Thursday, December 7, 2017

December Updates and Freebies!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Thanks for hanging in with me on this poor neglected little blog! Grab a mug of hot chocolate (candy cane stirrer and nice big squirt of whipped cream preferred!) and settle in to read for just a bit. I'd like to share a few updates and freebies with you today!






I've been busy updating and adding to winter resources like this one, Winter Word Work.




This set has seven literacy games and activities that are perfect for your winter centers as well as small groups. All of the activities are built around core winter vocabulary like shovel, icicles, snow, slide, mittens, shiver, skate, and 23 more. You'll find activities in this set that will get your students to look closely at these words, like noun/verb sorts, alphabetical order, small group vocabulary bingo, and word cubes with task cards. There's even a set of 30 riddle cards (you can see some in the picture above) and a board game to use with them.



This set of winter subtract-and-color games was also recently updated. How fun is it to play a subtraction game (alone or with a partner) that can then become a cute decoration for classroom windows or a bulletin board!




There are five games in this first grade set now, perfect for a math lesson or center activity when your firsties are particularly wiggly... like, any day in December!



There are a few other new winter resources in my TpT store ( click here to see them all), but here's one last resource, a Christmas math set that I don't want you to miss!




These ten one-page games are a great way to review first grade math topics all month. The bonus for YOU is that they are truly no prep. All you need to do is print the single page (no cards!! yippee!!), laminate, and give your students dice and erasable markers. You can make it even easier and save on color ink, too, by printing the blackline version that's included for all ten games - make them for one time use and you won't even need to laminate! Check them out here.


And now for those freebies!

This one is an oldie but goodie, and great for December math!



These six  December graphs are definitely in line with the standards, in case any administrator happens to pop in! There's even a cover included, so you can turn your graphs into a class book!


This freebie was previously featured on a collaborative blog, but I don't think I've ever shared it here. Roll a die, double the number, and then add two. The first player to mark four spaces in a row is the winner. Just click on the picture to download your copy.





This one-page addition strategy game is a bonus add-on to a free set of three addition strategy games that you can find here in my TpT store.





Have fun with your kiddos in the busy days ahead!


Happy Teaching!









Monday, October 23, 2017

October Math Treats to Use Right Now!

Hello, Friends!

Here we go, approaching the end of October, and what's likely the busiest time of the school year... and one of the busiest seasons in your outside of school life, too. I'd like to (re)share some oldies but goodies that might be useful to you right now. AND - all of these math resources are free!




These resources were previously shared on Teaching Blog Roundup.


If you are a first grade teacher, you know that there's no such thing as too much practice on the 120 chart. With so many of you working on place value early in the year (!!!), I hope that Pumpkin Party Flip-and-Find will help move your littles along in the process.



If you're looking for more activities for the 120 chart, click here to see more than 20 of them
 at my TpT store, including several more free items!



Pumpkins are everybody's favorite for October, so here are two ways to include them in your October teaching.  First is this little set of pumpkin themed subtraction word problems.




... and here is a set of two solve-and-color pages that use ten frames.




Enjoy, and have lots of October fun!

Happy Teaching!








Saturday, September 30, 2017

Here's What's New for Fourth Grade, Plus a Math Freebie!

Hello, Teaching Friends!

Fourth grade friends, I've been hard at work and have some new resources to share with you today... including this freebie!




Well, yes, this IS Primary Inspiration, and yes, the focus is usually on K-3 around here. 😊 But I've been branching out a bit, and want to show you a bit of that here today. If you have friends that teach fourth or fifth grade, I would greatly appreciate you sharing this with your upper grade buddies! Thanks so much!


Let's take a closer look at how your free game works!

All of my Thumbs Up games  (K-4th) are played the same way: your students read numerical expressions appropriate to the skills at their grade level and decide if each one is Thumbs Up true or Thumbs Down false.

Here's how a game looks. There's a page of cards to cut apart, plus the answer key, as you see in this set for factors. You'll cut apart the white cards, but not the answer key, of course.




The complete set at each grade level also includes several formats for sorting the answer cards.




Use the full page cards shown above for a partner game. There's also a one page format that a student can use independently. Want to use these on your document camera for a whole class game? You'll love the jumbo thumbs up/thumbs down printables. They're a fun way for students to show you their responses, and for you to do a quick scan to see who else might need some extra help.

