Friday, May 10, 2019

Freebie Friday!

Can you believe it is already May?  The year seemed to drag by, then suddenly you are asking yourself, "Where did the year go?"

Testing is over and you're left with time to fill.  Students are mentally checking out and it's hard to keep their attention.

The good news is that it's now time to pull out all of those FUN activities for students to complete and enjoy.  Students are still learning and practicing what they know without pressure.  Just fun, fun, FUN!

Just add newspapers for a day (or several days) of fun!

Having students become more familiar with a newspaper through fun activities is a great way to introduce them to using a newspaper in their everyday life and gives them another form of reading for a small amount of money.
Just bring some newspapers into the classroom and watch your students get excited.

Grab this freebie here and ENJOY!

Fun and learning?  Yes, please!  That's just... 
My Kind of Teaching!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Multiplication Fact Fluency

When I was a student in 4th grade I remember my daddy sitting on the couch with me every night after dinner to practice my multiplication facts.  He helped me daily to commit them to memory.  It is a precious memory for me.  (But, oh, how I HATED it at the time!)

Today, it seems that life is so busy, that it's almost impossible to find time to give that kind of concentrated effort.  In addition, if you teach with Common Core, how to use strategies to solve multiplication is taught which is very confusing to parents.

I get it, I REALLY do!

  1.  Lack of time
  2.  Different way of learning/teaching
However, nothing (and I really mean NOTHING) beats that good 'ole memorization of those important multiplication facts.

So, I made games for the classroom because...who DOESN'T love games??  Certainly none of the students I've ever taught!

I made five games for multiplication and five games for division (because they are equally important).

These games have a Halloween theme.

You don't do Halloween in your classroom?  That's okay, I've got you covered also!

I also have these same ten games for multiplication and division with a FALL theme!

Let's take a closer look at each of the games.


Game # 1:  Build a Monster

Students use the spinner gameboard to spin the two number monsters and multiply those numbers together.  The student announces the answer.  If correct, the student then spins the bottom spinner with the monster parts.  The student selects that monster part and the next player is up.  The first person to build a monster is the winner.  

This can be be played with a partner or in a small group.

Game # 2:  Spin it to Win It

The student will spin the two witch spinners, multiply the numbers and tell the answer.  If correct, the player will use a dry erase marker on the laminated game board to connect two dots.  When a player is the last to draw the fourth side of a box, the student puts his initials in the box.  When all boxes are complete, the player with the most boxes is the winner.  

This is best for 2-3 players.

Game # 3:  Oogey Boogey Math Facts

These cards are placed in a bag or a container.  Students take turns drawing out a card and telling the answer.  If correct, the student keeps the card.  If a student draws the oogey boogey card, the student must return all of his cards.  

Set a timer on this one!  The student with the most cards at the end is the winner.  Perfect for partners or small group play.

Game # 4:  Ghostly Bump

The traditional Bump game with ghosts!  The first person to place all of her playing pieces on the board is the winner!

Game # 5:  Escape the Spider

Two players place their playing pieces on the star.  Each player takes turns drawing a multiplication card and solving.  If correct, the student moves one space.  The first player to reach the arrow and escape from the web is the winner.


Game # 1:  Witchy Feet Memory

The students place the cards upside down in an array.  Each player turns over two cards.  If the two cards match the player collects the cards and goes again.  If they do not match, the cards are turned over for the next person.  The winner is the person with the most pairs at the end of the game.  

This works for partners or in a small group.

Game # 2:  Trick or Treat

The students take turns drawing a card, solving, and if correct moving on the board.  The first person to reach finish is the winner.

Game # 3:  Halloween Tic-Tac-Toe

Students will play with a partner for this game. Students will take turns choosing a square, solving the division problem, and if correct marking with an X or O.  The first with three in a row is the winner.  Fun and fast, this is perfect for early finishers.

Game # 4:  Flying Ghosts

Each student draws a card and solves the equation.  He or she then places his chip on a ghost.  When all ghosts have been covered, the person with the most chips is the winner.

Game # 5:  Monster Eyes.

