Friday, September 13, 2013

Personalizing Your Math Interactive Notebook

Phew!!  I made it through the first week of school!  I started my Math Interactive Notebook (INB) with my students this week.  We set up our cover page, glued in our rubric, glued in our clock partner sheet, and set up our Table of Contents.  It took a while, but now we are set up for the year.  I asked my students this year to personalize their math INB and I am so happy with the results.  Some of my students brought them in early and they look amazing!
     First I showed them my INB to spark their interest (see below).  I explained what each number represented in my life (great getting to know you activity too).  I also explained why each picture was on the notebook as well.  All I did was search Google for number images and copy and paste to a word document.  When I couldn't find a number I used Word Art on Word to create the number.  Then I just taped them on my notebook (contact paper would work really well).

Here is the result!
2:  The number of children I have.
16:  My favorite number.
1987:  The year I graduated
6:  The month I was born
14:  The amount of years I am married
66:  I am 66 inches tall
20:  The day of the month I was married
2000:  The year my daughter was born
Then I added some other pictures that I liked.

The back is also covered too!

After my presentation they were so excited to personalize their notebooks too!  I handed out the assignment below to my students.
If you would like a copy click here.

Assignment is due Monday--I will post some pictures!

 Christine :) 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mental Math!

Hi all,
     With all this technology does mental math matter???  Well I believe it does!!  A few years ago I started adding some mental math questions to the end of my student’s warm-ups.  I couldn't believe how much my students loved trying to solve these mental math problems.  They wanted mental math problems every day. It is now common practice in my classroom and one of my students favorite activities. So I put together all the questions I used and made my first e-book!!!!  I printed it out and went to staples to have it bound! I am very proud of my creation!! Now I am ready to challenge my students mental minds daily.  

Each day I ask my students 3 questions aloud.  They turn over their "Do Now" or Warm-up paper and write the answers to the questions.  As the year progresses they become mental math wizards.  

Here is one of the pages from my book.

So many mathematical topics are covered in this book.
Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Evaluating Expressions, Drawing polygons, Area, Perimeter, 
Least Common Multiple, Greatest Common Factor, Integers, Comparing integers, Absolute Value
Inverse operations, Exponents, Ratios, Shapes, Calendar, Money, Time, Customary Units (feet, inches, yards, pounds, ounces, tons, miles, gallons, cups, quarts, etc.), Fractions, Reducing Fractions, Equivalent Fractions, Comparing Fractions, Changing improper fractions to mixed numbers, Adding Decimals, Rounding Decimals, Writing numbers and decimals in standard form 
and expanded form

If you would like to challenge your students mental minds too--visit my TpT Store to purchase my first e-book.

Have a great school year everyone!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mall Scavenger Hunt!

     This week my daughter turned 13! I can't believe how fast time flies. It feels like yesterday she was just a little bundle I held in my arms. She wanted to have a mall scavenger hunt for her birthday. I really had no idea what she meant until she started to explain what a photo/video scavenger hunt is--technology! I of course began to look online for a scavenger hunt already prepared--couldn't find one that fit my needs. So we made our own. Many of the ideas I took from peoples answers or other scavenger hunts found on the web and many are our own. I am posting my list and instructions so others can print and use.
     She invited 13 good friends. All the girls were dropped off at our house at 4:00. I had three adults on hand to drive the girls to the mall (me, my sister, and my husband). Once we arrived at the mall my sister and I divided the girls into two groups (my husband left with my son for the movies--will return for pick up). One group had six girls the other had seven. Instructions were read and the hunt began. They were given one hour to complete the hunt and we picked a return spot. They were instructed that if they were 5 minutes late their team would be disqualified. My sister followed one group and I the other. I didn't want them out on their own (wanted to also make sure they were respectful). We just hung around in the background.
      The hunt was so much fun. The girls had a great time. They took it very seriously and completed almost all of the tasks. The videos were hilarious! Both groups made it back on time. One group completed 29 tasks and the other 30. I gave both teams prizes. The team that won a bigger prize. Instead of buying them goodie bags or a favor--I gave them cash! They were so excited!! They could now go buy something in the mall. I gave them an additional hour to shop on their own. My sister and I waited in the food court. An hour later they returned wearing new earrings, rings, bracelets (Claire's), they were thrilled. My husband returned for pick up and we went back to our house for pizza and the pool. 

