Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day Activities

My students come in tomorrow for their first day.  I should be getting ready for bed...not writing a blog post!  I'm very tired after a day of meetings and finishing up my classroom.  But, I wanted to share what I decided to do as a quick opening activity tomorrow.  Each student in my homeroom will have to tell me 1 thing about their self.  What they tell me will depend on what they roll using the dice on my Smartboard.

The large die on the bottom is an interactive one.  Students will come up to the Smartboard, roll the die (by tapping it), and then share something depending on what they rolled.  You can get the Notebook file in my stores: TpT or TN.  It is a short activity, but I only have an hour with my homeroom tomorrow and I have to give out and explain a lot of forms.  I also need to assign lockers in that time.  I found this cute worksheet for them to fill out if we have any free time tomorrow or when I'm collecting all of the forms on Thursday.

I think it's very cute and simple enough.  I like the idea of having them trace their hand on the back and then see if it grew in June.  You can download the worksheet here.

Hope you all have/had a great first day with your students!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Made 4 Math Monday #6

It's the last Made 4 Math Monday of the summer!

I'm planning and hoping to keep up with this once school starts...we shall see!  This week's is a simple foldable about the types of slope.
I plan on having students draw a picture of each type of slope onto a small piece of graph paper.  They will glue the correct picture under each flap.  They will also find the actual slope of each line.  You can get this foldable at either of my stores: TpT or TN.

Hope you are all having a great Labor Day!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Math Word Wall

My PDP (Professional Development Plan) requires that I have a Math Word Wall.  When this requirement first came about, I made a word wall using sentence strips.  It took a long time to create and when I sent them to my Processing Center to get laminated, only about 75% of the words made it back to me.  I was mad!

The next year, while shopping in Lakeshore, I came across this:

I decided that it was worth the $20.00 investment and bought them.  While you can use them on the rings as flashcards, I turned the cards into my Word Wall.  I love the colors and how the words are divided into categories.  Yes, some of the words are a little juvenile for my students, and there are some words that I wish were included.  But, for the most part, it covers all the basics and works for me.

I didn't hang up the Math Symbols cards this year because I already have several posters in my room with the symbols on them.  The cards fit perfectly onto a curved wall that I have in my room.  Don't they look great?

School starts Tuesday for me; kids come on Wednesday.  My room is pretty much ready to go!  I'll share final pictures soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Made 4 Math Monday #5

It's Made 4 Math Monday again!

After looking through my new Dinah Zike foldables book, I was inspired to make some foldables of my own.  While the CD ROM that comes with the book has lots of templates, there's not much that you can customize.  It uses Adobe Acrobat.  You can only add text to some boxes; others you can only add images.  After creating one foldable for my Algebra I class on all the properties they need to know (there's 10!) I decided to make my own templates in Word.

I started with a 4 section foldable for operations with integers.  I left the inside blank for the students to write the rule for each operation along with an example.  They can color letters on the front.  I also included directions on the section that will be glued into the notebook.  It says where to cut, where to fold, and where to glue.  This will eliminate mistakes (hopefully).

After integers, I used the same template to make a similar foldable for decimals, fractions, and mixed numbers.  I think they will look great printed on colored paper.

You can get any of the foldables (or all 4 in a value pack) in my stores: TpT or TN.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Reddit Gifts

So, a few weeks ago, my husband sent me a link to join Reddit Gifts.  They were hosting a teacher gift exchange.  I didn't know much about it, but signed up anyway.  It asked for basic information and for me to create a wish list.  I made one using amazon.com.

I pretty much forgot about the whole thing until this week.  On Monday night, I got an email saying the exchange had started and I was matched with a giver.  The next day I was notified that the gift was in the mail and was sent a super nice message from my giver:

On Wednesday afternoon, the doorbell rang.  It was the UPS man with a package for me.  This is what was inside:

I was so shocked by the generosity and kindness of a complete stranger.  Everything will be perfect for my interactive notebooks.  This is such a nice program.  If they do it again next year, I will definitely let you all know!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Posters, Posters Everywhere!

