Question for you....

We were *supposed* to finish our geometry unit in December.  Ahem.  However, we were rushed and SO many of my students are language impaired that I felt they could REALLY use more time with the vocabulary (since that is all that third grade geometry is). I am in the middle of creating a geometry supplemental unit for math.  So far I have created:
  • a dictionary
  • a concentration game
  • a Kaboom! game
  • a Quick Draw game (kinda like Pictionary)
  • create a snowman
  • create a robot
I am thinking of adding an assessment and maybe picture vocabulary cards?

What concepts/ideas are most important to you when teaching geometry? Is there anything else you wish I would add? If there is, please let me know in a comment below. Even though my focus is on my own students, I would love to adapt this to your classroom needs as well! Thanks for you input/comments!

Please don't forget to enter the AWESOME GIVEAWAY that my blog, along with 11 others are participating in!!


Multiplication Speed Drill Tests- Edited to Add...

Freebie Fridays

I am linking this up over at TBA's Freebie Friday!

EDITED  to add addition sign : )
Awhile ago I posted a photo tour of my classroom.  One of the pictures I showed was this about multiplication speed drills:

We are trying something new this year (kind of) to motivate students to memorize multiplication tables.  According to the Georgia Performance Standards students must know up to 10 X 10 with fluency. In order for a student to master the standard on the report card by my district (we do standards based reporting), they must know these by the end of this nine weeks...  As in a few Thursdays ago.  It didn't happen.   But we are like the Little Engine that Could and we won't give up!  Slow and steady...

When we started we gave each child a coloring sheet of an empty gumball machine. 

We used this one from

After students colored them and cut them out, they wrote their names on them and I posted them on the cabinet.

Then we broke out the big guns....we bought TWO gumball machines from the Dollar Tree and THREE bags of gumballs.

We explained to students the purpose of the speed drill tests. Students would be given 1 minute and 30 seconds to solve 12 multiplication facts. If they passed, the next day they could chew a piece of the bubble gum from the gum ball machines during the test (we then went over rules for what would happen if we found gum anywhere but a mouth or trashcan and that it could only be chewed in our classroom- not anywhere else in the school).  The first person to master ALL of their facts would get to take home a filled gumball machine.  They LOVED it!

When we give the tests we try to grade them the same day.  It is not so bad when you get used to it because they are so short.  Then we tell students that pass (that make 100%) they passed and give them a celebration sticker and a round colored garage sale sticker.

On the sticker I write the number of the test the student passed (if they passed their 2s, they choose a color sticker and I write a 2 on it) and then they stick in on their gumball machine. It is supposed to look like a gumball.   Each child then gets a celebration sticker to wear or put in their agendas to inform parents that they passed, and also it makes the students feel special.

To keep all the tests organized, I have tried MANY different ways.  I have tried to have each test separated in Pringles containers that were stacked and color coded, paper clips, file boxes and so on.  I could never get them to work.  This year I have tried a new method and I LOVE it!!!!!!!  Tada!!!

I bought this little coupon file organizer at the Dollar Spot in Target.  I labeled each section with a number and then file the corresponding tests behind each number.  Since the tests are small (1/4th a page) they fit easily in the pockets.

In the front pocket I keep all the "tools" I need : ).  I keep a sharpie, the round, colored garage sale stickers, the "celebrate" stickers (notice mine are in black and white because I was trying to conserve colored ink!!).  These celebration stickers look different,, because I forgot to save the file (how did that happen????) so I remade them above.  This makes it easy to give students their stickers since everything is in one place!!

Here are the copies of the multiplication tests that I use and a sign to post next to the bubble gum machines for the students.  I would have posted it, but I was out of room :(!!!!

