Friday, January 31, 2014


This is the perfect weekend for making predictions! 

First, my students did the Super Bowl Math I created this week. It ended up being a homework assignment. 

We did go over it and talk football. That was great for some of them and miserable for others. I love football and after this weekend, I will be lost until baseball season starts. 

Students predicted who they think will win the Super Bowl. Here's our classroom chart.

It's obvious who my students are rooting for. I love how some of them chose their team. "Well, I like the horse more than the bird." "I don't like orange, so I am going with the team from the sea". Obviously, those were the kids bored to death. The ones who love football were very vocal about who they think will win. One girl told me, "My dad will kill himself if the Seahawks win! Seriously, Mrs. Hodges, he is obsessed!" 

Honestly, I am very torn about who I want to win. I seriously want Peyton Manning to win. I think he is awesome and has had an amazing year. 

I really like the Seahawks too. I love their colors, yes, I love football, but I am still a girl. Plus, I love that they are the 12th Man. The Texas Aggies are the original 12th Man though. The Seahawks had to get permission from Texas A&M to use that saying. Oh yea! Gig Em'! 

Then, I found out they have a deaf player. Derrick Coleman has been deaf since he was 3 years old and he is playing in the SUPER BOWL!!! What an inspiration. 
My eight year old is hearing impaired, so this tugged at my heart. I can't watch it without tearing up. Just a note: He is rooting for the Seahawks. 

I showed this clip to my kids and one girl said, "I want to change my choice. He deserves to win!" For sixty seconds, my room was the most silent it has ever been. 

Here's another clip about his story. Seriously, I am becoming obsessed with his story. I am in awe! 

My prediction though: Denver wins by 3 points. 

Today, we celebrated Groundhog Day. Yep, I celebrate this wacky holiday. It's a big deal in our house with my husband AND my sister's birthdays. This year the Super Bowl just makes it even sweeter. 

These are the charts we made predicting what the groundhog will do. 

My students apparently think the groundhog is going to see his shadow. Winter has been harsh, I hope not! 

I also received the BEST PENCIL SHARPENER EVER in the mail this week. I won this from Holly & Joanne's Giveaway earlier this month. It's the quietest and it really makes the pencils crazy sharp!!! You have to check this out at Classroom Friendly Supplies

I showed my kids how it works and they are in awe. 

I predict this will become a problem in our classroom. Today's the first day and they are using it out of curiosity, I know. I will have to create some rules and guidelines for this sharpener, or I predict it will drive me insane. 

Happy Friday all! 

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tried it Tuesday- Modeling Expressions

Thanks to an ice day, I am writing my Tried it Tuesday on a Wednesday. I had to take pictures of our work before posting.

We are working on algebraic expressions. I have found this is hard to teach in the past. I am loving it this year though. 

I found this great resource from For the Love of Teaching Math. We completed it and it was wonderful! Lots of hands on and paper cutting and gluing. It was like elementary school all over. Throw some bright colored paper in and they think they are in art class!

I will admit I did it a little out of order for my advanced students. I didn't have it when I began the unit and noticed when I taught it with my regular kids, it just made more sense. 

This is a keeper for sure! 

And don't forget about that HUGE giveaway going on with Miss Math Dork!!! 

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ice Day

So, it's Tuesday and normally I'd have a Tried It Tuesday, but it will have to wait until Wednesday. What I want to write about we did yesterday. I don't have pictures and since we are iced in, I am not going to school. I will post about that tomorrow. 

Be sure to keep reading because there's a GREAT giveaway at the end! 

Now, for our ice day story: 

Just a reminder as you read this, I live in Texas, we don't do cold! As a matter of fact, yesterday, a team mate of mine said, "What is with the weather?" I just looked at her and said, "Uh, it's called Winter." She laughed and said, "Yea, but we live in Texas." It really is a different place. (HA!)

We are home today, again. We missed last Friday due to ice. We knew the night before we were having a delayed start, then at 6am, they cancelled. I was so bummed. The make up day is when I will be in Las Vegas. No, I am not cancelling that, I am having to use another "sick day". Not a good idea when I have a child with an upcoming surgery. 

