Sunday, April 27, 2014

Multiplication Madness!

We've been working super hard on our multiplication facts this year, so I took advantage of last month’s March Madness by having our very own Multiplication Madness! It was my first time trying this, so I had looked on Teachers Pay Teachers for something to use, but my needs were so specific that I ended up creating everything on my own.

My math group is pretty small (only 12 students), but their needs are still diverse.  I have some students who are still working on their 3s and 4s facts, while other students are working on increasing their speed since their accuracy is really very good. 

I’m not alone in trying to keep the playing field as even as possible, so that my lower level students don’t give up trying.  I eventually came up with the following setup:

This format requires my more accurate students to complete an extra round, while giving my less accurate students a chance to make it to the final round.  And take it from me, based on the look on his face, “Billy” was on cloud nine when he realized he earned that spot!

For each round, I played the Jeopardy theme song (I found a clip that plays for an hour on YouTube) and gave students five minutes to complete a full page of basic multiplication problems. During the first round I used only the three times tables, the second round included only the four times tables, and the third round was the six times tables. For each subsequent round, I changed to a combination of all facts, and reduced the time to four minutes.

While I was tallying the results, I played Kids Bop Radio on Pandora, and let the kids relax. Because I set the brackets up on SMART Notebook, I was able to update the winner of each round in real time, and I made a big production out of it.  The kids loved it, even if they didn't make the next round. And once each new round began, I had all of my students (regardless of whether they made it to the next round) complete a multiplication page for extra practice. That kept everyone involved.

I stressed how impressed I was with each student’s improvement, and I was! There was a real difference from just a few weeks ago.

I made up certificates to hand out later, and made a big production of it so the kids loved every minute. The whole event took one math period, but it was well worth the time spent!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturdays in Spring - Week 3

Can you believe we are already in week 3 of our "Saturdays in Spring" series? We can't thank you all enough for stopping by, reading our blog, and grabbing our freebies. Please remember to share this with other friends!

Because we appreciate each of our followers, we wanted to add a little something more to this week and next week's post. Check it out:

At the end of this post, leave a comment about what kinds of posts you would like to see as we enter the summer months. Are there certain topics that would interest you for end of the school year activities, or maybe getting ready for a new school year? Leave us your thoughts and we will choose someone for yet another free product! Be sure to include your email address so we can send the winner some surprises!

Here are this week's freebies:

Carrie from Table Talk with C and C is sharing End of the Year QR Code Activities - a fun way to keep your students motivated and working hard at the end of the year.

Crystal from Once Upon a Classroom: The Tale of Two Teachers is sharing Scoopin Up Singular and Plural Possessives - a fantastic way to teach students about possessive nouns.

Alyssa from Just A Primary Girl is sharing 1st Grade Dolch Sight Word and Sentence Practice - Insectigating - a fun way for students to use context clues to pick out sight words.

Caitlin from Table Talk with C and C is sharing Money Flipbook - a great way to learn/review students' knowledge of coins.

Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd is sharing Sandy Synonyms and Antonyms - a wonderful way to practice synonyms and antonyms.

Emily from I Love My Classroom is sharing Organizing Chaos - the perfect way for any teacher to get organized at the end of the school year.

Amanda from For His Glory is sharing Kindergarten Prep Handout - a great handout that provides parents with a list of early developmental skills their children need for success as they enter school.

Be sure to leave a comment about what kinds of posts you would like to see as we enter the summer months. Don't forget to include your email address so we can send the winner some surprises!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Five for Friday

Hi all . . . it's Carrie from Table Talk with C and C.  I thought it might be fun to link up with Doodlebugs Teaching for a Five for Friday Linky.  (Who doesn't love a linky???  They are always a lot of fun!!)

Our class took a field trip to Shedd Aquarium this week.   We have been studying the habitats so the students were pretty good at determining which areas were freshwater and which ones were saltwater.  Although, I had to remind them that Lake Michigan is not an ocean!  :)

Here are some of our favorite parts of the trip - touching a starfish and seeing the diver swim with a shark and stingray.
 We loved the jellyfish and the penguins.
The interactive information boards were fabulous!!  I loved hearing my students read me facts about the animals we were seeing.  
They were so excited!!
What fun field trips have you taken this year??

