Thursday, July 2, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge 3: Make Your Masterpiece

Earlier this week I finished a product that I have been working on for almost 2 months now. It is my biggest and best product to date (at least I think it is).

Then, I saw that this weeks challenge was to Make Your Masterpiece. Create a new product to post on TPT. Well, Yippee!! I'm ahead of the game for once. 

So here it is. 

This baby has over 40 math centers for you to use with your kiddos. Whether you like monkeys or not (there aren't monkeys on EVERY single page...just sayin') I think you will like this product.

I actually got the idea from 
Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten

She made this great product here:

And I made centers to fit her task cards. I also plan to make the same centers for the teens as an add on. Let me breathe for a second after this one first. 

Please check it out HERE in my TPT store. It will be on sale for the whole month of July!

Come join

for the link up.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Making Sense of Math: Real World Experiences

Along with my Monday Math Link-Up, I have been asked to join an amazing group of ladies to discuss Math Sense. 
Over the next 2 months we will talk about 6 different topics that were designed by Marilyn Burns (founder of Math Solutions). The link up is headed by Mrs. Lirette from Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives

Linking Math to Real World Experiences

A long time ago, in a Math Land far, far away, lived a girl named Laura who HATED math. She was not good with numbers, she knew just enough to get through middle school and by the skin of her teeth passed her Algebra classes in high school. In college she was forced to take a course titled "Concepts of Numbers" and felt completely embarrassed for doing so and then again when she had to take "Concepts of Algebra". 

Math has never been my thing and honestly, I didn't get the "real world" connection and understand why kids had to be connected to math. Everything is technological these days. There are calculators built into our phones. Why do you need to know that a yield sign is a triangle or that a basketball is a sphere?  They are, because they just ARE! 

Oops! My mistake!

It is SO important to connect math skills to real world experiences. It's a great way to make it personal to them. When things are personal and all about the student, they will be much more engaged with the lesson.  Check out this video from Teacher Channel that talks about Real World discussions in the classroom. 

So how can you do this in your classroom?

Many of you probably do already, whether it's intentional or not. Sometimes it's built in to your lesson plan. It's an actual CCSS when it comes to flat and solid shapes. They have to recognize the shapes in their environment. What about numbers and counting? 

One of my favorite activities do with the kids is during one of my Decomposing lessons. When we first start the skill. Here is what we do:

Teacher: Who has been to see a movie at the theater before?
Students: (Raise their hand, put them up, whatever you have them do) (or talk about what they've seen
Teacher: When you go in to the theater, how are the seats set up?
Students: various answers
Teacher: That's right, they are in a line and we call that a row. We are going to make a row today and we will have two sides in our theater.
(teacher puts 6 chairs out - 3 on one side, 3 on the other with an aisle in between.)
Teacher: I am going to ask 3 people to come to the movie. (you can also ask what movie should they see or tell them what they're going to watch)
Students: (3 sit in 3 chairs on one side)
Teacher: How many students do you see on this side? (point to students sitting in chairs)
Students: Three!
Teacher: How many students do you see on this side?
Students: Zero!
Teacher: Now, sometimes when I go see a movie, I get really cold. I usually bring a jacket, but our friends forgot to bring theirs. So Johnny is going to move to the other side of the theater where it's a little warmer. (Johnny moves to chair on the other side)
Teacher: Now that Johnny has moved, what has changed? Turn and Talk. (students turn and talk to partner about what has changed.)
Teacher: Tell me what has changed. (call on various students for answers)
Teacher: We see that there are 2 friends on this side and 1 on the other. Are there still 3 friends? Did my number change?

Continue this until all have moved and you can add more chairs the next day. =)

We also have connections during journal time. I try to keep my prompts geared toward the current math skill and the time of year. Ex: During the Fall: There are 5 apples on the tree. 2 apples fell on the ground. How many are still in the tree? 
It's even fun to include their name: Johnny made a shape with 6 sides and 6 vertices. Can you draw the same shape? What shape did Johnny draw?

The most fun though, is when real-world connections are made and it's something they thought of on their own. I think that's where it's really meaningful. I always make those a teachable moment.

I found some pretty cool videos on real-world connections on Ted Ed. I've not had the chance to watch them all, but some are geared toward K. Check them out.

