Saturday, 31 January 2015

Stop, Swap & Roll!

I am excited to be taking part in my first STOP, SWAP AND ROLL with Jungle Learners.

I was very fortunate to be paired up with Amanda from Daisy Designs.  I love her products!
 I decided I wanted to use her geometry pack: 2D and 3D Shape Activities for K-2, because I needed a few more activities to use with my students to wrap up our unit.   I liked that the activities were engaging and the actual printable was very easy to understand for firsties it wasn’t too busy, which is sometimes the case.

First up, we used the sorting sheet.  She includes a sheet of shapes to colour and cut out for her Shape Categories activity which could be used for the Shape Sorting activity.  I had already prepared a different set of shapes so we used them instead.  After sorting they were able to colour the triangle border, which was a huge bonus for them! 

I also used her Shape Detectives activity.  The kids had a blast with this one.  I had them work on their own to come up with 3 clues about their 2D shape.  Next they were partnered up with someone and they had to read each other’s clues and then build the shape out of popsicle sticks.  They loved this hands-on piece.  It was great to watch them puzzle through how to build some of the shapes.  With a little perseverance they were building hexagons and octagons!  J 

I love that these same sheets will be useful when I start working on 3D shapes next week.  We can use marshmallows and toothpicks to build our shapes for Shape Detectives.  The kids will love that! 

Now that you have heard about how to use this pack, why not enter below to win a copy of it.  Amanda has generously offered to giveaway a copy of her 2D and 3D Activities pack for K-2.  Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win! 

After entering, head over to Amanda’s blog and check out the product she tried out from my store.  Hint, hint It will also be on sale and I will be giving away a copy as well on her blog.  Don’t stop there though, check out the linky below and visit all of the bloggers participating in the product swap and learn about lots of amazing new products. 

Until next time,




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 23 January 2015

Engage your students with Hands-On Geometry Centers

My students love centers!  They are always excited when they see math centers on our Daily Schedule.  I love to see the engagement during our math centers and I have been experimenting with a more open-ended approach and letting them make decisions! This post is all about how I teach my 2D and 3D Geometry using centers and open-ended activities.  At the end of the post is a link to my post about how I teach Patterning.  If you enjoyed this post and the ideas shared then you should definitely check out that post too.  
Before I start let me just make sure that I say upfront that I am trying to figure inquiry out and what I might be calling inquiry is not what others may.  I am too much of a Type A personality to give over complete control of my classroom, but I think some of my math centers in this unit let the kids take charge and figure things out and some are more directed by me. It seems like a compromise that is working for me right now.
When teaching Geometry I like to teach 2D shapes prior to 3D and not the reverse.  I always start off by giving students a shape and having them tell everything they can about that shape just to see what vocabulary they use and what they know.  Here is our finished anchor with their thinking about these shapes. 
2d geometry, geometry centers, guided math
Another great way to launch this unit is to go on a shape scavenger.  We used our class Ipads and walked around our school taking pictures.  Afterward, they sorted their shapes and created a Pic Collage with 2 or more of each shape (square/circle/rectangle/triangle).  Print off the Pic Collage for a technology inspired display.  Another idea is to print then and then cut them out and have students sort them to create an anchor chart of real world objects that are a certain 2D shape. 

After this lesson, we did some whole group investigating and I drew out language related to the shapes.  They all get so hung up on describing by colour and size, so we learn about corners/vertices and edges/sides.  I add these words to our Math Word Wall in my star chart and I go over our learning goals for the unit. 
2d geometry, geometry centers, guided math
Normally at this point, I would get them busy with some paper/pencil tasks pertaining to shapes, but this time I decided to jump right into centers and give them some challenges to see what they could do.  I aligned the centers to the specific curriculum expectations so that I could be doing an on-the-go assessment as they used the centers. 
I was able to cover the following specific expectations with these centers:

~ Identify and describe common 2 shapes and sort and classify by their attributes
~ Compose patterns, pictures and designs using 2D shapes
~ Identify and describe shapes within shapes
~ Cover outline puzzles with 2D shapes
~ Exploring symmetry

At this center, the students were given a piece of construction paper and the shapes and they could create whatever they wanted from the shapes.  
Another option was to take a task card and complete a design with either pattern blocks or 2D shapes.
2D Geometry - Are you looking for engaging math centers that are no prep for you and that your students will love to use? My first graders loved this center and the 11 other centers that are part of this resource. Click now to see all the fun activities included.
The next, more open-ended center, was a pattern block center where students created a design of their choice and then recorded the blocks they used.  There was a bit of a learning curve here as some realized elaborate designs were hard to record.  Most were able to find a happy medium and came up with some awesome creations. 

2d geometry, geometry centers, guided math
2d geometry, geometry centers, guided math
The geoboard center was probably the most exciting.  There are two options here. Students could use a task card and create it on the geoboard or take a geoboard picture card and try to recreate it. Afterward, free exploration on the geoboards leads to lots of great learning too!  

