June 29, 2016

Guided Math Book Study: Chapters 1 & 2

Today's the day... we are officially talking about Guided Math in Action! 


Here are my biggest ah-ha moments from the first two chapters. 

 Feel free to grab the blank copy below to post on your social media sights or your blog. 



Alright, shall we start?? Feel free to respond to some or all of the questions below. These questions come from the end of each chapter. 


No. I get children every year who believe they are "no good at math" even from such an early age. Or they think, "math is hard" I think a lot of these kids even have parents who reenforce this idea by telling them that "math was hard for me in school too" I know parents do this to comfort their child and with good intentions, but I wish they would stop! Click here to read what I think about this "I'm not good at math" societal norm we've created!

Talk to them. Remind them it is okay to not understand. It is okay to struggle. Encourage them to keep pushing through that struggle. Teach them to take a break and then come back to the problem. 
I created these posters you can grab for free. They come straight from Dr. Nicki's thoughts on teaching kids how to preserver. I plan to talk about this idea at length with my kids from day one next year. These posters (freebie alert) will hang on the wall and I will refer back to them MANY times. I think we need to remind students a lot that not everything we do is easy. We grow as learners when things are not easy!!


They do now! Lol! I am guilty of asking just a few students to respond to questions I throw out during a whole group mini lesson. When you "do the math" and realize how many questions a student answers during the year if you can on one student to answer each question VS. the number of questions they answer if you allow all students to answer, it becomes a no brainer. So, my plan moving forward is to assign students a partner starting on the first day. When I am teaching my mini lessons students will sit near their turn and talk partner. Then, when I ask a question they will turn and talk.  I created these posters (freebie alert) to assign partners in a fun way. I think I will just hang the posters up near the board so we can see them all the time. I plan to print and laminate so I can change partners easily as needed! 

Of course students also get to have mathematical conversations at my table. 


Celebrate the struggle!! Cheer for kids no matter if the answer is right or wrong, cheer for them when they don't give up!! If your class uses brag tags you could give this perseverance tag to students who stick with the struggle!!



Two years ago I started number talks. These number talks have helped my students think flexibly about numbers in a safe environment. It allows us to model math reasoning through thinking out loud. This year I also plan to use beaded number lines to teach many skills at the guided math table. I believe this tool will encourage flexibility as well.

I've always used Turn and Talk to launch discussions and number talks as mentioned above. This year I plan to incorporate google classroom as a way to facilitate conversations between peers (I will blog about it once I get it started) and I also plan to use a cool app called Plickers. This are mostly all for auditory and visual learners... I can't wait to see what others suggest!  


Usually I pull everyone back to the carpet and quickly sum up what we learned that day. Sometimes I will highlight something cool a students said or did or I'll ask them to share. I may even ask for feedback on a management piece if there is something we need to work at. After reading the chapter though I plan to do a better job at this piece. I want students to be the one to share and I love Dr. Nicki's suggestion of a mathematician's chair just like an author's chair! I will set a timer though because it is easy to turn that into a time suck!!

I have a few more freebies I am working on from these chapters. I'll post them on IG and in the FB group when I get them posted. Thanks for sticking around, I know that was a LONG post.. I can't wait to have a discussion with all of you!!




June 22, 2016

Guided Math in Action: The Plan



Hi! Welcome to my little piece of the internet. I am Heather, a thirty-something wife, mother of 2 and teacher blogger. I have been teaching for 13 years and loving every almost every minute of it! I taught 3rd grade for 10 years, first grade for 3 years and now I am headed back up to teach 3rd grade math/science! Teaching first grade really strengthened my teaching craft. It enabled me to hone my small group skills in a way I don't think would have happened if I'd stayed in a third grade classroom. I am ready to take those skills back up to third with me though!! 

I have be using guided math for 3 years now and I can't imagine going back to whole group! I still have a lot to learn though and I am eager to work my way through this book. I hope you'll join in on the conversation either through your blog, our Facebook page, or on Twitter. I can't wait to see what we can learn together!!


