some type of soggy croutons...all placed in a small styrofoam cup with a lid. In addition, I love Thousand Island salad dressing and the few packets that the cafeteria supplies disappear very quickly.
I teach fourth grade and the upper grades in my elementary school are the last to eat. So, never will I blame the sweet, wonderful cafeteria ladies at my school for a soggy salad with a dressing I would not choose for myself. I blame the system. :) Not really. It's just a fact of life.
When I eat a salad, my personal preference is a salad with no white stalky part in it, lots of cheese, and nuts, such as cashews, sunflower seeds, almond slices. Oh, but I'm not finished yet. No salad is complete for me without chow mein noodles, an overload of croutons, and a heaping helping of Thousand Island salad dressing. In other words, if there is not a crunch in every bite, it's not my type of salad. :)
I have tried to take my own salads to take to school for lunch over the years. I have gone through several types of containers trying to find a container that makes it easy to take a salad while keeping my many favorite salad items fresh and crunchy. There is nothing appetizing about eating a salad with your favorite items if the chow mein noodles are soggy, and the salad dressing has been absorbed by the lettuce.
This past summer while I was hanging out in Wal-mart way more than I'd like to have been, trying to prepare my 3 college-aged students with supplies and necessities of life, I made yet another grand find! I found, at least for me, the perfect salad container. It is called a Cool Gear item and is found in the same isle that you will find Rubbermaid food containers. It is reasonably priced and is just a really neat container.
The Cool Gear comes in a sturdy, easy to handle bundle. There are 3 parts, including the lid, and a small salad dressing bottle.
Once the lid is removed the first part of the container is a place to put all the toppings that you will add to your salad when you are ready to eat. There is also a small bottle for the salad dressing of your choice.
Okay...that bottle could be 3 times larger and I still wouldn't have enough room for the amount of salad dressing I use on my salads. However, I use way too much dressing. I am going to be positive and convince myself I am practicing portion control. :)
The top part of the salad container is easily removed to display the bottom part.
The bottom section is where the salad is actually stored. It pops out several times to reveal a decent size salad bowl.
Since all salad items are stored separately, there is never a need to eat a soggy, limp salad again! Simple pour the items from the top section into the salad, squeeze out the dressing and you are ready to eat!
The open house for the school I work was last Monday evening. I don't know about anyone else, but, after 20 years of teaching, I still get butterflies in my stomach an hour or two before open house begins. Every year I create a letter to parents to inform them what time lunch starts, the homework routine, and other items such as what school supplies their child needs for the year. At the end of the letter, I always list optional supplies that would be appreciated. You know the items: hand sanitizer, extra wide-ruled notebook paper, #2 pencils, tissues... In addition, I always have the supply list listed at least one other place in the room. Sometimes the list is in the form of a cute sign-up list, and/or listed on my whiteboard. I really can't complain about parent participation in bringing in these items. I am always grateful for any extras that come into my classroom since I teach at a Title 1 school. I'm even more appreciative of the supplies coming into my elementary classroom since I taught at a middle school for 7 years. Except for the few, for some reason, parents do not believe middle school teachers need very many supplies. Of course, that is myth! Another issue with supply donation lists going home with parents or students is that I end up with 32 packs of pencils or numerous bottles of hand sanitizer and no tissues or notebook paper. (It varies each year). This year, while searching for a new idea, I came across a blog, http://mrsterhune.blogspot.com/2012/08/open-house.html, and fell in love with the idea she had for supplies. She had a table set up with apples scattered around. On these apples, she had written the names of the supplies. She also included a mini-poster explaining what to do. She even has a link to her store so you can purchase the apples and mini-poster. hmmm...this sounded like a good idea to me! I decided to make my own supply list table. I already had an abundance of apple clip art and frames, and what teacher doesn't have a table or desk. I got busy and created my own apple cards and mini-poster detailing what the apples were for.
I am quite proud of the supply mini-poster and apple supply cards! Here is what mine looked like when I finished.
With this idea, the teacher is in control of what items he or she really needs. I made multiple apples of items my class really needed and less apples of items that my class did not use as often. The whole idea makes so much sense!
I placed the apple cards and instruction mini-poster
right beside the open house sign-in list. (Hey, I wasn't born yesterday). :) When I asked parents to sign-in I didn't even mention the supply list. That in itself took the stress off of me not having to beg for supplies.
