Tuesday, December 31, 2013

13 in 13

Okay, I could not help myself!  What better way to celebrate the last day of 2013 than to post about my 13 favorites about the year?!  I am linking up with Dragonflies in First, Miss Kindergarten, and A Teeny Tiny Teacher to give you Thirteen in '13.  Oh, but before I begin, I should warn you all that I am the world's worst at making decisions, so I probably will have more than one favorite for multiple categories!

13. Favorite Article of Clothing 

I...love...clothes. and. shoes. and everything in between.  I do have to say that my newest favorite piece combines everything I love. JCrew, Chambray, dresses, tights, and boots.  I cannot wait to wear this little gem to school!  Obviously the picture leaves out the tights, but brown tights and boots pair with the dress nicely.

12.  Favorite Movie you Watched

This category is a fail for me this year :(  I hardly saw any movies in the theater!  I am placing my bets though and will say that Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be the best movie I see this year...I'm trying to convince my husband to take me tonight!

11. Favorite TV Series

This one is a toss up between Scandal and Parenthood. Both shows happen to come on the same night at the same time, so my DVR has been  my BFF this year.  Scandal has kept me on my toes all season, and continues to blow my mind!  Parenthood makes me appreciate family even more and reminds me to treasure some of the little things in life.  I actually got season 1 and 2 of Parenthood for Christmas and have enjoyed watching episode after episode in my pajamas!

10.  Favorite Restaurant

I love, love, love Mexican food and could probably eat it every single day.  However, if I had to choose my absolute favorite restaurant, I have to choose Ruth Chris.  Filet. Wine. Lobster Bisque...shall I go on?

9. Favorite New Thing You've Tried

I am all about trying new wines, especially reds.  My grandmother is a wine connoisseur and we go for dinner and wine every Wednesday night. I am always eager to try the wine she picks out, and am NEVER disappointed. 

8.  Favorite Gift you Got

I got so many great gifts this year from my family, my husband, and even my students. With that said, I do have to be honest and confess that my favorite gift is a gift that I bought for myself.  Meet my 2014 Ford Explorer, Fiona.

7.  Favorite Thing you pinned 

Any recipe from Mix and Match Mama's blog.  If you have not seen this blog, click here immediately.  Shay has so many options for dinner each week, and her bundt cakes are to DIE for!

6.  Favorite Blog post

I am brand new to the blogging scene, but my favorite post to date so far would have to be Pasta Parentheses.  My kiddos absolutely loved practicing the associative property using elbow pasta.

5.  Best Accomplishment

On June 8, 2013, I married this guy!  My family and Matron of Honor helped me put together the most beautiful, exciting, and memorable wedding EVER. Everything was perfect, and best of all, it didn't rain :)

4.  Favorite Picture

 No explanation needed...

3. Favorite Memory

Choosing a favorite memory from 2013 is close to impossible.  I had the most amazing third grade class, was blessed to participate in numerous national conferences, and, I mean, I got married!  My showers and bachelorette parties were amazing, and I got to make so many special memories with my family and friends. One special moment does stand out, though, from my Bridal Luncheon. My sister and best friend were able to secretly organize a way for all of my students to write a piece of advice for me as a newlywed and created a book of all 48 sweet responses.  I was in tears. This. Was. Perfect.

2.  Goal for 2014

I have many goals for the 2014 year, but, I'm going to keep it short and simple.  Live, Laugh, and Love.  It is so easy for me to get overwhelmed with work, grad school, and trying to please everyone.  This year, I am going to attempt to not sweat the small stuff, take more time to myself without feeling guilty, and remember that each day is a gift that is not promised.

1.  One Little Word


This word completely sums up this year for me.  I have an entire playlist dedicated to this word!

Thank you for reading this long post all about 2013!  If you have a blog, link up!  You can use these 13 prompts if you'd like, or 13 of your own favorites! Be sure you include the 13 in '13 button on your post linking back to this post, then go here and add your post link to the party!

13. Favorite new article of clothing
12. Favorite movie you watched
11. Favorite TV series
10. Favorite restaurant
9. Favorite new thing you tried
8. Favorite gift you got
7. Favorite thing you pinned
6. Favorite blog post
5. Best accomplishment
4. Favorite picture
3. Favorite memory
2. Goal for 2014
1. One Little Word

Happy New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Resolutions Linky

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday.  I have very much enjoyed staying up late, sleeping until 9, and staying in my pajamas past noon.  Today I finally decided that it was back to work so I decided to begin a little TPT project, but to procrastinate, I am linking up with A Peach for the Teach to share my New Years resolutions.

