Repurposing Kid Blocks

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Teachers are famous for repurposing items right?!?!  I can remember as a kid my mom collecting film canisters for a Mother's Day project or egg crates for a caterpillar art project.  Our minds go crazy when we get an idea - you know what I'm talking about - don't pretend you don't.  :o)
But seriously I saw these bad boys at Target with my hubby and said, " Tell Santa I need those in my stocking."  He doesn't even ask anymore after 20 years of marriage.  He just makes a mental note and looky I got them.

repurposing blocks in the classroom

So ~ as I said we find ways to use items to make a lesson or center fun and engaging.  So when I thought about the different ways these can be put together I started thinking about math.

My mind was fluttering with place value, multiplication, addition, coins and more.  Here is what I've come up with so far...

using blocks to teach math - hands on , building blocks, place value

This is great because it can be used with the 4 puzzle blocks, all the way down to the 2 puzzle blocks.  Great for differentiation! 

Using blocks to teach math, math center, place value, multiplication, fractions.

Use them for tens and ones for your firsties or second graders, practice fractions or multiplication.  My third graders would LOVE building these block puzzles with their multiplication facts.  It would be a perfect rainy day project and I think it's an El Nino and engaging don't you think?!?

using blocks to teach math concepts, math center, money, expanded form

Why not create them for counting coins, expanded form or equations.  As you can see I used multiplication again since I teach third but you could use addition, subtraction and division easily.
I hope I got your mind thinking about all the fun ways these can be used for math.  Head out to Target or Walmart today, I was thinking of hitting up a gently used kids store as well.  I have more ideas I want to use and am running out of blocks.  Be creative with it and see how you can meet the needs of your students.  Good luck and let me know of some ideas I forgot in the comments.
Happy Teaching!

Setting Goals in the New Year

Monday, December 28, 2015

There's something about the close of one year and the beginning of a new one.  I love setting goals and celebrating mini milestones. So I thought I'd brainstorm a list that will keep us all on track...

Become a TECHY TEACHER:  If you haven't ventured into the world of technology as much as you'd like I challenge you to s-t-r-e-t-c-h yourself.  I attended a Google Summit last month and can't wait to add some apps I learned about into my classroom routine.  There are so many wonderful ways to differentiate your teaching and apps and technology is one way to get you there.

Have you tried out Donor's Choose yet?!?  If not this is one EASY way to set a goal and score BIG for your students!  Check out their website ~ it's easy to set up a profile and then write a short bit about you and your students, shop and WAIT.  OK don't just wait around, be proactive!  Put your link out there on fb and send via email to your loved ones.  I have had 4 projects funded in the last couple of years and it's been such a blessing and benefit to my students.

How has your classroom management been looking lately?  Why not change it up - Just hop on Pinterest and you will find a plethora of ideas that are creative and motivating for your students.  I often do this each month:
Hit up the Dollar Store and grab a chair cover to go with the season or holiday OR 

pick up these sticky seasonal guys and build them for the month.  I add pieces when the kids are engaged, we receive compliments, walk quietly in the hall, etc.  They love to see it finished at the end and I usually give them something as simple as an extra recess which they love and it costs me nothing.

Mindset seems to be a big thing right now.  I have spent some time this year in my class discussing mindset.  How's your mindset?  Do you have a growth mindset?  Are you the one at the staff meetings offering ideas and positive feedback?  Since I have been working on it with my students I have challenged myself to apply it in my own life as well.  You can read more about growth mindsets { here }

Organization~ for some of us this is a word you love and for others it's a word that is terrifying.  I'm organized - things have a place, my cabinets and storage bins are clearly labeled...however when I walk into other classrooms sometimes I think I'm not that organized.  But I will tell you that when a sub comes in things are clearly labeled and easy to find/figure out.  I recently had a surgery and had a long term sub...I was confident that she was able to get the supplies she needed from my cabinets and work efficiently because I'm ( fairly efficient ).  If you are not organized I challenge you.  What if you had an unexpected absence - surgery or unplanned life event.  Would you be confident or embarrassed to have a sub in your desk and cabinets...something to think about for sure.  This can be overwhelming so tackle one thing at a time.  I think purchasing bins for supplies is a good first step.  Mine looks something like this - although I'm not at school and borrowed a picture from the together group. When a parent helper comes in and needs staples she can find them easily.  I often receive comments on how helpful this is and I'm not interrupted during valuable teaching time.

I hope I was able to point out some ways that you can set goals for yourself in this new year.  I'd love to hear in the comments some of your goals for 2016.  Happy New Year!


12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

Friday, December 4, 2015
I'm so excited to be joining up with Zippy again this year for the 12 days of Christmas Giveaway.  Today is Day #4 and I'm thrilled to be taking part and offering $5 from my store.

