Saturday, April 12, 2014

Boxes Become Bookmarks

I am so glad to be participating in the Bright Ideas Hop/Link Up again this month.  Right at 150 teacher bloggers have joined up to share bright ideas that you can take back to the classroom.  Enjoy!

I thought with Earth Day right around the corner, I would share an idea that goes along with that topic; reusing items, or giving items a new purpose.  How cool are these re-purposed box bookmarks pictured below!  All you have to do is take any colorful cardboard box, such as popular cereal boxes, Little Debbie boxes, Pop Tart boxes.... use whatever durable box you want that you think will grab students' attention. Then cut the box into bookmark sized pieces.  Use your hole punch to punch a hole in the top.  Run some yarn, ribbon, or cross-stitch thread through the top to make a tassel, and there you go.....
 a box becomes a bookmark!! 
To celebrate Earth Day, why not have your students bring in the front and back of their favorite cereal box or other treat box. By doing that,  the parents will have already helped with the time consuming cutting part of trimming off the excess cardboard. You can then take the flat pieces to your paper cutter and trim the large box pieces into bookmark sized pieces.  How easy!  When you are finished, you will have hundreds of the cutest bookmarks that kids will enjoy using. 
For more bright ideas from over 150 bloggers, please visit the links below.  Have fun!


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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Common Core Documentary

While searching for news articles related to Common Core, I came across this documentary video created by Home School Legal Defense Association.  Honestly, I don't know a whole lot about this association, but I was intrigued by the video when I came across a preview for it.  I watched the two minute preview and then went to find the entire video, which is called "Building the Machine- The Common Core Documentary". I think no matter what side you are on, whether it be for or against Common Core, you will find some or all of it interesting. I am not advocating either way, as I see pros and cons to the implementation of it. My state, Georgia, actually passed legislation to pull out of Common Core. I know others are following in that path. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts. :-)

The video mentions Race to the Top.  You might enjoy my past article on that topic. When I got to the end of the video, I realized he was saying much of what I said in the article.  In addition, they end by focusing on the need for parental involvement, which is a point I also make.

Race to the Top Post- Click HERE

This video was embedded using the embed feature on YouTube.  
I claim no rights to the video and am using it to pass along information only. 
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Sale

Spring weather can put a little pep into your step.  It can get you in the right frame of mind to do a little spring cleaning.  With that in mind, I have joined up with LOTS of sellers from Teachers Pay Teachers to do a little Spring Cleaning Sale.  This is a great time to clean up your wish list by making purchases at a discounted price. Have fun shopping and finding some great deals!
Click HERE to see what's on sale in my store. 
Who else is participating? Click HERE or on the button image below.
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Free Printable 'EGG'stra Special Tag for Treats

Sending some sunshine with an "EGG"stra special treat......Spring time is a great time to let someone know you are thinking about them.  Maybe you want to  let your students know you are thinking about them. Maybe you have a co-worker that needs a 'pick me up' treat. Maybe you want to let your child's teacher know you appreciate him/her.  Whatever the situation is, this original artwork (yes, I created every little part of this tag... even the swirls on the eggs.... just a little doodle, but it turned out cute) gift tag is sure to pep up a friend's  day when you attach it to some chocolate eggs. Rarely can you go wrong with chocolate!! This printable "EGG"stra special tag is a freebie gift from me and it can be printed out by clicking the link below. They print 4 to a sheet.  Enjoy! 

Click HERE to print "EGG"stra Special Tags

Hover over the image to pin. 
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Expanded Form Activity

Expanded form, also known as expanded notation, is one way students need to be able understand and write numbers.  The other forms being standard form and word form. When teaching place value, students must be able to see and understand the value of each individual digit in a number, which of course would be expanded form.  For some kids, this concept can be a bit difficult to fully understand.

A few years back, I picked up a student calculator ... you know, the ones that we all have sets of,  but they get stashed in the back of the closet or workroom because we often times don't see them as a tool for helping kids understand. Trust me, I have seen many dusty calculators :-)    I think mine is designed for the 3-5 classroom. It looks like this:


Anyway, when I picked it up and I started punching in some numbers to add, it dawned on me that it was bumping the addition problem to the top of the screen, basically showing the values I was keying in.  I had this 'ah-ha' moment that this would be a great tool to use to help kids see the values of digits when working with expanded form.  At the time, I actually had a small group struggling with expanded form, so I tried it out with that group the next day.  