I would definitely do a mall scavenger hunt again! The girls loved it!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hi, I just joined this awesome blog hop. Click the link to join too! Have a great day! Christine :)
A Teacher without a Class

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Currently June

Hi Everyone!

I just joined the Currently Linky Party from the blog Oh Boy 4th Grade.

Listening:  I love Pandora.  I plug my phone into my stereo and blast away.  Right now I am listening to one of my favorites the Carrie Underwood Station.  I have been listening to a lot of  country music lately.  I really like the Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Band Perry, and a whole bunch of other country artists.

Loving:  Only 5 more days of school!!  Our last day is June 21st!

Thinking:  I want to do so many things this summer.  I started making a list and if I can complete the top five, I will be happy.  Number one on my list is to clean out and organize my basement.

Wanting:  I still want the construction upstairs in my house to be completed.  Floors and painting almost done!  Next, bathroom and finishing touches,  We are almost there!

Needing:  I need a hand massage so bad.  Everyday I paint and paint upstairs.  My hand is cramped and I can hardly move it in the morning.  I don't know how painters do it!!

3 Vacation Essentials:  1. Sunblock!  I burn so easily.  2.  A good book!  Still trying to find one--any suggestions?  3.  Nice weather!  I hope all this rain and wind comes to an end real soon.  

If you want to join the party, click on the link below.

Have a fantastic June everyone!!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Will You Do Differently?

Well the year is almost over and after reflecting on this past year, there are definitely some things I would like to do differently next year.

I just started preparing my student's supply list for next year.  I really want each student to have their own supplies stored in our math classroom.  I am going to ask each student to create their own math toolbox.  Each toolbox will hold thin markers, colored pencils, highlighters, glue sticks, ruler, pencils, sharpener, eraser, and a sharpie.
These toolboxes will be stored in our classroom and available for daily use.  Students will grab their box on the way into class and use their tools during interactive notes, graphing, modeling, stations, and any other time we need them.  I am going to ask each student to purchase one of these supply boxes.  Each student will be given their own personalized labels to attach to the sides and top so they can easily spot their toolbox as they walk into class.

Staples® Translucent Pencil Boxes, Assorted Colors

I have not changed my bulletin board paper or borders for at least five years.  I know its terrible, but the fade-less paper never fades!  It still looked good all these years, but now there are just too many holes and its time for a new color.  My room will be painted over the summer--needs it bad.  Then I will choose the color.  I also want to replace my borders (they did fade).  I love the way some people have been layering their borders.  I am going to try this!  

Click on picture if you would like to visit the fantastic blog the picture came from.

I love Pinterest!!!!!!  So many amazing creative ideas!  If only I could use them all!!
I want to implement at least three ideas next year.  I think I can handle three.
Here are some I would love to create.  

Click on the pictures if you would like to visit the fantastic blog this idea and picture came from.

Love this idea from the host of this linky party.

No need to buy new student erasers--so clever!
I love the traffic light exit card

Great Birthday Chart

Exit Cards

I would love to be this organized!

What will you do differently next year?  
Click on the link below to link up and share.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Relief Effort for Moore Oklahoma 

My heart goes out to all of the community members of Moore Oklahoma. As a fellow teacher I would like to help with the relief effort.  I have donated some of my products for the special relief bundle being provided by Teachers Notebook.
 100% of the money raised from this bundle will go to the relief efforts to aide the victims.  Please consider donating an item or purchasing this bundle. 
Stay strong Oklahoma!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Currently May

Hi Everyone!

I just joined the Currently Linky Party from the blog Oh Boy 4th Grade.

Listening:  The quiet!  

Loving:  My new classroom layout.  I moved my desk from the back of my room to the front, pushed my student's tables together to form groups of 6 and created some extra space.  My students love it too!

Thinking:  About shopping at Kohl's tonight online.  I have only one day left to use my 30% off coupon.  My son needs new sneakers and I could use some new flips.

Wanting:  I want the construction upstairs in my house to be completed.  Drywall and Spackle completed today!!  Next painting, floors, molding, carpet, doors, etc.    Soon!

Needing:  I need a day off badly!  The past few weeks have been crazy busy! 

Bucket List:  1. This summer I plan on spending time at the lake with my kids, my sister and her kids, and my brother.  I love the lake!!  One of my favorite sounds are the loons at night--wish I was listening to them now.  2.  I plan on spending a lot of time at the beach this summer building sand castles and collecting shells.  3.  A long time ago I played golf with my husband a lot, but since children almost impossible.  I want to fit in at least 3 rounds with hubby this summer.  :)

If you want to join the party, click on the link below.