I was so excited to see all the apples that parents were carrying around with them that evening. By the end of the hour, all the cards were gone except for 4. I don't what it was about the apples but, I have been receiving donations all week. It's been fantastic! None of the items were expensive, so I don't believe I scared anyone away. Some of these are items, such as small individually wrapped candy, that parents just don't ever seem to send in, even when it's on a list!
I will use this idea for years to come! It is simple and it works...at least for me.
Every year I tell myself that I am going to make new supply labels for the plastic containers in my classroom. I teach math all day and have multiple manipulatives. I always feel overwhelmed because of all the plastic containers that surround me. This year, I decided I would begin slowly placing new labels on my tubs and containers.
I made a set of labels for my rolling cart.
While I was at it, I arranged the plastic containers in order, not alphabetically, but beginning with the 1st unit I teach.
I also made supply labels for a smaller shelf . This is the hub-bub of my room, where crayons, scissors, glue, etc... are stored. I use desk caddies, but as every teacher knows, there is always a color of a crayon that is missing, broken, or dull and needs to be replaced, or a bottle of glue that refuses to work correctly, or a glue stick that mysteriously loses the glue, leaving only the stick in glue stick. These supply containers make it easy for a student or myself to quickly grab the needed item and continue working.
I made these labels for my particular needs. However, I have made a set of generic supply labels for anyone who would like to have them for free.
There are 12 labels: Crayons/Markers/Paints/Paint Brushes/Glue/Glue Sticks/Colored Pencils/Paper/Scissors/Pattern Blocks/Color Counters/Magnetic Items.
I am sure most everyone has seen the Pinterest pictures of flagged pencils. What an ingenious idea! You take a piece of duct tape and put it right under the eraser. The logic behind this, is that students who have to borrow a pencil will be more likely to remember to put it back later. This idea is very attractive to me since I teach close to a hundred students a day. I have 4 classes of 4th grade children passing through my math classroom each school day. I can't begin to explain how many students come into my room each day without paper or pencil. That may not sound like a big deal to some folks, but, when there are 4-5 children in each class without pencils, it gets expensive. I have tried various ways to keep track of the pencils I lend out each class period. Over the years, I have devised some extreme methods to keep those #2's in my classroom. Back in the good old days, (when I taught middle school), a student who needed to borrow a pencil would simply take a shoe off and put it in the corner, in shoe jail, until class was over. When the student returned the pencil, he got his shoe back. Believe it or not, it worked fairly well. A typical middle schooler does not want the kind of attention that comes with walking down the hallway with one shoe on. :) In this day and time, I would probably be sued for doing that! I have had habitual pencil borrowers use crayons when they came to class unprepared. That really is a hardship, not just on a student, but, for me, the person who has to check, grade, and look for errors on a paper with thick, heavy orange or purple crayon. Last year, I wrote down the names of students borrowing pencils on a clipboard. It worked o.k. but, I spent too much time writing down names, and checking at the end of class for people who had borrowed the pencils. I don't like to waste time like that either. Plus, it made me feel a bit silly. So, when I came across several different pictures on Pinterest with large, colorful duct tape flags on the pencils, I decided to try this. Yes, students can still walk out of the room with the pencils. However, I don't think most children really want to steal my pencils. I believe the majority of students just forget about having borrowed a pencil. Hopefully, the flag will jog their memories as they leave my room, or they will bring it back later when they realize they walked out with one. (Hey, one can dream!) Below is picture of my first duct taped pencils. I am very interested in seeing how well this works! The students come back to school next Tuesday. I will write an update and let everyone know how it is going. I hope it is good news.
It really doesn't take a whole lot to make a school teacher happy. I was walking through Wal-Mart last week with my daughter and her friend, looking for school items for her to take to college next week, when all of a sudden, I looked down on the bottom rack of the school supplies and stopped dead in my tracks. There in front of me were the most colorful clipboards I had ever seen! After a few moments of complete silence, the girls started asking me if I was alright. Was I alright? What a question! Was I alright? My mind was going a mile a minute! I was color-coding my classes in those seconds. I was thinking of all the ways I could incorporate these clipboards into my day. Was I alright? I had never been better!
People who do not teach do not understand that the smallest of things can mean the world to a teacher. I teach 4 classes of mathematics each day so, the pressure to stay organized is a yearly stress. For the last couple of years, I have used clip boards for each class. You know the kind... the standard school, ugly brown board with a huge silver clip at the top. I wrote the homeroom teacher's name on each one, and have been fairly happy with these clipboards until this year.