I know lots of primary teachers don't do multiplication drills, but do addition instead.  I also made a sign for addition. I am sick and don't have it in me to make the addition drills, but those are available free on a million sites, right?  Here is the addition sign:

Students take the tests daily, but at their own pace (if that makes sense) .  Students do not move to the next number until they have mastered (100%) the  previous number.  However, students DO NOT  take the tests in numerical order.  I like to have them take the tests in the following order to ensure success:
0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9

I keep a clip board with a spreadsheet with each child's name on it.  At the top I have the timed test noted  (0, 1, 2,5,10, 3, 4,6, 7,8 ,9).  When students pass the tests I write the date so I can see how long it is taking them to pass tests and also where they are. When it is time to pass out the tests, I just call out the numbers ("If you are working on 2 please come get your test").  Most kids are honest.  They write their names on the back of the tests.  I set the timer and the kids have 1 minute 30 seconds (in years past I have done 1 minute- this year it is in my kids best interest to do a bit longer!  Trust me!).  When the buzzer goes off, they hold the test up to be collected. If they work long, someone inevitably tattles (this IS third grade) and the test goes in the trash.  Usually it takes just once. : (

 I like to do different colors by date, just because! :) Here is a prettier typed version:

Click here for this great pack of FREE math centers, plus get tips and updates from me!



Ringing in the New Year with a Ring of Bloggy Giveaways!

Are you looking for new ideas to revitalize you and your students for your return to the classroom? Look no further- inspiration is straight ahead!  The New Year has arrived and to celebrate its arrival we are celebrating with a HUGE giveaway from a Ring of Elementary blogs!

Twelve blogs have joined together for a MEGA New Year Giveaway!  The winners of the giveaway will be able to choose any item (winter themed or not) from any of the Teacher Pay Teachers stores listed below.  Nearly 100 items will be given away in this HUGE event!

Each blog will have 6 winners.
Each blog will select and post 6 winners for that blog.

Third Place: There will be THREE third prize winners that will be able to choose any (of the winner’s choice) ONE item total from any of the blogger’s Teacher Pay Teachers store listed below. 

   Second Place: There will be TWO second prize winners that will be able to choose any (of the winner's choice) TWO items (total)  from any of the blogger's Teachers Pay Teachers stores below. 

First Prize: ONE grand prize winner from EACH blog that will win any (of the winner's choice) ONE ITEM from EACH blogger's Teachers Pay Teachers stores listed below!

 Here are the participating blogs/ stores: 



How do you enter?  There are several possible ways to enter:

1.      Follow my blog and leave a comment and leave a comment on this blog post saying you follow  (or note that you are already a follower).

2.      Follow my Teacher Pay Teachers store and leave a comment on this blog post saying you follow.

3.      Blog about this contest  and leave a comment here.

4. Visit the other blogs and stores, and enter according to their instructions.

 However, there are still MORE ways to enter! You can also follow the blogs and stores of ALL the blogs participating in the list above to increase your chances of winning!  There are at least 24 chances to win even if you DON'T blog!!!! Remember to comment that you follow their blog and TpT store on their blog!

All winners will be chosen on January 6th, 2012 by 8:00pm Eastern time.
Good luck!  Maybe YOU will be one of the big winners!


11 in 11

Miss Kindergarten
When I saw that Kristin and Hadar were having a party, I just had to sneak in. Kristin's so funny. Like, spit out your drink funny. If this were real life party I would totally slip into her conversation circle with a drink in hand and nod my head trying to be as clever and cute!

Here is the rundown of 2011. As I read it I think, "When did I get boring? And OLD?" I think it must have been between child birth and two a.m. feedings!

11. Favorite movie you watched
I am such a groupie. I loved (and cried) through most of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II. I loved that series so much and didn't appreciate the movie versions until I stayed at home with my little girl while on maternity leave. That's when I discovered how great the movies were! I also loved Bridesmaids because who doesn't love raunchy, dirty, quotable girl humor? No?

10. Favorite TV series
I am a huge Bones fan. I haven't been thrilled with this season, but I still love the mystery and story lines. My newest FAVORITE show is Once Upon a Time. Ohmygoodness. Love, love, love this show. I love how all the fairy tale characters are woven together!

9. Favorite restaurant
There is a restaurant in Atlanta called the 57th Fighter Group. It sits right along side the Dekalb airport and you can listen with headphones to the planes land. The quote the website, "from the moment guests arrive on the grounds winding past military jeeps and airplanes before entering the building resembling a European bombed out farmhouse." The whole look is post war era and there is a dance floor that plays jazz and music from the 20-40's. We went there for my Senior prom and I loved it then and I love it now!

