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Math Review Fun

I can't believe this school year is about over.  I am doing my best to keep my head above water with all the testing, state testing, paperwork, more testing for the district, and end of the year junk.  With all that going on, it's easy to get caught up in it and get a little.....ok, a lot stressed.  I know my kiddos feel the effects of all this testing, sooooooo, I have been trying to squeeze in fun whenever possible. 

Anytime you can bring out the Playdoh is FUN time!  I had my kiddos review their math vocabulary making examples with playdoh.  They picked their own words.  
They did 4, raised their hands and had me check them and then flipped their paper over and did 4 more.  They loved this activity and I was impressed with how detailed and complex some of them got:)

Another fun review is an awesome activity from my friend Meg at The Teacher Studio.  Her blog is a math jackpot!!!  You have to check it out!  Area and perimeter.  I teach a little chant, we practice with hand movements, they can do it in their sleep, and YET, some of them still flip it!   This activity was the perfect review before our tests.
This activity is one she shared on All Things Upper Elementary.  
I gave the kids their rectangle guide lines and some graph paper to draw out each one.  
Once they had their 3 rectangles and I checked to make sure they followed the guidelines, they were off to make them. 
I cut strips of Astrobrights for them to use:)
Another review we do, more because the kids LOVE it... our symmetry bugs.
These are a hit every year and I just love how unique they all are.  You can find step by step directions HERE in a older blog post.

Hope you found something you can use.  I would love to hear about any other math/art related ideas.  If you have some, leave me a comment:)

The Jelly Donut Difference

I have always been a fan of Maria Dismondy books and have used them in my classroom every year.  I get so excited when I hear she has another book coming out.  Her books always have strong messages including diversity, standing up for others, courage, and kindness.  They have been valuable staples in my classroom.  I am thrilled to be a part of her virtual tour for her new book The Jelly Donut Difference.
This is yet another wonderful book with a great message.  This book's message is  about sharing kindness with the world.  What a wonderful and powerful message to teach our children and students, especially in a world that, at times, seems to not have a whole lot of kindness.

Here is a short trailer about this great book!
My students loved this book.  They loved the "spreading kindness" message.  We did a little of that over Christmas break and this book has been a great reminder to try to spread a little kindness daily.  I hope you will take some time to check this book, as well as her others, out.  You will not be disappointed.  They are incredible.

Ready to Rock the Writing Test

One state test done!!
I posted these on my IG and FB pages and had some questions and requests so I wanted to share a quick little post about them.  We work so hard to get ready for the writing test and I wanted my kiddos to know how proud I was of them BEFORE the test and give them a little something to encourage them.  I made these "letter bookmarks" a few years ago but this year gave them a little facelift;)
I picked up all the supplies I needed at Hobby Lobby.  
- a bag of foam glittery stars
- a little bag of snow confetti
- a bag of star confetti
- little clear ziploc baggies
I put 3 foam stars and a little sprinkle of everything else in each baggie.
Printed the bookmarks and you're all set.  Each student was greeted by this on their desk the morning of the test.  I hope it helped ease some stress and encourage them:)
I uploaded the bookmarks as a freebie to my TPT store and made the name editable so you can put your own name in:)  You can get those HERE.
I also wanted to share another fun test-prep idea we did.  This idea was from my teammate and was inspired by the Valentine Scoot idea from Teaching With a Touch of Twang.  I made a Super Hero/Super Writer emblem template for each student.  I gave one to each kiddo and then they rotated desk to desk to write something nice, encouraging, thoughtful,  or inspiring.  I had a timer and we rotated every minute.  Super Writer Scoot!
We did this the day before the state test.  I told them their homework for that night was to read their notes before they go to bed and to get to bed early:)
I hope you can use one or both of these ideas in your classroom to encourage your kiddos:)  If you do, I would love to hear about it!  

"Adopt" an Endangered Animal for Your Classroom

We have 2 new little additions to our classroom!!!!
I posted a picture of these little cuties on my FB page the other day and got a few questions so I thought I would do a quick blog post.  