Here are the topics included in the complete fourth grade set of ten games, with Common Core Standards included for those of you who use them:

♦ Factors of numbers through 100 (4.OA.B.4)

♦ Compare two fractions with different numerators & different denominators (4.NF.A.2)

♦ Compare Decimals , >,<,= (4.NF.C.7)

♦ Compare and Order Decimals (4.NF.C.7)

♦ Add & Subtract Whole Numbers Through 1,000,000, standard algorithm (4.NBT.B.4)

♦  Multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one-digit whole number (4.NBT.B.5)

♦  Multiply two two-digit numbers (4.NBT.B.5)

♦  Express measurements in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit (4.MD.1)

♦  2D and 3D Shapes, Multiplication, Addition



Remember to give the freebie above a try, then head here to see the complete sets.



So, what else is new for fourth grade?  If you're teaching about the states, take a look at this set.





How will this set of riddle and matching cards do more for your students than any set of flash cards from dollar store can do?

    1. Because there are so many different card sets, this resource can appeal to many learning styles.
        Some of your students will find the blanks for the letters in state names to be a good visual for            them, while others will benefit from the multiple choice format of some of the riddles. Some       
        learners will benefit from state outline maps, while others will prefer to use the US map                      that's included for reference.

   2.  This set includes student recording sheets and answer keys for all four sets of riddle cards.     
        Greater independence and accountability for your students!

   3.  Because they card sets can be mixed and matched so many ways, your students will build      
       connections between the facts , and that definitely helps in committing those facts to memory.

   4.  The very fact that there are so many cards in this resource - 350!! - means that your students       
        will use them again and again without getting bored. More practice = greater success!

Each set includes cards for all of the 50 states. 



I hope this will be just what you need to help your fourth graders knock US Geography out of the ballpark! Click here to see it.



Happy Teaching!



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Keep Your Calendar Time Engaging - 2 Calendar Freebies!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Are you always looking for new ideas to keep your calendar time fresh and engaging?





Many years ago (probably about 15 or so), when I first started using our daily calendar time for spiral review, I remember our math supervisor observing and being amazed at how much concentrated teaching could be done in that short time. So true!!


But after a while, I realized that some of the calendar activities could become very rote and weren't really moving my students thinking and skills ahead. They might be good activities, but they definitely didn't need to be doing them day after day.


Over the years, I tried other formats for calendar time, including a smartboard calendar (the one I used was engaging - hey, it was on the smartboard! -  but somewhat repetitious after a month or two) and calendar notebooks.  I liked the notebooks because I could change out different skills and activities for different months, but even that got a bit tedious, and truthfully not always as engaging as I wanted it to be for my students. And then there was the roulette of having first graders use three ring binders... we never had an incident, but I had to be pretty vigilant, ou know!  ;)


Eventually, I switched back to using the wall calendar, but with a bit of a twist. We had certain activities that we did routinely every day, like...

* Adding the date
* Counting up to the 100th Day by adding a straw every day, and then bundling the tens and counting the total each day until we got to 100.  B the way, this is a super way to lay the foundation for teaching place value before you come to it in the math curriculum - lots of kids picked it up very quickly because of our daily counting and bundling with straws.



But the "twist" that I eventually added to keep interest high was Pick a Calendar Stick. Each day at the end of our calendar time, the Top Banana (our crazy name for the helper of the day) got to pick a craft stick from a jar. The sticks were labeled with calendar activities, like "Say the names of all the months in the year",  "Name the number that's ten more than today's date", or "Turn and tell a friend how many tens and how many ones are in today's date". They loved the variety that the sticks brought to calendar time. After all, it was practically a game! :)


You could make your own sticks with the skills and activities that your own students need to practice. or you could keep it even simpler with this freebie. Just roll a die and follow the directions. This freebie isn't editable, but I've included a blank page, so you can just write in your own ideas. Click to download!





Here's another idea for something to add to your calendar time once in a while. Kids love solving riddles, and these combine knowledge of the months of the year with first grade math skills. Here are some samples. The cards in the file are blackline, but these are printed on bright colors, just for fun!





There are 60 riddle cards in the set. They are not linked to any specific year and they don't include any references to holidays or seasons.

If you're using the cards as a whole class activity, you can build even more calendar knowledge by posting a current yearly calendar and having your students locate and highlight the date when they solve a riddle.

The set includes a short instructional video to teach your students the steps in solving the riddles, plus additional support materials:  a 120 number chart and two sets of cards to support your little learners as needed with the names and sequence of the months (full word and abbreviation). A student recording page and answer key are included, making this resource suitable for independent use in a math center.




