Friday, January 25, 2013

Candy-themed Graphing!

Anytime you can take a math concept and link it to something that kids LOVE, it’s a win.  So how about CANDY?  Is there a way to pull candy into a key math skill?  YES! J

This week in my classroom we are delving into data analysis and graphing.  I want my students to not just read different kinds of graphs but to MAKE them as well.  I find that when they have to come up with the scale on the graph, or to cut and place the pictures on a pictograph, it takes their understanding of how graphs work to a much deeper level. 

So I started to think about graphing…then started to think of how to add the “fun factor.”  This Candy Factory GRAPH-tastic Math Centers kit was the result.   

There are 5 different math stations, all around a “Candy Factory” theme.  Students take the role of “Candy Factory Manager” while trying scenarios where different types of graphs and data could be used.  They'll be working with pictographs, bar graphs, coordinate graphs, line graphs and more.  I may even pass out a few Skittles to add to the fun. J

I can’t wait to try this with my kiddos this week during math centers!  The task cards give clear directions on what students are to do, and there are matching student activity sheets on which they can do their work.  I’m thinking that I’ll get some of those plastic stand-up page holders to put the task cards in, and set up the 5 different stations around the room.

I've just added this to my TPT store, and hope that it's something you can use!  It includes 5 different task cards and the printable student sheets to go with each task.  A grading rubric and answer key is included as well!  

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!  Stay warm and stay well! 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Groundhog Inferences

It’s nice to know that there are “little” holidays throughout the year.  Holidays that just make you smile and give you a small distraction from routine.  What are the “little holidays?”  Groundhogs Day… Valentine’s Day…St. Patrick’s Day… holidays like those. There’s not much (if anything) to buy, and still it’s fun to decorate, celebrate, and incorporate fun little “mini” holiday traditions.

So perhaps this is how I got caught up in creating my latest activity, “Groundhog Gets His Day.”  I came across some super cute little groundhog art, and just had to figure out a way to make it educational! J  A nonfiction passage, set of inference questions, and Smart notebook later, and groundhogs will officially be part of my reading centers next week!  I like this activity because it combines information text reading with critical thinking skills--all with a bit of "little holiday" fun!  

Students start by reading the included nonfiction passage on groundhogs, then answer inferential questions based on the text.  The printable student activity sheet includes 10 higher-level questions that get kids making inferences and drawing conclusions!   They’ll learn not just about the furry groundhog, but how the traditions of Groundhog Day began.            
My favorite twist, though, it the Smart notebook included.  After they’ve tried the questions on the activity sheet independently, kids regroup to confirm their answers on the Smartboard.  With fun “reveal” boxes, students can touch colorful boxes in the file to see the correct answers “magically” appear.  This makes the activity self-checking, and allows some time for discussion  about their work.  I’m planning on using this as a small-group station, but it could certainly be varied for whole group too!

I’ve posted this to my TPT store here and would welcome your feedback!  While it’s still winter, we might as well still celebrate even these little holidays, right?  :)  That’s what I tell myself! J  
Stay warm and be well! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sharing the new blog love!

A very big thank you to Kay at A Little Tech for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  This award is given by bloggers to up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  I’m honored! J  The Liebster Award lets people with newer blogs know that they are appreciated, and it also helps spread the word about new blogs.  There are so many wonderful teacher blogs out there—what a great opportunity to collaborate and inspire!  So, happy to receive and share some new blog love! J

The rules are as follows:
1.      You need to post 11 random things about yourself
2.      You need to answer the questions that the nominator asks.
3.      Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4.      Choose 11 blogs you love and link them in your post.

So here are 11 random things about me:  
1.  I grew up living on a lake in Northeast Ohio.
2.  I love being a mom.  It’s the best.
3.  I’m a huge technology nerd.  And proud of it.
4.  I’ve been to Disney World more than 20 times… and still love it.
5.  I’m pretty crafty and find making things really relaxing.  Weird, but true.
6.  I survived a plane crash when I was 14 years old.  (Still not the best flyer!)
7.  Once a person who didn’t care for dogs, I’m now a complete sucker for my long- 
        haired chihuahua, Ollie.
8.  After growing up learning that our family had deep Scottish roots, an search revealed that we’re not even a drop Scottish.  Not a drop. 
9.  I wish I could dance.  I can’t—not at all.
10. I'm a big movie buff, and can pretty much tag any movie quote. :)   
11. I love…love…love teaching.  After a month of summer vacation, I almost can’t 
         stand waiting to get back into the classroom! 

My answers to Kay’s questions:

When did you decide to become a teacher?  I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was 7 years old.  After starting with education then briefly trying 3 different majors in college, I came back to my first dream and jumped into teaching!

What is the biggest reward in teaching?  The biggest reward is seeing students grow and realize that you had a role in their learning—both academcally and as people of character.

What is the biggest challenge in teaching?  Finding uninterrupted time to focus on instruction and classroom prep!

What is your most embarassing moment?  I tripped on the sidewalk and did a complete face plant in Bar Harbor, Maine on the 4th of July.  At the Lobster Festival that was very, very well attended.  It was a moment I’d rather forget. J

When were you most proud of yourself?   When I graduated with my masters degree in education.  I was so proud that I accomplished that goal, and set an example for my daughter.

Who is your role model?  Why?   I would have to say my mom.  She is wise, kind, smart, and giving.  Along with my dad, she’s been the biggest influence on who I am today.     

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?  I would love to go back to Paris.  I went in high school, and found it to be life-changing.  It would be great to go back and take my daughter to experience the wonder!

What is your favorite sport?  Being a new transplant to Texas, it would be wrong to say anything but football.  J  I’m a fan.

 If you could write a book, what would it be about?  I would write a book for kids to inspire character and kindness to others.  It’s a passion of mine to see kids develop their EQ—“emotional intelligence” and character.

Where did you grow up?  In a very small town, Rock Creek, Ohio.

What is your favorite children’s book to read aloud to your students?  Why?  There’s something magical about reading anything by Dr. Seuss.  Young or old, kids love the language play and awesome imagination!

Questions for my nominees: 
1.  Where did you grow up?
2.  How long have you been teaching?
3.  What is your favorite subject to teach, and why?
4.  What got you into blogging?
5.  What is your biggest teaching strength?
6.  What is your biggest teaching challenge?
7.  If you could have the ultimate classroom wishlist item, what would it be?
8.  What is your favorite children's book to read to your students, and why?
9.  Who was your favorite teacher as a child, and why?
10. Other than a teacher, who is your biggest role model and why?
11. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Links to Blogs I’m Nominating for the Liebster Award

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year Magic Math FREEBIE!

Happy New Year!  I wanted to celebrate 2013 by posting a fun math FREEBIE

My kids love doing these math tricks!  This fun activity guides kids through a series of math operations (addition, subtraction, and simple doubling and dividing) to yield a number surprise! Basically they start with a given number (the year 2013) and end with the same number IF the math steps are done correctly.  I like it because it’s almost self-checking and motivates students to work diligently through the math operations.  I love the “oohs” and “ahhs” from them when they see what happens with their answer!

A great review activity for accurate computation, and I’ve included some extension questions for higher-level thinking!  Kids can go the next step of explaining why this math trick works (because the net change is zero when an operation is done and then undone).  Better yet, students can come up with their own math trick to share with the class!  Download your FREE copy at my TPT store here, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!