Monday, January 26, 2015

Take a Peek at My 5th Grade Self Contained Schedule

I was recently asked about my what my schedule looked like as a self contained 5th grade teacher, so I wanted to share it with everyone.

Note: STEM, GAMP (Guidance, Art, Music, PE), MEDIA are the special classes that the students go to. We are fortunate to have a longer GAMP time on Tuesdays so we can meet with our grade level to collaborate and design units. Also, TDPE is a fancy name for recess...teacher directed PE. ;)

As you can see on a normal day (with the exception of Tuesdays), I have the following time for each subject:

Math: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Science and Social Studies: 40 minutes (But really only 30 because we go to the bathroom after Lunch, and I typically just start right into Literacy)
Literacy: 3 hours (I know it says 3 hours and 15 minutes, but we use the restroom and pack up before TDPE, which is recess.)

As you notice there is no RTI or re-teaching time on the schedule. I embed this into the daily schedule for each particular subject.

I would love to know how your schedule compares to mine. Is it similar or totally different?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fraction Pacing and I Can Checklist Freebie

Fractions..most either love them or hate them. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love the models and how the skills can sometimes be made pretty concrete. I don't live how all the skills build on each other and all the skills the students must have mastered to complete one problem. We recently started our fraction unit, and I spent some time breaking our standards down into "I Can" statements. But I took it a step further and also wrote I Can statements for all the pesky embedded skills. (You know those skills that the kids are supposed to come to 5th grade already knowing... ;) ) The end result was kinda scary! Take a look at all these skills...

After making the list (and getting over my feeling of being overwhelmed!),  I did feel prepared, organized, and ready to tackle teaching the skills. I made copies for my kids which they glued in their math notebooks. Each time we learn (or review) a new skill, they check it off the list. Ever so often, we read over the list as a way to remind them of everything they have learned and need to remember to apply to fraction problems. Here is a picture from a couple of weeks ago.

This is definitely keeping me focused and making sure I teach and assess all the standards and the embedded skills. Click here to grab a copy of the checklist.

If you are looking for fraction resources to help teach, I have plenty! Click on the image below to check them out!

Friday, January 9, 2015

5th Grade Reading Center {Easy & Free} & Free Your Time Hop!

Thank goodness it is Friday! The first week back from break is always the longest! I am here with a freebie that I hope will save you a TON of time. In addition to my freebie, I am participating in a blog hop with 14 other bloggers that I blog with over at Fifth Grade Freebies! Each one of us has a freebie for you today that we hope will save you some time! AND you can stop by the Fifth Grade Freebies Blog to enter for a chance to win THREE $25 Gift Certificates!

For quite some time I have wanted to create roll and answer games that my students could play in Reading. We have them for Math and Language already, and the kids love them. I love them because they are super easy to learn, play, and they are engaging. Since the directions never change, the students are able to focus on the skills, instead of learning a new set of directions. To read more about my Math Roll and Answer Centers and grab a few Math Freebies, click here.

This can be a 2, 3 or 4 player game. The students can even play this independently. The students roll two dice, add up their number, and then find their roll on the game board. They answer the question and initial their square if they get it correct. The students could write or discuss the answers with their partner. These reading roll and answer games were created to work with any text the students are reading. You can use it with a story or a passage. Take a look!
I created two versions: Reading Literature Standards and Reading Informational Standards. They are also available in color and black and white. Click on any of the images to download your copy today!

Now, head over to April in Performing in Education to grab another freebie and continue on the hop by clicking here, or on the image below!

Performing in Education

And don't forget to stop by the Fifth Grade Freebies Blog to enter for a chance to win THREE $25 TpT Gift Certificates! Click here or on the image below to go straight there!

Fifth Grade Freebies

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Math is Real Life {Financial Literacy Free APP}

It's the first Wednesday of January which means it's time for our monthly linky - Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!
If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs - feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!


A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by

For this MIRL post, I wanted to share with you a FREE app called Spending Tracker that I was introduced to through a Financial Literacy themed day at school. The students loved the activity that worked with this app, and I found the app to be so great that I downloaded it for my husband to use to keep track of his spending and budget.

Here is a shot of the app which can be download here through the App store.

You input your monthly income and your expenses for the month that you are in. It is so easy to use. You simply choose expense or income after choosing the month. Then you can select from the many categories (as seen above) of expenses. It will calculate your spending and keep a running balance. 

