Sunday, June 30, 2013

Three in One- A Foldable Link Party, Currently, & A WINNER!!!!

So yesterday, I did not even turn on my computer all day. My little one played in three baseball games, we napped due to being in the heat for several hours, we had to grocery shop and we had friends over until the wee hours of the morning.
It was a full day.

In the blog world though, I am feeling a little behind.

So, first. I found a new link party on Friday 

It's from Stephanie over at Fifth Grade Dugout. First of all, check out her cute baseball themed blog. It is super cute. 

Foldables are all the rage in teaching right now. I actually just made one for my summer school kiddos. It's for place value. It's just strips cut and glued together. Then they can fold and unfold in their journals when needed. 

I made two versions. For me, I need my students more familiar with the decimals, but I wanted to use one sheet of paper. There really is no reasoning behind how "high" in place value I went. 

Be sure to check it out and add. I know you all have great foldable ideas! 

And of course, Time for Farley's Currently. These are always sooooo fun and its the biggest linky around! I love getting to know people through this linky. 

And the winner of my VERY FIRST  giveaway for 3 items from my TpT store is: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, June 28, 2013


I have really needed this Friday. Mostly because it is Pay Day! 
No summer school money yet, but it's nice whenever pay day happens! 

Whether you do math center, stations or rotations, this can work for you. 
I made one for whatever you might call them! 

And my 5 for the week! 
This week, I am playing the role a techie. 

ONE:  I created a picture and signature for my blog. (See my newspaper boy at the bottom of the blog) 
TWO: I created my first Giveaway using Rafflecopter. Enter  to win here!
THREE: I created a Google Survey for a later post. 
FOUR: I scheduled a blog post. Wanted to see if it would work. It didn't. Guess I need to research that one a little more. 
FIVE: I administered the THIRD administration of our state test to my summer school fifth graders. Let's just say I am glad its over and for the next two weeks of summer school, we are going to have some fun with Math. 

For now, I am enjoying my first full day off. 

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tricks of the Trade Thursdays- Center Organization

Okay, first let me say, sometimes blogging makes me feel so dumb. Tuesday I made a signature picture. It took several hours. Yesterday, I created my first giveaway with Rafflecopter. I am still hoping it worked. I know I need to tweek a few things, but it took so many tries. It took about 45 minutes. I was so tense afterward. 

But, as hard as they seemed, I am so glad I did them. I kind of like my little "Herald" guy. And because I am close to my "blogiversary" I needed to learn how to do the rafflecopter. 

Oh, and plus I was adding the link for everyone to see the great bloggers doing a giveaway. HTML is a little scary. 

Be sure to enter my giveaway here

Finally,  today's post. This I know how to do. LINK up for a PARTY!!!

Time for Tricks of the Trade Thursday with Joy in the Journey
Today's topic: Center Organization/Stations Set up 

For me, in middle school, I haven't quite perfected centers. 

First of all, I have called them centers, stations and rotations. I think I need to choose one and stick with it. 

I have used a pocket chart to let kids know where they go. This was for one group of kids though. It worked well. They did one center a day, I moved their names each day. There were only 13 of them. It was a math lab class. 

But for the other 100 kids I have this didn't work. 
Plus, with larger classes, having them move around is hard. 

One way I did center activities was give the group of 4-5 kids their six activities and they work together on the six things. 
Each group had "packet". They labeled fractions on a number line. They had recording sheets and stayed at their seats. 

The other way that I want to work on is to have 5-6 stations and make me (teacher table) one of them. 
Either kids will move rotations or baskets with the items needed will move. I would also like to have computers has one of the stations. For me, I need six rotations to make small groups. I also need the independent work to be something they can actually do independently. If they need my help, then I can't work with kids at my table. By doing this, I can incorporate more practice time of skills though, and they really need extra practice. 

When doing stations though, I keep all materials in baskets. I include instructions in the basket and on a wall that has the rotations posted. This way there is no excuse for not working.

