My Week in Pictures and a Linky Party {Sunday Snapshots}

Here's a look at what when down between my 4 walls this week. All links can be found at the end of the post. 

RELATED LINKS (in the order they appeared):

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MATH CENTERS GALORE - addition / place value / money & more

Holy Upload Batman! It feels so good to have finally put the finishing touches on and uploaded 7 new products that have been living in my brain and in a folder on my desktop titled, "finish and upload." Some of these were started in early August!!!

Admittedly I needed to put a "rush order" on a few because I needed to use them in my classroom this week, but it took a lot longer to "polish" them for my store than I anticipated. I aligned each with the new Common Core standards.

These were all first tested and approved by my own live-in second grader before I introduced them to my third graders. They really loved them as well. 

I blogged about my Fall Writing Project which I recently added to the store on Wednesday. You can read about it and see pictures here. Everything else this week is math, math and more math! 

I kicked off Math Workshop this week (pause for happy dance) and these were great additions to the rotations. I really tried to write VERY detailed descriptions on each of the product pages which you can access via the links below so I'm not going to cut and paste it all here. Instead I'll give you the highlights.

BTW: These are all currently 20% off as part of my 20% off EVERYTHING FLASH SALE. 

GRADES: 1-5 (ideal for 2-4)
SKILLS: addition / subtraction / 10s and 1s / place value / navigating a hundred chart / understanding equations

{access and download this product}
GRADES: K-4 (ideal for 1-3)
SKILLS: addition / subtraction / fact fluency / equations 

{access and download this product}
{access and download this product}

GRADES: 1-5 (ideal for 2-4)
SKILLS: addition / subtraction / fact fluency / equations / place value / mental math

{access and download this product}
{access and download this product}

GRADES: 1-4 (ideal for 2-4)
SKILLS: addition / combos of 100 / money / counting coins / 2-digit addition

{access and download this product}
{access and download this product}

GRADES: K-4 (ideal for 1-3)
SKILLS: addition / place value / multiples of 10 / combos of 10 addition facts

{access and download this product}

GRADES: 1-5 (ideal for 2-4)
SKILLS: addition / place value / fact fluency / equations /estimation /2-digit numbers
{access and download this product} 
{access and download this product}

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FREE and Easy Classroom Management {Thrifty Thursday}

Classroom organization and management is kind of my thing. I'm dorky like that. I also totally heart free stuff.

I recently blogged about how much I love reading your responses to my Facebook Question of the Day. {Click here to read about how you can be part of the QOTD}

Like seriously love love reading them. It always amazes me how different our teaching experiences are. But, what I love most of all is that I am always learning new things from you all. It's amazing how much impact a single sentence can have when it points you in the direction of something new.

Last week I asked how y'all use your cell phones as a classroom tool.
Many of you responded with words that were foreign to me: Class Dojo.

I was curious and Googled my way to something awesome. And since it is FREE I wanted to share it as a Thrifty Thursday tip.

Although it could also be a Teacher Timesaver Tuesday tip because it saves tons of time!

Class Dojo is a free online service for managing your students' behaviors. You simply sign up, add your class list and create a list of positive and negative behaviors. Then you can track the data with easy peasy clicks on your computer, smartphone, ipad or interactive white board...or all of the above. 

I am totally ga ga over the fact that I can use it in the classroom, click it in the hallway as needed when we are walking to lunch and my classroom aide can use her phone to track behaviors when she is working with a group outside the classroom. 

I can email data to the parents. And because not all parents have email and not everyone is allowed to communicate about student behavior over email, I love that it works well with my behavior calendar logs. I just have to access the report at the end of the day and can easily transfer the info over.

I can keep records quickly and accurately to back report cards. LOVE!

I experimented with it this week and have been thrilled. My next step is to really fine tune the custom behaviors to paint a very accurate picture for the parents and myself. I also plan to add a category for gym, art and music so our specialists can use it as well.

I blogged about my personal concerns with public behavior plans this summer so I especially like that I can keep this info private by not broadcasting it.

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It's Whatever Wednesday which means it's my day to babble about anything.

And oh my gosh there are so many things swimming in my mind that I want to share.

But they will need to take a backseat to some festive Fall eye candy because the calendar tells me it's fall and I am craving apple cider candles and pumpkin bread and colorful foliage and yet I am wearing flannel snowman jammies (yes, at 4:30 on a Wednesday afternoon...don't judge) and looking out at grey skies and trees full of green leaves.

So I need you to help me pick a project to go on my bulletin board {FYI: You can see a bunch of my former fall bulletin boards here} so I can get that fall feeling.
I've collected some Pinterest inspiration to choose from today, but am open to other suggestions as well?

I love seeing how my students' writing progresses over the course of the year. It is always amazing to compare pieces and note the growth they have made as authors. I especially love looking at similar writing samples because I feel you can see so much more when you compare apples to apples.

For that reason I created a series of annual writing projects that showcases their development by having them complete the same writing process to write about each season.

{click here to access and download this product}

I start at this time of year and have them write about fall...or Autumn if that's what you prefer (I included papers headed both fall and autumn btw).

Then around December 21st-ish we write about winter.

In March we write about spring.

In June we write about summer.

And then I take all four pieces and attach them to accordian folded construction paper to show all of the samples in consecutive order and it knocks my socks off.

While it does fill you with pride and joy and happiness for your students, you can't help but also think "Boo Yeah Look what I did!"

