Sunday, October 27, 2013

Act quick...giveaway

I know two posts in one day.  There is a giveaway ending in just a few hours, go check it out!!

The Littlest Superheroes

Math Websites...New discovery

I have mentioned over the last week or so that two of my groups are struggling with number bonds and decomposing numbers.  So I did a quick google search and came up with another math website and a decomposing number game.

Eric the elephant

The game that caught my attention was Save the whale 2

You can make the bond any number from 4 to 10.  When you get the right answer the whale swims to freedom.  I also like how the students see the pipe length we are shooting for.

I have also been working with my students on how to count on especially with their fingers.  I ran into this and thought it would be wonderful for demonstation.

You can click any of the fingers and put them down.  The number above the hand reflect the number of fingers still up.

Another demonstration program offered uses beads.

You get ten beads and three different colors to change the bead color.  I thought I would use it when we are making ten.  This would be give the students another visual.

There is so much on this website that I am still finding things as I explore it!

Come join me in finding some new things!


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Zoo... A wild five for Friday

Yesterday was our trip to the zoo!  So here is this week's five for Friday!


1.  The new dilemma with parents.  Our school is becoming more strict on who can volunteer and chaperone our students.  This is understandable considering today's world, but background checkson 30 parents is not in the cards.  I was not excited about supervising 20 students through the zoo.  It did work out that most of the children's own parents attended.  So I was left with four very active boys!

2.  The world my students live in.  Many of our students had never been to a place like this before.  So they did not understand the unspoken rules.  I spent part of my time letting them know that they had to stay on this side of the rail.  They could not climb on the rails.  They had to stay on the path.  They had to sit down on the tram.  They should not tap on the glass.  I was exhausted!  It also saddened me that my students had never had the chance to have this opportunity before.

3.  So the other issue with 4 boys is that they tend to concentrate on bodily functions.  Yes I heard a lot about certain animal behinds and what they were used for quite frequently.  On a side note, the giraffes were getting pretty intimate.  Yeah.  Thank goodness the children did not notice.  I saw a bit too much of one of the giraffes.

4.  Animals, animals, animals.  My little group did pretty good on the animal check list.  We missed a couple of habitats, but we got to see the most exciting ones.

5.  A trip without incident!  We had no parent complaints, no calls, and we arrived back on time!  I may have had a hard time, but it was well worth it!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Now the free stuff...Great Math websites part 3

I had previously subscribed to Greg Tang's website and loved it!  I was even happier last May when the announcement was made that it would now be free!!


It is everything I had been paying for.  The only thing missing are the leader boards.  No big deal for my first graders and me.  Plus there are new games to play!!

Break ApartBreakapartLimboMath LimboNumskillNumskill
ExpressoExpressoNumskillMissingFunny NumbersFunny Numbers
Place ValueStandard AlgorithmsSatisFraction

Greg also includes digital versions of his books!!!


If that wasn't enough there are blacklines!  Go visit


Monday, October 21, 2013

Flexin math muscles with reflex! Great math websites part 2

Last night I raved about one of my school's two purchased math programs.  Tonight I am raving about the other!

Reflex Logo

This is another program that my kids love especially when they get to me and tell me that they got a green light!

Reflex is another adaptive program.  It moves the students ahead at their own pace.  Last year I ended with four students on multiplication and division in 1st grade!!  One of them advanced to the higher multiplication and division facts.


The students learn their facts in a game.




This year students at all levels are progressing amazingly well.  I already have a few that are close to fluent.  We also celebrate our reflex achievements on Friday in math class.  It is important to me to connect what happens in our learning lab with what happens in math class.

You can try Reflex out for 14 days for yourself.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Great math websites...part 1

So I am not going to present at the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Math this year because of funding issues.  I am sad because I love using technology in the classrooms.  I am going to share my presentation with you!

Website number 1.  This program does cost money.  However if you can talk your school or district into it, you will not be sorry!!!

