Saturday, October 18, 2014

Measurement Fun

Are you as excited that it's Saturday as I am?  I have to say, I am so thankful for Saturday naps, college football, and the leaves changing colors.  We've already been in school for around ten weeks and it feels like we just started yesterday.  We are moving so fast that sometimes I forget that it's okay to slow down a little.

So, last week I slowed down a little.  I looked to see what we were covering on our Scope and Sequence and it was non-standard measurement.  Well, and honestly, I looked at our math series and most of it wasn't that exciting.  You can do so much with measurement, so spending a week doing workbook pages just didn't seem like fun.  So, I decided to cover the portions of our math series I thought my kiddos would need and spend the rest of the time letting them do non-standard measurement centers.  It was the best decision I could have made.

We made measurement books, graphed what we were measuring, used our Activboard to measure items, and we did a shorter/taller activity.  Everyone was on-task and I think one of the days we even forgot to take our restroom break before specials.

The best part about measurement is you can really use any items.  We stuck with Unifix cubes and paperclips, but I've used giant paw prints, leaves, markers, and other items to measure more than once.

Here are some of the pictures I took of our centers.  The last picture is a center I added after the week was done.  My higher kids like things a little more challenging, so I created this activity to challenge them a little more.  I also wanted an independent activity for the kids that finished quickly.

One thing I would suggest is make sure you pull all the materials ahead of time and have the supplies sorted into each center group.  I use these carts to organize my centers.  The one on the left is for word work and the one on the right is for my math centers.  This way, all I have to do is pull out a tray of items and we are ready to go.  The top trays (1-5) have extra centers for early finishers.  They usually include dice games, flash cards, or other fun, individual activities.  The bottom trays (6-10) have the group centers.  Since the trays pull out, I just pop out the tray and put it at the group.

Oh, and one quick tip... I got these carts at Sam's Club before school started for around $25 each.  You can also get them on for around $30 each.  My teammate saw them in a magazine this past week for $95 each, so I wanted to make sure you knew you can find them MUCH cheaper than that.

Another thing I do to try to help them run smoothly is I appoint a captain for each group.  The captain is the only one that can come ask me questions.  It helps a lot because usually while all the kids are working on centers, I try to pull my students that are struggling.  They do the centers, too, but by pulling them, I can see where they may need some extra help.

If you are needing measurement centers, be sure to check out my Fall Non-Standard Measurement packet.  It includes centers, activities, and printables.  It also includes several versions of each center, activity, or printable so that you can use the set multiple times in a year.

Hope you have a great Saturday!

Monday, October 6, 2014

FarFaria Giveaway and Graphing Freebies

Do you ever have that moment that you wish you could rewind?  Well, I am having that moment right this second.  So, we had Fall Festival on Friday night.  To help us all keep up with each other and things that needed to be done, we downloaded an app called Voxer.  This app basically turns your cell phone into a Walkie Talkie.  It was great that night!  You would send quick messages and all of us on that channel could hear what was happening.  Great app!  Loads of help!  Well, that is until tonight.  My sweet hubby decided to grab my phone because the little orange box caught his eye.  People, we are in the middle of DINNER in a RESTAURANT!  The next thing I know, I spend the next thirty minutes with him downloading the app, talking to himself in my phone, then in his phone, and then in my phone again. We get home, I walk to the bedroom to change clothes when I get home and hear the little "Chirp! Chirp!"  We are ONE room away from each other and message after message.  The good news is my phone is now silent, yet I still hear little chirps.  Do you want to know why?  Well, now he is messaging all of his buddies and getting them to download the app, so they are now messaging each other.  Yep!  That's my night!  I owe my room mom for this one!  I'm on hour number TWO of listening to that little chirping noise.  You hear me Katie?  That's my night teacher friends!  Stay far, far away from that app!

