Hoping this works! Here are two free snow flake freebies.
I want to create a date base of free, simple to do Cricut projects for teachers. I will be posting free svg files of projects I have done, along with some links to some pretty rad Cricut related websites that also offer free svg files.
Hoping this works! Here are two free snow flake freebies.
These are SVG files. You should be able to right click and save
Fostering a true love and excitement for math in my students is well, not an easy task. Luckily I love a good challenge!
Every year I look for new ways to peak student interest in math. Whether it is teaching geometry through art, or hyping up the great Pi Day, I strive to make learning fun.
In the last couple of years, I have been piecing together weekly activities to get kids thinking about math in different ways. Math truly is everywhere, and often there are multiple ways to approach a problem. I created these Math Curiosities and Wonders to get kids really thinking and talking about math.
Once a week, we take a look at one of these and spend 10-20 minutes (usually 10) discussing and looking at the problem in as many ways as possible. Students are able to build those Mathematical Practice muscles, discuss, defend their thinking, and come up with different observations and answers. I love seeing and hearing what each class comes up with!
I use a variety of resources to engage my students in deep mathematical thinking. For quick math talks, I use my Curiosities and Wonders resource every Friday.
I highly recommend visiting youcubed.org for their Week of Inspirational Math series. These activities tend to be a bit more involved but are absolutely worth it for building a positive mindset and stretching mathematical thinking.
Teaching dialogue can be rough! I like to ease the pain by adding a little fun through comics!
Teach the rules of Dialogue, using quotes, and proper punctuation.
I like this free resource from Young Teacher Love
Review when to begin a new paragraph.
This can be tough for kids... I had a hard time explaining it all until I stumbled upon PATS
Start a new paragraph when there is a change in
I take some time pointing out real examples from real books during our read aloud, I project a page to display and then do a slow read. Kids have a lot of fun explaining why the author started a new paragraph!
Introduce the assignment with examples.
On this day, I show the students a simple Peanuts comic. I explain how the story is told through the pictures as well as the dialogue. Together, we talk about inferences we can make about what happened before the comic, what might have happened in between each picture, and what each character must be thinking. From there, I show them an example written by me.
At this point, I also have to explain perspective and point of view. I point out which character I am telling the story from or explain why I decided to tell it from third person point of view. I read the story out loud, each student has a copy of the comic as well as my writing. We go through and discuss descriptions of action I used, when I changed paragraphs and why, and how I incorporated the dialogue from my story into my comic.
Day 3 or 4 (depending on class and time.)
I then pass out comics to each student and let them get busy!
I want my students to love reading. Cultivating a love for reading while also improving reading levels requires a delicate balance between skill practice and well... fun.
My first round of Book Club is done with my small guided reading groups. Each group is given a choice of books at their level, and we meet daily (with my higher groups every other day,) practicing various skills and engaging in book talks. Through these groups, I set the stage for more independent work and student led discussions. Throughout the series, we gather information to create a Dodecahedron Final Project Throughout the years, I have created several novel study packets that end with a Dodecahedron as the final project.
The kids love these, and the final project is so great for display!
A main goal of mine is to get kids to love reading. For the struggling reader, just getting started on a book can be half the battle. Here are some resources to help ensure all kids, especially the struggling reader, are getting what they need.
I have always found huge amounts of success behind graphic novels. http://dyslexia.yale.edu/resources/tools-technology/suggested-reading/graphic-novels/
Below you will find some of my favorite fiction and non fiction books.
Affiliate links included
What graphic novels have you tried in the classroom? Share below!
I have really been struggling with what to do about keeping track of student reading this year. I have never been a fan of Reading Logs and the feedback I received from parents in my first years of teaching made me drop them completely. The Reading Logs (and at one point nightly reflections) were making my kids hate to read.
I still wanted to keep kids accountable for their reading, so I had students and parents sign a sheet stating they did in fact complete their nightly reading... And I am sure most of them did!
Reading Logs just don’t work. Aside from keeping track of daily minutes, they are not effective as a tool to create life-long learners who love to read. This year I am going to try something new. I am going to have my students fill out a Reading Goals sheet. We are going to start with a mini lesson on different types of Reading Skills. We will brainstorm areas a 4th grader might need to work on and we will talk about strategies that might help a person obtain that goal. The key to this goal setting activity is that the document will be a constant work in progress. We will check in, update goals, add to strategies as we learn new ones, and change goals to better suit us as we grow... I am hoping to instill the importance of self reflection. We will see where it goes! You can download my sheet for free below or in my Teacher's Pay Teacher's store!
I have been severely neglecting this blog lately but as a working mom in a new school on a new position teaching math to grades 1-5..... something had to give and sadly it's been this website.
Never fear! I have a few great things coming including:
March Mathness activities
My favorite free math resources
Easy differentiated math games
More math art!
More indepth blog posts to come but here are a few sneak peak pics as to what my kiddos have been up to this year.
Over the past twelve years of my career, I have always felt the most pressure to meet the needs of my gifted kids. This is a nuanced group- as is so often the case with teaching, I have found that there is definitely not a one size fits all solution for the gifted students. More often than not, what does work for them also works for the majority of learners. To put it simply- being a good teacher for gifted students simply requires good teaching. What does that even mean you asked? I spent the last 12 years trying to answer that question. Below are some resources that I have found helpful.