8. Favorite new thing you tried
Skinny Cow chocolate bars-ohmyword. Where have you been my whole life??!?!?!

7. Favorite Gift You Received
My wonderfully sweet husband surprised me with tickets to go see Cavalia Odysseo for Christmas. It is like a Circ de Solieo show with horses and it was lovely. He arranged the whole thing in secret, right down to having his parents stay an extra day after Christmas to babysit. it was the first "real date" we have had since Valentine's Day. It made me realize how much fun we have together and how I really, really need to find a babysitter I trust.

6. Favorite thing you pinned

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!! I am thinking of doing a simpler version (of course). We are redoing our dining room into a playroom (I said I would NEVER do this, but eh, I get it now). I bought a bunch of white frames from IKEA to do a gallery style wall of her art work and such. I think I am going to do our hand prints with paint and then add it as part of the gallery walls. Since I am still working on a color scheme, I am no idea the colors I will use. I DO know it will match the room. Won't that be so sweet?

5. Favorite Blog Post
I have to like what I write? I hate going back and reading what I write. I see four million errors or HUGE details that would clarify things or what. Or even worse I think, "Did I seriously just quote Vanilla Ice in public?"

4. Favorite accomplishment
I figured out how to be a mommy. I know people say is is instinct and all that jazz. But let me tell you, I never babysit babies, I am the baby in my family, and it was NOT instinct for me. She cried a lot, just stared a lot,and only wanted my boobs all the time!!! It was like a bad date in college, but lasted for weeks!!! As she got older, she became more fun and interacted and smiled and "talked “to me and I chilled out. A lot.

3. Favorite picture
Do I have to pick just one?

  Fat, jolly baby Kinley in April. I think this *might* be my most favorite ever.

Minxy Easter bunny

The zoo in August
Current picture : )
Isn't she precious? This is my beautiful baby girl that is not quite a baby anymore! She will be 15 months in just a few days!

2. Favorite memory
This summer we took Kinley to the beach. I loved watching her sit in the sand and stare at the surf as it hit her legs! She loved going into the ocean with her father (I have a totally unreasonable fear of sharks. Seriously). We went with my mother and father and rented a great condo. It was tons of fun!

My fat baby at the beach. I love the leg rolls! They are almost gone and THAT makes me sad. Tho thad.

1. Goal for 2012
Personal goal: Start working out and eat better (along with the rest of the world). I have made myself three long term goals I started in November. First, leave work MUCH earlier. Second, work out. Third, eat better. So far I have accomplished goal one and now I am on to working out. I promised today would be the day I started and now I have a cold. I WILL do it even if I pass out.

Professional: Get all my math games organized and start thinking about long term planning in MY classroom. My county and grade level do this but to be honest, it doesn't work for me and my kids. I teach Special Ed inclusion and not all kids learn at the same rate. So, last quarter my co-teacher and I sat down and made our OWN map and it worked AWESOME. We WILL do this again!



Top Three Posts and a SALE!

I just have to laugh.  I was looking at all the wonderful links in Fern Smith's Top Three Posts linky party and people had these GREAT posts with over a thousand views.  So I thought, "OOOOhhhh, I wanna see."  I checked out my all time posts and ..whomp, whomp.  Not so much!  BUT, it made me laugh and want to keep on blogging.  Apparently, I might be a *wee* bit competitive when there is no competition to be had.  Who knew?

So my top three posts are...

As a side note, I am slightly disturbed about the number of Guided Reading views.  Yikes! Can someone just look at the post just one little time and change the view numbers, pretty please? It just makes me feel WEIRD!

In other fun news I am throwing an
End of the Year Sale!!!!! 
All the items in my Teacher Pay Teachers Store are 20%! The sale will be running from today until December 31, 2011!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!  I hope you have a blessed day!


A Bunch of Math Ideas

That title is so spectacularly bland I need to put some salt or pepper or SOMETHING to spice it up a bit, but I am just too.dang.tired.  Ever feel that way? I am like the Little Engine That Could, "One more day, one more day, one more day!"

I have a bunch of cute math ideas that I have collected over the past few weeks and I wanted to post them here.  Some of the idea I created and many of the ideas my teammates created.

