6 easy ways to teach comparing numbers

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

I'm so glad you joined me for another edition of :

Tips on teaching comparing numbers

This week we will be talking about comparing numbers.

Comparing numbers is such a fun concept to teach!  I love how hands on it can be!  I've compiled 6 fun and engaging ways to teach this...

Pick up this ADORABLE alligator ( bag ) clip from either Tuesday Morning or Amazon...  you can find it here: 

crocodile clip for teaching on comparing numbers greater than less than

Isn't this the greatest thing ever?!?!  I saw this last year and freaked out over it...I've been using it ever since.  It's such a great visual for the kids!  

It's perfect to use as a manipulative, the kids love coming up and using it the correct way.

Create a fun math center that is super engaging and your students will LOVE it.  All you need are pool noodles and a crate and you are all set.  It can easily be differentiated to meet your students needs.

comparing numbers pool noodle center

They can build number sentences like this all along the edges of a laundry basket or crate.  The possibilities are endless:  Instead of numbers like this you can have addition or multiplication sentences that they have to compare or even numbers as high as the thousands place...be creative!

Have them practice this skill with a fun dice game....after teaching a lesson on it...have them follow up with a dice game that they can do alone or with a partner.  You can find that by clicking the picture below:

math dice games

easy manipulative to make for comparing numbers

I like to have my students write numbers on their white boards and use this as manipulative to compare numbers.

This is so fun if you are teaching this concept in the Fall...your students will go crazy over this idea and it will make your math time super engaging and...well yummy!

using candy corn to compare numbers

This is so easy and cheap and you can easily make a class set in no time at all or leave for a parent helper.

comparing numbers craft

I hope these ideas were helpful and new to you.  If you don't already follow me on Instagram be sure to - every Sunday Night I do videos for tips and tricks you can use in your classroom.

You can find me here:

Have a great week and as always...
happy teaching!


Always take the HIGH ROAD

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Teacher life isn't perfect...in fact it's far from it.  We see #allthefeels on instagram and it looks almost perfect.  We have deadlines, parent emails, computer glitches, teammates ( which can be a blessing or a curse ), admin, IEP's, SST's, 504's....I could go on and on and on.

take the high road

But the bottom line - we have to make the best of it.  I can tell you right now, things will NOT always go your WAY.  They just won't...you will have misunderstandings and frustrations along the way.  The worst part is when your heart really is in the right place and people misunderstand you...<3

All I can say is :  Take the HIGH road...you will never regret it.
The high road = Where we treat people better than they treat us.  They don't deserve it but we offer it because we have integrity and want to do the right thing.  It's similar to the mercy and grace that God bestows upon me every. single. day.  
Let's take a look at our options...we can take the 
LOW ROAD which = treating people WORSE than how they treat us...um no sounds awful, I'm not that kind of person.
MIDDLE ROAD = treating people equal to or the same way they treat us...that's your average situation but not always warranted because you may come across a grump that treats you terribly..it doesn't mean you can turn around and treat them terribly as well.

My mom always took the high road and I always feel like a million bucks when someone says I remind them of her.  She passed away to cancer in 2007 and I always think about her and wish my children had more days with her. 
Her legacy will be : THE HIGH ROAD...always!  In fact people will say she did MORE than take the HIGH road.  She reached out to the sick and lonely, she gave favor when it wasn't deserved, I could go on and on.  
I guess I just want to remind you that life is fleeting...we are here for such a short time.  We want our legacy to be one of honor and integrity not of anger and impatience.  
The true test of character and maturity is to always treat others better than they treat you.  This may seem like a strange way of thinking...but you will be amazed by the positive impact this has.  When you offer LOVE to someone that is angry and short with you that is expecting the same from you they are taken a back and don't know what to do with you...they are usually softened and don't respond in anger.  It's a beautiful thing to see...when you offer grace to someone that doesn't deserve it.  I challenge you - this week:  OFFER GRACE to someone that truly doesn't deserve it and watch what happens...it really is a beautiful thing to witness.  Even if it isn't you still did the right thing and that's all that matters.  They will remember you for it - I promise!  
Instead of anticipating negative reactions from others, you will begin to assume positive interactions and your expectations will be matched.  
Don't focus on the flaws of others and try hiding your own! Start to  look for ways to forgive them and find that others are returning the favor in a way you never expected!  
Go out and do your thing...but remember you would want grace extended to you....so extend it to others often.  That's all for today...
as always ~ happy teaching my sweet friends!


Emoji behavior incentive

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

emoji behavior management tip

I am always looking for the next best behavior tip.  I would say classroom management and building relationships are my strong suit for sure.  I have my trusty go to tricks, but I'm always trying to come up with other incentives so I keep them on their toes too.
Welcome to my weekly series 

You can find me here every Wednesday during the school year for new ideas each week.