Before I even begin stations, we go through what they look and sound like. This is the poster I started the year with. Because I am middle school, I may just stick with "rotations" and change it for August. 

Click the picture for a FREE copy. There is one for centers, stations and rotations. 

As I try and figure out how to make this work in my classroom, I can't wait to see what others link up! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bloglovin' Blog Hop & Giveaway

In only a few days Google Reader will be gone. Be sure to join in on the Bloglovin' wagon. You won't want to miss the blogs you love reading now. Plus, you can find even more. 

Link up with Tori over at Tori's Teacher Tips. She has great instructions to make the change and has made it easy to follow others. 

Be sure to click on my Bloglovin' button as well! 
And to join in on the fun. I am doing a giveaway as well. This is actually my first. I hope it works! a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tried It Tuesday- Signature picture

It's Tuesday evening... I am running late. But I gotta link up with my girl, Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper.

Today at summer school, our 5th graders took the state test for the third time! It was a long four plus hours!

Tomorrow is the Reading retake.

After that, I am hoping the remaining 10 days will be more "fun".

So, for my Tried It today, I created this little guy with my signature. It has been quite an ordeal. I wanted it to be simple.

The simplest tutorial I found was from Jessica over at Mrs. Stanford's class. I know I need to work on my graphic, but I have been messing with this concept for a few hours now as well as trying to make dinner, clean the kitchen and do a few loads of laundry.

Honestly, I am tired, but didn't want to miss one of my favorite linky parties!

So, for now... I tried it. We'll see if it stays!

Would love if you have suggestions to make it look better or how to make things easier.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Link Ups

If you are an optimist, I am early for this link up. I am starting this post on Tuesday, the week before.
Since I am still working, I am crazy busy. I have limited time.

If you are a pessimist, I am a week late since I didn't get a post done for two of my favo linky parties. I am starting this post a day late in your eyes.

I am fine either way. I am too tired to be offended one way or the other.

I did have time to stalk, I mean browse blogs though and every one has such GREAT ideas. My to do list just keeps getting longer and longer....

This week's "made it" is of course, school related for me.

During the huge teacher Appreciation Sale, I purchased these from Miss Math Dork. I love, love, love her stuff. Everything is very professionally done. These are her "How to be a Good Mathematician Posters"

I finally printed and laminated the posters! (I love, love, love my laminator as well!!!) Click here to get your own set from her TpT store.
I am ready to hang mine up!!!
I know some of you think this may take too much ink. If you think that, use it as a power point. I plan to show it that way to my kiddos, but I want them up all year long. This way they are sturdy and I can refer to them when my kids get lazy, frustrated, etc...

My Must have is a home product.
I must have coffee and since Christmas I must have my K-Cups.
Keurig® Vue® V700 Brewing System
My husband and I both bought one for each other for Christmas. We decided great minds think alike.We only kept one. I absolutely could not start my day without coffee. This has been awesome for us. We no longer waste coffee. We have one at work as well, it has been very nice to have that in our workroom. 
I normally only drink coffee at home. I have been known to have multiple cups of coffee at home. I also drink coffee at night. It does not keep me up at night. I love the flavors and options I have with the K-cups and yes, it may be more expensive, but since we don't have a Starbucks any where close to us, I accept the splurge! 

Happy Monday everyone! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Student Motivation- Phone Calls Home

It's Saturday! I am headed out to an all day softball tournament. No, not playing, just rooting for my husband. It is going to be so HOT! I am drinking my very large cup of coffee in preparation.

I didn't want to miss Joanne's linky party though. It's time to Spark Student Motivation with Head Over Heels for Teaching!

How to spark student motivation: Call their parents with something POSITIVE about their child 

My principal has a big initiative at least twice a year to get us to make POSITIVE phone calls to our students' parents. She makes one of our  faculty meeting a contest to see which teacher can call the most parents and share something positive about their child.

Remember, I teach middle school. Parents don't normally get those positive calls often. As a matter of fact, they see the school number on their phone and don't answer.

We do it early in the year to make some positive contact with them and then we do it again (as a staff) after Christmas.

