Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Carnival Fun {Math is Real Life Linky}


It's the first Wednesday of April 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


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This past weekend, my family and I went to the a small carnival set up in our town. Before I get to the Math, here are a couple of shots from the day. The boys had a blast!!!




While at the carnival, I found there were many opportunities for Real Life Math . I have chosen one to share with you. Hopefully you can share these with your students. I mean after all, who doesn't love a carnival theme?

When we got to the carnival, we had to decide between buy individual tickets for $0.50 each or buying an unlimited rides armband for $20. Of course, we bought the armbands for the kids because we knew they wanted to ride a lot of rides and multiple times. We had to decide if it was worth it to buy ourselves armbands or just individual tickets. In the end, we decided to go with the armband so we would not have to mess with the tickets.

Here are some similar situations that you can use in your classroom to discuss this real life math situation. (And have the students practicing their multiplying and reasoning skills!)


My kids would love some math that "brings in" the local carnival. How do you hook your kids in with math?


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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Active Engagement Strategies {Bright Ideas}



This post has me thinking all the way back to my student teaching college days. If you had a similar experience as me, you had some semesters where you taught only 2-3 lessons to the classroom you were in. I remember making those 2-3 lessons so engaging and fun. I pulled out all the stops. I even brought in buckets of sand for one lesson! I would spend hours planning the perfect lesson that would be engaging and exciting for the students.

Fast forward to my first teaching job. The reality is that you really just can't spend hours planning the perfect, engaging lesson for each subject each day. My exciting lessons that took an hour in my college days now had to be crammed into 15-30 minute lessons.


So the dilemma is how do you still keep the students engaged when every lesson is not as fun and exciting as they (and you) would like?

I wanted to share two of the active engagement strategies that I use on a daily/hour basis in my classroom. These can be implemented immediately and require no materials. They truly are simple ways to engage your students. Also, they will engage your students in the material without having them bouncing off the walls because they get to make kilogram sand bags (oy!)



Next up on the blog hop is Lisa from It's the Little Things. Lisa has an great post for you all about a computer lab project! Just click on the button below to check it out!

http://itsthelittlethingslisa.blogspot.com/2014/03/bright-idea-computer-lab-project.html


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






Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Multiplying Mixed Numbers {Math is Real Life}


It's the first Wednesday of March 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


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This month's Math is Real Life post is a little different than normal. For this one, I decided to write about what happened last week when I was planning my math lessons. We were beginning instruction on multiplying mixed numbers. The focus of the first few lessons was on the computation process and the conceptual process. However, I always start each lesson with a task or word problem to keep it real life.

As I was prepping the lesson, I had to stop and think of how often do I (or anyone else) actually multiply mixed numbers. So I made a list of different situations where someone would need to multiply mixed numbers:


Then, I created four word problems that matched each real life situation to help my students (and myself) see the big picture and the connection between the math and real life.


Click here to download the pdf with the poster and to see all four problems!

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Hurry, Hop, and Win! {Upper Grades Blog Hop}





I have teamed up with some fabulous other upper grade teachers to bring you a blog hop and giveaways!! (Yes, giveaways- more than one!).

Ready for the giveaway details?....At each of our blogs, you will have the chance to enter to win a $25 TpT gift certificate to get some fabulous resources to finish the year or prepare your students for testing. And just in time for one of TeachersPayTeachers annual (and awesome sale beginning Thursday!)




Speaking of stocking up on resources, I wanted to show you a couple of my newest resources. (As part of my giveaway, you will also win a product of your choosing!) 


My newest resources are rock and roll themed math centers. (Available in 4th for 5th Grade) Each pack contains 9 math centers with a fun rock and roll theme! Give your students a rest from the normal traditional test prep practice, and they will love it!

Here is a closer look at the centers: (Click on the link to check them out!)

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Rock-the-Test-Common-Core-Test-Prep-Math-Centers-for-4th-Grade-1092965

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Rock-the-Test-Common-Core-Test-Prep-Math-Centers-for-5th-Grade-1090252



Now for the giveaway! Before you get ready to enter, make sure you stop by my store and pick out your favorite product. Click here to go my store and browse! Leave me a comment with the title of the product (and link if possible) and if you win, that product and the gift certificate is yours!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


http://www.talesfromoutsidetheclassroom.com/2014/02/hurry-hop-win.html


 After you enter my giveaway, head over to  Tales from Outside the Classroom, the next step on the hop!







http://www.lauracandler.com/MyFiles/HurryHopWin.pdf And make sure you stop by these other fabulous teachers' blogs to enter for a chance to win from them!

Here is a checklist you can print to keep track of who you have visited and who you have not. (And pass on to other teachers at your school!)





Monday, February 17, 2014

Common Core Weekly Reading Review! {3rd-5th Grade Sets}



Whew, this year has completely flown by! I planned on blogging about my Common Core Weekly Reading sets along time ago. But, better late than never!