Click here to see Calendar Math Riddles at my store.

And for your second freebie...

Try a sample set of Calendar Math Riddles!





Keep sprinkling your teaching day with fun!

Happy Teaching!



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How to Survive as a Firefly (Hint: It's not so easy!)

Hi, Teaching Friends!
This post contains affiliate links. I received a complimentary review copy of this book.

Do you know much about fireflies? I thought that I knew a few things, but once I read this book, I realized how little I'd known before!




How to Survive As A Firefly, written by Kristen Foote and illustrated by Erica Salcedo, is loaded with facts that your little learners will love!

Try these facts on for size!

* Each species of firefly glows in a different color, but each species glows in only its own color.

* Each species of firefly also has a unique  on-off pattern of glowing, to attract mates of the same species. But fireflies, beware the female Photuris, a type of firefly who uses aggressive mimicry to copy the pattern of another species and then eats them!

* Many adult fireflies don't eat. Anything. As larva, a firefly eats constantly to get ready for the No Food stage of their life cycle. Larvae eat slugs, snails, and worms. They inject poison into their prey, which turns the prey into a liquid that they then eat drink. {Ohhhh, won't the kiddos love that cool fact!!}

All of this information is presented in the book by a funny and sarcastic adult Firefly General of sorts, addressing a corps of eager-to-learn (and awfully cute) larvae. This leads to lots of opportunities for funny bits of humor on the side. There's also a good deal of fun in the illustrations ... you can see some of the quirky larvae in the illustrations on the post.

How to Survive as a Firefly is loaded with so many facts and technical terms that I might almost say that it's beyond first grade as a read aloud ... except we've all taught kiddos who have total instant recall of 50 dinosaur names and facts about them. If the interest is there, children can often amaze us with the information they can understand and retain, so it's definitely worth it to give this book a try! 

So, although Amazon lists this book for grades 3-7 (Lexile 690), I think I'd extend it a bit lower, while making some modifications, like pre-teaching some of the more difficult vocabulary and perhaps doing two readings, the first being the straight storyline of the firefly teaching the larvae how to survive, and on the second spending time on the very informative and high-interest sidebars, glossary, and added fact pages.

If you think facts like these will amaze your students, then you'll definitely want a copy of How to Survive as a Firefly. This book is a great example of rigorous learning, sprinkled with fun!




Please stop by my TpT store for this free activity to accompany How to Survive as a Firefly. It includes vocabulary cards for bioluminescence and metamorphosis, as well as 12 of the split sentences pictured below. They're great for reviewing the science information, and will also be a good fit for a literacy center. Try giving a card to each student and having them find their partners!

Click here for your free set!





Happy Teaching!



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Save Time with Once-and-Done Student Work Displays

Hi, Teaching Friends!

"Once-and-done" ... has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? So many things in the classroom seem to leave dangling threads of "undone-ness".  Student work displays and bulletin boards are so often like this. Seriously, I know how often the halls would be quiet long after school was finished for the day, except for the hammering of a lone stapler arranging (and often rearranging) a bulletin board display. {ummm, that was probably me and my stapler you were hearing...}

Well, lots of clever teachers are sharing their ideas for getting around that time-wasting problem by creating once-and-done displays! Here are some of my favorites, straight from Pinterest.






1.  You don't have to wait until the first masterpieces are ready to display. Take your cue from Teaching in High Heels and get your display area ready before your students even arrive. The bright colors and black borders will really make the "Amazing Work" pop! How will it look with your own classroom theme colors?



2.    I love, love, LOVE this display idea from A Dab of Glue Will Do. Having their pictures on the display will go a long way toward encouraging your students' pride in doing their best work. Plus, it's just so darn CUTE!



3.     From Prayers and Purple Elephants, here's a simple idea that will be great at any grade level.  Yardsticks, gorilla glue, and clothespins!



4.   Upper Grades are Awesome uses plastic page dividers to create a display that students can add to on their own, which is especially nice if you're nervous about having thumbtacks in the hands of your little learners. BONUS: Have students put each new page in front, leaving the others in for an instant portfolio. Boom! You've saved a few more precious minutes!



5.  Talk about saving time! If you make student memory books, you'll love this idea from Easy Teaching Tools. Follow her steps and train your students to post their own work, which will be organized and easy to make into an end-of-year memento. Brilliant!



There's no doubt about it - students love to see their work displayed!  Devote a special place on your classroom walls, and you'll start to see even more work that they (and you!) will be proud of!


Happy Teaching!

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