Saturday, August 31, 2013

Free Gift Opportunity AND Student Motivation Linky

I don't want you to miss this cool opportunity shared from Middle School Math Madness
She shared about RedditGifts, a teacher supply giveaway. You get linked up with a donor and receive a package from them later in the month. 

The deadline to sign up is TUESDAY, SEPT 3rd! 
Click here to learn more. 

This is my first attempt at this, but I don't want you to miss out on the goodies! 

And now to Spark some Motivation with our kiddos.
Head over Heels for Teaching with Joanne, hosts this weekly linky. 

This was the first week of school and I am completely exhausted. So, I am going to keep this simple. 

Music motivates my students. So, one of the things I use as a reward is playing music while they work in stations. I use my play lists. I also use Pandora and I heart music in my class. 
Kids love it and they actually work. 

I also use you tube videos in my class. I like for the kids to see what other students create. 

One of our schools' favorites is Teach Me How To Factor. Our Algebra kids sing it all the time. 

Mr. Duey is one of my students' favorites! 

Did you know there's a You Tube for Teachers? 
Click here and check it out. 

I searched middle school math songs and a gazillion videos popped up. Okay, maybe not a gazillion, but a lot! I think this will be a great resource to make learning fun for my students. 

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Friday, August 30, 2013


I participated in the SLANT box exchange this month. It's hosted by Jameson over at Lesson With Coffee
The SLANT Box Exchange
Not sure what this is? Click on the picture and JOIN IN the FUN!!!!

I met two great teachers! 

My box was sent from Ms. O Reads Books! 

She sent me some really cool things. I can't wait to put them up in my room! 
Look at all the fun stuff! Um, yes, those are, were, Girl Scout Cookie flavored HEAVEN!!! 
See the Sharpies sneaking in at the top? These are so perfect! I apparently am the only teacher in the world who doesn't have black sharpies! How did that happen? Well, now I do thanks to her! 

And she MADE me the vertical and horizontal letters for my door. I am beyond thrilled. 

She surprised me with my name and that BIG ATM for my college! I am sooooo excited! 
They are going to look great on my teacher desk! 

Up close so you can see how PERFECT it is!!!! 

Thanks so much Angela!!! You are the best! 

This was really fun, even in a hectic time. Definitely signing up again! 

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Day with Interactive Notebooks

It's the 28th of the month, time for 4mula Fun's Interactive Notebook Linky. 
inb linky

This is my second full year to use INBs in middle school. 

I am trying binders! 

Yesterday, we started putting it together. 

First issue is storage. I have three designated areas for the binders by class. This will be a learning experience as the year goes along.

I decided during the summer I wanted them to keep supplies in their binders, but couldn't ask for another supply from their parents. 
So, I made these baggies. I used color duct tape and packing tape to just make it sturdier. The best thing about middle school is they can punch their own holes. 

We signed our guidelines paper, set up our table of contents, and some informational pages. It was a little crazy for a while, but no too bad. 

I have to say, I LOVE the binder so far. We haven't had to glue anything down yet. There was no mess! It's too early in the school year for a mess. 

I taught them how I like things numbered and why. We talked left side/right side. I try to stick to this, but I don't always succeed and I don't get caught up in it. (Life is too short) 

They learned a lot about listening and following directions. 

They also learned that I will tell them and SHOW them everything they need to know if they will let me! Each class was different and the process tells me a lot about my students. Its like a mini assessment. I could figure out the OCD ones right away; the messy ones, the rule breakers and rule followers immediately. I have lots of artsy girls too. They love the markers and colored pencils. 

We will make our first foldable later this week. I am thrilled. It involves glue. Wish me luck! 

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tried It Tuesday- Revolution

My Tuesday Tried It with Holly is not going to be school related, sorry. 

But I wanted to share with you what I am trying. 

I am waking up at 5am and working out BEFORE school!!! I have completed two days. Yes, I am tired, but I am glad I have done it. I feel so "accomplished" even before I get to work. 

Jillian is kicking my B-U-T-T! But, I am motivated to continue. Plus, if I tell you I am doing it, I will have to keep it up! 

Do you wake up early for workouts? 

How do you fit it all in? I really am curious.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Guess Who's Celebrating 20??!!!!

Today I began my 20th year of teaching. I still can NOT believe that statement. Seriously, how did that happen? 

I taught kindergarten for two years at the school I actually went to kindergarten, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. I didn't skip 1st and 2nd, the military moved us to a different school in the same district. 

