Thursday, December 8, 2011

Finally...A New Post

So... I know I haven't been faithful with my blogging, but I have a good excuse :)  Ok, so no excuse is a good excuse.  Let's call it a reason instead.  I changed jobs during the month of October, and I am just now starting to get settled into my new position.  I am now a Math Coach for 5 schools in our system serving grades 4-9, and I had no idea just how exhausting it was going to be!  However, I am learning so much and will have even more to share with your about my experiences.

Tonight's post is all about using iPads/iPods in the classroom.  My position is funded through a grant that also put iPad and iPod labs in the schools for teacher and student use.  Therefore I have been doing a tremendous amount of research on using these in the classroom.  I spent some time in an 8th grade math class and we (the teacher and I) conducted small groups during the period.  The iPods served as a great easy was to engage students in quality mathematics, without a ton of prep time from the teacher.  Many of our teachers are planning to use the labs for this purpose.  During our small group rotations, I taught the students a partner game, the teacher taught a lesson, and the third group played an app related to the topic of study.  I was very pleased at how well the students at this age level were engaged in learning. While many of the elementary classrooms I visit conduct small groups on a daily basis, small groups was new to this middle school classroom.  I look forward to more opportunities to experience this type of student engagement in the middle and high schools!

If you have access to iPads/iPods for student learning, the resources below are very valuable:

  • Apps4Edu:  This first site is a search engine for quality education apps and someone has done all of the work for you.  All you have to do is choose your criteria. 
  • iPads in the Classroom:  This site has compiled iPad resources that others have put on the web into one place. 
  •  Jasztalville Blog:  This is a great blog on apps for the classroom.  
I would love to hear how others are using these iPods/iPads in the classroom!!  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Newspaper Math

Here is a fun activity for students to complete while practicing math skills.  The students must find 5 decimal numbers in the newspaper then use the numbers to complete a series of math questions about decimal place value.  I hope you enjoy the activity!  My kids loved it so much that we are doing it again :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I am a slacker...

but only in blogging :)  The first weeks of school absolutely drain me, and to make matters worse I am always "volunteering" myself for extra activities.  I am sure none of you can relate to the inability to say "no" to extra work.  This summer I spent three days in the lovely city of Montgomery taking part in a workshop on developing math curriculum guides for advanced students based on the new Common Core Standards. Part of my requirements to be paid for this workshop, and yes I did say paid...was to create activities for gifted or advanced students, and those activities were due this past week!  So I have been working extra hours to get these finished. These activities are for your kids who already know everything you are about to teach on a specific topic.  Or it may be a child who just masters the concepts much quicker than most of your other kids.  As a part of differentiating your instruction, it is important that these students do not get MORE work, they just get different work.  So my post tonight is to share with you a set of Fraction Thinker Keys that I developed to help those students who are ready for a challenge in fractions.  The ideas behind this activity is that the child should be able to work on this independently, with minimal guidance from you.  It is meant to deepen their understanding of fractions.  This is the first set of thinker keys I have created, so I do not profess it to be FANTASTIC, but I do think they are pretty fun and I hope your kids will too! 
If you are new to thinker keys (like me) here is a great informational piece by the thinker key creator:

My Fraction Thinker on TpT:

Mrs. J

Sunday, August 28, 2011

After School Engineering Club

This year I am starting an after school engineering club that will meet each week.  Over the past few weeks I have researched a variety of curriculum to use for our club meetings.  I really like the Engineering is Elementary and the Time to Invent curriculum.   The Engineering is Elementary curriculum is quite expensive, but explores a variety of engineering fields.  The Time to Invent curriculum is free, but you do have to purchase supplies.  Have any of you ever conducted an engineering club?  If so, I would love some feedback on how you ran your program.  For the rest of you who might also be interested in this after school club, here is the free teacher's guide to the Time to Invent program:  I hope to hear from some of you!! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Latitude and Longitude Game: Message in a Bottle

I didn't make this game, but I love playing it with my kids.  It is Message in a Bottle and is great for practicing Longitude and Latitude.  I hope you enjoy it!  Mrs. J

Monday, August 22, 2011

Branches of Government

I survived the first week of school!!  It was an exhausting, but fun week.  I love my class this year, and can't wait to see how much their minds grow!!  This post is a link to graphic organizers I made several years ago to go along with Ben's Guide to Government.  They correlate with the 3-5 grade Branches of Government information found at:

The graphic organizers are FREE on TpT.

