16 January 2017

Teaching Chinese New Year vs. New Year in America


Teaching Chinese New Year vs. New Year in America

This past week we headed back to school for our first full week after Christmas break.  I had a dilemma, we came back to a full week of Benchmark Testing and I was not 100% prepared for what to do after testing was completed each day.  Benchmark Testing can be long and painful on many levels.  First, we only test for the first half of the day.  Second, my team and I need things to keep the students busy and engaged the rest of the day.  We follow a pacing guide in our parish, so we do not move ahead with our usual teaching.  So, basically during a benchmark week my day starts off with math, then benchmark testing, and then .....  Well you get the idea.  This was the big dilemma.   So, this year I decided to teach my kids a mini unit on New Years in America vs. Chinese New Year.  I know technically it is not Chinese New Year yet, but I knew this was the perfect week to dive into the topic and really teach all about it!  Let me tell you, it was a HIT!

We started off talking about New Years in America and all the traditions we celebrate.  We made resolutions and discussed what the top resolutions in America were.  Did you know the #1 New Year resolution in America is to lose weight?  My students thought this was hilarious.  I told them this is why they will see so many cars in the gym parking lot on their way home. ;))  Then we discussed why so many people (myself included) seem to not be able to keep their resolutions, but how we could really try to work on doing better this year.

Next, I introduced Chinese New Year!  We looked at our maps and located China.  We talked about where it was in the world and compared it to our continent and country (bringing in our map skills). Also, we discussed how New York City and San Francisco  both have big communities called Little China Town were these cultures can be celebrated.  We found these two areas on the map and looked at pictures on Google.  The kids were very intrigued by this point. We googled pictures of people celebrating Chinese New Year in China and the compared it to people who celebrate Chinese New Year in America.  Kids are always fascinated to learn that many traditions and celebrations we have in America are brought to us from other cultures.

After we looked at our maps and pictures we read a closed nonfiction reading passage about Chinese New Year (the passage can be found here).   Next, the students were placed into groups and we used our iPads to look up 4 interesting facts about New Years in America and Chinese New Year.  They wrote these facts in their writing notebooks.  There was not a cute graphic organizer for this, just plain writing notebook paper - remember this unit was done on the fly!  We came back together and we compared and contrast the two cultures and how they celebrate the holidays.  We made a Venn diagram in our notebook comparing and contrasting.   Next, they wrote a two paragraphs about this topic.   I was so impressed with their writings.   They must have really been paying attention, because they had some really great details in their writings.

Teaching Chinese New Year vs. New Year Paragraphs or Writings

By the end of the week we had learned so much.  I had brought in map skills, group work, technology, compare and contrasting, and writing.  We needed something fun to end this mini unit. We learned about the Zodiac Calendar and we made a rooster for, "The Year of the Rooster" (craft can be found here).  The roosters turned out so cute!   My students loved, loved them.   Also, we made Chinese New Year hats that turned out super cute (hats can be found here).

Chinese New Year Rooster Craft

Chinese New Year

Lesson learned for me - Sometimes pulling something together very quickly, but  putting just as much energy and enthusiasm into it can still lead to a great lesson.  I will definitely be teaching this again next year!  Will you be teaching Chinese New Year in your classroom?  I would love to hear what ideas or lessons you will teach.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek.


30 December 2016

Setting TpT Business Goals in 2017

Teacher Pay Teacher Business Mindset 2017
Most of us are are organized in our teaching lives.  Everything has a place in our classrooms.   We have a place where papers are turned in, crayons are stored, backpacks are placed, lunch money is collected.   We follow a system!   But do you follow a system in your Teachers Pay Teachers business? Do you even look at your adventure on Teachers Pay Teachers as a "real" business or a "hobby"?   I must admit, I am so guilty of this myself.  As a mother of two kids, a 10 year old and an almost official teenager, I stay so busy.  I am running the roads nonstop.   I constantly joke that my car should have a taxi sign on the side of it for all the driving around I do!  But this year I really want to make some changes at how I look at my TpT business and how I focus on it, even if time is not on my side.

