Thursday, December 13, 2012

Let's Learn Our Multiplication Facts!

A few days ago I discussed using multiplication fact cards as centers and practice. Christmas vacation is almost here and after the break it'll be time to get busy with memorizing our multiplication facts! I'll be creating some different multiplication centers over the next couple of weeks that can be used for partner practice. This week I finished up creating practice tests for multiplication facts. I created a test for each number 1-12 and also created three different mixed facts tests. I like using these as timed tests starting in January. However, I believe in doing timed tests a bit differently. Instead of asking students to complete a test in a designated time like Mad Minute, I put a timer up on the board that counts up from 0 all the way to 10 minutes (at first). Once I start the timer, students complete their 35 problems. When finished, they write their finish time at the top of their paper. I like doing this because even if they don't get it finished in 3 minutes or your designated time, they can see that as the days progress, their time gets better. (I figure if they don't get 35 done in ten minutes they won't finish...and honestly most of my kids finish by 8 minutes unless they don't know any of their facts.)

I also like to keep track of what facts students have mastered. In the past I've used a chart that I created called "Buzzing Through Multiplication" which is free in my TPT store if you'd like to download it. I also have a multiplication log that is free in my TPT store that I use to keep track of how often students practice their facts at home.

In the Multiplication Facts unit I created this week, there is a new tracking chart that is monkey themed. It includes trees for 1-12 and also individual student markers that can be a girl monkey, boy monkey, or a banana. My kids love moving their monkey from tree to tree as they practice and master their facts. I normally write their student number on it instead of their name so it's a little more private. I also included a one-page chart in the unit so you can keep track of where your kids are with their fact mastery all in one place. There are some images below of the unit and you can also get more information at my TPT store. What ways do you help your kids master their multiplication facts?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Name Tag Freebie

Hi there everyone!  Can you believe it's only 19 days until Christmas?  I was hoping to get some more Christmas stuff up here but it's been a bit hectic around here. I did create some Christmas name tags I like to use in my classroom during the month of December. By now our name tags have taken a beating and it's fun to add a little Christmas cheer to our desks this time of year. :)  I've used the graphics I love from Goodness and Fun that I get from her stuff! If you like the clipart take a look around her Etsy shop...she has lots of cute stuff I like to use in my classroom.

You can use these for name tags, a Christmas word wall, compliment cards for the month of December, etc. Since it's Christmas and I'm in the giving mood, I've uploaded my Christmas tags onto TPT for free until Christmas!  Stop by my TPT store and download them for free so you can add some Christmas cheer to your classroom!


Merry Christmas everyone! :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Powerful Prefixes!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and enjoyed a few days off to spend with their family and friends! We made the trip over to California to spend Thanksgiving with my brother and his wife. The weather was beautiful and we had a wonderful time!  I can't believe it's already December...this year seems to be flying by.  I normally start teaching prefixes and suffixes as part of my vocabulary study this time of the year so my kiddos have a preview of it before we dig deeper into them after Christmas break.

I made a prefix packet called Powerful Prefixes to start off the unit. I focused on five prefixes: pre-. re-. un-. in-. and dis-. These are the more common prefixes and most of my students already know un- and re- so it gives them some confidence to start with the more familiar ones. In the unit there are prefix graphics which show the prefix and meaning. I enlarge these to use as posters in our room and I shrink them up to glue into our reading journals. I normally introduce one prefix each day of the week and have students glue in the graphic at the top of their journal page. We then brainstorm words we already know that include the prefix along with meanings from the prefix. I also sometimes have students work with a partner to come up with a sentence using a word with the prefix. The harder part is being sure they include context clues to help others figure out the meaning of the word. We get into that a lot more in January but it's fun to start a bit early...especially if you have a higher group.

The unit also includes a matching game that students can play in the style of Memory. It includes directions, 15 word cards (with prefixes for each word), 15 word meaning cards, and an answer sheet for students to check their answers. Included also are two worksheets you can use. One has sentences with missing words and a word box for students to pull from. The other has a paragraph where students must fill in the five missing words using the word box. I like to use these as a pre and post assessment to find out where my kids are in the beginning and to find out who still needs more help at the end of the week.

The unit is available for a discount at my TPT store. I hope it helps you get started in your vocabulary study this year. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas Freebie!

I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is only a week away!  Time seems to be flying by so quickly. If you're like me...the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to fly by too! I like to get a head start and get Christmas stuff ready before Thanksgiving so I'm ready to go for the whirlwind before Christmas break. Last year I came across a great Santa behavior incentive chart which my kids really liked. I can't remember where I got it and can't find it anywhere. So...I made a new incentive chart with a Christmas theme to help my kids keep on track these next few weeks.

I print out the Christmas tree and hang it up on the board. I also laminate (so I can use them more than once) the ornaments and have them ready to go. Every time my class is on task or gets a compliment, I hang an ornament on the Christmas tree. Once they have 10 ornaments on the tree, I let them pull an incentive out of a paper bag I have. I included some of incentives I've used in the past but also left some strips blank. My kids have also enjoyed creating their own incentives (with my approval of course) and adding them into the bag to be drawn. We normally get a couple of incentives in before the break and the kids get really excited about being on their best behavior...a plus for me!