I'm joining Joey and Math, Science and Social Studies Oh my! and of course our host: Zippy
Please enter below on the rafflecopter...this will also be on facebook all day today too!  Don't miss out to win: a $30 gift card to Amazon and credits to our stores! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Elf on the Shelf Ideas for any grade

Monday, November 30, 2015
When I moved to 3rd grade last year from 1st ( by choice ) I had a few reservations.  Although I was more than ready for the big move up, there were a few things I knew I was going to miss.  Like the growth in reading, teaching phonics, 100th day of school, etc.  One of the things I was worried about was the Elf on the Shelf.  
Well ~ of course I couldn't have these new guys miss out on all the fun.  So...Snowflake visited us in third grade.  In the BIG KID WING!!!  How did she even find us?!?
Well I had to get creative since my kids were now { kinda BIG }, no little kid sissy elf ideas would work in Room 8 that's for sure!  So having teenagers I knew I would be well equipped!  My daughter played along and we changed her name in my phone to Snowflake the Elf of course.  She made sure to text me throughout the day on her breaks at high school.  Oh man can you imagine the chaos that ensued!  I would get the DING - DONG text loud enough of course for them to hear and I would put the phone under the doc camera to see what was going on.  It clearly read from Snowflake the Elf - so there were no questions! I even took a picture of her as the contact picture. ( see below )  Snowflake was texting us before her arrival letting us know she was on her way!
 Here is a picture from the first time she texted us:

Look at those faces, sheer delight and shock!  Oh did I have fun with this one!

Snowflake had to do more grown up things of course - she was cool right?  So instead of flying high on our decorations, she was texting a friend on her fake phone, or looking at the date on a calendar of her next concert.  She took a selfie one day and aced a spelling test another day.  
Here are a few more ideas:

Changing up the schedule is a good one, they got a kick out of that.  Wrap up small chocolate chip morsels with aluminum foil and create miniature 'kisses'.  When the kids were engaged, I witnessed a kind act or someone was helpful I would give them one of the elf's 'kisses.'  
Adding a learning target for the ELF is great!  Of course the day I did that the DO curriculum cops were coming around and the assistant superintendent literally laughed out loud.  It was so fun!
So the lesson learned today ~ have fun, be creative.  The students no matter what the age will look forward to this.  It brightens up their day, sends them into laughter and creates a memory that they will never forget.  After all ~ they will always remember how you made them feel right?!!?  Happy Elfing! 

5 for Friday { pov first and third person } and array surgery

Saturday, November 7, 2015
I am having so much fun being back in 3rd grade!  This is my 2nd year back and I just really love the age.  I'm enjoying diving deeper into the units this year and coming up with some fun ways to teach them.  Here are some fun things that we did this week:

So first we introduced POV this week.  These adorable number clip art guys were made by my friend Susanna at Whimsy Clips.  I introduced the concept and we worked on it for a couple days and then we made these cute pov people with her clip art and hung them up.  The kids had a blast and the concept stuck!

teaching 1st and 3rd person point of view craftivity

teaching point of view

teaching point of view

You can grab my point of view unit { here }

Teaching Point of View

The little circles are the hands and one says:  The story is told by:  and the second circle says: keywords.  So they had to write the answers in and glue them on the correct POV person.

I have a few chair covers to match some holidays and I move them around the room all day for kids that are on task and engaged.  It looks something like this:

behavior management tip using chair covers

Well I haven't found one for November so I threw together a turkey hat and move that around all day.  The child that has it at the end of the day get to visit our class treasure chest.  I got such a kick out of it when he put it on his head.  It reminded me that 3rd graders are still little. <3

behavior management hacks to use any time of the year.

My principal has promised our school that if we were to reach 300 PTA members he would shave his head at Friday line up into a mohawk and dye it blue.  Well...for our little school of 400 students we reached our goal.  He's so fun and the kids loved watching his transformation!

Those 2 cuties are his kids watching daddy get a mohawk!

teaching arrays with mulitplication

This lesson was so much fun and my kids got such a kick out of it!  Thanks to More Time 2 Teach for this brillant idea and unit!  We are working on the distributive property for multiplication and this worked like a charm.  I borrow the dr. mask from our nurse and called our unifix cubes specimens...  You can grab this fun unit 
{ here }

Lastly I needed on more behavior tip to help us focus through until Thanksgiving:  This is what I thought up:

behavior management tips to use any time of the year.

This little guy has turned out to be such a blessing!  I pre wrote goals on feathers and when my student meet those goals I tack up that feather.  When the turkey has all his feathers we will have an extra recess..Whoop- whoop!

Well that about sums up my week!  I hope yours was as fun and eventful as mine was.  

For more fun ideas:  follow me on Instagram  Facebook

5 for Friday

Friday, October 23, 2015

It's Friday again ( even though this week was super S-L-O-W!  )  Lots of meetings, IEP's etc. .. I 'd just rather be teaching!

How cute is this witchy Melonheadz?!!?  I just love Nikki!

I'm linking on up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs to bring you my 5 for Friday!

  Here's what I've been up to:

We have been working hard on our Planet Reports and had presentations this week:  The kids had to bring a costume to present their report.  They had to wear what they would wear if they were to visit their planet...they were so creative!

Every year the Rotary Club comes in and gives every 3rd grader a dictionary!  It's great fun and the kids love it.  They keep it in their desks all year and then in June they can keep it forever.

It was #gopink day for the middle school so my son went all out!  He has the best spirit ever and loves being a part of ASB.  We had to take a selfie together:

On Sunday I attended a fun San Diego meet up!  It was great because I met so  many new people!  I seem to usually go to the Orange County meet ups so it was nice to try something new.  Lots of talented teachers...and my Chalkie buddy Nicole made my day!

Have you heard of Rocksbox?  It is this amazing subscription box with the most beautiful, affordable pieces.  The best part!?!  You can just 'borrow' the pieces, return the pieces or purchase them at an insider discounted price.  Look how pretty everything is!
If you are interested and want to give it a try - you can use this code to sign up:

One more thing~ I know I already did my 5 but I had to share this, my friend and I received a grant from our district for VAPA supplies and we're on the district website home page - whoopie!

Hope you have a great week!  Link on up so I can hear about it next Friday!!!