I am a huge advocate for centers in the classroom.
Yes, they are hard to teach.
Yes, it takes a big chunk of time to teach procedures and to ensure that everyone will be on task when they are working independently or with a small group.
However, the growth that you will see in your kiddos is worth every minute you invest.
First, you're teaching them to be responsible for their own learning! How is that not awesome?
The thing with centers is that they have to be engaging.
You should monitor the centers for the first few weeks before you start pulling small groups, but make sure you're not engaging with the kiddos. You want them to be working on the task at hand, regardless of whether or not you are watching.
For math centers, I've found a few winners that I always include in my rotations.
Dominoes have become a staple in most primary classrooms. They build upon dice patterns and are often used to model decomposition of numbers, building student knowledge of addition facts. They are an excellent manipulative for primary students to use and these are some examples of how students might use dominoes in the math center.
Read more here:
Everything about primary students is awesome. But the best, most wonderful thing that they have to offer....is the truth - or their version of it.
I recently found these pictures of work that my students did when I was teaching first grade. Here are a few of my favorites from the 100th day of school!
There are a lot of educators offering pre-made lesson presentations for Engage NY math. Most are priced very competitively and include cute fonts and clip art. So, how do you decide which product is best for you?
Before you make that decision, you should understand what these products are and how they can be used. These products are tools, NOT replacements for your experience as a teacher. They will not magically teach your class for you.
What the presentations are meant to do is to help you save hours of prep time and provide a colorful, informative background as you instruct your students. That being said, be sure to review the slides BEFORE you teach to ensure that you understand the main take-away of the lesson. This way you can integrate your personal experiences and keep your kiddos engaged (no pun intended!).
Tip #1 Make sure the presentation is compatible with your classroom technology.
There are multiple types of software available and each school seems to have purchased something different. If you have a Smart board, you will want to use compatible software and there are excellent presentations that are designed for this technology that allow you to move items on the board and create an interactive experience. For the rest of us, purchasing this format doesn’t make sense as we don’t Smart board software that run .notebook files.
The most universal type of software is a PDF (portable document file) and should work on almost every type of computer. Most products will list what type of format they were developed for in the description. Be sure to check your classroom technology before you purchase a product.
Until I took the time and really started reading posts about Pinterest, I didn't understand (or believe) that it had so much power. Well, I've been working on this during the summer and I'm here to tell you - it does, it REALLY, REALLY does. Prior to the summer, I used Pinterest occasionally to pin items that I found to be interesting to me personally, not really caring if anyone else liked what I was pinning or not. That was fine for that purpose. However, I wanted to see if I could really increase traffic to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and therefore, increase sales. The answer is, without a doubt, YES. Now, in all honesty I had paid Pinterest to promote a few of my pins before sales and things but after that - well, see for yourself. The number of monthly viewers has (at least for me) turned into increased sales that I could not have believed if I hadn't experienced it myself.
Now, I'm not turning into Deanna Jump (but who is?), but I can tell you this increase will help me pay extra toward my student loans that I'm incurring while pursuing my doctorate and I am very grateful. I'm also slightly proud of the positive reception my products have had from teachers. I made them for myself in my own classroom and I'm so glad to see that other teachers find them as useful as I do.
I am a busy person. I work full time teaching math to fourth graders. Additionally, I am going to school full time to earn my doctorate in education and I am trying to work on my Teachers Pay Teachers store to start a business that will hopefully help me repay some of the debt I'm incurring at school.
That being said, trying to commit to a blog may have been one too many things. I am making a September Resolution (A Labor Day) resolution to try to reflect more often.
So, from this point forward this blog is going to be just that. My personal reflection on whatever strikes my fancy at that moment.
Right now, I've made some progress on what I may want to focus my dissertation on, so I'm pretty excited about that! I'm off to the virtual library to see what the literature has to say and hopefully the next time I'm back I will have a solid idea that is ready to go!
Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone is able to relax (at least a little).
Now, I am in full agreement that a math teacher should have to pass a math test if they want to teach. However, did I mention I teach 4th GRADE?
Oh well. I began reviewing Khan Academy and I'm working with the teachers at my school to help me review and hopefully remember all of these wonderful terms. I know I can do it, I just have to remind myself of the math I learned all those years ago in high school.
Off to study!
them. The cool fence backgrounds with the adorable clip art kiddos - they're just too cute. I really appreciate the artistic talent these clip artists have - they're so creative.
What I really love about these, is that in the products themselves, I didn't use any of my fancy fonts because I knew buyers wouldn't have them on their computers and I didn't want them to have to buy anything else. So just using the regular, standard fonts I was able to show how wonderful covers can look!
PowerPoint really is versatile and once you learn how to navigate the program, you can do quite a bit.
I hope buyers take a look and that they love them as much as I do!
Consider this - if, everyday, I am expected to teach a brand new lesson in phonics/reading, math, social studies, science and English language arts, when am I going to have time to review the lessons in those teacher manuals? Um, never.
I've been teaching for a few years now and I've never had "down" time during the day, or quite honestly, even the year! Even those of us with the best intentions wind up doing everything else during our prep period other than reading through all the material we have to review. There's some good stuff in those books, but you have to be able to spend the time and read every page and take notes. We're all trying to survive on the Cliff's Notes versions.
So, how did I remedy this?
I spend so much time online looking at all of these absolutely beautiful classrooms in complete awe.
They are gorgeous, show stopping and yes, I'm insanely jealous. And most of them are spot on in the material they have up on the walls. How do they do it?
Children really do reference the material on the walls around them. It is so important that the information up there is relevant, at their level (both physically and academically) and it needs to be consistent.