To answer your question, yes, I do consider my own store a business.  I file it with my taxes and I keep up with my receipts (although they are thrown in a drawer).   However when it comes to being "TRULY" organized with my TpT, I am not!   You might not know this about me, when you see my products.  My products look very organized.  This is because it has taken me months to complete just one product (literally MONTHS). But I am constantly asking myself could I have saved myself time if I was more organized?   Over my break, I have really been thinking about this.  Maybe time is not the only thing holding me back.  Maybe, just maybe, it is my organization with my store too!

I am a very organized person.  My classroom is organized.  My home is very organized.  So, why is this part of my life not organized?   I know I am not the only one out there!  I don't have the actual answer to this, but I have decided to make this a goal for 2017.  I am going to focus on keeping track with my TpT and social media much better.  Not only am I going to keep track of it, I am going to do some comparing and see if by me keeping track if it helps improve my sales and numbers (I have a funny suspicion it will).   Currently my Tailwind sits unscheduled, my Facebook does not have any posts schedule, and this poor blog of mine - well, I will just stop there!

Let me show you a preview of how I use to sort my ideas down - a notebook with random jots here and there not making any sense whatsoever!  Here is the worst part, I also design digital papers and I keep up RGB numbers for color codes.  I will write random RGB codes down, but will not have a system for what number goes with what set.   I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have had to go back and spend countless hours trying to figure out custom RGB codes because I didn't keep this more organized.

Setting Teacher Pay Teacher Business Goals in 2017
You gotta' love the random sticky note thrown in there!!
Like most of you, I can't afford a VA (virtual assistant) at this time.  So, guess what?  I am my virtual assistant.  I am going to set aside one day and the end of each month and schedule all my stuff for the following month ahead of time.  Also, I purchased a binder with dividers (trying a new system), and I am going to keep all my ideas and TpT business related stuff in one spot.  As far as keeping up with my STATS, I created a chart to keep up with my followers and sales from month to month!  I also created a Current Project guide to help me try and keep my ideas in ONE SPOT!   I wanted to share these organizers with you.  You can download them for free here!

Teacher Pay Teacher Business Goals

Teachers Pay Teachers Business Goals
Teachers Pay Teachers Business Goals

How do you plan to organize your Teacher Pay Teacher store in 2017?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!

10 October 2016

Top Five Math Manipulatives to Use Now in Your Classroom

We all have some form of math manipulatives sitting around our classrooms.  But did you know you do not necessarily need those top of the line, super expensive manipulatives to get the job done? Some of the best math manipulatives are easy to use objects, many of us have stashed in the back of our cabinets or laying around the house.  Read below to find out my favorite top five math manipulatives and if you stay with me until the end their just might be a Freebie that makes it worth your while.

Top Five Math Manipulatives to Use Now in Your Classroom

DICE


Top Five Math Manipulatives to Use Now:  Dice

Once considered only for gamblers is no longer the case (just kidding)! Dice are seriously some of the best math manipulatives you can find.  Not only can they be bought just about anywhere and are super cheap, the things you can do with them are endless.  To review basic addition and subtraction roll two dice.  For addition add the two die to get the sum.  For subtraction take the two die and subtract to get the difference.  Dice are not just for younger children, the same concept can be used to teach multiplication too.  Need a few more ideas?  I love to use dice to teach place value.  I teach second grade, so I teach into the thousands place.  When I need a time filler or want a quick review, I place students into pairs and give each student a die.  They roll the die four times making a number and logging it on their record sheet (the recording sheet can be found in the FREEBIE).   They then write the number in expanded, word, and model form.


Top Five Math Manipulative to Use Now: Place Value Roll Freebie

Another number concept to teach with  dice is before and after.  You can even take it a step further and then add 10, 100, or 1000 to those numbers depending on how many dice you use.  I usually just make two digit numbers, because again I work with second grade.  However, the numbers could be larger for upper grades.  

Top Five Math Manipulatives to Use Now:  Before and After Freebie

Cards


Top Five Math Manipulative to Use Now: Cards

I love, love, love cards! I actually have a huge stash of playing cards stored in a box in my closet (guilty as charged).  This is my go to whenever I need a math time filler.  I pair my students up, give them a deck of cards, and let them play.  My favorite quick game to use for a time filler is to have students to each throw a card down and add.  Whoever reaches the sum first, wins that round and keeps the cards.  The player with the most cards at the end of the round wins the game.  It is a quick game of practicing facts, requires no paper, and is entertaining.  I have also played this same game with subtraction and multiplication.  It is just as effective with these math skills too!

