Sunday, December 29, 2019

Classroom Library Book Checkout Made Easy!

Your kiddos love to read!  They have a clasroom full of books!  They're happy campers, right?

Probably not!

Not until they can take home some of the books from the library.  The ones that all the other kids seem to hog.

Little kids are impatient.  (So are big kids!)

Have you been thinking of letting your students borrow your class books but dread setting up a system to keep track of the books? Jump in.  Don't be shy!  Grab covers and pages for free here. if you like the video and feel they'd be useful.



My system is so easy, you can easily implement it tomorrow! I much rather the books be at home with my students instead of on my shelves after 3 pm each day. Wouldn’t you?

Part One on How to Get Hundreds of Books for Free

Read/Watch Part Two on How to Organize Your Classroom Library


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Getting Ready for January...

My Poetry Binders are one of my kids favorite activities each day.  Before leaving for break, I made sure the January Poems were copied and ready to go.  I usually put 3-4 poems in their binders per week and send them home on Wednesday nights for some extra fluency practice,


While I use these for Shared Reading and take advantage of some learning opportunities, I am really careful not to use poems to teach from all of the time.  I often see that done which results in kids HATING poetry and that, to me, is crushing.  (When I was a K-5 librarian, I often saw this happen with books.  Some teachers used EVERY book to teach from and dissect...and ruined the enjoyment of the book for the kids.)

I use one poem a week to instruct from...if that.  I want them to enjoy the language and rhythm and have fun reading/singing them without direct instruction.  I have plenty of other activities I can use for that.

I've had a lot of success with this approach.  My kids love our binders and because they want to/choose to reread the poems a zillion times each week, they learn/master sight words quickly and become more fluent naturally and I'm grateful for that!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Organizing Your Class Library

If you read Two Tips to Increase Your Class Library, you now have (or soon will have!) lots of books in your classroom library. But now you have to organize them.  If you're a new teacher, do it ONCE and do it RIGHT!  You need a manageable and easy system and I've got you covered.






Tomorrow I'm going to share how I manage book check-out in my classroom.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Two Tips to Build Your Class Library

I know several teachers who are about to begin their career in just a week!  Congrats to all recent grads!  This is a very exciting time for you!  New teachers often need BOOKS...and lots of them.  Am I right?  But before you spend your first paycheck at Barnes & Noble, check out my video.



I hope it helps!  Good luck!  You're going to rock it! 




Saturday, December 21, 2019

Two Place Value Games (FREE!)

Our Place Value Unit is off to a great start!  Lots of hands-on fun! It's a quick unit and a welcome change from our first Number Sense Unit.

We go heavy on counting by tens and adding on the ones in the beginning.  Toss It is perfect introduction to start with (see previous post/video) and then we move on to building our own numbers and seeing the relationship between them.

Grab the game above once your kids have practiced counting by tens and ones.  I use read blocks in teh classroom but send home the cutouts for homework.

Another game I love is by The Busy Bilingual Teacher.  It's FREE too so make sure you grab it now!

See both in action below.  Hope your kiddos are ready for some fun!







Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Easy Parent Holiday Gift

After a Pinterest fail this week for our First Grade parent holiday gift (it was a calendar that looked adorable but didn't turn out quite the way we wanted), Pinterest once again inspired me:


I know it's last minute but this is SO EASY to do and it's free!  I called kids up individually while we had Stamina Reading today.  Forty minutes later...DONE!  I love it.  Kids love it.  Parents will love it, too!  Want it?  Grab by clicking on pic to download.  Made all different grade levels, left off grade on one AND even added 2020 so you can already plan for NEXT year! 

HO! HO! HO!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Toss It! Place Value Game

Looking for an easy way to teach counting by tens and adding on ones? Expanding numbers? This is it! What an easy game to make and play!  Watch the video to see how easy it is and click pic to grab your recording sheet!




Saturday, December 7, 2019

My Must Have Math Tools

My must haves are always about items that make my life easier and allow me to deliver impactful instruction.  I like to think of them as getting "a lot of bang for the buck."



