June 29, 2012

Teaching Patterning?

I saw an acquaintance post a picture from a math conference on her Facebook wall a few days ago and it is all I have been thinking about ever since. Her caption to the picture said, "this is the way we need to be teaching patterns, so that the kids understand that a pattern is not "what comes next" a pattern is a series that goes on infinitely." So, instead of asking what ONE thing comes next, we should be asking  students to continue the pattern through the end of the pattern unit. Am I losing you? Here is an example

in this picture, we are asking the students to find what comes next. Just one piece of the pattern. In essence, we are telling them the pattern is "A" rather than having them practice that the pattern unit is "AB" such as in the example below. 

Here, students see that "A" and "B" always go together. I think that this is just a minor tweak to our teaching that has long lasting repercussions for later math when students will have to work with more complex patterns.

So, how do you teach patterning? Do you already talk about the pattern unit or are you asking, "what comes next? 

I am so passionate about giving my students a strong mathematical foundation. Listening to speakers like Greg Tang and attending Singapore math conferences have really changed the way I think about math as an adult.  I am so excited for the opportunity to "get in on the ground floor" of the our students mathematical learning. I was always frustrated as a third grade teacher that I didn't have the time to go back and really teach kids number bonds so they could develop number sense. It was a constant uphill battle to get them to generalize with numbers and see the bigger picture. I pray I can do right by my kindergarten friends. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I will be back tomorrow with a patterning activity... if you don't already follow me, please consider doing so. I will have lots of freebies to offer this summer!

Happy Friday,

June 27, 2012

Glogster and You Tube

Hi friends, I am late to the party but I couldn't help myself. You see, I LOVE music. No, seriously, I am a musicaholic! I love almost every type of music there is. In my classroom, I love to use music. I have been know to write a song or two to teach math concepts with my third graders! So, when I saw Mrs. Nelson's You Tube linky party, and then Teaching Maddeness' turn the music up party, I knew I had to join! There were so many videos/songs that I liked, I had to put them together in Glogster. Have you used this site? Yesterday was my first time to really spend any time playing on it. I am the technology trainer for my campus and I learned about this site last year but never had time to think about it (think STAAR test). So, admittedly, these are not the most visually appealing but I think they will serve their purpose! In our district, You Tube is blocked. Embedding the videos into Glogster is a perfect solution. I can pull up the videos I need without having to mess with the firewall and I don't have to worry about inappropriate videos/ads popping up!!  Here, they are. I hope at least one of these is new to you! 

Some alphabet songs. My three-year old wanted me to play them                                                              over and over and over again yesterday!

Here are some of my favorite "teacher tip videos" Love the pencil grip trick! Have you seen all the Teacher Tipster videos? So funny!

This one includes a link to a shape game on ABCya.

Feel free to leave me a comment if your favorite You Tube teaching video was missing. I would love to have a complete collection of the best!

Daily 5: Chapter 3

I am linking up again with Tammy over at Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten for my reflections of chapter 3 in The Daily 5.
Tammy gave us things to think about while reading chapter 3:

1. Establish a gathering place for brain and body breaks.  I have always just called out meeting spot "the carpet." Original, I know. Feel free to use it if you must. LOL! I had never thought about calling it something else.... hmm. Maybe home base? I will work on that!

 2. Developing the concept of "good fit" books.  I have been doing lots of thinking about this. I like the shoe example from the book and I think that is a good jumping off spot. I think I would even leave some shoes at school as a visual or take pictures of the kids wearing ill fitting and good fitting shoes to add to our anchor chart. I also love the Goldilocks idea from Tammy. It makes perfect sense and most students will already be familiar with the concept that she had to find something that was "just right" for her. Again, understanding that the way Poppa Bear liked it was not the right way for her. I see us having a LOT of discussion around making choices that are right for us and not just because our best friend is doing it. I found this band-aid story on Pinterest (shocker) and the lesson on differentiation  lends itself to this discussion as well. By the way, how cute is her blog? Anyway, I guess what I am trying to say is, to me, at the very beginning of the year, I think this is more about doing what is best for you and your learning rather than finding the perfect book. The conversation needs to become about just right books but I don't think they will be ready for it first thing. I want to focus more on why we read and ways to read. Letting the kids be excited about picture reading and books in general. I would hate to discourage a hesitant reader by making them choose a different book because they've read this one too many times! 

