Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May Photo-a-Day {Teacher Snapshots}


Who:
anyone and everyone

What:
A collection of daily photo prompts for you to interpret and snap a quick picture of (nothing fancy...a cellphone photo will do just fine). 

How:
Snap a photo that relates to the daily prompt. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Just interpret the prompt as you wish and click a pic! Share your image on any or all of your favorite social media sites: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, a Blog, Twitter, Flickr, etc.

Include the hashtags #CFClassroom and #TeacherSnapshots so others can see your pictures.

Logistics:
This is meant to be fun and stress-free. Therefore there are no real rules. You can truly post a "photo-a-day," you could do a weekly blog recap, or save them up for when you have writer's block and post a few at a time or all at once for an easy-peasy day of blogging. You can do all 31 prompts or pick and choose just those that interest you. 

Just be sure to include the #CFClassroom and #TeacherSnapshots hashtags or link back to this page. Feel free to share the image above so others can participate as well. How fun would it be to get your teacher friends to participate so you can compare pics and interpretations?

Tip: You don't need to take the photo on the designated day. You can take them all at once and then be ready to post when you need some content to share. :)









Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Organizing Large Sheets of Construction Paper

As you may have guessed, I'm kind of into classroom organization.

I like everything to have a place (and a label) and have developed some systems for organizing a classroom that I'm really happy with.

However, for years those 12 x 18 sheets of construction paper were my Kryptonite. A solution for keeping them neat and organized eluded me. The best I came up with was to store them in an empty desk. This worked to a point, but since the colors were all stacked I constantly found myself digging for them.
Finally, I decided enough was enough and that it was time to invest in something designed to do the job. Enter the Oversized Paper Sorter. At a cost of $27.50, I have found the purchase to be well worth the money. Mainly because the big sheets of paper, and their lack of a proper home in my classroom, annoyed me for so long, but also because it has proven to be a quality product (despite being made out of cardboard).
 


I ordered the product on a Thursday and it was waiting for me when I walked into my classroom the following Monday (via free shipping). I assumed it would be a hassle to assemble, but it went together easily in under 8 minutes. A few folds and a couple slides later it was done. It required nothing more. No tools. No adhesives. No cutting. Nothing! It was so quick and easy,


I was amazed at how sturdy it felt. I've been using it for a few months now and continue to be thrilled the product. As an added bonus, the entire unit slid onto a shelf in my closet so it is out of sight. I should mention that this is not a paid/sponsored post...just a product I bought and love and wanted to pass along.





Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

NARRATIVE PARAGRAPH OF THE WEEK: 36 Weeks of Common Core Writing Packets

{click here to access and download this product}

As most of you know, I teach third grade. In Massachusetts third grade means the start of state testing. While they only take a math and reading assessment this year, they will also take a day-long writing assessment as fourth graders next March. Traditionally, the writing test was strictly focused on writing a narrative, but with the implementation of the Common Core, they may now be assessed in other genres as well.

That's a lot of pressure for 4th grade teachers!

With this in mind, I really wanted to focus on strengthening their writing this year to (hopefully) make things easier for everyone next year.  Over the course of this school year, I have been using a consistent weekly paragraph writing format to improve my students' narrative writing. I have been using it in my own classroom since September and shared it with some teacher friends in other schools as well. I tweaked it based on my experiences and their feedback and am loving the final product.  

I am so happy with where my students are as writers and am proud to send them on to the next grade. The criteria for success, the individual student reflection and goal setting combined with the fact that we repeated the writing process each and every week has created strong descriptive writers who strive to include strong word choices into their work.  This is such an easy thing to manage as there is a packet for each week of the year. They can be used in class or as homework...how great is it to have a year's worth of quality writing homework at the ready.

This product is Common Core aligned for grades 2-5 {w.2.3, w3.3, w.4.3, and w.5.3}
  


As part of my Virtual Vacation Week of Seven Freebies, I designed an additional Narrative Paragraph Packet with a vacation theme. That free download will better familiarize you with the product and can be used as a stand-alone writing project.






Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

FRACTION BOOKS: Math Literature

On Thursday  I blogged about some of the activities that I had done in my classroom to teach my third graders about fractions and shared some materials from my Fraction Packet. You can read that post here.

This year I have really been trying to incorporate more math literature into my lessons. Above are the books that I had borrowed from the public library that focused on fractions. I plan to order a couple to own.

Whole-y Cow: Fractions Are Fun was simple and engaging. I read it to my second grade son before I brought it to school and he quickly understood the concept of fractions in a set. 

Full House: An Invitation to Fractions was a book that my students enjoyed listening to and I modeled the fractions on the board as I read it aloud.


The other books were worth checking out and worked well as a center during my math workshop rotations.




Click on any of the books below to read full descriptions and see additional images via Amazon.

    


   

Be sure to check out my Common Core aligned, 150+ page fraction packet if you are going to be teaching that concept in first grade, second grade, third grade or fourth grade. It's full of resources, games, projects, and activities to use during your Math Workshop.



Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

FRACTIONS: Ideas and Activities for Teaching Fractions with the Common Core


This packet took forever and a day to put together. But, it was so much fun to use. My kiddos not only really enjoyed the unit, but really because proficient in the Common Core Standards related to fractions so every minute was worth it.

I use the Investigations Math Curriculum by TERC, but with the rigor of the Common Core I found I needed to create some supplemental materials to meet the requirements of the Common Core Standards. The materials I created are all available in my Fractions Packet along with a teaching plan and explanations of each of the projects, games and activities (complete with photos).

While these materials and activities are a great addition to the Investigations Curriculum, you don’t need to be teaching that curriculum to use them, In fact, the packet includes everything you need for a COMPLETE 2-week unit on fractions without any additional math program


The photos below will show you just “a fraction” of what is included in the packet...yeah, I crack myself up. :)

I have some more activities to share from the packet in the days to come...including one of the cutest bulletin boards I’ve ever done. Spoiler Alert: It involves mustaches! Stay tuned.

Also, be sure to check out my FRACTION FREEBIE inspired by the book Picture Pie by Ed Emberly.











If you are looking for additional fraction activities and ideas be sure to check out my Math Camp Packet that was designed to be used as a fun test review or end of the year review (or I suppose start of the year review) for grades 2-4.





Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

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