Thursday, September 27, 2012

Addition Properties in action

A couple weeks ago, I posted about an addition properties freebie that I created here. I took pictures of my students working on these and thought I would share.

After they completed the sorting part, I made them write their own example of each property. Most of the students did great on this (the associative property really trips them up).

If you want to grab a copy of this activity, it can be found here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's Working Wednesday

Last week I mentioned that my few readers should start thinking of things they wanted to share that have been working for them. I am attempting to do a link up but I am not really sure what I am doing, so if this doesn't work, forgive me. If you have something that is working well for you (whether it is new or tried and true), share it. You never know who you might help! If I did this right, this should be available for two weeks. If not... well I will try to figure it out. If it doesn't work PLEASE let me know :)

So what has been working for me?

1. The highlight your name step in turning in papers. I have had MAYBE a handful of papers without a name. Last year, I would have a good handful each time an assignment was turned in. No matter how many times I would say PUT YOUR NAME ON IT! But this year... this highlighting your name thing is fantastic!

2. The incomplete work folder/bucket and late work bucket. I know the folder says "While You Were Out" but after my first year doing this,  I quickly decided that these need to be incomplete folders. I will probably be making a new set after this year because a few kids have written on them. But they lasted 5 years and aren't ruined other than 3 people having drawn on them at one point or another. Any time students don't finish an assignment, they put it in this folder and the entire folder goes in the incomplete work bucket. Each folder has a number on it to match their class numbers. (I have a hanging file thing that these are all stored in when they are empty but I forgot to take a picture of that.) If someone is absent we put all their work in here for them. When students have free time, they grab their folder and work on their incomplete work. When they finish something from their folder, it goes in the late work bucket. So much easier than me trying to keep track of who is missing something. When all work from their folder is done and turned in, they put their folder back in the hanging wall organizers. I love it!

3. Turning in work drawers- I can't remember if this is my second or third year doing this but it is the perfect method for me. Instead of wasting time collecting papers, students simply go to the shelf, highlight their name on their paper, put the paper in the correct drawer, and then cross their name off the assignment list. Any time we have an assignment, I take a pre-typed class list (I type 5 to a sheet and run about 40 copies... lasts a long time) and write the assignment on the bottom. The slip then goes in the drawer for that subject. Students cross their name off the list when it is turned it. I then use these slips to record grades as I grade the papers until I transfer them to my grade book. It is also easy for me to see who is missing something because their name isn't crossed off.

So what is working for you? Link up and share! And urge others to link up! You never know when you will find something that just may work for you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What's the matter?

We have finally finished up our unit on matter. It took a LOT longer than I wanted it to. But I really feel like my kids learned so much that it was worth it. We reviewed for their test and even things that we only mentioned briefly they knew! I was so proud. Now if only we could take the test... But that is another story...

One of the activities that we did was from this unit What's The Matter. Before completing the activity I am going to show, I showed the dancing raisins activity to get students to discuss why the raisins moved in the ginger ale and not water. We also acted out the particles of matter. Then, I let them make models of the molecules with cocoa puffs. They had a BLAST! They couldn't wait to take them home! Just look at their smarts!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A blessing in disguise x2

A couple weeks ago, our school got another teacher. Which meant that our support schedule changed. Just when everyone got into a great routine. And when I finally got mine... I was not happy. We get Chinese every day, which is great, but mine is at 8:45 in the morning. Which makes morning work and morning meeting practically impossible. Currently our Chinese teacher is not hired yet, so I still have that time to at least get morning work in. On Monday (the BIGGEST teaching day of the week for me usually) I have my kids less than I don't have them. At first this was just terrible to me. Now, it is still terrible because we barely can get RLA and Math in the day. BUT... my planning for next week is almost complete. I have one subject left to plan and then all the prep work to do. So that is blessing in disguise 1.  (Talk to me Wednesday or Thursday when I have no planning time and I will probably be singing a different tune.)

Blessing in disguise 2... I forgot my plan book at school this weekend. I almost freaked out (ok maybe I did freak out just a little) because how in the world was I ever going to get my to do list done.. when it was ON MY DESK?! Well... I didn't. End of story. And it.felt.great! I did not do any work this weekend except to grade a couple stacks of papers while my daughter slept and then I started planning reading for next week because I had a good idea. But I didn't do it because I HAD to. I did it because I wanted to. And that was wonderful! And because of all the planning time that I had today.... that to do list... almost all done anyways! I plan to try to finish the important things tonight after my daughter goes to bed. And I also plan to get a few posts ready for throughout the week! I am working on coming back... I swear I am!

