Monday, August 10, 2015

My Super-Duper Teacher Nerd Secret Is....

I love back-to-school assessments.

Please don't throw things at me. I just do.

Like a whole lot.

I love looking at my kiddos, figuring out all of their strengths and weaknesses, and deciding what my "plan of attack" will be.

One of my favorite tools for this is a writing assessment in the first week or so of school. I went to take a peek at it for some of my third grade peeps, and HOLY WOW DID THAT LOOK SAD.

Not really my most eye-catching resource. ;-)

So, I gave it a little face-lift and adding a few extra goodies. I've posted all about it over at A Spark of Inspiration today. Click below to hop on over and grab the update!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Are you ready to get EPIC!?

A Spark of Inspriation

I'm blogging today over at A Spark of Inspiration and I am SO PUMPED to share a new website/app/newfavoritethingEVER with you!

It's called EPIC! and it is F-R-E-E for teachers to use WITH their students in the classroom.

That's right.

Let it soak in.

Now go read all about it so you can get in on the action too!! Click the picture above to go straight to my post!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Collect 4! {A New Math Game Series}


I'm so glad you've joined me here today. There's a new math game on the block, peeps!

As I worked with 6 different math classes last year, I wanted a game that was easy to bring out and play with my small groups. I also needed to be able to explain it quickly and have it connect to various standards across multiple grade levels. And so, the Collect 4! series was born. :) 

Students work throughout the game to create sets of models for a given concept. For example, in the Improper Fractions and Mixed Numbers game students have to collect: a mixed number, an improper fraction, the word form, and a picture model that all represent the same fraction. 

It's really interesting to see which "part" of the game my small groups struggled with. Some kiddos could do the mental math to convert mixed numbers and improper fractions very easily, but they struggled with matching up the correct picture model. Others had a hard time finding the improper fraction. 

I've also included a recording sheet and several differentiated practice pages you can use as well! 

Once you've taught the game once, your students will know how to play all year long. It's beautiful! I could even send a new Collect 4! game with a sub (after we'd played together) and the kids knew exactly what to do. By keeping the rules uniform, the only thing that changes from game to game are the math concepts. 

This week, I've posted Collect 4! {Counting Coins} and I hope to have it's sister game, Collect 4! {Counting Money} posted soon. The Counting Money game will include dollar bills, as the Counting Coins game does not.

If you're looking for a better peek at this series, I also have a FREE sample from my Fractions on a Number Line game below. You can grab it from Dropbox right here! Just click on the picture below!!

I'm leaving all my Collect 4! games marked down until I get to the beach on Saturday. Grab them now! 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Behavior Tracking {FREEBIE}

Sometimes, we need new ways to motivate our littlest people. So when my favorite work wife came to me with an idea she wanted me to "cute up" for her, I gladly obliged.

Every time her students had a "positively purple day," they colored in a star. Her hope was that the chance to add a star to their page each day would motivate her kinders to work a little harder to make today better than yesterday.  

After a couple of months she came to me and said, "Can you add a page from 31-60? I have a few kids who are going to need it!" Absolutely!!

Then it occurred to me that some people have a clip chart that stops at blue. Or pink! Or no clip chart at all! And so a freebie was born. :)

There are 11 pages of resources PERFECT for your leadership notebooks, RTI folders, or daily communication folders. I've written a little more about it over at A Spark of Inspiration and I would love for you to check it out! Click on any of the images above to link over to my post there and grab the freebie!  

A Spark of Inspriation

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Reading Lists {a lovely little linky!}

I. Love. Reading.

I have had my nose in a book for almost as long as I can remember. Car trips, waiting rooms, airplanes, before I go to sleep --- wherever there is time in my day. I'll admit, it's been hard to find time to read since I became a mama last August. But since summer has started I am really loving the extra bit of time I have to read throughout the day.

When I came across the linky party that the lovely Molly is hosting over at Lucky to Be in First!, I knew it would be the perfect post to help me squeeze back into my blogging shoes. :)

We'll start with a few books that I cannot wait to dive into!

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee {coming July 14!)
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (I think this is on lots of lists!)
All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
We Were Liars by A. Lockhart

Here are a few of my favorite *recent-ish* reads! ;) Maybe you'll find a few to add to your list!

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult {my ALL TIME favorite author}
That Night by Chevy Stevens {easy mystery-thriller read}
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens {another mystery-thriller with a little more thrill}
How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor {fantastic read-aloud for 3rd or 4th grade}
Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany {good chick lit; a new favorite author for me}

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of the books I have on my lists. Let me know what you think! Make sure you link up with Molly if you're a bookworm too!

