Friday, August 16, 2013

Back to School TpT 2+1 Blog Hop

It's almost here.  I know I'm showing my age here, but I feel like the lady in that old Mervyn's commercial....face and hands up against the glass of the store saying, "" while waiting for their big sale.  I am so excited about this year's TpT's Back to School Sale.  I have so many items I've been accumulating on my wish list, just waiting for this sale.  Another bonus, as a new blogger and TpT store owner, I actually have things in my shop that people have wish listed!  I am so pumped, and still in a little awe that people actually want to buy my stuff.  I love my stuff, and I put my heart into the things I make, but you know, when it comes to other people liking my stuff, I second guess myself. Isn't it nice to have the affirmation when someone wishes for or purchases something you've created?

I am linking up with 2+1=BTS13 to share some wish items.  I can't wait to see what everyone in the link has up.  You get to share the top 2 wish listed items in your store.  Then you get to share 1 of your personal wish listed items.

Equation Station is my most wished for item.  It is one of my favorite activities in my classroom.  It's like Boggle, but with math equations.  Students search for equations, and record them.  My student's LOVE this activity, and are always busy looking for equations any time they can.  It is for sale in my TpT store for $4.50, but will be on sale for 20% off.  

My second most wish listed item is Reading Large Numbers on Place Value Lane.  It is a hands on activity where students drive their car down "Place Value Lane" and read the numbers in three digit houses at a time.  This is a wonderful small group activity for those kids who need a little extra practice reading large numbers.  I have this activity in the second week of lesson plans!  It is in my TpT store for $3.50 and will also be 20% off.
I REALLY wish I had a better picture of this, but this is the best I could get.  Create, Teach, Share has some wonderful Interactive Math Notebooks.  The one I am definitely getting is 3rd Grade Interactive Math Notebook NBT & NF.  It is just what I need to start the year off.  

The sale is here!  It's time to link up your 2 most wish listed items and 1 item you can't wait to buy!  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mental Math Muscles

 I met yesterday with my two partner third grade Math teachers.  We got the first week of school lessons planned.  We don't go back to work until August 15, and the kids come back August 26 so we are feeling organized and ahead of the game.  One of my partners is a new first year teacher and the other is one of our Reading teachers that will be self contained for the first time in 10 years, so both of my partner teachers are a little nervous about teaching Math this year.  We start the year off with Place Value, which are some of my favorite lessons to teach.  We discussed in detail the vocabulary we use and different ways to make sure the kiddos are understanding Place Value.  Color Coded Place Value is my favorite way to teach reading and writing large numbers.

Our school has a built in 45 minute small group time called Eagle Time.  Three days of the week are for reading, and two are for Math.  We group our third grade and have two high level groups, two mid level groups and a lower group of ten students.  This is a wonderful way to get some extra needed time in a small group setting with our low babies plus we get the added bonus of getting to know and work with each others students.  I love that our campus really does have a belief in "our kiddos" and not "yours or mine".  One of the things we will be working on to start out the year is mental math.  There is nothing like mental Math to start sweeping out the cob webs of summer and getting the students to using their math muscles.  I have several different activities I use in Eagle Time to help with mental math practice, but one of my favorites is called Flex Those Mental Math Muscles, and is free in my TpT store.  This is something I will be definitely be using in the first several weeks of school, and I hope you find it useful too.

What are some of the ways you practice mental math or place value with your students?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Liebster Award

Wow!  Danielle over at Busy Little Brainiacs has nominated me for a Liebster award.  I've noticed other blogs who have this award, and I've always wondered what it was all about.  The Liebster award is a wonderful way for bloggers to give a "high five" to new bloggers with under 200 followers.  Well, I have 41 bloglovin' followers as I type, so I definitely qualify, and I really appreciate Danielle for nominating me!  I realize my blog is a teeny tiny fish in a big sea of blogs, and I am always so excited and grateful for every visit, comment and follower I get.  Its a way for us to PAY IT FORWARD and welcome new bloggers and help to get the word out about their blog.

Thank you Danielle for noticing my blog and sharing the love!