And because I have been such a slacker, I am going to put everything in my store on sale for 15% off from tomorrow until Friday! Check it out here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


This school year is draining me. Already. A little over a month in and I feel like it needs to be winter break already. Anyone else feeling this way? I swear I have things planned that I want to post about, but what fun are posts without the pictures? I have TAKEN the pictures. I just haven't had time to upload them. I promise I am trying not to be such a slacker on this blog here, but things are C.R.A.Z.Y. over here. And I try not to neglect my OWN child when she is awake, so that means once she is in bed I have work to do. And next thing you know I am in bed wishing I had time to read just one chapter of my book, but knowing there is absolutely no way my eyes are staying open.

So what is the point of this post? To thank all 57 people that follow this blog. I know I don't post as often as others (and not even as often as I would like), but I swear I am working on finding the balance.

If you read along, start thinking about what is working in your class that you want to share with everyone. Is it something old that you have always done or something new you found this summer? I am sure a lot of us will benefit from seeing what is working in other classrooms. It may be something that we want to do a mental forehead smack because "why didn't I think of that?!" We all have those moments right? I know it can't just be me! I want to start a linkup for this ASAP, but again, I want to have pictures to SHOW what is working for me. So if you think this is something you may want to link up with, start taking pictures (if you are so inclined to share pictures). I will try to get it up within the next week :)

And now... back to planning...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Addition Properties Freebie

I mentioned in my last post that we are working on addition and properties of addition. I wanted my students to be able to recognize the properties when they see them in addition problems. I know they can tell me what they mean, but I need them to recognize them when shown in problems. So I decided to create a sorting activity for them. I am going to have my students complete it in the book format mentioned in the teacher notes, but there are many ways this can be done.
1. It can be done as a center where students use the header cards and just sort the problems under the correct heading. There is also a mini recording sheet they can use, but it can be done on a sheet of paper if you are trying to save on your ink and copies.
2. It can be done as a group activity, similar to the center idea.
3. It can be done in a way that students fold a sheet of paper into 4 boxes and label one box the title (addition properties) and the other 3 boxes each with a property. They cut the cards apart and glue them into the correct box.
4. Or the way I am doing it- they will fold a sheet of paper hamburger style so it looks like a book. The cover will be titled addition properties. Each of the inside pages and the back will be labeled with a property. The cards will be cut up and pasted onto the correct pages.

Either way you do it, kids will enjoy it, learn from it, and you can assess with it! In fact, I just thought of another way you could use this. You could use it whole class on the board if you didn't want to use it as an assessment tool. Once my students complete it I plan to come back and post some pictures!

Grab your copy here! And if you use it, please rate it :) My store is just getting up and running and I appreciate everyone who has bought something from me. I have a goal amount in my head and once I make that amount I think I will have a giveaway!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Where have I been?!

Whoa! Time is seriously getting away from me! I know the beginning of the year is always hectic and crazy and I fall off the face of the earth for a bit... but I have fallen off for a lot longer than usual this year! I swear I am starting fresh every week because something new comes up that has to be incorporated or we are given something new to do. I think I am finally (maybe) starting to get caught up now. I have been really busy planning engaging lessons that aren't worksheet based. Yes my students do worksheets. Yes I believe they will ALWAYS need pencil and paper practice. But our school is really against them so I am trying to come up with things that aren't worksheets. My class has been doing a lot of sorting activities and creating examples of things (i.e. writing their own sentences of each sentence type into a 4square set up). Nothing that we haven't done before this year, just trying to add more of it into our lessons. I am also implementing bits and pieces of WBT. I haven't gone to a conference yet (though I really want to) and at this point we are really just doing class-yes and gestures for EVERYTHING. And they teach each other everything. It seems to really be working (I started this about March with last year's class and they loved it) and my kids can tell me front and back the 4 sentence types because of our crazy gestures. I even let them come up with some sometimes.

So what am I doing now? Well I am currently sick (seriously body- like I have time for this) trying to work on lesson plans/to do lists while watching my daughter throw her football through her basketball hoop while decked out in her Buffalo Bills jersey, tutu, and football baby legs. Yes it is the first day of football and we are so excited! I promise once I get my to do list caught up and get some things made that I need to make I will come back to posting more regularly. (Trust me- this isn't the only place I have disappeared... our personal blog all about my baby's life is over 2 months behind!) We have done some fun things in my class- made matter molecules out of cocoa puffs, sang and danced to the states of matter rap (I wish I could share this with you but I don't post my students' faces without them being blurred and there is no way I can blur them in a video), and lots more. This week we will be working on addition and addition properties and I will have a freebie for you in just a short while, so be on the lookout for that post.

And since this was rather long winded and all over the place I figured I would share a picture of Payton getting ready for football...

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