3. Create anchor charts with students: When I first started teaching I bought all the cute charts from the teacher store. Guess what? The kids never referred to them - duh!. So, yes, we make all our anchor charts together and I post them where they can be seen by everyone. I leave them up as long as I can or as long as the information is relevant. I do not store them from year to year. In fact, this year I had so many kids who wanted to bring them home (to play school), that I had a drawing and sent them home the last week of school. I feel it is important to keep referring to the charts and even add to them as needed. I sure wish I could draw though.. some examples I have seen are amazing. Mine are pretty boring looking :(  I also adore the idea of taking a picture of each chart and keeping them in a binder to refer back to as needed. I could see doing this with the chart paper poems we work on each week. So students would be able to reread them whenever they'd like too! 

4. Short, repeated intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes. I am going to use a timer and a graph paper (extra math practice??) to keep track of our stamina. I have seen a lot of people post that they hate stopping for one or two off task children. I agree and it is so frustrating. Especially if you feel that student just can't help it! However, I am a big sports person and I believe the expression, "you are only as strong as your weakest link." So, with that mindset, I see why it makes sense to stop even for just one student. 

As far as book boxes go, I am in trouble! As you know, I have been teaching third grade so none of my books are appropriate. We do have a pretty amazing public library, school library and a guided reading library at my school. I guess I will be raiding those!! 

I hate to spend the money, but I think I am going to buy some book boxes from Really Good Stuff or the Container Store. I love to craft but the idea of making 20 + book boxes doesn't sound fun!

5. Calm Signals and check in procedures I use class/yes and the chime. Class/yes works really well for whole group but I don't think I will want to be saying it loud enough to get everyone's attention while they are all over the room. Plus, if they are tuning out other talking during the rotation, like the sound of my group or the people buddy reading, they may not hear the "class" and I still won't have their attention. I think the chime works because it is just a sound that cuts through everything else. I think I will follow it up with "hands and eyes" to make sure everyone has stopped and is giving me their full attention! I also like the way whole brain uses counting to transition back to the carpet. - hey, that's another things we can graph!

6. Using the correct model/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors. 
Um, I kind of hate the idea of practicing wrong. Whenever I have tried this, the kids act SO goofy that it is not very helpful. I think I like the idea of looks like/sounds like charts better. Also, having conversations like, "what should we do if Johnny is talking to you while you are doing read to self?" I also love the idea of taking pictures of the kids modeling the "right" way and posting them around the room as mini anchor charts. 

 I had a teacher from a different school tell me about Class Dojo. 
I may use this as a management tool during the whole day. I like that you have the option to show only the positive points awarded or points lost. I currently use a clip chart so I think this works in a similar way. You can reward (move up/give points) for desired behavior. I still would prefer to teach kids to act a certain way because it is the right thing to do, but students this young seem to need something extrinsic. I will continue to work towards intrinsic management though! I also love this site because it is built in behavior data for RTI! 

If you made it to the bottom of this LONG post, go get yourself something yummy to eat!!

June 26, 2012

Color, Shape, and Number Word Discovery Bottles!

Sorry for the double post but I was too excited to wait for tomorrow. Plus, tomorrow I will be linking up to the kindergarten Daily 5 book study! I have officially listed my first "for sale" item in my TpT store. Some readers had requested I create more discovery bottles - so I did! This one includes color, shape, and number words! Just like my free pre primer sight word version, there are lots of different response sheets to help you differentiate with this one activity! The first 3 people to comment, will get it for free!! Don't forget to include your email address so that I know where to send it. Have a great night,

Head on over to my TpT store to get your copy.

June 25, 2012

Finally Finished: Buttons!

It took me longer than I'd hoped, but I finally got the buttons finished. Just print these out and then place inside of a clear button (sold in the crafting section of Wal-mart) Allow your students to wear these when they've reached a goal or have shown good character. Students can't help but feel proud when teachers and other students all through the school acknowledge their success!! If you like these, please leave me a comment!! Thanks,

get them here
**update: my brain got to thinking that maybe I could take a picture of the student wearing the button and make a wall of fame. Or, simply send the picture home with the child so their parents can celebrate with them too!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
*updated to link up with Manic Monday

Monday Made It and a Freebie!

I am so excited to be linking up with Tara again over at 4th grade Frolics. I can't wait to see what everyone else made!

