Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Idea ~ Make a Happy Chair!

I can't not wait to share my next BRIGHT IDEA with you!  

Perhaps one of the best things I made for my classroom this year is my HAPPY CHAIR and I think every classroom should own one!  If you are having a bad moment, you just sit in the chair and immediately feel better!  (I swear it has special powers!)  

Here is how I made mine...

I found the paint in the mismatch section at Home Depot and the chair in the clearance section at RC Willey.  SCORE!

And TA DA!

I have the chair in the front of the room and sit in it during carpet time.  I also use it as rewards and anyone presenting to the class can sit in it too.  There is only one have to smile while sitting in it!

(Thank you to Dreamlike Magic and Mad Clips Factory for the backgrounds and fancy arrows to jazz up my pictures!)

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, TeachersPayTeachers, or Pinterest for more great ideas. 

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, March 24, 2014


I am so excited to offer both these packs to you!

My friend, Cynthia, from My Kind of Teaching, is allowing me to give away TWO of her amazing Common Core Math Packs for the 4th grade classroom!

I particularly like the task cards and the variety of activities included in these super packs!
If you want to check these packs out some more {click here}.

Now, here's how you win...
1. Visit my facebook page {here}. 
2. Click on the BLUE giveaway tab at the top.
3. Enter the rafflecopter! 

Yep, it is that easy! 
Rafflecopter will be open through Wednesday (which is also Cynthia's big birthday celebration)!

Good luck to all!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wanna Catch a Leprechaun?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Don't forget to wear green and keep your eyes open for those leprechauns!

Just wanted to share with you this amazing bulletin board idea from my friend Sarah...
 She had her students write about how to catch a leprechaun and many of them took it a step further and built leprechaun traps like this one...

To read more about this and to see more traps, head over to The Teaching Tribune!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Math Night with The Human Calculator!

Our school math night was Thursday and it was a huge success!  I even got The Human Calculator, Scott Flansburg, to come!

Before I get into more details about The Human Calculator, I would tell about the rest of the night.  When the students arrived, they received a hole punch card.  They needed to get 6 hole punches in order to get a prize at the end of the night (a pair of dice with directions to a math game to play at home)!  There were a total of 10 different stations that the students could visit, so getting 6 punches was no problem.

Our stations included 3 high school run groups about technology and math, a robotics team, computer activities in the computer lab, and one station on each different math strand (geometry, fractions, measurement, numbers in base ten, and operations) run by the teachers.  Here are some pics of the activities that were taking place:

{Click here to visit my store and grab this fraction golf game!  FREE for one week!}

We also incorporated an art gallery into the night.  Our art teacher worked hard to put up art work from each student and beautify our hallways!

 Now, for the best part!  To conclude the night, we had all families gather into the multi-purpose room.  With a little persistence, I got confirmation that The Human Calculator would be joining us.  He gave a wonderfully engaging presentation and lit everyone's Maths brains on fire!  

You can check out The Human Calculator  here on Oprah!

 He even asked me to push the calculator buttons for him!  

Thank you to Lisa from It's the little things for these last pics!

What a wonderful night it was!  Now, I'd love to hear about your school's math night.  I need to start collecting ideas for next year!  I don't know how we are going to beat this night!?!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Want Engagement? Try These Bright Ideas!

Let the bright ideas continue to flow!  Hopefully, you have been enjoying hopping through and discovering lots of new bright ideas to try in your classroom next week!  If you are just joining the hop, WELCOME!  I know you will love this next BRIGHT IDEA!

I have for you some simple engagement tools that I use in my classroom to make the boring seem exciting!  The students always want to share when I bust out the "clapper" or the "whoop button" for them to use after they share an idea!  Here is what they look like:

(Thank you to Graphics From the Pond for these borders and Mad Clips Factory for the arrows!)
 In fact, I have also gathered these over the last few years too.  The "Get Jiggy With It" button plays an Irish tune and the egg plays and Easter dance!  My students love pushing them and I only reserve it for when they do something amazing!
My favorite engagement piece, however, has to be what I call "A Bright Idea."  It is one of those cheap spinning globes that light up when you push the button on the side.  I use it when the students are sharing answers to a question or during discussions.  I start it off by picking a student, holding the globe over his or her head, and saying "tell me your bright idea."  The student responds and picks another student.  Usually EVERY hand is up in the classroom when the "bright idea" comes out!  It is fun to do with the lights off too!
 To mix it up, sometimes we use the "power stick."  Instead of saying, "Tell me your bright idea," we say, "You have the power!"
Some of these engagement tools I bought at the Dollar Tree and the buttons I usually get at Hallmark stores.  Hopefully, you can grab one of these and start using it your classroom next week! I would also love to hear about other engagement tools that you already use in your classroom.  I am always looking for new ideas!

