Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thirteen in 13! {linky party}

I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten, A Teeny Tiny Teacher, and Dragonflies in First for this fun end of the year linky!


My scarf collection has grown this year-I love them all!




We are die hard Walking Dead fan, but once we started Breaking Bad, Walt stole our heart.


A local authentic Mexican restaurant, Carmen's. 



Kate Spade phone cover that looks like a library card!



I don't know if I have a favorite post, but this was a fairly recent and popular one.  I showed how I made some things in my library.

This one ends in a tie- I received Teacher of the Year in January and spoke at the SDE TN 1st Grade Conference in December.  Both major accomplishments in my book!



If you haven't seen the commercial you won't get it-


Best. Concert. Ever.




A goal I have for 2014 is to be more observant of the needs of people around me.  I sometimes tend to forget things that are important to others until it's too late.  I want to do a better job of making those I love feel important. 




You can link up with Thirteen in '13 by clicking the image below!




Monday, December 30, 2013

Three Must Have Products under $10

Shoplet has given me the opportunity to review 3 products, each under $10, that are great to have on hand.  This past weekend was the Nashville Blogger Meetup and we went to Gaylord's ICE! exhibit.  If you've never been to one of these, it is COLD.  The theme was Frosty the Snowman and it's so cold, they give you giant blur parkas to wear.  This is where I was able to put one of the products to the test.  I took my Clean Green Microfiber Smarter Dual Action Gloves so I could use my iPhone while I was wearing gloves.
See more by clicking either image above!
I am happy with the performance of the gloves.  They are lightweight, but warm.  They are not bulky and fit well.  I could also still use my touch screen phone and the screen was nice and clean afterwards! The only disappointing thing was, that was totally my fault, when I tore out the tag from inside one glove, the edge came unraveled.  Just use scissors!

The second product was something everyone should have laying around, because you just never know- a Furniture Touch Up Kit.  This kit is just under $10 and can be used on furniture, floors, cabinets, doors, basically anything wood!  The markers are to be used for scratches and the filler sticks fill in places where wood is missing  
See the nick in the wood?
After using the Touch Up Marker, it barely shows!
Something everyone needs!


The last product I was given to review is the Rolling Wrist Rest.  I tried it at school first, but my keyboard there has some extra plastic in front of the keys, so I had to really reach to get to the keys.  Then I tried it with my laptop and wow!  It made a huge difference in how my wrist felt even after just a few minutes.  The only complaint I have ever had with my MacBook is that the edge rubs my wrist while typing or using the mouse pad.  Not anymore!  I definitely recommend the wrist pad for laptop users.  The rollers move smooth and quickly.  The soft foam padding provides comfort and support.

Love it!
The next time you need office or home supplies keep Shoplet in mind!  They have hundreds of products like promotional products, promotional shirts, and office stationary.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer

I am a librarian.  If I spend very long thinking about how many germs I come in contact with in one day, I will freak out.  Seriously.  All those books.  All those hands touching every inch of those books. Starting to freak out.... So when I was asked if I would like to try a new hand sanitizer, I said YES!!!
Clean Smart sent me a few bottles and spray to try in exchange for my honest opinions.  I used it and gave a bottle to another teacher to try.  Our thoughts were the same- loved it!


I love it!  It did not have any scent at all, which I love!  It is alcohol free and kills 99.9% of germs.  You can't do much better than that! Cold and flu season is upon us, so get yours now!  Click the image above to see Clean Smart's entire line of products!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

New Teacher Blog Tuesday

It's been awhile since I've had a teacher to feature on New Teacher Blog Tuesday, but all you have to do is email me!

Today's new teacher is Andrea from 

1.                         Tell us about your blog and why you started it.
I was inspired to start my blog after reading other fabulous teacher blogs out there.  I loved that they shared so many of their great ideas and activities. I had fun reading them and I felt like I got to know them as teachers. My hope is to share some activities I use in my classroom and to connect with other teachers.  

2.                           Tell us a little about your teaching background.
In college my major was Business Administration with a minor in Education. Around junior year it hit me.  The business field was not for me! I loved all of my education classes and decided I wanted to pursue teaching.  It’s funny because when I was little I was asked like most kids, ”What do you want to be when you grow up?” and I always answered  with “A teacher!”  So I continued to pursue my career in education and have been teaching first grade for 9 years.  I was fortunate enough to take over a maternity leave in 2005 and have been in the same classroom ever since! Every day is still an adventure and I love my students!