This week we started our end of the year testing.  On Monday, our 2nd graders took the MAPs test.  Some of my poor kiddos just struggled with getting questions they couldn't even read because they weren't at their "just right" level (one of them told me it wasn't his "just right" level and asked what he should do).  

How do you help your students when they are struggling or panicking during a test - especially when you can't read any of it to them or help them with any of it?  

Tomorrow is Saturday and that means . . . . Saturdays in Spring - Week 3.  

We have more fabulous freebies just for you!!  Some of our freebies are exclusive to this week's post so you will need to check back tomorrow to download your very own copy!  We are also having a special giveaway this week.  You don't want to miss it!!

I am excited to be participating in a Springing into Science blog hop this week.  
Just click HERE or on the picture above to hop thru some fantastic blogs and pick up some wonderful freebies along the way.  There are lots of giveaways to enter too!!  I am having a giveaway for my Animals and Habitats unit and my Animals and Habitats QR Codes.  
And, you can get a free copy of my Animals QR Codes.
So hop on over there when you are done reading this post!
We have 22 days of school left. . . . but who's counting?  What are some fun end of the year activities that you do with your students to keep them motivated and learning??

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for Saturdays in Spring Week 3 and if you aren't following our blog we'd love for you to click that little button on the side and become a follower!!! 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Classroom Organization Ideas and a Birthday Giveaway

Hi! It's Jessica from Covered in Glitter and Glue.

I don't know about you, but I love seeing other teachers' classrooms. I get so many classroom organizational ideas from colleagues, Pinterest, and Instagram. Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite organizational ideas I've implemented in my classroom.

First up are my monthly read alouds. I use Ikea magazine files for each month of the school year. When it's a new month I simply take the books out of the file and place them in the rain gutter underneath my whiteboard. Throughout the month I read the books to the class and then scoop them up and put them away at the end of the month. A couple students actually really like helping with this at the beginning of the month and since it's so easy they can do it for me flawlessly. 

One of the first jobs students have in the morning is to "shop for books" from our classroom library. They get their book boxes off the of the shelf and pick out some books they are interested in. Their book boxes are actually ice cube bins from Walmart. At the time they were a little over a dollar a piece and they've lasted a couple of years now. I number my students so they are able to be used year after year. 

On Fridays we have "Friday Choice" in the afternoons where students get to pick a preferred activity if they have turned in all of their work for the week (including homework and library books) and have made smart choices. For those that have not turned in their work it is a time for them to complete the work and for those that have not made smart choices it is a time for them to fill out a reflection or owe some time thinking about their decisions.

We have one of the school iPad carts on Friday afternoons so iPads have been a popular choice this year. We also have games, puzzles, art projects, and more. I love seeing the students interacting with each other and solving problems while playing games and working on creative activities like art. To organize the many activities, I bought canvas bins from Target and hot glued labels onto the front for the different subjects. The students are really good about keeping the items in the right bins, as they know that if they don't, Friday Choice will not happen. 

I also use canvas bins to organize my math manipulatives and volunteer activities. I have a parent helper who comes in to work with students in reading groups and I leave the directions and materials in the bin for her. I also have a classroom aide that comes in a couple days a week to work with students and her materials are in a different bin.

When I first started using student cubbies I numbered them with labels. Eventually the labels started to peel and look gross, so I now use binder clips with the students numbers written on them. I love this idea because, for example, this year I don't have a student that is #28 or #29 in class, so I simply take off their clips. I also had #25 move to another school, so I took off her clip. Now when my parent helper is passing out papers for the entire class, she knows not to put one in those cubbies. On Wednesday afternoon the parent helper (did I mention how much I LOVE parent helpers?!) staples all of the papers together and the students take them home in their Thursday Folders the next day. 