She encourages us to do it throughout the year as well, but twice a year she creates it as a contest for us. The winning teacher gets a prize. It may be an hour lunch break, leave early ticket, or something like that.

Trust me, if your students know you are calling home to tell their parents something POSITIVE, it will motivate them!

Link up and share something you do to motivate. I'll be checking back when I am all sweaty from being in the sun all day! Time to go apply sunscreen!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Freebie

Last week a friend of mine "pinned" this:

I think it is great. But, I do a beginning of the year project called "Math About Me" that I really liked last year and want to continue. It's  repetitive, so I decided to merge them.

So, I created this:

Last year, my students really wanted to decorate their silhouette. Now, they can!

This will be the first page in their Math journals next year. I also slipped a copy into my notebook because I have the clear pocket on the front.

See last years Math About Me here.

Click here or on the template above to a FREE copy.

Be sure to check out all the great FREEBIES at TBA!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tricks of the Trade- Manipulative Storage

Linking up for the first time with Joy in the Journey for her Tricks of the Trade Thursdays" 

Since I am not in my classroom right now, I won't have any photos of my actual storage system. 
But here is what I have done for years. 

I am all about plastic sturdy storage. I had been teaching for 10 years when I met my husband. He didn't realize how many plastic tubs I had until we moved after being together for five years. He was truly shocked. He told me he would move them once and that was it. Isn't he so funny? He has moved them twice so far. He's a trooper though. 

1. Large plastic tubs.
I have a gazillion unifex cubes, pattern blocks, and base ten blocks. These are in large tubs. 
I have about 15 of these with various color lids. Last year they stored manipulatives and notebooks. They have lasted for many, many years and several moves. 

2. Smaller tubs
I have some smaller tubs as well for the manipulatives that I have less of, like cusinaire rods. I think these are called shoe boxes. They are a great size smaller amounts. 

3. I have many, many sets of cards. I have them all labeled with matching letters. This helps get missing cards to the correct set. The cards are kept in index box holders. These are cheap when school supplies come out. 
This is actually a picture of my reward cards, but these are the exact boxes I use for my decks of cards storage. They are labeled "Deck of Cards A, Deck of Cards B, etc..." 

4. I use pencil boxes for everything. I bet I have over fifty boxes. When I taught first grade, I used a lot of "junk boxes". These housed all my small things. I have a bunch of seasonal erasers from Oriental Trading. These boxes were perfect for those type items. 
At the end of the year I keep all  these pencil boxes in a very large tub. I have about 20 of these in my room. They store a lot of things since I don't have closets or cabinets. 

Everything is labeled. Right now they are with homemade tags and clear packing tape. 
Fifth in the Middle shared about a sticker maker on a Monday Must Have. I am seriously considering getting one of these by the end of the summer. 

I also have a basket called "Lost and Found".  When things are already put away and a unifex cube or card is found, it is put in Lost and Found. This way I can put them back where they need to go when I have time. 
This is the exact basket I have that collects my lost and found.

For me, my manipulatives are changing since I am now in middle school. This year, I plan to buy Algebra Tiles and Anglegs. Time to buy new tubs! 
Shh! Don't tell my husband though.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bloglovin'- I can no longer resist the change

I will be honest, I am not sure what Bloglovin' is all about. I normally resist change until I have to give in. Well, looks like I have to give in or lose my relationships, which I seriously do not want to do!!!

I do know is Google Reader followers is going away July 1st. Seriously blog friends, July 1st is a mere 11 days away!!!! I really treasure my blogging relationships, so I don't want to lose any of them!

I don't want to miss following you, so I hope you add a Bloglovin' button to your blog so I can continue to follow you.

Follow on Bloglovin

And, of course, I don't want you to miss following me, so please click on my Bloglovin' button and continue to follow me.

When I imported my blogs I was already following, I think it made me a follower of them IF they have a bloglovin' button already.

It was actually very simple. I got my information from Learning to the Core. I also read a blog from i teach What's Your Superpower? Head on over to either of those, or both like me and join in the fun.