The first thing I did was give them an addition problem (basically just an expanded form problem), such as 5,000+600+50+9, but I didn't tell them what it equaled.  I had them write the problem out horizontally and vertically, so they could see that it was basically just an addition problem like they were accustomed to adding.  I then had them key the addition problem into the calculator, and they could see their problem across the top of the screen as they entered each number, which was pretty much seeing the expanded form or values of the digits in the numbers.  I then had them hit the equal button to get the standard form of the number.   Once they had the answer, or standard form, of the number, we looked at the number on their calculator screen, which of course was 5,659.  We compared it to the addition problem on their paper and discussed that what they had done was given each digit in the number a value and that is what they added up to find the total value of the number.  We continued this process several times to gain understanding.  

Then I transitioned to giving them the standard form number first, such as saying," If I gave you the number 9,876, what values would you give each number (starting with the 9) that you could then key into the calculator as an addition problem that would get you an answer of 9,876?"  They would then start by saying, "Well, I think we would enter 9,000 for the 9." So, I would tell them to hit a 9,000 and then the plus sign.  Then they would say, "Next I think we would add 800 for the value of the 8." They would key that in.  Remember, all along the addition problem they are typing will be popping up at the top of their calculator screen.  ...... They would continue with the process until they key in all of the values.  At the end, when they hit the equals sign, it's like magic to them because if they did it right, they will end up with the number I told them to start with.  Sometimes they will give me a little , "YEAH!" when it is right.... they came up with that part on their own. (Don't you just love it when they do that!)

By the way, the calculator on my computer will represent expanded form too.  I used it to type some pictures out to show you the process used in the problem mentioned above. 
Click on the image to enlarge. .... not on t he 'p' that will pop up. :-)
For the last few years I have incorporated this expanded form activity into my teachings of expanded form and place value.  The kids LOVE using the calculators!  I hope you will have fun trying out this bright idea in your classroom.
Next up on the Bright Ideas Blog Hop is Kate from Second Grade Sparkle.  Kate has a great post about Magic Books for Reports.  Click  HERE to check out her blog post.

Photobucket
Click the button above to visit Kate's blog or the 'here' button above.

You can also search by specific topics using the links below.  These will take you to other awesome blogs in the Bright Ideas Blog Hop.



An InLinkz Link-up


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Monday, February 24, 2014

Free Printable St. Patrick's Day Subway Art

Valentine's Day has come and gone, and now it's time to add a hint of green instead of red. 
Rainbows and gold.... that sounds like happiness to me!  :-)  I made this cute St. Patrick's Day subway art, placed it in a black frame and Voila!... It turned out so cute!  Feel free to print yourself out one, as I am offering it for free.  Simply place it in an 8.5x11 frame and it will look so cute and colorful on your desk in your classroom or on display in your home.  Mine is actually on a table in a hallway off  my den.  Enjoy!  
Just click the link below to print.
FREE Subway Art for St. Patrick's Day

Check out my teacher themed subway art here.
Hover over image to pin.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

God Loves You Valentine's Day Cards

My son attends the church preschool, so for a change, I can actually mention God on classroom materials. Imagine that!  I made these for him to deliver to his three year old class friends for Valentine's Day.  They would work for any age. Just print and sign a name. I stapled a heart sucker to each one. They are free to print, so I hope you can enjoy on a e future Valentine's Day. Click the link below.

God Loves You Valentine Cards

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Text Annotation Codes

The big push in the classroom is to get kids thinking about their reading.  They should be digging for deeper meaning. A basic yellow highlighter just doesn't do the job.  After all, most kids use a highlighter as a coloring tool, more like a paint brush in art class, rather than a tool to look for important information. Plus, kids should really be doing more than just shading over important points.  They need to be interacting with the text. They need to "read with a pencil". What better way to do that than to give them some codes to use while reading.  Interacting with text by using annotating codes can help the teacher monitor comprehension.  Codes can also help the reader stay focused and engaged; whether it be looking for important points, connecting the text to their life, asking questions, or just being aware of the 'ah ha!' moments.   In order to teach your students how to annotate while reading, you might like to use this code sheet.  I am offering it as a FREEBIE.  There is one for upper and lower elementary. Enjoy!
Click the link below.
Text Annotation Codes


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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Building Fluency


Fluency-  The ability to read with  speed, accuracy, and proper expression.

