Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teach multiplication & division with this *FREEBIE*

So I just created this new multiplication & division mini-packet that introduces the concepts of multiplying and dividing.  Please keep in mind that this packet does not teach long division or multi-digit multiplication.  It is, however, a great tool for showing students that multiplication is simply repeated addition and division is repeated subtraction.  I used this division trick with my second graders last year and they absolutely loved it.  Also, it helped them to see how division is related to multiplication and subtraction.  Just for being my awesome readers, you get a free sample of the packet:
This packet aligns with the following Common Core standards:
2.NBT.A.3, 2.NBT.A.4, 3.OA.A.1, 3.OA.A.2, 3.OA.A.3, 3.OA.A.4, 3.OA.B.5, 3.OA.B.6, 4.OA.A.1

For the entire packet, click here.  If you don't already have a Teachers Pay Teachers account, sign up for one here:   It's a great way to get other free printables, and even to start generating your own income.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

$1 Survival Items for Your Classroom

Here are some $1 survival items no classroom should be without:

baby wipes - Last year I had received a ton of donated baby wipes at the beginning of the year.  I thought to myself, "I teach second grade.  What would I do with all of these wipes?"  I never realized how handy they were.  They clean your desks, bookshelves, computers, and most importantly... they're safe on hands!  I found that wipes saved so much time in class and took the place of countless trips to the restrooms just to wash hands.  

sticky notes - Ok, so maybe I just have a bit of an obsession but I use sticky notes for almost everything; writing a pass, sending notes home, book-markers, revising my students' papers, writing comments on student worker, etc.  What I learned later in my teaching life was that my students didn't like it when I made corrections on their work.  However, when I used a colorful sticky note, they loved it!  I could have wrote the harshest of constructive criticisms and it worked every time.

socks -
Yes, you can find them at the dollar store.  You're probably wondering, "What for?"  Socks work great for the whiteboard.  I've actually found that they work better than the soft erasers.  Also, if you get cute and colorful socks, it makes students want to help you erase the board.  If you're using student mini boards during instruction, it's a great idea to have each student get a sock.  I've found that one sock will endure for an entire year of erasing.

Ziplock bags
- These are absolutely necessary.  I have used plastic bags to store flash cards, separate game pieces, and for numerous class projects.  They are actually the cheapest and easiest way for my students to keep their flash cards organized.  Just use a Sharpie to write students' names on the bags.

Monday, May 27, 2013

$1 Resources for Teachers from Scholastic... sweet deal!

Ok, so I am a pretty huge fan of Scholastic, and right now they are selling a good amount of their resource materials for just $1.  Of course, most of it is in e-reader format, but I actually find that to be more convenient than getting the entire book.  Basically you just download the pdf's and save them into folders on your desktop.  Then, you can easily access them any time in the future, and print just the pages you need without having to walk over to the copy machine.  So... if you need extra supplemental workbooks in any subject, now's the time to buy them from Scholastic.  Here's the link:

Don't miss out on this pretty rare deal!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Differentiated Projects for Early Finishers

In my classroom this year, I have a handful of 'little geniuses' who always tend to finish their assignments before others can even start.  It boggles my mind when I check their work I see that it's neat, complete, and accurate.  Therefore, I've begun to invest myself this year in developing fun projects that this small group of students can engage themselves in at the back table.

This project is a landform map of California that the students created out of a large poster and tissue paper squares.  The first step was to print a map of California and then project it onto a large poster so that I could trace the outline of the state.  Next, my students looked at an actual landform map and drew the lines which separated the different landforms (as close as possible).  Then, they created a map key for the different landforms.  Last, they color coded the different landforms by gluing on colored tissue paper squares.
This vertebrates poster project was completed during our unit on animal classification.  I pretty much completed the entire backdrop of the poster and the students did the rest.  I had a large collection of animal magazines which they sorted through.  Then, they cut out the animals and pasted them in their distinct categories:  birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.  My higher-level thinkers really enjoyed this project as it allowed them to think critically about each animal and debate amongst themselves a bit before they came to a final classification decision.

