Saturday, January 31, 2015

Favorite Things Giveaway!

Iced tea, post it notes, flair pens, Mr. Sketch scented markers, Starbucks... just a FEW of my favorite things, inside and outside of the classroom! AND I WANT TO SHARE SOME WITH YOU!!

Myself and some of my blogging buddies have teamed up for a Favorite Things Giveaway to show our gratitude to our fabulous followers! 

**CLICK HERE**  to enter to win this AMAZING prize filled with gift cards, teacher goodies, and TPT products! Giveaway ends Monday at midnight! Winner will be announced on Tuesday! Good luck and thank you again for your support!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Halfway Day!

Today was an EXCITING day! My students had NO IDEA what they were in for... and you might not be either! Our day was JAM-PACKED with activities and snacks all about HALF and it started as a complete *surprise*....

O-H So Blessed Halfway Day

Here's how it all began, back to the very beginning... Picture it, Warren, Ohio - Summer 2014:

My dear friend Laura (who is also the teacher to our pen pals) and I were having our monthly lunch date and were talking about our approaching school year. The 100th day of school was brought up and I mentioned how I didn't want to celebrate it this year, but wanted to mix it up instead (maybe with the 101st day, or something like that). Shortly thereafter, Halfway Day was born! We envisioned it as a day to celebrate the 90th day of school, being halfway to summer (!) and working with fractions.

Well, the idea sat and sat in the back of our minds for quite some time, with teacher busy-ness and whatnot. So in November, at another of our monthly lunch dates we brainstormed a list of ideas. Again, they sat dormant in the back of my mind until one day over Christmas break I looked at my calendar and realized that Halfway Day was just three weeks away! Panic set in and I got right to work on the computer!

Thankfully, my creative juices were flowing and several great ideas came to life on my screen! Once I got the pack done (for the most part) on my end, I emailed it to Laura, and she worked on her part. We met the next afternoon for several hours at Starbucks and PRESTO! we had this pack!
I couldn't WAIT to implement it! Especially because we planned it to be a COMPLETE *surprise* to our students! They had to figure out that it was Halfway Day based on a clue on the board. We didn't countdown to it or anything, like you might typically do for the 100th day.

Here's how the day began...

I put the fraction 90/180 on the board and told my students today was a special day... BUT, they had to figure it out!

             Halfway Day    

I had only ONE student get it - within just a few minutes! Several others came close, and I gave them a hint, as you see above, but eventually had to tell them. At first, they seemed a bit confused as to why we would celebrate this day. But when I told them there were snacks and lots of fun activities to do throughout the day... they were all in! ha!

Halfway Day

Halfway Day

Once we took our spelling test (which I made with a fun party graphic - included in the pack!) we jumped into our celebration! Right before our morning snack and recess time, I gave them their first snack.... Oreos! I found these birthday cake flavored ones when shopping at Target and they looked like so much fun! Everyone got two and had to twist them in HALF before eating them! And, of course, we had to eat all of our snacks on a HALF of a plate!

Halfway Day

While they were gone, I decorated the room with this Happy Halfway Day! banner (included in the pack in full color and B&W) and put HALF shapes and whirly-gigs all around the room!

Halfway Day

                             Halfway Day
Halfway Day
After snack, we jumped into our packet of activities! I took what you get in the Halfway Day pack and copied what I wanted to use with my class back-to-back, and then I stapled them to make mini booklets. It figured this would be the easiest way for us to work throughout the day, and copying them double-sided would save on some paper.

So we kicked it off with making equivalent fractions. Laura actually developed this part. The lesson is included in the pack. It show students equivalent fractions using a multiplication chart! Very cool! My class loved it, too, because we are just starting to learn multiplication, so anything connected to it just engages them like crazy!

Halfway Day
Next, students worked on their HALF facts and doubles facts in addition & subtraction, finished the other HALF of the word HALF, and took a HALF hunt around the classroom! They used their rulers to find and measure items, but could only record what measured to HALF inches.
Halfway Day

We ate some more snacks as we worked, including HALVES of pretzel rods, Nutter Butters twisted in HALF, and fortune cookies broken in HALF! We had some pretty ridiculous fortunes too, which made us all laugh!

Halfway DayHalfway Day
Halfway Day

We told time to the HALF hour, counted coins to find out if the total was worth more or less than a HALF dollar, and then spent time working with partners. We each wrote HALF of a shape poem an HALF of a story, and our partners finished the other HALF. Then, we shared them with the class.