Here they are...





Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Peek Inside My Classroom

Got an S.O.S. from a friend in Grad School needing a tour of my classroom.  STAT! 

I jumped into action!

Since she lives in California, a virtual tour was a must. If you want to take a peek, click on the video.




Monday, December 2, 2019

Fun Rekenrek Game

I love using Rekenreks in my classroom to reinforce number bonds/combinations. Knowing combinations of 10 (and ANY number!) helps with math fluency.  One of the easiest ways (and most fun!) is to play What's My Way? with your kids.  Grab a Rekenrek and play today!  Watch the video if you want to see how it's played.  The video isn't too long and worth watching.  (IMHO!)

Grab a certificate to send home with kids.  Just another way to strengthen the home/school connection...

(Looking for a  FREE PLACE Value Game?) 

Here is another that is SO EASY to play and packs a punch! 





Sunday, December 1, 2019

Holiday Books QR Codes

I hope these come in handy for your class.  Feel free to grab them!  As of today, all still worked.  :)

I print on cardstock, punch a hole in corner and hang up for kids to access during Stamina/Reading or when they have some time.


For the record, I'm reading Night Tree and Silver Packages (kids love to reread them) but I have so many books I want to read before break, that I'm not sure the others will be read to the kids.

Let me know if you have any MUST READS this holiday season. Always looking for gems to add to my pile.

Happy reading!

Managing Classroom Jobs

Kids LOVE when they get a classroom job.  When I first started out, they loved IF they got a job...once during the year!



Yea.  I was THAT teacher who never changed jobs. Rarely happened! Here's how I manage my classroom jobs now and make 20 kids happy!  (Listen for the MEOW!)



If you are the opposite of me and can manage your display/board effortlessly, hats off to you.  Seriously!  I'm seriously impressed!  If you've struggled like me, check out the link! 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Freebie: Open-Ended Math Questions

Hello!  My math open-ended questions are popular and I have some freebies floating around but I wanted to give those of you looking for more of them an actual set.  There are 7 sheets (never free before) that you can use right now with your Grades 1-2 students.


Interested in learning why I LOVE them so much and use them daily in my classroom?  Then check out this older post here: The Value of Open-Ended Math Questions.

My last post introduced my Which One Doesn't Belong? Open-Ended Questions.  To see them in action with my class, click here to view videos.

If you use them with your class or have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Have a great day!  



Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Which One Doesn't Belong?


When I was younger, I was a terrible math student.  Unsure of myself.  Self-conscious.  I remember being in First Grade and feeling overwhelmed during our math period.  I always had a stomachache during math.  Always wanted to go to the nurse.

I certainly never saw myself as a mathematician. No one else ever saw me as one either. Back then, math was either right or wrong.  No middle ground.  No getting messy in your thoughts and certainly no risk-taking was involved. You knew it or you didn't.

I didn't.

I never was able to overcome my early hurdles so when I became a teacher, I promised myself that I would make math relevant.  Hands-on.  Fun.  Every child would view him/herself as a mathematician and would be able to use mathematical terms and justify their answers and be encouraged to get messy in the thought process.  I wanted to slow down math.  Dig deep and let the kids breathe and play around with numbers and concepts.  Explore.

I so wish we had open-ended questions when I was six years old.  They are designed for ALL levels of thinkers and they build confidence and encourage risk-taking.  That's why I love to create and use Open-Ended Questions in my own First Grade classroom now. That's why I just uploaded Which One Doesn't Belong?




They allow for deeper thinking and a variety of answers. For a nervous math student, I would have appreciated the wiggle room to share my thoughts and justify MY answers. See math through MY eyes.

The kids cheer when I use these in my classroom.  (You can hear some gasps in first video when this first flashes on screen.) Because students know that there are several answers, participation is high. Sky high. No one is asking to go to the nurse. Isn't that the way it should be?


I've used for Do-Nows, homework, Workstations, and I did one for a math warm-up for my observations.  Designed for Grades 1-2, there are plenty of slides to last throughout your number sense unit.



Click here if you are interested in checking the product out!