Anyway, today was another story. We knew the ice was coming, but not until about 5am this morning. I knew of one district that called a late start before school let out, the rest, well, they waited. 

I woke up at 4:50am and worked out. YES! It was 28 degrees outside, but no ice. After my workout, I did the dishes. I know, seriously? I must  have been sick. As I was washing the dishes, my phone rang. Without even answering it, I knew... delayed start. Okay, that I can deal with. 

At 6:30 though, another call, school's cancelled. By now, I had gone back to sleep. I knew my kids would naturally wake up soon, so I went back to sleep to sneak in a few more minutes. 

I figured it was this way in all surrounding areas. That was not the case. Some of our local districts waited too long to call the delay or cancel and the elementary kids were at school already when it was called. (our schools stagger start times to accommodate so many bus riders) 

Teachers had gotten out on the bad roads with their own children. Well, some of them. See around here, we have a LOT, and I mean, A LOT of commuters. We have two teachers in my school that drive an hour and half ONE WAY to work daily!!! When I got the call, I immediately called my teaching partner that commutes and told her to stay home. I know she leaves about 6:15am daily. 

For this reason alone, I feel they have to call delays or cancellations earlier. It is just unsafe. I am lucky now, I live minutes from school. I used to commute 45 minutes one way, but that stopped when my middle child started kindergarten. We really wanted him to go to our neighborhood school and I wanted to be closer to him. It's how I ended up in middle school actually. There were zero openings in our three elementary schools, and last minute a math position came up in the middle school. One of the elementary principals I had interviewed with gave that principal my name and the rest is history. 

So, I have a question for you. Do your district call delays or cancellations with or without enough notice? Is this a "Texas" thing or not? Just curious. Please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks in advance. 

Man, I am babbling. Can you tell, I need to talk daily, a lot and days like this, kill me!!! 

We schedule two bad weather make up days into our school calendar. We have officially used them. Any other days we miss will be tacked on to the end of the school year. The thought of that is just yuck! 

It's still really cold, It hasn't warmed up, it's only 28 degrees. We will not be leaving the house. 

Instead I am doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms and hopefully even a nap later. 

I did however create a new product. Mine as well be productive, right? 

This one is for balancing equations. Check it out here

Oh, and I can't forget Miss Math Dork is celebrating her birthday and 2K followers on FB. She is having a HUGE giveaway! It's a Math Palooza, I tell you! You have to check it out and enter to win!!! 

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Super Bowl Statistics- FREEBIE

For Mathematical Monday with I Heart Recess, I have another FREEBIE for you! 

It's just a quick activity of math  facts to learn about the Super Bowl for this weekend. 
Click here for the freebie!

We are a HUGE football family and we are gearing up for a GREAT game!!! 

We are kind of torn though. Love, love, love Payton Manning. He deserves it. Impressed with Seattle too. They are fun to watch. I guess I feel like we are in a win-win situation, which is a nice change. (Die hard Cowboy fans here, seriously, nuff said!) 

My students will be doing this as a homework assignment. I hope you can use it with your kiddos! 

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sparking Motivation- Individual Homework Banners

Okay, so in middle school homework is a BIG deal. 

I have structures in place. My students know they will have homework Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, without fail. They know we go over the next day. They know they get a six weeks grade for it through the No Homework Binder. We have done this since day 1. 

Two weeks ago, I implemented the Homework Banner. Students seemed excited. I offered free homework FOR A WEEK to the class who spells homework. They were excited. (Or so they pretended). 

This is my board 2 weeks later. 

(thanks to an ice day yesterday, I do not have a picture. I will update on Monday) Picture a board with about 3 letters total. NOT many!  

Insert a teacher sad face. 

I am sad because in most cases, the classes missed getting a letter because of ONE student, and not always the same student. This is discouraging some of my students. Not the ones who struggle getting their homework done, the "good ones". You know, the students who do their homework every time, without fail. The ones who would never want to not do their homework. 

They get the "100" in the gradebook for the six weeks because they always have their homework, but they aren't getting the homework letters and it is really bothering them. 

So, this is what I came up with. 

First, we will continue the class homework banners. Two weeks isn't enough time to throw something out. 

But, each student will have their own "Homework banner".

