Monday, December 31, 2012

First 12 in the Last of '12

I'm linking with  Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies to revisit my first 12 blogs of 2012.
I didn't start my blog until July, but this was a nice way to look back.

7/13/12 Jumping In Feet First: I sarted my blog by sharing my most favorite new buy for my classroom. A time timer. IT IS BY FAR THE BEST THING IN MY CLASSROOM!

7/18/12 Math Humor: Shared some math funnies

7/19/12 Classroom Managment: Shared what I worked a lot on during the summer. My 4 P's.

7/20/12 Promethean Planet: Great website for you Promethean users

7/23/12 DIY Classoomroom Clock: My first Monday Made It and a favorite post.

7/23/12 My Teacher Story: apparently, a two post day... A linky party where we shared about ourselves

7/24/12 Fractions, Decimals and Percents Game My most viewed post of the year. A fun game with water bottle lids.

7/25/12 A Newbie Blog Hop A great way to meet new bloggers, like me!

7/27/12 Free Rewards for your students and YOU!: My first Friday Freebie with TBA.

7/28/12 First Day Jitters: Another Linky party

7/30/12 A "Hodgepodge" of DIY: Another Monday Made it, where I went a little nuts!

That's my first 12. A lot of linky parties and back to back posts. Oh, the lazy days of not working.

Enjoyed looking back. Hope you enjoyed as well!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Libester Award

Sixth Grade Scribbles nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award.

I am sorry it has taken me so long to re give this award. I truly wanted to take time to find blogs to nominate, and that met the rules. So appreciative for networking opportunities though.

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.

The Rules:

  • You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  • Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
  • Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
  • Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers and link them in your post.)
  • No tag back, but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you! 

1. I can sleep anywhere, anytime, for any length of time
2. I have been 5'10 since the sixth grade
3. I have four boys
4. I am the fourth of four Texas Aggies in my family (WHOOP!)
5. I am the baby of the family
6. I have run two half marathons, in my book that = one marathon!
7. I talk very loudly.
8. My favorite color is purple
9. I love, love, love Diet Coke
10. I dream of a clean house all the time one day
11. I am a Pinterest junkie

Questions For ME:

1. Do you have a hobby?  If so, what is it? arts and crafts, when I can find time
2. What is your favorite holiday dish? Nothing traditional... we do steak and potatoes on most holidays
3. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher? That moment when kids truly, "get it"
4. What is your favorite sport or team? Football for sure!
5. What are your top 3 movies? 1.Grease  2.Legends of the Fall  3.ANY Mark Wahlberg film :)
6. How do you balance blogging and teaching with the rest of your life? Just make time when I can. Many Sunday mornings while drinking my coffee.
7. How did you get into education? I took a semester off from college and substitute taught. I liked it and when I went back to school, I changed my major to education.
8.Why do you blog? What inspired you to start? I have a blog about my family. I started that to help me because I was behind in my scrapbooking efforts. I started my education blog because I needed to jump start the excitement for teaching middle school. It has truly helped me make middle school math more enjoyable to teach and to learn.
9. If you could live in another part of the world, where would it be? Why? Colorado, it reminds me of a happy time in my life.
10. Do you plan alone or as part of a team? Part of a team
 11. If you weren’t a teacher/educator, what would you be doing?  I'm really not sure. Maybe banking? management? party planning? loafer? I just can't imagine doing anything else.

Blogs I'm Nominating:
Teacher Wife
Teacher and a Mom
room 4 imagination
my classroom is my runway
Miss Mathdork's Math Resources
Math = Love
Fast Times of a Middle School Math Teacher
Shutters and Scribbles
Miss A's Class Ideas
I know, this is only 10, but my 11th choice had this award already and I just need to get this posted asap!

My questions for YOU!

1. What do you do to unwind?

2. Do you take summers off or work?

3. Do you commute?

4. What's your favorite indulgence?

5. If you weren't a teacher, what do you think you'd be doing right now?

6. Do you have kids? Do they go to the same school where you work?

7. Read any good books lately?

8. Cook nightly or dine out?

9. Night out on the town or quiet night in?

10. How many "teacher bags" do you own?

11. Six weeks or 9 weeks? or something else?

I know, awards can be a lot of work, but it keeps us connected and I know that's one reason I blog!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Anchors Away Linky Party

I found another SUPER blog and a GREAT Linky Party.

Sharing "Anchor Charts" from Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

Earlier this year I sent my teachers an email and used the phrase "Anchor charts". I received several emails back asking what those were. I was kind of shocked and a little scared. But then thought, maybe its an elementary thing. I taught lower grades for 17 years, they speak a different language. :)

But they are ALL over my room! The difference I notice now is I don't make them with my students. If that was the case, I'd have 6 of the same chart since I teach the same thing six times a day.

