Saturday, April 25, 2015

Stop, Swap and Roll Product Swap

I am so excited to be taking part in another product swap with Melissa at Jungle Learners!  Before I get started, I must apologize for getting this post up late.  My 20 year old son has epilepsy and suffered a grand mal seizure yesterday afternoon.  As a result of the seizure, he broke a vertebrae in his back.  We were at the ER from 4:30 PM yesterday until 6:30 AM this morning. So.. my Rafflecoptor for the prize won't work until tonight, but this product I am trying is so worth it!  Please stop by again to enter!

I swapped items with Stephanie from The Learning Chambers.

She has so many amazing things in her store, it was really hard to choose just one!  I finally decided to try out her Reading Response Flap Journal.

Reading Response Flap Journals
I used them with my reading groups and they were a big hit! My students LOVE flap books, and this was no exception.

I don't know about your class, but I have kiddos who are working on a wide variety of reading levels.  One thing that I absolutely love about this packet is that Stephanie has included two different versions, so you can differentiate to accommodate different levels!  This product is also versatile for if you have to change grade levels!

This is the version I used with my grade level and above students.

For my below grade level students, I used the version below.

The best part about the differentiation is that the covers are exactly the same, so my students don't know that other students have different versions!

I initially introduced the students to the booklets during our reading club time.  Then, I gave students new books to use with their independent reading.  I plan on using them throughout the year.  Being able to use a product all year round and with any book is a big bonus for me when I purchase items from TpT. 

Great news for you!  As part of the swap, Stephanie has this item on sale!  You also have the opportunity to win this product as well by entering the Rafflecoptor below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Don't forget to visit her blog to see the item from my store she picked and enter to win it!

Fraction Match-Up (Minion Style)

Check out our other swaps as well!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Using Subitizing Cards to Foster Multiplicative Thinking

Subitizing is an instant way of counting.  I had heard of several first grade teachers using it with ten frames to teach the concept of ways to make ten.

 I had never thought of using it to teach multiplication until I found these multiplication subitizing cards.

I have been using these cards as warm ups for small group and whole group lessons as well as for time fillers when we have a few extra minutes.  The kids love them and it has also helped with learning their math facts!  

Watch the video below to see them in action!

Have you used subitizing cards in your classroom? If you decide to use them, I would love to see pictures!  Please email me at or tag me on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter!

And... before you go, make sure to visit my Giveaways page to enter our weekly giveaway to win a $25 Teachers pay Teachers gift card!

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Day in the Life...

I am linking up with Reagan over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits to share a peek of my daily schedule with you.  I always love seeing how other teachers manage to get everything all in a packed day, so make sure you link up and share your day as well!

Just in Case You Were Wondering About My Personal Morning Routine  (Because I am nosey about these types of things, and maybe you are too!)

4:30 AM - Wake up Call.  If I am being good, I workout on the treadmill for 30-45 minutes, but if I'm not, I often convince myself that this is a great time to work on a blog post, TpT product, or just cruising Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  I am working on trying to be healthier, but it is a struggle!

I wake my older two boys at 5:30 and I "officially" start my blog/TpT work hour.  I get ready for my day at 6:30 and wake Luke (my youngest) up as soon as I am ready.  Getting him up and out of bed is always a struggle, and it was even worse when I had to hunt down uniforms that did not get put away or put in his laundry basket.  We finally came up with a system that helps our mornings out a TON!

Each day of the school week has its own drawer (the top two are for extra socks and underwear).  Every Sunday we put a complete set of clothes for each day of the week in each drawer.  So much easier!

7:30 - 8:25 I head to school and prep things for my day.

8:25 I pick the students up at the playground and we walk together to class. They often love telling me stories as we walk.

8:35 - 8: 50 - Morning Meeting.  We start each day with a morning meeting that by this time of the year is mostly student run.  It has taken a lot of constant reminders about talking one at a time and taking turns, but it is so worth it!  Not only does it help them feel more like a family, but it also works those public speaking skills that are required in the Common Core.  Even my most shy students share during Morning Meeting!  You can read more about our Morning Meeting process here.  (Ignore my messy classroom - we are in need of some Spring Cleaning!).

9:00 - 9:15 Daily Math Review We start each math block with a spiral review of skills we have been working on all year.

Often students use this time to finish their breakfast.  Each day they solve 5 problems independently.  We go over each problem together as a class.  On Friday they take a quiz with problems that are similar to the skills we have been working on all week.  If they struggle with a concept, it stays on the review.  You can read more about Daily Math Review here.

9:15 - 9:25  Kicking It Math.  This is by far the students' favorite part of the day.  It is a math fact mastery program that I have developed where the students earn "belts" as they pass certain levels, just like in karate!  You can read about the whole system here.

They like it so much that they often choose it as a practice choice during Math Workshop!

9:25 - 10:15 - Math Workshop.  In our classroom math workshop consists of whole group mini-lessons, math journals, problem solving, games, and small group lessons.  We also complete Accelerated Math Lessons.

10: 15 RECESS

10:15 - 11:00 Math Workshop Continued

11:00 - 11:40 Specials.  We have specials Mon- Thurs. Our specials are Library, Counselor, PE, and Stem.  Two of these days are preps for me and two of these days are collaborations with the other third grade teachers.

11: 40 - 12:25 Lunch

12:25 - 1: 05 Study Island.  We have been using Study Island as our test prep for the SBAC which we are taking in May for the first time.

1:05- 2:15 Reader's/ Writer's Workshop.  We use Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Writer's Workshop and will start using the Reader's Workshop units next Fall.  For now, my reading is a mix of Daily 5 and Reader's Workshop.  My students read and write independently while I confer with students or work with small groups.

We do a lot of writing about our reading!

2:15 - RECESS - I have duty at this time.

2:15 - 3:00 Cont. Reader's Writer's Workshop

3:00 - 3:15 Pack and Stack, Afternoon Meeting and Dismissal!

I hope you enjoyed learning about our day!  I would love to hear about yours as I am already thinking about next year!  Link up with Reagan and share!

Developing Our Problem Solving Skills

As the dreaded testing season looms closer and closer, the need to get my students actively problem solving every day has become almost an obsession for me!

Depending on the complexity of the task, and the ability of my students, I introduce each problem differently.  Sometimes, I give all of the students the task with little to no instruction, and let them plug away at it.
Other times I will provide a warm-up small group lesson for my struggling learners.
For this particular challenge, I introduced them to modeling with manipulatives.  They were then able to provide support to their whole group in using manipulatives to solve the problem.  This always gives them a big boost of confidence when they are able to be the "experts".

When the problem appears to be challenging for all of the students, I often display a similar problem on the Smart Board and we problem solve it together.  I then give them the problem to work in small groups.


Problem solving is always better with popcorn isn't it??
I will be creating a larger product this summer using these problems and more, but for now, I have a freebie for you that includes ALL of these problems.  You can download it from my TpT store here.
If you download the freebie, I would love any feedback or suggestions you have for the final product.
Thank you!

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