This week I wanted to share an idea I had that incorporates - something kids LOVE - which is super important.  You gotta keep up with the lingo, and things they are into.  Unless of course it's dabbing or flipping water bottles OR the floss - then run for your lives! LOL 
So, I'm going with emojis this time around.  Kids love emojis and this incentive will definitely motivate them...I can't wait to try it out and give you updates on instagram and facebook.

So, first I created this little poster to get them excited about this new behavior incentive and I tried to be clever...notice the word tried...  Not sure how 'clever' this is but whatever.

emoji classroom management tip
Using emojis of course this message says:  Your work and behavior is ' on point! '

So I found these emoji balls.... on  Amazon and thought to myself - I could use this for something!!!

Using emojis for behavior management

emoji marble jar reward

So since the jar is so large I included Washi tape to help us meet our goals.  I got this ( tape ) idea from my amazing friend Becca - over at Miss Giraffe.  It's a great way to meet a goal and keep going for a 2nd goal.  So, maybe the first goal is a Popsicle party and the 2nd goal is an extra recess or fort and flashlight reading day.  There are so many ways you can use this.  You can even let a sub give double the amount of balls if they have a great day with your guest teacher...
OR if you know you are going to be out for more than a day and want a special reward incentive in place just pull this out on those days.
I've been teaching long enough to know that YES you need consistency and structure but you also need to SWITCH things up when it comes to incentives too.  OTHERWISE they get bored easily - ahem I blame fort night and other video game 'babysitters' for the fact that these kids are getting bored so 'easily' nowadays ~ ~ but that's a whole 'nother blog series... kidding...kinda.

emoji marble jar reward

emoji reward jar

If this is something you know your students would love and you are dying to try it....you can find the emoji balls here:

This huge bag of emoji balls was less than $10 and the large jar I got at Walmart for $11.  You can probably use a clear Tupperware container from home as well.
If you have some behavior challenges this year and are frantically optimistically searching Pinterest for fresh ideas I hope this comes in handy.  I'm telling you whenever I use a different behavior trick, things get better.  Make sure to add to your bag of tricks often to keep things fresh in your classroom.  I'm certain that in doing so you will find success even with a chatty or difficult class.

As always, happy teaching!


Writing tips for the primary classroom

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Writing- some of you LOVE to teach it...others dread it.  It is definitely a tricky subject to teach.  Hopefully these hacks/tricks will save your sanity and help make your students a little more successful this year.

writing tips for the primary classroom

These are ideas that have worked in my primary classroom and I hope you are able to give them a try this year as well.

If you teach littles like Pre - K or K...I suggest you start with the very basics.  Soon after you teach them how to sit or hold a pencil they need to understand proper spacing.  My favorite way to do this is through my product:  Spaghetti and Meatball spacing.  It's perfect practice for little hands. 

writing tips for the primary classroom

This pack covers the basics and helps them understand that between letters in words you use spaghetti spacing and between words in a sentence you will need to use meatball spacing.

writing tips for the primary classroom
you can  grab this product ( here )

as you can see from this simple printable...they re write the word and add skinny lines between the letters.

writing tips for the primary classroom

this activity has them write a basic sentence and has them put meatballs between the words to understand proper spacing.

writing tips for the primary classroom

Before you know it your students will be saying don't forget meatball spacing when they are about to write in their journals...it's the cutest thing!  This product has several other pages that reinforce this idea along with posters and a little craft as well.  They are sure to remember this idea when you are done with the product in your classroom.

This next tip has been a winner in my first grade class for years...I need to bring it back now that I'm in second grade again.
I'm sure you've heard of the desk fairy visiting your classroom and leaving little certificates or stickers for those kiddos with clean desks?  Well this is the same idea but you call her the journal fairy.  She pops up unexpectedly here and there and leaves glitter in their journals while they are at recess or lunch.  Sometimes there may even be a little army guy or sticker too.  The kids love when she visits and when I mention it's been a while since she's come I see them step up their writing.  It's a great trick to pull from your teacher bag as needed.

teaching writing in the primary classroom

writing tips for the primary classroom

teaching writing in the primary grades

This really works friends!!!!  Kids need to re read their writing to become better writers and this will help them do that and even FIX mistakes...true story!
Have them re read their journal and use a highlighter, crayon etc., to highlight capitals and periods.  First of  all they love this and feel like 'the teacher' especially if you talk it up.  Secondly, they are basically proof reading their own work without totally realizing it.
As I walk around the room and watch them self correct it's truly amazing.  They will pause at their period and say out loud... OOPS!  I forgot the capital, then they are erasing away and fixing their mistake.  It's a wonderful writing hack that I've used with my partner teacher from back in the day for years!!! In fact, I'm pretty sure it was her idea!  See how important it is to collaborate with other?!?!  #teachertribe 
Once they become even more proficient you might hear them say something like oh my goodness that's a run on sentence how embarrassing!  LOL  It's so cute!

