Monday, January 30, 2012

Newspaper Template

A major part of my social studies curriculum is the study of different Americans who worked to expand the rights and freedoms of many different people.  My students always really enjoy studying about these Americans, and I try to incorporate many different activities to make this unit interesting and relevant to my students.  I know last year I wrote about my students' Famous Americans book they made that incorporates a lot of art into this unit.  Another small thing that I like to do is have my students write newspaper articles about one of the people they are studying.  The picture below is of one of my student's articles on Frederick Douglass.  You can click on the picture to grab a newspaper template for your classroom.  They're great, because they work well with almost any topic.



I also wanted to let those of you who've been using the weekly word problems know that the February word problems are ready!  I actually started them with my students today.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Center Organization

I just saw that Lesson Plan Diva was hosting a linky party on center organization, and I just had to join in!  I apologize in advance, but I'm going to have to reuse a lot of my old pictures, because I let my camera at school, so I don't have any of my new pictures.

I store all of my centers in 3-ring binders-the really, really, really big ones and keep my materials in insertable page dividers.  I organize the activities by subject and by unit within the subject, and I've found that this is a really easy way for me to keep organized.

I also keep all of my task cards in Ziploc baggies, so they store nicely in the dividers.

I'm pretty selective on the centers/station activities that I actually have out and available to my students.  There are always a handful of activities for our current topic, as well as a few review activities from different units, but I don't like to have too much out at a time. I organize these into different tubs that I bought from Really Good Stuff.  The were pricy but worth every penny.  I LOVE being able to stack things neatly!
Sorry about the picture!  It was taken while I was still setting up at the beginning of the year.  The tubs that I love are on the top shelf, and the ones on the bottom-not so much, but I'm trying to curb my spending.  I number my math tubs (thanks Debbie Diller), which makes them very interchangeable, so when I want to change station activities, I don't have to relabel everything.

Inside my station tubs is everything my students need to complete the station(s).  I like to include sleeves for recording sheets to save on paper and copies, so I have included wipes and dry erase markers in any storage tub that has a recording sheet.

I can't wait to read everyone's ideas, so be sure to join the party!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Magnet Activities

I'm getting ready to begin a magnet unit, so I've created a little book full of station activities that will make a great introduction to our unit.  The entire lesson should take about an hour for students to complete each of the six stations.  I've uploaded the document to share with you, so download and enjoy! Be sure to let me know how it goes in your class!
I'll be sure to take some pictures to share with you sometime this week.  I got my magnets out last week, and my students have been busting to get started!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Giveaway Time

My how time flies!  I thought that it had only been a month or two since I had my last giveaway, but when I went back and checked it was actually in September.  Where has the time gone!?!  I think I'm definitely due for another one, and I can't think of a better time than now!  I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon, which I love, because the options are almost endless!!  I know you're all incredibly busy, so I'm going to keep it simple.

1.  Be a follower of my blog and leave a comment.
and/or
2.  Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment.






I'll choose a random winner on Thursday at 9:00

Good luck!!



Update
The winner of the Amazon gift card is....

I want to thank everyone for all of the nice words.  They really make my day!  It's so much fun to share with and learn from you all!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Decimal Pizza

I hope that everyone is enjoying their long weekend!  It's so nice to have an extra day off, and I have so many ideas floating around in my head right now that I hope to get one or two things accomplished.

I have a lot of new measurement things to share in the next week or two, but I also wanted to post a couple of pictures of a really fun decimal activity that my students recently completed.  It was super quick and easy to prepare for, but my students really enjoyed it.  All you really need is a pre made circle divided into 10 equal pieces for your students.  At first, I tried having my students draw their own circle and dividing the pieces themselves, but that was pretty much a disaster!  I could barely do it myself!  I finally just printed a circle out, and that made it MUCH easier.  As a class we customized our own special pizza (see chart below).  We chose a variety of toppings and decided what tenth of our pizza should have each of the toppings, and students then decorated their pizzas to reflect the toppings/decimals.



One clarification I had to make with my students is that the decimal (for instance 0.4) does not mean there should be 4 pieces of sausage on each slice.  It means that 4 of the slices should have sausage.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Work Stations Update

As you probably know by now, I've started implementing math work stations for the first time this year.  It's definitely been a learning process, but I've really enjoyed finding another fun way to teach math.   Every Tuesday and Thursday, my students come in so excited and asking if we're going to do work stations.  It's great seeing students excited about math, and it's also a great way to work with small groups in areas of need.

There are a few resources that have become invaluable to me this year.  One item is my Dollar Store kitchen timer.  I really don't know how I'd teach without it.  During our work stations, I use it to keep track of time, because I would totally forget to have my students switch stations without it.  I love the fact that my timer gives a 5 minute and 3 minute warning beep, so I can be reminded to fill out rubric info before my students switch stations.
Another resource that is so useful is my Quick View Jackets.  I place my student recording sheets inside the jackets and have my students record their answers with a dry erase marker.  This greatly reduces the amount of paper and copies I use during our work stations.

Inside almost all of my work station tubs, you'll find the essentials:  cards stored in baggies, recording sheet inside the jacket, small pack of dry erase markers, and baby wipes (we use them to clean the jackets).

Keeping all of these supplies inside has helped keep transition and clean up time to a minimum.  I'm always looking for new ideas and ways to stay organized, so I'd love to hear all of your great ideas!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mixed Numbers and Perimeter & Area Update

Mixed numbers are not technically part of my curriculum, but my students are expected to measure to the nearest 1/4 inch in our measurement standards.  The first few times I taught measurement, my students really struggled with the 1/2 and 1/4 inch measurements, and I finally realized it was because my students had no idea how to read or write mixed numbers.  I've found that it helps immensely to pre teach mixed numbers before beginning my measurement unit.  I don't do a lot with it, because I mainly want my students to be able to do the basics like identify and write mixed numbers.  I've had a really hard time finding simple worksheets on this skill, so I made a short and sweet worksheet to use with my students tomorrow.  You can download a copy by clicking on the picture below.

On a side note, I wanted to let those who have purchased my Fun with Perimeter and Area unit know that I have recently updated and added several new activities to the packet.  I've also reorganized the lessons to make it a little more user friendly. You can see some of the new activities in the guide below and can download the updated version from 'My Purchases' anytime.