Blogs I would like to recognize:
Kaitlin & Christine at K&C Love Grade 3
Kelly at Koonce's Korner

To accept the nomination I need to:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you
2. Nominate 5 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

Questions from Danielle
1. What is your favorite subject to teach?
    Math! Math! Math!  I love it.  I want kids to be just as excited about Math as I am when   they leave my classroom each year.
2. What is your favorite book?
    Hmmm.  That a tough one to decide.  I think I would have to say my all time favorite is A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers from her Mark of the Lion Series.
3. If you could live in any country, which one would you live in?
    I can't imagine living anywhere other than the US, but I would love to travel to Scotland and Ireland. 
4. Do you have any pets? If so what kind and what are their names?
    Oh, I love to talk about my pets.  I have a 13 year old dog Max, our resident mutt.  He is always having a bad hair day.  Then there's Pocket, my cat.  She deigns herself queen of the sofa,  and will occasionally stretch and exert herself enough to come say hello to us mere mortals.  Then there is my new little man Murphy.  He is a long haired Dachshund.  He's three months old and I have had a blast spoiling him this summer.  House breaking him .... ummmmm, yeah, not so much.
5. What was your first job?
    Other than babysitting in high school, I was a chiropractic assistant.
6. What's the best advice you ever got? 
    My first year of teaching, my mentor teacher told me, "Don't feel like every lesson, every day needs to be a three ring circus kind of production."  Whew!  Thank goodness for that!
7. What is the most played song on your iTunes?
    OK, I know I'm showing my age and fuddy/duddiness here.  I don't have any music on my iTunes account.  GASP!  Pathetic, I know.  I love to listen to Pandora though.  I do have several recordings of my son's band and I blare it in my car.  Yeah, I know, I'm a proud mom, but check it out.  They're not too shabby.  Avenue Two
8. Who is your role model or what inspires you? 
   My mom.  She was a kindergarten teacher for 35 years before retiring.  She is positive and encouraging, but she knew how to push, just enough, to encourage those struggling students.  I've learned so much from her.  
9. What is your favorite part about back to school?
   Getting a new, clean, ready to fill Calendar/Grade Book/ Lesson Planner.  I just got one from Erin Condren.  Sooooo excited!!!!
10. What is your dream vacation? 
      Hmmmmm.  Sitting on a quiet beach watching the waves come in.
11. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
      I had always wanted to be a Pharmacist.  Being a teacher is definitely so much better!

11 Random Facts About Me
1.  My grandfather, mother, dad, and sister were, or still are, in education.

2.  I can say the 50 states in alphabetical order in under 20 seconds.  I do it the first day of school every year.  My kiddos are wowed and leave for the day thinking that I just might know something.  : )

3.  My oldest son recently got engaged.  They met doing Les Mis for a local theatre.  He was Marius and she was Cosette.  Deep sigh.  So romantic.  He totally surprised her with the proposal.  Check out the pics here.  They are incredible.

4.  My husband has survived colon cancer...twice.  I am so gratefully thankful he is here, healthy, stubborn and strong.  An added bonus, he's a neat freak, so he helps me with all the chores. Ummm, ok, he does most of them.

5.  My husband was shocked to learn teacher's didn't get paid by the hour.  Seriously.  You should have seen his face.  

6.  I was 33 when I went back to college to finish my education degree.  

7.  I love to flower garden and read.

8.  I am NOT a morning person!!!!

9.  I grew up in a town of less than 3,000 people.  

10.  In high school, I was in the band, a cheerleader, played basketball, and ran track.

11.  I played my flute for our third grade concert last year.  It was the first time in 29 years I had played.  What was I thinking?!?!  After practicing for weeks, I was finally able to play the song without any mistakes.  Of course, when we played our big concert for the parents, I flubbed.  Oh well.  At least my kiddos thought it was cool.  

                                             Questions for my Nominees
1.  How many years have you taught?
2.  What was your worst subject in school?
3.  What is your favorite thing about teaching?
4.  What is your favorite thing about summer?
5.  Why did you decide to start blogging?
6.  Do you have any pets?  Tell us about them.
7.  What advice would you pass on to a new teacher that you WISH someone had told you?
8.  Describe your teaching style in four words.
9.  What is your best trait?
10.  What is your worst habit?
11.  What is your favorite teaching tool that you could not live without?

Have fun checking out these new blogs.  I'm looking forward to seeing who they nominate and pass the award on to.  Thanks again to Danielle at Busy Little Brainiacs.

I'm off to inform my nominees.  Woohoo!  I am now ready to formally accept my Liebster!  ; )

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Well, I'm finally getting my blog on Bloglovin'.  I've been following blogs there for a couple of weeks. I love how it emails me with new posts by the blogs I follow.  Not too shabby.