Click the button below to visit Mrs. Lirette's blog and check out the link up. You can even link your own ideas. We'd love to hear from you!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Math Monday: Calendar Time

***Business First***
I've not had many linking up, but I still want to continue. So this Monday, I'm making the link continuous. You can join at any time. You can link several times if you want.
***Business Complete***

After our journals and morning math talk about the problems from our journals, we move in to Calendar.
I still think that Calendar Time is so important in the younger grades. We cover a plethora of skills during this time. It's a great time to learn, sing and move and my kids love it. 

I'm kind of excited, because I bought a new Pocket Chart Calendar from Really Good Stuff.
Last year, I found that not much sticks to my walls. I was constantly having to add tape to the back of my calendar pieces, so this is what I will have next year...

Click the pic for the link.

This of course does not hold everything that we do, but it will be nice to have most everything in one spot. 

So what all do I include in my Calendar time. Here is our order of business:

Seven parts does not seem like a lot, but remember, this is just focusing on your skills of the day. I have tried adding more, but run in to new math skill time and sometimes students lose focus when too much is added.

Just remember to

I know you've heard that before.

What songs do I use?  I LOVE me some Harry Kindergarten, Jack Hartman and ABC Mouse. I'm lucky to have YouTube in our building and use these songs.

Months of the Year Song

Days of the Week Song

4 Seasons Song

Weather Song

Money Song

Counting Songs

Are you on video overload yet?? For the months, days, seasons, weather we usually sit and sing, then talk about it wit calendar. Then we dance for the counting songs.

And I don't do all of the counting songs every day. Usually the Count to 100 song and then add one of the others. 

How does your calendar routine work? I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Teacher Story: Journey of a K Teacher

My Teacher Blogging BFF, Kerri from Ms. Kerri & her Krazy Kindergarten, shared her "teacher story" the other day. I wanted to follow along a join her with my story. I thought it a good idea, especially since I've been in and out of the blogging world this past year.  It's lengthy, but I hope it gives you a good idea of where I come from.

I hope we encourage you to share your story with your readers too.

First off...I'm a 4th Generation teacher and was told on several occasions - "don't be a teacher, you don't want to do this." I didn't listen...sorry Mama =)

I graduated from the University of Memphis in May of 2002. I only have my Bachelor's and have thought about returning for my Master's, but it is just not feasible. 
In my county, there were two systems. The economics and demographics were different in both. I come from a county that loves to bask in prejudice when with many of it's citizens, it doesn't exist. Both systems were large, one about 30 schools larger than the other. Both needed teachers the year I graduated...lucky for me.

At UofM, they hold a job fair and you can apply and interview with different counties in the area. I did this and after about 2 weeks, I received a call from the smaller system. It was for a position to teach music...yes, music. I began my college career learning about music education, but I switched majors after my 1st year. This was on my resume and brought up in my interviews.
However, this music position was 2 days at one school that was 5 minutes from my house and 3 days at a school that was 45 minutes away. I was stupid and friends said I was CRAZY!
I got a call from the bigger system, offering me a job and I can't even remember what school or grade, but I turned it down too....I thought that was it, I was done. 

2 day later I got a call from the smaller system again. Again offering me a job as a music teacher BUT 4 days at the school that was 5 minutes away and 1 day at a school that was 7 minutes away. 
I accepted.

My first year was definitely interesting. I had to fall back on knowledge from classes I took over 4 years ago and add in what I knew about elementary education from my classes I graduated from. At my 1 day a week school, I taught K-5, had no classroom and minimal resources to travel with. I had to borrow instruments from the permanent music teacher and that was with hoping she wasn't using them. 

At the other school, I only taught K-2. It was my home school. I had a great classroom, the permanent teacher there was SO helpful, my mentor teacher was AMAZING! She is still a good friend of mine and a top rate K teacher. I got to help with the 4/5 chorus, which I loved, and had to put on a musical with my 2nd graders....I have to say, it was pretty awesome for a first year teacher with not much musical education.

At the end of my first year, I was asked to teach music again, but had to get an endorsement in music ed. I asked if they would pay for that endorsement and they declined, so they put me in a classroom, which led to a new school. 

So in August of 2003, I started at one of the brand new schools in the district and was told I would be teaching 3rd grade. I was ok with this. My last placement as a student teacher was in 3rd grade and I loved it! We go through the first week of inservice and I get acquainted with new teachers and admin and am in love with this school...then BOOM!  The last day of inservice, I'm called in to the office. "Our numbers are lower in 3rd than expected, we need you to move to Kindergarten. The other teachers will each give you two of their students and you need to call them all by the end of the day." I didn't cry in front of her, but I sure did when I got back to my room. Luckily, I was able to return some things that I had bought and the decor could be moved to the new classroom.