The first idea is one to show the relationship between division and multiplication.  We did this right after I introduced fact families whole group and completed these small group to reinforce it.  My kids got it so quickly that I was amazed.  Students were given a piece of 9 x 12 construction paper to write the Essential Question and I stapled a two flap book on the bottom. They used small stickers to create an array of any size of their choice.  Then under the multiplication flap they wrote both the multiplication sentences (they turned the paper to show the array another way- commutative property, anyone :) ?) and the two division sentences under the division flap. 

I did NOT come up with this super cute idea.  One of my teammates did.  Students created their own secret number decoders by cutting out a flap on the bottom side of the paper and then folding the paper in half and gluing it (carefully) together.  Then they created their "code" and solved it.  They finished up by writing the secret number under the flap.  Neat, huh?

I *did* do this activity, but I did NOT create it.  My next door neighbor did it as well and I loved her take on it!  Students were given Christmas tree cut outs and given the directions to decorate the tree with 16- 21 ornaments of their choice.  It could look any way they wanted- as long as it only had 16- 21 ornaments.  Then the teacher used the trees to introduce the line plot graph by graphing the number of ornaments on the tree. Simple, cute lesson.  HOWEVER, my teammate took it to another level by having her students brainstorm questions- I only did mine orally :(- and then writing it on a sentence strip.  The students answered their question and folded over the end of the sentence strip to create a "door" hiding the answer!  So cute- and kid friendly!

The last activity is one I did come up with.  We are studying geometry .  I put up a small Christmas tree and gave students paper ornaments cut from the Ellison die cut machine.  Students wrote a geometric term and a picture.  It is tied to the standards and perfectly seasonal! I love it!!! Normally the tree is plug in and lit up, but I had already unplugged it.  I was way to lazy to bend over and plug it in again for a a picture!

Click here for this great pack of FREE math centers, plus get tips and updates from me!



Class Room Tour

I have finally gotten around to taking pictures of my classroom.  It has been the busiest year.  Seriously.  Can I get an "Amen, sister?" I feel like a hamster on a wheel! My kids are super sweet this year, but I am on my toes at all times.

Anyhow, I took pictures.  Of course I *forgot* to take pictures of a whole room set up.  Whoops.  I will try to do that this week. Yes, you read that right.  I am *still* in school this week.  We do not get out until Thursday.   I am DYING, people.  DYING.

I started taking pictures at the classroom door and made my way around the perimeter of the classroom from left to right.
This is the right by the classroom door.  We have a small bookshelf with some center materials (which we haven't even introduced this year!! Better get on that!).  On top of the bookshelf is our paper sorter that we use for the Friday Folders we send home weekly for parents to sign and see flyers and student's work.  Directly in front of the door is a bookshelf with the back facing the door.  I covered it in fabric and we use it as a bulletin board for our specials calendar, list of how students go home, and lunch menu.

On the side of the shelf is a schedule pocket chart. I made my own cards.  They can be downloaded here.  On the bottom of the chart is our writing conference schedule, but it hasn't worked that well this year.  I think we are redoing our schedule in January so hopefully this will work better.  On the very top of the shelf is the "4 S Line" poster I found on Pinterest.  I cannot take credit for the original idea.  I made a printable version of the sign.  You can download it here.

To the left of the door is our coat hooks for coats and book bags.  On shelf is our white recess basket with outdoor toys for recess.  We also have a white basket of tennis balls we use to bounce when we learn multiplication skip counting rhymes and a black try for newsletters and homework for the NEXT week.  On the farthest corner against the tall cabinet is a HUGE stack of text books that are extra that is out of view!  On the floor is a basket of pillows.  We have four table groups.  Each table group is assigned a day (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).  When it is the student's table day they can sit with a pillow and work.  This groups is always first to be called and so on.  They love it! We use Friday as a "make up " day if we are out.

These two anchor charts are above the coat hooks.  They are anchor charts we make in the beginning of the year about Writers Workshop procedures.

This set of cabinetry is the built in classroom storage that every classroom in my school has.  Isn't it amazing?  I LOVE it!  On the far cabinet are my standards.  They are laminated and hole punched.  They hang from binder rings on 3M hooks.  They make it SUPER easy to flip to the new standards.  Next to the standards is the book recommendation area.  We are just starting to learn to do this now with our Response to Literature unit. There are small sticky clips for students to hang their recommendations to under the genre categories.  Next is the adorable writing process signs I got from Teaching In Flip Flops!

