Friday, February 27, 2015

Freebie Friday - February 27th!

I'm linking up with two blogs today for Freebie Friday!  For the special occasion, I decided to make one of my best selling products free until noon tomorrow (February 28th).  I've never offered this product for free so I think this is a great Freebie Friday!


I teach using the EngageNY curriculum and, for the most part, I really like it!  I've made some modifications to the presentation of some stuff this year and these application problem workbooks are one thing that I've modified.  The content and questions are the same but I compiled all of the questions into one neat little workbook for the students.  I also added the answer key to it for teacher reference.  This makes it super easy to assign and review application problems!

The best thing is, in my opinion, that this book can be used without the EngageNY curriculum.  All of these questions are real-world applications of the concepts that engage the students in problem solving tasks.  Even without the curriculum, you can give the students this workbook and have them practice solving word problems and applying mathematical concepts!  

Check out my product by clicking on the cover image below!


Five for Friday - February 27, 2015

What a crazy week!  We've been so busy and my students worked incredibly had this week!  I am so excited to highlight some of our accomplishments and hard work this week on this week's Five for Friday link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

We've been hard at work preparing for our state science test!  We have only 4 teaching days left before our test (WOAH!!) and we've been covering tons of material each day.  The students had a lot of background knowledge about this concept so I used this pictorial input chart to review the "Reason for the Seasons" with them.  They loved doing a pictorial input chart and I'll definitely have to get another one in my planning soon.  This is definitely my favorite GLAD strategy.

Please excuse how messy this chart is but this is the result of quick teaching to maximize review time!

We also had quite a lot of content to cover in math this week, including our mid-unit math test!  We've been learning all about multiplying fractions and we applied the order of operations to fraction equations this week.  I taught my students my favorite method for remembering the order of operations, PEMDAS.  I remember it as "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" but there are many variations of this.  

Again, this is what things look like as I'm quickly teaching them and moving right along.  Not gorgeous but it gets the job done!

We also did our monthly, timed computational fluency assessment.  My students made HUGE gains this month.  February might be short but they've certainly mastered a lot of new content.  They have 10 minutes to answer as many questions as they can on this assessment and they all take their time to work through it slowly while still making it to the end.  I saw them fix up a lot of errors with the placement of their decimal this time around and that made me VERY happy!!

Another huge accomplishment for my class this week was completing their own informational essays!  We've been learning about how inventions are created to meet the needs of society and we spent a few weeks studying the invention of the TV.  They had to take details from a few different sources we'e used in this unit (4) and find relevant evidence to support the author's point.  For this essay, the main idea was that the TV is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century and that it has had a tremendous impact on the way we live. We created the introduction together and then they had to go on to prove the points and write a conclusion...and then type it up!  These two were written in just one short hour.  They are great authors!

The whole class, yes---every single student, finished their Cat in the Hat portraits today. We used watercolor, Sharpie and tissue paper!  I love how they turned out and the wall of them together is so beautiful!  I don't ever want to take them down.  Maybe this is because I love watercolor so much!  I also love how the tissue paper bows really made it pop!

Last, but certainly not least, I stocked up on clip art during the TeachersPayTeachers sale!  I am obsessing over Glitter Meets Glue designs right now and bought tons of stuff from her store!  I picked up tons of graphics on science topics and I can't wait to get started with creating some products with these images!  I think these may have been just what I needed to inspire me to publish some new stuff for my store.  I haven't been too creative lately but the ideas are really flowing now!  Hopefully I'll have some new things for you by the next Five for Friday post!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Scoop-February 22nd!

I LOVE The Sunday Scoop link-up!  I love how it gets me to start thinking about what's happening this week and begin to prioritize some things for myself mentally.  It's a great way to start a Sunday morning.

Have to Do:
Well, bills are obviously high on my list this week.  It's payday and I like to make sure that I have everything in line for the month.  If I budget out my month, I can see early on what I have left over to use toward paying down debt and that's my #1 priority right now.  I'm hoping to have everything paid off by the end of this year (excluding my lifetime of student loans) so I have to stay focused and work very hard.  I have to pay those bills fast too before I find something "interesting" to spend the money on instead.  ;)

Also, I have only 4 days left on my Whole 30 journey!  GASP!!  I can't believe it.  These 30 days have gone by soooo fast.  I honestly have loved the process...once I got out of that exhaustion stage.  I'm already feeling way less bloated and infinitely more positive, so I love it.  I'm going to continue to eat like this for most of my meals post Whole 30 but I may go with more of the paleo guidelines and loosen up on some of the Whole 30 regulations.  So, it's time for me to start reading the part of the book that's about life after the Whole 30.  Hooray!!