I am so excited to be co-hosting this guided math book study with Cindy from Mrs. Price's KinderGators and Maggie from Maggie's Kinder Corner. We will be reading and discussing Dr. Nicki Newton's book, Guided Math in Action. If you have never had the opportunity to hear Dr. Nicki speak, you are missing out! She is amazing. She was recently a presenter for a small group of teachers in my district but I was not asked to attend :( I considered crashing the party!! Those who were able to attend had so many wonderful things to share! Then, I was lucky enough to watch a webinar she posted on her blog... I took 4 pages of notes and had so many ah-ha moments!!


Okay. Are you still with me?? Below you can find the details for the book study


3 ways to join the party! 
  1. Create a blog post and link up each Wednesday
  2. Hop on over to the FB page and post/ read along there
  3. Head over to twitter and join the discussion using the #guidedmathbookstudy 
Why am I passionate about teaching kids to LOVE math?
Imagine you were on an airplane and the person next to you asked what you did for a living. You say, "I teach reading." What if they then said to you, "I hate reading, I am no good at it."? You would probably be in shock that they just admitted to you that they were not a good reader. Admitting you are a struggling reader is a kind of social faux-pas.  However, this happens EVERY DAY when you tell someone you teach math. Inevitably, people respond, "I'm no good at math." I wonder, why is that okay? Why do we not think anything of it?

I use guided math because I want the kids that leave my class to love math. I hope I can teach them to believe in themselves and their math ability. I hope I teach them to be problem solvers!

Watch this short clip below. This is why we need to be flexible thinkers - problem solvers! Obviously this is meant as a joke, but it may not be that far from the truth!


Thanks for stopping in today! I hope to see you here again next Wednesday. Have a great week!!


June 20, 2016

DIY Beaded Number Lines


I'm so excited to be linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made It of the summer! I'm a HUGE procrastinator so having a Monday dead line really helps ensure I actually get some things crossed off of my to-do list! 

math tool, guided math, beaded number line, math,


This week I am most excited about my beaded number lines. What are beaded number lines you ask? They are a fabulous tool used for counting, skip counting, adding (composing), subtracting(decomposing), rounding, place value (groups of tens and ones) and so much more. 

I first learned about this tool when Dr. Nicki Newton came to my school district and presented to the math specialists. Sadly, I wasn't invited :( 

number line, math tool, DIY, guided math,

I chose to make 6 beaded number lines so that I could use them with my small groups. If I was still teaching first grade, I may go ahead and make a whole class set... My math specialist said the kids could make them but I am too type A for that on summer vacation. My kids did help me make them but I made sure they counted after each set of 10 to ensure they had the proper amount of beads. I don't want my math tools to confuse any children! 

math, guided math, beaded number line, math tool

  • To make the number lines I used 2 packages of pony beads {2 different colors}
  • Para cord (though you could use shoelaces or lanyard) Be sure you don't get anything too thick.
  • Small jump rings (for storage purposes)


Step 1: tie a double knot at the bottom of a 2-yard piece of string. I used paracord because it was inexpensive and in the same isle as the pony beads at Hobby Lobby #winning. Shoelaces work well because they are easy to thread the bead onto but they are more costly. I put a small piece of scotch tape on the end where I was adding the beads since the cord frayed a bit where it had been cut.

Step 2: alternate adding sets of 10 beads. I put 100 beads on each string but the first grade teachers on my campus may choose to use 120 since they will be using this as a counting tool. 

Step 3: double knot the top end of the string to a jump ring. This way you can hang all the number lines on a command hook for easy, tangle free storage! 

That's it! Easy peasy. My kids were mad I only needed six number lines. They each made 3 in about 20 minutes. 


Using a Beaded Number Line from Karen Richardson on Vimeo.




I also made my first video tutorial and several new TpT products.

I created and posted this 65 page editable Back to School presentation. I also finally got around to updating and listing this "Thanks for popping in" labels. 


Thanks for stopping by today! Please comment below to let me know if you ever heard of a beaded number line.  Do you think it could be useful in your classroom? I'd love to hear from you!






June 12, 2016

5 for Frunday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the first time in a long time!

