Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tried It Tuesday- Million $ Project Results

It's Tuesday, time to link up with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper.

Our last project of the year was The Million Dollar Project. You can get this free here.

This is my second year to attempt this. Last year was a night mare. This year I added an end product. Students were supposed to create a poster for their project.
These were some of the end products:
These first two went above and beyond. Aren't they great?

 And, the masses... I just let them hang them anywhere and everywhere!

The issue we had was almost all our printers were down. So, I also gave the option of creating a Power Point. I actually liked this better and think next year I will not do the poster, just the power point.

Overall, I think the project went really well. They had plenty of time, maybe too much. I did have an issue with the computer labs, but that was more poor planning on some other departments, not myself. I hope we do this project again, but yes, I know we will "tweak" it as needed.

What would you buy with a million dollars?
Me? Security. I would pay all debt, houses, cars, etc... and travel, travel, travel. It's a dream, I know. But every one needs a dream, right?

Happy Tuesday everyone! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Next year, I am DEFINITELY going to.... Linky

One of my favorite bloggers is hosting her first linky party. I love everything about Finding Joy in 6th grade. She is a great blogger and her ideas and products are top notch!

I love this linky idea because I feel we have all started planning for "next year" already. I still have 7 days for this year, but things that worked are being planned out and things that didn't work are being changed already! 

I just saw this from Holly over at  Fourth Grade Flipper and I love it. I love how it will organize my homework. Isn't it awesome? 

I did this all year and it was wonderful!!! It isn't broke, no need to fix it! This idea came from Leslie at Jack of All Trades. I tweaked it a little, but not much. Her system is great. 

I love Interactive Notebooks. I used them everyday. Composition notebooks are great, but they are too small and when we made pockets, they weren't deep enough. So, I am going to try something different. 

My students need more math practice for every skill. I want to incorporate more time for stations on a weekly or bi weekly time line. I am not sure how I am going to incorporate them exactly, but I know they need it more than I did this year, I have already started getting my task cards ready. Some I have bought, printed and laminated. Some I still need to print and laminate and then there are some I am making on my own. This is one of those thing I tried, kind of liked, but need to get a better way for it to work in my classroom. 

I am not sure how this is going to look, but the biggest complaint I get from my parents is that they cannot help their students because they don't remember "sixth grade math". I am in the process of creating a "Parents Guide to 6th Grade Math". It's going to be a packet or something that I can pass out to parents to help them with the strategies we teach our students.

Our sixth graders have some serious transition issues to middle school, so we are trying to be proactive next year. For starters we are having a 6th grade back to school Saturday for parents and students. Instead of meeting their teachers for five minutes at a time at the traditional "Meet the teacher", we are planning a a four hour information meeting. We plan to help our students AND their parents make the transition to middle school easier. My other biggest complaint from parents is that they don't know what is going on. Parents are trying to give them more "freedom", but I can't stress enough how they have to know what is going on and their child is not going to tell them. They have to check agendas, websites, etc....

As I read through blogs this seems to be a huge topic for all of us as teachers. I do okay, but then fall short. I did some things this year that helped. I just need to keep adding to it. I was one of the few that didn't get that teacher supply organizer made. From reading how most people love theirs this year, I plan on making one this summer. Something similar to this.
Labeled peace themed teacher organizer

Thanks to blogging, I have made some improvements this year.
I started some notebooks, but station materials are bulky and don't fit in folders. So, I started using tubs to help organize them I just need to continue this.
It doesn't look like this now! 

Erica Bohrer's Classroom:  monthly storage tubsThis isn't my classroom, but that is what it looks like, just not as neat.

I did create a crate to file everything for my students by class, papers by day, papers to copy, etc.
file folders in a crate for papers to be passed backVery similar to this. 

I also have a file for my units from this year and now at least I know where to find things when I start planning.

And lastly,
By nature though, I may not be able to follow through with this one. 

How about you? Have you started planning for next year yet?

Must Have Mondays-I gave in to Peer Pressure

It's Monday, and I am off! Last day of a very long weekend.

It's also time for Must Have Monday with Teaching with a Touch of Twang.

I gave in to peer pressure. Last week, several posts were about the Scotch Laminator.

 I bought one four days later and have been a laminating fool since!

