Sunday, January 31, 2016

Steps to Long Division Bookmarks



Is your hand up?  I know mine is!  It was with these goals in mind that I created my Steps to Long Division Bookmarks.  


These are dual-sided bookmarks that present the steps for long division in two ways. The first uses the mnemonic of the family (daddy, mommy, sister, brother, Cali, Rover), and the second uses a cheeseburger (does McDonald's serve cheese burgers). The bookmark format allows students to keep this visual reminder in their textbook, or even in their nightly reading books for a handy study guide. 






Just print, glue the two sides together, and laminate.  Then students can choose which mnemonic makes the most sense to them.

You can pick up a copy by clicking here.

What tips and tricks do you have for helping students learn and study the steps for long division?  I'd love to hear from you!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter Poetry and a FREEBIE

Want some ideas on how to keep the writing curriculum fresh, even on those long Winter days?  Then look no further!  Poetry + Figurative Language = FUN during your writing block that will keep the creative juices flowing. 

It doesn't matter if you're in elementary school or middle school when it comes to poetry.  Everyone loves poetry!  You can dig pretty deep into figurative language and writing structure with something so simple as a poem.  Here are some of my favorite forms of poetry:
Cinquains
Limericks
Haikus
Freestyle







What's poetry without some really cool forms of figurative language?  Let's not forget about:
Onomatopoeia
Metaphors
Personification




I designed a unit to explore these concepts further.




This unit is designed to have writers use the following strategies to vary their writing and use descriptive terms:
~"Show, Don't Tell"
~Figurative Language: Onomatopoeia, Metaphors
~Creating rhythm in poetry: Alliteration, Rhyming
~Types of poems: Cinquains, Limericks, Haikus

Standards of Learning/
Objectives addressed:
2.12 c:
~Expand writing to include descriptive detail
4.8 f:
~Incorporate adjectives
5.7 f
~Use precise and descriptive vocabulary to create tone and voice.
Grades 2-5
~Research, plan, compose, and revise for a variety of purposes
Grades 5-8:
~Use specific word choice, descriptive and/or figurative language, and selected information purposefully to craft a message, create tone, and enhance the writer’s voice.
~Includes sentences of various lengths and structures, resulting in a rhythmic flow.

If you'd like to pick up a copy, click here.


And NOW.... a FREEBIE!





Haikus are a wonderful way to dig deep into word choice and the writing process without a lot of pain.  This FREEBIE includes:
~Description and rules for writing a Haiku
~An example Winter Haiku
~Instructions for writing and editing a Winter Haiku 

What are your favorite ways to get the students to buy into figurative language and the writing process?  I'd love to hear how!


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Are you Ready for a Sale?!

There's nothing like a sale to energize you and get you back in creative teaching mode!  So, go to my TpT store to get up to 28% off my usual prices on January 20th-21st!




I hope you can find some things that will inspire your teaching.  I know I already have my wish list ready!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

STEAM, Social Studies, and Language Arts! Oh, My!

I will be teaching a series of Saturday Enrichment Program classes this month.  I'm so excited to be invited back for the second year by Highland School!  Last year, I worked with 2nd and 3rd-Graders on this project.  This year, I will be working with 4th and 5th-Graders.





Teachers get to pick the topic of their class, and I chose STEM.  I also love art, so STEAM was my inspiration.  It was from this inspiration that my "Solve Architectural Problems in a Science Lab!" unit was born.  It's a 5-part unit that's designed to be taught in 2-hour increments.



The first lesson introduces students to what technology really is.  I call this one the "Paper Bag Technology" experiment.  A lot of students think technology is only things that require electricity.  This lesson shows that anything that is designed to solve a problem is technology.



The second lesson focuses on the concepts of team-building and engineering.  I call this one the "Build an Index Card Tower" experiment.  It is the first experiment in the unit in which they fill out the "STEAM Planning and Report Sheet" that follows the five steps of the Engineering Design Process.



The 3rd lesson is the "Build a Longhouse" experiment in which students work together to build a scaled longhouse.


The 5th lesson has the students building a bridge of manila folders in the "Build a Bridge" experiment.



This unit includes:

~Lesson 1: "Paper Bag Technology" experiment. A lot of students think technology is only things that require electricity. This lesson shows that anything that is designed to solve a problem is technology.
~Lesson 2: "Build an Index Card Tower" experiment. It introduces the concepts of team-building and engineering that will be used throughout the following experiments.
~Lesson 3: "Build a Longhouse" experiment in which students work together to build a scaled longhouse.
~Lesson 4: "Build a Covered Wagon" experiment.
~Lesson 5: "Build a Bridge" experiment.
~Instructions for "Parent Visitation Day" to showcase student work

All lessons include:
~"STEAM Planning and Report Sheet" that follows the five steps of the Engineering Design Process.
~Enrichment questions and/or activities. 
~Suggested reading titles for further research. 
~Answer Keys for worksheets

I'm so excited to use this for the SEP!