Good Luck and do not resist the change, it is coming whether we like it or not!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tried it Tuesday- Padlet Wall

I was too busy to link yesterday to my normal Monday link ups, but I wrote most of this post last week, so thankfully it was ready for Tried It Tuesday with Fourth Grade Flipper.

It's Tuesday and I think I have something to share that may be new to a lot of folks.

Have you ever heard of This is what you see when you go to the website.

It's a "wall" on the Internet where you can share documents.

They give you a blank wall, you fill it up.

With what you ask?

Documents you want to share with others. When you click on the above sections on their website, there are easy to read instructions. I am a complete amateur to this site. I was introduced to it last  week during curriculum writing. I know, I have a lot to learn and right now I am only using it minimally.

Why did I start a wall?

My department has resources available to us that include CDs. The CDs aren't easily accessible though if we are working at home. We downloaded them and added them to our "wall" for easy access. Because these are copyrighted, our wall is password protected. We own the rights to them because we purchased the products. We can't share them with people not in our school.  I will say up front, the password will be changed periodically due to teacher turnover. It just protects all involved.

This is a sample of one of the Padlet walls we created last week. It has all the documents we wanted lined up on a "cork board." Anyone with access to  the wall, clicks on the document they want. The documents are PDFs

Here's a picture of the privacy options. I like that there are so many.

As I was typing this post, I created a wall. Just for fun. To show you how easy it to create one.

My wall is If you click it, you will see a note, just for you. You will see different types of documents I shared.

What I like about it so far.
Since its new to me, I can only share about what I have used.
First, I like how easy it is to literally drag documents on to the wall. I literally open my documents folder and drag it to the wall. Then I title it and its done!

For our school resources, I love having the documents I need and not having to bring the book and or CD home to work. I have enough in my teacher bag everyday.

I like the multiple privacy options. I can have a private wall, a semi private and a public. I can allow multiple people rights to add to the wall, change, write notes, etc. I can have limits of just viewing my wall and making sure my documents are untouched.

I like that my department and I can have this wall for us to share among each other. We made our walls open to all grade levels.

What I don't like so far: 
There is a not a way to make folders on the wall. This can clutter the wall. We originally made a "math" wall and had to change it to three separate walls, one for each grade level in our school.

Also, I have a TpT store, so I can share free stuff there.
I have a Scribd account as well. I started that before opening my store.
So, do I need another place to keep documents?

Honestly, I don't know yet. I don't know enough about Padlet to give a good answer to that question. I know for the staff development that I have attended and used Padlet, it has been awesome to access to those documents.

Maybe this sparked some interest and you want to check it out.

If you have been using Padlet, I would love to hear if you think it is worth my time.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Coffee Talk

It's Friday after a very long week. This was my first day to sleep in since school got out last week.
I woke up at 6:30, thanks to my three year old, loaded the dishwasher, started a load of laundry and made this. It's the biggest coffee mug we have. My husband actually made it for me a few anniversaries ago. It took two K-cups.

I started summer school this week. It's a half day, but it is non stop. There are no breaks. I see three groups of kids from 7:40-12:00. Then I have lunch duty until 12:30.

After summer school, I have been driving back to my original school for curriculum writing. At least there, I get to sit.We work until 5:30.

Then I come home, pick up my family and go to baseball practice. I have been coming home between 8-9 every night.

It has been a very long week. Thankfully, that schedule is over. I only work half days from now on.

I did manage to make a freebie this week though. Monday was a planning day for summer school. Since I am working with teachers from all over our district we brought what we thought we would need to make this one month as smooth as possible. We discussed classroom management. I shared my Respect Rules and they all liked the idea so we made a set and all the fifth grade classrooms have them posted. It has helped for consistency, even during the summer.

I made several sets that are colorful. Since our whole town colors are purple, I made these FREE for today's link up with TBA. Other colors are available in my TpT store as well. I also made this FREE. It's a white set to be printed on colored card stock. This is actually how we made this for summer school.

Here's to half days!