And it feels good.

I made it all formal by creating a nice packet (and am aiming to add the other 3 seasons to my store within the next week). As with all of my writing packets, I differentiated it so the packet can be used in grades K-5. I even aligned it with Common Core Standards for grades K-4. It's open-ended so you can pick any prompt or topic you want. And because y'all seemed to like my ink-saving Blackline Design Collection this summer, I made each printable available in both color and blacklined outlines. I used the latter this year and let my friends color them in.
{click here to access and download this product}

Did I mention that I did this with my class last week?  Because I did. 

And I promptly took down my "Welcome Back to School Board" with the "First Day of School" pictures that hung on it and replaced them with festive orange fabric (because I can totally leave it up for my next board) and outlined it with fake foliage in fall colors.

I know I will hang their writing.

I'm leaning towards adding a twisted paper tree.

But, I'm having commitment issues with which craftivity I will have my friends create to compliment their writing. I was thinking painted leaf prints and even attempted them with a few kiddos.

Epic fail.

So now I'm torn between the following...
Kicking it Old School with a good ole leaf rubbing

The real branch makes my heart happy

I LOVE the idea of doing this in fall colors because anything with a child's handprint is super special.

Oil overlooked medium

If I don't use this for this bulletin board I most certainly will use it soon. I love everything about it.
I may need to team up with our fabulous art teacher and see if she would be willing to take this one on
because I doubt I would have the class time to complete it.

I'm thinking if I do the paper tree I may have them each make a leaf to add to it because I'm pretty sure most have never done shaving cream printing. 

Super pretty, but probably best saved for a window and not a board with an orange background.

Cute alternative to handprint art above. This would be nice because I could have them do a tree for each season.

I already added my trim, but I'm hoping one of you will do a board with this as a border because it would look stellar.

Once again...a great idea to share with our art teacher. These are gorgeous.{photo sources...all image originated can be accessed through this link}

So what do you think I should use? Any other ideas you would suggest?

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How do you cover everything in your math curriculum using the Math Workshop model? 

{Click to access and download}


My Math Workshop Rotation Board Packet is one of my most popular products and the related images are some of my most frequently pinned photos. As a result I do get a lot of questions on the logistics of how it works in my room. I suppose, “It. Works. AWESSOME” isn’t the answer people are seeking. :)

I pinky promise I am working on a very comprehensive document that truly outlines all the nitty gritty. It’s been a work in progress for awhile and my hope was to have it done before the new year started, but truthfully I think it will be much more effective if I continue to create it “in real time.” So each day(ish) I add a bit more to it as I reflect on my work in my own classroom. 

The best thing about my math workshop format is that it can be used with ANY math curriculum. Today I wanted to take a moment to answer the most frequently asked question I get regarding the workshop...

I use Investigations. As a curriculum I feel that it has many benefits. As we move toward the Common Core I am amazed at how aligned it already was. The major drawback I found was that the way the lesson was scripted in the teaching guide wasn’t a good fit for our changing population. I’m sure you’ll all agree that it is so much harder to keep kids focused and attentive these days (and OMG that makes me sound like a fossil). I was teaching “as prescribed,” but didn’t feel like I was reaching all of my students and tapping into their true potential as mathematicians.

I started adding some Whole Brain Teaching strategies into the mix and that did help, but I knew I needed to take it a step further. I had success with doing other things in small groups and so I was excited to teach math the same way. The problem was that I needed to make sure that I addressed everything in my curriculum.

It was much easier than I thought and I assume you could do the same with Everyday Math, Singapore, or any other program as well.
{Click to access and download}

I designed my board/rotations to spell M-A-T-H.

The T was originally “teacher” but sometimes I was needed to circulate so “teacher’s choice” was a more flexible title. 95% of the time it means I am working with a small group.

Here’s what I do...

I look at the lesson for the day and read through the main instruction part. I analyze it to see how much of it I can teach as a whole group at the start of the workshop. As a general guide I aim for a 10 minute mini-lesson. The rest of the lesson is taught in a small group format....4 times. Although my groups as flexible and fluent, I base them on student need. Although I’m teaching the same lesson 4 times I may deliver it 4 different ways to meet their needs. The level of conversation varies depending on ability, but all my students are getting the meat of the lesson in a manner in which they are focused and attentive. So much more effective than having them daydreaming for the better part of a longer group lesson.

Next I look at what the weekly games are. I plug those into my hands-on station. If needed, I create supplemental activities and task cards to further strengthen the skills.

I look at all of the activity pages that are assigned with the curriculum and then plug them into the week as they best fit. I typically will have them review the skills from the day before by doing those activity pages the day after I teach the topic in my small group. “At your seat” may also include math journals, calendar activities, number of the day. 
{Click to access and download}

The Math Facts station is a hodge podge. It may be flashcards, online games,, board games, etc. Basically anything that gets them working towards fluency on their basic facts. Some are working on addition and subtraction while others are doing multiplication and division. It really is all about individualizing the lessons and activities to target each student’s needs.

I wrap up the math workshop with a reflection and sharing session (again about 10 minutes). It really does allow me to cover everything in the curriculum, but in a more personal and effective manner.

Another option would be to teach your curriculum’s lesson as designed to the whole class and then break them into rotation groups for the follow-up activities and games. It really comes down to meeting the needs to your learning community. Hope that helps clarify things a bit more.

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