This game is played with a partner.  Each partner has a gameboard.  The player will roll a die, choose a problem on the row with the number rolled and solve.  If the partner agrees it is correct, the player will draw an eye on the problem.  The winner is the first person to complete any row. 

These games work best printed on cardstock and laminated for durability.  

They can be used in so many ways including:

  • math centers 
  • partners 
  • small groups  
  • remediation  
  • intervention  
  • guided math  
  • early finishers  
  • indoor recess  
  • and more   

Games is one of my all time favorite ways to learn!  That's just My Kind of Teaching!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Joy in the Homeschooling Journey

As you know, I retired after thirty years of teaching this past May.  What you might not know, is that I have the most wonderful opportunity of helping my daughter and son-in-law to homeschool my grandson.  We officially started this past Monday, although we have had many days of classroom fun during the last several months.  Today, I want to share some pictures with you of our first day.

I had sixteen years of experience teaching kindergarten.  What I do not have experience in is homeschooling.  However, I know what I want it to look and feel like, and even more importantly I know what I do NOT want it to be.  I am extremely comfortable taking care of my own curriculum.  I am extremely comfortable not using a ton of workbooks or computer program to teach my dear grandson.  Instead, you will find us playing, creating, and having FUN as I help him learn everything (and more) that he needs to learn.

The sign on our door.  We both take ownership to this very special place.

I added new shelves found at Walmart for only $15 and added baskets that I had previously purchased for my classroom.

We begin each class session with the pledge and Bible study.

 We made mommy and daddy a special keepsake on the first day of school.  I found this for Free on Teachers Pay Teachers.  You can find it here.

 We do calendar work, check the weather, and learn about shapes each morning.

  We won't be doing a ton of worksheets in our classroom.  I don't believe in using them just for the sake of using them.  But cutting and gluing are important skills.  

  We used colored popsicle sticks that I added magnets to for visual discrimination and building the same shape.

  We played a fun board game for Social Studies about the neighborhood.  Board games are so much fun.  It doesn't even seem like learning!

  We won't be using a curriculum that has him learning strictly online, however, we will be watching some videos.  This one was a science video from youtube about living and nonliving things.

  We worked on some CVC words by sounding out the word, and building the word with blocks and then wrote the words.

  So much learning from this probability game that I made.  Predicting, less than, more than, sizes, and more!

 I could go on and on about the many things that could be learned from this simple puzzle that I purchased at the Dollar Tree.  It's my favorite place to shop!  Want to learn more about homeschooling your child without a purchased curriculum?  Find full details at my homeschooling Facebook page, "Fun Learning with Grammy."

Homeschooling my grandson is DEFINITELY My Kind of Teaching!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Genre Reading Challenge

Have you ever had an idea, event, or experience that suddenly made you “click” with a co-worker?

For me, that experience happened when I read “The Book Whisperer” by Donovan Miller last summer.  I was literally blown away.  I could not underline, highlight, and take notes quickly enough.  I raved about it to my co-workers, but only one of them was interested in reading the book.  I quickly shared my book with her and BAM!!!!

After four years of working together, my co-worker and I REALLY started bonding.  I had always admired her and looked up to her (figuratively and literally as I’m barely 5’0!!).  We were having daily conversations, brainstorming about getting our class involved in the 40-Book Challenge, and making Google Forms.  The next thing you know, we have come up with an idea to fill our hallway with books.  GIANT Books. 

We made nine giant books for nine different genres.  Above each book, we added the characteristics of the genre.  To finish the look, we added a matching bookmark.  During the year, students wrote recommendations and added to the books. These could also be used to list all of the books read during the school year.

Instead of using reading logs which always seemed to get lost or parents didn't sign, I made an interactive notebook for the students to use.

We took notes as we worked through the PowerPoint over several days.  Students used the notebook during the year to write a reading response.

At the beginning of the school year, we became a 1:1 digit school.  So, in addition, I created a Google Slides product to use with Google Classroom.  These worked extremely well also, by giving students a pre-selected response to write about.  