These are only a few goals of mine I have for the new year.  I cannot believe it is almost 2014.  I feel like I just started teaching this group of third graders, and before I know it, I will be sending them on to fourth.  Lots to do before I get them there, though!
Check back later this week for Wintery Math Multiplication and Division Stations along with Multiples of 10 Activities.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pasta Parentheses and a Freebie!

As the holidays are approaching, I am finding it more difficult to engage my kiddos and keep them focused on these last full days!  I love, love, love completing seasonal activities, but I also have so much I have to REALLY teach before we get our for Christmas break.

This week, we learned our third property of multiplication: The Associative Property.  My students have been doing a great job identifying the commutative property as well as the distributive property, so I was excited to give this new lesson plan a try!

We began with an interactive PowerPoint and some counters to help students SEE how changing the grouping of factors does not affect the product in multiplication.  The kids looked at the lesson as a puzzle, and seemed to be amazed when the product came out to be the same even through the factors they multiplied were different.  After some practice on our dry erase boards, I gave students an interactive activity where they were challenged to group factors in two different ways using elbow pasta as parentheses. They were over the moon to use these manipulatives as 3D parentheses, and I was able to see who was grasping the concept and who needed a little more intervention.

To reinforce the concepts of the Associative Property, I created task cards for my students to solve in groups.  The task cards had students solve using the associative property, using parentheses to group factors differently, multiple choice, word problems using the property, and constructed response questions.  My students love the Kagan strategy, Showdown.  I love it too because it promotes cooperative learning, questioning and explanation strategies, and my students absolutely love praising and coaching one another :)  Here are some pictures of my kiddos in action...

Click on the picture below to check out my Associative Property Lesson Plan and Resource Pack!

Now...as promised, a freebie!  Click here to grab my Matching Mittens Variable Center.  I hope everyone has a great, calm last few days!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Diving into the Distributive Property

The Common Core standards have thrown many challenges at my third graders this year in math.  One of the biggest challenges has been helping my students grasp onto the concept of the Distributive Property of Multiplication.

Vocabulary is definitely a key area of Common Core and I have found that if students can use the math vocabulary terms correctly, then they understand the concept.  To help my students with the terminology of the distributive property, I make sure I say the word distribute in sentences at least 20 times a day!  I will say something like, "When you get your homework, please distribute the sheets to your table" or "Distribute yourselves into teams of four."  I also have a special section on my white board that is designated to special vocabulary words for a unit. If students can use "jackpot" words in explanations and sentences throughout the day, we call out JACKPOT and students can pick out of the Jackpot jar.  The jar has skittles, runts, and other colorful candies inside.

Also, every time a new unit or concept is introduced in my class, I make an anchor chart to display throughout the unit.  This helps with vocabulary and key concepts...and is also a quick reference when my students need a little reminder :)

In late August when my students were first exposed to this property, I was a little worried about how I was going to expose the concept in a way that my 8 year olds could truly understand.  Luckily, I found an amazing array activity on TPT.  You can find this activity at Tonya's Treats for Teachers. These task cards really hit home with my kiddos and explained the concept of breaking a larger array into two smaller arrays.  This was a great transition into distributing multiplication facts!
 To piggy back off of this activity, I created some scoot cards and an Around the Room activities with arrays that also help students break apart multiplication facts using number bonds.

 My students are now transitioning into using "Familiar Five" facts to help them solve more difficult facts.

 This week we are starting with the 6's and 7's.  I teach my students to distribute the 6 into 5 +1 and the 7 into 5 +2.  Next week, we will distribute 12 facts into 10 + 2.  I have struggled to find appropriate resources for my students to grasp this information, so I have created a packet of Distributive activity sheets, homework sheets, and partner activities.  You can find that in my TPT store. A bundle of all of my Distributive Resources (including Scoot cards and Around the Room cards) is also available. To get a sneak preview of my lessons, I am offering a FREE Multiply by 7's Using the Distributive Property.  Check it out, here.

I know I will have much more news on how my third graders are coming along with the Properties of Multiplication!  The Associative Property will be our next challenge :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Variables Continued

Here, as promised, are a few finished products of my students' variable creations.  I was so proud at the creativity that was shown.  By having my students create the story problem, formulate an equation using the variable of their choice, solve showing a strategy, and write the final answer within a sentence, I was shown that 98% of my students have a strong understanding of variables within multiplication and division.