I don't know about your students, but from time to time I catch some of mine daydreaming and staring off into space.  I always do my best to refocus them immediately.  However, I'm sure a minute or two may go by before I grab their attention again.  Because of this I am a big believer in hanging LOTS of instructional posters and signs.  This way, when they are staring off into space, they hopefully will notice a colorful sign and read it (and ideally remember it!).  I may go a bit overboard with my posters, but I think it's worth it.  Here's the biggest wall I have:

I also have lots of toppers over my whiteboards.  Here's the right board:

And here's the left one:

I'm not quite finished, but it's definitely getting there!  In the past, I used Fun Tac to hang all my posters.  It was really frustrating though because most of them would start to fall by October.  This year, I got Velcro coins.  So far, so good.  Hopefully they will stay up all year and next year I'll just have to stick them to the Velcro that will already be on the wall.  It will be such a time saver!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Make Up Work

It can get overwhelming when you have multiple students from different classes out sick, in band, or on a trip.  To help keep track of who misses what I use a colorful hanging file folder set.

Each of my 4 math classes (plus my homeroom) has a designated folder.  Anytime a student misses math class, they know that they must check their class' absent folder for any handouts or information that they missed.  I also put any missed tests or quizzes in the folder as a reminder to both the student and myself that they need to make it up.  (For tests and quizzes, I also keep a running list on my whiteboard of anyone who missed any.)

In the bottom folder I keep blank missed assignment sheets.  Whenever a student in my homeroom is absent, another student fills in the assignment sheet for them so they know exactly what they missed.  I've been using this system for 5 years now and really like it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Made 4 Math Monday #4

This is only my 4th Made 4 Math Monday post, but it's better than none, right?!

I've been pretty occupied setting my classroom up, so this is a simple post.  I created a vocabulary list for my 8th graders (just like the list I made for my 7th graders).  It's alphabetical and contains 111 words.  They will glue it onto the first page of their vocabulary section in their interactive notebooks. They will also glue 111 blank Frayer models into the section and write the words on each (in ABC order).  As we go through each unit, they will add fill out the Frayer model for each word and cross it off the list.

You can download the list from either of my stores: TpT or TN.

My Supply Center

I've been making some good progress in my classroom.  Today, I hung a lot more posters and organized my supply center.  The supply center is the place in my classroom where my students can go to borrow anything from a pencil to a ruler to crayons.  I try my best to keep it organized.  A few years ago, my sister (who teaches kindergarten) made me great little signs to help keep everything in its place.  I printed and laminated 2 of each sign.  One is taped to the desks and the other is attached to the container.  This way, my students know where everything belongs.  There are no excuses; there are labels and pictures for each item.  I love this system!

Here's what the Supply Center looks like empty...ignore the boxes of textbooks.  I moved them after I took the picture.

Here are some pictures of some of the supplies...I still need to fill some containers.

Here's the entire center...the white organizer in the back is where I keep construction paper.  Right now, I have textbooks in it because it was starting to collapse.  Hopefully the books will do the trick!

The daily notebooking supplies are kept in those cute hanging containers on each desk.  I do have extra glue sticks and scissors in the Supply Center though.  How do you all manage your supplies?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to My Classroom!

Whew!  I completely forgot how overwhelming it is to go back to your room in August and set it back up.  They empty our rooms during the summer to wax the floors and then just load everything back in.  I went back for the first time yesterday, and this is what greeted me:

As if that wasn't enough, 30 minutes after I got there, this was rolled in:

(Most of the boxes are because 3 out of my 4 classes are getting new textbooks and workbooks this year.  I also have the other 7th and 8th grade teacher's books in my room.)

Needless to say, I didn't even know where to begin.  I decided to start by going through my copies and laminating that came back from my district's processing center.  (What's a processing center you ask?  It's a central location that does ALL of the copying and laminating for ALL 12 schools in my district.  I cannot use the copier in my own building.  Everything is sent out and then sent back.  On a good day, my stuff returns in 4 or 5 days.  On a bad day, it can take up to 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, there seem to be more bad days than good.)

I counted out my math notebook guidelines, rubrics, grade sheets, vocabulary lists, grading policies, and first day handouts for my 4 classes and placed them in their bins.  (Unfortunately, those colorful wooden ones I got at Target don't fit 8.5" X 11" paper.  The plastic ones did though, so I'm using them for now.)  I cut all my laminating and laid it flat with boxes on top to stop it from curling.  (My district sends it back in a roll.  Some of it has been rolled since the end of June.)

Next, I went through my measly supply order.  ($125.00 does not get you far!)  Everything was there, which was good.  I'm ready to go with foldables.  Look at all the pretty construction paper I got:

Next, I started to hang some posters and chalkboard toppers.  I did a decent job, hanging 18 posters and 6 toppers.  The last thing I did was arrange the desks the way I want them and hang those adorable black and white containers to hold notebooking supplies.  I really like them!

There's still A LOT to be done, but I feel like I am off to a good start.  I'll be updating with more pictures soon.  I want to get everything in it's place before I show everyone the final product!