Friday, December 19, 2014

Five For Friday December 19, 2014

There is something about that last Friday before Christmas Vacation!  A little crazy and a little relaxing all at once!  Now that I am officially on Christmas Break, it is time for a little Five for Friday!

Every year my hubby dresses up as Santa.  This year he made a special appearance at our movie night.

And a close-up with our three youngest boys.

We started the week a little crazy as we broke out the glitter to make our annual Christmas Card.  It has become one of my favorite traditions, but the glitter mess - ugh!  There was glitter EVERYWHERE this year. 

 After the glitter dried, we took a few (hundred) shots to capture our holiday image.  It takes many, many takes to get 20 something kids looking acceptable.  Here are a few of our outtakes.

And our final Christmas Card.

We also made Christmas Cards to trade with another third grade class.

We had a ton of fun learning about windmills this week.  We worked with a 4th grade class and learned a lot not only about engineering, but also about teamwork and collaboration.  I will be posting more about this later, but here is a sneak peek.

Finally, I have a little favor to ask of you...  Our school guidance counselor has written 2 children's books about a crazy space cat and his reluctant owner, Bob. They are really fun books that my class loves to read.  Unfortunately, Ryan's son, Brody was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes last year when he was in Kindergarten.  Right now until December 31st, the kindle versions of both books are only 99 cents and he is donating all of the profits to help the NV Diabetes Association. 

I would really appreciate it if you would consider adding these books to your Kindle library!

Here is a note from Ryan - 

"My son Brody was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last February, and to support him and NV Diabetes Association, both my “The Adventures of Bob” kindles are 99cents until December 31st. All my profits are going to NV Diabetes Association to help support their family activities and family camps. Any soft cover sales will also be donated.

Appreciate your help :)"
Ryan Shea
FES Counselor


If you purchase either of the books and send me a screenshot of your order (you can black out the order number like below) I will send you any item of your choice from my TpT store for FREE!  You can email me at

Link to Ryan Shea's Amazon page to purchase the books.

Thank you!  Have a great weekend and enjoy your much deserved vacation!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

'Tis the Season for Giveaways

'Tis the Season for Giveaways!  Or at least so it seems for me.. I am participating in a ton of them these last few weeks! Here are just a few I am in right now.  Be sure to head over and enter each one, there are a ton of great prizes to be won!


Michelle Dupuis is having a big Birthday Blowout with several prize package bundles and a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card!  You can enter until December 17th.

Elementary Music Teacher has teamed up with a ton of teachers to bring you this giveaway with over $460 in total prizes to be won!  You can enter until December 17th.

Several of my blogging friends and I have gotten together to give you a little Christmas gift! Enter to win a $65 Amazon Gift Card!  You can enter until December 19th.

I just recently participated in a giveaway on Instagram with twenty blogging friends and it was amazing!  If you are not following me on Instagram make sure you are to hear about our next upcoming events!  My user name is @applefortheteach.

Good luck!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Daily Math Review

About 5 years ago our district implemented what we call "Balanced Math" guided primarily by the book 5 Steps to a Balanced Math Program by Larry Ainsworth and Jan Christenson.

One of the steps is a Daily Math Review process.  I would have to say that this has routine has probably had the biggest impact on my math instruction by far.  I love the fact that I am able to review math skills throughout the year, and that my students who struggle get repeated exposure to the material and can actually learn and retain it! 

What is most different about this spiral review than other ones I have seen or purchased in the past is that it is entirely student driven, and is true review of what they have learned rather than a mish-mash of skills that you may or may not have taught yet.

The authors recommend that you give the students 5 types of math problems each day of the week.  The problems should be the same type for the whole week.  Each day they practice place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, measurement and data, and geometry.  At the end of the week, the students take a quiz with 2 problems of each of the types of problems they have been studying all week.  If 85% of the students pass a particular section, you move on.  However, if less than 85% master the material, it stays on the Math Review for the next week.  You can see from the picture below a few areas that my students needed extra practice with a few weeks ago.

If a few students struggle with a concept, you simply pull them for small group instruction.

The Process:

Independent Work: When we start our math block, my students spend about 10 minutes independently completing their math review sheets for the day.  I circulate the room providing individual or small group instruction as needed.

Processing and Correcting: After the students have had some time to work independently, we come together as a class to review and correct them.  Sometimes I have students share their strategies, and other times I provide instruction.  I almost always add to the work by stretching their thinking.  For example, we might round and estimate to see if our answer is reasonable.

The Product:

When I first stared using the Daily Math Review process in my class five years ago, the hardest part for me was the time involved in preparing the questions and finding questions to ask.  Well, luckily for you, I have put together a package to make your life easier if you would like to try Daily Math Review in your class!

This set comes complete with full instructions for implementing the program in your classroom.

 It also includes fully editable sets of papers so that you can change the problems to suit the needs of your students.  How many times have you used a set of spiral review that features skills that you haven't introduced yet?  How many times have you wanted to change a problem?  Now you can!

But... I also know that us teachers can be incredibly busy and may not have time to create problems for their students.  So... I have included 36 weeks of ready to go math review and assessments for you to use as is.  I have based the problems on areas where my students have struggled in the past. 

You can download the preview which features two free weeks to see if the program will work for you. 

You can find my Daily Math Review for Third Grade at my Teachers Pay Teachers store here .

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