Hope to Do:
I really want to improve my art instruction and my own artistic abilities.  Sometimes, it's so hard to lead my students in art activities when I feel like I'm floundering myself.  I was looking through the upcoming community education courses and there are some awesome art courses in there to take.  There's even a few on watercolor and I love watercolor!!  I want to look through it more and choose a class with a great schedule for me.  I also thought about mosaics but that would be a very hard choice since watercolor could be incorporated into my teaching but mosaics are a lot harder to get supplies for in the classroom.

This summer, I'm taking a mini-vacation before summer camp.  My friend and I (she staffs my summer camp with me too!!!) are going to see Spain.  We might stop one other place.  Perhaps Paris. Or Athens.  We always have such a hard time decided where to spend our time.  I want to keep looking up things to do and travel options this week because I'm so excited.  

Happy to Do:
I think everyone knows by now that I love yoga.  Seriously.  It's an addiction.  I have lots of it on my schedule this week.  Namaste.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

You Oughta Know About...LiveBinder!

This is one of my favorite posts and I want to use it to link up with Teach Junkie for Teaching Idea Tuesday!

I am so excited to be joining in the You Oughta Know Blog Hop with Buzzing with Mrs. McClain!  I have been so excited to share this great resource with my readers and this was the perfect motivation to get the post out to you all!

This year, I started using a new online resource in the classroom.  This is my first experience using it as an elementary school teacher and I love it!  There are so many ways to use LiveBinder both as a teacher and in your professional development or planning teams!


What is LiveBinder?!
LiveBinder is basically an interactive, online-based binder for you to store anything!!  You can use LiveBinder to hold videos, games, links to great websites, publish writing, etc.  You can keep any document here.  LiveBinder lets you create tabs (and subtabs) to organize everything and gives you tons of formatting options to help you streamline the look and feel.  It's like a lighter, web-based version of all those paper files you've been toting around! Plus, you can make super awesome technology-based assignments for your students using it.

Here's what one of my LiveBinder projects looks like!

What's in my Binders
Right now, I've been using LiveBinder to create technology-based research projects for my 5th grade students.  I have a few binders, which appear in my home screen.  They're locked so that only I can edit them and only people with passwords can view them.  You can also have public binders, if you'd like.  All of my binders are locked but here are a few public education-based binders that you can check out to get an idea of what they are!
  • This binder on Explorers is a lot like my Explorer binder that my students use for their digital project on Explorers.
  • Here's an example of a teacher binder that is similar to the one that I use to store all of my links for my teaching files and links!
  • While I haven't personally used LiveBinder to organize things for my grade-level team or committees, it is definitely a perfect option for doing so!  Here's an example of a binder used for that purpose!
Our Projects
We just finished working on a project for the 13 colonies. My students had LiveBinder access to a binder that I personally set up.  The binder has all of the PDF files for the assignment.  The uploads include every handout that is given to the students.  This way, if they lose their handout, they can print their own from the computer.  It's also loaded with research websites.  This helps ensure that I know that the students are on reputable websites with the information that I want them to have on it!  There are also videos embedded that help the students with technology.  For this project, there was a video about formatting a brochure on Google Drive.  There was also an upload for their grading rubric and an example brochure for their reference.

This process makes it very easy for students to reference anything you've discussed at any time.  They can reference it at home, at the library, at school, in another teacher's room, etc.  They can lose their papers and still get their work done without wasting time waiting for new handouts.  I love how it adds more autonomy as well.  The students can move on to the next assignment at their own pace so it's easier to differentiate projects as well.  In addition, you can change the binders and provide students access to different binders depending on what their academic needs are.

Here's what my binder shelf looks like in my account.

Here's an embedded video tutorial for my students!

