Friday, November 21, 2014

Math Warm Ups {Guest Post: Freebie & Giveaway!}

Hey there!  It's Amanda from The Primary Gal!  Earlier this week, Jennifer invited me to write a guest post in order to share one of my newest morning routines.  As many of you, I have the standard morning routines, such as turn in homework, sharpen pencils, and go to the restroom.  From there, rather than the typical morning work that I have previously used, I have began to implement Math Warm Ups.  This summer, I hosted a book study over the book Guided Math by Laney Sammons.  Math Stretches {or as I call them Math Warm Ups} are part of Laney Sammon's Guided Math philosophy.  {On a side note, I LOVE her!}

At the beginning of the year, I began using Math Warms Ups to start our day by using chart paper and scented markers.  {Side note, thank you Sentos!  You make math even better!!!}  I would pose a question related to the topic that they had from the previous night's homework.  In the picture above, my students had watched a math video for homework about multiplying three-digit by three-digit numbers.  Why not begin the following day with a little warm up to refresh and wake up our minds?!?!  In this particular warm up (and many others), each student creates a component of the problem and they work together to solve it.  I really like this because it allows them to self differentiate as well as work cooperatively with others.  They typically have different partners each day which allows them to work and help many friends.

After they complete the problem, they record their initials next to their work.  I love this because when we meet to discuss the Warm Up after morning announcements, I have them explain what they did to the class.  Most of the time, their answers are spot on and I love hearing them put their mathematical actions into words.  Other times, they are pretty far off and it provides a chance to teach from common mistakes that students make.  Either way, I love it!

As the weeks passed, I realized that I was going to go broke if I kept on the chart paper kick.  So I moved the Math Warm Up to the board.  The process is the same but no scented markers.  *Sniff*  The students really seem to enjoy these and I love getting the opportunity to see their ability to follow directions, work as a team, and most of all, review a grade level skill.

After completing these Math Warm Ups on the board {sitting right next to my Promethean Board} for months, I felt like an idiot when I realized....I could do these digitally!!!  Duh!  So using Power Point, I created Math Warm Ups that are able to be done on our Promethean Board while mastering the same objectives and saving paper, chalk, and lots of time.  Plus, what child doesn't love the opportunity to come write on one of these boards?

Now, if you're interested in trying these on your own, I have a sample copy with VERY basic Math Warm Ups that you could use to see how they fit into your classroom.  These are typically the types of warm ups I use on days where we are in between skills, right before breaks, or other awkward days that just don't "fit" into a typical warm up.

If you enjoy the sample or think that this is something that you would like to incorporate into your classroom, I also have Math Warm Ups designed for specific skills.  I currently have decimals, fractions, and measurement & geometry.  They are perfect for complimenting your daily instruction and allowing students to "warm up" their brain before diving into math class!  Each set comes with a PDF version of the Warm Ups as well as an editable Power Point for inserting your own Warm Ups.

Image Map

Enter to win a copy of my Math Warmups below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Writing Choice Boards

My students absolutely love choice boards. They love choosing their own tasks and having that sense of ownership. So, I created a set of Writing Choice boards that aligned to Common Core requirements and coordinate perfectly with my Reading and Math CCSS choice boards.

This resource contains 7 different choice boards with 15 prompts on each choice board, for a total of 105 prompts! Take a look!

The choice boards are available in color or black and white. The color version would be perfect to place in a literacy center or station. The black and white version could be copied and given to each student. They could color in the choices as they complete them.

Click here to grab your set.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Paired Passages {Differentiated and Scaffolded!}

Is anyone else feeling the push to Paired Passages from the state tests? We are in Georgia for sure! In fact, we have a new state test this year that focuses on constructed responses with paired passages. Yikes!

In my classroom, I have several students who struggle with constructed responses with single passages. Throw in paired passages, and oh boy! I created this resource as a way to scaffold and differentiate for those learners.

First, I noticed that the length alone was so intimidating for the students. These are students who struggle with stamina with one passage, and now we are giving them two. In response to that, I created short, grade level one-paragraph passages. Here is a shot of "one set." You can see the two short paragraphs. After each, I have included a section for the the students to pause and summarize before moving on.

