Monday, July 30, 2012

What Kind of Teacher Learner Are You??

Yesterday I spent a little time going through packets and papers from workshops that I have been to in the past few years to see what was worth keeping. I found some pretty good stuff (especially for math manipulatives!!) and I also found a few interesting things...

Let me preface all of this by saying that I am ADD and I don't take meds! (It's a good thing I'm a teacher because multitasking is what keeps me focused!!) In order to really pay attention to something and absorb all of the information I have to be doing something else--doodling, reading, writing, planning, pinning (duh), SOMETHING! Luckily my principal knows this about me and doesn't yell at me for doodling and planning during faculty meetings!! :)

When I doodle during workshops, I normally draw, color on the page, highlight important stuff, and so on. Stuff like this--not my best work but a few examples ;) :

Anyway, I found this too and it made me crack up--I have NO RECOLLECTION of doing any of this!! Lol.

I hope we were supposed to write good and bad example.......

Those made me crack up because the workshop I was at had to be absolutely terrible for me to do that!! That's normally not my style, haha!

SOOOO--what kind of teacher learner are you??

Sunday, July 29, 2012

DIY Response Boards

Happy Sunday, everybody! It's becoming crunch time for those of us whose summer is coming to an end. I've started on all of those projects I've been putting off since May--which for me (and my ADD brain) means I start all of them at once and have 12 projects going without finishing any of them (you should see my blog drafts!!). This drives a lot of people crazy, but it works for me (somehow) and I end up finishing 12 projects at once instead of just 1!! :D (Thank you for tuning in to this week's episode of "Flawed Logic".) ANYWHO, here is one I started and will finish sometime this week.....I think.

At Math Camp we used response boards quite a bit during activities to respond to questions, problems, etc. It is basically a little chalkboard. You write on it with chalk and can erase it very easily. These are the ones that were already prepared for us:

She cut chalkboard contact paper and stuck it onto poster board.

My two camp buddies and I headed to Michael's on one of the nights in search of this contact paper (among other things). We actually ended up finding this cool chalkboard scrapbook paper pad.

We decided that this paper would probably be better for what we were wanting to do. Plus, there are 36 double-sided sheets, so we figured it would last us longer. The paper feels AMAZING--feels just like a chalkboard. It's incredible what they can make nowadays. And the chalk goes on and off beautifully! AND did you see all of the fun colors it comes in?!?

Here is how I made mine--since the paper is 12" x 12", I just cut it in half.

By the way, this is what the paper looks like after one swipe of a tissue.

The chalk comes off really easily. I used a washcloth to get it off (mainly because I hate the feel of chalk on my hands). After cutting it I decided to give it a duct tape border to make it a little more durable. I left a little space between the outside edge of the tape and the actual edge of the paper so it didn't take up too much of my response board. And there is no need to glue it to poster board--the paper is thick enough to be used by itself!

In other news, my 3-5 Math Station MEGA Pack is finished!! Making this pack made me a little sad not to be teaching 4th again next year--oh, well...1st grade, here I come!

Head over to one of my stores to check it out!!

And I'm linking this up with Tara!! Go over to see some other neat stuff!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Last school year, we covered various life cycles right near the end of the year. Since summer was right around the corner I absolutely had to ensure that my lessons were extra engaging! I chose the butterfly's life cycle for the extra activities. We made the ever-so-popular life cycle models using pasta. This was a big hit with my 4th graders!!

This activity fell in the middle of our life cycle unit, so the kids already had quite a bit of background knowledge about life cycles (not to mention what they bring in from previous grade levels). I began by giving them the plate, paper, pasta and leaf and told them that we were going to model the life cycle of a particular being, but didn't tell them which one. The groups of students studied the materials, discussed it, and eventually figured out that it was the butterfly's life cycle. This sparked some great discussion and thinking in them! They were so happy once they figured it out.

 Note that the above one says "Life Cycle of Pasta". {le sigh...}

Much better!! ;)

After we finished the above activity, I decided to continue the fun and have the kids make "bananapillars".