I am a HUGE animal lover and share that love in the classroom all the time with classroom pets and sharing stories about my own pets/farm.  I also like to do things to promote helping the environment.  This "animal adoption" all started with adopting a sea turtle one year.  That was so fun because it had been rescued and then released with a satellite tracker, so we were able to watch and track the travels of our turtle.  
Next came reading The One and Only Ivan.  Reading that book lead to adopting a silver back gorilla. 
You can read more about that here:)  Since then, each year, I have let my class go through the World Wildlife Fund catalog, do a little research, and vote on an animal to adopt.
After the gorilla, the class chose a blue footed booby....which by the way, I thought was already extinct!
Last year, my class voted and adopted an Okapi.  Love those!
Which leads to this year.....the kids chose the black footed ferret.  Apparently they are one of the most endangered mammals in North America.  AND we were quite surprised to find out there were 2 in the bag and not just one.
I have also been able to incorporate all kinds of fun activities around these animals.  One year, each of my students went through the catalog and chose an endangered animal to do a research project on.  Then they each made an informational text booklet about their animal. 
This year the kids were so excited when I opened the package, they wanted to do something right then, so they each took home a note card and did a little fun fact research about our "new additions" and I am putting them on a ring for a fun fact book:)
They also use them as reading buddies;)

As far as adoptions go, there are several different costs/levels to choose from on the website.
If you decide to adopt with your class, I would love to hear about it!  Leave a comment here or on my FB page:)

Fraction Fun

Fractions can be so confusing for some kids.  I know some of my kiddos struggle with the wholes and the parts.  We have been adding and subtracting fractions and I wanted to wrap up the lesson with a little fun.  I literally made the worksheet at 5 one morning and ran to Wally world to grab some Skittles before school so we could do this.  Sometimes some of the best ideas for your kiddos are last minute.  Anyone else roll like that???  (there are several spins on this activity...this is just what I wanted to do)
These little mini packs of Skittles are perfect for fraction activities.  Each bag has 12-16 pieces and a great variety of colors.  So here is what we did with this:
- each child had to write the fraction of each color of Skittle they had 
We had been practicing adding and subtracting fractions using number lines and picture models so each child had to give an addition and subtraction example of each using some of the fractions they had.

Maybe this is a fun, fast activity you can use.  Of course we ate the Skittles when we were done:)
Do your kiddos struggle with fractions?  Ideas to share?  Leave them in the comments!

Tidy Troll to the Rescue!

Oh.my.word!  Yes, it's me and yes, I'm blogging for the first time in forever.....no excuses other than a crayyyyyyyzy school year.  So, here I am and first and foremost,  I am absolutely drooling over my new blog design by my sweet friend Megan from A Bird in Hand Designs!!!!  She has been a doll to work with and I am so happy with my final product.  So this format is new for me and I am still getting used to it and trying to figure out the slider so.... this will kind of be my reveal and trial run;)

Now, on to the Tidy Troll.  I have used a desk fairy in the past and this year decided to change it up a bit.  I LOVE the trolls!!!  They are just the cutest and I just had to find a way to incorporate them into the classroom. 
Last year I had to bring in the desk fairy because some of the desks were a hot mess.  Well, this year is no exception.....as a matter of fact, it may be worse!!!  
Enter, Tidy Troll...lol.
I made little note cards to leave on desks.  I use Dojo and points, so they get a point for a note from the Tidy Troll and also a Tidy Troll brag tag.
I am hoping this will help motivate some of my kiddos to get a little neater and more organized with their desks....and bring in a little fun magic!!