This is the sink area.  We have our microwave and the black stackers are for students to turn in their work.

Above the sink on the upper cabinets is our commentary boards.  We make it easy (since most of our feedback is oral and in conferences) and select one piece of work per subject area and attach a sticky with commentary to it.  I made the sticky notes on Vista Print this summer.

Next to the sink is my file cabinet o' stuff.  We just added our gumball machines to the cabinet a few days ago.  These are the incentives for passing timed multiplication tests.  Students earn a gumball stickers when they pass a test.  I intend to blog about how this is organized because the kids are LOVING it!

Across from the file cabinet is  a study carrel that is our "Quiet Place" for students to work when they need alone time.  Sometimes they choose to work here, sometimes we tell them to work there.  I am sure you know how this goes. :)  My easel backs up to the study carrel and we do many of our lessons here.

I have posted a gazillion pictures of this shelf.  I am sorry for the repeat picture, but I wanted you to see where it is in the classroom.  It is next to the easel and next to the shelves that make yup the classroom library.

Here is our classroom library.  I have updated the organization somewhat.  The white baskets are fiction, the blue baskets are a mix of fiction and nonfiction and the black baskets are nonfiction.

There are several anchor charts posted above the classroom library.

Next to the library is my teammates desk/ guided reading table. I didn't take a picture of this because it was her stuff.  And I felt weird about it.   Next to her table is the math center shelf.  In the drawers are math game.  In the white baskets are manipulatives. 

This is a close up of the math shelf.  The drawers contains centers and activities based on our M.A.T.H. time rotation.  There are parts of this I liked this year and parts I will tweak for next year.

On top of the shelf is our small lost and found box.  It was supposed to be for the small tiles used in the math activities but it became a catch all for small, lost items.  It really does work. There are black stackers with math groups labeled on them.  This is for their work during math time.  We haven't used it as much as we should.  I am hoping we can get back to it because it helps us differentiate work in a more organized way.

 This is one of my most favorite math anchor charts we make all year.  It focuses on the four operations and what we know.  We discuss how addition and subtraction are inverse relationships and how multiplication and division are also inverse.  Then we discuss how multiplication and addition increase and subtraction and division decrease.  We add to each operation as we learn about it.  We had just learned about multiplication when I took this photo.

 Next to the math center are the classroom computers.  You can see my desk/ guided reading table to the right.  On the brown bookshelf is the folder for independent work and math with a partner activities.

This is another part of our M.A.T.H. rotations.  The independent folder is for the A- All by Myself and the Helping others with Math is the H in M.A.T.H.
This is my desk and guided reading area.  I love having it all together!

The blue buckets on the right are all my guided reading texts.  Each bucket is a different level.  On top of this shelf is a cart of binders with guided reading lesson plans and assessments.  The white basket on the VERY top are books I need to put away.  Whoops!

In this view of my guided reading table you can see the rolling carts that contain all my guided reading "stuff" and my desk in the background.  I put a shelf on the desk to store more by going "up," rather than "out" along the walls.  I really like it and can still reach everything I need.  You can see my stackers for each day of the week where we store worksheets and materials and the brown regfrigeor that contains caffeine and keeps me a happy teacher.

Next to the brown refridgerattor is the black directors char that kids can sit in during Read to Self and that sometimes either I sit in or my co-teacher sit in while instructing whole group on the Promethean  board.  The brown shelf has all of our special, seasonal books.  I store many of these books on the shelf on my desk on the very top shelf in the labeled white boxes.  You can see it in the picture above.  I wrote about it here.

Under the Promethehan board are two pocket charts.  The red pocket chart contains all of our Essential Questions for the month  whenever we remember to change them week.  The green pocket charts contains the picture vocabulary cards that come with our science series for the current unit and past units.

Under the board are the two quickly thrown together crate seats and the other side of the shelf that is across from the entry of the classroom.  This shelf has all of our writing materials, whiteboards and clipboards.  On top of the shelf you can see our birthday balloons in the yellow pot.The black create next to the shelf is the library return box.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my classroom!

I am hoping that this next week goes by quickly !  How many of you guys are still in school?  Anyone?

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