Here are some pictures of my past rooms and I distinctly remember students time and again referring to something I had posted on the walls. After looking through some old photos, I've decided to recognize my all-star wall posters.
I'm sure I've committed some sort of Pinterest Faux Pas because I uploaded EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT (okay, not really - but many) to my board today. I still don't understand the etiquette and I've committed to study it more, but I was so excited that my products were DONE, I just had to get them out there.
Additionally, I watched some videos on making Pinterest Pins. Apparently, I haven't been doing that right either! Good grief. I'll get there I guess. Here are a few attempts. I learned on TpT that you can assign them specific links and then you can see which one brings you the most traffic. SO MUCH INFO!
Which one will people respond to best? I'm not sure. What do you think? Asked the hubby and he said he loved them all - isn't he the best?!
Okay, I'm off to make more covers - this is too fun!
Once you have the banner in hand, installing them isn't too bad. I created a step by step for customers to use after they have purchased a banner from me. I thought I'd share with you!
Prefer a PDF? Here you go!
I am typically fairly adept at navigating new technologies presented to the masses. I'm no programmer, but most new gadgets or apps I can adapt to and use if they suit my purposes. However, I'm having an incredibly difficult time with my Facebook store page. Initially I thought I had to set up a separate account and did that, but as soon as I realized that I was in fact NOT supposed to do that, I closed it down and I've been trying to figure out how to utilize the page FB has set aside for me. I can add products and post things and it has buttons for me to add and it keeps asking me to boost my products. I just don't have the navigation down and it doesn't seem as intuitive as many other products. I'll figure it out, but after working all day and then working on my school work at night, the last thing I want to do is to try and navigate new software. Maybe I'll just stick with Pinterest and Instagram. They seem to be easy enough for this old lady to understand them.
The kids loved these writing prompts and we were able to create some really fun pieces to hang in the hallway.
Many of my kiddos have never had the pleasure of carving their own jack-o-lanterns and have hand no experience with the interior of a pumpkin at all. These small opportunities are invaluable in helping them think more broadly about the world around them. I remember one student last year had no idea you could dye Easter eggs. She simply thought they only came in plastic.
Halloween and pumpkin math is so versatile. I've seen activities including counting, sorting and graphing types of candy. We are working on measurement so we measured our pumpkins in both standard and non-standard units. The kids had a blast!
I visited my hairstylist today and I was explaining that I learned to do GIF's for my TpT store. I kept trying to explain what they were and we were finally able to look at the GIF's I created on my store and she was so kind and paid me so many compliments, I decided to make a GIF for her. I didn't have any pictures from her, so I went onto her FB page and "borrowed" a few. A couple of hours later, this was my final product...
I had several pencil cases like this when I was a child and I loved them! I can't find them anymore. Are they obsolete? I hope not!
I have been on Teachers Pay Teachers for a few years now selling the SMART board files I use to teach math. However, I came across some clip-art by a very talented individual and I was so inspired, I learned how to create the animated .gifs that everyone has in their quote boxes.
I have to say, I was pretty impressed with myself! I didn't do any ground breaking research, but I did have to continue to work at the process until I found something that worked. It took a looooooong time. I almost walked away, but I decided to take a deep breath and keep plugging along.
The end result was worth it I think. I hope other sellers do too. Take a look at a few of them here and let me know what you think!
I have several styles up at my store. Come take a look - they're under my Custom Categories --> Animated Quote Boxes.
As a new teacher I had no money to think about decorating my classroom. All these teachers online have gorgeous, perfectly planned decor and I had nothing. I learned that you don't have to have perfectly coordinated decorations to make the classroom feel cozy. All I did was go around and collect the leftover pocket charts other teachers were storing in their cupboards and asked if anyone had resources they weren't using. Apparently, they did - look at how full my room is!
I have been very fortunate this year as I have been chosen to attend a series of lectures on Assistive Technology as part of a grant. I represent the general education teachers and I'm very excited to begin bringing back information to my teammates about all the wonderful things we have learned so far.
The most recent conference topic covered several topics including websites teachers could use to make presenting material more engaging for the students. A website that caught my eye was Thinglink and I began playing around in it right away. It was fairly easy to use and I think it could really be incorporated easily into current web plans. In fact, you could simply place key points from any presentation to a Thinglink and let students explore for themselves. Each link allows you as the teacher to have students visit additional websites, or watch videos - all linked right from the picture. It's very cool and I'm looking forward to using it in the classroom.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that I have experienced all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
I've been reading teaching blogs for a few years now, soaking in all that my fellow teachers are sharing and I have to say it's been wonderful! I love seeing what other teachers are doing and how they have been successful in their classrooms.
This year has been going very well for me (where's the wood to knock on? I KNOW I should never actually ADMIT it out loud). My students are kind, cooperative (most of the time) and love to learn. Of course, I still have all the regular problems, but they aren't as overwhelming this year. Whether that's due to this particular class or me becoming a more competent teacher, I'm not sure...Whatever the reason is - I'll take it!
One thing I have learned this year thanks to our friend, The Two Sisters is to work SMARTER not HARDER. Here are a some of my kiddos during "Read to Self" time which they love!
When you're a newbie though, you have no idea what that means. You're doing the best you can but also working harder than you ever thought you could. However, this year I was able to let go and give my students the responsibility for their own learning. My principal is a big proponent of ensuring students are responsible for their learning and their behavior and therefore, I have really taken that lesson to heart.
I don't do the Daily 5 EXACTLY like it is written (although I would love to, my school curriculum does not allow for that). HOWEVER, I was able to mix the "essence" into my centers and I'm telling you...I LOVE IT! The students are engaged and I am able to sit down with the children that really need to see my without being distirbed. I will definitely keep this up next year.
Elementary Teacher/ Teacherpreneur
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