If you have a student that struggles with visual perception awareness or spacial organization this trick may work for you.  If your student often starts writing like the lower paper they might struggle with visual perception or spacial awareness.  This little trick helps them to remember to go all the way back to the yellow line to finish their thought and keep their paper organized and easy to follow.  It's a simple trick but it works!

writing tips for the primary classroom

This last tip is one that many of you use ~~ visual rubrics are always helpful to kids.  Have rubrics available and anchor charts with your writing expectations and/ or editing steps available for them to refer to...some kids like writing offices as well that have frequently used words, etc.  These all give kids more direction and confidence with their writing skills.
Lastly, remember to give them feedback and lots of encouragement.  Another tip that has worked for me in the past is to pair them up and give them 'talking sticks'.  They take turns reading their journal to their elbow partner, while they are holding their talking stick they can't be interrupted.  The partner gives them feedback ( that you have modeled and practiced with them often ) and they can hear if their writing sounds right aloud and fix any mistakes.  Then, they give their partner the stick and listen to them, it's a great collaboration tool and opens the door for speaking and critiquing one another.

writing tips for the primary grades
I hope these ideas have been helpful,
don't forget to join me here every Wednesday for my 

blog posts and every Sunday night during the school year for my Sunday Night Snippets on Instagram.
Happy teaching...


Modeling behavior the first few weeks of School

Saturday, September 1, 2018

I have a question for you ... the first few weeks of school do you model expected behavior??  
Take a second and really think about it... it's so easy to talk, talk and talk some more the first few weeks of school.  You wonder why your voice is weak and sore by the first Friday.  
We DO a LOT of talking that first week or so but let me challenge you.  Go back to the first question I asked here...are you really modeling the expected behavior you want to see?

modeling behavior the first few weeks of school

It's so important to use those first few days/weeks carefully with your students.  You are establishing your routines, what's expected and what's acceptable to do in your classroom.  The first time someone makes a joke at another child's expense I address it.  I remind my students that OUR classroom is a 'family' community.  We accept each other unconditionally with all our faults.  I remind them that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes.  I'll never forget the year my mom was sick and died 6 months after diagnosis from cancer.  It was a devastating year as you can imagine.  My students saw my red eyes daily and were so sensitive.  I received lots of extra hugs, drawings, cards and flowers that year.  I thought I was at my worst that year...my head wasn't in the game.  I was constantly thinking about my mom and how I could best help her and my dad. 
However...somehow through God's grace I must have been my normal 'self' to those students because....years later something special happened. 
I received a letter in intra district mail from a middle school teacher.  She had her students write about 'their hero'. This teacher was kind enough to send me the essay this student wrote which was clearly about me and our year together in a 1/2 combo class.
She wrote how she was a first grader in the combo ( which I clearly remember ) and on the second day of school a second grader made a comment about how her drawing wasn't good at all.  This little girl started to tear up quietly.  I noticed the exchange and went to see what went down.
I ever so carefully again with God's grace and wisdom was able to let the older child know how hurtful and inappropriate that comment was and somehow made the first grader feel like a million bucks.  She wrote how she never ever forget that exchange and she knew more than ever that her teacher had her back.  She said that gave her confidence that stayed with her and encouraged her.  
At the time, I was SURVIVING!!! TRULY going through the HARDEST time of my laugh and legit surviving.  I felt like a zombie most days knowing my mom was suffering and missed A LOT of school to be with her.  
But because I took the time to model and follow through with expected behavior right out of the gate I was able to still even in the chaos of my own  life have the type of classroom that was crucial to mine and my students well being... a classroom I strive to have each and every year.
How do I do that?  
I MODEL through my actions every behavior I hope to see and MODEL what is not acceptable.  Sometime I get them involved in a skit, or they use a hand signal to show me if my own acting was appropriate with a thumbs up or thumbs down signal.
When I say I MODEL - I do just that!  I sit in a chair and rock back and forth twirling my hair.  Is this acceptable....all thumbs are DOWN and they giggle a bit.  

I MODEL kind words and approach a student with my dialogue.  Everyone is watching with bated breath while I say something kind to my 'neighbor' of course while pretending I'm 7 years old instead of ___.  LOL
I MODEL mean bully ish words and see the horrified looks on their faces and we discuss how that makes us feel too.  Just talking at your students doesn't make the impact you need to make my friends.  They will look out the window - tune you out and miss 1/2 of your 'lecture'.  But, if you act silly, get them involved, prepare skits etc.  you will see that they are active participants in your first few weeks of expectations.  They will want to imitate back the behavior you so carefully modeled those first few weeks. 

modeling behavior the first few weeks of school

So be silly - bring in props if you need to, don't just talk at your students and watch the magic happen.  In no time at all your classroom will be a loving, accepting place that all classrooms should be.  Even visitors get the vibes from our classroom from spending a short amount of time with us.  
I say I want to be the kind of teacher I would want for my own children and I strive to live that every single day...yes, I fail...we all do.  But, if that's what we strive for everyday we are doing something right.