Until next time! :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Found the Gold Freebie Hop!

Welcome to the next stop on our freebie hop! If we all managed to link and sync correctly, you've come over from Julie at First Grade Critter Cafe. I'm so excited you're here! Thank you, Julie, for sending everyone this way!
My Sparkie peeps and I wanted to do something fun and FREE for all of you! So, we're putting out some *limited time* freebies for you as we all try to recover from the shenanigans of St. Patrick's Day. As a new mama, my shenanigans consisted of getting my taxes done and snuggling with my favorite little leprechaun. Not very shenanigan-y, I know. :)

I've got a sampler pack from my newest math pack for you! This set of printables is from one of my Collect 4! set - {Fractions on a Number Line and Improper Fractions}. They work beautifully with the game and as a stand alone group of printables. We used them for a differentiated work period, but you could also use them over the course of several days or as homework and classwork.

Just click the image below to grab it from Dropbox

I hope it's something you can use!

This sleepy teacher mama is going to send you on to The Crazy Schoolteacher.

I can't wait to see what Whitney has up her sleeve today!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Top 10 Blogger Products at EdExpo 2015!

Oh. My. Word.

My head is still spinning from all of the awesome games, gadgets, and gizmos I saw last weekend at EdExpo 2015! I actually left the expo on Monday afternoon and drove straight to my school for a staff meeting. Afterwards, I cornered my principal and immediately started talking a mile a minute about all of the things our teachers are going to HAVE TO HAVE.

One of the things the EdExpo folks asked us to do was walk around the expo hall and make a Top 10 list of products we loved. There were 50 of us there for the weekend - elementary, middle, high school, and even a few homeschool bloggers! They took all of the lists and made a Top 10 master list. I'll be back with my own Top 10 later this week, but I wanted to share the group list today! I also have to thank Sherron for inviting us to participate. I had a blast and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to work and collaborate with lots of other bloggers!!

I'll link to each company within the pictures below, but make sure to checkout EdMarket to search for a dealer near you to find out how to grab any of these products in your own zip code!

Our list starts with a tie!
Your kiddos will love creating and constructing with Kapla blocks! 
There are several different classroom or home kits available.
After you choose a puzzle card and lay down any necessary rings, you add in the green connector pieces to find your way from start to finish. You'll know you've found the right answer when your circuits connect and the trail lights up!
These sketchbooks are great! 
You could have your kids create their own picture using the circuits and add in a writing piece to go along with it!

I know my classroom teacher peeps will appreciate these self-correcting pencil grips. I love the way the different grips help the student progress towards independence as they begin to master holding their pencils correctly. I think I'm going to start sprinkling these around my school! :)

Oh, how I wish I'd had these in my classroom for the last thirteen years. 
So many kiddos with a need to fiddle and fidget can do so quietly - they just need one of these! I love the variety of fidgets to choose from as well.

You know your students love wearing those rubber bracelets... now they can learn a new set of facts while they make a fashion statement. :)  Each band contains the answers to a different set of multiplication facts. We try to think of new ways to make a tedious task a little more fun - I think Learn in Style has made fact practice a little better!

Where was this empty number line when we were teaching fractions on a number line not too long ago? Or subtraction strategies in 2nd grade? Or decimals and mixed numbers in 4th grade? For real - if you are a math coach, you need to get these for your teachers. Yesterday. :) 

We have another tie for 4th place!

These fidgets were one of my favorite products! I love the simplicity - a marble in a small mesh pouch - and the effectiveness. Kids will be able to burn nervous energy quietly and focus on the lesson or task at hand!

These blocks are designed to draw girls into building and creating!

This game was a BIG hit all weekend. I love that each game is grade-level specific. You could have multiple sets in your classroom to differentiate according to your students' ability levels, but still keep all students working on the same skill - sentence construction.

This is another product that made my teacher heart happy. The Reading Game is designed for one-on-one instruction for early OR struggling readers. I'm already hard at work on a follow-up post for this one!

I think I spent 30 minutes at this booth. These kits are SO cool! The apps are free, but they work with the letter and number kits. Your kiddos will LOVE manipulating the pieces to build words and numbers! 

Are you excited?? I'll be back later this week to share my personal top 10 with you, but in the meantime you can visit the website links in the pictures above AND hop on over to EdMarket to find a retailer for any of these near you!


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