Now, in other news, if you didn't get a chance to enter my FarFaria giveaway last night, be sure to check it out tonight.  They are giving me ONE 3-month subscription to giveaway.  If you have iPads in your classroom and your kiddos love books, then this is the app for you!  If you aren't sure, then download it for free and check it out!  You can read one book a day for free.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Would you guys like more freebies?  Well, I was filing TONS of papers into my notebooks this afternoon.  Seriously friends, I pull things, copy them, and then they pile up for a few months and I'm like, "Oh, guess those need to find their home again."  Am I the only one that does that?  I hope not!  So, I started filing and while I'm filing, I found a few fall goodies from last year.  The second I spotted them, I got all excited!  It was like Christmas because I seriously forgot I did these last year.  So, hope you can use them too.  If you click on the images, you can download them.  Oh, and to do the graphs, I ordered some of the beads from Oriental Trading last year.  They worked great and the kids loved them!  If you don't have time to order, then you could easily find similar items at a craft store, you could use a die-cut machine,  or you could draw the shapes.

Hope you enjoy the freebies and have a great day tomorrow!

This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by FarFaria.  I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Reports and Giveaways

Oh my goodness y'all!  Do you realize it is finally fall?  I have to tell you, I love this time of year.  The temperature is finally below 80 degrees, the leaves change color, there's college football every Saturday, and this girl loves pumpkin muffins!

I just finished what felt like the longest week of my life.  My county evaluates each school in the county every five years and this past Thursday was our turn on the calendar.  It's kind of like preparing for guests that have never been to your house to come visit.  You want everything to be top notch, not to mention you want to break out your real plates, not the paper ones you usually use.  I LOVE my school, like seriously, I hope I spend my entire career there.  My school is a HUGE part of my heart, so definitely have been working over time perfecting all those little things.  Plus, let's be real.  Visitors always give you the opportunity to get a few 'new' things.  I, of course, went for a few new things.  Mainly, I'm in love with my new storage containers, new rugs for the kiddos to sit on, and new electronics.

So, now that all of that is over, here I am.  I have so missed my little blog and my fan page the last few weeks and couldn't wait to start blogging again, well after I took a couple of naps and caught up on some much needed sleep!

First of all, since I love fall, here's a freebie for you to grab.  It's my October Book Reports.  Just click on any of the images and download them.
Now, here's another little surprise I have for you.

All this giveaway requires you to do is follow my fan page, my blog, the Farfaria fan page, and the Farfaria Twitter page.   The winner will be announced Tuesday night.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FarFaria contacted me around six weeks ago and asked me to check out their iPad app and asked if I wanted to do a giveaway.  Well, honestly, I've been running like crazy, so I held off until I had some time to look at it and friends, you are going to love it.

Here's what I like about it.
1. It has LOADS of books (750+)
2. It has a Read-to-Me feature
3. It has reading levels
4. It has multiple types of books
5. It has zero advertising
6. You can try it before you buy it

Screenshot of all the different areas in Farfaria.

Screenshot of what it looks like once you pick an area to visit.  You can also sort the books by level.
Screenshot of what it looks like when you pick a book.  I love how the buttons are big and easy to spot.  If you click, "Favorite" the book will download, so that you don't have to have Internet access to read it.
Screenshot of one of the books.  This book actually highlights the words as they are being read to the child.

If you want to have unlimited access, it is $4.99 a month.  For me, I love that because I have multiple iPads in my classroom, so $5 a month to access 750+ books just expands my classroom library.  

I also like that it has books that are interesting for my boys and that most of the books are aimed towards younger kids (Pre-K through second).

I hope you guys have an incredible week!

This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by FarFaria.  I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Five for Friday: A Day Late

Why yes, I am blogging three times in one week!  Kind of crazy, huh?  I know it's Saturday, but I'm linking up with DoodleBug's Five for Friday post.  Love her posts!

Late last week we had a Reading Night with different centers for students and parents to visit.  I did a session on iPad apps.  My favorite part was this little trick.  For around $10 to $15 you can download a program for your computer that allows you to "Reflect" what's on your iPad onto your computer screen.  It made it so much easier to show parents what things looked like.  Here's a picture of my iPad screen on my Activboard.

Right now we are working on shapes.  I swear friends, I feel like there is so much to cover and definitely not enough time in a day.  On this day, we were supposed to do a lesson on making objects using different shapes.  I decided to nix the workbook pages and go for a more hands-on activity.  I gave each group 20 squares, 15 rectangles, and 30 triangles and told them to build one house in eight minutes.  This is the winning group.

