Sunday, May 1, 2016

A New Way to Think About Teacher Appreciation

Hi, Teaching Friends!

We have this little magnet at our house.

Its message, as you can probably guess, is to remind my husband of how much I love him, and how perfect we are for each other. We are so blessed.

I was looking at this magnet today and realized that it also makes me think of my relationship with my students over the years. Not in an unhealthy, over-the-top way (okay, maybe a little over-the-top, sometimes ... Type A personality stuff, Overworkers Anonymous, etc.). 

Despite all the stresses of teaching today... students have been the cheese in my macaroni,  when we giggled together at one of their silly jokes.

Like mine, your students are the flip in your flop when you teach a great lesson and every one of them is right there with you.

They're the glaze to your donut when you hear them teaching each other and they sound just like you, right down to your favorite expressions and tone of voice.

They're the spring in your step when they work really hard to understand a new concept - and they get it!

They're the cherry to your sundae when one of your sweeties says she wants to be a teacher when she grows up ... just like you.

They're the twinkle in your eye when you and your littles share an inside joke that no one outside your classroom would really get.

Actually, they're the twinkle in your eye almost all of the time. They're the reason that you call them "my kids", even if you do have children of your own at home.

People don't get love and laughter like this in just any old job, you know.

And so, as Teacher Appreciation Day approaches, you might be swamped with gifts and sweetly scrawled love notes. Or you might not.

It doesn't much matter in the long run, really, because you  know that what you already have is something very special.

You might want to think about Teacher Appreciation Day in a whole new way this year.
This is the year to think about how much you appreciate the privilege of being the one who teaches, nurtures, guides, challenges, encourages, loves, gives wings, and changes lives... and the one who gets SO MUCH in return every day.

Appreciate being a teacher.

Please enter our giveaway! Then scroll and click to find out what some of my favorite teachers have to say on this month's I Teach K-2 Linky!

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An InLinkz Link-up

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Scoot: Five Ideas, a Giveaway, and a Freebie!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

If you want a game that keeps your students up and active and learning the whole time, teachers all know that you can't go wrong with Scoot!  I've been working on revising and expanding my set of Scoot Math Cards. Hang on alllll the way 'til the end of this post ... there just might be a Scoot freebie for you! Meanwhile, let's talk about getting the most out of your Scoot games by finding new ways to use them!

1.  Print your Scoot cards on cardstock, cut apart, punch a hole in the corner and put them on a ring.

Because of the novelty, kids LOVE using these! They can use them for independent practice or with a partner. You can use the shoebox-size plastic containers to store a bunch of math rings in your centers, and another box for reading rings. Hint: Dollar store flashcards are a great to quickly build up a supply of ring sets.

2.  Use your Scoot cards for a class game. Divide your students into two teams, each seated on the floor in a line in front of your interactive whiteboard. Display a card on your document camera. The two players at the front work to solve the card. The first to solve the card correctly earns a point for his or her team. Variation: Display two cards at the same time, a different card for each team.

3.  Use Scoot as a end-of-unit review before a test. If you do this a few days before the test, you'll have the opportunity to do some informal assessment while your students are scooting. Then you'll know exactly which skills need a bit more work, and who to pull for your small group instruction before the big day.

4.  Tape your Scoot cards up on the inner frame of your classroom doorway.

Now you're ready for instant review, every time you line up your class to leave the room. Just choose a card (or even better, have a student choose one) and solve it before you go.  I love having students solve these "out of context" to keep their brains sharp - who'd think the teacher would ask a math question when it's not even math time, right? ;)

5.  Use Scoot cards with any board game you have.  Before a player gets to roll the die or spin the spinner, they have to solve the card. Whenever practice is in the format of a game,  it seems like students are willing to practice again and again and again! If you call it a game, then it's a game!

Now that you've been reminded how versatile Scoot cards can be, maybe you'll be looking for some new sets for your students.  As I mentioned above,  I've just finished revising my math scoot games resource, so if you already own it be sure to download your free update by going to your "My Purchases" page at TpT. The fonts have been updated for greater clarity, AND the set now has two new games, one for missing addends and the other for telling time to the hour and half hour.

If you don't have this Scoot set yet, you can purchase it this Sunday and Monday at my TpT store for 50% off! Regularly $7.50, the set of 12 games is now $3.75. Games for addition, subtraction, geometry, adding and subtracting ten, place value, and more!

Or, ... you could win one of the three sets I'm giving away!

Giveaway closed! Congratulations to Lisa, Gina, and Charlotte!

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You didn't think I'd forget your freebie, did you? Head over to my TpT store to download Equalities and Inequalities Scoot, for lots of fun practice with greater than, less than and equals symbols!

Happy Teaching!

Friday, April 1, 2016

30 First Grade Math Games - Win Them NOW!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

This giveaway has concluded, but you can still buy this set at half price ($5.50) until the evening of Monday, 4/4. Congratulations to Becky, Allison, and Anita!

It's spring (yay!!), summer's coming (double yay!!), and it's time to tie up all those loose ends and be sure that your little darlings are ready to send on to the next grade.

I've just finished up a set of 30 partner games for math to help first grade teachers as you plan your end-of-year review lessons. {Were you thinking I was just sitting around eating bonbons during the past six weeks of not blogging? Not hardly ;) }

These one page games are easy-prep. There are no cards to print or cut apart. Just print, add dice and markers, and they're ready to use!