I hung both projects up from the ceiling with paper clips.  They're so great to display in the classroom because they promote learning and appreciation.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Common Core Word Wall & more frog stuff...

As I'm sure you know, academic language is hugely stressed across all subjects throughout the Common Core.  This year, I've been experimenting with a "New Words" wall in my class and now that I'm nearing the end of the school year, I'm reflecting back on its success.  This word wall has helped my students in so many ways.  They refer to it during assignments, they look at it during tests (which I think is great), and they know exactly where to find definitions for new words that I use during instruction.  My favorite part about this word wall idea is that it is so incredibly easy to maintain all year!  How it works is that each frog is labeled with one of the core subjects taught in class.  Then, I pin plastic sheet covers to the board.  Every week, I switch out the words according to the concepts being introduced that week.  This is so easy to maintain because I can simply type up new words and not have to worry about updating the design of the board itself.  Many of my fellow teachers have mentioned that they are totally implementing this idea in their classrooms next year.  Bravo to great ideas!

...and since I'm referencing my frog-themed resources, here's my reading groups chart.  I think it's a cute way to display your reading groups without giving out any hints to reading levels.  I'd never want to number these groups.  My students absolutely love looking at the fascinating pictures of the different frog species.  ...and the best part about this pocket chart is that it only cost me $1 at Target!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tech Project: Historical Figures Trading Cards

Here's an assignment I'm currently having my students do this week.

1.  Students should visit the following site and read about different American figures: http://www.brainpop.com/socialstudies/famoushistoricalfigures/

2.  Students will chose 3 historical figures to create trading cards for.

3.  Print out the following template for your students:  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Historical-Figures-Trading-Cards-Interactive-Tech-Idea-702036

4.  Have students complete the research template and assemble the cards.

5.  Students may draw the person's picture, or find Google images, print, and paste.

5.  Once finished, a fun idea would be to have your students trade the cards with other students as a great way to promote sharing and learning.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tech Project: Interactive White House Lesson Ideas

Recently in second grade, we’ve studied the White House.  This was quite exciting, since my students love History and learning about their country.  In this unit, we were able to engage in a few fun and hands-on learning activities.  Here are some of the things we did that you could do in your classroom.  They should work well with grades 2-5:

Interactive Tech Lesson Ideas:  The White House

1.  Have students visit the following site:  http://www.whitehousehistory.org/whha_shows/whitehouse_timemachine/index.htm and create their own White House timeline afterwards which includes 10 most important dates.

2.  Have students design their own map of the White House on a large blank poster paper.  Students should utilize this site for help:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house/interactive-tour

3.  Take a virtual tour of the White House by visiting Google Maps and typing in “White House” as your destination.  Upon taking the tour, students should write a list of the rooms they encounter and what the apparent purpose of the room may be.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spring Freebies!

Is it really Spring already?  I love the feel of Spring in Southern California... then again, when did Winter ever arrive?  I'm a little sad to see this school year passing by so quickly.  My group of students this year is really sweet and hard to let go of.  I love them so much... I wonder how often a teacher can think this way about her students throughout her career?

On another note, I've been very MIA from blogging because I've just been contracted to write 4 Language Arts books for Teacher Created Resources.  I'm very humbled, yet ecstatic and overwhelmed with joy for this opportunity.  I'm also very short on time, so I'm praying through this whole experience.  Next year, you'll be able to find my books in stores like Barnes & Noble and Lakeshore.   I can't stop praising my Lord Jesus Christ every time I think about it.

Well, in celebration of my favorite season, here are a few Spring freebies for your classroom:

1) A Spring graphic organizer on writing a how-to paragraph:

2) This is a Christian-themed word search for Easter/Spring:

And, if you're looking for a fun packet of Spring activities, I have just the thing!  For $1, you can purchase my Spring Fun packet on TPT:

I just love flowers and we're about to start writing a how-to expository paper on how to plant a flower in my own class room.  I'll be taking my students to the Carlsbad Flower Fields to get a hands-on experience, which seems pretty fitting.  They have an excellent field trip program for schools:

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