Monday, August 17, 2015

Back-to-School No Prep Math Centers

Tomorrow makes day #10 with students.  Can you believe it??

I must say, it has been an AWESOME beginning to the school year.  My students are already back in the routine of things, pre-testing is behind us, and we already have centers going...


Yes, you heard me, centers are already going smooth.  This is in big part to my NO PREP math centers.  

You can find 10 NO PREP centers for each grade level.

I even made a sampler packet so you can try one from each grade level for FREE!

Simply print the instructions on colored copy paper and hang up in the center.  Students can read the directions to find out exactly what to do.

Print the cards on white or bright copy paper.  Cut out and tape around the room.

Students go on a Back-to-School Treasure Hunt to find the questions and solve.  

Print the directions for each center and cards on a different color of copy paper.

Students can work individually, with a partner, or in a small group to order the 3-digit numbers on the lunch bags in order from the greatest number to the least number.

Then, write the numbers on their individual response sheet in order by following the arrows.

 The sample 4th grade center has students looking for the 0 in the different place values while coloring the space to match the key. 

Making the beginning of the school year easy?

That's just....

My Kind of Teaching

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Getting the Most out of Task Cards

Do your students LOVE Task Cards?  My students do and I do too!!  

But, do you REALLY realize what a jewel you have with a set of task cards?  These are so versatile.  Don't just use them one time and then put them up until next year.  Keep recycling them all year long in different ways.  Your students will love you for it, and your planning time just got shorter!

With my task cards, I put a letter (very small) in the corner of the cards.  I also include large numbers on separate cards.  Why, you ask?

Well, as I said, I like to use them in a variety of ways.  I mix and match standards for one domain and I even mix and match the concepts!

One week we might work on lines, line segments, rays, and more.  The next time, I might include all Geometry concepts.  Later still, I might mix Geometry and Place Value together, and before the "BIG" test in the spring, I might pull a couple of cards from several math topics and mix with a variety of language arts topics for a big review.  

Here is one of my favorite ways to use task cards:

Walk the Room – Place the numbers around the room (tape on walls, shelves, etc. or on desks) along with a  task card.  Provide an answer sheet for 20, 25 or 30 questions.  Students move around the room at their own pace or at a signal from the teacher and write the answer in the matching number of their answer sheets.  It's like a scavenger hunt!  Plus, it gets the kiddos up and moving.

Here are some other ways to use task cards:

Ticket out the Door – Show a task card using your projector for all students to see, or give students individual cards.  Students write the answer on a post it note.  Use these to see who is still having difficulties with a concept to form needs-based or small groups for the next day to give a mini-lesson to the students.

Needs Based – Use the task cards when working with students on a specific need.  Model the answers.  Students can use a dry-erase board to complete as teacher monitors.
Give Me Five – Give students five tasks all on a similar topic that they need extra practice with.

Math Centers – Choose a specific standard or a variety to review and place in centers for extra practice.

These are just a few ideas to help you use task cards in a different way.  If I'm going to spend my time making something or buy something, I like to get as many possible uses out of it as I can.  Don't you?  What are some ways you use task cards?

That's just...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Two for Tuesday!

I'm joining with a few of my bloggy friends to offer you a special deal for Tuesday.  I know it's getting to the end of the month and you are trying to stretch out every last penny.  (I haven't been paid since mid-December!)

Anyway, keeping this short and sweet... I had to include ALL of my friends so you'll see I've got 5 deals for you.  All at 50% off.  Click on the words to go to each individual deal.  Click on the picture, to go to the page to see ALL of the 2 for Tuesday deals.  Hurry now... it's only for Tuesday!

Both include a Teaching Power Point along with worksheets.

Have a great one, friends!!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Year, New Look... (Hopefully) New Attitude?

Hi Friends

I have a confession to make.  It's one you are very aware of, but isn't admitting something the first step to overcoming the problem?

I hope this is true.

You see, I suck at blogging.

In fact, I am probably in the running for the World's WORST Blogger Award.  

No joke!!

I want to have profound words of wisdom to share with you.  You would think that after teaching 27 years and seeing education go from here to there and everywhere in between that I would have at least a few nuggets to share with you.

Maybe, I'm just tired.

Tired of working, working, working.

Now mind you, I don't mind the TEACHING at all.  I truly believe that teaching, like preaching, is a calling.  I have felt it with ever fiber of my being since I was 5-years old.  

Yes, even then, I knew this is what I wanted to do.

Like many of you that I talk with, teaching has become so overwhelming.  It's no longer about doing what's best for the student.  It's no longer using best practices.  

No, it's become a circus of sorts.  A dog and pony show.  Jumping through the hoops.  Swinging from one trapeze to the next and hoping not to fall.  Hoping that if you do fall, that there's a net to catch you.  But there probably isn't.

So, between the meetings, meetings, MEETINGS  (honestly, I have a 3-ring binder titled just that), new teacher observations that treat everyone like a brand-new teacher.  What is a teacher supposed to do?

Get an Attitude Change, of course!!

I hope that has happened to me.  It started almost a month ago, and so far it is sticking.

My words of profound wisdom for you is this...
Sometimes it is impossible to change what is happening around you and even TO you.  If you can't change anything about your job, there is one thing you CAN change... 


I decided, most of the things that have gotten me down this school year are truly beyond my control.  However, I was letting it bleed over into my home life as well.  It was draining the joy out of spending time with my family, of taking time for me, of enjoying LIFE!!

So, I made an attitude adjustment. 

While I'm at school, I'm giving it everything I have... 200% or more.  I'm smiling at my students.  I'm enjoying spending time with them and teaching them.  I'm enjoying saying prayer with my co-workers each morning before our day begins.  (That one makes my day go MUCH smoother.)

