Wednesday, January 30, 2013

February Math Games & Grounghog Math Game Freebie

I can't believe how time flies!  February is already here!  I made a great set of February Math Games that includes groundhog, Valentine, president, and dental health themes.

My sons test the games for me to be sure they are "cool" enough and "fun" enough.  They are in kindergarten and second grade, so I get a good sense of the strategies that can be used to play the games.  I love watching my sons approve the games before I test them with my first grade studentsOne of my second grader's comments this time was, "Your fonts are all good!"  Sometimes he has me go back and change things!  

Our favorite game is The Love Connection where you have to cover decade numbers that make 100.  When all the numbers are covered, the player with the longest connecting string of numbers is the winner.  We had a blast playing again and again to see if we could get a longer string of connecting numbers.

I realize Groundhog Day is right around the corner, so I'm linking one of my groundhog games, Shadow Bump, as a FREE PREVIEW.  Students roll two dice and add.  Then they add ten to the sum.  Players can cover, bump, or lock numbers!  It's lots of fun! I hope your students like it!

Stop by my TpT store and check out my February Math Games, and Winter Math Games.   Thanks!  
Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Groundhog Word Work FREEBIE

Mr. Groundhog will be searching for his shadow on February 2nd; let your students search for synonyms with this cute groundhog word work FREEBIE!  

My kids have been working hard on several winter themed word work centers.  Their favorite was a penguin antonym match activity.  Why???  Because I copied the recording sheet for students to turn in.  Even if I make a center with a recording sheet, I usually ask students to record their answers in their journals.  It saves paper, trees, and TIME on my part.  Students show me their word work journals when they come for small group lessons and I don't have to keep up with so many pieces of paper!  Who knew that the kids would be so motivated by a recording sheet and a couple of clipboards? I knew I had to get cracking and make something that was as excting as penguin antonyms!  

I made a groundhog themed word work center for the kids to use next week, and YES, I will copy the recording sheet for them to useMy students crack me up!  If they finish the the synonym search they can spend a few minutes on the adorable Groundhog ABC Order center I snagged on Classroom Freebies last week!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Do you ever have times when you don't have the work work station stocked?  Do your kids ever finish word work, and all of the "extra" activities for early finishers?  I do!  I picked up a pack of word work task cards that are READY TO GO and can be used at any time.  I plan on using them as a filler between my themed work work stations.  Sometimes, especially on a Friday afternoon, I just can't laminate or plan another word work activity!  

I am so glad my son's teacher made these fabulous Word Work Task Cards and Choice Board!  They are perfect for my word work tub and will be fantastic for my early finishers!  I can't wait until she posts her Daily 5 writing choice boards!  Check them out and don't forget to grab my groundhog freebie:)  Have a great week!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

ID Badge Verse - Matthew 5:9

I hope everyone has a great MLK Day tomorrow!  Take a minute to reflect on why we have this holiday!  I know we'll all be working on our Martin Luther King, Jr. activities in the classroom this week!  Download the verse of the week, Matthew 5:9, and think about the great peacemakers that have set such a wonderful example for us.

As you share about the life of MLK with your students, remember why this great man chose to live a life of peace.  He left a powerful legacy for us all.  Have a peaceful week!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Shape Lovin' math game FREEBIE

My grade level has a new approach to planning this year.  We use and lesson share.  With the stress of aligning our teaching methods with the rigor of new Common Core State Standards this has been a huge help!  We have a template that each team member posts lessons to.  Each team member hunts and searches through our county's curriculum pacing and finds fresh and fast paced ways to present the information to our 21st century learners.  One team member writes the CAFE/literacy mini lessons, one writes the phonics program mini lessons, one writes science and social studies, another writes the writing mini lessons and writer's workshop lessons, and I do the math.  I'm a literacy girl but as you can see from my TpT store and blog, I've been getting creative with math lately!  As the weeks go by we continue to improve now that each of us is becoming the expert in our one area.  This week I FINALLY got my lessons in by the deadline...6pm on Sunday evening.  (Grad school often gets in the way of my timely execution of lessons and laundry!)

We all have projectors in our room so often times I put a pdf of a game on the big screen during morning meeting and we play girls vs. boys.  We move magnets around the game board in place of pawns.  I can write directly on the board or game spaces and the kids have so much fun.  It's a great way to integrate skills into the social aspects of your morning meeting.  Many times we play games as a group before they are introduced in a guided math small group or before students play them with a partner during math games rotations.  I like to be sure the kids get lots of exposure to the skill or strategy before I turn them loose with a game.