I needed something new, something fresh. So, my goal this summer while I was out shopping for 3 kids who go to college this fall, (yes, I did say 3), was to look for some cool looking clipboards that I could color-code with my 4 math classes.
Was I alright? One of my bucket list items had just been marked off! There were 4 colors of these beautiful clipboards. Not only are they colorful, they open up and you can put "stuff" inside of them! Ah...I thought I must be dreaming.
Out with the old!
In with the new!
Not only do these beauties hold paper, they open up. I can put pencils, pens, notepads, post-it notes and most importantly, my cell phone, (um, which I would never actually use at school), :) inside the clipboard and carry the items around with me!
I actually want to use the inside to store any make-up work, or other important papers from each class. (I have chill bumps just thinking about how organized I will be)!
Here is the sticker that came on the clipboards in case anyone else is interested! It is called a Slimcase.
Well, now that I have decided to color-code, this is a perfect excuse to buy more things! Now that my eyes are open to all the possibilities, I may turn into a color-coding maniac! Stay tuned!
I'm happy, happy, happy! It's that time of year again! Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School, (BTS), sale. Of course, my shop is participating with its own 20% off sale, starting Sunday, August 18th to coincide with TPT's sale. Yes, that means you can save 28% on any product purchased in my store on the 18th and 19th! Although, the TPT sale runs from Sunday, August 18th through Monday, August 19th, I am extending my sale through Tuesday, August 20th. That means that even if you miss the TPT sale or you decide you really should have bought that item, it will not be too late. You will still be able to save 20% in my shop, even on Tuesday .
I can't wait to start buying products that I have been saving on my wish list! Remember to type in the promo code BTS13 when making purchases.
Now...let's go buy some stuff!
Just click on the picture below to begin browsing.
I am a binder kind of person. I put my recipes, important papers, ideas, and even instructions that come with my appliances, etc... in notebook binders.
At school, I have a binder I use for all classroom organization, a binder for student information, and my lessons plans have been in notebook binders way before they were cool to use. I have a binder for every unit I teach. I have the unit binders with everything I need in them, or if it doesn't fit, then I have a page that tells where the item is. I am obsessed with binders, because they keep me organized. I, personally, know how unorganized I can be without the right system, but, it is truly amazing how many people think I am one of the most organized people they know! I still look shocked each time I hear this! :) I give a great amount of the credit to my binders.
I work hard at staying organized. That's why I knew I needed a binder to help me with my TPT shop when I first began on Teachers Pay Teachers a few years ago. I have added to the binder, taken away from it, revised and revised some more. I finally feel I have it the way I want it. This binder gets me organized so, I'm not feeling overwhelmed by the whole business thing. I don't have to search for items, I don't have to guess if I listed a product on a certain collaborative board or not, I don't have to hunt down passwords, or try to remember an idea I had a few weeks ago. It is all written down in my TPT binder. I have even included a form for writing down all the technology problems I encounter, and a place for the solution, and websites that were helpful in finding the solution. (Um...I won't go into how many technology help pages I have in my binder at this point! Let's just say it's more than 10 but, less than 1,000.)
I can compare sales from month to month, quarter to quarter, or year to year. I have a form for expenses and donations, (also helpful during tax season). There are helpful blogging forms, (including linky parties), pinterest forms, and TPT shop forms, such as a form for the infamous TPT Newsletter submissions. There are forms for contests and giveaways, listed items, free items, works in progress, a product idea organizer and much more.
I have also included a 12 month calendar which I will update each January. I hate nothing more than to have to fill in a blank calendar when I buy something. All anyone will have to do is re-download the binder each January and print a brand new FREE yearly calendar, because once the TPT Business Binder is purchased, the new yearly calendar will be free! YAH!
If I made a form with color on it, I also made a duplicate black/white version so there are options to choose from. I even did this with the cover pages for each section and the binder cover page and spine.
If you are interested in getting organized, please check out my TPT Business Organization Binder by clicking on any of the pictures below!
I have also included a Table of Contents below the pictures, since there is even more to this binder than is shown here!
TPT Business Organization Binder
Table of Contents
·Binder Covers & Spines - Divider (3
vBinder Covers (4 Choices)
vBinder Spines (2 sizes/7 types, including a blank spine)
·Ideas - Divider (3 Choices)
vNotes to Self (Color & B/W Version)
vProduct Idea Recording Sheet
vProduct Idea Graphic Organizer
vWorks in Progress (Color & B/W Version)
Products - Divider (3 Choices)
·My Teachers Notebook Products - Divider (3
Choices) – (Just in case you sell on this site).