Sunday, April 24, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop - Place Value Sliders

I can't believe I have been blogging for 3 weeks now! I realized it had been 3 weeks when I started thinking of what idea I would submit for love2learn2day's Math Monday Blog Hop - how quickly time flies!

This week, I am posting my Place Value Sliders. I like to use this to supplement our current textbook. Unfortunately, our curriculum does not have enough place value practice and I was desperate for a way to have the kids play with numbers that was kinesthetic.

To make the sliders, I give every student a set of number "slides" and one "holder" (the green slip of paper in the picture). I use 5 slides because our state GLEs require students to know numbers up to 99,999. I'm sure you can use as many place values as you would like. After the kids cut out their slides and holder, I laminate them so they will last all year. I then use an Xacto knife to (very!) carefully cut the slits in the holders to hold the sliders (you can also tape the ends of the number sliders together to make an odometer look). I give the sliders and holders back to the kids to keep in their math tool kit.

As for using the sliders in the classroom, I often ask students to make a 4-digit number, a 2-digit number, etc. I also ask for them to make numbers using only odd/even numbers or ask for them to make a number with an odd/even number on the ends. I might ask for their number to include 2 odd/even numbers, etc.

Number Sliders

How would you use Place Value Sliders? I would love to hear more ideas on how to use them in the classroom!

Thanks for stopping by!

Google Documents Help - Please!

I'm sure a few of you have read my last post about the Math Vocabulary Cards and noticed there were no vocab. cards! Here is the tale of how painful it was to get the vocabulary cards posted to my blog:

First, I tried using Google Documents to upload the files. Well, I figured out that you can't upload a Publisher file, so I went to school and converted it to a PDF. I came home, tried to upload the PDF onto Google Docs. and it wouldn't work! You should have seen me Saturday morning, trying to upload this thing - it wasn't pretty. My husband came into the office and told me it was too early to be this upset (it was 6:45 - I hate to say it, but he was right). It didn't matter, I was bound and determined to get this PDF to upload and share on my blog. I searched Google for articles that would help me figure out how to upload a PDF and the only thing I could find was a few articles that told me you can't upload PDFs on Google Docs.

Now, here I am stuck and I still don't know how PDFs on Google Docs work. I know this can't be right because I have visited countless other teacher blogs and they have (what have to be) PDF files uploaded with Google Docs. on their blog (I figure they have to be PDFs since we don't all have the same fonts or clipart saved on our computers)! I've even tried downloading files that I think are PDFs and used the 'Download Original' tab to see if I could figure out if the original posting was a PDF or not. So far - no luck!

I am now asking you, dear followers to help me with Google Docs. if you have any knowledge on how to upload a PDF with Google Docs. onto your blog, please drop me a comment. I would greatly appreciate your help. Until then, I have decided to use Scribd. A special thank you to those who have been willing to read my babbling frustration!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop - Math Vocabulary

I really enjoyed sharing (and reading!) an idea for love2learn2day's Math Monday Blog Hop, so I decided to post for week #2.

As some of you know, I have been teaching for 3 years and of those 3 years, I have changed grade levels every year (4th, 2nd, and now 3rd - I'm crossing my fingers that I will stay in 3rd grade next year!). This year, I was moved to a new school and I finally feel as though I have made some progress at becoming a better teacher instead of showing up to work everyday without a clue as to what's going on (please don't judge me!).

At my school, our principal is huge on word walls, so I decided to take it a step further and create a vocabulary wall for our Everyday Math series. When I made the cards, I decided to include the mastered vocabulary as well as new vocabulary. Please keep in mind that this is only a few units of Everyday Math. If anyone else out there teaches EDM, you know that they have lots of vocabulary in each unit and they use vocabulary that is not used by the state. For example: EDM calls a "number sentence" a "number model," so I have to explain both terms to students so when they take the standardized test, they understand what the test is asking for.

This is the first time I am posting a document, so please be patient with me and if it doesn't work, please drop me a comment so I can fix it! I'll be adding more vocabulary cards to the set, so be sure to stop by from time to time to check out updates!

Math Vocab Cards

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Classroom Library Stamp - Too Cute!