Building fluency is a main focus in my upper elementary classroom.  The majority of my students can say the words on the page, but reading the words with proper speed and expression takes practice.  Working on fluency carries over to other areas of reading, such as it helps to increase comprehension. As I tell my students..... to read is to understand, and if you don't understand/comprehend what you are 'saying', you aren't really reading. Building fluency is just one reading skill that is going to help them better comprehend.
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We have all had kids in our classroom read aloud, whether it be whole class or in a small group, or even one on one.  As a teacher (and even as a student), we can easily recognize a child that struggles with fluency. It can typically be identified within the first few sentences of having them read aloud.  The same struggles we hear when they read aloud are most likely carrying over to their quiet independent reading.  Because of this, there needs to be some kind of activity within the classroom (or for homework) that focuses on building fluency.
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 In talking to other teachers about what they do in regard to building fluency, I have come to the conclusion that many teachers assess fluency, they correct fluency, but they simply are not providing activities to build fluency. As always, time is a factor.  With that said, I wanted to share a little activity I do with my students.


My Bright Idea.....

I named this fluency building activity "Read It and Repeat It".  Yep, it's as simple as that!  Just practice and improve.  I don't have the kids read an entire book, but rather I assign them a Read It and Repeat It paragraph or short passage.  I actually take a suitable passage from a book, type it, and then give a copy to each student.  The passage is not long, most likely just a paragraph, but I make sure it's one that allows for expression.  It may have commas and other punctuation that kids would typically struggle with.  When I type the passage, I can fit 3-4 on a page, so that cuts down on copies. I know you could just have students read a short passage from a book they have, but for some reason, the kids get so excited about seeing what the passage is.  Having it on the small slip of paper doesn't seem so overwhelming. 
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So, how does it work?  I have done the activity several ways.  I have made it a homework activity where I pass it out on Monday and they are required to practice reading it aloud each night. Then they come back and read it to the class on a Friday.  You don't even have to pick all kids to read aloud, as you can draw five names and just have those few read it aloud. I have also encouraged my students to make two recordings at home, and I even pass that suggestion on to the parents.  The students love to hear how much they improve, and when they do, they are amazed!!  You could even do this activity with just your weakest readers in the area of fluency.  You could easily pull them to the hallway and record them reading their passage.  They can practice reading it aloud to you each day in their reading group or even in the morning while all of the kids are arriving, and then record them again at the end of the week. You are sure to hear major improvements that will carry over to other reading activities.
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I encourage you to give it a try!  Try it once. Do it weekly.  Add it as a bi-weekly activity.  However you do it, I feel sure you will have readers that love it and want to hear themselves improve in the area of fluency
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Would you like to find out how to create with things you already have in your classroom? If so, head on over to my friend Faith's blog called 1st Grade Fantabulous.  Click HERE.
You can find more bright classroom ideas from other blogging friends by clicking the links below.  Have fun!









Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Healthy Moment with Molly: Advocare and Healthy Habits

It's the New Year, and I am going to introduce a new segment to my blog.  It's not school related, but I guess it is teacher related. After all,  teachers should be healthy, right? Everyone should TRY to be healthy, but I will be the first to say that it is not easy. So, with that said, I am going to be writing blog posts that I will title "Healthy Moments with Molly".  I hope you enjoy.  
So, here goes.
Over the last couple of months, I have been trying to change my eating habits.  
I have been trying to eat more of these:
The reality is, I would typically like more of these.


HELLO!  This is a picture I took at Christmas. Can you believe I didn't even eat one!!! 
About a week before Thanksgiving, I started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. I had to do something.  I was feeling not-so-good like crap. I really needed to do something that was going to rid me of the sugar/carb cravings I always seemed to be having. After seeing several friends have success with Advocare, I knew it could work. I mean, it was working for them, so at least there was a chance it would work for me. After months of debating and talking myself out of it, I decided it was worth a try. 