Each day they have their homework, they will color a letter. I will initial it. Then, we they complete it, they will get to choose from my reward cards. This of course includes, a free homework pass. 

We are starting this Monday. Stay tuned, I will let you know how it goes. 

Click here for a FREE copy. It's nothing fancy, but worth a try, right? 

Be sure to link up with Head Over Heels for Teaching and GET MOTIVATED! 

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Five for Friday- January 24th

We are home today with the ice. YUCK! I was really hoping for a late start, not a whole day! Oh well. I mine as well make it productive! 

 Last week, I shared my integer flippable. Jennifer from 4mula Fun shared it on Facebook and people are interested in it. So, I added it to my TpT store. 

We only had school three days this week. I was only there 1 full day and 2 half days. What a week! 
My 8 year old got his cast removed one day. YEA! Two shoes again! 

He also has an ear disease and we saw a new doctor this week. The news was not good. He will have to endure another surgery. Plus, it was determined that he has no hearing in his left ear. We knew this, but his audiogram proved it. I know this could be worse, I just need to put it out there. It's hard to be the parent of a young child who has to endure stuff like this. It isn't fair, but it is what it is. I am so proud of him and he handles things. We are running a marathon, I just have to remember to keep a good pace. 

In the short time I was at school, we did A LOT! 
 Algebraic Expressions 
We made two new folded notes this week.

My students played the Algebraic Expressions Match I made for this unit. 

I am determined for this to be a fun unit. It has not been a great unit for me to teach. 
This year is going to be different. 
Students playing concentration with the cards. 

Students playing the board game. I loved how much they actually liked it.
The students also completed the matching worksheet that goes along with this game. 

Off to make the rest of my Friday off productive! Be sure to link up with Doodle Bugs for 5 for Friday, always a fun linky party! 

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Tried It-Writing on the desk

I know kids love white boards and dry erase markers. 

This is my twist. 

We used our desks last week. At first, they were skeptical. But, once I did it and they tried it, they loved it. 

I use old socks for erasers. I take them home to wash when they need it. Again, my kids freaked out at first, but I promised them they were clean. They are just old socks that the dryer had eaten their mate. Plus, my husband is extremely OCD and buys new socks every few months and I recycle his not so old ones  for erasers. 

Also, I will warn you, the socks don't completely clean the desks. We did use some spray cleaner as well when we were completely finished. 

Be sure to link up with Holly for some good Tried It Ideas. 

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Monday, January 20, 2014

A Really Large Number Line

This Monday is great! 
What a nice day off. 
Thank you Martin Luther King! 

This summer a discussion with Susan over at  Middle School OCD, led to teaching using a vertical number line. I think the idea of teaching a number line vertically just makes sense. I was all in! My thought was to print, laminate and hang it in my room. Then reality hit and it dawned on me that my room  does not have 12 foot ceilings. So, it has sat in a folder for the school year so far. Check out Susan's new and improved vertical number line here. Click here for student vertical numbers lines. 

As I was planning a lesson on positive and negative integers I really wanted a hands on activity. So, we moved our desks and threw this number line on the floor. Let me just point out, that changing the desk causes such a stir. They were either excited like it was a party or seriously confused because they weren't sure where to sit.

My students were the "counters" and we moved along the number line back and forth showing positive and negative addition and subtraction. 

My students loved it! I think they just liked the change of pace. 

We worked on that for a while. Sorry, no pictures of those big kids all over the line. I was teaching people! 

We completed the foldable I made last week. They actually liked the fill in the blank part. 

Earlier in the year we had included a vertical number line in our binder. I was sure to remind students of that resource. The ones who needed it, used it. Those who didn't, knew it was there. (what I love about math notebooks)

The next day we practiced using the rules for integers with task cards. I got this bundle from Amy Alvis.  It fit my needs PERFECTLY! 
Integer Task Cards Bundle - 144 task cards

I had them fold a piece of paper into eighths. Label the four operations, two on the front and two on the back. I gave each group four cards from each operation. They had to complete 16 cards total. I loved hearing the Math talk as they worked through their problems. And this was on a Friday! They rocked it! 

For Mathematical Monday, I Heart Recess is having a FREE Linky Party. Be sure to check out the great deals over there! 

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