Math Manipulative to Use Now

Have you ever heard of the game Salute?  It is a fun math learning game to play with your class using cards.  In this game your students are given practice with their addition and subtraction facts, while working on their problem solving skills.  Here is how you play:  Place students into groups of three and give them a deck of cards.  One student is the "general" and the other two are the "soldiers".  When the general calls salute, the soldiers raise a card to their heads.  The general quickly gives them the sum of the two cards, and the soldiers compete to determine the values of their cards, by looking at what the other player has (it is kind of a version of Head Bandz, but with a deck of cards).  The roles rotate, so each student gets to practice both with subtraction and addition facts for the numbers one to ten.  

I have made a Saluting with Addition and Subtraction score sheet to be used during this game.  Each student would get a copy of the score sheet to keep up with their points and to help them see the numbers they are working with.  The score sheet can be found in the FREEBIE.  

Math Games and Printables

For upper grades a fun math game to play using a deck of cards is called Fraction Draw.  Here is how you play:  Put your students into groups of four and give them a deck of cards.  The students will place all of the cards face down.  Each play draws two cards and creates a fraction with their cards, by placing the smallest number on top of the largest number.  All of the fractions are compared.  The player with the largest fraction, wins that round and gets to keep ALL of the cards from the other players.  The game continues until the deck is emptied.  The player with the most cards wins the game.  

Counters


Math Manipulatives Counters

Besides the fact  I use counters for almost all my game boards and game pieces, the flat two sided colored objects have more purpose than game boards alone.  When I need to review 10 facts or basic addition and subtraction with ten frames these math manipulatives are my best friends.  They are the perfect size for  fitting in a ten frame.  Plus, the students are able to see what it is being added and taken away, making the basic addition and subtraction problem much easier to solve.  Counters are perfect for those just learning their facts. They work great for making 5, 10, 15, or 20.

Just as unifix cubes work great to make patterns, you can actually use counters to make patterns too! Although you are only working with two colors you can still set up many pattern types such as: aabb, aba, and aabba.

For upper elementary students counters can come in handy to help teach basic fractions.  The Math Manic, has an easy no prep game for teaching basic fractions and showing how fractions can have equal parts.   Be sure to visit The Math Manic to see the easy instructions on how to play.  This is a perfect game for students who may need a little extra push or intervention with fractions.  

Unifix Cubes


Unifix Cubes Math Manipulatives

Unifix cubes have been around for a long time.  I remember my teachers using them when I was in elementary school, and I can assure that was longer than I care to remember.   Yes, they are great for teaching lower elementary kids how to count and sort into groups of colors.  But unifix cubes can be used for other mathematical concepts too.  Clear the Board is a great game to play with upper elementary that helps develop the concept of probability.   Each kid is given 10 unifix cubes and two dice.  They randomly place 10 cubes on the board wherever they choose.  The student the rolls the 2 dice.  If they roll a number that has a unifix cube on the board they remove it.  They play until the first player CLEARS THE BOARD!  This game is included in the FREEBIE!

Top Five Math Manipulatives to Use Now:  Unifix Cubes Clear the Board Freebie  
I also love the game I found on Primarly Speaking's blog called, Walk the Plank.  All you need is a wooden paint stick, unifix cubes, and your all set to practice you basic addition facts.  You can read all about the super easy, but fun game here.  


Unifix cubes can also be used to teach patterns.  You can start with simple patterns such as:  aabb, abab, or abc.  Once the student has mastered simple patterns, then have them approach more difficult repeating patterns such as:  abcdd, abbccda, or abaccdd.

Top Five Math manipulatives to Use Now:  Unifix Cubes Patterns Freebie

Top Five Math Manipulatives to Use Now

Base Ten Blocks


Base Ten Blocks are must for the grade I teach, which is second.  I know they are a must for the first grade teachers at my school too.  Place value is a skill which must and has to be taught correctly.   It is the foundation for most other math skills such as:  addition and subtraction (with and without regrouping), rounding, multiplication, division, decimals, and much more.  If a child does not have a clear understanding of place value it will lead to problems in other math areas.   