3.                          What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
*Stronger- Kelly Clarkson
*Beautiful Day- U2
*Don’t Stop Believin’- Journey
*Roar- Katy Perry

4.                         What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
The hardest thing I’ve done was saying goodbye to my family dog after she lost her battle with kidney disease. She was the most caring, loving, brave, and energetic dog! She always made me smile no matter the mood I was in with her silly little antics and loving way.  She was a wonderful companion and I think about her everyday.
5.                         What’s your favorite TV show?
One of my all time favorite shows was Lost.  Now I love watching shows like Pretty Little Liars, Glee, Revenge, and The Big Bang Theory (quite a mix!).

6.                          What is your favorite item of clothing and why?
I have to go with shoes on this! My favorites are my Jack Rogers sandals in the spring & summer and my comfy Uggs in the winter. I also love long necklaces too- not really an item of clothes, but it can dress up an outfit!

7.                         Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
31 ugh! A few more months until 32.

8.                         What was the last book you read? What are you going to read next?
Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof all by Emily Giffin. The next one I’m going to read is, Love the One You’re With.

9.                   What was the last thing that you ate that you really shouldn’t of?
A large piece of oreo cheesecake! Oops!

10.                    Give us some links- Twitter, Pinterest, Teacher’s Pay Teachers, Facebook, a free teaching item etc.
A free teaching item:

Be sure to go by and visit Andrea!

Monday, December 23, 2013

5 websites every math teacher should bookmark!

Here are 5 awesome websites that will help you teach the 
Common Core State Standards and 
Mathematical Practice Standards in your classroom.

1.  Inside Mathematics- Resources are aligned to Common Core, videos of math lessons in almost every grade level, leveled problems of the month to be used school wide (cool idea!), and math tasks divided by grade and mathematical progression.

2.  Mathematics Assessment Project- Math tasks for middle & high school (search by standard) and professional development modules.

3.  Illustrative Mathematics- Math tasks searchable by grade level, explanation and task for each standards, and great explanations of the math practice standards.

4.  TNCore- Standards and shifts, curricular resources, and so many more Common Core resources.

And my favorite.....................................

5.  K-5 Math Teaching Resources- Math tasks, activities, and tasks for read alouds by each grade level. E-books on math journals, math projects, and vocabulary, and examples of anchor charts.

I hope these websites are helpful in your classroom.  Please share ones you use in the comments!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Math Through Tasks & Literature in the Primary Grades



    A few weeks ago I presented on the Math Constructed Response Assessment and using math tasks in the classroom at the SDE Tennessee 1st Grade Conference.  It was an experience like no other!  I mean, I had lunch with Jim Grant, Deanna Jump, Kim Adsit, and Sandi Reyes.  I mean, seriously people,  they are education rockstars! I'm still a little starstruck...
    So back to my presentation.  The CRA is a math assessment we give here in Tennessee.  I went over the format and what is expected, CCSS & Mathematical Practice standards, identifying & writing cognitively demanding math tasks and using children's lit for math tasks.  You can find my handouts under the "conferences" tab at the top of my blog.
     My school began using math tasks last year.  We learned how to identify quality tasks and how to write them.  At first, I was worried, but after a few weeks, my kids LOVED working them!  I learned two problem solving methods last year that my 1st grade students did really well with.  The first is a way to analyze word problems called BUGS.

BUGS looks like this-
Teaching your students what each letter stands for and how to do it takes practice and modeling, and lots of it, but it's totally worth it.  Using BUGS forces the students to look closely at the problem and really know what it says.  

A problem solving method that allows students to demonstrate their understanding is called RICE.
To use the RICE method, students divide their paper (or desk, as you'll see below) into 4 sections.  The first box is R for retell or restate (whichever you prefer).  Students restate the important information.  The 2nd box is I for illustrate.  Students draw out a picture to solve the problem.  C is for computation.  This is where the number sentence magic happens.  E is for explain.  Students tell how they solved the problem.  Just like with BUGS, you'll have to do a lot of these together.  Before long, they'll be begging for math tasks!
Here are some examples-

Using the desk instead of paper has many advantages- more space to write, kids thought it was cool so they were excited to work the tasks, saved on copies and trees! I also used it as a behavior thing- if someone wasn't doing what they were suppose to, I traded their Expo marker for paper and pencil! 
My students kept a dry erase marker and old sock in their school boxes- that plus manipulatives are all you need! 
This is a handout I made when I wanted a hard copy of their work.

If you need some penguin math problems for this winter, check out this product I created-

  Here are some great children's books that lend themselves to creating math problems.







Like what you see? Follow me!

Please share your experiences with math tasks and helpful resources in the comments!

Blogging tips