Examples of Our Products
Here are some projects that my students have made using LiveBinder resources and Google Drive.

Ready to Get Started?
I want to include links for you to get started with LiveBinder!  It's pretty simple to navigate but, in case you want more direction, here are two videos for you!  I would also be happy to create custom assignments for you using LiveBinder if you contact me with a product request.  I would be happy to share access to one of my current binders if you're interested in a custom product.  

LiveBinder for Teachers

Setting up a LiveBinder

I hope that you enjoyed this post and got some new ideas for using technology in your classroom!  Be sure to check out the other "You Oughta Know" posts for the blog hop and leave a comment, please!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Freebie Friday - Cell Phone Opinion Writing

I'm really excited about the product that I'm linking up today for Teaching Blog Addict's Freebie Friday!

For today only, I'm offering my newest product as a Featured Freebie!  I created this product because my product on School Uniforms is so popular.  I wanted to create another resource like it with a new topic.  Hence, cell phones!

You can check it out by clicking the cover image below and download it for free all day today (Friday, February 20, 2015).

This product supports students in writing down their thoughts while reading multiple accounts of the same topic.  It encourages them to use quotes and cite evidence and then turn their thoughts into a complete essay.  There are scaffolds to support students at each stage of the writing process, ranging from fill in the blank to completely open-ended writing.


If you download this product, please leave some positive feedback on it on my TeachersPayTeachers store!  It will go back to its regular price of $3.00 on Saturday.


Five For Friday: February 20, 2015

It's that time of the week again where I link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for one of my favorite Linky Parties, Five For Friday!  The past two weeks, I've had a certain topic that I maintained throughout the post.  Today's post is just going to be a collection of random happenings in my classroom over the past week.

Let's get started!

Last Friday, we had a mini-Valentine's Day celebration, complete with a math activity for the occasion!  I was so surprised when one of my team members came up with this amazing math monster bag project!  She put everything together for me and even shopped for the supplies!  How amazing is that?!  

For this activity, students were given an amount of money in fractional amounts and they had to figure out how much money they had altogether.  Then, they were given stipulations on how much they could spend on each category (horns and ears, eyes, feet, etc.).  After they figured out the fractional amount that they could spend on each item, they went shopping to build the perfect monster!

The students loved it! It was the perfect way to introduce a new concept, review previous concepts (like adding fractions and adding and subtracting decimals) and give the students a break from our normal math routine.  They had a blast and it was so great to just interact with them in such a creative way!

Here are some monsters and the monster-making table!

We've been practicing synthesizing lately.  I have a superhero theme in my classroom so, of course, I jumped on the opportunity to bring a superhero into my synthesis anchor chart.  I originally saw this idea on a handout and I made it into the anchor chart for the topic.  It adds a nice tough of decor to my walls right now.  My students have been working so hard on synthesizing their ideas and they're going to put all of that knowledge to use next week by writing their own essay about the invention of the TV!

We started multiplying fractions this week and it has been very challenging for the class.  I made this anchor chart for them to reference and it really helped get the information to stick!  Once the chart went up (and I used to for reference during teaching- of course!) the synapses really started firing!  I was happy to see them succeed with multiplying fractions by a whole number today!

However, we're still having a hard time with simplifying fractions and converting from an improper fraction to a mixed number.  I'd love to hear how you teach these fraction concepts!  

We're busy getting ready for Dr. Seuss' birthday this week and my students started their Cat in the Hat artwork.  Again, I take no credit for this adorable idea.  The school has done this school-wide for years.  Many of my fifth-graders still have their art from second grade.  I love how they can keep each one and compare it year after year.  We decided to put our own spin on it and we're using watercolor for the background and hat.  There's going to be a great final touch at the end too but I don't want to spoil the surprise.  When I brought out the cat to start the artwork, they were so excited to do this project again!  

I just love the wash of color that watercolor paint gives!  Some students have really great multicolor and ombre backgrounds.

Last, I'm busy preparing for an exciting blog hop that kicks off tomorrow!  I'm going to have a really great post on this, so please make sure you check back here tomorrow for all of the blog hop information!  I'm writing about a really great classroom resource that you can use to save all of your links, pictures, and videos for quick access.

Thanks for reading!  Come link up with us and leave a comment!