Top Five Math Manipulative to Use Now: Base Ten Blocks


Base Ten Model Worksheets

What is really great about base ten blocks is that you can find them just not as manipulatives, but in technology and video explanations too!  Below is a video that shows regrouping using Base Ten Models.


Below are digital deck cards you can find on Boom Cards.  Many TpT authors have put their task cards on this digital platform.  Kids love to practice their place value skills using the digital platform. 


Boom Learning Cards Place Value

Base ten models can be used to build numbers.   One of my favorite things to use base ten blocks for is to build numbers.  For the younger elementary students they will build numbers with one or two digits.  However,  you are not limited to just younger students, older students can benefit from base ten models too.   They can practice building number in the thousands, ten thousands, and so forth.  Also, it is great practice for them to trade ones for tens, tens for hundreds, and so forth.  

Top Five Manipulatives to Use Now

Although these math manipulatives are not new and have been around for a while, I hope you were able to find a new idea or a new way to implement them in your classroom.  Remember sometimes we don't necessarily need the top of the line materials to get our point and lesson across.  We just need to make learning fun!  If you would like to get some of these games and printables for FREE click on the image below and visit my TpT store.  

Math Games and Printables Free

 

04 September 2016

Labor Day Link Up and Sale

I hope everyone is enjoying their extra long weekend.  If you are like me then you are probably trying to play catch up on a few things.  Shelly at Appletastic is hosting a Labor Day Link Up, and let me just say there is a lot of awesome teacher author's who are putting their stores on sale tomorrow.  Be sure to check them out!

Labor Day Link Up Sale

Everything in my store will be be on sale, but I wanted to share some of my favorite items with you. I just uploaded this new unit today, and I can't wait to use it in my own classroom.  It covers the Three Branches of Government and the Election Process.  There is plenty of text, comprehension questions, task cards, vocabulary cards, bingo, crafts, and a presidential foldable.  Seriously, it will have you covered, especially for this election season!

Our Government Unit:  Three Branches of Government & The Election Process

I am in LOVE with this product.  I know I sound like a car salesman, but it is true.  I actually used this two years ago in my classroom.  Then last year, I made it TpT worthy.  My class loves doing word of the day.  I think it because we are using words that are not in our regular vocabulary, but that are equally just as important.  Plus, they love to write their own sentences and draw their own illustrations.   It takes about 5-10 minutes of our day.  I love that we are getting in rigorous vocabulary on a daily basis!

Word of the Day: Exploring Words through the Use of Vocabulary

Have you heard the word on the street?  All of my seasonal fluency sets have now been bundle.  So, what a great time to grab them while they are on sale.

Seasonal Fluency Bundle:  Nonfiction Fluency Passages

Happy Labor Day Weekend!


14 August 2016

Boom! Learning App: A Digital Task Card Must

Task cards are not a new invention to a classroom.  Teachers love task cards!  They help cover the standards that teachers are required to teach.  Task cards are perfect to use in small group settings. They can be used to help self assess learning, bellringers, partner work, and so much more.   If you can't tell already, I love to use task cards in my classroom.  What if I was to tell you, that you can still get all this great use out of task cards, plus more with a new app created by teachers for teachers.  It is called Boom! Learning!

Boom Learning App for Digital Task Cards

What is Boom Learning?


Some of you may have already heard of this awesome app!  It allows students to use digital task cards on ANY mobile device or computer.  This is perfect for those 1:1 classroom and even better for those that only have a few iPads {like my classroom}.  With Boom Cards App you can choose from hundreds of task card options to assign your class.  They range from elementary grade level to secondary grade level.  There are hundreds of digital task cards to choose from:  Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies, and much more.  Just search the topic you are needing.  There is a range of teacher tools, which allows the teacher to assign decks/cards to students.  The teacher can choose to assign the deck as a class assignment or an at home assignment.  As a teacher you can also see how many times it takes a student to correctly answer a card.  As a teacher you have complete control of the students choice of deck assignment.  The best part, since this is an app there is not any cutting, laminating, or storing.  Everything you need is stored right on your mobile device or computer. When you log in, you will see your account, class setting, and saved decks.