The topics covered in these games are...

* Addition through 20
* Subtraction through 20
* Mixed addition and subtraction
* Three addends
* Combinations of ten
* Adding and subtracting ten and multiples of ten
* Place value
* Fractions

Here's another sample.

Each of the thirty games comes in both color and grayscale. The grayscale versions are great for sending home as family homework ... and there's even a parent letter included to make that simpler for you!

These aren't even posted in my store yet, but you can win them here. {Insider Scoop: They'll be posted late Saturday, and they'll be 50% off until Monday night!}

This game set is now posted in my TpT store, and you can buy it here at 50% off through Monday evening!

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Happy Teaching!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Movin' on Up ... Multiplication Riddles!

Dear Teaching Friends,

Are you looking for another way to keep the fun in your math centers and small groups? Try math riddle task cards! They're a great way to provide your students with lots of practice with math skills in a novel format.

Faithful readers know that I've been all about creating math riddle task cards lately. Although most of my resources are K-2, the latest in this series is movin' on up to third grade  - multiplication riddles! Here's a sample.

Here are some ideas for using riddle task cards:

*  For whole class review, use a card with your doc camera

*  In a math center for individual or partner work

*  To focus attention at the beginning of your math lesson, these make a great activity, again with
    your doc camera

*  For a fun skills review rotation, have your students move around the classroom ala "Scoot!",    solving clues either individually or with a partner

* Solve a few cards together as part of a small group lesson

*  Use as morning bell-ringers

*  At the other end of the day, use for exit tickets

*  A fun no-prep activity for tutoring

*  Keep the riddle cards handy for early finishers

I think you'll find this set will be a fun and useful addition to your classroom!

Happy Teaching!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Skip Counting Freebie!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Here's a brand new little freebie for those of you teaching your students skip counting at this time of year, or for others who might just need a bit of review - never hurts, right? ;) Just click on the picture to download yours!

 You can find another Valentines Day math freebie at my latest post on Teaching Blog Roundup.

Happy Teaching!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Save Teaching Time with Stacking ... Plus a Valentines Day Math Freebie!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Welcome to the February I Teach First Linky, filled with classroom ideas to keep the fun in teaching and learning for you and your little learners.

Okay, let's just be honest about this. Teaching has always been a fast-paced juggling act. But now, there are now more subjects to be taught, more standards to be addressed, more assessments to be given, more mountains to climb, and basically more of everything in a teacher's day ... except for time!

When I'm planning activities for my homeschooled grandchildren or designing classroom resources, that's something I always try to keep in mind. I think of it as "stacking"... addressing multiple objectives and even multiple subject areas with the same teaching materials.

Solving word problems about your science topic is the perfect example of this. You're touching on objectives in math, but also science and reading. If you can have your students create their own word problems, you can add writing objectives to your DONE list!

Here are a few ideas for stacking math and literacy.

From First Grade W.O.W., this is a great example of stacking. After reading Virginia Kroll's Equal Shmequal, she engaged her students in this hands-on visual activity to introduce a unit on symmetry and fractions.
Literacy, math, and art, too!

I love this idea from Learning at the Primary Pond. What a great way to combine math and literacy!

Here's one of my own free resources, a guided reading book about place value.  {{This is not the freeebie in the title of this post. Read on! }}

Here's an idea's great for stacking science and literacy. It's from The Science Penguin. Ari's post is about supporting ELLs in your science teaching, but this particular idea would be wonderful to use with all young literacy learners, to model in shared writing, post as an anchor chart, and then carry over into science notebooks.

Sometimes the stacking is all within the same subject area. Hundred chart games and activities are a good example of this. While your students are reading numbers to 100 (or 120!), they might also be adding or subtracting the dots from a roll of two dice, counting on or back from a given number, adding ten to a number, or various other skills. If you take a careful look, you'll likely discover that you're already doing some stacking!

This brand new just-for-you freebie will help your students practice stacked math objectives for addition, subtraction, and odd and even numbers. It includes sorting mats for addition and subtraction, two pages for recording number models from dominos, and an extension activity for an extra challenge.  There are also printed dominos, in case you'd like to add some pink to your February math!  I hope this resource will help save you some time in your math teaching and help secure your students control of these math skills. Download and enjoy!

Stacking objectives will save you crucial time, in planning, prepping, and teaching. Stacked standards also make it easier for your students to build connections, whether they do it on their own or with your guidance, and of course building connections helps cement and extend learning. Consider adding questions like these to your building connections list.

*  "What else have we learned that's like this?" 
*  "How can this help you when you... ?" 
*  "Does this make you think of something else you know?"
*  " How did knowing _____________ help you understand ____________?"

What other questions for stacked objectives would you add to this list?

If you're looking for more ideas for your February teaching (talk about a month with a time squeeze for teaching! So many events and celebrations!!), be sure to visit the February Fun for Firsties Linky on this blog. It's filled with over 200 activities both free and paid for everything from Valentines Day to Groundhog Day to Heart Month, Presidents Day, etc, etc, etc!

Don't miss out on these great posts that are also part of the I Teach First February Linky!!

Happy Teaching!

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