Okay y'all, I promised I would be ready to share some stuff today! I think I committed to a theme... I am making it myself right now and I don't know what I was thinking!! I mean, there are SO many cute sets already for sale, I really should have just picked one of those. My husband knows me best though and informed me that if I had made it easy on myself, it wouldn't be me! Gotta love a man who knows all your flaws and loves you anyway - can I get an Amen? Here's a little sneak peak at what I a working on.         

Owl and Birdie Set - number cards                                                    
Owl and Birdie Set - name plate

Now onto the good stuff! Our school-wide theme this year is Live, Laugh, Learn, I was not having any luck finding things to match, so I created these. What do you think? I found an awesome tutorial here that explains how to put pictures onto canvas. I have completed the first 2 but ran out of time to make "learn"... maybe by next Monday? Click the caption below to get your copy!!
Get it free at my TpT store!
Here are the ones I printed and put onto canvas. They look MUCH brighter in person... I really should not take pictures - I am beyond awful at it. :( A cool tip I found was to print onto photo paper. All the colors are much more vibrant. You can buy a pack of 8 sheets at the Dollar Store - score!
I promise they are much brighter in person

I also have been working hard on those buttons I promised! If you don't know what I am talking about, read this post from yesterday! Here is one of the buttons I finished. It is super easy. I bought these buttons from Wal-mart in the craft section. You pop the back right off, add your cute circle and push it all back together, Voila! I will be adding these incentive buttons to my TpT store later today!

Let's pretend this isn't turned sideways. Okay?

This one is not school related but I wanted to show it off anyway! I made this picture frame for my friends baby shower. It has his name on top and then the saying, "sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." I really wish you could come over and see it... it looks way better in person. IMHO. My husband even said he thought it was the best "craft" I've ever done! Sweet. 

Last but not least, I wanted to mention Tonya from Tonya's Treats for Teachers featured me on her blog yesterday. Wasn't that so sweet of her?? She is SO close to 200 followers and she is ready to do a giveaway when that happens. Can you hop on over there and follow her? You'll be glad you did. She just made her adorable incentive buttons free at her TpT store!

If you download my Live. Laugh. Learn signs, please give me some love by commenting and following me. Heck, even if you didn't download them, leave me some love :) Happy Monday,

June 24, 2012

What do you celebrate?

What sorts of things do you celebrate with your school friends? In third grade, we celebrated 100's on tests and fact proficiency. I would send a note home, have their name read over the announcements in the afternoon, and they would wear a button all day to let everyone in the building know about their success. I got the button idea from reading this book.

I loved reading Ron Clark's book. He has so many amazing ideas on how to really celebrate and connect with students. However, I couldn't help but wonder how his ideas could ever really work in a public school setting. So much of what he is able to do seems to be based off of the incredible parent support and the ability to hold the students and parents in the school accountable for any of their actions that don't mesh with the school's philosphy. However, I really enjoyed reading this book and there were several takeaways. He talks about students wearing a button around the school all day that reads, "Ask me what I got on my test" Think about how powerful that is. Like, literally wearing a badge of honor. For a lot of my friends, that simply don't get enough attention at home, this might be just the motivator to study a little harder!

I came up with some buttons to wear for my new kindergarten friends. Trouble is, since I haven't ever taught Kinder yet, I am not sure what all we should celebrate! If you will leave me a comment on the types of things you celebrate in your classroom, along with your email, I will send you a copy of the buttons for free when I finish them!

While I was blog surffing this weekend, I came across Tonya's Treats for Teachers who just happened to be posting about the same thing! I couldn't believe it.. but as she reminded me, great minds think alike! So head on over to her blog to see the precious buttons she came up with.

Here is a sneak peak at what I'll be giving away to those of you that leave me a comment!
Celebrate a lost tooth!
Celebrate counting to 100!

June 21, 2012

Blog Button Tutorial

Since I first taught myself how to make a blog button, I have practiced and made several others. Some bloggy friends have emailed and asked if I could share how to do it. First, I want to say I am not even close to being an expert. This is all through trail and error and I have NO clue how to read or write HTML code. I also want to direct you over to this tutorial that I used to learn and it is the code we will be using today! Being a teacher though, I know many of us are visual learners, so I wanted to take it step by step with pictures :) Sorry they are humungous but I figured if they are here, you might as well actually be able to see them! I will apologize now for the long post... I was screen shot happy! I do not own photshop or have any idea how to use programs like it. I am going to show you today how to make buttons in powerpoint. This is probably not the real way you are suppose to do this, but it worked for me!! Before you start, you may want to download a cute piece of clipart or take a screen shot of your blog header. Here we go!