You can pick up a copy by clicking here.



Sunday, January 10, 2016

How to read a ruler

I have to admit, it took me awhile to fully understand how to properly use a ruler growing up once I was required to measure things to the 1/4 inch.  So, I came up with a visual to help my students understand how to measure to the nearest 1/2 or 1/4 inch.  I still use this process in my head when I'm measuring!




First, they find the nearest inch.  This is also a great time to talk about whole numbers.







Then, they find the half-inch.  This is when we review fractions of a set, stressing that halves are 1 of 2 things in a set.



They continue the process to find the fourths.  We review fractions of a set again, this time stressing how fourths are 1 of 4 things in a set.

Finally, we practice measuring to the nearest 1/2 and 1/4 inch.



If you'd like to use this packet, you can pick up a copy by clicking here.

Do you have any ways to help your students understand measurement or fractions of a set?  I'd love to hear how!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Teacher Time-Saver: Mason Jar Lunches




It's the perfect time of year to give your packed lunch a booster!  Think of it like this: New year, new, healthy way to prep and pack lunches that will also save you time at work.

Top reasons why I love Mason jar lunches, and so will you:

1. The cafeteria takes at least 10 of my precious 20-minute lunch. Packing a lunch means I have my food instantly. 

2.  The cafeteria isn't open until lunch time, and it isn't open at 4:00 pm.  I don't know about you, but I need a snack before 12:00 and after work.  If I don't get one, I tend to get hangry.  It takes all of two seconds to pull my Mason jar lunch from the fridge in the morning and throw in an extra snack or two.  Problem  solved.

3.  The cafeteria portions (even for adults) aren't enough to keep me full for the rest of the day.  A well-balanced salad or Mason jar meal does the trick. 

4.  Making Mason jar lunches is fast. It takes me no more than 30 minutes, once a week, to pack my lunches for the entire week.  Yep. I can make all five salads for the week on Sunday. They stay fresh and tasty from Monday through Friday. Not. Even. Kidding. How? The secret's in how you layer them.

So, I'd like to share one of my new favorite jar lunches:  Black Bean Salsa!  Just layer the ingredients from layer 1-6 (in that order) in a mason jar.  The one pictured below is an empty pasta sauce jar.




Bing, bam, boom!  Done in minutes!  I make all five in one day and they taste just as good on Friday as they do on Monday.

Are you ready to jump into jar salads?  You won't be sorry!  Let me know what your favs are and any tips you have.  I can't wait to hear all about it!



Sunday, December 27, 2015

Growth Mindset Activity: Learning Style Quiz and Hemispheres of theBrain



We've been using Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools by Mary Cay Ricci in our county.

One of my favorite activities I did in college was to learn if I was "right-brained" or "left-brained".  We've all heard the talk about how we are either one or the other. Turns out, most of the successful people in the world have more balance between the two hemispheres. So, I wanted to create an activity that would not only gauge students' learning style, but also give them strategies to create the balance that successful people have. 

First, we took a learning and personality style quiz. This consists of series of paired statements from which students had to choose the statement that sounded more like them. For example, 



As the students answered the questions, they colored in the appropriate circle to indicate their answer choice. 



After all questions were answered and circles were filled in, we discussed the patterns we saw. For example, were there more left or right circles filled in?  Were there equal amounts filled in on each side?  If there were more circles colored in on the left, that showed a tendency toward left-brain "logical" thinking and vice versa for the right side. If equal amounts were colored, that tends  to indicate a person that uses both left- and right-brained approaches, depending on the situation. In other words, this indicates a person that is willing to try things outside their comfort zone if the situation calls for it. 

We then talked about how to strengthen the side (hemisphere) on which there were fewer circles filled in. It basically boils down to trying activities outside your "comfort zone". Below are the examples we talked about for the students who were more "Left-Brained".  I have another list for strengthening the left hemisphere and one to help strengthen both equally. 



If you'd like to pick up a copy of this packet, it includes:
~21 paired statements from which to choose.  The first statement of the set (labeled with A) indicates a tendency toward right-brain thinking.  The second statement of the set (labeled with B) indicate a tendency toward left-brain thinking.
~A "Brain Worksheet" for students to color in their answers to the paired statements
~Tips for strengthening the left and right hemispheres
~Tips for strengthening both hemispheres


Click here to pick up a copy.

We constantly refer to these lists and "stepping outside our comfort zone" when we encounter challenging situations so we can learn and grow. Do you do any activities to encourage students to think about how they learn?  I'd love to hear about them!