For a while I have been looking for a personalized stamp to label my classroom library books with. Over winter break, I made it my mission to find one that I liked. Little did I know I would find one I LOVE (I probably should have put Etsy as one of My 7 Favorite Things, but at the time, I wasn't thinking clearly)! While I was there, I discovered the shop, cupcaketree.

As I looked around the online shop, I found out that the owner hand carves her rubber stamps. I instantly fell in love with every stamp she has for sale and wished I could buy all of them. But, I was on a mission. I quickly discovered her chalkboard stamp and emailed to ask if it could be personalized. She said yes and about 7 days later I had my own stamp that looks fantastic! I was so pleased with the stamp that I bought her fishbowl and goldfish stamp - I couldn't resist!

If you are looking for a personalized stamp that is unique (and not over priced!), then you have to check out cupcaketree's shop on Etsy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Exciting News!

Today I found out that I was selected to participate in a professional development opportunity called Science Matters! I am SO excited to participate for several reasons. First, I love science and as much as I enjoy teaching it, I'll be the first to admit I could do a better job! Second, I will have several PD days where I will learn some really cool science ideas to incorporate into the classroom (along with some free resources - what teacher wouldn't love that?!). Third, that means I can post some new and exciting ideas on my blog! YEA!!

The kick-off starts at the end of May and I can't wait!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My 7 Favorite Things (at the moment!)

Persnickety Pickles is hosting a linky party (which might be one of my 7 favorite things...) and I decided to link up just to let my fellow bloggers a bit about myself since I'm new to the blogging community!

Let's see - where to begin...

1. I LOVE to read - I'll read just about anything. Well, maybe not a medical journal or about stocks and bonds, but I'm a sucker for a great storyline! I mostly enjoy fiction and biographies and I just finished reading Water for Elephants. I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I know, I know! I'm a little behind, but I am bound and determined to read it before the last movie comes out so I can watch it in the theater. Which brings me to #2...

2. Movies have to be a HUGE favorite of mine! Just like books, there isn't much that I don't like except scary movies. I've tried to watch them several times, but I just don't feel right after I watch them. :P

3. As unhealthy as it is, cupcakes from BabyCakes in Kansas City is another one of my favorite things - YUMMY! I had their chocolate cupcakes with mint buttercream frosting served at my wedding and they were like a little bit of heaven! I think I'm getting a craving...

4. Flip flops have got to be on my favorite list. I think if I could get away with wearing flip flops 24/7/365 - I would. Wear them to work, fancy parties, and in the snow. My favorite brand is Havaianas - I've been wearing them since 2004. They are expensive, but they are the best quality of any flip flop I've every bought. I also did the math and figured that if I bought a new pair of black flip flops every year for $4, after 4 years, I would have paid for the Havaianas by then. I've had my black Havaianas for 7 years now, so I've now saved $12 (assuming I would have bought a new pair @ $4 every summer). Does any of this make sense or am I talking in circles? :)

5. My iMac definitely has to be on this list. I have been using Mac's since I was a kid - my dad is an artist that did most of his work on a Mac and ever since then I was hooked. I use my iMac for EVERYTHING - blog, documents, website, YouTube, music - EVERYTHING!

6. My puppies, Audrie and CoCo are also on my favorite things list. They are a beagle dachshund mix, which I've been told the trendy name is doxle. I treat them like they are kids (and CoCo can really act like a needy baby!). It's funny how their personalities reflect my husband and I's personalities. Audrie is mellow and goes with the flow like me, while CoCo is anxious and wants things her way, like my husband. Don't tell my husband I said that!

7. My last favorite thing is the television show "You Can't Do That on Television." This used to be my favorite show when I was a kid. It was on Nickelodeon and I have just rediscovered it on YouTube. I can't believe that I still laugh at Barth the cook and El Capitano. If you're a kid of the 80's and you've never watched "YCDTOT," go to YouTube and watch an episode - I bet it will bring back fond memories (of 80's fashion, at least!).

Well, I hope you have learned a little bit more about me - now I'd like to learn a little bit about you!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop - Let's Play "Poison!"

The lovely homeschooling blog, love2learn2day, is starting a Math Monday Blog Hop - how fun (especially for me - math is my favorite subject to teach)!