Have a fantastic May everyone!!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Scientific Calculators

     This has been a year for the record books!  Common Core, new state assessments, APPR, Professional Binders, Hurricane Sandy, and Scientific Calculators.  I teach 6th grade and for the first time in New York 6th graders will be allowed to use a scientific calculator on the state assessments.  They are only allowed to use them for Book Two and Three.  Until now, my students used just a plain old four function calculator sometimes during class and never on tests or state assessments.  My reaction to this news--not good! I didn't know how I was going to find the time to teach my students how to use this new calculator.
     My school district ordered the same scientific calculators the 7th and 8th graders use, the Texas Instruments TI 30X.  They were delivered to my room mid December and honestly they sat in the box for a few weeks.  When I finally unpacked them and gave them to my students, they were so excited!  I explained to my students, that I was not really sure how to use this specific calculator so we would all learn together.  They loved the fact that I didn't know how to use this calculator and decided they would teach me!
     The very next day students came into class ready to teach me.  They were ready to show me all they learned from the internet, brothers, sisters, and friends.  So one at a time they began to show me all the fabulous things this new calculator could do.  They had so much information it was overwhelming.  We decided to devote a short amount of class time on Tuesdays to learn how to use the calculator slowly.  We named this special time TI Tip Tuesday.

     On TI Tip Tuesday the students are in charge.  Students who have a tip explain to the class how the function works, demonstrate what buttons to press, and then we all practice.  They have so many fantastic tips.  I created a special Ti Tip Tuesday recording worksheet so we can write down the tips for reference.  My students keep their reference sheets in the back of their binder. I also display a large picture of the calculator during this time on the Activboard.  Students use this to point out which buttons to press.  

We all look forward to this special time each week.  I plan on continuing TI Tip Tuesday next year too.

    Scientific Calculators = Motivated Students

If you are using the same calculator and would like a copy of the worksheet click the link below to download.  File is editable so you could change the picture of the calculator to the one you are using.  Also included in the file is a TI Tip Thursday worksheet just in case we choose that day next year.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Test Prep Time!!!

     Well its that time of year again for many of us--test prep time!!!  My students will be taking their math state exam in 3 weeks.  Are they ready? Yes!  However, we will still review and practice (just to make sure).  I want my students to be excited about the prep, so I am planning many different types of activities to keep them engaged.  I plan on using all of my task cards for partnering activities, scoot, differentiated practice,  and other activities that will reinforce concepts.

     I just joined the Test Prep Linky Party over at Teachingisagift.  Other bloggers have joined too!  Everyone is linking test prep items they use in their classrooms all in one place.  I linked my Surface Area Assessment Prep product and one of my favorites--my Percent Task Cards.  If your looking for material or a creative way to prep for your test--check it out!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Currently!

I just joined the Currently Linky Party from the blog Oh Boy 4th Grade.

Listening:  To one of my favorite groups the Foo Fighters.  Saw them in concert last year and they were incredible.

Loving:  I was so excited this morning when I opened my email and discovered I won the 6-8 bundle from Confessions of a Teaching Junkie's Giveaway.  I won some really great products and a TPT gift certificate too.  What a fantastic way to start the month!!

Thinking:  I go back to school tomorrow and can't believe the State Assessments are right around the corner.  I have to still teach functions to my 6th grade class and then move right into test prep. I plan on using my task cards, partnering activities, Scoot, some of my new items from the giveaway,  power points and other activities to keep the students engaged and interested.  

I am really wanting some sunshine and warmer weather.  It has been a really long winter and very grey--depressing!  I hope the weather warms up fast so I can get my capris and flip flops out!  My toes are ready!

Needing:  It has been I while since I had a night out with the girls.  I am going to plan one soon so we can catch up and laugh!

Advice:   I truly believe positive thoughts and attitudes will bring positive results. Let your students know how smart and wonderful they are everyday.  If they know you believe in them they will always do well.

Happy Spring Everyone!!

Click to join the party!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Coordinate Plane Fun!!

     One of my favorite activities to use with my students is Looking for the Top Quark.  I take my students to the computer lab and give them the web address to Jefferson Lab.  Located at this address is a fantastic resource for your class,  The game is called Looking for the Top Quark.  It is a really fun way for students to practice plotting points in all four quadrants on a coordinate plane!  Basically it is like playing battleship except with Quarks.  What is a Quark?  They are these really cute little guys that the students hide on their coordinate plane.


