Saturday, December 14, 2013

Honoring Sandy Hook

One year ago today, 20 first graders and six school employees lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary.  This week, along with educators and students across the nation, we honor the victims with random acts of kindness.  One parent says, "Acts of kindness and efforts to promote just cause are the best way to keep the memory of victims of gun violence alive," Rousseau, clutching a photograph of his daughter.

Use #Love4SH to promote kinds and love on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook throughout this week.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Currently

It's that time of year!!  I am so excited December is here!!  I love the Christmas lights and decorations…oh, and it's snuggle weather!  I am super looking forward to going to NEW YORK with my sister on December 26.  We're gonna freeze our buns off, but so worth it!!  Oh, and I also love December because no work for 2 weeks!!!  Yippee!!!  And….one of my favorite holidays…..New Year's!!

Yes, you better believe I am listening to *Nsync Christmas on Pandora!  I'm classy like that :-)

So…I have always thought of getting a mini Christmas tree for my classroom, but always talk myself out of it since I teach middle school :-/.  Well, this year, I bought one for ME!  I think my kids this year will actually like it.  Can't wait to decorate it!

What I love about getting together with my family is playing games on Christmas.  We have played Scattergories, Uno, and Catch Phrase gets really loud and crazy!  Last year, I surprised the family with a little game of Lefty Elf Christmas Story.  I bought little bags and stuffed each bag with candy.  The game is super simple: everyone stands or sits in a circle.  The story is then read aloud.  Every time I said LEFT, they had to pass their gift to the left, and every time I read RIGHT, they passed their gift to the right.  Oh, it was a blast!!  Definitely lots of laughing!  This year, I am thinking of writing our own Lefty Elf Christmas Story with members of our family and funny stories from throughout the year!

Link up with us Here!  It's fun!!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) Sale!!

I'm having a sale!!  My entire Teachers Pay Teachers store will be 20% off!

Monthly calendars currently include months through August 2014.  With the purchase of this product, you will receive the updated calendars for FREE when I upload to TpT!

I love to spruce up my classroom with these fun pennant banners.  Make your own welcome back banner or holiday message :)

How-To Instructions are great for Interactive Notebooks!  I copy on colored paper, cut out for students, then have them glue into their notebook.  Quick and easy for reference!

I am so in LOVE with these adorably cute Common Core posters hanging in my classroom.  They are only ONE DOLLAR!!  But, buy them on Monday or Tuesday for only 80 CENTS! WHOPPEE!

I am beginning to fall in love quickly with task cards!  I have students work in partners, which allows them to work at their own pace.  I require that students work on the same problem at the same time and not move on until they both AGREE upon a solution.  Below are task cards on ratios, rates, proportions, and conversion.

The task cards below focus on writing, solving, and graphing inequalities.  I used these for my 7th graders.

I use Jeopardy games in my classroom frequently to prepare for assessments.  The kids have an absolute BLAST!  They beg me to play Jeopardy.  Warning: It gets loud and competitive!!  The Jeopardy below is all about integers: adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.  There is also a "grab bag" category in which I place word problems for students to set up and solve.  The presentation is animated and includes an answer key :)

Below is a blank Jeopardy template.  This is a wonderful way to review and content area and any grade level!  The Jeopardy template includes animations and a page for you to include answers for quick reference.

AND….since you're already visiting, why not download some of my FREEBIES!!!

Here is a Common Core handout I give to my parents on Back-to-School night and I also have student glue into their interactive notebooks for reference!   I made it so that students and parents could understand the CCSS-using kid-friendly language!  :)

Lastly, I put these geometry formulas posters on the wall when studying geometry.  Students love (and need) to use these for a quick reference!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Study Jams Interactive Website

I love when I come across a *GREAT* educational website that is easy for me to use and engaging and informational for my students….even better when it is FREE!!  I found about Study Jams through a colleague and instantly fell in love.  I often show BrainPop! videos as a lesson introduction, but there is a site subscription for the BrainPop! videos.  Study Jams is a FREE website that includes math and science informational videos.  The topics and videos range from 3rd to 8th grade.  

Love what you see?? Use it for FREE in your classroom: Click HERE to access the Study Jams website!  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Currently

My birthday month has arrived!! Yippee!!!  I am joining in on Oh, Boy! 4th Grade's Currenty Linky Party.  It's my first link party!  I hope I upload correctly :)

Listening: to Jack Johnson on Pandora… one of my favorite Pandora stations!  Relaxing and fun at the same time!

Loving: I got an extra hour to sleep in today and am feeling super productive and ready for the week!  I am not a fan of less daylight, but I do like an extra hour of sleep. Woo Hoo!

Thinking: I should probably do laundry and cleaning.  I went grocery shopping and Target shopping and need to put stuff away.  Oh, the weekend stuff!

Wanting: My birthday to get here!  It's not until the 13th, but I like to celebrate Kendra-Palooza all month long!!

Needing: I am so hoping this first Linky party I am going works!!  I looked up the correct way to do this, but hopefully it goes smoothly :)

Yummy Pin: OMG!! The best grilled cheese EVEERRRRR!!!  If you know me, you know that I {LOVE} cheese!  When I came across this gem, I tried it out, and instantly fell in love… Ooey-gooey and full of flavor!!  Now, I'm sure it's not the healthiest sandwich in the world, but sometimes, we need that yummy comfort food.  This is it for me :)

Enjoy :)  Thank you a Couple Cooks!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Jeopardy Review Game!!