I had been learning about curriculum and 3rd grade ALL week long and now I'm in Kindergarten. I apologize to that first group of kids that I had. I think we had a successful year, but I know there were some things that I was just clueless with. I was at that school for 8 years in kindergarten. Through those 8 years, our admin made us do book studies and volunteer to lead PD's within our school and the district. I'm so glad the did and got me out of the box. 

I transferred after my 8th year to a school closer to my home. After 2 years there, the 2 big districts merged into one GINORMOUS district and a lot of us seriously considered moving or leaving all together. I had just had Mason and was wanting to stay home, but I stuck it out. I was luckily in a school that was only in the ginormous district for one year. 

This past year, municipal districts were formed in the smaller towns. Lines changed, numbers in schools changed and I was told asked nicely to move to a new school. And here I am. 

Still teaching kindergarten, despite my breakdown and crying over it. I've been teaching for 13 and 12 have been in K. I have watched power evolve from schools to businesses. I've watched our evaluations go from showing our talents, to being so scared what someone thinks of us that day. I've gone through SEVERAL curriculum changes, report card skill changes, intervention programs, SPI changes and much much more. I've worked for the state with training other PreK-K teachers and work a lot with our leadership director with the new municipal system. 

I still love my job, I still love what I do, I still love my children and I still love having fun. 
Oh...and I still love learning myself! That is a big kicker. Things change and you have to change with them. Keep on growing or you'll die (<---quote from WBT for Challenging Kids).

Thanks for reading...I'd love to hear your story too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge 2: Dare to Dream

This weeks challenge is to set goals for your business.
I've never really sat down and thought what I've wanted from my TPT. I knew I wanted to put a good product out there to hopefully help other teachers, but were there other reasons.

Yes, there always are and here is what I came up with.

* Help Others 
My goal has always been to help other teachers. I think we all can be better teachers when we help each other. I will admit though that this is something that I need to get better with. Answering questions that come through TPT and working with teachers to develop new material. I know I don't always do that  and that's when customers can be lost. So that's why I put this goal first.

* Provide a Little Extra Money for the Family 
I want to get to a point where I'm selling enough each month to be comfortable. My family basically lives paycheck to paycheck and I know it doesn't have to be that way. We have not taken a real family vacation yet since Mason has been around. I'd love to take him to the beach or an amusement park. It would be nice to have a little extra cushion of money to do that with.

* Create Products that are Worth the Download 
You know what I mean! I want my customers to have a good quality product. When they spend their money on something, I don't want them to be disappointed. I've been there, I know how that feels. You feel like you have really wasted money. I don't want anyone to feel that way about my products.

* Keep Family First 
No matter what is going on and what amount of time I need to spend on creating and managing, my family comes first. Over the summer I try to only work while Mason is napping or days when he is at his grandparents. I take advantage of that time. Otherwise, we are playing together and going places. I don't want him to think that the computer is something we should be hooked up to constantly. My family comes first.

I hope this gives you a little insight into why I started my TPT shop. I hope you find something you like and that it's worth it.

Go see what other TPT sellers goals are here:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Math Monday Link Up 2: Math Journals

Last week I had a couple of friends link up and I want to say thank you! 
So I'm going to try again and hopefully get some momentum going.

Last week,  I talked about questioning in math. This week, I'm going to share how we do our journals and lead in to good math talks. 

For my journal prompts, I have used a combination of my own problems and have used this bundle by Deanna Jump.

At the beginning of the year, we do these as a class. Below is a list of what we learn and practice for the first 2 weeks.

 Click HERE for Kristen's post on her Science Notebooks.

There are several different ways that the math talk can happen. A lot of it begins with asking those questions that I talked about last week...HERE...
It's kind of a sharing time mixed with learning new information.

This is also a great time to bring in those hand signals for agree and disagree. 

I hope to video one of my lessons for you so that you can see how a talk really goes.

In August, I am also wanting to use Interactive notebooks. These will be separate from our journal and will focus on one skill at a time. I'll share that source next week.

Please link up and join us. You can talk about anything number wise that is on your mind and it doesn't have to be catered to kindergarten.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Just wanted to take a minute and say "Happy Father's Day" to my sweet husband. He is such a great dad to Mason and we all love him dearly.

And Happy Father's Day to my dad. I think this is the first time I've spent the day without him here. He's a great dad and even greater Papaw.

I hope you are enjoying today and am sending a prayer for those of you who need it today.