When it comes to student supplies, I like everything out on the top of the desks. It seems to cut down on lost pencils, erasers, etc. Inside the group bin I use plastic cups to organize the different materials. On the bottom of the markers I use a Sharpie to color code them. If we find a marker on the floor we can easily see which group it belongs to. Markers, highlighters, scissors, and pencils all have students names written on them. 

I love my Monday through Friday bins from Lakeshore. When I make copies and plan ahead of time, I stick all of the activities in the corresponding day I'll be teaching them. I found that the folders that came with the bins weren't working for me though, so I quickly moved to green cardstock. The cardstock separates the weeks. I've copied homework for the rest of the year at this point, and it goes home on Fridays. So in my Friday bin I have the homework separated by weeks with the green cardstock. I love having things done WAY ahead of time!

When it is time to get ready for the next day of teaching, I simply grab the items out of my Monday through Friday bin and stack them in a wire holder for the day in the order I will teach them. These items are ready to go for tomorrow. Below you can see an absent folder is ready to go for a student who was not at school today. I leave the folder on their desk and when students hand out papers they know to include the absent folders on the desk. At the end of the day I collect the absent folder and keep it in my wire rack so that I can go over the items with the students when they (hopefully) return the next day. Want the absent folder cover? Check out my blog post where you can snag it for free. Glue it on a folder and laminate!

There are a lot of things that get piled on my desk throughout the day. Students are handing in random things like yearbook order forms, late slips, and more. Throughout the day I put everything in my blue "To Do" bin that hangs out on the top of my printer. If there's something that needs to go up to the office (like the yearbook money or late slips), I put them right in front of my printer in a stack. Every time I go up to the office I grab that stack of items to take with me. 

At the end of the day my rule is that I can't go home until that To Do bin is empty. Throughout the day if I have a free minute I will work on To Do bin items like putting papers back in my filing cabinet. I love that it keeps me on top of things because there are so many forms and papers that come our way as teachers. 

Finally, I thought I'd share an easy way to let others know where your class is at when you leave the room. It seems there's always a student out at speech when it's time to go to computer lab or a staff member looking for us when we're in an assembly. I have a metal door so I hang a laminated piece of paper with the places we could be on it using a magnet. I put a clothespin at the top of the magnet and a student moves the clothespin to where we are and hangs the sheet on the outside of the door on our way out. Easy!

I hope you've enjoyed taking a peek into my classroom. Make sure to head over to my blog to check out my Birthday Giveaway where you can win some great prizes!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


{Speech Room Must-Haves}

Hi everyone! I can not believe the school year is almost over, only 32 more days...but who's counting. :) For this post, I thought I would provide a few speech room must-haves for all of my school SLPeeps. These items are perfect for your "end-of-the-year" wish lists or to help get you started at the beginning of next year. I absolutely love these items and use them frequently during my therapy sessions. 
Expanding Expressions Tool (EET) 
Many of my students work on expanding their vocabulary and this is a perfect tool to support this skill. The EET helps students organize their ideas and helps them develop an organized, oral description/ vocabulary definition. The students are taught a "chat" to help them remember each color/meaning. I often scaffold the numbers of colors I present to help build success and effective use of the tool. I recently created EET labels to stick onto activity sheet for home carry-over.  

I absolutely love this game...and my students do as well. This game provides opportunities to target asking/answering questions, vocabulary, turn taking and oral descriptions. Hedbanz also works well with the EET!   

Story Retell Cards 
We are always reading books during therapy sessions. I love to read and books provide so many opportunties to build and develop language (also great for articulation). The story retell cards provide a visual as students retell the story to prompt them to include important story elements. 

Tap Lights
Tap lights provide a simple, fun way to manage turn-taking. Students (or SLP) "tap" the light in front of them to signal that it's their turn or that they are waiting to respond to the question. 

Multiple Meaning & Idiom Cards 
(from Lakeshore)
These cards are a recent discovery, but I love them already! The cards are large (7"x9") and provide a great visual to represent the multiple meaning word or idiom. The cards work well for small group sessions and/or large group instruction. 

If you have any questions about how I use these items during my sessions or have recommendations for my next "must-haves" list, please comment below. 

Let the countdown to summer vacation begin! 

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