Halfway Day

Halfway Day
We read a story all about fractions called My Half Day (by Doris Fisher) you can find on Amazon..

Our last activity of the day used the balloons I decorated the room with. I took our spelling words for next week and cut them in HALF. I wrote HALF on one balloon and HALF on the other. I put them throughout the room and each student had to get a balloon. Then, they had to find the person with the other HALF of their balloon and come to me to see if they were correct. By far the most fun part of the day! We will definitely be doing this game again! :)
Halfway Day

Halfway Day

Halfway Day

We ran out of time to finish our packet, but it also includes practice for breaking words in HALF as compound words, prefixes & suffixes, and by syllables! We also had a story to finish called "The HALVES and the HALF Nots," using HALF, HALVES, HAVE, and HAVEN'T correctly in the story where they were missing, but we just had TOO much fun and didn't get to finish! But now I know for next year to spend even more time on all the fun!

Well, that was our day! It was absolutely FANTASTIC and I am so thrilled about the success.. I can't WAIT to do it all over again next year! Such a celebration!! Next week we will spend time writing to our pen pals who had the SAME celebration, telling them all about our day! I made a "Happy Halfway Day!" writing paper included in the pack too :)

You can check out the pack by clicking below, if you want to spend your 90th of day of school surprising your class with an amazing day of HALVES! The pictures below allow you to see everything you get to celebrate YOUR HALFWAY DAY!!

Halfway Day

Halfway Day

Happy Halving!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Erin Condren Teacher Planner: lesson planning with post-it notes!

Hey there everyone!

So several months ago I shared with you a blog tutorial on how to print onto post-it notes to transform your lesson plans in an Erin Condren Teacher Planner. Well, I know that giving (and taking) directions, is easiest to SEE what is happening, so I thought I would create a VIDEO to show you! A tad crazy (at least for me) because taping myself and talking to a webcam is a bit unnerving, but it was so much fun! Check out the video by clicking on the picture below!
 and PLEASE let me know your thoughts!

Then, you can grab the template I use from my TpT store (just click on the cover photo below)... I went ahead and it turned it into a permanent {FREEBIE!}

I hope you give it a shot if you have (and love!) an EC Teacher Planner and let me know how it works for you! I hope you absolutely LOVE it as much as I do! I find that it actually makes planning a *little* less daunting, sooo...HAPPY PLANNING! :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Today's post is about, you guessed it! MATH!

We finished our geometry unit this past week, and it was a lot of fun! Though my favorite is multiplication (which is up next!) I have to say the change-up of lessons each day makes it fun too. Here's some things we did during our unit::

When we finished, I had an extra day that I needed to fill with an activity. Since I don't want to teach graphing at the end of the year all at once like my curriculum sets up, I decided to do two graphing activities with our INBs from Blair Turner at One Lesson at a Time. They are fantastic and I have several more posts about them to come! I like to teach graphing all year long, so I intermittently add in lessons about different types of graphing. We practiced making bar graphs and pictographs this time:

Since I am blessed to teach at a private, Christian school we are not required to teach the CCSS. Again, I know - I am blessed! So I get to teach content that isn't covered in the standards, but that also means a lot of the resources I purchase on TpT don't cover those concepts. So, I started making a growing bundle pack of INB activities. We were learning about ordered pairs, so I came up with this pick and plot activity. After making the pocket in their NBs and gluing in the grid, they pick a pair and plot it on the grid in the matching color with a marker. It was a great way to practice the skill and they had fun doing it too! 

Here's the growing pack I mentioned... right now, it comes with 3 activities: the ordered pairs pick and plot activity, a 3 types of angles sort, and a sort for types of lines. The beauty of this pack is that when you purchase it now at a lower price, you get more activities added to it over time and don't pay the growing price!

When we got to solids I was excited to finally break out this activity - building solid shapes with toothpicks and marshmallows! They LOVED it! It was a hands-on, engaging, YUMMY treat to practice building 3-D shapes and their attributes.

I LOVE teaching math and as I mentioned above, multiplication is up next - my absolute favorite of all! I have a whole new set-up for how I am going to be teaching it and will be sharing it with you in a series of posts in the coming weeks! Stay tuned and happy teaching!

Have a blessed weekend :)