So fabulous for budgeting and keeping your finances in order! I know I love it!

Don't forget to check out the other MIRL posts below! Check back over the next few days - more will be added!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Multiplication Fact Strategy for Upper Grades {Freebies}

Do you have students in your 4th-6th grade class that just can't seem to master multiplication? No matter what you try (flashcards, incentives, computer based programs), they just can't get past their 5s? I have a had a sprinkling of those kids in the past. It can be very frustrating, to say the least. Last year, I was shown this strategy that I am about to show you. I immediately taught it to my struggling multiplication students. It worked wonders! I will tell you that it is not a "quick fix" strategy. This is a "I have got to be able to figure out what 7 x 8 is to solve this mutli-digit problem, and I don't have time to draw a picture."

Basically, the students use what they know (their 1s, 2s, and 5s) to determine the answer. Here is an example:

The student knows that 5 x 8 = 40, and 2 x 8 = 16, so the two products added together give you 56. When I teach this, I do a lot of conceptual talking about the numbers. I typically say 7 bags of 8. Then I refer them to their "known facts: 1s, 2s, and 5s). I would say something like: "You need 7 bags of 8. Which fact will give you the largest amount of bags, without going over." After the student picks 5 x 8 (or 5 bags of 8) we talk about how many more bags are needed to make 7 bags, etc. Then we talk about how adding the products works. I really try to get them to conceptually understand why this strategy works. It keeps them from making mistakes, and eventually leads to quicker thinking and using those benchmark fractions that students with strong number sense can do. (i.e. I know that 6 x 8 = 48, so I just need another bag of 8)

Here is an example of one of my kid's work when they used this strategy for 9 x 6. He marked out the 5 x 6 after he used it because it was too big, and he knew that he could not use it again. He then used the 2 x 6 twice. Eventually the students begin to make connections between the numbers and do 5 x 6 and 4 x 6.

As I mentioned earlier, this does take a bit of time, but the students will gain fluency with it. They will learn to do this without the need to write about the list of facts each time. Also, what better motivation to learn your facts! You will have to do all these extra steps or you could memorize them! ;)

Click here to grab your copy of the poster shown in this post as well as a few printables that I use when teaching this strategy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2014

I am linking up with Ideas by Jivey to bring another top list of the year. (Check out my Top Instagram Pics by clicking here). Winter break is a great time to get caught up on blog reading, and here are my top 5 posts of the year! Click on the images for each post to be taken directly to the post.

 Hope you enjoyed the look back! Head over to Ideas by Jivey to check out some other Top 5 Blog Post linkups or to linkup your blog!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Instagram Pics of 2014

I am linking up with Teachery Tidbits for my Top 10 Instagram pictures of the year! Confession: two of these pictures are from 2013, but I still love them so I included them. If you are not following me on Instagram, click here or on the image to follow me.

Here we go!

This lollipop tree was a definite splurge from Etsy. My kids love choosing a lollipop from this tree versus a bag or jar. #thelittlethings


This picture was one of those 2013 pictures that I mentioned snuck in to my top 10. This was a picture of my classroom library from the 2013-2014 year. I love the bright baskets form Really Good Stuff!

This is one of my favorite memories from 2014! My family and I took our first family vacation to Disney World! It rained several of the days (which actually made it cooler and more bearable), but we LOVED it! I already want to go back!

Another 2013 image that found its way on the list. This was my official email from human resources with my new school district! This email was huge because it meant no more 1 hour+ commute to work!

I jumped on the Erin Condren bandwagon with this EC planner. Confession time: I barely use it...ok I rarely ever use it!

This picture was from my wedding shower at work. My school got me a new name tag for my classroom. Love!

Keeping with the chevron theme, I had to have these chevron Toms! P.S. This is the only foot picture I will ever post!


I just love love love these toolboxes from Ladybug Teacher Files. I used her labels to make the toolboxes cute and organized. I have three groups of 10 students. Each group has a toolbox to store all their supplies.


I love hashtag Instagram linkys, and this was no exception! This recent image is real life, folks!

And my number one instagram post is from back to school set up time. I snapped this picture after I dropped off my new chevron rug. As you can see from the image, my room was in the early stages of set up. I miss back to school set up time!

There you have it! My Top 10 Instagram Pictures!

Head over to Teachery Tidbits to link up or see some more top 10 instagram lists!

To Teach is to Inspire...