Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thoughtfulness and Teacher Heroes

Teachers Pay Teachers just finished a sale with the theme of Teachers are Heroes. Several bloggers that I follow talked about their Teacher Heroes and it got me thinking that I couldn't remember a lot of my teachers from my childhood - too long ago I guess. But there were a few - Mrs. Beasley, my first grade teacher who taught us how to count to 10 in Spanish - which I can still do. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Kampouris who took a small group of students to a science fair and fed us M&M's on our way there. Don't remember anything about the science fair, just the M&M's and the fact that my mother really spoke highly of her. I don't remember learning to read or how I solved a math problem.  As I said, I couldn't tell you what we did at the science fair.  What I do remember is such a little thing that the teacher did that was not on the lesson plan or in the state standards - just the thoughtfulness of doing something nice and sweet.

Today, I came across a note from a very sweet lady who used to be the Assistant Principal at my school. She retired 9 years ago and is enjoying grandchildren and life.  The note was sent to me at my school after she retired.  She had run into me and a colleague at lunch one day right before the start of a the school year.  We had decided to move up to 2nd grade and co-teach.  We were looking forward to our new adventure and she noticed it. The following week she sent a beautiful inspirational note to each of us at school. She didn't send an email or a text. She sent a precious handwritten note that I still have.  

Thoughtfulness. Such a wonderful trait for an educator.  More important than content knowledge or a test specification and definitely not on a standardized test.  These are my teacher heroes - Mrs. Beasley, Mrs. Kamporis, and Mrs. Nancy Apgar. Thank you for the reminder of what's important. You were and are my teacher heroes! Who was your teacher hero?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Teachers are Heroes Sale at TPT and Be a Follower!!!

Teachers are Heroes Sale 
 Teacher Pay Teachers - February 25th!
Promo Code HEROES


FREE Giveaway!

I'm giving away 2 free resources on February 25th only! All you have to do is:

       1.    Go to my TPT store
       2.    Follow me
       3.    Post your follower number on my 
              Facebook page

That's it! I will choose two random lucky winners to receive either my Comparing Fractions True or False? Prove It! OR Elapsed Time True of False? Prove It?  It's super easy, so don't forget!  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Elapsed Time Troubles

The countdown has begun here in Florida. Third graders will be taking a new standardized test (FSA) March 23rd through the 26th. Just a wee bit of panic has started to take place..this is our first year testing the Common Core Standards and we have no idea what to expect. Many of the standards for 3rd grade are similar, but the unknown is scary!

Some of the growing pains of implementing Common Core is the gap in skills that third graders are demonstrating this year, particularly in math - basic fraction knowledge, poor addition and subtraction skills, and telling time. When these core skills are lacking, it adds to the timetable allocated for teaching these skills, even though our county has a curriculum map that we have to adhere to.  

With all that being said, my kiddos struggled with elapsed time when I taught it 3 weeks ago. I had to spend two solid math periods teaching how to tell time before I could begin elapsed time. Then I had only 4 class periods left to get 19 students to mastery. Well, guess what? It didn't happen. That is too much of a leap in developmental skills to accomplish in such a short period.

Around this same time, I was using my Comparing Fractions True or False? Prove It! resource in my review math center and my students were getting so much better at comparing fractions and explaining their thinking through constructed response.  Why not use a similar center in order to practice elapsed time even after my unit is finished? So, I have created Elapsed Time True or False? Prove It! It has three different instructional levels, so you can differentiate your math center and progressively move your kiddos up to the level they need in order to be successful on the big test.

I just posted it on Teachers Pay Teachers, so if you need materials for math that are differentiated, convenient, and's a peek!

The A task cards are perfect for Error Analysis.
The even ones are true and the odd are false, so it's
easy for you to evaluate quickly!
This constructed response sheet matches
up with the A set of task cards.
It uses error analysis to take student's
 thinking to a deeper level.
The B set of task cards is great for those struggling
mathematicians who need more practice calculating
elapsed time. Great for remediation!
This constructed response sheet gives students
 the opportunity to calculate elapsed two different ways -
T chart and time line and matches up with the B Cards.
Once students have mastered calculating elapsed time,
 they need more challenging activities.
This one gives those very capable students the chance to write
elapsed time word problems and challenge a classmate
to solve it.

Just click here to see it on Teachers Pay Teachers! While you are there, make sure you follow me so you get first notice of new products!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom - Be Somebody

Happy Wednesday!

This is from a cute little guy named Kid President - one of my favorite somebodies!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom - Don't Lose Hope

Happy Wednesday!

We all have those days, right? Just remember, tomorrow is Thursday and the next day is Friday - then it's weekend!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Little Inspiration


It's that time of the school year when standardized testing time is looming - you are exhausted - your students are exhausted.  It's hard to get up in the morning - it's hard to get excited about teaching - you need something to lift you up and your fellow teachers are in the same boat. What do you do?

Are you familiar with Cornerstone for Teachers?  It's an amazing website and blog by Angela Watson, a former teacher, current author, and TPTer.  She has begun a weekly podcast of inspirational and helpful messages that are perfect for this time of the school year! 

It's really easy to listen to the podcast.  Just go to ITunes and download them - they're free!  Angela releases one per week.  Every Monday morning while I am enjoying my first cup of coffee, I pop in my ear buds and listen to her uplifting message. 

So if you are in need of a little something to carry you through the remainder of the school year - this might be it.  Check it out - go to her website - click on PODCASTS at the top of her page.  All of the information is right there.

Hope this is the inspiration you need!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Front Row

Have you seen this math computer program called Front Row?  I read about it on another teacher's blog (sorry I can't remember whose) a few months ago.  I checked it out and decided to try it in my classroom as a center during my math block. It's absolutely free to teachers and their students.

Once you set up your class, students only have to open the program, sign in and enter the class code. No individual passwords needed (Hallelujah!) All of the Common Core Math Standards are included by category, i.e., Operations, Measurement, Algebra, etc. At the beginning of a unit, students can take a pre-test to determine their independent level. Once this is done, they sign in to Adaptive Practice which is differentiated for each student.

Here's the part that is SO cool - they send an email to the teacher and let you know how each student is doing! Seriously? I don't have to go through tons of data and print special reports? I'm ALL IN on this thing! But, if you want to dig deeper - you can. They have all kinds of data- by student and by standard.

My students love to work on the program.There are helpful videos if they need help. Of course, there is an incentive built in for students - they can earn stars and coins which they use to buy clothes for their avatar pig. 

I recently sent home informational letters for parents to sign in to Front Row at home. This is homework my kiddos were excited to do! 

If you are looking for additional math practice that is differentiated for your students, try Front Row.  It's been extremely easy to implement and both my students and I love it!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday Sale

Why not take advantage of a 20% off sale and get a resource that might help your students get ready for standardized testing?  

  • Comparing Fractions
  • Mastering Multiplication and Division Facts
  • Improving Fluency
  • Setting Goals for Improved Test Scores

I've got something that could help you and your students at 20% off today!