Multiplying Fractions Pirate Style from Finding Joy In 6th Grade

Whack and Integer from Finding Joy in 6th Grade

Whack an Order of Operations from Finding Joy in 6th Grade

Place Value Task Cards from Hodges Herald

This laminator is a MUST have and I can honestly see why some teachers have more than one. It's crazy affordable and extremely sturdy laminating!

Well worth every penny!!! The only downside? I need to go buy more colored ink to keep printing and laminating.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer Bucket List

I am linking with A Cupcake for the Teacher for my Summer Bucket List.

It's not summer for me yet. We still have 7 1/2 days. I will be out one of those days, so 6 1/2 for me.

But, my #1 is to survive summer school! I am teaching summer school. Its the first time in 18 years that I have done summer school. The first was kindergarten. This time its fifth graders. I am teaching the 5th graders that failed the state test TWICE and have to take it again to move on to sixth grade. These are students I will be teaching next year, if they pass. It is 18 days total, 7:15-12:45. The pay is really great. I can do this!!!

#2 Curriculum writing: along with summer school, I am participating in our district curriculum writing. It'll be about a week long and it is super important! .

#3 Two days after summer school ends, I will leaving for LAS VEGAS for a week! No need to expand, right?

#4 I plan to enjoy the afternoons with my children. We will swim and play hard!

#5 I will be using this thing to the extreme! I am IN LOVE with this machine!

How about you? Have you started planning your summer? 

Saturday, May 25, 2013


It's Saturday, the second day of my four day weekend. It feels so good. I think I am relishing in this weekend because we still have 7 1/2 days of school and then I have a workday, a weekend and then start summer school. This is the most "time off" I will have until the middle of July. I am okay with that, it was my choice to teach summer school. But, I am going to enjoy this long, long weekend.

It's time for a All things Upper Elementary Free for All Linky!
I am re-posting my Million $ Project because I noticed that one off my links on my first post went to a paid product in my store. Oops, that was completely accidental. The link on the picture was correct, but still, I feel a little guilty.

Plus, its near the end of the year for many, so if you need a fun project to do, here's one. We just completed it and it was pretty fun. I will post more on that next week.

Check out all the great freebies over at All things Upper Elementary. I am sure you will find some great stuff!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Eyes on Math K-8

It's Friday! I am starting a 4-day weekend! Exactly what I needed if you read my post yesterday. I have had a great nights sleep and I do feel so much better.

Time to link up with TBA for some FREEBIES.

I am really excited to share this with you.

I received some free presents this week from our ESL consultant. I knew they were coming, but had forgotten, so it was like Christmas when they arrived.

I immediately opened one and thought, THIS IS PERFECT for all my students  but especially second language learners.
Book cover

The idea is that students will learn the deep mathematics through visualizing. 

I really want to give you an example of the book, but I can't. But don't worry, you can see it on the Teachers College Press website. It's good stuff math teachers!!!! 

I underlined this sentence from the short intro chapter: 
Building a math talk learning community is an integral step in improving mathematical understanding in a classroom. 

This is sooooo my philosophy! I am going to love this book!

Then as I was reading it, I saw that all the visuals are actually a FREE download.

The book is awesome though. It has the guiding questions that teachers should ask when using the visuals. All the work is done for you!!! No, I am not selling this book, I just don't want anyone reinventing what is already there for you.

I also love that this book is for K-8! I have access to the lower levels for my struggling learners, but also the upper levels for the advanced kiddos!

I also like that the authors encourage you to create your own visuals. They even give you help doing so! That is great teacher love there!

I can't wait to try this next week with my kids. (I see a Tried it Tuesday post developing,  maybe???) I also think this will be great for summer school.

Check out the FREE visuals from TC Press. You can download in either PDF or JPEG.

Happy Friday! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Emotionally Drained

This has been the hardest day emotionally for me. Today I had to tell many of my students they did not pass the state test. I have never had to do that before. It was gut wrenching. They knew this meant they will be attending summer school.

I had to tell many students they only missed passing by one or two questions. Their disappointment was so sad.

We shed a lot of tears today.

I am exhausted, I mean physically exhausted from the emotional roller coaster.

There was a lot of discussion around classes. There was a group of boys in one class who failed and who are behavior issues, serious behavior issues. My aide heard them saying, "Man, its because I misbehave. I gotta start listening." Hmmm... did that just sink in to them?"

We still have 7 1/2 days left of school. It is going to be tough.