{I want to tell you lots more about Advocare and The Challenge,
 but I will save those details for another post.}


I feel like it was a huge success.  I did not take measurements, but I did take pictures along the 24 days.  I think the before and after pictures below  pretty much speak volumes about the success I had with the challenge. I was experiencing a lot of puffiness, and the challenge helped rid me of that.  I actually have continued with all parts of the challenge except the cleanse part, because they only recommend that every 90 days.  I still have weight to lose, so I am continuing on several of the products.  The picture below was taken about 25 days ago, so I really need to take another one.  I just wanted to show you the results I got with The Challenge.  


If you want to read more about the Advocare 24 Day Challenge Pack, click HERE.
I have been so impressed with my results that I became a distributor. :-) Distributors get a discount, and since I planned to keep taking the products, it just made sense.  



I am not going to fib.  This was a real challenge for me.  Hence, the name, right? But, the Advocare products have appetite suppressants that have helped so much.  Giving up Diet Coke.... well, honestly, I never thought I could say that it has been nearly 50 days since I had one.  CUH-razy!!  The Spark drink available through Advocare, helped provide the energy I think I was looking for from the Diet Coke.  If you want to check out Advocare Spark, Click HERE.  I actually have several friends that have never done the challenge, but they do drink the Spark.  Going to be honest though.....  I did not like the cherry.  The watermelon flavor is just okay (to me, of course).  The fruit punch is yummy! That's pretty much what I drink now.  Spark, water, and black coffee (just a little of the coffee).  I have also just recently been introduced to LaCroix. You can read about LaCroix Sparking Water HERE. A friend recommended that to me, because it has the carbonated taste that Diet Coke has.  It's pretty good, and sometimes I mix it with the Advocare Spark mentioned above.  Just trying to get some variety. That's the spice of life, right!  or is it sugar?


As you can see written under the picture above, I have also given up artificial sweeteners.  I was a HUGE Splenda addict.  Of course artificial sweetener is in the Diet Cokes I was consuming.  Oh Lordy.... a big 'ole Diet Coke from Sonic is soooooooo good. I am going to challenge you to watch some of the videos on Dr. Oz's website dealing with artificial sweeteners.  You can go to Dr. Oz's website, by clicking HERE. After you watch the video that the link takes you to, watch the other videos right below it too. 
They are an eye opener!!


Alrighty, I suppose that is enough healthy Molly for one day. :-)  
I will be back to share more about this little journey, so stay tuned.  
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Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy New Year 2014 Teacher Motivation Video

Happy New Year to all of the wonderful and dedicated teachers in the world.  You make a difference in the lives of children every day.  Teachers really do make the world a better place. :-)

Enjoy this New Year's video I made.  Pass it to a friend.  Use it in your staff development introductions.  Post it on your blog or facebook page.  Spread the teacher love for the New Year. 

                                         You can also download for free by clicking HERE.






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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Picture Frame Wreath

As I am getting all festive for the holiday season, I have a few crafty ideas I am trying to get out of the way.  I love going on Pinterest and looking at all of the Christmas ideas.  One neat idea I came across a while back is to make a picture frame wreath or other decoration using a frame.  Basically, you just use a picture frame for the base of the wreath and decorate it sort of like you would a regular wreath.  When I came across a white frame on clearance for $1.50, I decided it was time to get crafty. I just love a bargain! I used thin wire to hang the ornaments from the top of the frame.  I used garland to hide the wire.  It turned out pretty cute.  I have it hanging between my front door and a window.  Here is the finished picture frame wreath.
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Free Printable Christmas Gift Tags

Yes, I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I am quickly getting into the Christmas spirit.  It's kind of hard not to when you see all the Christmas decorations in stores. I always like to give my co-workers or neighbors a little something for Christmas, so I made these whimsical tags to use on gifts for friends.  I thought I would share the tags with you.  Just click on the link below.  The file is a png image saved in a power point.  All you have to do is open it up and print the slide. Punch a hole in the corner and add a ribbon. Instant Christmas tag. :-)
Free Printable Christmas Gift Tags
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Turkey Toes Baggie Toppers

Your students will think these are the funniest thing.... turkey toes!!  I have made the baggie topper, so all you have to do is get the candy corn and print the turkey toes baggie topper and your are set.  If you are a room mom, this is an easy treat to take in for the kids. Teachers, your coworkers might also find this cute if you leave a baggie in their mailbox.  :-)  Just click the link below. Enjoy!
Free Turkey Toes Baggie Toppers


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