Sunday, September 6, 2015

Work Harder Not Smarter! LaborLess Blog Hop and Huge Giveaway!

Hello everyone!

Main Graphic Laborless

It is Finally here!

Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!
All of us have been thinking about  good ways in which to treat our readers and followers.   We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that  we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!
I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time to ourselves and our families.

So here I go!

I have never met a teacher who only works an 8 hour day.  Teachers are constantly working long hours to give the best education possible to their students. I spent long hours after school working on my classroom, grading and writing lesson plans.  It came to the point  when I felt guilty for not working at home because I felt like I was letting my students down!  As I began to realize that I was consistently giving up my precious evenings and weekends to work on my classroom I began to evaluate the effectiveness of the time I was spending; I was wondering if all of the sacrifices I was making were benefiting my students.  As I started to question if the time I was spending was effective, I began to be less willing to spend hours and hours of my time working after school was out on activities that were not even benefiting my students. So, I made a goal to work at home as little as possible.  I was not always able to completely avoid working at home but by implementing the tip below I was able to greatly cut down on the time I was spending working at home.

Plan Your Planning Time!!!!

How many times have you got to the end of your planning time and realized you prepared for a craft your class is doing in 3 weeks but forgot to make copies of tomorrow's morning work?  I found that I was not prioritizing my planning time, which meant that I was having to complete urgent tasks at home so they would be ready for school the next day.  I began keeping a sticky note pad on my desk that I would use to write down tasks as I thought of them during the day.  Then, when ever I had a few minutes of planning time, I would go through the next day in my head, checking that I had all of the supplies for the lessons ready.  After I was ready for the next day of school I would go through my list  and rewrite it in order of priority. Then every time I had a spare minute I would work on the highest priority task. This has cut down on time I had to spend working at home because I would always complete the most time sensitive tasks first-If a task did not need to be completed for a few days there was no reason I needed to spend my evening working on it!

Everyone needs to unwind after a long day teaching! My number one tip for unwinding is to do it!  Make sure your schedule a firm "cut off" time each night. When your cut off time arrives your work is done! Put it away and enjoy some you time.  Watch a TV show, read a book for fun, do a craft, or snuggle with a significant other.   Even if you only have time to schedule 30 minutes to unwind each night it will do wonders for your well being,

 When I am making my weekly copies, I always make sure to copy a few extra activities for those random times when we finish an activity early but aren't ready to start the next lesson. So that I don't have to spend precious planning time tracking down these activities I created Monthly No Prep Packets.  These packets review the first grade common core and every sheet included requires no preparation to use in your classroom, just print and go!  You can view my Monthly No Prep Packets here.  Below is a preview of my August/ September Back to School Packet.

Top all these great tips and ideas  with these top-notch prizes!

A $100 gift card to Amazon

A $50 gift card to TpT


2 $25 gift cards to TpT

1 $10 gift card to TpT

Thank you for reading! And now don't be silly and get your hands all over this awesome giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 17, 2015

5 Ways to Practice Addition Fact Fluency

Addition fact fluency is an important building block for learning more complex math skills. However, many students struggle to develop quick recall of math facts.  Fun engaging games and activities can help your students develop their addition fact fluency without the boring "kill and drill" of flash cards.  Below, I have compiled a list of my favorite games and activities that you can do with your class to add some variety to your fact practice. 

1.  Uno Flip

Math games for kids: Uno flip for number sentences
This fun ideas comes from Childhood 101.  All you need is a deck of Uno cards, sticky notes and a pen.  Write a plus sign on one sticky note and an equals sign on the other.  Then place two piles of cards between the signs.  Students take turns flipping cards over, writing equations and recording their answers.  This game works great for fast finishers because it is something that a student can set up themselves and play alone or in a small group. 

2.Math Fact Jenga

This is a super easy to set up idea from The First Grade Parade. Use dot stickers to add addition facts to the side of your Jenga blocks.  To remover a block, a player must first solve the problem. I love this idea because the difficulty of the math facts can easily be changed throughout the year as your students grow more advanced. Head on over to The First Grade Parade for the complete rules. 

3. Mystery Pictures

My students love mystery pictures.  These mystery pictures are a great no-prep activity for you to use to help your students practice their addition fact fluency. The students solve the addition fact problems then, use the key to color each square of the page to reveal a mystery picture. Grab these mystery pictures in my TPT store here- lots of themes are included so you can use them all year long. 

4. Timed Fact Mastery Programs

Timed fact tests are a great way for student to monitor their own progress towards developing addition fact fluency. My students love checking off each test they practice on their progress chart and of course, they also love earning prizes for their progress.  My favorite program to help my students track their progress as they move through taking timed tests is Treasure Math.

Students take tests like this one:

I give my students 1.5 minutes to attempt to complete the test but, you can use whatever amount of time is appropriate for your students.

Students keep track of their progress on a chart like this:
Treasure math is an incentive program to encourage addition fact fluency. Students take timed addition fact tests. Each time a student completes a test with 100% accuracy, they mark off a space on their Treasure Math board. If a student does not achieve 100% accuracy they retake the test until they are successful (multiple test forms are provided). Each student works at their own pace!

Every time they pass a test they use a sticker to mark off a step on their Treasure Map. Every time they mark off a space with a star, they receive a small prize. Pick up Treasure Math in my TPT store here.

4. Photo Album Review

This genius idea comes to us from First Grade Blue Skies. This is another great low prep activity for fast finishers.  Simply place flash cards into a dollar store photo album.  Students can practice solving the problems with a dry erase marker. 

5. Around the World

Around the World is one of my class' favorite whole group games to play to practice math facts.  To play you will need a set of flash cards.  Have your class stand in a circle.  Have the first student in the circle stand next to the second student in the circle.  Show the first two students a flash card.  The first student out of the pair to solve the  problem correctly moves to stand next to the third student in the circle and they are again presented with a flash card.  When a student gets a problem incorrect, they stay in their current position; if a student answers correctly they move to stand next to the next student in the circle.  The goal is to move all the way around the circle, and back to your original spot, by answering faster than every student in the class. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

10 Non-Candy Class Valentine's Day Gifts

I don' know about you but I think that most of our students eat plenty of candy already. That's why I try to give my students a non-candy treat on Valentine's Day. Here's a roundup of my favorite non-candy Valentine's Day Treats from around the web.  

                                             Kinetic Sand Valentine. This is guaranteed to be a hit!

Sip Sip Hooray Valentines Day Card Printable for Silly Straws

Play-Doh Valentines

OMG these are too cute! "I'm glad we're in the same school" free Valentine printable from . Print out and put in a plastic bag with Swedish fish or Goldfish.

Printable Valentine's Pencil Toppers- perfect for boys.  (or girls too!)

          By: 30 Handmade Days

You Color My World Free Printable Valentine's Idea

Clever Valentine-sayings: You're Awesome Sauce