Monday, February 23, 2015

Teachers are Super Heroes and WE NEED Superhero Products!

With the upcoming TpT sale, we want to help you find "heroic" products that have helped others in their classrooms. I recently received some wonderful feedback on my Expressions and Equations Scoot and Compute Pack. Many teachers have commented about how much they love this product because I have differentiated the questions.  There are 120 problems, 12 questions in 10 different algebra areas.  I printed mine on colored cardstock and put them on rings.  Then I can give more difficult problems to students who need a challenge.  You can see pictures in a blogpost I did {HERE}.  I use these primarily when it comes time to review for our state assessment, but I found myself pulling them out as center review several times this year to keep the algebriac thinking fresh throughout the year.

Click on the image above or {here} to go to the product.
Browse around the linky for other heroic products, or feel free to grab the graphic and link up your own! Link to a post containing one heroic product and its feedback. Use the graphic if you wish. (No direct links to stores or products, please.) Include the linky button and link it back to this post so others may find great heroic products.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Five for Saturday.. Math Centers.. Mardi Gras and a little Teacher Love

Happy Saturday my friends!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for a little Five For Friday.. a little late.
#1:  Math Centers:  I am loving the ability to have math centers this year.  My schedule permits me to teach about 45 minutes of whole group math, and then I get about 30 more minutes of math centers.   We've recently started our unit on Integers and Rational Numbers, and we've been digging deep into vocabulary.  I love using these Integer Phrase Task Cards in groups.  My students each take a card, read it and find the space on the number line.  We then find the opposite integer and then the absolute value as well.
We also have been working on mental math computation.  I need my students to get quicker at completing basic computation skills.  We started out doing these 4-5 step problems using a Hundreds Chart as visual reference.  As we progressed during the year, I have moved my students off the Hundreds Chart and into dry erase boards.  Most of them have moved completely to mental math, but I still have a few that work problems on the dry erase boards.  Right now, we are using my Marching 'Round the Hundreds Board for Mardi Gras to help us with this.
#2:  Speaking of Mardi Gras.. we went to our first Mardi Gras parade in Mobile this week!  How fun!  We loved seeing all the beads, parade floats and marching bands.  We also tried our first Moon Pies! I can't wait to see a few more this weekend.
#3:  We've also been busy starting pre-season for softball.  My beautful "24" is the starting catcher for her JV team.  We have loved the new softball family we are getting to know.
#4: For Valentines Day a local church stopped by and gave all of the teachers in our little school a donut and Starbucks. It was so kind of them to think of each of us, and it was a nice little pick me up on a busy busy day.
#5:  I'm pretty close to a 1,000 Facebook Followers!  I'm planning to have a little rafflecopter givewaway, so if you aren't following me on FB, stop by and like the Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans page!

Thanks to Doodle Bugs for letting me link up for Five for Friday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Using a 3-2-1 Reflections Graphic Organizer for Informational Text with a FREEBIE

We have been working hard with informational text lately!  Sixth grade feels like it is ALL about being able to explain our thinking about what we are reading, and backing up our claims with evidence from the text.  We have been practicing this concept with fiction, nonfiction and poetry a lot!  I've been trying to instill in my students the need to use quality vocabulary in the answers.  Drawing on the academic vocabulary within the text helps them "sound" like sophisticated sixth graders.

One of the ways that I work in vocabulary and details is with a 3-2-1 Reflections Graphic Organizer.  We recently read informational text about the increase in the number of child immigrants that are illegally entering the United States.  Using our 3-2-1 graphic organizer we found academic vocabulary that was related to the story, two details that supported the story, and wrote one question that still remained after the article was finished.

