Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Good Peachy morning to y'all.

It's Gary from
Today's Technology Tuesday comes to you from a staff development I attended this summer.  I'm going to share with you a program called ThingLink that I think you'll find interesting.
You have plans to choose from. The free one allows you to enter up to 100 students, so you could probably use this account for a few years, eh?
 When you sign up in the free account, you are allowed ONE group that you can enter up to 100 students to. There are two ways to do this, send students a code for them to sign up with their own email accounts, or 'register' each student yourself. If you register them, make sure you print out the page with logins and passwords. They are very funky and I didn't find a way to create unique codes.
It basically allows you to use any photo (from the web, from a computer upload) and attach 'tags' to it and then share with others. You can add sentences, other images, links, and videos. I'm sure you could also have your students record a report piece that you could then attach as well, but I haven't figured that one out yet.
Here's one I created for Paul Revere. You can click over the little colored dots to see what I've added. You have to upgrade to the paid account to get access to other than just some basic tag icons, but I think students would waste too much time trying to decide which icon to use than finishing their work.


Think of all the fun you could have with this software. Book reports would no longer be boring, research could come alive, All About Me pages could be so much more interactive, and parents could see a lot more of what you do in the classroom.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Addition Strategies and FREEBIES!

When the Common Core rolled out, I know lots of people were slightly distressed about teaching students multiple ways to solves problems.  Or maybe not people.  Maybe just parents that were totally unfamiliar with the strategies.

"What do you mean there is no crossing out and carrying!  We only carry in this house!"

Or something like.  Or maybe something like this?


Or like this?

Yeah.  At my school, too.

I worked really hard to teach the parents as much as the kids because it is a huge shift in thinking.

First, I always get the question, "Do you really teach your kids ALL the strategies?" Yes and no.  I don't teach all the strategies because there are so many, but there are several that I do teach.

The CCS in second grade states:

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.NBT.B.5- Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.NBT.B.7- Add and subtract within 1000, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method. Understand that in adding or subtracting three-digit numbers, one adds or subtracts hundreds and hundreds, tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose or decompose tens or hundreds.

So it doesn't explicitly WHICH strategies to teach- just that it need it follows "place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction."

So many strategies fall under place value (in my opinion).

I stick to four main strategies: adding with base ten blocks, adding on a hundreds chart, adding with place value, and adding on an open number line.

These are my personal preference and you may be mandated to teach other ways (especially with mental math and Number Talks) by your district.

When teaching about the strategies I like to create a chart like this to show the different strategies for solving the same problem.  I don't fill in the chart at one time, instead we fill it in as we learn each strategy.

This chart stays up for a long time and is a great reference and reminder for kids!

As far as what order I teach the strategies, I always start with base ten blocks.  They are the most concrete (and familiar) of the strategies.  I don't actually have much to share on that strategy since it is nothing fancy! LOL!

When the numbers are within one hundred, I usually move on to teaching adding on a hundreds chart.  I like to use three color tokens when teaching this.

We had these available at my school.  If your school does not have them, you can buy them super cheap on Oriental Trading.

 The first color token is the starting number.  Then, I use two separate color tokens to show adding with the tens and ones.  I think it just makes it easier for students to visually see how the "hops" work. Eventually, kids move to using a dry erase marker on the hundreds chart to using just their fingers to make the hops.

If you are looking for more practice to teach this strategy, I have this pack in my store.  It has over 30 pages of practice for only $3.00!! Click here to check it out!

I like to teach this strategy before jumping into adding with place value because it reinforces adding the tens and the ones.

This is my MOST favorite strategy  Simply because it is how I choose to add mentally! It takes a good bit of modeling and I always go BACK to the base ten blocks to model it first. Then I relate the blocks to a written method like this:

Do you like this work mat?  Laminate it so kids can build with the blocks OR draw on it with a dry erase marker! 

Adding with place value can be a tough strategy to find resources for so I have a 15 page FREEBIE of all kinds of goodies for you- including a whole class game of scoot!

Truth time: my least favorite strategy for addition (or subtraction) is an open number line.  My brain just does not work in a linear line! LOL!  However, I DO teach it to my kids, in case they get it.  This tends to be a more difficult strategy to explain to parents.

I like to send this parent letter home for a reference. This is another strategy where there just aren't too many things out there.  I made this pack in my store.

There are over 20 pages of practice for only $3.00! Click here to check it out!

Do you teach any other strategies?  What are your favorites?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Organizational Tips and Tools: Linky Party Week 3

Hello lovely peaches! It's Erin from The Elementary Darling! We are on week three of our Organizational Linky party and we have some fabulous blog posts linked up already! We will continue this every Sunday this summer! We would love for you to link up with us, join anytime!

This week I am showing you how I organize my math groups! I use NWEA MAP scores to group my students. I actually added a group after I created my sticky note groups! This is a great way for me to move kids based on the strands in each group.

Each day my students complete two math groups. I see two groups, and I organize them on my white board with magnets. This way I can move them if we don't have school on a Monday or Friday or if I change the groups. 

Each group has a color and the rest of their activities are in the color basket that correlates with the color group they are in. The baskets are from Really Good Stuff and the folders were from Amazon.

When I plan in advance (this doesn't happen often :)) I use the colored hanging folders to print out each groups differentiated worksheets or interactive notebook pages. 

You could do this for any kind of groups! To find out more about my math groups, you can go here!
How do you organize math groups? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Spiffy Up" Social Studies Lessons with a Great Read Aloud!