Thankfully we have a four day weekend ahead of us. I need to regroup. I need to get away from school and unwind. I need to hug my own children, play some ball with them and spend some money. Plus, I think a nap is in order!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tried It Tuesday- Google Drive

It's Tuesday and I have been waiting a week to share what I tried. Be sure to check out all the great post at Fourth Grade Flipper with Holly, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Last week, Tina from Croft's Classroom shared about her new Chromebook.

I am in the market for a new computer and I just really don't want to spend a fortune. Mostly, I surf, blog and create documents.  I love the idea of an ipad but I can't do documents on it and the cost is not something I want to spend.

I searched the Chromebook features after reading her posts. I liked, no loved the price. And after yesterday's Must Have it Mondays, I am buying a laminator, hands down!

There's no Microsoft though. How would I do documents?

Google Drive! I have very limited experience with it. I know it exists and somehow I actually have some documents on Google Drive. I couldn't tell you how they got there though. (This type of thing is when I really feel my age!)

So, I created a presentation on Google Drive to see how easy it could be. If I buy one, I will use it for almost everything. It wasn't very hard and I don't even know the ins and outs.

This was my first creation:

I can't say I am sold yet, but I am leaning this way.
I am going to keep playing around with Google Drive and see how it goes.

I also made a product for my store. It was fairly easy. I liked that I could save it in both PDF and PowerPoint for Microsoft.

What about you? Are you familiar with Google Drive? Has it worked for you? Pros? Cons?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Must Have Mondays

I am linking up with Teaching with a Touch of Twang for Must Have Mondays.
 My first one is my Time Timer. I have blogged about this several times. Click here and here for those posts. Sorry for the repeat ladies, but I live and die by this thing.

I have 50 minutes classes and this is the best visual for me to keep pace of my lessons. Plus, my students NEVER ask, how much time is left? Most of the time I hear, "wow, class is almost over!"

Can't wait to see your must haves!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five for Friday

Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs. I am so jealous that she is finished with the school year. We still have 11 1/2 days to go!

So, my #5 last Friday was about my son's baseball team earning Mc Donald's from my husband for their first double play. My #1 this week is about the payout! 
They all showed up and they had the best time together. We are so fortunate to have a great bunch of kids this year along with a great bunch of parents, which if you know anything about Little League, can be difficult. Mine is the handsome boy in the back with the Astros hat. (we are die hard fans, even in the tough years) 

#2 I have spent one week with my sixth graders in the computer lab and on ipads working on this Million Dollar Project. I have been both impressed and discouraged. Mostly, impressed. My kids are doing great and having fun. I have even had parents tell me their child is really enjoying it. The discouraging part is when I have students (about 6 so far) that have spent an entire week in the lab and have NOTHING bought. That is out of pure laziness. It is hard not to strangle them! Time to make some phone calls.

#3 Tina from Crofts Classroom shared about getting a new Chromebook for Mother's Day and I spent much of the week investigating it. I also practiced making documents using Google Drive. It has been pretty cool. I made several things. I made my first product on it and posted it yesterday. Click the picture to check it out.

#4 I received a really great letter in my school mailbox this week. I am the department head for Math and we receive a very small stipend for the extra work. Our district apparently has been doing some comparisons with other districts and found that they were not paying us enough. So, we got a raise in our stipend. A significant one that we will actually see May 31st!  It of course comes at the perfect time. Seriously though, when is extra money not perfect? 

#5 If you follow me and have read more than one of my 5 for Friday, you know my life is about baseball right now. We are in the midst of a big tournament. We played last night and lost 9-7. Not sad though. Our kids came back from a 7-0 beating and played really hard. We have a really good chance to win tonight and keep going in the tournament. If we lose, we are done. But, it just means for us, summer ball starts. We really love baseball round here! 
Go Mets! 

Million $ Freebie!

I love Fridays! 

Its' Freebie Friday at TBA and I already found three awesome things to download!
I blogged about this project last Saturday, but I wanted to share it again for those of you searching for a project for your upper grade students. My students are having a blast and learning that one million dollars really is a lot of money! Click on the picture to get it for FREE, of course!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Success In Secondary- Link Party

Teaching High School Math is hosting another Secondary Link Party. 
Teaching High School Math

There are tons of great activities, both free and paid. 

Check it out! You are sure to find something great!!!