Honestly, it was one of my favorite random lessons this year.  I had four groups and every group worked differently.  Two groups couldn't grasp the concept of working together, so their groups had multiple houses.  Another group worked together, but they also spent a lot of time arguing.  The winning group worked well together and they ended up with a house.

May not be the best math lesson in the world, but definitely worked on some teamwork skills and listening skills, too.

When the time was up I took pictures of all the different houses on my iPad and used the Reflector app to show the kids the pictures.  We talked about the positives and the things we need to work on next time.

So, if you are wanting a quick working together lesson or you want to make your shapes lesson a little more interesting, there's an idea for you to try.
Alright, this one makes me nervous, but I have really been wanting to do choice boards for word work and math, so I grabbed these carts from Sam's Club.  The math one isn't completely ready yet, but I finally finished putting together the word work one this week.  Next week, will be our first week using our choice boards, so wish me luck!  Change is good, right?
I just love my parents and kids!  God blesses me year after year.  I stayed to work late Thursday and when I left, I found this little note waiting for me.

I'm really trying to be more consistent with my Reading to Self/Read to Someone time this year.  I tried to let my students choose their spots, but they aren't quite ready for that, so for now they have a chart.  Last week, I was thinking that if I was sitting on a cold floor against a wall, I probably wouldn't want to read, so I decided to grab reading mats.  These are just small, circular bath mats I grabbed from Target.  I got red/black because they match my room they don't get dirty as easily.  The kids LOVE them!  Honestly, I have to go back this weekend and grab more because there aren't enough of them and the other kiddos are begging.  I took five minutes the first day to show the kids how we fold them and put them in the basket and they have done great!

Have a great weekend friends!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Full Moon Freebie

So, tonight I spent some time working with a few of my favorite PTO girls on Fall Festival stuff, flyers, etc.  The good news is I convinced them that we should multitask and eat dinner and work.  We seriously knocked out some work and I definitely got my fill of caffeine.

After dinner, I'm driving home, rocking out to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack.  Yes, I know completely sad, but friends I LOVE that movie!  I've seriously watched it at least 100 times.  Some days I watch/listen to it three times.  I'm just rocking along, pull in my neighborhood, make a turn and... Bam!  I see this massive, beautiful moon and I think, "Ah... that's what happened today!"  My kiddos are seriously SO much fun!  Love them and they make me laugh and smile all day.  Today though (as sweet as my little munchkins are), they were slightly (way more) talkative and more excited than usual.  Now I know why :)  So, if today you thought, "What happened to my sweet, perfect angels?" just know that we have a beautiful full moon.

In other news, I am teaming up with The Learning Station to do this awesome giveaway!  Friends, I'm going to be honest.  I am the world's worst giveaway girl.  I hate clicking through hundreds of links and liking tons of things.  So, when I created this giveaway I wanted to keep that in mind and make this short and sweet.  It's literally four clicks - like my Facebook fan page(which hopefully you already do), like their Facebook fan page, like my TPT page, and like their Pinterest page.  It's that simple.  Plus, I have to say, I have these CDs and their DVDs and they are awesome!  I just know you guys will love them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alright, now, for the freebie.  So, my school has a fairy tale theme this year, so we've been trying to find ways to incorporate that into things we do every day.  Well, this week we started flex grouping which is awesome!  We are breaking the kids out into skills groups so they can work on areas that are weaknesses or so that they can get extra enrichment.  Seriously friends!  Even our principal has jumped right in to help and took a group today.

Anyway, I'm teaching my group how to record the books they read and how to do book reports this week, so today we did a fairy tale book report.  I thought you guys may like it, so click the picture to grab it.  If you have my FAIRY TALE BUNDLE it fits right in with that bundle.

Hope you enjoy and have an incredible Wacky Wednesday!!!

This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by The Learning Station.  I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Learning Station CD Giveaway

Alright friends, if you've been following me for awhile you know how much I LOVE The Learning Station!  I found their videos on YouTube around two years ago and last year I decided I wanted to buy a DVD.  Well, after I got the DVD, I decided to ask them if they would do a giveaway with me because I just knew that all my fans would adore them as much as me.  Who doesn't a few new brain breaks for their classroom?