Hi!  It's Shannon here from over at Bryant's Brain Train!  
Can you believe that it is almost the end of June?  Summer time please SLOW DOWN!  Even though most of us are still on our summer breaks, I want to share with you one of my favorite ways to "spiffy up" my Social Studies and Geography instruction.

Today it's time for another installment of... 
I want to tell you about one of my FAVORITE books that I use to use to enhance Social Studies instruction...Around the World in 80 Tales by Saviour Pirotta.

This beautifully illustrated book contains stories from around the world.  Each story is just a page or 2, so these read alouds are easy to work into any lesson with taking up too much time.  The tales are divided in the book by continent, which is great for both student and teacher reference.

Here are just a few examples of how I use the book to enhance our topical studies.  When studying the rain forest, we read "The Rainbow Snake" from Venezuela.  When studying bird adaptations, we read "The Kiwi's Gift" from New Zealand.  Economic principles can also be taught through stories like "White Pebbles"  from Ethiopia.  The possibilities truly are endless!  When time permits, we even make "souvenirs" or complete extension activities to accompany our "trips" to each country.  
For example, White Pebbles is a game that is played much like Mancala, so we play online at http://www.coolmath-games.com/0-mancala.  What a great way to link critical thinking to geography!  
When we study bird adaptations and read "The Kiwi's Gift," students use found objects to design their own bird nests.

Want to see even more ideas from me related to this resource?  I would love for you to stop by my blog and read more at http://bryantsbraintrain.blogspot.com/2012/03/blog-post_26.html  

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Make your own - Construction Paper Mailboxes

Hi y'all.

It's Gary again from

ScrappyGuy Designs
Can I just tell you how much I HATE my system for construction paper storage? I'm talking about the big stuff. That 12x18 monster that doesn't fit anywhere. For the smaller sheets, I use my filing cabinet and hanging folders. That is awesome. But for the big stuff I laid all of my sheets inside my cabinet on top of each other. So if I needed a certain color in the middle of the pack, I had to use my poor overtaxed arm muscles to lift up the rest of the papers and pull what I needed out. All the while I'm praying that it doesn't rip or crinkle and make some kid cry.
It's time I came up with a PLAN! I recently saw a Pinterest post about creating student mailboxes out of those FREE Priority Mail boxes at the post office. I immediately ran over and picked up 30 of them. No one batted an eyelash. Looking at them I thought it would be a lot of work to put something like this together. So I let them rattle around in my trunk for a while.
Then it hit me. Why not use them to hold construction paper? Oh yeah, each color could have their own slot and I could put them up against a wall in my teeny weeny classroom. Perfect. Making 12 boxes seemed easier than making 30. So I set to work.
The boxes measure 12 inches lengthwise and 17 inches widthwise. I want some of the paper to hang out, so I cut the tabs off the open end after sealing up the bottom of the boxes. This made the box now 14 inches long instead of 17.


I found some duct tape in our new school color (they had the lime green as well, but that's not my favorite). I placed three strips along six of the boxes across the bottoms to hold them in place. Then I wrapped the entire perimeter with tape on the bottom and top. Voila!





They don't fit  perfectly inside because the box is 12 inches and the paper is 12 inches, so they bend a little. But I figure that's better than what I was doing, right?
Cost? All about $1.00 worth of materials. Time? About 30 minutes to attach six boxes together. It helps to watch your favorite trending Net Flix show season. For me it was OITNB.
Let me know if you make one as well. I'd love to see it!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Set Up Guided Access on an iPad

Hello Y'all! This is April from Grade School Giggles. Today is Technology Tuesday and I want to share one of my favorite iPad features with you.

Did you know that you can lock a child into a specific app?

You can and it's awesome, especially for those students who like to switch activities on you.
Guided access is the feature that lets you do this. You'll need to set it up, but that's pretty easy. I'll walk you through it.

1. Go to Settings.

2. Tap on General and then on Accessibility.
3. Tap on Guided Access, which is under Learning.

5. Switch it on & tap on Set Passcode. You'll need to enter a four digit passcode that you will know and your students will not.

6. Finally, switch on Accessibility Shortcut.

Now you are ready to use the guided access feature. When you pull up the app you want to lock your student into click on the home button three times. You'll get the guided access screen. If there are certain sections of the app you want to turn off draw a circle with your finger around the area you want blocked. That part of the screen will not register touch. Then, hit start. 

To exit guided access hit the home button three times again. Enter the passcode and then hit end.

So, have you used guided access before? Do you think it would be helpful? I hope so.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Organizational Tips and Tools: Linky Party! Week 2

Hello Friends! It's April from Grade School Giggles

Last week we kicked off our weekly linky party all about organizational tips and tools. This week we're doing it again and we would love for you to join us.

I am starting the party off by sharing my favorite way to cover clothespins. I love to use scrapbook paper. It's easy and the design choices are endless.

The first thing you'll want to do is pick out a piece of scrapbook paper. Next, hot glue some clothespins to the back of your scrapbook paper. Finally, use a sharp pair of scissors to trim scrapbook paper off cutting as close as possible to the edge of the clothespin. That's it!

I usually just hot glue my clothespins to the wall. Gluing thumbtacks to the backside of the clothespins makes them perfect for bulletin boards. You can also attach them to walls using a Command Strip cut in half. Stick one side to the back of the clothespin and attach the other to the wall. It's easy-peasy & damage free!