2D Geometry - Are you looking for engaging math centers that are no prep for you and that your students will love to use? My first graders loved this center and the 11 other centers that are part of this resource. Click now to see all the fun activities included.
2D Geometry - Are you looking for engaging math centers that are no prep for you and that your students will love to use? My first graders loved this center and the 11 other centers that are part of this resource. Click now to see all the fun activities included.
This center challenged them to sort shapes by any attribute they choose.  I provided shapes for them but also had real shapes to use as well.  This showed a lot about their understanding of the attributes of shapes.  
2D Geometry - Are you looking for engaging math centers that are no prep for you and that your students will love to use? My first graders loved this center and the 11 other centers that are part of this resource. Click now to see all the fun activities included.
The activity was a challenge.  The students that enjoy puzzles were really motivated to find out different ways to cover the shape.  Some found it very difficult because it was a very spatial task and they could not see how to piece the blocks together. 
2D Geometry - My students love to use pattern blocks and I bet yours do too. This is one of 12 engaging math center activities that my students loved using during our geometry unit in math. Visit my blog and see many of the other 11 centers in action.
2d geometry, geometry centers, guided math

After day two of noticing this, I did a mini lesson at the end of the day where we covered a shape on the smartboard with pattern blocks and then superimposed other pattern blocks on top to see how the shapes fit together.  For instance, they learned how 6 triangles could make up one hexagon, for instance.  You could see the lightbulbs going off for some kids.  They then tried it themselves at their desk and recorded it. 
2D Geometry - Are you looking for engaging math centers that are no prep for you and that your students will love to use? My first graders loved this center and the 11 other centers that are part of this resource. Click now to see all the fun activities included.

The final center was to explore symmetry.  The next time I will remember to give them the miras before I start taking pictures.  Pattern blocks are awesome to use to create symmetrical designs.  I often use a straw as a line of symmetry if they are building right on their desktop.  

The best thing about getting them right into the centers was the opportunity to watch them as they problem solved through the different tasks.  The level of engagement was amazing.  On day 2 of our centers my principal, former supervising principal and new supervising principal visited.  When important visitors walk in it can be somewhat stressful but everyone was doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing and loving it so my stress level was reduced.  

Most of these activities do not require any worksheet or paper/pencil followup.  Instead, my students are trained to take photos of their learning and add it to their digital portfolio in #seesaw.  I love that I am able to scroll through my feed and see what everyone was doing while I was working with individuals and small groups.  They love to take pictures so they are more accountable for finishing their task and getting a chance to use the iPad to take the picture.  

I now have a folder of photo evidence to show that they are able to meet the expectations without reams of paper-pencil tasks and I can show these to parents as well.  If you like the centers I have shared you can check them out by clicking here: 

Teaching 2D geometry first makes 3D geometry a breeze!   I use very similar centers from my 2D unit to provide practice with 3D shapes.  It helps students to be able to be independent right the outset.  

I launched our 3D unit the same as I did my 2D unit - with a 3D shape scavenger hunt on the iPads! Instant engagement!  Provide lots of opportunities for students to handle and explore with 3D shapes. It will help when they are trying to talk about the attributes of the shape and be able to tell about what the shape can do - slide, stack or roll - through experimentation.  

This is a sample of those centers.  Click on the picture to go to the full set. 
3D geometry centers - sort 3D shapes, describe and recognize 3D shapes by their attributes, build models of 3D shapes.  Engage students with fun, hands-on centers.

3D geometry centers - sort 3D shapes, describe and recognize 3D shapes by their attributes, build models of 3D shapes.  Engage students with fun, hands-on centers.
If you enjoyed reading this post then check out my post on how I teach Patterning and the hands-on centers and activities I use.  Click on the image below to head over to that blog post.  
Patterning Centers - students will identify, create and extend patterns as well as solve patterning problems in these fun and engaging patterning centers for K-2.

Giveaway time! 

This time I am helping Lindsey Petlak at Its Elementary, My Dear! celebrate a milestone. 
She has recently hit 600 followers on Instagram.  To celebrate, myself and many other teachers have contributed to an amazing prize package.  Check out what is available to be won and then click on the rafflecopter to enter! .  Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win this great prize pack. Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 17 January 2015

3 Simple Classroom Management Tips You Can Try Tomorrow

Are you looking for tips to classroom management tips?  I have 3 simple tips for you that you can implement in your classroom tomorrow.  Read on to find out how to simplify your line ups, move more quietly through the halls and get your class to work as a team.  I am linking up with Mrs. McClain over at Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for her monthly You Oughta Know blog hop. Other bloggers and I will be sharing things that you “oughta know” for your classroom.