Again, I gave the students all of the materials (banana, 2 raisins, and a few pretzel sticks) at the start and told them that we were going to make a model of one particular stage of the butterfly's life cycle. All together, they figured out that it had to be a caterpillar because of the shape of the banana. Then, they told me how it should be constructed (and they were right!). This was also a big hit!

Note to self (and the reader, for that matter): Don't forget your regular popsicle sticks at home so the kids don't have to use the colored sticks that bleed all over the banana. Lol.

And here is my model of the project:

The final thing we did was learn and sing the "Butterfly Life Cycle Song". Yep, 4th graders! They ate it up. I did this activity with Head Start kids a few years ago and my 4th graders enjoyed it just as much as the Head Start kids did (if not MORE!). 

Head over to one of my stores to get a free copy of this activity, song, and life cycle template. (The template includes 4-stage and 5-stage life cycles.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Black boxes and blurriness ever happen to you???

Has this ever been you???????

I know that is the last thing you want to see when you have just spent your hard-earned money on a product!! For several weeks now, I have received 1-2 emails per day from different people who have purchased my products and are experiencing this very problem. Most of you have been SO nice and patient (and I totally appreciate that!!). I have also received some nasty emails/messages about this. :( Don't worry, I'm over it. ;)

So, what does this mean?? Time for a simple tutorial!!! :)

You may want to start by updating your Adobe Reader, which is f-r-e-e, as Adobe recommends.

Right-click on the PDF you want to open and then click on "Open with Adobe Reader" (whatever version you have).
You can also go to "Open with..." and choose the program from there.

When you choose the program this way, you may want to check "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" so it will remember for future documents.

That should solve your problem! If you are using a Mac, the steps are virtually the same. Go to File, Open with... and choose Adobe Reader and NOT preview!! Hope this helps you out!!! :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Loot and Math Station MEGA Pack!

So I spent wayyyyyy too much time at Target and Wal-Mart yesterday (and I won't even speak of how much money...). But, check out some of the cool stuff I got!!! :)

(Sorry--bad angle!) I cannot describe how excited I was to find those NErDy folders! I have no plans for them--just wanted them, (lol)! I am really LOVING that Target has all of that Dr. Seuss stuff at the Dollar Bin!! A few trips ago I got the cutest little Seuss bags and pencils.

On another note, have you joined my linky party yet??
You can still link up AND read some of the most amazing teacher stories! Seriously, some of these women (no men have linked yet!) have been through so much, some are just precious, and others are a bit humorous. Definitely worth the reads. (I'm still going through them so if I haven't hit yours yet, I'm on my way!) Click on the above picture to hop on over to the party!

One final thing--I finished up a MEGA math station pack last night!!! Perfect for your math stations! I can't wait to get these printed and laminated.
This is jam-packed with math games for K-2. There are 11 total. Head on over to one of my stores to check it out! If you snag it within the next 24 hours, you will save 20%! :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

(Drumroll Please)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Woo-hoo, thanks everyone for entering the giveaway!! Lucky winners, check your email!!

And to everyone--don't forget about my "Teacher Story" linky party going on!! Click below to read about it and link up!

My Teacher Story Linky Party! :)

We all come to the classroom with a story. Some are similar to others while some are very distinctive. What's YOUR teacher story? How did you get to the classroom? Has it always been a lifelong dream or did you come after being in another profession?

Mine is actually quite boring (which is why I am probably so interested in hearing yours!). So, here goes...

I wasn't one of those college students who came in and already knew that I wanted to be a teacher and had always dreamed of being a teacher. In fact, before I chose that major, the thought never really crossed my mind! I will say that I have always been a fast learner that LOVES to learn and has always LOVED school. I was identified as GT in 2nd grade and subsequently started going to a GT school. That made a huge impact on me. I had Mrs. Rasmussen, the most WONDERFUL teacher that made learning fun in an entirely different way than I had experienced before! She was also the one who introduced me to my favorite book series EVER, Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (the Holes guy).