 1. Open powerpoint. Click File > Page settings

2. Adjust the height and width to a square size. I don't think it matters what size, but 4 X 4 has been working for me.

3. Click the little picture icon or pull down the insert menu and select insert a photo

4. Once the photo is in, you can resize it until you think it looks good. Isn't this owl precious? Head on over to 3AM teacher to get your own!

5. Insert a text box and type whatever you want it to say. 

6.  You can recolor your text to match. Highlight your text > click on the pull down color menu. See the little eye dropper that says, "pick a color" click on that icon and then click on your picture. Whatever color you click on inside your picture will be the color of your font. In this case, I clicked on the stripe next to his eye. I would also suggest adding a shadow to your text.

7. This could have been done before inserting the picture but I forgot! Click on the format menu and select slide format. 

8. click on the picture tab (at the top) and select a background paper or frame that you like. You may also want to just add a solid color or leave it white. 

9. Now you can play around with the font or coloring until you get it the way you like it. I would save it now on your desktop so you can find it again. 

10. Click the File menu >Save as Pictures

11. Name your picture, I like to save mine to the desktop and then make sure the format says JPEG or PNG. Do not click save yet!

12. Click on the button that says Options

13. You should see a box that looks like this. Select the size box and type in 150 for width and height. This will make a square button. Click OK

14. You will see this message telling you each slide was saved into a folder. 

15. Open up your folder and admire your work. Almost there!

 16.  Go to photobucket.com. If you do not have an account, you will have to make one - it is easy and free. It is the only site (that I know of) that gives you a direct link URL.

 17. Click the big green button and find your picture to upload (this is why I save it on my desktop)

 18. Click on view my album and then you will see your picture. It is important not to click on your picture. That will take you to a different screen and the URL will not work in the code. Not sure why that is, but I was very frustrated the first time I tried this! Anyway, hover over your photo and this box should appear. This is where it is nice to have somewhere to put all this code. I would suggest Text Edit if working on a Mac or there is a website called Hey! Paste it. If you use this option, be sure to have a pen laying around as you will need to write down the number is assigns your code.

19. Click on the direct link code and it should automatically save for you. Or you may have to highlight the whole link, right-click, copy. 

20. I found the code from the tutorial I mentioned above. You can click on the picture below and enter your links or you can do it from this tutorial. Going to her website may be easier since you can't copy and paste from mine. I would suggest however reading all the way down to the bottom before going over there!

21. Below I have shown the steps to getting your code. Step 1 shows the original code. You will need to paste in your Website URL and image URL. Be sure you don't change any other part of the code. Leave spaces and quotation marks exactly as is. If you have already saved the image URL, you may want to do step 3 and then step 2. Remember, don't delete the quotation marks!

22. If you are making a button to your TpT store or pinterest page, type in the URL to that website where it says yourblogURL and then you can stop after step 3 since you won't need the "grab it" code to show on your blog. 

**If you are making a blog button and want to have the "grab it" code showing, you will need to continue to step 4. **

23. The code on step 4 is the stuff highlighted in yellow, your code from step 3 and then end it with the yellow stuff again. Is that clear as mud? Keep in mind you need the code from step 3 and step 4 to add to your blog.

24. Once at your blog, click on the layout tab (on the left)

25. Click add a gadget and select the one that says HTML/Javascript

26. Paste in your code. If this is for TpT or the like. just add the code from step 3. If this is for a blog button, add the code from step 3 first and then right underneath, the code from step 4. 

27. You should now be looking at your brand new button. To get it where you want it on the blog, you can go back to the layout screen and move the box wherever you think it fits best. 

*Some trouble shooting advice. If your picture doesn't show up, go back to photobucket and grab the code again. Not sure why this happens sometimes, but it does! 

*Be sure you have the whole code copied and pasted into your layout. If you type it yourself, and it doesn't work, recheck what you've typed- spaces, backslashes, < > all of it! 

That's it,! A quick 27-step process! I have made 6 buttons now using this method. I hope it works for you - don't shoot the messenger if it doesn't!!! 

If you liked this tutorial, please consider following my blog - I need more friends :) Also, if you find it works for you, leave me a comment with your blog address and I'll come check it out!!