Why students love Boom Card?


Let's face it, we live in a digital world.  Kids can operate mobile devices and computers, better than most of us teachers.  This is why the feedback from students, so far has been outstanding.  They feel like they are playing a game, when in fact they are actually learning effective skills they will need to help them progress as the year moves forward.  The student feels like they are playing a game.  They can earn awards and badges for completing decks.

Boom Learning App for Digital Task Cards

How do I get the Boom Card App and decks?


Boom Card all started with a brilliant idea from Rachel Lynette from Minds in Bloom {you may have heard of her}!  Rachel has created and sold many task cards on TpT.  She wanted a way to make task cards digital, so she meet with Omega Labs to develop the app.  She asked several teachers to jump on board as a beta team and develop task cards.   From there the Boom Cards has been growing since.  You can sign up and check out a few decks for FREE.  If you like it, sign up for a subscription plan.  Don't worry, they have several plans to choose from and they're not very expensive.   Plus, right now they are having a special for teachers through the month of August.  If you just want to use the task cards/decks in you classroom only purchase points (100 points = $1.00) and your set to buy your favorite decks to add to your account.   However, they do have the option if you want to become a buyer and a seller, which is what I did!   This is the ULTIMATE SUBSCRIPTION.  This means you can purchase all the decks you want, and you can make your OWN decks to use or sell.  Here are a few of the decks I have made so far:

Boom Learning App:  Presidential Fun Fact

Boom Learning App:  Place Value

Boom Learning App:  Landforms

So, whatever you decide, why would you not want to make the switch and have your task cards digitally?  You would save yourself so much time without the laminating, cutting, and storage.  Also, they typically cost the same as the paper version!  So, go ahead download the app on your mobile device, Google Play,  or if you are using a computer you can find Boom Learning on the web.  Give it a try, I promise you will love this app!

31 July 2016

Best Year Ever TpT Sale Must Haves

When I think of the Teachers Pay Teachers #bestyearever sale, the song It's the Final Count Down comes to my mind.  I am sure most of you have heard by now it is all going down starting tomorrow. Carts are getting filled, wishes are getting made, and teachers are getting their shopping on!  So, what are some must haves from my shop?

Up first, my FLUENCY BUNDLE I literally just added to my store.  It has all my seasonal fluency sets bundled into one.  You can save big on this bundle set.  Plus, if you buy the bundle then you will have enough weekly nonfiction passages to get you through the year.  I am not trying to toot my own horn, but the fluency sets have been life savers for me!   I use them as my weekly fluency homework. Keep scrolling to see what others are saying about my fluency sets.  They are some of my best sellers.

I teach second graders and the past couple of years my class has needed more challenging passages than what our reader offered.   So, I decided to create my own!   The passages start around a third grade level and build as the year progresses!  To read my blog post, "Why Fluency is so Important", click here!

Fluency Bundle Set

Fluency Bundle Set

Fluency Bundle Set

Fluency Seasonal Bundle Set by Teaching Tidbits and More with Jamie

This is my other set of nonfiction fluency passages.  

Fluency Passage Set for Advanced Readers

Here are what customers are saying about my fluency sets:

Fluency Bundle Set

To see a list of the titles just click on any of the previews.  I have listed the titles and their levels for each set!

Another great product that is fairly new to my store is my, Word of the Day Set!  I used this last year with my class to introduce more challenging and rigorous vocabulary.  After seeing it was a big success in my own class, it became an official product.

Word of the Day:  Exploring words through the use of vocabulary!

Word of the Day:  Exploring words through the use of vocabulary!

Of course if your not only a teacher but a seller too, don't forget to check out my digital paper packs to help you make all your fabulous products!


Digital Papers:  Brights on Black Collection by Teaching Tidbits and More with Jamie

Digital Paper:  Pool Party Collection by Teaching Tidbits and More with Jamie

Digital Paper:  Primary Love Collection on Black by Teaching Tidbits and More with Jamie

Don't forget to leave feedback for previous bought items so you can earn your credits.  Also, be sure to enter the code BESTYEAR to get your extra discount.  What are some items on your wish list?  I hope all you have fun shopping and score some really great deals.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!

Teachers Pay Teachers Best Year Ever Sale
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