Classroom Decor!

Since I can remember I’ve loved redecorating my bedroom. Painting, moving furniture, new bedspreads, curtains, you name it, I changed it. Just about every year I would ask for a something new for my whatever I decided to theme my bedroom this time.

That habit didn’t die quickly. I remember in college I would create new stuff for my room all summer long so that when I returned, I’d have a brand new dorm room complete with up to date fashion decor.

So why would my classroom be any different? In four years I’ve had 4 different, lovely ideas :). Of course, you really can’t count my first year, as I was just trying to be cute, but not understanding practicality. Silly first year teacher 🙂

In the summer of 2013, I traveled with some friends to Europe. Yep, you guessed it, when I returned, my entire classroom was travel themed (mostly Paris). Here are a few of my favorite Paris pictures from my trip 🙂

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Insert Paris Theme…

I purchased a wonderful Paris themed clip art from Little Llama Shoppe on etsy. She is AWESOME for clip art. I love all of her creativity.

Little Llama Store

From there, I let the creativity flow! These are the math standards labels I created to help with organization. I used these to organize my math games in book boxes. Click here to get them in my store.

Paris Theme math standards labels

I also created these subject labels for trays. My students turned in their work by subject into the correct tray. Get these from my TPT store here 🙂

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These are my world clocks I created from scrapbook paper and butcher paper. I found the butcher paper was not only easier to work with, but stayed on the wall better than construction paper. If you’d like a digital download of these, click here to find them in my TPT store. You can see the clocks in the library picture below.

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I traced some of the clip art from my mimio onto butcher paper (and added my own touch) to create my classroom library. Here is a pic of the final product.

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After having theses items for sale in my TPT store for so long, I actually had some requests for more Paris themed products! Here are a few products I created for others. Get the Reading Wall from my store here.

Reading Focus Wall Paris

Sum Sum Summer Time

I cannot believe how fast the school year goes. I think I say that every year, and I wonder if it will ever become normal to feel… “Ahh yes, summer has finally arrived”… because lord knows it shocks me every year. It seems like fall flies by as you get into the norms of your new class and classroom and all of a sudden it’s Christmas. By the time you get back from your much needed break, you feel the panic of testing start to settle in, then what do you know? It’s May. And the joys and fears as the end of the year approaches really starts to hit you all at once.

So here I am, a full week into summer break (before starting my summer job). I am tan, yoga-ed out, and mind flowing of new projects. I have such big ambitions for summer projects, but who doesn’t? 🙂

With no rhyme or reason to my madness, I decided to make a checklist of products I’d like to make. Because I love to do list, and I love charts, this is the best way to organize my projects. Will I go in order? No. Will I remember to put a check in the box when I complete something? Maybe. Will I get off track and make unplanned products (aren’t those the best?) and then add them to my list just for the sake of crossing them off? Absolutely.

So enjoy this freebie to help you plan your own summer projects… hope it is useful!

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March Madness

March Madness gets me excited every year. I LOVE filling out brackets and watching the games to see how I’m doing. Last year I decided to get my students involved in the fun. (And of course, I tried to incorporate any sort of educational twist I could!)

During this time of year we are finishing up learning about coordinate planes and understanding patterns in tables. So, I decided to make a giant coordinate grid out in the hallway to track our points. Check out my coordinate grid unit (basketball edition!) on teachers pay teacher here.

Here is how it worked:

Each of our seven 5th grade classes filled out a bracket. (I found it worked best by grouping students into teams and letting them vote for a team at a time.) Once each class had a bracket filled, I displayed each class’s bracket outside in the hallway. I made an XY table to track points for each round. Our x-axis displays each round (First Round, Second Round, Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4, and Championship) and the y-axis added cumulative points.

After solving to determine that a perfect bracket equaled 192 points, we measured (in customary and metric units to preview for our next math unit), divided and created the y-axis from 0-200. After completing the tournament last year, we realized no class, or anyone for that matter, scores anywhere close to 192 points 🙂

This is what our beautiful display is what it looked like in the hallway:

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This is a collage to show each part of the display

Graph tables

Here is the Coordinate Graph displaying all of the points. Each class had a different color line that coordinated with the XY tables to the right of the graph.

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Below the team brackets we determined patters before each round began.

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Each 5th grade student signed a small basketball to help create our boarder. The orange sheets to the left are the game schedules

Stay tuned for this year’s March Madness display, hoping to be better than last year! Be sure to check out my Rounding Decimals “Math Madness” color by numbers FREE in my TPT store 🙂

Rounding Decimals Color by Numbers

I hope you enjoy!

The Great Dress Debate

 Well, here it is, the great dress debate that has taken over social media. After participating in all the shenanigans with a few friends, my mind was blown. I was excited to bring it to my students today and planned to have them play along. Well, straight off the bus, my kids were telling ME about the dress! Mind blown (again)… and the first thought that came to my head was… I can make this into a math problem!

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The infamous dress

Because we had a snow day this week, my groups were all off schedule, so I was meeting with my high group today anyway. Each of our seven 5th grade teachers participated in a poll. I showed the dress picture to my students and asked them to vote on if they thought the dress was blue/black or white/gold.

dress graph

( I took the picture a little early #tooexcited)

My kids were so excited to participate! We are learning how to create coordinate grids from tables, so first we decided how to build the grid. Our x-axis was the 7 teachers, and we had to determine how many kids per class to make our y-axis.

Next, we measured the length by inches and divided each axis to fit accordingly. Then we graphed our poll results! I didn’t take a picture after the other teachers colored in their results ( I was just too excited I guess!)

