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="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5801293/?claim=snjwkvbgx3d">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'!