These resources have been a complete life saver for me this year. I have not had to worry about reading homework at all. And I know that what I am giving the students for homework is meaningful and common core aligned.

In each bundle (There is  a 3rd grade bundle and a 4th/5th grade bundle), there are a total of 9 sets.

The sets focus on specific common core skills and can be mixed and matched to fit any pacing guide. Each set is broke down like this:

  • 4 reading passages that focus on a specific Common Core skill(s) (1 passage a week)
  • Options for daily assignments to use with the passages
  • Thursday text dependent comprehension questions that allow for further practice of the focus skill (and other Common Core skills as well)


Let's take a look at this resource in action!

Here are come images of the daily assignment page. My students often use this page to jot down notes to remind themselves of what is required. Or sometimes we will read and discuss the assignments together and write reminders by the assignment. Each assignment is made specifically for the passages in the set. The assignments often build on each other as well (depending on the set.) They are differentiated, and each set has 3-4 options to meet the needs of your students.



Here is the passage we used this week (from the Theme Set). The students use the same passage for a day, with a different daily assignment. This really supports close reading of a text. As you can see from the images, students have underlined and written notes on the passage as required by the daily assignments.


This next component is optional. My school does not have a copy limit, so I am able to copy a page for the students to record their daily assignments. In addition to marking the text, some of the assignments require written responses. If you are limited on your copies, a piece of notebook paper, the back of the passage, or even a notebook would work! Here you can see some of my students' daily responses:




Finally, each passage has a set of text dependent questions that require evidence from the passage, and the questions are common core aligned.



And there is my weekly reading review! I use this for homework, but I several of my buyers are using it for classwork or even during reading workshop.

I currently have a 4th/5th grade combined set and a 3rd grade combined set.

You can find the bundled sets by clicking on the images!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Weekly-Reading-Homework-Review-Complete-Set-36-Texts-725857http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/3rd-Grade-Common-Core-Weekly-Reading-Homework-Review-Complete-Set-36-Weeks-1086611


 If you are currently using any of these sets, leave some feedback and let me know how they are working in your room!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Quick and Easy Social Studies Ideas


I am writing a quick post today to share two of my recent favorite "activities" for Social Studies that are quick and easy to implement.

I don't know about your Social Studies standards, but we have what feels like a hundred different people to learn about and remember. Geesh, sometimes I even get some of the people mixed up in my head! When we study a new person that is important to remember, we make a quick interactive organizer "head."



I type out the name of the person most of the time. However, I keep a set of "heads" ready to go in case we need one on the fly. For the heads, we write 3-4 sentences describing the person and why they are important to that period of time. Then the students draw some type of image to help them remember the person. And when they are studying, they can quickly glance at the name and the image and hopefully recall who the person is. Here are some more examples:


Click here to download the "head" organizer I used. (Image from clker.com.)

The next activity is one commonly used in reading: Quick Writes. I love to use this activity when I am teaching a history topic that is particularly emotional or can evoke mixed reactions in the students. For this particular one, we were discussing The Great Depression. I was reading parts of this book, and stopping periodically to ask questions.



The students were instructed to quickly write their answer or their opinion. Then, we should share with a partner or share a few with the whole group. Here are some of the questions I asked with this book/topic: Why do you think some referred to the day the stock market crashed as Black Tuesday? After reading about people stealing to feed their family, I asked the students to write their opinion about this and whether they would steal to feed their family, if needed.

Here are some examples:



 As you can see, I only asked 5 questions and we really got into some deep discussions after these. I can't wait to see what we do with this activity when we study World War II in the upcoming weeks.

Do you have any quick and easy "go-to" activities for Social Studies?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Math is Real Life {Elapsed Time Freebie}


It's the first Wednesday of February 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


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For this month's math is real life, I am back to the topic of wedding planning. Sheesh, who knew planning a wedding required so many decisions! And I get to (read: have to) make them all!

For this math is real life post, I dabbled with a little elapsed time. After booking my photographer and getting package choices with different times that I would have the photographer, I had to make some decisions about start and end times. Then I had to choose the best package that would give me the time I needed without breaking the bank. I am still not 100% decided on my start and end times, but thankfully my photographer is super understanding!

So in the spirit of wedding planning, I made this little Elapsed Time practice freebie for you! In this freebie, the students have to calculate the elapsed time of different start and end times. Then, they have to answer questions in regards to different packages options, using their work from the table.

Click on any of these pictures to download it from Google Docs.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8DtIUhMGc9qQ1JnUlRkazAyMzQ/edit?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8DtIUhMGc9qQ1JnUlRkazAyMzQ/edit?usp=sharing

Thanks for stopping by! If you download the freebie, I would love if you left a comment letting me know how you plan to use it.


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To Teach is to Inspire...