Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pocono Environmental Education Center

I know it's been a while.  Between work and personal commitments, September was packed!  I'm hoping things will calm down during the next two weeks so I can get back to normal posting here (and on cookbookmeals.com).

I don't have a math related post today.  I just wanted to share a few pictures.  I spent this past Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in the Poconos with my 8th graders.  It's an annual trip at PEEC.  This was my 8th or 9th trip (Sorry, I've lost track).  The kids really have a great time.  We do team building, hike, canoe, have animal presentations, etc.  We even have a square dance!  They learn some great things about the environment, but also about teamwork and cooperation.  If you are in the Pocono area, you should definitely look into it!





This dude was sitting next to me on a bench!


This is a golden eagle.  It was huge!


The cutest owl EVER!



Hope you are having a relaxing weekend!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Feeling So Overwhelmed!

I am so overwhelmed right now, but in a good way!  No, scratch that, a great way!  Remember my post in the middle of August about the RedditGifts Teacher Exchange??  Well, I received my gift recently.  Nope, scratch that, I received my gifts recently.  So many gifts I couldn't even believe it!  My "Santa" was so amazingly generous, I am in shock!  I hope that some of you participated in the program too; it really is wonderful!  Here's my story...

When my "Santa" and I were matched, I immediately received a message from him saying: "I got you everything on your Amazon wishlist that was shipped from Amazon. The only things I didn't include were those items that came from another vendor. My Mom's a high school teacher in Texas. You should be proud of what you're doing. Enjoy the school supplies!"

I could not believe my eyes!  My list was pretty extensive.  I was expecting just a couple of items from it, not every single thing that shipped from Amazon!!  But, sure enough, I started to receive box after box in the mail.  Everyday was like Christmas!!





I received so many essentials, including scissors for the kids, markers, Post-it notes, Post-it flags and tabs, binder dividers, highlighters, dry erase markers, and lead for pencils. I also received 6 packages of colored paper, which will help so much with my students' interactive notebooking! He also sent 3 different storage items for my classroom (including a colorful one on wheels which I am super excited about!!). Finally, I received 8 boxes of tissues, which should definitely last us through cold and flu season.  You can also read about my experience here.

Here's everything I got:















Isn't it amazing?!  Thank you so much to my Reddit "Santa"!  I am utterly grateful (and my students will be too)!  I wish I knew your Reddit user name to publicly thank you!!

My husband also participated in the gift exchange as a Santa.  He was matched with a music teacher and sent her lots of great music posters to decorate her room as well as tissues.  (He couldn't believe both she and I asked for them!  I told him there are never enough tissues in a classroom!)  I hope she was as happy with her gifts as I am!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Day

My students started today (I started yesterday) and boy I am exhausted!  My students have half.days the first 3 days, so I didn't get to see my classes for long.  I was with my homeroom for half of the day giving out what seemed literally like a billion forms (can't wait to collect them all tomorrow!).  I only got to meet with my math classes for 28 minutes each.  I went over my student contract with them and gave out their workbooks.  I'm only seeing them for tomorrow and Friday for the same amount of time too.  I hope to collect their contracts and give them their textbooks tomorrow.

I pretty much finished my room yesterday.  There are a few posters that I would still like to hang up.  I need to figure out where though.  Here's what my room looks like from my desk:



And here is what it looks like from my podium in the front:

(Ignore all of the boxes in the front.  They are my new books that I need to give out.)

After stumbling across this post via Pinterest, I decided to implement my own "Great Supply Challenge" this year.  I'm hoping it will help keep the supplies IN my classroom.  To start, I number each Seat Sack.



I also numbered all of the glue sticks and scissors inside of my black and white containers.



I found these very cute numbers on TpT (for free!) and am in the process of getting them laminated.  I will attach one to each container and each desk.  I explained to the kids today that they will basically be a "team" with the students who sit at the same desk in my other classes.  I will conduct periodic "check-ins".  As long as the only things in their containers at the time of the check are the correctly numbered supplies and the only thing in their Seat Sack is their Warm Up Notebooks, then they will win a small prize.

I'm excited about this idea and hope it will work.  I can't be replacing scissors all year!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Combining Like Terms Puzzles

I cannot believe that it is September!  I mean, where did August go?!  July was nice and slow, but August just flew by!

Anyway, I did a little work this weekend to help get back into the swing of things.  One of the things that I did was create yet another resource for combining like terms.  It's a skill that comes up in my first unit with 7th graders, and it's a really important one, so I feel the more resources you have, the better!

This puzzle is very similar to my Fraction, Decimal, and Percent Puzzles.  There are 21 puzzles, each containing 2 equivalent expressions and a simplified answer.  I made sure to use a variety of positive and negative terms so kids can practice adding and subtracting integers while they do this.  I also used a combination of two- and three-term expressions.  It will be a good center activity and/or game.  I created a recording sheet as well as an answer key.  I'm hoping my students will enjoy the activity.

Here are some pictures:






If you like the puzzles, they are available in both my TpT store and my TN store.

Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to My Classroom!

After traveling all over the last week, I finally made it back to my classroom today to set up!  Again, I was greeted by a lot of boxes (mostly thanks to the new Algebra books we are using this year).




I was a little sad because someone put a box on my construction paper holder (which is only made out of cardboard).



I turned it upside down though and put books in it to straighten it back out.  I think it will survive!

After going through all the boxes of books and supplies, I tackled my posters.  I'm so excited to say that in my 9 years, today was the fastest I have ever hung my posters!  Using Velcro dots last year really paid off!  Nothing fell at all during the school year and rehanging everything was a breeze this year.  I totally recommend using Velcro to hang stuff!  (I just wish it didn't take me 8 years to figure it out!)

Seriously, all of the dots you see in my pictures like this:



Turned to this in a matter of minutes:


If you do go with Velcro, make sure you number or label your posters and toppers when you take them down.  Take pictures too so you remember exactly where everything goes.

I also set up my desks today and hung containers for glue sticks and scissors on each one.  I'm headed back tomorrow to organize some more and hopefully make copies for the first day next week.  How is everyone else's setup going?

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 RedditGifts Teacher Exchange!

It's back!!  It's back!!

I've been waiting and hoping and praying that RedditGifts would do their Teacher Exchange again this year.  And they finally posted about it today!  I posted about it last year, but after the signup deadline (sorry!).  It really is a wonderful program.  Basically, you signup with RedditGifts.  You then create a wishlist (I use amazon.com for mine).  You post a little about yourself, your school, and your link to your wishlist.  Eventually, you get matched with a donor.  In a few weeks, you'll receive a package with some of the supplies you wished for!  It's such a great idea, and people are so generous to help us teachers out.  It really puts a smile on my face!

Check it out here.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Combining Like Terms Dice Activity

Last summer, I wrote about all the things I intended to do with my students to help them learn how to combine like terms.  While the concept at first can be difficulty for many (especially when there are positive AND negative terms involved!), all of the activities I created and found really seemed to help.  One of the activities was my Combining Like Terms Dice Activity.  Basically, each student got a pair of dice.  Each die had 6 like terms on it.  Students rolled the dice twice and recorded their results in the blank boxes on the worksheet.  I then had them highlight like terms in the same color.



After they highlighted, they wrote a simplified expression (aka they combined the like terms) on the line next to the boxes.  They then repeated the process three more times.





The last step was to combine the first two simplified expressions and the last two..




If your students are struggling, you could also do this activity with just one like term (instead of two).  This year I plan on creating more like term dice so that negatives are involved in the activity.  If you like the activity, you can get it at my TpT store or my TN store!