Every day my students take notes, then they complete practice problems on whiteboards.  I am finding that when there is only one day's worth of material, all of my students seem to "get it" quickly.  The problem is when multiple concepts and lessons are required, students become confused and suddenly forget all the rules, steps, etc.  I usually teach new lessons Monday through Wednesday, do some sort of review on Thursday, and quiz/test on Friday.  Somewhere during the week I may choose to complete a performance task, problem solving activity, or group work to mix it up a bit.  One way of reviewing my students have responded to pretty well is a classroom version of Jeopardy!  I love this because students will be begging to solve more problems because they are competitive in nature and want to win!! I sure don't mind since students are having fun and guess what...they are practicing math for the full hour!!  Below is a peek at what a blank Jeopardy template looks like.  This can be used with ALL grade levels and ANY subject area :)

The main menu includes 5 categories with prices ranging from $100 to $500.  You can choose the categories as well as the difficulty level for each question.  When Clicking on a dollar amount, you are then taken to the appropriate slide.  Students will solve the problem.  On a mouse click, the answer will appear.  When clicking on the "main menu" button in the bottom right corner, the chosen dollar amount will disappear from the main menu.

All you have to do is simply insert category names, questions, and answers on each of the 25 slides.  The animations will work when slideshow is played from the start.

Each slide looks like the one below.  Includes the dollar amount, the category name, question, answer, and main menu button, which will redirect on a mouse click.

Included in the powerpoint is a blank table like the one pictured below.  I type or write answers into each cell, then print for quick reference.

Easy to follow teacher instructions included!

You can purchase this classroom version of Jeopardy on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store HERE!

I hope you love it!  Let me know what you think!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Interactive Math Notebook Materials

 A middle-school teacher friend of mine, who teaches in a different district than me, has been using interactive science notebooks in her classroom for years and loves them.  In July, I helped her moved classrooms and came across these interactive notebooks as I was moving boxes.  I opened the notebook and was instantly in heaven!  I mean, talk about serious organization!!  Let's just say, I spent the next 20 minutes drooling over how AH-mazing these were.  A few weeks later, she invited me to go to a STEM notebooking training with her.  I of course said yes.  Although I teach math, I found the entire concept interesting.  I took copious notes and knew this was something I would be implementing in my very own classroom come September. it is!

First step in implementing interactive notebooks...gather all materials.  Beware...there's lots of them, but don't worry, many students will have these supplies or families will donate.  This is the first year I am doing this, but I am anticipating each student needing 2 notebooks.  I bought a total of 300 notebooks at 52 cents each at Target.

Although spiral notebooks are MUCH cheaper, they are cheaper for a reason---they fall apart :(  Last year, I had my students use spirals and the spiral bends and twists to the point where pages can't be turned.  I also wanted something sturdier so that students could keep it for reference all year long.

Below are the materials I either purchased or already had in my classroom:

Here is what a cart full of 300 composition notebooks looks like...

Here is what a trunk full of 300 composition notebooks looks like...

 Because I teach 7th grade, I like to keep my desk arrangement in rows, but they do work in cooperative groups often.  I needed to think of a way of allowing students access to a variety of materials that we will be needing for note-taking, problem-solving activities, and completing homework assignments.  If my students were in groups, I would put one supply bin in the center of the table and let students go to town.   I decided that I would place pencil pouches at each student's desk and fill each pouch with necessary supplies.  Supplies needed include: glue bottle (lasts longer than glue stick), protractor (or ruler; I had protractors, so I will have students use that as a straight edge), post-it tabs, highlighter(s).  I also threw in a dry erase marker, since we use whiteboards daily in my classroom.

First step, gather all supplies.  Stuffing supply pouches would have been a fun job for a student helper, but I need them right when school starts, so I had to do all of this myself (with a little help from my mom and sister!).

I add a little "flag" to my highlighters.  This will hopefully limit the number of highlighters that magically disappear!

I am such a huge fan of post-it tabs!!  They are sold in a pack of three, but they are quite pricey, so I cut them up and place one in each supply pouch.

One thing I do NOT go cheap on is glue!  Believe me, it is worth it!  Wal-mart has Elmer's glue for 50 cents (thanks mom for buying these for me this year!).  Again, I do not use glue sticks because they will, without a doubt lose their stick and papers will be flying out before you know it.  I also write my last name on each glue bottle in hopes that these do not disappear as well.

Here is a pile of my finished supply pouches :) YIPPEE!!

I keep one supply pouch at each student desk and check each desk before they are dismissed.

Follow my blog for more updates on how my interactive notebooking is going for my 6th and 7th graders!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Common Core Practice and Pilot Tests

 My district provided a voluntary Common Core planning day today.  All along, I have been so excited about implementing these new standards into practice, as I feel this is the way students should learn.  Reality is beginning to sink in and we are really doing like 3 weeks!!  As a group, we looked at some sample test questions that students may see when CCSS testing in the very near future.  Our school site piloted the common core smarter balanced test last May and all teachers were encouraged to check out they types of questions being asked.  Woah! Talk about critical thinking!!  I LOVE common core because for once, students can't guess on tests...they actually have to know what they're doing! They don't get to just say, "Oh, I don't know, B looks like a good choice."  And better yet, they have to EXPLAIN how they got their answer!!  For 7th grade in my district, this will be a huge transition year.  I'm pretty excited!

Ok, so here's a little tutorial on how to find the Smarter Balanced Practice and Pilot Tests.  For some reason, Internet Explorer does not support this (for now), so try another browser such as Safari or Firefox.  I had no problems using both.