Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Peek at my Week {Visual Plans for 9/15-9/19}

peek at my week 2014

A Peek at my Week[4]

I fiiinnnallly feel like we are in a little bit of a routine.  We have learned all but Listen to Reading in Daily 5, have built our stamina to 20 minutes, and I was able to pull small groups last week!  WooHoo!  PTL for the small things! 

I am excited for this week for a few reasons. #1 as you are reading this, I will be in Flagstaff (yea for cooler weather) celebrating the wedding of our little cousin Shelby, who isn’t so little anymore!  Shelby was 4 when my husband and I started dating.  I’m feeling a little old that she is old enough to get married but we are so excited to celebrate with family!!!!

#2 We are working on one of my favorite units in science and cruising along towards a super fun culminating project in social studies.  In science this week we will continue our study of rocks and minerals.  We will learn about they types of rocks and how they are formed by completing this cute little flipbook.

photo 1

Then we get to do candy comparisons!  We sent a letter home last week asking for donations of 3 types of candy and on Thursday this week we will enjoy 3 different pieces of candy and compare the candy to the types of rocks.


It is a super fun and hands on way to make connections!  If you would like information on this activity along with a few other rock activities, you can check out my “Rock On,” pack on TpT, just click on the pic below! 


This pack is also available in a bundle with 2 of my other popular earth science products.


  Click the picture to check out the bundle!
In Social Studies we are finishing up our maps lapbooks and moving on to landforms.  When our geography unit is finished I have created a super fun culminating activity.  I am all about project based learning and I would much rather have my kiddos show what they know by being creative and hands on than by taking yet another pencil & paper test. I will be posting it on TpT soon.  I want to make sure it is kid tested and teacher approved and that I have lots of fun pics to include before listing it!  
In math we will continue our work on multiplication and division and fingers crossed, math centers will be in full swing this week!

Click on my plans to download them.  After downloading the plans you will be able to click on all of the links and grab the freebies and check out the other products I’ll be using this week.




I'm off to the wedding now! 
 Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

More About Multiplication

Multiplication is such a huge part of third grade and I had such a great response to my post about the strategies that I  use to teach it.  So, I thought I would share some other resources we use in the classroom.

photo 1

I absolutely adore this number line!  The colored dots come with it which is a huge time saver!   I put velcro dots on the back of mine and each year as we learn about the different factors I place them on the number line.  The multiples of 2 all get a red dot, the threes are green and so on.  We practice skip counting by the different multiples and it helps ensure that they are practicing their skip counting correctly.  As my husband likes to say, “ Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!” 

photo 3

I found this as an awesome freebie on TpT.  I copied them on cardstock and laminated them.  They are great to use as a quick practice or even as a quick time filler if we finish something early.  Sometimes as a fun twist I will time them to see how quickly they can finish.  I stop the timer when half of the class is finished.  I give everyone else time to finish and then we check our answers and I reveal their time.  The next time we practice that factor we try and beat our time.  We store them in a basket for each table and they can practice their facts as a fun when you’re done choice!

3. LOTS of practice during Centers

I love using math centers in the afternoon.  It gives my kiddos time to practice important skills and it gives me time to pull small groups to reteach and enrich.  I have all kinds of multiplication practice in their centers.  My newest is my “Hip, Hip, Array,” pack.  They absolutely love to use the classroom iPods or iPad to check their answers with the QR codes, and it makes checking their work much faster for me!

Hip,Hip,Array Preview Pic

Click on the pic above to check them out!

I also have free Multiplication Task Cards on my Facebook page.  All you have to do is like The Blessed Teacher on Facebook to have access to the fan freebie tab. 

I would love to hear some of your favorite strategies and resources for teaching multiplication!

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Multiplication Strategies….Where Have You Been All My Life?

The other evening I shared a picture on Instagram of a stack of multiplication “fast Facts,” that I was grading.  The caption talked about the strategies by Van de Walle that I use and many of you asked if I would share them.  I will….gladly!  But first, a story. 
I was that kid in third grade.  You know the one, the teacher thought I NEVER practiced my facts at home because I just didn’t know them…at all.   The truth was that my dad worked with me nightly, in fact many nights ended in tears, sometimes from me….sometimes from him Winking smile !  I just couldn’t seem to get those facts down and I was turtle slow at recalling them.  So, I was that kid.  The one who got pulled into the hall with every helper mom that visited our room.  I felt stupid and like I was terrible at math.  In truth, math just didn’t make sense to me.  I didn’t understand how or why it worked. 