I hope you enjoy these!!  Mrs. J

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Classroom Designs

I wanted to post these when I first started my blog, but I never got around to it.  These are photos of my Hollywood themed classroom for this year.

I am also posting pictures of last years Sports themed classroom...I am not sure why I changed it, but it was WAY too much work!  The Hollywood theme will stay for a while! 

Classroom 2010-2011Classroom 2010-2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Our Teacher is Missing Writing Activitiy

Today I posted one of my favorite substitute plans that I leave throughout the year. This writing prompt printable is great to leave when you have a substitute. I leave it on a day that I don't tell my students I will be absent because the prompt is all about "Our Teacher is Missing." This printable includes the prompt and a graphic organizer for prewriting.  I always enjoy reading the students' papers about "What happened to our teacher..."

Tomorrow I start back to school, so you may not here from me for a couple of days.  The first week back is always tough, but fun!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Transition Words Poster

My newest post to TpT is a Transition Words poster you can use for writing.  My students keep a copy of this in their writing folders, and I also hang this on my wall with some other writing posters.  It groups together commonly used transitions for students to refer to when writing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Place Value Power

These tiered activity sheets allow students ample practice with place value concepts. If laminated or put in a page protector, students can use these over and over with dry erase markers. The teacher will give the students digits (0-9) to place in the boxes at the top of the page. Then the students will complete a variety of place value questions about the number created with the digits. These sheets go from basic (3 digit #) to advanced (decimal).

Monday, August 8, 2011

100 or Bust...I love this game!!

This is one of my favorite math games to play with kids.  When I went to New Zealand a couple years ago I played this game at a Family Math Night of a school I visited.  I didn't get a copy of it while I was there, so I created my own game board when I returned home...then I made 1000 or Bust as an extension.  It is a fun game and the kids love it!!  The best part of this game is the end when the students start comparing totals,   you will have students who have the same totals, but they took completely different approaches to the game.  I hope you enjoy playing this game with your kids as much as I do!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Literature Genre Posters

I just posted my first "For Sale" item on the Teachers Pay Teachers website.  It is a set of 15 full color genre posters if you want to take a look:
I hope you enjoy, and check back next week for more FREE stuff :) 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Teaching Expanded Numbers

This FREE manipulative is for teaching expanded numbers.  This is an ideal resource to use when introducing the concept, and to reinforce understanding with students who are struggling conceptually.  You can download this resource for free at:  
In addition to the hand-on manipulatives, here are a few other websites that you can use to further this teaching strategy for students in need of intervention: 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Classroom Learning Stations

These are Language Arts Stations and some incorporate Social Studies topics. You can find it FREE at

Blessings. Mrs. J

Flower Power

This FREE activity can be found at:

The students will create a flower using pattern blocks. Each blocks has an assigned monetary value. The students will graph the number of pattern blocks used in the design, then calculate the cost of the flower, 1/2 a dozen flowers, and a dozen flowers.

Blessings. Mrs. J

Math/Literature Connection: One Grain of Rice

So here is my first free activity. You can download this activity for FREE at Teachers Pay Teacher using the following link:

I hope you enjoy this activity. It is a great activity to engage students in problem solving while practicing accuracy of addition with large numbers. While the picture book provides some great pictures, you can also do this lesson using the printable story at the link below.

Printable Story:

Buy the Book:

Here Goes Nothing...

Because I have absolutely NOTHING else to do with my time , I have decided to start a teaching blog. This blog isn't for students or parents, but for other teachers. In searching for teaching resources on the web, I have found many blogs with fabulous resources for lower elementary grades. However, the blogs for the upper elementary teachers are far and few between. I have been told many times by my colleagues that I should start something like this to share the resources I have accumulated over the past few years, so this is my attempt in doing just that. Over the next couple of weeks I hope to share these resources piece by piece in order to help each of you in your journey to educate America's future. ~Blessings. Mrs. J