I currently am teaching Math to gifted students in grades 1st through 5th. Finding enrichment and extension activities that are worth while has been my greatest challenge this year. I have had to create a lot of what I do from scratch and will post to my Teacher's Pay Teachers store when they are store ready. In the mean time, here are the resources that I love most.
Byrd Seed - I saw him present at a gifted conference. If ever you get the chance to see him speak or better- if you live in the Irvine, CA area and can some how observe him teach... jump on the chance. His strategies are highly engaging to all students- and specifically aim to please the gifted learner.
Let my start with this: I was first introduced to Interactive Notebooks by an amazing Teachers Pay Teachers author and her absolutely fantastic Language Arts Interactive Notebooks. Her resources added what I felt was missing in my Language Arts Curriculum.
I am a STEM teacher at heart. Kids leave my classroom loving all things Science, Tech, Engineering and Math. A colleague of mine suggested we introduce some Interactive Notebooks into our Science curriculum so I happily jumped aboard. Until I saw the resources... and cringed.
Interactive Notebooks are great. They are also incredibly time consuming. For grammar instruction, the time in is arguably worth it. The cut and paste activities add a little spice into a subject that is by nature boring. (I am sorry grammar lovers, but it's true!)
STEM lessons scream hands on. To spend an entire lesson cutting and pasting vocabulary words into a journal is a missed opportunity to spark love for learning. While there is absolutely a time and place for the Interactive Notebook resource, please don't let that time and place be Science!
Instead do this:
1. Spend time doing hands on activities
Science is all about systems and process. A student won't truly understand any of this unless they get hands on with the material. The web is exploding with great STEM resources both free and paid. The activities don't have to be elaborate. They can be a quick and simple 20 minute thing or can spam over a week. Either way, the time spent is much more valuable than cutting and pasting words into a notebook.
2. Draw it out
Students should be taking time to diagram things on their own. Instead of cutting and pasting that diagram of flower parts, have your students draw it and label it themselves. This is something a real scientist would do in their real journal anyway. Get your kids used to this.
Talk about a perfect time for a two-fer. Squeeze in some Language Arts time into your science curriculum by having your students journal about their experience. Have them record their observations and thoughts on the lesson you completed. When doing an experiment, follow the Scientific Process. Start by having the class make observations about the topic you are studying. Guide them to form a question to answer. Come up with a good hypothesis to the question. Figure out a process that will guide your experiment. Record any observations and data during the experiment. Analyze the results. And finally have your students write about the outcome.
Interactive Journals are great. But in science, are they really interactive if all you are doing is cutting, pasting and coloring?
I had a beautiful baby girl in February. It's now August... and time for me to get back to teaching.
I've read all kinds of blogs during my precious little's nap times in attempt to prepare for our inevitable separation. But in the end it seems that what will work best for you in such a situation is... what works best for you.
So in the small quiet moments I did all that I could to set my year up to make it all as smooth as possible. The thought being the harder I work now, the more time I have during the school year with my family. Luckily a lot of the work I did before going on maternity leave set me up nicely for coming back to work.
Long Term Planner
This is pretty much a must have for a smooth year and where I always start my year. What do I want to accomplish? What are my teaching goals? What lessons and projects will I use to achieve those goals? With that set, I jumped to my next task... Here is what I used- it's a quick draft of the year. I gave my long term sub a more detailed week by week plan along with this!
This is a biggy- Homework is a time suck for teachers, students, parents... siblings- anyone involved! I wanted to make the homework thing as efficient and painless as possible for everyone. So I created a year long homework menu. Essentially, the menu provides differentiated options covering a wide range of skills and student needs. Following my long term planner, I set up homework for the entire year. The assignments all cover 4th grade standards giving students needed practice, but also leave room for adjustments in my pacing. I will get back to that in a separate post covering current research on homework and why I chose to go the Homework Menu route.
Projects and Rubrics
With my Long Term Planner set, I was able to solidify all of the major projects for the year. To make my life easier, and my classroom run smoother, I made sure that each project had a clear set of student instructions along with an easy to follow grading rubric. Again, my goal is to finish as much of my work at work. I want to be able to come home and spend time with my family. Setting up my year before it started will absolutely ensure that I am able to do that.
You can find every project I have ever done here
A Support System
This one seems obvious but still worth discussing! No amount of reading can prepare you for going back to work as a first time mom. Will I be able to maintain breastfeeding? How, when and where will I pump at work? How will I cope with my baby girl being at day care?! All of these questions provided enough angst for my milk supply to drop drastically, and school hasn't even started yet. So, time to take a few breathes and figure it all out.
Where will I pump?
Employers are required to provide a clean and safe place for a mother to pump. After reaching out to my administrator, I considered my choices. 1- Her office. 2- A bathroom on the other end of campus that another nursing mother transformed into a pumping station. 3- The nurses bathroom. (?!) When all was said and done, I went with where I felt most comfortable. My classroom. I set up a nice, clean and comfortable pumping station at my desk. I made sure that everyone was aware that I was pumping in my room so I would not get any distractions or surprise interruptions.
"The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see." - Alexandra K. Trenfor