All of these items can be used just simply for getting your students excited about reading.  It could be used in the media center.  These giant books can be located in a central location or maybe even the cafeteria to encourage students to read.  You certainly do not have to implement the 40-Book Challenge or read “The Book Whisperer” to encourage students to read, read, read.  Sometimes, all it takes is a giant book to spark that curiosity. 

If you are interested in any of these items in my store, you can click on the pictures below.

But, oh, what better way than to let your love of reading bond you with a co-worker who becomes your teacher BFF?  Wouldn’t that be even MORE fabulous?

That’s justMy Kind of Teaching

See you soon!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

FREE Scavenger Hunts

How do you learn the best?  

For me, it is certainly not sitting and listening all day long.  That's why I like to put some movement into our homeschooling day.

Whether your children are five or fifteen, there's fun to be had in a scavenger hunt and I have several for you.  The best part?  They are free!

Notice the higher vocabulary on some of these.  Your child is like a sponge.  Take advantage!  Don't minimize vocabulary even at the youngest age.  A rich vocabulary helps to expand your child's brain.  Explain the meaning of the words and use them in everyday conversations.

(Side note - People are absolutely amazed at my little grandson's vocabulary.  It's because we never simplified language just because he was little.  So many people think, "little person, little words".  NO!!!  Use those big words.  They can handle them!)

Use one of these scavenger hunts when you and/or your child is feeling restless or use it when you need a fun break.  Other benefits are exercise and cognitive thinking.  What one person finds as an answer may very well be a different answer from another person.  It's good to discover that more than one answer will work.

Click on picture to download your free copy.

I hope you enjoy these FREE scavenger hunts.  Don't forget to join my FB group, "Fun Learning with Grammy" to see more activities in our homeschool.

That's just, "My Kind of Teaching".

Monday, June 25, 2018

No Prep Math Centers for August

Teacher confession time...

Every year, without fail, the end of school rolls around and for the entire last month, I CANNOT WAIT for the last teacher workday and summer to begin, and...Whoa, whoa, WHAT???

Just like that, I would start reflecting on things to prepare for the next school year, changes I wanted to implement, and new ideas to try.  I always got so charged up, that it would take me two-three weeks to get out of school mode and into summer mode!  Does this happen to you??  (PLEASE, say yes... lol)

The first thing I always tried to do during the last month of school was to prepare my "No Prep Math Centers" and "No Prep Literacy Centers" for the first month back in school.  It's a perfect time of year, because I always had a lot of students who couldn't wait to help by cutting and bagging.  (Hence, the NO Prep)  Don't worry, that it's now summertime, they really ARE so easy to make, that you'll have them made in a snap!

Today, I'm going to focus on my No Prep Math Centers for 4th grade.  However, you can find these for 2nd grade as well as 3rd grade in my store, along with No Prep Literacy Centers for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades.  (Just click on the grade level to see the units.)

Each month usually has ten centers along with two-three bonus activities.  If you are like I always was, there is WAY too short of a prep time in your day and EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND is precious!  These centers are a breeze to get ready!  I have included games, interactives, foldables, movement, and more!  There is no colored ink used (other than answer guides), to make this even MORE user-friendly!

You have several choices for printing:
1)  Copy onto regular white copy paper.  Use for the week and then throw in the trash and print a new set next year!  (Easy-peezy, right??)
2)  Want to have those pops of color?  Print just the game pieces on colored paper (or construction paper).  Again, you can throw away or keep.  (Mine have held up for 2-3 years without lamination.)
3)  Print on colored cardstock and laminate.

How you choose to prepare, really depends on the amount of time you want to spend prepping. 

This month's centers include:  

Fractional Sets 

Fourth grade is HUGE for fractions, so I like to get the year started with review of fractional sets.  I like to always print the directions for all of my centers on colored copy paper to draw the students' eyes.  I also like to use two different colors for the fraction and the fractional set.  I only use a couple of pieces of my hoarded precious color copy paper.  I make copies of the student response sheet and my answer page on regular white copy paper. 


I love to keep this center out (along with several of the other ones) to use for small group remediation.  Some students need that extra support and guidance on a concept, and being able to play this as a game works perfect.  In the center, the students work together to decide if the number rounds up or down.  In years' past, I have used this as a center during our unit on rounding, and then used the worksheet for a formative grade.  I am then able to see at a glance which students need to work in a guided small group.