Monday Made It with Fancy Free in 4th

Happy Monday! That sounds almost like an oxymoron, right? Well, this is indeed a Happy Monday for me because I am taking over Monday Made it! My name is Layla Henry and I blog over at Fancy Free in 4th. Tara is one of my teaching inspirations, and I am so honored to take over today's Monday Made It. This summer, I have not been as productive as I usually am... you see, I had my third baby on the LAST day of school- which is kind of Monday Made, right? Add a kitchen remodel and my oldest starting Kindergarten and I am one busy lady who is kind of pretending that the First Day of school isn't upon us.
Anyhow, here are two useful Monday Made its for you all! First off, I decided to make some of those fancy crate seats I have seen in so many classrooms. I am thinking of introducing my students into alternative seating options throughout the year and these crates will do just that! When I saw the crates on sale at Target I knew I had to jump on it. I ran over to Jo-Ann's to pick up some fabric- I was going to get some polka dot, because it is timeless and who doesn't like polka dot...BUT I accidentally found the MOST ADORABLE flamingo fabric in the outdoor fabric section. Not only was it on sale, but since it since it was an outdoor fabric, I thought it would be easier to clean... I figured, when life gives you flamingos... you might as well! 
  Fancy Seat Crates- great for flexible seating and it doesn't break the bank! 
 There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to make these crate seats- so the long-story, short: you need some crates, fabric, plywood, a staple gun and some sort of padding. I used batting because 1) it was WAY cheaper than foam and 2) I wanted them to be a tad bit firmer in case students wanted to use them as a table top instead of a seat.
  Fancy Seat Crates- great for flexible seating and it doesn't break the bank!
I just so happen to have a father-in-law whose hobby is wood-working #score! He had extra plywood and my mother-in-law cut it for me. I know I am blessed, so if you don't have these same connections, know that they will cut the plywood for you at most hardware stores. A fancy tip for you: be sure to measure the inner lip of your crate- because all crates are not created equally! But, for the record, if you buy the crates from Target, you should cut the plywood 12 3/4 X 14 1/2. design (4) 
 Aren't you just wild about that fabric!? Another fancy tip: add a little folded ribbon on the side, so they can be easily opened. You can store center materials in here just perfectly! Oh the possibilities. I cranked out 6 of these crates while my 2 month old napped! This proves that they are super easy to make if you have all of the materials handy. My second BTS Monday Made it is an easy coworker gift. My love language is gift-giving, which means if I work with you, you will more than likely receive a little something-something from me on special days like Secretary's Day, throughout the school year. With the start of the year, the staff meetings, the room prep- I think we need a little pick-me-up. This year, I am giving the gift of peanut butter goodness!
  Easy Coworker gift to brighten up anyones day, holiday or not. You're my Jam! 
 Please notice that I differentiated the snacks to fit some people's health conscious needs #winkwink. I stocked up on the Trader Joe's PB&J candy bars because OMG, they are yummy to the tenth power! BUT, you could easily give this gift with a plethoera of other peanut butter goodies. If you would like to tell your coworkers that they are your Jam, grab this free printable here at my TpT store!    

Classroom Reveal 2016-2017

OK....here is it....my classroom reveal for this year:)  I have had kiddos for 2 days and all is going well other than I am WHOOPED when I get home.  So here ya go!  Hopefully it all makes sense and I have linked to everyone:)

This is my desk/small group area.  I have used the crate seats for years and love them and so do my kids!

All set up for open house in this pic:)
This is my fave bulletin board!  I LOVE the shiplap paper.  I got it from Amazon.  This bulletin board idea is from Teaching in High Heels.  As soon as I saw it on IG I knew I had to do one!  And the adorable "coming soon" signs are free at her shop!!!

These awesome positive thinking signs are from Bitten by the Teaching Bug:)  These are great because I read Mindset this summer and these go right along with it.
We do AR in my classroom.  Each child has points, a range, and percentage correct goals specific for them:)  We use this board to track their progress each quarter.  I LOVE the shiplap here!!!!
This is part of our classroom jobs board.  It's all filled up with names now:)
Our word wall.  The kid letters are from The Pinspired Teacher.
Our daily 5 section with our reading rotations:)  Reading posters are from The Tattooed Teacher:)

More library and our library event calendar:)

And more library and more fab posters from The Tattooed Teacher!

This is my dry erase board.  I have divided it into sections to work for our needs.  Homework:)
Learning goals and understanding rubric:)
This adorable little homework collecting basket was a Facebook live tip from Teach Create Motivate:)

This little book shelf stores some of our math rotation items and activities.
Text talk bulletin board from Simply Creative Teaching.  Great to get chatter going about what we are reading:)
View from my small group table.
This is our read aloud spot and our math meeting spot:)  
All our book luggage ready to be filled:)
Thank you for popping by!  I hope you got a little inspiration from my pics:)

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