Next up on the bright ideas blog hop is Heather from Teach It Today!  She has a great tip for you on organizing student work and parent forms that you are not going to want to miss!

Alternatively, you can search by topic using the link-up below and move along to any other blog on the blog hop!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The End of Molasses Classes...Sailing Through Spring!

I started a new book study with a group of co-workers last week and it is exactly what I needed this time of year to sail through spring!

The book is a great reminder to make the classroom a fun place to be and it is giving my classroom a little energized kick!  The name of this beloved book is called The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark.  It contains 101 extraordinary solutions for parents and teachers for getting kids unstuck!  

I am intrigued by Clark's story and I have a lot of the same passions and beliefs that he does.  His book is filled with tips such as how to raise the bar and how to really listen, but my favorite so far has to be his engagement tip on teaching math using balloons.  I have tried it twice in my classroom so far with huge success, so here is peak...

First, I gave each team a balloon to blow up and a Sharpie.  I wrote a math problem on the board and I assigned a teammate to record a group solution first.  I began the timer and had the students pass the balloon around their group adding other ways to get the solution to the problem on the board.  The students really needed to work together thinking fast and to hold the balloon in place!  I gave the students about 3-4 minutes (shhhh....I wasn't really timing).

Here are some pictures of the students while they were working...

When, the "timer" (in my head) went off, I gathered the students to the carpet area and had them hold up the number of fingers representing the number of solutions they found.  Two groups tied so we further examined both these groups' balloons.  We found a mistake on one groups and had a clear winner!  Now, for the best part...
The team that won got to pop all the other groups' balloons!  You would have thought I gave them a million dollars; the engagement was very high in the classroom! 

Want some more "Sailing Through Spring" tips?
I'm linking up with a fantastic bunch of teachers who are also sharing some more tips to keep your head above water in all this Spring craziness!  Hop to the blogs below for more teacher tips!

Now one more thing before I go, have you heard about the TpT Three Million Teachers Strong Sale Event? It starts NOW and runs through midnight on the 28th! This is a great time to stock up on some Spring materials for school. My store will be discounted 20% and TpT tosses in another 8% off if you use the coupon code! Click the image below to hop on over and check out the newest goodies on the site!

Here you will find my best-seller writing bundle 28% off!  This is the lowest it has ever been, so hop over and check it out!
Happy Shopping :)  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fraction Action!

I have been keeping busy in February with fractions in the classroom!  I must share one of my FAVORITE fraction activities with you!  

I start by giving the students a list of fractions (some are regular fractions, some are improper fractions, and some are mixed numbers).  The students are also given blank squares to represent the wholes, squares divided into thirds, and squares divided into fifths.  Then, the students must use the blanks, thirds, and fifths to create fraction cards with their list of fractions.  The students are really challenged to think, especially when creating the improper fractions.  

Examples of these cards are seen here...

And what better idea then to play FRACTION WAR with the finished cards!  The students shuffled their cards, dealt them out evenly with a partner, and flipped them over.  The friend with the largest fraction won both cards and the student with the most cards at the end won the game!
If the students were ever unsure with the visual models, such as these students with 3/6 and 3/8, I had them get out their previously made fraction bars to represent the fractions in another way.

The students also recorded their fractions in their math journals using >,<, and = signs...

As an extension, I had small groups line up their cards using benchmark fractions and on a number line.  Seeing this visual relationship really helped to increase student understanding!

Afterwards, I had the students pick two cards, glue them down on a piece of construction paper, and compare them.  Of course, this was the perfect bulletin board!

I love the little details such as my circle border and my letters...

This ticket out the door, helped me give the students a quick formative assessment.  Most students were able to thoroughly explain equivalent fractions and comparing fractions such as this student below!

This week, I will be moving into decimals and the relationship with fractions.  I can't wait to use my fraction and decimal match-up pack!  It is filled with 60 decimal, fraction, and word form match up cards with an adorable newspaper theme! These cards are perfect to practice Common Core Standard 4.NF.6 - Use decimal notation for fractions with denominators 10 or 100. For example, rewrite 0.62 as 62/100. 

Suggestions for individual, small group, and whole group activities included. There are also student direction sheets and recording sheets for individual activities. Bonus: An assessment to check mastery of the standard with an answer key!

Click on the pictures above to grab these today, but pssst...if you haven't heard, there is a HUGE TpT sale happening later this week, so you might want to wait until then!

Either way, I know you will love this pack and I wish you luck teaching fractions and decimals!