This is FREE for download on my TPT store. I hope you can use it to help you with the craziness of the holidays! Don't forget to follow me on TPT because I'll be adding several Christmas games and such this next week or two. :)

Let's Round It!

It's that time in math that I sometimes dread...teaching rounding. We use the cute little chants and songs and do a lot of hand on practice but some kids just struggle with rounding and need that extra help. I created two games you can use when working with rounding numbers. These games can be used as a whole group, with a partner, or individually in tutoring. They can also be used as take-home games for kids who need a little extra practice. Each game has an answering sheet included so kids can check answers when finished playing.

The 'Round It!' game focuses on rounding to the nearest ten. It includes both two-digit and three-digit numbers. It can be downloaded on my TPT store and is half off right now. :)

The 'Round To Hundreds!' game focuses on rounding to the nearest hundred. It includes three digit numbers and rounds numbers to nearest hundred all the way up to 1,000. This game is also available on my TPT store at a discount price.

What ways do you practice rounding in your classroom? Feel free to leave a comment and share with others!  Happy rounding everyone!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Multiplication Time!

It's about that time when we start learning our multiplication facts. I have those boring $1 flashcards from Walmart but I decided it was time to add a little fun. I've made a set of multiplication fact cards for 0-12 that are colorful and inviting. The set I made includes a whole set of cards with small answers (students can cover the answers with their thumb while figuring out the problem). I also made a complete set of cards without any answers and included a one-page answer sheet that has all of the problems and answers on them.

I like to use the cards with answers in partner activities. My kids love quizzing each other on their multiplication facts. You can either have students use all cards, or introduce the cards one family at a time. We normally start with 0 and 1 and then move onto 2s, 5s, 10s, etc. I also like to print off the blank cards onto cardstock for students to take home and practice the facts they are struggling with. I used to have them make their own cards on cardstock or index cards but it's always taken soooo much of our class time that I think it'll be better to copy the cards onto cardstock for them. :)  All sets are bundled together and available on my TPT store. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween is Near...

I can't believe October is halfway over! It seems it has flown by this year. With Halloween only a couple of weeks away, I decided to make a Halloween themed math game to use as a partner game with students when they are finished with their math assignment early. This game is called 'Halloween Sweet Shop'. Even though the graphics are fall colors and it has Halloween in the title, it can be used anytime. I tried to keep the word Halloween out of the game itself so students can use it even if you don't mention Halloween in your school. It's just a fun way to get kids thinking about math!

The game includes 16 word problem cards and can be played as a memory style game or students can take turns pulling a card from a stack. Sometimes it's fun to let them choose how to play!  The word problems are designed for third graders but can be used with struggling fourth graders or even high achieving second graders. The problems include addition and subtraction and involve single-step, multi-step, and word problems with extra information. You can download it here on sale from my TPT store! Below you'll find some images from the game to get an idea of what it looks like. Happy October everyone!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cupcake Math

I've started creating some partner games to use for math. Kids love being able to pick out a game to play with a partner when they get done with their regular math lesson! The first one I created involves multi-step math problems mixed in with single step math problems. The game includes 16 word problems and can be played with 2-4 players. All word problems involve addition and subtraction with some money mixed in. And...who doesn't love cupcakes? Students will pretend they are in charge of a cupcake shop called 'Sweet Cupcakes' as they play the game. You can get it at my TPT store. Enjoy!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Place Value Madness!

One of the best ways to start off math in third grade is learning all about place value. After all, you can't really add, subtract, multiply, or divide if you don't know the value of numbers. Right?!? I'm always looking for some quick ways to assess my students on different forms of numbers during our place value unit. I created a quick unit that can be used along with your curriculum resources to give students some practice with standard, word, and expanded form of numbers up to the hundred thousands. I also included a couple of games in the unit to add some fun. My students always love the popular "I Have...Who Has?" game so I created one that incorporates all three forms of numbers and can be used with a classroom of up to 25 students. I also created a quick place value memory game that can be played with 2-4 players. We always have partner games available in my class so students have something to do when they get done with an assignment early. Feel free to stop by my TPT store to download. Hope everyone is having a great start to the year!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's About That Time...

Hey everyone! I hope everyone had a fabulous summer and got some good rest in! We made our move from Dallas, TX to Phoenix, AZ this summer for my husband's job transfer. This summer has been quite a whirlwind! School actually started here yesterday but unfortunately I was unable to find a teaching job for this school year with school starting so quickly. Instead, I'm going to be subbing this year so I can get to know the schools and the area. We also found out some great news! We are expecting twins!  Needless to say there has been quite a bit of change in our lives these past couple of months!  Even though I won't have my own classroom this year, I will still be posting ideas and uploading projects because I love what I do!  Since I don't have my own classroom, I'll have more time to create things to share!  For those of you who started school this week, Happy First Week!

