Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Hi, Teaching Friends!

I love the way Thanksgiving brings us back to thinking about what's really important, the things without which our lives would not be the same. That very act of thinking about those things is a warm and settling feeling, don't you think? I've heard it called an attitude of gratitude.

I shared this image from Lifehack on my Facebook page recently. I think it's so true.

The list of who and what I'm thankful for is incredibly long ... I am truly blessed!!

My top three?

1. The assurance of the presence of the Lord in my life, to guard and to guide me.

2. My wonderful husband ... we just celebrated our 40th anniversary this month!! Now that's a blessing!

3. My family ... two wonderful daughters, three amazing and oh-so-fun grandchildren ... and number four is on the way this spring! Yay!!

I hope you'll get to take some time in the coming days to slow down and really think about what makes your life the way it is, the things you'd never change even if you could.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Three Days * Three Ways Giveaway!

Hello, Teaching Friends!

I've been busy this week finishing up three new resources that I'd like to tell you about ... before I tell you how you can win them!

First up is this set of math vocabulary riddle cards.  If you're a frequent visitor here, you know that I love using riddles to keep interest high when teaching inference and key details. With this set, you'll review math vocabulary like calculator, ruler, even numbers, graph, subtraction, and 15 others. {Insider's Tip:  If you were a follower at my TpT store, you would have already received this resource free via
your TpT inbox! The next Thank You Freebie for followers will be coming soon ...  follow to receive yours!}

The second new resource is something I love, but for some reason it's ridiculously hard to explain. Moving Up and Back on the Number Chart ~ Sweet Stuff! combines adding and subtracting on the number chart with Read the Room and a little bit of coloring that makes a holiday pattern. See?  Fun, and definitely Common Core-valid, but tricky to explain. Suggestions welcomed. It's apparently not that easy to photograph, either. My only other photo keeps showing up upside down.{sigh... when will I learn not to make impossible-to-promote stuff??? }
The third newbie is this set of winter-themed ten frame activities. Now that was an easy one to describe!


So, how about a Three Days * Three Ways Giveaway?
Three days to enter, three ways to enter, three resources to win, so ... let's have three winners! Good luck to all of you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thumbs Up for Another Math Giveaway!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Why does the cold weather surprise me every year?

After all, it's November, most of the trees are bare, I've even prepped by buying new boots and a new winter coat. I should be expecting it to be cold.

Yet here I sit at the computer, sipping mug after mug of tea and coffee {I may come to regret that temporary fix later tonight...}, wearing a sweater, sweatshirt jacket, and wrapped in an afghan. It's 45 degrees, for Pete's sake ... truly kid stuff compared to what's coming.  Yet I shiver...

Well, between sips, let me tell you about a giveaway that I have going on over at Teacher's Notebook.

I love this set, and I think you will, too! The cover give you a little sample of the ten games that are included. This second image is a little fuzzy, but you can get the gist of it. For each of the ten objectives/standards, your students will evaluate expressions to see if they're thumbs up true or thumbs down false.

Tomorrow is the last day to enter, so click here to win one of the three sets I'm giving away.

If you're not a first grade teacher, I'd love it if you'd check out the versions for kindergarten, second, and third grade.

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Math Riddles - A Freebie!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Here's a way to combine teaching inference with your math instruction! You probably know how much I like creating riddle sets, so here's the latest one. It's a brand new resource that I just posted at my TpT store, Math Vocabulary Riddles.
The set includes twenty riddle cards for terms like calendar, addition, ruler, square, ten frame, and penny. There's also a four-in-a-row game using the same terms.
Would you like to try a free sample?  Here's a set of eight riddles that you can download from Google Drive.

Just a reminder ... the 20% off sale at my TpT store continues through tomorrow! This new set of Math Riddles is included, along with more than 200 other resources.

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

20% Off Sale, and a freebie... and...and ...

Hi, Teaching Friends!

As you might have guessed from the title of this post, it's got the potential to be one big ol' run-on sentence! Get ready for a rambling post ... I've got quite a bit to share with you today! Here's a hint of what's to come!

Details later in the post {if you care about the details! :)}.

Have you heard about Teacher Approved?

It's a cool subscription service and a way to discover new teacher-authors at a really reasonable price.
Plus, what you'll receive is a surprise each month, and who doesn't like surprises, right? The resources are from PreK through sixth grade, but your subscription will assure that you get exactly what you need for your own grade level band, PreK-1, 2-3, or 4-6. Subscriptions are just $5 per month and since each resource is normally $4-$6 and you'll be getting several, it's a deal! Would you like to know more about Teacher Approved and see some of the resources you'll receive as a subscriber? Head over to their blog!