But how fun?! We covered building coordinate graphs, bar graphs, measuring (customary), and dividing. Not to mention I read them an awesome article that explains the science behind why people see different colors. Pretty cool!

Get the article here!

Teaching the Stock Market

It seems like I always dread the next unit of social studies until I am well into the planning and eventually creativity gets the best of me. I’ll admit, I usually dread each and every component of the Great Depression. It comes between two exciting wars, it’s boring, and my kids never truly understand how difficult this time was for our country.

Until this year! Thanks to some creative collaboration on my grade level, we pulled off some pretty interesting activities! So I’ll dedicate this post to the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

We decided to have each of our seven 5th grade teachers track a stock for our entire Great Depression unit (10 days), and incorporate this into our math curriculum by graphing our daily stock earnings on a large coordinate grid. Cute right?! Insert the sound of a giant snowball rolling down a hill as it triples in size and you have…

 Wall Street!

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As we started planning, we realized that we didn’t just want to assign a stock to a class; we really wanted the kids to earn money and purchase the stock they wanted. So, we had one day where administrators, cafeteria workers, and support staff handed out monopoly money to students for good behavior. At the end of the day each class counted all of the money they earned and decided on a stock of interest. (We gave them a list of 7 that were similar in price.) How did they buy their stocks you ask? Wallah!

Stock Market Pit by a very supportive 5th grade administrator.

Featured imageThe kids just loved this, they didn’t even mind it took up their recess.

After purchasing the stocks, each day, each class would track the price of their stock and graph it on Wall Street. The x-coordinate was the day (i.e. day 1, day 2 etc) and the y-coordinate was the price of the stock. (We decided to round to the nearest whole number so they could practice that as well!)

All in all the kids LOVED the whole Stock Market activity. They loved graphing, tracking the stocks, and they truly learned the overall gist of what the Stock Market is…which must be why they were so upset on Black Tuesday… when the Stock Market Crashed… and they lost ALL their money… (insert mean teacher laugh)

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Farewell Fractions!

Oh how I love teaching fractions. We usually start around the Holidays, when everything on TPT is holiday themed and adorable 🙂 Fast forward to February… I am so over fractions!

But because they are such a huge part of our 5th grade curriculum, I decided I needed to give fractions a proper farewell. So this post is dedicated to the week I spent reviewing all 7 fraction standards, including mini lessons, independent work, and groups using task cards.

To start each day, my mini lesson was to create their own fraction flip book, while I made a large one out of chart paper. This way I could review each standard and ensure students had an understanding between operations and strategies. Because I felt that word problems were the hardest, I really tried to tie in word problems with each standard.

Here are a few pictures of my flipbook

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Here is a better picture of each of the pages:

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fraction flip benchmark fractions

fraction flip fractions as division

fraction flip x fractions

fraction flip scaling fractions

fraction flip x word problems

  fraction flip dividing fractions

I had several working groups throughout the week. (I assessed the students the week before to determine groups)

For independent practice, students reviewed fraction operations. In this choice board I created, I told them the column to complete (based on which operation they struggled with most) and they were able to pick the row of their choice. Get this choice board here for free!

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For my math groups, I created a few task cards to help out with word problems, operations, and models. Again, I focused on the specific operation/standard each student was struggling with. (Word problems were the worst!)

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(These were super bowl inspired 🙂 ) You can find these task cards in my TPT store here.

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 This is great for students to match multiplication models with the equations. Check them out in my TPT store here.

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I created these task cards so my students could practice looking at an equation first, then having to decide which strategy to use depending on the operation. They loved to race with white boards! These are also in my TPT store. Get them here.

I hope you enjoy!

Ready, Set, Post!

As it’s told, 2009 wasn’t the best year to graduate college. It was a difficult time to find a job, start a career, and more importantly, move out on your own to live out your twenties 🙂

But somehow I did, working at a Day Care, private tutoring, subbing, and starting my master’s program. Anything I could do to make a buck and survive, while somehow staying in my career field. 

I arrived at Ferguson Elementary School in February of 2011 to sub for a teacher that had the flu. It was a 5th grade classroom and I barely survived the day. Even still, I was asked to return the next day, and the next day.  Then, the principal informed me that she had pneumonia. So, I came back the next day and the next day. Until it was determined she had lung cancer. I finished out the year for her.

This class was a handful to say the least. Twenty-nine 5th graders in a new school who had lost their real teacher and was expected to listen to a 25 year old girl out of college? I don’t think so. They gave me a run for my money to say the least. Every day after I walked back to the classroom from walking the kids to the bus, I climbed the stairs where a veteran ESOL teacher made me repeat after her, “This will make me a better teacher. This will make me a better teacher.” I said it, but hardly believed it. 

That summer, when the teacher I was subbing for decided to take an indefinite leave of absence, I was offered her job. I went into her old room, now mine, determined to get it right. She left me a lot of supplies and stuff she thought I could use, and being the great teacher she was, had her name on all of it. I always felt like it was still her room and she was helping me out all along the way. She passed away in the spring of that year.

Though never really knowing this person, I made it through my first official year of teaching with her help, and then into my second. My second year was even better. Great kids, great coworkers, great lesson plans, which led to great test scores 🙂 Fast forward to now, into my 4th year, where everything is finally coming together. The lesson plans are better, the kids are better (or maybe I should say my classroom management is better), and I finally feel confident enough to feel the joy in teaching. Though everyone knows this journey is a daily one, with unimaginable ups and downs, I now know it’s worth it. 

So here comes this blogging adventure. I’ve researched, read, and pinned as much as I know possible. Check out my About Me page to follow me on all social media, as I share this journey with everyone. Ready, set, post!