I played school at home all the time simply because I LOVED being in school. I made up assignments (on the computer and printed them out, haha), kept a lesson plan book, grading book and even used a grading scale! I even remember the day (in 3rd grade) that I discovered just how my teachers calculated grades. And no, I didn't happen to find an EZ-Grader! ;) I realized a pattern in the total number of problems and the actual grade on the paper and was able to make my own grading scale. That TOTALLY revolutionized my fake teaching!! Anyway, let's fast forward to college...

I entered college as a psychology major which, to me, ended up being boooooooring. There were no rainbows involved and nobody appreciated my colorful notes and doodles--I just had to look up a different major! I went through the entire course catalog back and forth, back and forth, almost settling on chemistry (that was my favorite subject in high school). I ended up flipping through the education section of the course catalog again and stopped to make a mock degree plan. As I did that I became more excited about it and decided to go for it! I switched at the end of my freshman year, just in time for summer school (I took summer school classes every year of high school and college not because I needed to but because I, again, loved school!). When it came time for me to plan my first lesson, I did it with ease. Executing my first lesson was easy as well. It felt innate--I knew that I had made the right decision.

And the rest, as they say, is history!!

Here I am, 6 years later and I still know it's the right place for me! That's my story!! :)

Your turn--please link up and share your story! (Also, don't forget about my giveaway!!)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Diffy Box Fun!

So--do YOU know what a diffy box is?? I posted a Diffy Box FUN! pack (pictured below) a few days ago and talked a little about them yesterday. Allow me to explain a little more now--

The only thing your kids (or YOU) will have to know before using a diffy box is basic subtraction--that's it! (Diffy as in difference!) In fact, these can be fun for math nerds like me any adult too! You may find yourself doing these at a restaurant while you wait for your order (if you're cool enough to be a math nerd like me). Ready to try it??? Grab some paper and a pencil--it won't take long!

1. To start, just draw a box. Make sure it's big enough for you to be able to write inside of it.

2. Pick 4 numbers (let's just stick with 1-digit numbers for now) and write one per vertex.

3. Find the difference of two adjacent vertices and record it at the midpoint of their common side.

4. Now, connect those numbers to form a new box.
What numbers do you see? Are they all zeroes? If they are, skip ahead to step 7. If not, continue on to step 5. 

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all numbers are zero. When you have all zeroes, continue on to step 7.

6. Thank me for giving you your brain exercise for the day.

7. All zeroes means you are FINISHED.

And that's basically how to do a diffy box--simple, huh?? I think these boxes are the coolest! The kids have a blast with them! These can be fun for multiple grade levels, from 1st to middle school.

Have you ever used diffy boxes?? Please share!

In my pack, you will find a step-by-step whole group lesson (with more than what I just explained to you), diffy box templates in various sizes, several extension activities and ideas, and a math station diffy box game. Click on the picture to check it out! And until Tuesday night you can enter to win a free copy of this--click to head over to the giveaway! :)

On an unrelated note--tomorrow I am throwing a linky party!! :)

I'm curious to know--what's your teacher story?? We all got to the classroom somehow, most of us not taking the same path. Now is your chance to share your story with me and others! The party starts Monday morning, so start reminiscing and get your posts ready!! :) 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

New Product Giveaway!

Happy Saturday, all!!!! I hope you are enjoying this July day!

I have been adding items to my stores like crazy! I don't want to bore you with a bunch of posts for each product, so I decided to combine them all into one post AND make it a giveaway! I will choose 3 lucky people to win 1 new product of their choice! Scroll down to read a description of the products as well as enter the giveaway! Click on any of the pictures to view its description in my store. (Note that each set has a more standard font option.) Good luck!!

I am totally excited about these calendar sets that I've made, especially the Chicks Chicka Boom Boom one, as I will be using it in my own classroom!

I don't know if you have ever heard of diffy boxes before. They are a GREAT way to practice subtraction, along with a little logic and reasoning practice. The kids also think they're magic! (Hence, the magic theme!) I am really excited to use this pack with my 1st graders next year! Diffy boxes are fun for multiple grade levels, from 1st graders to 5th graders and even middle schoolers!

I posted about this cute little book a few days ago. Click here to read about all that is included in this pack and view some of the contents! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway