Thursday, February 28, 2013

Another take on borrowing

My students have started to work on subtraction.  Today we were tackling the idea of borrowing (without telling them the procedure that we grew up with)

This is how my students are shown how to do it in their math book.

While teaching this lesson with my first block today, I had a moment of inspiration.  I like to pull things in that my students can relate to.  Often it deals with sharing with friends and candy.  So I got out my counters and we pretended they were candy.  One student got counters to note the tens and another student got  counters to represent the ones.  The third student would ask for for a particular number of pieces.

The student asking for the candy would start with the ones and ask for his number.  So using 12-5, a student would ask for 5 pieces from the student who had 2.  That student would respond that he/she could not give them that number because they did not have enough.

The student asking would then go to the tens and ask for the same amount.  The one with the tens would hand over the requested amount.

We then add what the "tens" student has and what the "ones" student has to come to the answer.

The students really seemed to grasp the idea.  I will be interested to see if it has "sunk in" when we go over the concept again on Monday.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Check out this great giveaway!


I have had a tough week this week.  My newest son is still getting up multiple times a night.  My own children have been on the grumpy side.  We have also been working on addition with sums up to 20 in class.  They are having a hard time with it.  This discourages me and leads me to be a little hard on myself.  I decided today to just leave it for now and turn to addition.  I am hoping after a few days we can revisit and see some better results.

Let me tell you a few things about my school and where I fit in.  I work in a charter school.  Since I started there in 2005, I have taught 2nd, 1st, and 5th.  This year I am returning to first from teaching fifth grade math for four years.  This year we started a ton of new innovative approaches.  First we are a blended learning school.  Our students spend about 1 hour a day on the computer with three programs (Mimio for reading, Reflex for fact mastery, and Dreambox for math).  We specialize from k-12th grade, so there is a math teacher, reading teacher, and science/social studies teacher for each grade level.  There are four groups and they rotate to each teacher and the computer lab every day.

I am teaching in a Singapore math program called Math in Focus.  I am really enjoying it, but this year I am feeling my way through and I hope to do better with it next year.  I have also encountered parents that have no idea how to help their students (especially this week).  While I am trying to teach them with common core and singapore math ideas, their parents are teaching them old school.  Anyone else encountering this?

My students come from a variety of backgrounds.  Most of them are low income.  Many of them are from broken homes.  Some do not live with their parents.  A few I have never met.  It is challenging to begin with, but even more so this year as we are starting so many new things to give them a better education.

I get discouraged because I get these great ideas and they fall flat.    For example this week I was really excited to use the paint in the ziploc bags. They could practice writing their number words on the bags and it would show up in the paint.
Teaching Math
 It was the first block to try it and two girls already had paint on their hands.  There went that idea.  Don't get me wrong, I keep trying.  I will not give up even on those days I want to just go home and cry.

I try to be cheerful and upbeat on my blogs.  That is why I tend to look at resources rather than reflect.  There are just some evenings I just need some time to look at what I can try the next day.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I have been telling you all about my favorite things. (I haven't forgotten to finish, tomorrow I will be back up and running with it) So those just joining me with the linky can search my archives.  However tonight I decided to focus on what I would like!

1.  Ipads

My school has not ordered any yet.  We just built massive computer labs, but I can still wish for these for my room though!  There are so many cool apps for math and students that I could do so much with them.

2.  A smartboard
All I can say is sigh......

3.  The quietest pencil sharpener.

Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener
 I remember when pencil sharpeners would last forever and pencils were not made of cheap materials.  I have a pretty good sized arm muscle thanks to sharpening pencils.  I have heard so many good things about this sharpener that I am dying to try it out!

4.  A all in one color laser printer
Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4590 Network Multifunction Color Printer with PCL

Instantly create all those wonderful TPT purchases!!

5.Now you can laugh because I really really really NEED one of these with  4 blocks of 25 1st graders!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Check it out!


I have had a fantastic time pinning for ETA this month. It has been so much fun finding and discovering. I have also found my blogging niche. I love helping others to find resources and ideas. ETA was so gracious to send me a Versatiles starter kit. I had bought this when I was in fifth grade and left it there. I missed it and was thrilled to open a box one day to find one for first grade!! I was beside myself. The kids have also been learning to use it and really loving it.

 The set comes in a really nice binder and includes one versatile.  

I got the level 1 set which included 8 books. Level 1 titles: Counting 1–100, Let’s Estimate, Let’s Add, Let’s Subtract, All About Patterns, All About Shapes and Measures, Time and Money, and Tallies and Tables. They have levels up to 8.

 You can check them out at their website.

 I made copies of the addition book and put them into protective sleeves that way multiple students can use them with multiple versatiles. Also my students tend to be a little rough with our resources so I can always buy another sleeve and make another copy.

  Give ETA some love for me.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

omg...Another one

Everyone is giving stuff away this weekend.  Here is another one to check out!

Tonyas Treats for Teachers

Another giveaway

Pinterest linky party

1. Quiet Critters.
 Quiet Critters... when you're quiet a critter can sit on your desk...they only comeout when your quiet... they don't like noise.
All I need to do is find where they may sell these or get my creative mind working.  Oop never mind.

Leave it to Oriental Training.

2.  A solution to a classroom dilemma?

Reporting vs Tattling

3.  Another solution to chair bags

use large sized book covers to hold white boards/markers/eraseBook covers!

4.  Super heroes in math!
cute bulletin board idea
This is going to be my next bulletin board!

5.Getting touchy with math
Teaching Math

Mine is going to be number words!

Check out my pininterst boards,

Thanks for hosting!!



found another one


Up early with my baby and I found another giveaway!

Friday, February 22, 2013



Click the pictures to check it out!

Another giveaway on facebook

Photo: It is here and we are giving it away!  "The Elementary Teacher's Big Book of Graphic Organizers:K-5" by Katherine McKnight is an awesome book that features over 100 graphic organizers for teachers in grades k-5.  It is easy to enter, just leave a comment, sharing one teacher tip!  We will announce the winner on Monday 2/25 at noon.  Good luck!

By the way I usually link my pictures to the giveaway site, so click above to find this giveaway!

My favorite things

I realized a little while ago that I should have taken a few pictures at school today for the next couple of blogs.  Oh well, I am a creative girl.  I will think of a solution.  But onto my favorite things part two.

1.  My latest find, carpet squares at Dollar Tree!
Dollar tree!!! 2pack                                               

I was so excited when I saw these, because I had been trying to find an inexpensive solution to my calendar/carpet seating.  I ran into these at dollar tree.  It was also a two pack, so I got 26 squares of carpet for $13!!!  I was so thrilled!

2.  The teacher section at dollar tree!

Dollar tree robots

I have found so many cute things at Dollar tree.  The one lesson I have learned though is buy when you find it!!  There is no guarantee it will appear there ever again or that another dollar tree will even have it!

3. boys black socks
Product Details  Are you surprised?  These are cheap, washable dry erase board erasers!  I use black because the marker does not show up as quickly as it does on the white ones.  I also do not have to worry about them becoming dingy or stained.

4. shower board for mini dry erase boards

  These are great for mini boards.  In fact I left my last set with the fifth grade team and haven't gotten a chance to replace them yet.  It is on the top of my to do list now.  However I have seen them used as classroom boards and they did not work as well on a large scale (especially for daily abuse).

5.  shoe organizer
Product DetailsWhen I was in fifth grade, this was used for math materials (rulers, compasses, etc) and my calculators.  Now I use it to sort papers to be handed back out and papers I want to review with individual students.

I hope this has given you some inspiration and insight.  My favorite things continues soon.  (Hint:  there is going to be one Oprah type moment.  Stay tuned!)



Another great giveaway.  Hint:  gift cards are involved!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My favorite things (sorry I can't be Oprah)

I am always on the hunt for a cheaper way to get what is in the catalogs.  Sometimes I spend the time and energy to make it myself.  Other times I find bargains to fill the need.  Then there are times I just splurge because my time and energy is small and precious.  Here are a few things that I love.

First my splurges
1.  Expo XL eraser
Expo XL Whiteboard Eraser (8474)
This eraser has refillable and removable pads.  I love this because it makes erasing fast and easy.  It takes me forever to get through one pad so I do not have to buy refills very often.  It also works so much better than the normal erasers.

2.  Ipevo document camera
IPEVO Point 2 View USB Document Camera

I actually purchased this with a school PTO grant.  Now the school has gotten one for everyone.  It is inexpensive (69 dollars).  I use mine constantly!!  I don't know how I lived without it.  I show workbook pages to my students when we review them.  I show them manipulatives so they can mimic the actions at their desk.

3.  Cordless mouse
Product Details

With my projector, I use this to control my laptop from anywhere in the room.  I am not fortunate enough to have a smartboard so this is the next best thing!

4.  Iphone

This is my newest splurge.  I purposely set out to get an iphone because of two teacher apps, Class Dojo and pick sticks.  The students are amazed that I control their points from my phone now.  It also shows up on the laptop/projector within a few seconds.  I am still experimenting and implementing the pick sticks.  I will let you know how it works!

5.  Personal laminator

Product Details
I was frustrated this year at school because the laminating film was cheap and the new person laminating had no idea how to do it.  It took one ruined project for me to order the Scotch laminator.  I was on maternity leave and laminating centers like mad for my sub.  My only wish is that I could do bigger projects, but I may splurge and let Office Depot do those.

Tomorrow more favorite things!!!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sorry I haven't written much tonight.  I have been reading blogs and finding lots of giveaways.  Her is another one for you!
Button300 follower giveaway on Diving into learning

Technology Link Party

Check out this Linky Party to discover more resources!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Pinned Image

Pininterest giveaways

jeopardy labs

Love using this for reviews!

I discovered this website a few years ago when I taught 5th grade math.  I am really considering toning it down for my first graders.  It is a free website, but you can have some extras if you pay for a $19.95 lifetime membership.  Here is my launchpad when I log in.

You have complete control over the categories, questions and answers.  I adapted mine so it became our test review.

You also get to tell the program how many teams you want to have.  Another advantage of a membership is that your data is saved. You do not have to remember or bookmark urls.

Check it out and have fun!