Online Math Games by DreamBox Learning

This program is adaptive to the individual child and keeps pace with each child.  It practices common core standards, fills in gaps from previous grades, and accelerates those students are that ready.

It has provided amazing results for my school.This is the case study for us.

The other important thing is that my kids love it!!  They are learning on their level while playing a game!

It provides me with great data and tells me where students are struggling.

Check it out for yourself!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Number bonds are my friends... A five on Friday

I thought that the end of the year was exhausting.  Right now I am that exhausted.  Most nights I come home and just stare!  My five for Friday tonight is going to be a little different.


1.  My lower two groups are still working on number bonds.  I now have about half that have got it and the other half are still working on it.  Number bonds are part of Singapore math, but they are a great strategy to use with any common core program

I really love number bonds.  Everything the student needs to add and subtract is at their fingertips.  The two things that my students are still struggling with is where the numbers go (they want to put the whole in a part and one of the parts in the whole) and how to break numbers apart.  A few weeks ago it was our +1 and -1 patterns I thought I would keep dreaming about.  Now it is number bonds.

2.  Addition facts

My higher two groups have been working on addition strategies.  I have found over my years of teaching that students love to tell you the answer and walk away.  I have emphasized even before common core that the answer is the last thing they should think about.  In fact when I taught 5th grade, I gave any work to solve a problem the same points as the answer.  Many students got points for attempting the problem and getting an incorrect answer.  I also find that the stronger students find showing work more difficult and cumbersome.  I really had to emphasize this week that the strategies were more important.

3.  Animals galore

One of our huge units in 1st grade is Animals.  We have been talking about them in preparation for our zoo trip next week.  My students are struggling with what animal lives in the habitat even with color cues, but we have found success with what they eat!

 All my blocks know carnivore, herbivore, and omnivore.  They also know what they mean!!! Sometimes it is the little battles!

4.  Zoo next week!

I am going to be traveling with 98 first graders on a chartered bus 3 hours to the North Carolina Zoo.  It should be an adventure!  Before we would split up the students among the responsible adults in the group.  Now we have to have background checks on all chaperones, so I am going to have a larger group this year!

5.  PBS

No not the station, this is Positive Behavior System.  It does work most of the time, but we have some very challenging students.  Most days I can get them to do what we need to accomplish, other days it seems a wash.  One block of students seem to battle me every day with talking.  Surprise, they are my group for the trip.  I am determined to get these students to the finish line and beyond.  However, why does it have to be this hard?


Friday, October 11, 2013

Matches, ambulance, and thank God it is Friday!

I had an adventurous day as you can see from my title, but it may not be what you think.  In the space of 45 minutes these two events happened.  We had a child that brought matches to school.  Yikes!  We are blessed that they were found and the child did not decide to experiment with them at school.  The ambulance story is a bit more interesting.  Our little ones fall asleep.  They have a long day.  We also have those that pretend that they are sleeping.  It could be just playing or they are trying to get out of something.  The child in question is notorious for his fake sleeping.  He does it almost daily.  He decided to "sleep" in Music today.  He did not wake when picked up.  He did not wake when 911 was called.  He did not wake up when he was taken to the ambulance.  He did "pop" up in the ambulance and explain his tough life at school.  We still do not know if this was a serious episode or if he was faking.  What I do know is it will be expensive and I do not want to be in his shoes if he faked it.  So I need a little humor today.

This student really thought this through.

The true reason I hate calling off.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's my birthday!

Happy Birthday CRYSTAL!

I love the special google you get on your birthday!

I had a fun, but exhausting weekend.

First up, The story of the kilt.

My mother in law made two kilts 14 years ago, one for my husband and one for our one year old son  (picture on the right).  This year that little baby boy wore his father's kilt and his baby brother wore the little one (picture on left).

Our younger two boys were knighted.

Since my youngest was a wee one, she used the small sword.  My middle son surprised his father by using his first name.  They share first names so around family my middle son goes by his middle name.

We saw the joust and window shopped.  It was worth the trip!