Monday, September 23, 2013

BUILD: Week 1

I told a colleague that I would TRY to document my BUILD activities week by week.  I know that it is a ridiculously ambitious goal... but why not give it a shot?  But let's be clear-- I am not promising anything.... :)

We are working on connecting the numeral, word, and picture-- basically all things numbers zero-ten!

B- Buddy Games

Puzzles, match books, and matching cards.  These can be done independently, or with a partner.  There are several kinds-- they do one, clean it up, and do another.  Some pairs choose to "race" and see who can match theirs the fastest-- some work collaboratively.  For this week, I keep it very open-ended. (It's fun to watch them decide--)

U- Using Manipulatives

These were a splurge from Lakeshore-- but my kids LOVE them.  They have to put numbers from 1-30 in order-- working together!

I- Independent Reading

I put all my counting books in this basket for the first part of the year.  These are a few examples :)

L- Learning about Numbers

These are numeral, word, picture dominoes.  We make "Number Monsters"-- touching any matching part, any direction.  (We don't play the traditional rules of "dominoes") :)

D- Doing Math

This is a worksheet we have used for years-- they do both sides.  Again, we are simply working on matching the numeral, word, and picture :)

Obviously these are not super challenging.  We are still teaching behaviors and want the kids to be engaged and busy, but not cognitively demanding-- yet :)

Have a super day!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I want to start Math Rotations (Math Centers) but I don't know where to begin!

Recently I had a teacher come to my room to observe my math block.

She was a fairly new teacher and wants to start math centers, but isn't sure where to start... She was so overwhelmed by the idea of having enough STUFF for her kids.

I have been thinking about this ever since, and have come up with a list...

Start simple.  Look at what materials you already have. 
(Things like puzzles, math flash cards, wipe math boards, etc.)

Think "frugal".  If you are looking to slowly expand your resources, check out Dollar Tree... check out the dollar section at Target.  Look at the clearance at WalMart.  (Especially since all of these "discount" and "big box stores" have teacher/school sections these days, you might be surprised by what you will find-- flash cards, simple file-folder-type games, card games, etc.) 
Here are a few examples-- all of these were $1 or less!

Ask for donations.  If you don't ask, they won't think to offer.  Sometimes parents have learning games that they think their kids have outgrown but are really perfect for independent practice. 

My fiancĂ© and I have recently discovered the wonderful world of THRIFTING! It's great. I have found SO MANY games (some even VERY gently used--) and math books!  You do have to be willing to look through a giant shelf of unorganized children's books, and some are in better quality than others, but they are a great value. (I found some great counting books for$0.79 each last Saturday at Savers!)  The hard part is, it's unpredictable.

Write a grant.  Many school districts have mini-grants.  Donors Choose ( is a great organization, and of course there is 100% for Kids ( (There are others!)

Scholastic has $1 sales! Sometimes they are actual games (premade) and sometimes they are e-books.  Some of my favorite games have come from the $1 sale.  I receive emails from Scholastic to know when their sales are on.  Scholastic Book Orders are also a GREAT way to earn points for your class to buy books and learning games! 

And then, of course, use your online buddies:  Pinterest and of course Teachers Pay Teachers!

Have a fantastic day!

Time for a room update!

Let’s get organized!

This summer I wanted to do something to spruce up my room.  Getting ready for my 7th year teaching, many of the things I need for each year are already made, but there are many ways I can update my room.

I decided to make new labels for my supplies.  I just used Google Images for the pictures (instead of clip art). I love, love, love how they turned out!



Next I worked on my planning drawers.  I use them for planning my days, and my weeks.  (We do our main copying a month at a time, so I have a month loosely planned at a time.)   Each week (typically Thursday night) I pull out next week’s drawer, and empty it by putting everything where it goes.
 I added paper clips to hold a card that says the date (I used to use sticky notes—they were functional but these are so much cuter!) J
My secret was a low-temp hot glue gun.  I hot glued each sign on-- that way it sticks really well, but CAN be removed in the future if it's necessary!


 My last big project was updating my “Frog Trays”.  (My tables are each a different color frog- red frogs, yellow frogs, etc.)  I put new labels on the sides and the back. I LOVE them because now the papers don’t slip out the back! J

I don't know about you, but a little bit of "cute" and "creativity" gets me all jazzed up!   These little, easy, updates were just the changes I needed to start this year!
Have a terrific day!!