If you are interested, you can grab the organizer {HERE}.  It is a FREEBIE in my TpT store.  I've provided two different copies.  One is similar to the organizer mentioned above, the second is blank so you can add what you need as far reflections. We've used them when looking at compare/contrast text structure as well as facts and opinions.  If you were analyzing a poem, the 3-2-1 might be good for figurative language or thematic details.
I'm going to continue working with text structure informational analysis throughout the week.
We'll be using my Buddy Bookmarks
Sorry I didn't get a picture of these in use.. the one I took was blurry.  These are part of my Navigating Nonfiction Text posters and bookmark set.  I love these because we can use them with ANY text.  I'll also be incorporating some of the Reading Rectangles from my Reader Response Pack.  We are going to focus on Compare/Contrast structure next, and I'll even be incorporating that language into my math topics with integers.  It is important for my students to understand that these types of structures are in all subject areas, and the 3 2 1 Reflection organizer will be a quick formative assessment for me to use.  

Do you have any further suggestions for this type of organizer?  I'd love to hear! Have a great week!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Squared Away on Super Bowl Sunday!

Happy Sunday friends!  I'm blogging today about a few things that I've managed to Square Away this weekend.  Not all are school related, but a little of this and a little of that.

My kids and I are planning to try a new snack for the Super Bowl:  Buffalo Wing Cauliflower Bites.
You can find the recipe {HERE}.  I love Skinnytaste!

Little ole me was featured on the Teachers Pay Teachers Blog today! EEK!  I had written about Chinese New Year, and they added me to the article!  You can check it out {HERE}

I got my second Stitch Fix in the mail this weekend!  I was so excited to open it and check out what I got!  Sadly, I didn't keep anything in it.  <boo hoo>  BUT I learned a lot more about my own personal style, so I'm walking away with a positive attitude.  The shirts were a little too boxy for my taste, and I didn't care for the colors of a few.  Have you tried Stitch Fix? It is the perfect venue for introverts like me.  You can check it out {HERE} to learn more about it.

What have you Squared Away this Sunday?  Do you have anything yummy planned for the Super Bowl?  I'd love to hear if you've got anything fun planned for school this week, or if you have any fun outfits planned!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Celebrating Chinese New Year with Word Work Activities

I just wanted to post a quick line to let you know I updated my Chinese New Year ELA pack to represent 2015 and The Year of the Sheep.  I won't be doing a ton of activities with Chinese New Year this year because it falls right around Mardi Gras and well.. living in the mecca of Mardi Gras I need to put in some serious time celebrating a new culture.  BUT I don't want to forget about teaching my students a little about Chinese traditions so I'm going to use my ELA pack as my Word Work review in Febrauary.

Included in my ELA is a Cloze Reading activity for students to practice fluency.  I also have the passage set up as a Close Reading Activity with comprehension activity.  There are several sets of Word Work Task Cards that include practice with Homophones, Pronouns, Sentence Combining, and Synonym vocabulary.  These will be a good way to get in a little extra practice

If you are looking for a way to get in a little word work practice and teach your students about Chinese New Year, my pack may be the asnwer for you.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Using Interactive Games for Whole and Small Group Fraction Work

The main focus of our Fraction unit is to teach students how to interpret and compute quotients of fractions and solve word problems involving the division of word problems {isn't that a MOUTHFUL!} These Smarties have to understand how to read and draw models that represent their work.  In order to be successful at drawing division models, students need to be successful at understanding equivalent fractions.  Recently, I wrote a post about creating your own fraction bar kits and using them to find equivalent fractions.  You can go {HERE} and check it out.  This type of work is really important in getting your students to understand the need for finding equal fractions and common denominators.  In order to maintain the solid grasp of these concepts as we moved into model division drawing, we play Fraction Pop Ups.  I had a few emails asking me to share a little more about this interactive game, so I've written this post.  Hopefully, it will help you out!

First I play this game as an entire class.  I project one set of cards onto my smart board, and students use dry erase boards and markers to work the problem, talking in pairs as they go.

I love the organization that my students have.  I think it is really important to play interactive center games with students first before setting them free in groups.  They get an audio version of the directions, I can clarify any misconceptions, and they have a chance to see what my expectations are for the game.  As we play the game together, I always point out when I see a student who has organized their work in a meaningful way.  It helps my students who seem to always have organization issues get an idea of how to manage their white boards.

Fraction Pop Ups helps students reduce fractions to lowest terms, so it reviews GCF, and then students must solve several addition and subtraction problems using a common denominator.  This helps me out when I ask them to create equivalent fractions in model drawing.