So, why am I particularly excited about Teacher Approved? Well, because I'm thrilled to have been chosen as one of their contributors this month! As a subscriber, one of the PreK-1 goodies you'll be receiving this month is my Winter Riddles set! It's one of my best sellers at Teachers Pay Teachers.

You can get it as a Teacher Approved subscriber, or at TpT or TN.

Stop Number Two on this rambling post is a freebie! Are some of your little learners having trouble seeing short vowel patterns in words? Try this activity! I like it as partner work, so those who are having a hard time can get the support of a {hopefully} patient friend! Short A Roll-and-Write is a free download at Google Drive.

If you need a lot  more ways to practice short vowels, you might want to check out my brand-new-just-posted Short Vowel Games and Activities Bundle at TpT. Six resources in one, and at 20% less than you'd pay if you bought them separately.

Did somebody just say 20% off ? Well,  yes!! In celebration of my participation in Teacher Approved AND to coincide with the Florida SDE Conference for First Grade Teachers, where my resources are being exhibited by the TpT Teacher-Authors Group, led by the sweet, fun, and super-energetic Michele Luck {I promised you a run-on sentence, did't I? Well, I just delivered on that promise!}...
All resources at my TpT store will be 20% off on
November 13th and 14th! ... and on bundles, that means super-sized savings!
If you happen to be one of the lucky teachers who's going to the conference, be sure to stop by the TpT Teacher-Authors table to pick up your coupon book and bag of really cute and useful goodies!


Whew! That's all, folks! Thanks for hanging in with me on this long and winding road. :)
Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Place Value Work in First Grade

Hi, Teaching Friends!

This is Part 2 of a post about a very versatile resource from The Elementary Math Maniac, 0-120 Place Value Decks.
If you missed Part 1 (kindergarten), you can see it here.
If I had to choose just one word to describe The Math Maniac's resources, I think I'd have to go with thorough. Tara is most definitely a deep thinker about the mathematical possibilities of her resources and the ways that using them will look with various levels of students. Drawing on her experience as a math specialist, the background information and suggestions for implementation that she provides are logical, practical, and comprehensive.
After using the card set you see above with my five year old PreK grandson (discussed in the previous post), I also spent some time with my seven year old granddaughter, who's a first grader.
M and I started out with some basic review of Base Ten models, doing some hands-on work with Legos, since there are about a million of them in her house! Then M pulled all of the number cards between one and 30 from the card deck  and then put them in order. She then did some matching of the Base Ten model cards to the numeral cards.
Next we moved on to addition. Again using the Legos to model, we spent a few moments modeling addition of a one-digit number to a two-digit number. Then we pulled the Base Ten representation cards and tried a few more of the same.
M seemed very comfortable doing all of this, so we moved right on to addition of 2 two-digit numbers. I love how the range and variety of the cards in this set allow you to make decisions like these on-the-go, responding to the needs of your students, a huge plus for your small group instruction in math.
I pulled number cards for M to add. She built models for 15 and 22, said "15 ..." and quickly discovered that grouping the ten sticks together and counting them all before counting the ones makes the process a whole lot easier. We practiced a few more addition examples that way, and then played a game.

Here's the record of what we did. To get the numbers to add, we rolled a 30-sided cube (head back to the previous post to see more fun with a a triacontahedron!) and a randomly-selected numeral card, and then took turns writing and solving the addition number models you see here. M came up with the idea of circling the sums to make it easier to compare the numbers in each row. Then she compared the numbers, marked the greater one with a check, and awarded a tally mark to the person whose sum was the greatest, marking it on the chart at the bottom of the page.

{The error in column one was discussed and fixed up after this photo was taken.}
In summary, M identified two digit numbers, sequenced them, built representational models of them, and developed a plan for adding them. Not bad for 15-20 minutes! And easily accomplished with just the card decks and one crazy die, which was a fun novelty but actually not even necessary to the success of the lesson.

Tara calls this card set the "hardest working thing (she's) ever made". I think you'll find yourself using these cards day after day, for whole class demos on your doc camera, small group teaching and exploration, and math center games. Every time the cards are used, your students ease in moving back and forth between the three representations will become more automatic.

The Math Maniac has included two things that will make this set very easy for you to use. First, there are links to some amazing blogposts loaded with ways to include these cards in your math instruction. Second, there is a very thorough list of all the relevant Common Core standards ... not just the number, but the whole standard, ready to copy and paste into your plans, for those of you that need to do that. Now, that's  added value!

I hope you'll take a closer look at these three card decks here at The Math Maniac's TpT store. If you are already using them, please share your favorite use in the comments below.

Happy Teaching!

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