I thought I would participate by sharing one of my students' favorite math games, "Poison." This game is curtsy of The 2 Sisters over at The Daily 5. It is K-3 friendly (and possibly grades 4-6 as well).

To play "Poison:"

1. Students divide into pairs along with 9 Unifix cubes (You can use more or less if you like, as long as you use an odd number).

2. Students alternate play by taking 1 or 2 cubes during each turn.

3. The person to take the last cube is "Poisoned!"

4. Students will want to play again and again! During their 4-5 time of playing, students will begin noticing how they can strategize their next play and predict their partners' next move!

I hope I shared how to play this game clearly. I wish I had a video to share of two students playing - maybe I'll have to add that on my "To-Do" list for school!

I really suggest you try the game out with your students - mine constantly request to play it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mrs. Saylor reached 100 (followers, that is)!

Mrs. Saylor (I love her name because it rhymes with my maiden name - Taylor!) over at Mrs. Saylor's Log has reached 100 followers and is giving back by giving away a gift card to Amazon for $25. How generous!

Check out her blog for a chance to win or to find some great ideas for your classroom! I found some creative ideas that I can't wait to modify for my 3rd graders!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Interactive Test-Taking Strategies

A few weeks ago, I purchased Lakeshore's Language and Math Test-Taking Strategies Interactive Software. With all the craziness that test prep causes, I forgot that I had purchased this software until about a week ago. I decided to use the software as a whole group lesson on the SMARTBoard (I have students use their dry erase boards to respond). I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive the kids were to the software. If you are interested in purchasing something similar, I suggest you check into Lakeshore's software for four reasons:

1) The kids are begging to use the software every morning. The fun colors and kooky noises help excite the kids about testing!
2) I've noticed that after just a short use, the kids are remembering not only the names of the strategies, but also how to use the strategies.
3) It's a really easy way to demonstrate how students can use multiple strategies while testing.
4) It's reasonably priced and you can instantly download the software to your computer. There are multiple grade levels - so even if you don't teach a tested grade level, you can still teach your kids how to take a test.

If you are having trouble motivating your students to get pumped about test prep, give Lakeshore's software a try. I promise you it will help motivate your kiddos! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Standardized Testing

Our MAP test (Missouri's answer to standardized testing) is quickly approaching. Next week, starting Tuesday, students will be taking the Communication Arts portion of the test for 3 days. The following week, we will then take the Math portion of the test for 3 days. It has been 2 years since I have given the MAP test, and I have to say I'm VERY nervous and worried about the performance of my students.

On the other side of the coin, I work with a fabulous co-teacher who is able to keep me light-hearted during this stressful time of the year. For example, tonight we went to US Toy and had a great time finding props for our students to use when they perform their cheer at the testing assembly Friday. If you have never been to US Toy, you should know that it is a football field sized warehouse of teaching supplies, holiday supplies, costumes/props, and party supplies. You name it, they probably have it somewhere in this mecca for teachers! If there is one in your city and you haven't stopped by, you definitely should - it's worth it!

Thanks for stopping by!

My First Linky Party!

This is my only my 2nd post, but I thought I would give Miss Snowden's Technology Tools Linky Party a try!

Technology plays a large part in my classroom because I am a certified eMINTS teacher and it's hard to choose just one tool that is my favorite. However, eMINTS has created an online search tool called eThemes. eThemes has kid-safe online resources that are easy to search for. Simply type in the subject you are looking for (for example, "animals") and several websites or webquests come up! I love searching eThemes at the start of a new unit for new ideas! Give it a try - I promise you'll love it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The 1st Post

I've been wanted to start my own blog for a few years now and tried with a local fashion blog. Needless to say, it didn't work out because I didn't have the time to commit to regular posts. Let's admit, for a fashion blog to be successful, you have to have daily updates.

Since I didn't want to give up keeping a blog, I decided to instead focus on a teaching blog. I love the idea that blogs allow teachers to share ideas (and reflect on my teaching) with others.

I love feedback about ideas I have so don't be afraid to leave me a comment or start a discussion - I'm welcome to all ideas!

Thanks for stopping by!