I'd love to have you follow me on Bloglovin'!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Optimum Organization - Drawing Student Names

Yes, I know, I'm posting twice in one day, but when I saw this Linky Party, I just had to do it!!!    Lady Bug Teacher Files and Fun in Room 4B are hosting an Optimum Organization Linky Party so we can link up with our favorite organizational ideas.  I can't wait to see everyone's ideas so I can put some into motion for next year.

One of my favorite organizational ideas is the system I have for drawing student names.  I love this idea and I use it every day to call on students.

                    CLICK HERE to see my post with all the details.

Equation Station

What?  I haven't posted since September?!?!?!  Yikes.  This year got away from me.  What can I say......I had a major neck surgery in September, and it took me quiet awhile to get back into the swing of things when I went back to school.  By then we were going strong in the classroom, and I just never got my feet under me here in blog land.  My goal this summer is to be posting on a regular basis.  If you're still here.....stay with me.....if you are new, come on in.  I have lots of new ideas for posts swimming around in this brain of mine.

I tried something new this year to give my students some extra practice on mental math.  My kiddos LOVE it!  I have a large bulletin board called Equation Station on my wall.  Students try to find equations when they have free time on their hands.  I also try to give them around 15 minutes a week to work on it.  Each student has a recording sheet where they write down the equations they have found.  They have gone crazy over this and it is wonderful to have up this time of year.  It keeps their brain sharp with mental math.  I made a set complete with bulletin board size title and numbers that has five different puzzles in it.  Each puzzle increases in difficulty. Not only does it include the bulletin board puzzles, but it has two different types student recording sheets and keys to each puzzle.  I hope your students enjoy it as much as mine do!  Click here or on the picture of my bulletin board below to go to my TpT Store to get it!

I've decided to share one of the student papers with you.  This recording sheet has a mini Equation Station puzzle in the corner so you won't have to have the bulletin board up.  I hope this is a fun activity you and your class will enjoy during these last few days of school.  Click Here or on the page below to download.

Enjoy the end of this year with your precious kiddos!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Color Coded Place Value

Well, I've been out of commission for a couple of weeks.  I have been having problems with my neck and my arms and hands falling asleep.  I have felt just plain crummy.  I had surgery on my neck on Tuesday and now I'm recuperating at home for two weeks.  Man oh man, being away from my classroom for that long is HARD!!!!  I'm ready to get back in there.  At least I have my blog to keep me connected.

Is it hard for your kiddos to read large numbers?  My kids have the hardest time, especially when I taught in fifth grade where they are reading nine digit numbers.  Really all they need to read is three digits at a time.  I tell the story of Place Value Lane where the mailman delivers mail to the places on Place Value Lane. I refer to each set of three digits as a "family living in a house" and each house has a different last name.  There's the units house (they don't have a last name because they built their house before the others were there), the thousands house and the millions house etc.  Each new family to Place Value Lane paints a bright red comma on their curb as a reminder of their last name so the postman will know where to deliver their letter.  Hopefully, this helps the students see the numbers in sets of three digits instead of one long number that is difficult to read.   When we write the number, we write it with houses over it to show where each family lives. Green over the thousands house and blue over the units house.  We always circle the commas in bright red.

Then we pretend we are in a car driving down Place Value Lane.  We stop in front of the first house and read who is inside the green thousands house and then write that three digit number in words.  Then we pass the bright red comma.  (I sometimes have students write the comma name thousand first, so they can see who is at home in the thousands house BEFORE the comma, and the units house AFTER the comma.)  

After writing down the word thousand, we drive and stop at the blue units house and read the three digit number showing who is home.  

It really helps to use when there are several zeros in a number.  It places the long number in three digit "chunks" that are easier for the kids to work with.

I also use color coding when going from word form to standard form.  The very first thing we look for is a "last name" comma word.  If we have one, we draw a bright red rectangle around it.  Then we look at the words before the word thousand.  That is the three digit number in the green thousands house.  Next, we look at the words after thousand.  Those show the three digit number in the blue units house.  

Here is an example of a students paper.  Notice on the Standard to Expanded page, I had the kiddos draw the numbers pictorially using base ten drawings.  This helps them understand the value of each digit, and why each digit is written as it is in expanded form.  After practicing this using colored pencils, kids can go to using pencils only, but I always see someone using the green, red, blue pencils to color code their independent practice.

Also, check out my Reading Large Numbers on Place Value Lane in TpT.  It is a hands on activity where students can create their own (up to 12 digit) numbers, and take a car and drive through the number to say the number in word form.

Hope you find this helpful.  I'd love to hear your ideas on how you make reading large numbers easier for your students.