Fast forward years later to a workshop I took on teaching multiplication to students.  I sat in the meeting with my mouth hanging open thinking that I wish my third grade teacher had taught multiplication like this.  It made So. Much. Sense!!!!  I have been teaching these strategies faithfully, every year and I have seen a huge improvement.  They aren’t the only way to do multiplication and my kiddos know that.  They know about skipping counting, repeated addition, they have lots of different strategies.  But, most of them will choose to use these.  They are efficient.  They can get to the product quickly. 
I uploaded a document explaining all of the strategies HERE.  Be sure to read the last section about the helping fact strategies, those are some of the most helpful!

I also have posters and strategy practice included in my  Multiplication…A “Monster,” Pack of Resources pack in my TpT store.  It will be on sale for the rest of the week for those of you who are interested in the purchasing it for the posters and strategy practice!  Just click on the picture to check it out!

Multiplication Unit2

I hope this helps with some of the questions you had the other night!  If you have other questions about how I teach the strategies or how I use them in my room, just comment below and I will get them answered! 
Have a great night everyone!

Monday, September 1, 2014

It’s Currently…..September 1st!

I can’t believe that September is already here.  This is the month that my baby starts to drive.  Yikes!  Permit test in 23 days.  Thank goodness for my amazing Driver’s Ed. teacher husband!  He is professionally trained to handle that parenting duty! 

Anyways, September also means it’s time for another Currently from the one and only Farley!  This is by far my favorite linky of the month!  I love reading everyone’s currently!
So without further ado….here is mine!


Listening:  This one speaks for itself.  Between all of our work/school clothes, workout clothes, and the girls’ dance clothes, I am up to my eyeballs in laundry every weekend.  It’s usually a race to get it done before Sunday night.  I’m thankful for the extra day so I could take my time on it!

Loving:  My crock pot and I are BFFs.  With our crazy schedule with school, dance and my husband’s basketball, it is so nice to come from a long day at school to a dinner that is already made.  It allows us to still squeeze our family mealtime into our crazy schedule!

Thinking:  Our schedules are about to really blow up.  The girls have an audition next weekend for dance, we have 2 weddings coming up, an out of town trip for dance and then basketball season will be upon us.  I can’t think about it for too long without getting overwhelmed.  I have learned to take it as it comes and to give myself a break if I can’t do it all!

Wanting:  Most of the time I love living in the desert.  However, my poor Nike running app is feeling neglected.  I am NOT a morning runner.  I have really tried to be.  It just doesn’t work for me.  The evenings are still too hot to run outside.  So, I have been stuck in the gym for months now.  I miss running outside and I really want it to hurry up and cool off already!

Needing:  I need to get to work on tomorrow’s presentation.  Our school board approved full day professional development days for us this year.  So, tomorrow the kiddos get an extra day off of school but we report for training.  My team was asked by administration to present tomorrow.  I will be presenting on Number Talks.  I am so excited and I hope that I can spread that excitement to the other grades in my building.  I made this pack of prompt posters to share with my colleagues and I am sharing them with you too.
Number Talks Prompt Posters
If you are interested in them you can grab them FREE in my store. 
3 Trips:   1.  Technically, I have travelled all over the east coast.  I was born and raised in Connecticut and have spent time in all of the New England states.  However, I have never taken my children and that trip is #1 on my list.  There is so much history to see and I can't wait to show them where I grew up!  Every time I think about the trip, I think we will need to block a month out of our calendar to see everything I want them to see!  #2 England.  My MIL went several years ago and it is top on my list of European destinations.  Again, there is so much history and I was obsessed with the queen when I was a little girl.  I really want to see her castle in person!  #3  NCAA basketball tour.  This trip is on my bucket list.  My husband and I have a list of college teams that we want to see play in their home arenas.  Some day we will travel the country and cross them off our list. 
I’m off to go follow Farley’s rule of 3 and then get to work on my presentation! 
Happy Labor Day everyone!