I don't know about you but some years my first graders return and they seem to have grown up so much over the two weeks. Some years however, I feel like I am back at square 1.  I want to share with you some of my management tricks to help them get back on track.

First off we often struggle at line up time - too many kids, too small an area (although I have a huge area this year, go figure!).  There is always arguing about who lines up where as well.  This year I whipped out my silhouette cutting machine and some vinyl and created girl/boy line up spots.  They work like a dream!  The kids just find a girl or boy circle to stand or, if they have the job of line leader, caboose, or door holders, they go to those special circles.  NO more fighting about spots in the line.  I have heard a lot about Sit Spots and I expect that they would work too. 

We struggle with moving through the hall quietly too.  This year I rarely have to take them to other places in the school but our French teacher takes them to her French room or the gym every day.  She loves this program.

Each time we line up to head into the hall I pick 1 boy and 1 girl popsicle stick and put them in my pocket.  I announce to the line that I have my two “hall stars” and will be watching to see if they are behaving as a Hall star should.   We do a quick review of our “Hall Stars” expectation poster before leaving.  On the way to our destination and back I keep my eye on my “hall stars”.  If they were successful I make a big deal about announcing their names and then write their name on the chart.  If a student wasn’t behaving properly then their name is returned to the “pick me” pocket and nothing more is said.  This really seems to encourage the kids to behave respectfully in the halls.  In my room if you are a Hall Star you get to clip up on our clip chart. 

This is available as a FREEBIE in my TPT store.  You can find it by clicking {HERE}.

My final tip today is all about getting the kids working together for a common reward.  I use Behavior Bingo in my room.  I use a clip chart for individual students but wanted a system to reward the whole class for appropriate behaviour. 


The month of December is so crazy that this little program takes  a back seat, so I pull it out fresh in January.  We review the ways we can work together to earn BINGO numbers.  The idea is that when the students are all following our classroom rules or expectations the class would earn a bingo number. 

Some ways they earn numbers are making their way to the carpet quickly and quietly, getting started quickly on a task or getting a class compliment, to name a few.  On a good day we may earn 2 or 3 BINGO numbers.  We are now entering Week 3 post holidays and our BINGO board is filling up more slowly than I would like it.  If you would like to give this a try it is available in my TPT store, you can find it {HERE}.

What are your favourite management tips for getting kids back into routine after the holidays.  I would love to hear from you with a comment below.  Now take a moment and hop to another blog to learn about something that you "oughta know"

Thanks for stopping by

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

I am linking up The Teaching Trio and sharing my favourite picture books for teaching the concept of point of view or perspective.  I will be teaching this soon to my first graders and was going through my file for a colleague.  Since this was all fresh in my mind I figured that I would share with you the resources I like to use.

Chester by Melanie Watt is such a great book.  In it the character of Chester takes over telling the story, fighting with the author and her point of view.  Your students will love it.  Melanie is also the author of the Scaredy Squirrel series of books they are my all-time favourite books to read.   

Dear Mrs. LaRue is another great book that clearly has two differing perspectives.  A dog is away from home writing letters to his owner to tell about how bad of time he is having.  Beside the letters are illustrations showing what is really happening and it differs greatly from the letters.  There is so much to talk about with this book.

Hey, Little Ant!  I love to use this book because the students can really relate to the kid in the book.  It is also great to have students state an opinion should he squish the ant?  I also use it to teach perspective in art as the illustrations are really well done. 

I recommend adding these books to your resource list when teaching this topic.

This post would not be complete without one more favourite thing right now MY 300 FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY!  Right now I am having a giveaway for two amazing prize packs, one for K-2 Teachers and another for 3-5 teachers.  Each pack also includes an item from Thirty-One one has a wallet and the other a crossbody bag.  Click on the graphic to go to the post and enter.  The giveaway ends on Sunday, January 11th.
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

300 Followers on TPT Giveaway!

Happy New Year and 300 Follower Giveaway! 

I have had a great 2 weeks of vacation and am reluctant to set the alarm tonight to get up and get back to work on Monday.  I love my class but I LOVE vacation too. 

I do have some very exciting news to kick off my work week!  On Friday night I hit 300 followers on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I am so thrilled that so many people have faith in my products and clicked that little green star so that they could see more of my products.  To celebrate my personal milestone, I decided to have a giveaway. 

I have created 2 separate giveaways - One for my K-2 followers and one for my 3-5 followers!  Both packs include seller chosen products and winner's choice, so you get a nice mix of the seller's favourite products and an opportunity to choose your favourite.  As well, I am also giving away a ThirtyOne product with each giveaway!  Great prizes and they are all for you! 

First up - The K-2 Package:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Next up, The Grade 3 - 5 Package:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feel free to enter one or both giveaways!

The rafflecopter will be open from Sunday, January 4th until Sunday, January 11th.  I will contact the winners within 48 hours. 

Good Luck!