Plotting in all Four Quadrants!


     I always have my students choose the medium size grid and create a competition to create excitement.  The students play against the computer and try to discover where the computer has hidden its Quarks.  The first student to beat the computer will get the title Top Quark and a homework coupon.  All other students who beat the computer will also receive the homework coupon too.  It is not that easy to beat the computer.  I usually only have about 5 winners out of a class of 23.  While students are working, I walk around and announce who has found a quark or how many they have found.  This creates even more excitement.  The students get so excited when they find the Quarks.  They need to find all 6 of the computers before the computer finds their 6.  This activity is so great because the students have to create an ordered pair each move and then plot all of the computers moves.  By the end of one period every student in my class can plot in all 4 quadrants with ease.  They don't even realize they are learning.  They beg me to play again that's how much they love this activity.

This is how the game looks at the start.

Looking For The Top Quark
You will be playing your game on a grid that ranges from -4 to 4 on the x-axis (the horizontal axis) and from -4 to 4 on the y-axis (the vertical axis). Coordinates are made by combining x and y values in a specific order - the x value is always listed first and the y value is always listed second. The coordinate (-3, 2) locates a point at the intersection of -3 on the x-axis and 2 on the y-axis, as shown on the diagram below:

                       A point is plotted at the coordinates (-3, 2).
Where would you like to place your quarks?
 Place my Up Quark at () Place my Down Quark at ()
 Place my Charm Quark at () Place my Strange Quark at ()
 Place my Top Quark at () Place my Bottom Quark at ()
What is your first name?  
Click on the link above to play.

How do you practice plotting points in the quadrants?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Student Rewards!

    I promised myself I would not do anything school related during the break--not!  I already started preparing assessment practice, task cards, and other activities.  I can't believe the State Assessments are just a few weeks away.  My students are looking forward to review time because I have some fun activities planned.  We will use my task cards for partner activities or scoot, power point reviews, some computer lab time, and play a few games focusing on different mathematical concepts.
     At this time of the year, I love to give my students extra opportunities to earn rewards for all of their hard work and right answers.  One way I reward students all year is with my personal teacher bucks.  Since they are in math class why not use money.  I reward students with $100 teacher bucks when they are doing the right thing, helping others, participating, taking risks, right answers,  amazing explanations, using the right math terminology when speaking, choosing the appropriate tools, and at the end of an activity especially if it is a competition.  My students love this reward system!  Some students make their own wallets to hold their money (so cute).  The students can use their bucks to purchase items from my classroom store, buy a homework coupon, or buy a special privilege.  I have tried many different reward systems in my 14 years of teaching and this one is by far the best.

To download an editable version so you can change the word teacher to your last name, click the following link:;

     I give out fake $100 bills.  Students collect them and then have an opportunity to visit my classroom store.  My classroom store has a variety of items ranging from $300-$4000.  At the low end students can purchase pencils, erasers, sharpeners, stickers, and a variety of small toys.   At the $1000-$1800 range, students can purchase stress balls, small toys, slap bracelets, and rubber duckies.  For $2000 students can purchase a homework coupon (this is my biggest seller and free to make).  Students love having a night off from their math homework.  Some students hold onto their coupons and use them when needed.  I always have colorful and attractive homework coupons to choose from.  I laminate all of my homework coupons so I can easily replace my stock as students hand them in.  From $2000 - $4000 students can choose from stuffed animals, necklaces, bracelets, pencil cases, matchbox cars, games, special privileges (like sitting at my desk, eating lunch with a friend in my room, etc.).  I usually purchase all of my items from Oriental Trading or the dollar store.  Once in a while I get a donation from a parent.  I only open my store once a week for students to make purchases.

What reward system do you use?
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Homework Coupons

Friday, February 22, 2013

Solving Two-Step Equations

Hi all,
     What an interesting week it has been.  For the first time ever in my teaching career, we went to school during February break.  My school district due to Hurricane Sandy added three days back and my kids school added 4 back.  I thought there were going to be a lot of students absent, but I was wrong.  Most of the students were in school and we worked on solving two-step equations.  I love solving two-step equations and so did my students.  We used the scale model to show our work and of course checked our answers.  I always find the students have a harder time completing the check than solving the equation (?).  Last night I made some really cute worksheets for solving two-step equations.  I thought I would share.  Please download my freebie by clicking on the link.