Since I have many so many themed sets, I find myself changing the graphics on the games to make a quick review that goes along with our current theme.  We are beginning third quarter with a shapes unit.  I re-purposed one of my Thanksgiving games to play during morning meeting.  I'm currently working on my February math games pack, so this may make the cut, or I may just leave it as a freebie.   The game is called Shape Lovin'!  As students move around the game board, they name shapes and give real examples of objects with that shape.  When I played with my students we tallied flat and solid shapes during the game.  It was fun and generated authentic math talk among students.  Download it and let me know what you think!  :)

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, January 13, 2013

ID Badge Verse - 1 John 4:7

The verse this week is simple and one that many of you already know and live by.  Scripture tells us in 1 John 4:7 to "Love one another because love comes from God."  This chapter is packed with powerful truths about God's love.

11 since God loved us, we also ought to love one another.

12 if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.

18 There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear...

19 We love because he first loved us.

This week I want to reflect on why I am able to love and remember to extend love to others.  When I teach with love I am sharing God's love with others.  Download this week's verse, 1 John 4:7 and remember to simply love one another.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Geology Rocks! Earth Science Game

Our second quarter unit is about solid earth materials.  Ever year I give my students a little bag of rocks and a cute mini book about geology.  The kids LOVE itBecause my brain is constantly thinking "common core, common core, common core," I decided to add a new twist to my usual Christmas gift to the students.  

I made a simple game board that mimics a cute handmade earth materials game that I always use as a fun review during morning meeting.  Since our common core ELA focus is informational text, I made game question cards that reference the mini book.  

I personalized the game boards with each child's name included different colored rocks to use as game pawns, a die, a set of question cards, the mini book, and a set of informational text question cards.  The kids loved playing the game!  It was a creative and affordable Christmas gift for my students and I am so glad I have this idea to use next yearFeel free to use this game in your classroom as a morning meeting activity or as a fun science review!  I removed the student name blank from the game and titled it "Geology Rocks" so it can be used with any child in your class.

I copied the original handmade version of the game from a super creative first grade colleague that always inspires me with her creativity and passion for teaching.  The creativity cycle continued as the game board we use in morning meeting inspired the great Game Challenge of 2012 with my class last year.  

To earn a week with no homework, students created earth material themed games.  It was great!  I received a beach themed game with shells as pawns, a shoebox game, a "famous rocks" themed game, and a jeopardy game.  We loved playing each child's creative contribution during morning meeting.  What surprised me the most was that the students that were the most creative with their games were the students that struggled in academic areas.  The overwhelming response to this experience reminded me of a quote by Albert Einstein that says, "Creativity is intelligence having fun."  When I show students my love for using creativity to learn new things, they catch the spark of excitement and join in!

Freebie Fridays

Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter Math Games

I've got a great freebie for you today!  My Winter Math Games are now posted on TpTThe set includes 8 game boards.  I use the games with my students as morning meeting activities (the kids lOVE to play boys vs. girls with the game projected on the BenQ board), guided math small group instruction, and then in the skills/games math center.  

Some of my advanced students master the game strategies quickly, so I made recording sheets for seven of the games as an extension or enrichment for the game.  Some of the sheets are challenging and would work well as a guided math group lesson.

I want you to have a sample of one of my favorite games, Mug O' Mallows, which focuses on combining tens to make 100.  I hope you can use it in the classroom to reinforce decade numbers and making sums of 100.  Students can't have enough practice working with groups of ten.  A second grade teacher colleague told me that many of her students still struggle to fluently add decade numbers!   

My son (a second grader) loves playing these games and trying to teach my kindergartener how to play!  I think the games would be great for first or second grade students (depending on independent skill levels).  Have fun with the freebie and if you like it, visit me on TpT for more details on my new Winter Math Games pack.  :) 

Classroom Freebies Manic MondayClassroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, January 6, 2013

ID Badge Verse - Philippians 4:13

Happy New Year!  So far 2013 is off to a great start in my classroom.  The kids came back rearing to go and ready to learn!  It seemed that each of my students was a few inches taller and a bit more mature after they returned from their holiday break.  In a few weeks second quarter will come to a close and things will really being to pick up the pace.  Although I dread the paperwork and assessments that always come with the end of an academic quarter, I delight in documenting the growth that each child has experienced.  I try to help each student understand that "all things are possible" and that they can do anything they put their mind to! 

As each child gains confidence with their new found independence in reading, writing, and math I am reminded that I must continue to express an encouraging and positive vision for their future.   

I will begin my last semester in graduate school next week!  I can't believe the years have gone by so fast!  There is no way I could have done any of it without Philippians 4:13 in my back pocket!  I will continue to hold on to this source of great strength as I am sometimes an important source of strength and encouragement for my sweet students.  Have a great week and remember where your source of hope, strength, and joy come from!