I decided to take back an attitude of gratefulness, happiness, counting my blessings for the opportunity to answer my life calling.

Like a duck in the rain, I'm letting everything else just run off my back.

I do what I can while getting to school at the expected time rather than 45 minutes early.  I'm leaving on the dot, NO MATTER WHAT instead of staying an extra hour or two.

And you know what?  I feel better.  I'm laughing and enjoying time with my grandson, my husband, my mom, my daughters and most importantly, myself.

In honor of all of this.  I decided I needed a more sophisticated blog.  As always, my friend Christi worked her magic putting it together and my friend, Laine designed the clip art just for me.

It's time.  It's a New Year.  A New Look.  And, most importantly, a New Attitude.

Most of all, I think my students are benefiting.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Jump into January Blog Hop!

Has the first half of your school year been as busy as mine???  I know it's been FOREVER since I blogged! Something had to give, and unfortunately, blogging was it.  The first half of the year has absolutely flown by and now, Christmas is already over with.  WHAAATTTT???

CRAZY,  isn't it.  What's even crazier is that in just a little over a week, it will be time to start it all up again!  Hopefully, my friends and I can make it a lot less stressful.

We're having a fun blog-hop.  Just zip around to everyone's blog to grab some freebies to make your life a little easier for January.

Hop around to grab low prep or NO prep activities for January.  Whether you teach pre-k or 4th grade and anywhere in between, you'll still find something to fit your needs.

Here's my freebie:
Inside you will find three activities.  One from each of the below units.  

Just click on the cover to download your freebie and click on the covers below to see more.  You will find a preview for each that shows EVERY page in the unit!

Now that you've grabbed my freebie and checked out the full units, it's time to go to the...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stop Bullying! A Bug and a Wish

Bullying.  Teasing.

Both words just bring dread.  Unfortunately, it seems that students have to deal with both more than anyone should have too.  I always begin my year discussing both of these topics with my students.

As teachers, we all want to put a stop to bullying and teasing before they even begin.

This book deals with both of these topics.

Karen Scheuer is a 2nd grade teacher who knows first hand how bullying and teasing has been on the increase in the last several years.  She decided to write a book to address both of these.

In this wonderfully illustrated tale, a little boy named Tyler is teased by the other boys. His good friend, Danae, encourages him to give the boys A Bug and a Wish. What could she possibly mean? When Tyler finds a ladybug and a dandelion seed, he thinks this is what Danae was talking about. As Danae helps Tyler learn the true meaning of her advice, Tyler finally understands the solution to his problem and hopes there will be NO MORE BULLYING!

This book is a great book to have in your classroom to use in your classroom to read to your students.

The great part is that Karen is offering a FREE copy to a lucky winner.  To win, you just have to leave a comment on the post on my facebook page about the giveaway telling why you would want this book for your classroom, and the author will pick a winner.

The contest starts today and Karen will choose the winner on Wednesday.

Don't want to wait?  Get your own copy here.

Please help spread the word about this book by pinning, sharing the facebook post and tagging your friends.  Let's help get the word out about this book.  It's time to stop bullying and teasing.  

Helping to do my part to make school a fun and safe place for our students.  That's

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Settling in to a NEW (and I mean EVERYTHING) School Year!!!

It is just the beginning of September and we have already finished 4 1/2 weeks of school.  That's CRAZY isn't it???  Mid-term progress reports will be sent out this week.... WHEW!!!!

What a busy, stressful, overwhelming beginning this year.  In fact, in 27 years of teaching, I don't believe I have ever felt this bad.  

We have new math and new reading series.  Those are the only 2 subjects I teach, so I have been spending 12-14 hours A DAY teaching and preparing.  Thank goodness, I'm finally feeling like I'm getting the feel of how it's working and what I need to tweak and add for my students and things (hopefully) are falling into place.

In addition, we have a brand new teacher evaluation system in the state of Georgia.  It no longer matters if you are a teacher of 27 years or a brand new first-year teacher, the evaluation process is the same and it's MASSIVE.  I just "might" be one of those over-achiever teachers and so this is adding to my stress level too!

So, just know that if you are out there feeling like the beginning of the year is stressing you to the max, you are NOT alone!  It happens to the best of us!!!  :-)

Now, that I've gotten that off my chest, let's move on to bigger and better things.

Did you know that I have started a brand-new monthly newsletter?

It's filled with pictures, samples, ideas for your classroom, a freebie and much more!

I am really excited about it.  It's the only way I could think of to make sure I'm connecting with the people who read my blog, follow me on Facebook, and/or follow me on TPT.  If you are interested in receiving this and haven't signed up, just send me an e-mail to and I'll add you to the mailing list.

Here's a little part of what I included for the month of September:

I have a review section each month to show you how I use one of my products in my own classroom.  This month highlights my Daily Math Spirals for 2nd and 4th grades.  I even include a sample month for you to try it out for FREE!

I mentioned above about our new reading series and also the new teacher evaluation  system.  Our new reading series is Wonders by McGraw Hill and I am LOVING it!  It's massive and a little overwhelming (especially when there has been NO training), but I am beginning to get it figured out and what works best for my class. 

Part of the evaluation system is having our standards and other evidence of what we are learning posted.  So, I made this focus wall to highlight the weekly skills and strategies.  The "I Wonder..." is my little play on words of the name of the series.

It doesn't matter what reading series you use, if you would like these headers click here to download it FREE.

I enjoy learning, I really do.  I strive to be a life-long learner and love learning new things.  However, more than I enjoy learning, I LOVE sharing what I've learned with others.  That's what I'm all about.

That's just...