Well, The Learning Station jumped on board and that giveaway was just incredible, so a few weeks ago, we decided we wanted to do another giveaway together.

They sent me a few CDs to review and I have to say, I LOVE them!  They are loaded with their hits and I'm not kidding... my kids literally request brain breaks now.  Their favorites right now are A-Root-Chy-Cha, Boom Chicka Boom, and Baby Shark.

The Learning Station CDs and DVDs are part of our daily routine.  Last week, we were taking tests and my kiddos even asked for a brain break during tests.  I decided to try it this one time and the kids did great!  They went to the carpet, spread out, did their brain break, and went right back to work.

Anyway, I doubt I could ever sing enough praises since I fell in love with them from the beginning.  Since I loved the two CDs that were sent to me, The Learning Station is giving me a set of the same CDs to give to one lucky winner.  All you have to do is enter in the RaffleCopter below by following my Facebook page, TPT store, and their Facebook page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by The Learning Station.  I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Closer Look Blog Hop

Hi Guys!
So, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Sshhh!!!!  Actually, it's a pretty big secret... one that you can tell to ALL your teacher friends.  Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing another SALE!  I know you just double checked and read that again, but it's true!  So many teachers went back early, but there are still tons of teachers that haven't gone back, so we are having another ONE DAY SALE on Wednesday, August, 20.  That gives you a chance to save 28%.  I'm not going to lie, I'm looking forward to going shopping.  If you want to visit my store, just click any of the images below.

Some of my blogging buddies and I decided that we wanted you to see some of our favorite/top selling items.  We are also all including a freebie that you can use with or in your class.

Well, I know you already know about my morning work, so I wanted to show you my editable binders.  I have multiple versions of them, so if you like stripes more than damask or damask more than chevron, then you have some options.

Here are some sample pics from one of my packets.

Also, so you can test out a portion of my packet, I've included a few sheets from it as a freebie.
Now, click below to check out the item from Christina from Second Grade Sugar and Spice.  I am certain you will LOVE her packet and her freebie.  She's definitely one of my favorites!!!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday

Hey friends!
I'm linking up to Five for Friday.  Don't forget if you want to check out more blog posts, to click below and you can see what other bloggers have written.

 Where did summer go?  I love teaching, don't get me wrong, but I swear we just got out of school and we are gearing up to get rolling again.  I went to work on putting my room back together this week and had a fun little stack of treasures waiting for me.  There's nothing I love more than opening packages full of goodies.  So, what do you think I ordered?

I have created a new rule for me.  I have bought tons of books, but haven't spent a lot of time reading.  I decided if I'm going to make my kids work on their stamina, I need to work on mine a little.  So, for the next few weeks, I'm spending at least 45 minutes a day reading non-fiction school books.  Yes, I am a little crazy, but we all know once school starts that isn't happening.  If I'm going to try to be a better teacher, I better get on it and start reading all these books.  So far, I've finished Crash Course and now I'm onto Daily 5: Second Edition.  Friends, if you haven't read Daily 5: Second Edition, but you read the first one, definitely read this new one.  There are several changes and honestly, it aligns more with what I've been doing and my thought process than the first one.

This has no purpose.  It's my new "I'm working but need background noise" show.  Plus, if you are in your thirties (like me), you know this was one of your favorite shows.

Oh, boy!  So, not sure if you've heard my laptop story yet, but I had to get a new laptop thanks to an old injury a.k.a spill.  It took me days to add back software, fonts, and clip art.  Can you imagine if everything wasn't backed up to DropBox?  The good news is I'm starting to create again.  Here's an old freebie that I've updated a little.  Hope you like it.

Since I'm only off a few more weeks, my hubby and I went to breakfast this morning.  I love living in a town similar to the town where the Gilmore Girls lived.  There's something great about ordering breakfast, sitting in a window, and watching a small town.  I may just have to take my laptop up there one morning soon to work.  It's just a peaceful little place.

Hope y'all have a great weekend!