 (Each set of paired texts is available in two different lexile levels for furthered differentiation)

Now, that the length of the passages was tackled, I needed to find a way to scaffold the constructed response tasks. I created three different "levels" of response. Here is a picture of Level 1. Level one contains a Think Aloud Prompt and Sentence Stems to support the students.

Here are the other two levels. Level 2 contains only the Think Aloud Prompts and Level 3 contains no support.

I use these response sheets to even further differentiate paired passages in my classroom. Some students need full support (lowest lexile level and level 1 response) and some only need support with the responses but can handle a higher lexile of text.

 To check out the resource (which contains 5 sets of leveled paired passages), click on the link below.

I would love to hear how you are supporting your readers with this complex skill!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

After Hallowen Candy Shopping Freebie (Math is Real LIfe)

It's the first Wednesday of November 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

I don't know about you guys, but I love the day AFTER Halloween! That is when I go to the local store and stock up on candy for my students (and myself!). I definitely need a little sweet motivation to help me get through the rest of the holiday season.

 The best part about after Halloween candy is the sale prices! My local Walmart puts the candy on sale for 50% off. and I always stock up for my candy jar (okay...jars..I have more than one. :D ). I love going to the store and calculating the sale price and thinking about how much of a good deal I am getting on the candy (conveniently forgetting the fact that the candy is going to go straight to my thighs when I eat it on stressful days!).

 Here is a little freebie I put together so you could use this Math is Real Life scenario with your kids...and maybe even share some candy with them while they complete it. :D Click on the image to download.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Easy and Engaging Writing Ideas

I use a Writing Workshop model in my classroom that involves a lot of sharing, talking, and writing! Since my writing block is at the very end of the day, I often have to use some strategic writing ideas that get the kids up and moving, and excited about their writing. I wanted to share with you two of those strategies that are a favorite of mine- and so ridiculously easy!! In fact, these are so awesome and easy that I am sure they have been around for forever.

The first one is Gallery Walk. Here are the directions for this fun writing activity that allows the students to share their writing with others and get feedback.

Here are some shots of this in my classroom. The kids loved this activity so much. They loved reading each others' stories and leaving feedback. Needless to say, the kids also LOVED reading what the other students had written about theirs story.


Now this next one, I definitely remember doing when I was in school. This one was so fun for the kids. They were literally laughing out loud as they read the stories and made plot twists to their friends' stories. 

Here are some shots of this activity. Not only is this super engaging, but it perfect for a lesson on staying on topic.

Do you do any of these writing activities in your classroom? If not, are you planning on trying any of these?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Transition Words {Interactive Notebook} Freebie!

Last week, I did a quick mini lesson on using transition words in writing. We talked about how transition words make stories sound better and help the reader move through the story. We made this anchor chart as a class of some common transition words we have used.

Then the students cut and glued this simple foldable in their notebook.

Underneath the flap, we recorded the transition words from the chart. This will be an ongoing foldable that the students will add to as they discover new transition words that they want to use in their writing.

I love quick and easy writing lessons that give the students an "anchor to make their writing better in the future! Click here to grab the free template from Google Docs. Let me know if you plan to use this foldable!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Measurement in Real Life {Math is Real Life} Linky and Freebie

It's the first Wednesday of October 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


This week we started Measurement Conversions. Measurement is one of my favorite skills to teach, and it is super easy to make that real life connection. Take a look to see what we did to make a real life connection.

I gathered several different circulars and weekly ads with measurements in the ads.

The students chose the items they wanted to use to make measurement conversions. They glued the image on to the below printable. Then, they recorded the current measurement, according to the ad. Finally, they converted the given measurement into another unit.

Here are some examples of the students and their work:

 {I definitely misspelled "convert" on the original printable...evidence that I should NOT be working at 5 am!}

The students seemed to really enjoy this activity! This will make it a breeze to make those real life connections as  we continue learning about measurement this week.

Click on the image of the printable to download the file from Google Docs.

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

To Teach is to Inspire...