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!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I'm Back with Some More Purchases!

Sorry for my absence in the last week...I was away with my extended family in wonderful Lake George, NY.  I seriously love that place!

Anyway, I am hoping to get into my classroom this week to start setting up and getting situated.  School starts in just three and a half weeks!  I have a lot to get done and am going to Jamaica at the end of the month.  There should be lots of posts coming this month.

For now, I just wanted to share my most recent purchases for the new school year with you.  The first is another Vistaprint purchase.  I bought 250 return address labels with my name, my school's name, and my school's address.  They will be a time saver for anything that I mail to students' homes (such as failure notices and thank you cards).  I really like the math clip art too!



I'm really excited about my second purchase: Dinah Zike's Notebook Foldables.


I've only flipped through it quickly so far, but I'm sure I'll get a ton of inspiration and ideas from it.  I'll definitely share them with you!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Made 4 Math Monday #3

Sorry I haven't been posting much the last few days.  I am on vacation at the moment, but didn't want to miss out on this week's Made 4 Math Monday!


I made this worksheet last year when reviewing fractions, decimals, and percents with my 8th graders.  I like it because it also has them create a circle graph, which is always good practice.



The worksheet is the free download in my TpT Store.  I hope you like it!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tarsia Puzzle Maker

Have you ever come across an awesome math puzzle online and wished you could make it?  One like this:






Well, you can easily make hexagonal puzzles, as well as a variety of others using this free software from Tarsia.  (It's free as long as it's for noncommercial use, so don't try to sell puzzles you make in you TpT or TN stores!)  To get it go here, then scroll down until you see "Formulator Tarsia".


I downloaded the software last night and have already made my own awesome Combining Like Terms Hexagonal Puzzle.  I love that you can enter all sorts of math symbols and equations.  It's really easy to navigate too.  And it doesn't just stop at hexagonal puzzles.  There are a variety of shapes and types of puzzles and games you can create.  There are matching games, dominoes, discussion game, etc.  I am looking forward to creating lots of activities to use this year!