I've started creating some things for my former co-workers that I'll share in the next few days. For now, I thought I'd share this. Does anyone do Mystery Reader in their classroom?  I have had Mystery Readers every Friday in my classroom for the past few years and I know it's becoming quite popular in the elementary classroom!  Here's how it the beginning of the year parents can sign up to be a Mystery Reader one Friday during the year. (I try to keep it to one Friday each so we have a variety of parents but sometimes you have the same parents 2 or 3 times.)  The week before a parent is signed up, I will email them and ask them for 3 clues. (I've also had parents write down three clues with their name on an index card when they sign up so you don't have to keep up with weekly emails.) On Friday, about 15 minutes before Mystery Reader time, I share the clues with my class one at a time. After each clue, I pause and ask if anyone knows who the Mystery Reader is. It's so interesting to see how many things parents have in common!  Once we guess, we find out once the Mystery Reader arrives. Sometimes no one guesses and it's a complete mystery!  The Mystery Reader has 15-20 minutes where he/she can read books they brought to share with the class. It's a great time for the kids to see their own parents involved in the classroom and the kids love hearing different readers each week. It's become one of our favorite activities of the year in my classroom. Below you'll see an example of a sign-up sheet you could use for Mystery Reader sign-up. We skip some Fridays throughout the year due to school-wide events, state testing, etc.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

End of Year Awards Certificates

Being the last week of school, I thought I'd create some special awards for my kiddos. I like them to feel extra special that last day of school as they head off to summer. It's always sad for me to see my kids go the last day of school...I feel like they are a part of me after spending all year in our classroom together! I created some colorful awards for things like 'Voracious Reader', 'Handy Helper', 'Super Speller', 'Good Behavior', 'History Buff', 'Math Wizard', and more. There are fifteen awards total including a blank award certificate so you can write in your own creative awards for your kiddos. Feel free to stop by my TPT store and check it out. Only five more days left!  I hope you are having a wonderful end to your school year. :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

One more week to go..

The school year is quickly coming to an end and I am just as antsy as the kids! We all know the kids get a bit wild in May but the last two weeks of school is the worst. I still want to teach them great things and they are ready for summer to be here. I created a quick chart in my room to help keep them on task and the behavior issues to minimal. It's just palm tree with eight leaves. To keep with the monkey theme of it all...I cut out eight banana graphics. Their goal is to cover up each leaf with a banana. Once they do that, they get to draw a reward out of the bag. My kids made up rewards this time around. Some include: Popsicle Party, Extra Recess, Movie Treat, Write in Pen, Sit By a Friend, and Free Computer Time. It's worked really well this week and they earned a movie treat for this afternoon! We'll be using it next week too so I can keep them semi-controlled. :) Feel free to download it for free at my TPT store! Happy End of the Year everyone! Hope your last weeks go well. :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Testing Freebie

I got a little creative last night and created a little goodie to send home with my kiddos before the big testing day. It's a little pocket you can glue together that says "You're such a SMARTIE! Owl bet you'll do great!" On the back, there is a little poem. I simply glued them together and stuck a few SMARTIES inside for a little treat to boost their confidence. I hope you can use it in your classroom with your kiddos too! It's free on my TPT store. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's About That Time...

I'm sure many of you are approaching state tests soon...our is actually this week! We've been working really hard in Room 203 and I think we are ready to show what we've learned this year. :)  We test on Tuesday and Wednesday each year so we always have that awkward Monday where you don't want to bog students down with test strategies yet you don't want to waste the day either. Tomorrow we'll be reading books like Hooray for Diffendoofer Day and Testing Miss Malarkey which are some of my favorites. We'll also be building the Reading Brain Book that I mentioned in one of my earlier posts.

As for math, I decided it would be fun to review with a game so Jeopardy it is! I used a simple Jeopardy PowerPoint template to create a fun game to review the major skills we'll be tested on this year. I'm thinking of splitting up the class into two teams to play against each other. It'll be review mixed with some competitive fun! The Jeopardy game is available on my TPT store for free so hop on by to download if you'd like to use it in your classroom.

One of the most difficult things that we struggle with in my room in reading is multiple meaning words.  To keep in the game mood of the day, I decided to create a fun matching game that I'll have my kids play in 'Memory' style. It's simply four different words, each with four different meanings. Each meaning can be matched up with a sentence using the word.  It's a quick, fun, and easy way to review before a test.  It can also be downloaded at my TPT store.

Well, I'm off to relax the rest of the night. It'll be a busy week so have a great one. Good luck to all of those who are testing this week!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Test Taking Strategies for Reading...

I've been off the radar because it's been extremely crazy around here. Our house is up on the market and we are looking for a house in Phoenix now so my spare time has been close to zero! At school we have the state test, STAAR, coming up in just a week and our review is underway! I've been using a "brain book" for the past couple of years and I'm not sure who the idea came from. This year I updated it a bit with the new standards that are tested. We usually review a few things a day during the week prior to the test. By the time Monday rolls around, students have a cute little booklet they can take home with them. It's a fun way to review instead of "drill and kill". I hope you can find some use for it in your classrooms! It is free on my TPT store so feel free to stop by and check it out. Happy Sunday!