Then I moved schools and taught kinder for one more year. 

The following year, I was a Math Coach at a different school in my district. This began my love of teaching MATH. 

I taught first for three more years, moved districts and taught first for another three years. 

I moved again, and taught first grade four more years. 

A great opportunity came up at my school and I became a Math interventionist for 2nd-5th grade. It was a super great job! I spent seven years at that school. I got married and had two babies with those women. Leaving was really hard. 

During that time, my family moved and commuting was too hard. We live in a small town, elementary positions were hard to come by. I interviewed with two of the three principals for elementary even though they had no positions. One of them passed me on to the middle school principal. 

I was scared to death, but took the job for 6th grade math because I really want in the district. 

It was the absolute worst year of my teaching career. I pretty much cried daily and counted the days until the end of school. That started the fourth week of school. It was no secret that I would NOT be returning. I always joke that that was the year I started drinking wine on weekdays. It's true though. 

I did interview with a local elementary school that next summer and really thought I was getting the position. The principal and I had been talking about it all year. Like I said, not a secret to anyone. 

But, I didn't get it and I was crushed, mad. 

My current principal called and offered me department head which is so comical after the year I had just completed. But, in all honesty, I was the only option. We had so many math teachers bolt, I won it by default. 

I had started stalking blogs that spring and started this blog during the summer. It helped me adjust MY attitude and I started last year with a MUCH different perspective. The year was FANTASTIC! 

When the principal I had interviewed with the two previous years approached me about finally coming to her school for this upcoming school year, I very quickly and confidently said, "Nope, I plan to stay at the middle school." This was in APRIL!!! 

My third year in middle school, and MY CHOICE!!!

 I am ready and excited to continue this journey. Who knows what will happen next? 

And since you made it this far and allowed to walk down memory lane, you deserve a FREEBIE!!! 

Too busy for a giveaway so I decided EVERYONE'S WINS!!!

Leave a comment and tell me how many years you have been teaching. You can tell what you are starting this year or have completed, your choice! 

Then, choose one of these products and I will send it to you for FREE! 

Be sure to leave your email

Choice 1: 
Test Taking Strategies: 

Choice 2:
Hook the Shark: Equivalent Fractions card game match

If neither of these interest you, please visit my TpT store and let me know what would work better for you. I want everyone to celebrate! 

I will hold this freebie giveaway until Saturday, August 31st.  

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Polka Dot Heaven- My Classroom

Finally getting to share my classroom pictures. There are many, just warning! 

This is what I walked into a few weeks ago. 

Behavior Management Plan 
Brain Dump revamped. I have blogged about this here
Student created Math posters found here

Got these from Brown Bag Teacher

Changed word wall to "vocabulary" wall. The heading are the main categories. I am thrilled to add the cards I bought from Math Mojo, they are Uh-MA-ZING!! 
1st Prep Agenda board. The orange arrow says, Homework board idea from Fourth Grade Flipper"
2nd Prep Agenda Board
Great management tool! Students fill out, not me. 
Love this and it works! I have blogged about this here
Test Taking Strategies. 
"I don't know" is not an option in our classroom!

Mathematician posters from Miss Math Dork!

I actually have a few more I need to take, but will have to post another day. As much as I want to head to school, we have baseball today! 

Check out MS Sunday Funday for more looks into classrooms! 

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Community Walks- Sparking Student Motivation

Linking up with Joanne over at Head Over Heels to share some motivation ideas. 

My current principal started a tradition at our middle school a few years ago for the teachers to "walk the community" and introduce ourselves to the kids before school starts. 

I hear the first year was a disaster. They tried to do all 6-8. Thank goodness it was before my time. 

Then, it was changed to just 6th graders. 

We divide up and tackle our community. We don't get to them all, but we make our presence known. 

They LOVE it! 

It is HOT though. I live in East of Austin, Texas. We have highs of 99 and higher. We have high humidity. 
We sweat. None of us like to sweat. 

But, we know it makes a difference. It last one hour and we make an impact. 

This year I was in a group with my principal and we went to the scariest part of our town. But, it successful and we accomplished our goal. We met about 6 of our incoming sixth graders and made a presence with all us walking down the streets like a gang. (Safety in numbers ya know!)

We leave yard signs as well. I love having one of these in my own yard.

Next week when the kids arrive, they love to say "you came to my house" or "I saw you in our neighborhood". 

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