What I do is note taking in their math journals and then I make posters and hang them. I also make PDFs of these and post them to my website for parents. This helps my students and parents have reference notes at home for homework and studying for major test.

The next most important I do is refer to my anchor charts DAILY!!!! The largest one I have is my brain dump. I have posted about this before. Click on here or on the picture for that post.

I made these for my website and then had posters made of them in my room.

We use this quarter anchor chart ALL THE TIME. My kids love money and they can relate to it well.

I do have the "handmade" charts as well in my room, but no pictures. Guess I need to get those taken when I get back from break.
I see the benefits of these types of charts in classrooms and I wish I saw more in middle schools. Students will use them and they will visualize them during testing times. They are meaningful. I am a firm believer in this.

Do you use Anchor Charts? How? I'd love to have more ideas.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best of 2012

Bunting, Books and Bainbridge is having an end of the year linky party to reflect on 2012.

Here I go!

My best blogging moment: That I actually started this blog. I started in July after stalking reading, so many blogs for about six months. I was inspired by them, that I just knew I wanted to share. I knew I'd find a lot of elementary blogs, but honestly, it has been refreshing to read from other middle school people as well. I follow all levels of blogs, I certainly do not discriminate. It has helped my teaching though to have teachers "like me" to get ideas from to use in my classroom instruction.

Hodges Herald was created so I could speak my mind about teaching. Thanks to those who read it, even bits of it.

My favorite freebie: I don't have my own TpT store (maybe that will be new in 2013). So, for now, all my collaborations are FREE. But, I have had a few that I think are better than others. My very first Friday Freebie was my reward coupons and they are such a hit with students! Click here for the free coupons.

My most viewed post: Fractions, Decimals and Percents game was a huge hit with readers. Like my personal  inspirations from Pinterest (of course), I think this game inspired people to create a game. As a matter of fact, a reader did create one, very similarly and I used that one in my classroom as well. Both games were very successful with the kids. When pieces have gotten lost, I haven't gotten upset because those lids are so easily accessible. Click on the picture for the freebie.

My favorite linky parties: I love linky parties, sometimes they are overwhelming, but I do participate a lot. Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics truly inspired a lot of us to not just "pin" great ideas, but actually make things with her Made it Mondays. And TBA, Friday Freebies completely rock because I love FREE!
Freebie Fridays
Most inspiring blogs:
I Speak Math has been great to keep me blogging with her Middle School Sunday Fundays  and For the Love of Teaching Math inspires to me do what I know kids love, games, games, games! She is sooooo awesome and has the best products EVER! I truly could list a bunch more, but I have to keep the list small.
Finally, the best thing about blogging for me has been enjoying my job again. I had a really rough transition into middle school teaching after 17 years in elementary. I didn't think I'd stay with this age group, but this year has been completely different and I truly am enjoying teaching again.

I'm really looking forward to continuing my blog in 2013 and can't wait to see what is in store for the upcoming year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Math Journals- Geometry Unit

We are in one of my favorite units, Geometry. We were three or four days days in and we had done 5 pages in our notebook. We are cutting, gluing, and folding fools.

We made a foldable and added to it over several days.

 Notes, are way more fun this way!
We sorted angles and I even gave them colored paper. They acted like it was Christmas. Obviously, they don't get much colored paper.
We studied triangles one day.
Quadrilaterals the next.

They had been given a lot of information within a short time frame. This was a fun way to check for understanding. Of course, I let them use their journals, that's what they are for, right?

We will be doing a few more things with angles, then taking a break for testing. (boo hiss)
Then, Christmas break! (Siss Boom Bah!)

I am excited about continuing this again in January because it is fun and a nice way to ease back into the second semester.

I also just wanted to show what we have been doing in our notebooks. We use them for EVERYTHING!!! One of my students called it the "Math Bible". We all chuckled, but that's how it truly feels, it holds everything we need to know about Math.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Around the World

So, I once again, found something while stalking blogs that I love. But, I wanted it to be completed in a station format so I created a PowerPoint. I also made some recording sheets for my students. I had so much fun making it.

I found this activity from Teacher Addict. Here's the original and the link to her TpT store. She has some great things, be sure to check her out.

This is what I made. I loved the idea of the maps and wanted to add the flags for the kids.  Here's an example.

I also wanted to make a recording sheet for my students so I made them cards for each country with the flag. This class is small so I did print them in color, but if I had done this with all my students I couldn't have.

We are spending a week on this in a rotation format. So, they have passports for their journey.

Teacher Addict was generous to allow me to share what I made with you. You can get my version here.

Monday, December 10, 2012


We have to celebrate this date. This is cool and it is not going to happen again in our lifetime.

In middle school though, we don't veer from what we are teaching. At least, not often. If we are honest though, we veer for testing, a lot of testing! Next week, we have three days of testing. I decided the kids can handle a break on this day and have some fun. .We can use what they have learned this year to celebrate a unique date. 