Place Value

This activity is one of my favorites to do during the first couple of days of school during our math time as we are getting settled in.  While I'm checking to make sure I'm positive how every child is getting home, or I'm checking in supplies, or any of the other million and one things I need to accomplish, the students do this activity as a whole class during quiet time.  (Admit it, you know by the middle of that first day back, you need just a LITTLE time to rest your ears!  haha)  I put the directions on the document camera and project onto the large screen at the front of my room.  I carefully explain the directions and even do a couple with the students to make sure they understand.  Then, while they work, I'm able to do some of those much needed beginning of school chores!

Comparing Numbers

This is one of my students' favorite centers every year and it is oh, so, simple!!!  Students play in a small group.  The number cards are stacked upside down on the table.  Students take turns going around in a circle and drawing the top card.  They begin in the ones place to build the number.  (This game can be played for any place value to differentiate your students' needs.)  Once every child has built his/her number, someone spins the spinner using a pencil and a paper clip.  If the spinner lands on greater than, the student with the largest number wins.  If the spinner lands on less than, the student with the smallest number wins.

Classroom Treasure Hunt

I love giving my students every opportunity throughout our day to have some movement, considering that recess is only 15 minutes each day.  (Sad, sad) My students LOVE these scavenger hunts.  I print the cards on bright paper, scatter them all around the room and students move around reading the cards and writing the answers.  I've used this center both as a small group and as whole class (which is my favorite).  I like to collect their response pages to use as an informal data collection for different skills so that I can start forming small remediation groups.  However, I always place the cards under the document camera so that we can review and discuss as a class.

Addition with and without Regrouping

I have yet to give students "naked" addition or subtraction problems without hearing groans from someone.  However, when they have a cool name like "Ninja" attached, all of a sudden, the students can't wait to complete the problems.  (I'll call ANYTHING a cool name if it encourages students to do their best work!)

Standard, Expanded, and Written Forms

Our curriculum map always begins the year with all things related to place value.  I've tried to include a lot of activities in the August unit to help reinforce those concepts.  As always, I copy the instructions on colored copy paper.  I make three copies of each of the other pages so that the standard form is one color, the expanded is another, and the written is yet another color.  I then have students play this game with a partner (or in a small group of 2-3 students).  Students turn the cards face down.  They take turns turning one card from each row to try to make a match in the classic "Memory" game.  On another week, I have the students complete the second part which is the response sheet of cutting and making the correct matches.  Numbers look very similar to make sure that students really understand the different forms.

Word Problems

Sometimes, students just have to be convinced that they enjoy math.  "I LOVE Math" is an accordion book that students make.  They then choose a word problem card, read it, and solve in their book. 

Bar Graph

I've combined the fun game, "I Spy" with a bar graph.  Students search for the pictures counting how many there are of each and then put the information into a bar graph and answer questions.

Ordering Numbers

I always make two sets of these numbers.  (Make sure you use two different colors for your own sanity of keeping them separated...haha)  Students will work together to put the numbers in order.  Students then work independently to complete a response sheet putting numbers in order.


You can store the pieces of each center in a ziploc bag, a large envelope, a small basket at the center or whatever makes life easiest for you.  

Direction posters are included for each center.  Placing these in the center gives explanations to the students so that you are not spending valuable time explaining multiple times.


I don't worry about printing because I have HP Instant Ink.  This means that I get 300 pages every month.  It is based on the pages, and not the ink.  My printer lets HP know when ink is running low and I receive new ink in the mail before I even need it.  SCORE!!

Click on the picture to get your own great deal on a wireless printer so that you too can print all you need without worry!  
Please keep this link to enter to get extra months of FREE ink!

(Please note this blog post has an affiliate link for the printer.  This means that if you purchase using the link, I receive a very small commission that helps me with the upkeep of my website.  However, this doesn't add to the price of the item for you.)

Click on any of the above pictures to see this product in my store.

Easy, peezy, making your life breezy...

That's just

My Kind of Teaching!