If you e-mail me at misslaborde5@gmail.com, I have some great PowerPoints that I can send teaching variables :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sneaky Variables

Today I introduced one of my favorite math concepts to my third graders: variables!  I always tell my kiddos that variables are letters trying to sneak their way into math class.  We joke that letters belong in reading, language, and writing, and they are trying to sneak their way into math class!  They love pretending that letter variables have "numbernapped" (instead of kidnapped) the numbers in our math equations.

The third grade common core math curriculum is about 75 percent multiplication and division, so this year I introduced variables in multiplication and division word problems. I sometimes dress up as a detective and we use magnifying glasses as we search for the missing number that was "numbernapped".  They LOVE this!  If you play spooky, mysterious music while they work to solve for the variables, they get even more into the process :)

For their independent work, I used a mini-dicut machine to cut out a few letters.  I gave each table a container of letters and asked them to pick the letter of their choice.  After choosing a letter, the students were asked to construct a multiplication or division word problem and use the variable to represent the unknown.  While working with variables, we talked about choosing a variable that represented the first letter of the unknown: g for groups or h for hotdogs.  My students really liked the opportunity to choose their letter and create word problems with matching illustrations.  I showed them my example (modeling, modeling, and more modeling) and then they were ready to roll.  I'll post their finished products tomorrow!

Tomorrow, after the kiddos finish their creations, they will work together in pairs to complete a matching variables activity.  I also made an around the room activity where students will use clipboards to walk around the room and solve.  They can do this individually or in pairs.  You can find those activities in my TPT store.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Classroom Economy

I know many of you have heard of implementing Classroom Economy into the classroom.  I just started this last year, and my kids absolutely LOVE economics!  This process makes my life easier and it serves as an all year behavior management plan offering incentives and consequences.

The original idea came from Beth Newingham and she offers her Classroom Economics Lesson Plan here.  I have made many modifications in my classroom, and I am constantly making more changes to make sure I am really helping students connect our classroom economy to real world economics.

Basically, the first week of school my students learn how to work together to form a classroom community.  We make a list of important jobs that should be evident in the classroom, and students apply for jobs using real applications.  You can find my application here :)  Then we talk about which jobs are needed every day, some days, and not very often.  From there we make a salary chart.  Some jobs get $50 every two weeks and some jobs may only get $35 or $30 every two weeks. Students then design classroom money, and we vote on the design we like best.  Teachers, get your volunteers to run off the money on colored paper and laminate LOTS!  Especially ones, fives, and tens.

After I assign students jobs, I take their pictures, put them on  popsicle sticks, and put their sticks in a pocket on our Classroom Economy bulletin board. This way they can see their jobs and their salary schedules. Students are then trained for about two weeks before I hand out paychecks.  Once these kiddos have their jobs down, that's when my job becomes easier!  My pencils are sharpened, my board is erased, the floor is swept, buckets are neat, computers are off, etc.  Busy teachers love good helpers!  Students get paid from how well they perform their jobs over a two weeks period.  They can earn extra money for showing respect, giving a brilliant answer or explanation, or for making an A in conduct.  I fine my students for a C, D, or F and fine them for other things like missing homework constantly, loosing materials, getting up without raising their hands (MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE), or whatever you would like.  I usually give students a few weeks before I fine them for breaking classroom rules.

When students begin saving their money, I open up the class store.  To supply my store I do a few things:  Ask parents to donate old toys or books, get a few items from the dollar store, and save and use many old Christmas gifts that students give me (shhhh...don't tell!) I also open up the coupon store where students can purchase a drink from the lounge, eating lunch with the teacher, shoes off for a day, sit by a friend, free computer time, and many other fun, inexpensive options.  Some days we have Class Store days...usually on a Friday when they've had a pretty good week. Click here to get a free preview of some of my coupons.  You can find fancier coupons at my TPT store :)

Now...for the most fun!  When my students dive into economics, we discuss producers, consumers, resources, supply, demand, etc.  (I am developing a unit, so check back soon to see a day by day lesson plan) During this unit we discuss local businesses and what sorts of things it takes to make a business.  My students eventually design a business with a partner or individually, and develop a Business Plan.  Students brainstorm together to create a business that provides goods or services and also beats out competition.  They create sings to advertise and some even create business cards and coupons! I schedule Economy Day about 2 weeks into the unit, making sure that my students understand the key terms so that the day is meaningful and I send home a note making sure parents know what is going on because the kiddos need a bit of help from home.  The students go crazy with their businesses!  Check out the pictures below from my class about a week ago.  On Economy Day we had colored lemonade, massages, nail painting, lotion, jewelry boxes, popcorn, journals, toy stores, lanyards, and more!  Students loved earning and spending money to discover the profit made at the end of the day.

Hope you enjoy!