My first donor's choose project was funded! I am getting 4 wobble stools for my classroom and my principal game me the green light for flexible seating next year. Eek!!! 



My dad is visiting from Ohio and Monday was my first official day of summer. We finally have time to do all the fun stuff we are too tired to do during the school year! First stop, bowling! Did you know kids can bowl 2 games per day, every day for free over the summer?  It's true! Click here to see if a bowling alley near you us participating!
 We try to do something special while grandpa is in town, This time we decided to ride the Ferry over to Bolivar Peninsula and then go swimming in Galveston. The water may not look pretty but it was super warm and we played in the waves for hours!

I helped watched my husband tear down our very old fence and gate and then rebuild a new one! I did have to help at the end.. I like to think I'm the brains of the operation :) Shh. don't tell my husband. 
I threw out a question on IG about a guided math book study and Cindy from Mrs. Price's Kindergators suggested I host one. We got to talking and now we are planning to collaborate on a book study with Maggie from Maggie's Kinder Corner. I am SUPER excited. Guided math is a passion of mine and I can't wait to hear from and share with other teachers and bloggers. Details will be coming out shortly! 




August 1, 2015

Currently August

I can't help but link up with Farley even though I want to pretend it's not August yet!


Listening - my husband is always watching the golf channel.. I don't golf. Snore. 

Loving - we moved into the new home last September and the pool needed to be refinished and then it got cold. This summer it has a beautiful surface and crystal blue water and my family has been in it every day. I love that we can just hop in - swim and get back out. No packing bags, no packing food... it's glorious!

Thinking - I always need more time. I am an amazing procrastinator. I need more time to lose weight, clothes shop, create TpT resources, get my room ready.... you get the idea #whenwillIlearn

Wanting: I was asked to write 1st grade math curriculum for my district this summer. I am writing it with one other teacher and it has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have loved the process so much but it is a TON of work. We are almost finished with the first half of the year though and then we'll take a break as it gets reviewed and revised! 

Needing:My sister-in-law is getting married and I still don't have a dress... or shoes.... or Spanx :) See, I procrastinate in all areas of my life, not just work! (um, I was waiting to lose 80 pounds but since I can't stop eating carbs I have enjoyed my summer, I guess I need to do the best I can with what I got (yes, I know that is not grammatically correct) sigh. 

B2S Rak: I am changing schools after 11 years. I am looking forward to my new adventure but I'm also so sad to leave behind my school family. Hopefully I can make a new family at this school.

Head on over to link up or read about what everyone else is currently doing! 






July 20, 2015

Must Have Monday: Classroom Essentials

I'm excited to be linking up with the girls over at Freebielicious today for Must Have Monday. There are LOTS of things I MUST have that you can't just go and buy.... can anyone say SmartBoard?? I'll share the things you can grab though that have made my teacher life a lot easier!!



Book Bins from Really Good Stuff
I love my clear book bins from Really Good Stuff. I bought them 3 years ago and while some of the kids have been a little rough on them, most of them are as nice as the day they were purchased. I made the choice to buy clear ones because our school changes themes every year and this way I know they will match no matter what! I simply print a new themed label each year and stick it on! Easy Peasy!! 


I love the look of circle labels but I HATE cutting circles... enter the most fabulous invention ever. The Circle Punch! This one is a 3-inch diameter and it makes cutting my labels a breeze! I bought mine at Michaels with a 40% off coupon and my teacher discount!!! Here is the link to one on Amazon though if you're interested. 

Clear File Folder Book Bins (Amazon Link)

Lastly, I love these clear file folder sized bins from Amazon. It comes in a pack of 6 for around $25. I have these on a book shelf behind my reading table. I labeled each container with the names of the kids in my group and then stuck the reading pouches for the books we were working on plus the next few inside the bucket. I would also put any games we were playing and reader's response prompts inside. This made it so easy. Once I called a group to my table, I would just put the bucket next to me and have everything I needed. It was also a cinch to leave sub plans since everything was in one spot! 



I cold go on and on about Sit Spots, rolling containers, pens, markers etc - maybe I have a problem!! Ha. Head on over to Freebielicious to see what everyone else must have!

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