Once we have played the game together as a class, I set it up as a center during my small group time.  Finally, I have students complete a pencil and paper set as a formative assessment.  You could also use this as a bulletin board display, or as another center.
This game can also be played in teams.  Sometimes I break students into groups and line them up with their white boards.  The first person starts and must answer the first question, then he/she passes their answer to person 2 who must use the answer to finish their question, and so on.  The team that finishes first with all the correct answers is the winner.

Interactive Games always provide lots of options for play.  They keep students moving, and more importantly TALKING to each other about MATH.  If you are interested, I have several interactive games you can check out:
Fraction Pop Ups
S'more work with Combining Like Terms
Algebra Cool Down
Hoppin Round the Hundreds Board

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My First Stitch Fix-- A Fun Way to Shop

In late November as a present to myself for an amazing month on TpT, I gifted myself with a Stitch Fix box.  I am NOT a shopper.  Seriously,  I get HIVES if I'm in the store too long.  I am very grateful that I have sisters who love to shop or I would never have any new clothes.  I've read about several bloggers who were checking out Stitch Fix, and I figured I would give it a try.  There is a $20 fee when you schedule  a fix, and if you purchase any of the items, the $20 is deducted from the cost.  Shipping and returns are at no cost to you.

I logged into Stitch Fix and set up a Style Profile.   I was really looking for casual weekend clothes.  Apparently the South doesn't wear yoga pants and hoodies on the weekend!  I'm not that big into fur, or animal prints, or leather or big flowery patterns.  But guess what!  I could tell them all of my likes and dislikes from the privacy of my own home computer.  I'm pretty nonconfrontational.  Sometimes my sisters buy me things that I never wear because I can't tell them I don't like them. <EEK> #introvert.  But on the computer profile I could be honest because I could TYPE and not TALK about my likes.
After spending about a half hour filling out the profile, which seemed like a long time for me, but again, not a clothes person, #agonizesovereverythingIwear, I was set up and ready to roll.  My Fix arrived in early December, and well friends, this may just be the shopping for me!
Here is a look at what I got in my fix:
#1:  Colby Houndstooth Print Infinity Scarf (Look By M)

I LOVED THIS!!  But alas, I didn't purchase it.  NOT because I didn't LOVE it, but because, well, in Alabama I won't wear a scarf that is so thick.  If I was still living in NY, this would have been a keeper.
#2:  Ivy Abstract Floral Print Blouse (41Hawthorn)

I LOVED this blouse.  It was navy with orange flowers, two of my favorite colors.  This is a perfect work shirt.  Definitely a keeper.
#3: Sherwood Faux Leather Detailed Cardigan (41Hawthorn)

Ummmm... Faux Leather?  Not for me.  I didn't even take a picture of myself wearing it.   This cardigan was open and flowy in the front, but if felt really big on me, and well, I like things more structured. Outcome-- Return
#4 Ferris Mixed Material Collared Blouse (Skies Are Blue)

This was my favorite shirt in the box.  The simple black style and open collar were a perfect style for me.  My kids liked this shirt the best too.  I can see myself wearing this to both school and on the weekends when these lovely Southern women I'm becoming friends with make me get out of my yoga pants and hoodie. ;)
#5:  Reggie Skinny Jean (Henry & Belle)

These jeans were pretty good.  I'm wearing them in the picture above.  I liked the way they looked on my legs, but I thought they were too low rise.  I'm not usually a skinny jeans girl, more of a bootcut, but I asked to try a few different styles since I'm on the hunt for that really great pair of jeans.

My overall thoughts?  I think Stitch Fix is pretty cool.  Especially if you are introvert like me about shopping.  All the work was done for me!  This being my first fix I think it's pretty great I picked 2 of the 5 pieces, and the scarf, well that would have been the third one if I didn't live in the hot weather.
I can't wait to get my next Fix which is scheduled for the end of the month.  I think I love shopping from the comfort of my home!

Have you ever gotten a Stitch Fix box?  Are you interested in checking it out?  You can go {HERE} and sign up through my affiliate link if you are interested in checking this out.

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