So I am veering on 12-12-12. I found a Christmas related activity and wanted to use it. It worked out that its about the 12 days of Christmas song. And today is all about the number 12!!!!

Which I might add is my most favorite number, being part of the 12th Man from Texas A&M!!! Whoop!
Home of the newest Heisman Trophy winner.

Okay, back to math.....
There's a lot of math involved in this and I know my kids are going to love this.

I did not create this. I found this on a blog. It was made by Rachel Lynette, at Minds in Bloom, she gets all the credit.

The activity is available at her Teachers Pay Teachers store here. She has a lot of great stuff. Check her out!

I made it into a PowerPoint to create a rotation in my room. I put my elementary teacher spin on it because I love that stuff.

I asked permission, and Rachel is allowing me to share my version as well. I know it won't ever be 12/12/12 again, but maybe you need a great Christmas activity for your kids.

Click here or on the image to download the PowerPoint.

Middle school kids love this stuff too. Don't let anyone tell you differently. 

Also check out Laura Candler's 12-12-12  Race to Write 12 freebie! I think this could be fun too.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Projects and Performance Assessments- MS Sunday Funday

This week we are talking about projects and/or performance assessments in the math class.

I personally love these, but think they are hard to truly do. Why are they hard? Because I feel so rushed, so stressed about "getting it all in". So stressed by a data driven district.

I am trying though. I guess I think of it as baby steps.

Last year, at the end of my first year in middle (after 17 years in elementary, I might add), I wanted to do a project because I was so bored from teaching worksheets. I found, this great project online, The Million Dollar Project.

We spend several weeks on it and I know the students enjoyed it. It was tough though. I thought the kids did a poor job on it. They did the research, they spent the money, but the quality of work was awful. I will definitely do it again this year, but I also know I will set it up differently. Last year I didn't really give them the exact expectations. Live and learn right?

We use CScope in our district and I have noticed that they have incorporated a project for the last six weeks. When I have time, I will be investigating this to see if its worthwhile.

I also follow thenumbertwentyone blog and she is incredible. She does what I feel like is a ton of these. I recently completed her Unit Rates Performance Assessment. I changed it a bit to use "thanksgiving" food instead of BBQ, but it was the same thing. I used it with my Math Lab kids. These kids struggle in math and that is why they are in a math lab. They worked really hard and I love how rigorous it was.

Back to Cscope: They do try and incorporate what they call "Performance Assessments" in the plans, but we haven;t quite mastered how to use this in our class. We did one at the beginning of the year, it was difficult, but it should us a lot. Again, I will use it again, but format it differently.

A few posts ago, I shared an activity I made from a worksheet into a performance assessment. My plan was to use it the week before Christmas, but due to testing, we are behind. We will be completing it the week we return. I think it will be a great way to get back in the swing of things after being off for two plus weeks.
You can get it for free here.

The Christmas version here.

I also might add, we grade projects and performance assessments as major grades. Its a lot of work and students deserve to get as much credit for it as possible,

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Giveaways and Freebies

I will admit, the blogging world can be overwhelming. There is so much great stuff out there. I personally don't want to miss a thing.

And I don't want you to either!

Check out  these great giveaways going on in the middle school world!

From Kim over at Finding Joy in 6th Grade

And Michelle over at Making it As a Middle School Math teacher is hosting the 12 days of Christmas. It is AWESOME!!!  Don't miss it!

Plus, over at TBA, I have found some great holiday freebies. Check them out as well. There were over 100 yesterday!!! Gotta love teachers!

Oh, and you gotta check this out...
This is FREE from Cooperative Learning 365. I can't wait to do this with my 6th graders the day we get out for break!!! See, there is stuff for everyone!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa Door

I just cannot have a blank, boring door.

This is door # 3 this year.

This was one.

This was two.

It's Christmas baby! Here's door #3!

My middle school kids LOVE it! When you get close to it, you can also see that some air was trapped iniside and it makes him look fat. That was accidental, but it works!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Currently and December Monday Made it

Yep, it is actually December already!

Time for Farley's Currently....

The beginning of the month also means Monday Made it....

Discalimer: My camera is acting up so these pictures are not mine.
I am loving Pinterest for all my holiday treats and decorations!
My door at home:
Snowman Door Decoration 
My scarf is solid red and My hat is different because my front door is black and it blended in too much.

Treats for my department; Salty and Sweet!
Pinned Image  Rudolph Wrapped Hershey Bar

I have also been working on an activity for my students to complete the week before Christmas. We are testing all week in the morning. We will have shortened classess in the afternoon. I still have to keep them focused, so I made a boring worksheet into center work, which they really like. I am hoping tihs helps with that famous "It's almost Christmas break behavior". I also made it with a zebra border for the non Christmas teaching time too.

Like always, I made them both freebies. Please click on the pictures to get a copy!