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