Sunday, February 22, 2015

Donors Choose and J. Crew!

Have you seen this adorable shirt??

It's from J. Crew and here's why it so awesome: It was designed by Hugo Guinness FOR! 100% of net proceeds goes to Donors Choose!!

I know many teachers that have benefited form Donors Choose. I've had TWO projects funded. I think what they do for teachers is amazing. Don't you?? 


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Area & Perimeter ROCKS

I think I've posted about the Area & Perimeter Zoo project I do in my classroom each year. It is SO fun, SO educational, and SO engaging.

Here's how it works:
- Student groups (2-3) get assigned an animal
- Groups brainstorm what their animal needs to live and be happy in a zoo enclosure
- Groups design an enclosure using grid paper
- Groups solve for the area and perimeter of their enclosure
- Once calculations have been checked by the teacher, they can design & color!!

Here's what the finished project can look like (keep in mind I have two classes - so our zoo is BIG)!

Here's what's included in the pack:
- 8.5 x 11 poster for AREA
- 8.5 x 11 poster for PERIMETER
- 10 animal templates
- Extension options
- Teacher Instruction Page

So you totally want the pack, right? Well, enter to win it FREE!!!

My Carolina Classroom is hosting a fantastic blogiversary giveaway!!

You can win this set, along with a ton of other great products from other fabulous teachers!! Details and entry opportunities below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Deep in the Heart of Texas Blog Hop

Welcome to the "Deep in the Heart of Texas" blog hop!  Over 40 Texas teacher bloggers have joined together to share what we love about our state as well as ideas and freebies that we love.  You will also have the opportunity to enter to win TpT products and/or TpT gift certificates by entering using the rafflecopters included in each post.  Down at the bottom, you will see all of the blogs participating in the hop.  Just click and you will be taken to their posts.  We hope you love what you find.  Happy Valentine's Day!

HOWDY! My name is Katie and I teach fourth grade in Galveston, Texas. I was born in Houston, which is about an hour away, but moved to Galveston about 5 years ago. I love my island!! I'm 3 minutes from the beach. Life doesn't get much better than living in a beach town-- It's like being on vacation everyday! 

There are SO many things I love about Galveston. I already mentioned I'm 3 minutes from the beach. Can't beat that! There are many lazy summer days spent on the beach, and it also serves as a great place to start teaching my boys to drive during deserted winter months! ;) 

Another great thing about G-town is our road called the Seawall. It's our "freeway" (even thought the speed limit ranges from 35-45... just watch out for bike cops). The Seawall has the best view in town. The Gulf stretches in every direction. It's where people run, bike, surf, skate... It's awesome. Just check out this view!

I. Love. Task. Cards. What teacher doesn't? They're such a fun way to review key concepts AND they're not a worksheet. Ugh. Worksheets. Anyway, I attended an awesome math conference a few years ago where two awesome teachers talked about how they turned old DVD cases into game boards for activities in their class. I thought it was GENIUS. Because it IS! So I created generic Game Boards that fit into a DVD case and I pair them with task cards. Instant awesomeness. 
Here's what students think: YAY!!! GAME!!! 
Here's what teachers see: YAY!!! LEARNING!!! 
Seriously, my students love playing with these game boards so much, it is very common for them to grab a game board, some task cards and PLAY DURING FREE TIME. I'm serious. DURING FREE TIME. Be still my heart! 

Check out the full pack HERE, or click on the picture. They're part of the Blog Hop Giveaway, so BE SURE TO ENTER BELOW!! 

Because I love my DVD game boards SO much, I decided to make a fun Valentine Game Board FREEBIE just for this Deep in the Heart of Texas Blog Hop! Just click HERE to be taken to the link, download and enjoy!! This game board is so cute, you don't just have to use it for Valentine's Day :) Oh, and don't forget to leave feedback!! I LOVE FEEDBACK! 

Click on the buttons below to visit some other awesome Texas bloggers!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Exercise Bands in the Classroom

Do you have wiggly students?
Do you have students that refuse to stay seated?
Do you have students that can't stop talking? 
Do you have students that kinda sorta drive you CRAZY???
Let's be real - we all do. I have been searching for years on ways to get my little wigglers to stay seated and focused. 

My first year I inherited 8 of these babies: 
They were great.... Until I noticed my little wigglers had turned into little bouncers. All day. Bouncing. It drove me as crazy as their wiggling! And EVERYONE wanted one! Students would fake being a wiggler just so they could sit on a giant bouncy ball!! UGH! That year I ended up switching districts and had to give up my bouncy balls. BOO-BYE. Don't miss 'em. 

I was at square one again, and needed a new plan. So I researched and found what I refer to as "wiggle seats". 
Thanks to Donors Choose, I got six of these wiggle seats (filled with foam beads) that my students can sit on and wiggle to their hearts content. LOVE THEM. They're quiet, the kids don't argue over them, they're comfortable, my wigglers stay seated... They are pretty much perfect.... Pretty much.... You see, I'm down to 4 after only one year of use because SOME SCISSOR HAPPY KIDS CUT THEM. UGH. I guess they wanted to see what was inside.... Anyway, these wiggle seats are too expensive for my teacher budget to replace on my own, so I started looking for yet another option.

That's when exercise bands entered my life! 
I had to do some physical therapy for my back a few years ago, and one of the items my Physical Therapist gave me was this giant elastic band for resistance training.... 
Follow me on this thinking journey: 
Giant Rubber bands...
Tied onto the front legs of student desks....
Kids have a place to rest their feet and wiggle their legs...
Quiet classroom...
Wiggly legs eventually tire because of the resistance the bands provide....
Still, seated classroom...  
Do you hear angels singing yet?? You should. And you should SO try these out!! Just look at these happy legs!!!! 

This is one of the cheapest items I've found to help my wigglers and these bands are STURDY. I have yet to replace a broken band. I've found them on Amazon, and also at school specialty stores. Just look for "resistance bands", "exercise bands" or "physical therapy bands". 

Now for real talk: At first, they're a novelty. The kids will bounce their legs like crazy on them. It's loud. It's annoying.... BUT, then the resistance slows them down. Legs get tired. Novelty over and the bands are used for repositioning/ getting comfortable/ and the occasional wiggle. And your classroom is focused and quiet! 

As teachers, we MUST think of ways to reach all our students, and provide outlets for all of them. Including our wigglers/movers/shakers. And this is a fantastic way to go. I hope you try these out in your own classroom!!