Multiplication Practice using Sit Spots

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I'm teaming up today with some fabulous teacher bloggers to bring you an amazing SitSpots giveaway and ideas on how you can use SitSpots in your classroom!

I first heard about SitSpots this summer while I was at a conference in Las Vegas. I was with a group of teacher bloggers and we had the opportunity to talk with Joyce, the owner and creator of SitSpots. She was a teacher/principal for over 25 years, so she totally gets student and teachers needs for the classroom. She came up with SitSpots to help her students with spacial awareness for everything from sitting on the carpet to rotating to centers. 

Of course, SitSpots can be used for so much more than that! First, what are they? SitSpots are durable velcro shapes that stick to your classroom carpet. You can move them around, write on them, and even vacuum over them!
My classroom arrangement leaves me with an odd space up at the front for when my students come up to the carpet. For the beginning of the year, I used the SitSpots to show 5th graders spots that they could sit on when they came to the carpet. In the past I haven't needed these for my intermediate grade students, but since our space this year is long and skinny and we have to have students fill in between desk groups, these were definitely helpful!

In addition to using them for spots on the carpet, I'm also excited to be using them for math this year! One of the ideas Joyce mentioned this summer was using the SitSpots and bean bags to help students practice math. Even in 5th grade I still have students working on math fluency with multiplication facts. 

When I searched on Amazon for bean bags, I came across these Number Bean Bags. There are 20 numbered bean bags in the set and I thought these would be perfect for games with the SitSpots!

I picked out the bean bags with numbers from 1-12 for this activity, but you could use the other numbers for students who are ready for an additional challenge.

Then I wrote numbers on the SitSpots and stuck them on the floor. To play this game, students grab a bean bag, then toss it towards the SitSpots. Whichever one it is closest to, they have to solve the multiplication problem and say the answer aloud. For example, if the 8 bag lands closest to the 12 spot, they have to multiply 8x12 and say "96!" The other students playing the game should be trying to answer the problem at the same time, but in their head. The player who threw the bean bag then checks to see if the other players got the same answer. 
There are even feet SitSpots that you can use to show students where to stand when they are tossing the bean bags!

You can even use the different colors of sit spots to differentiate problems for your students! The students who need practice with the simpler multiplication facts (2,3,10,11) can use one color of SitSpots, while students who are working with harder ones (6,7,8,9,12) can use another color. Of course you can switch up the SitSpots depending on individual students' needs as well!

I hope this helped give you another great way to use the SitSpots in your classroom!
 AND if you would like to win a set of SitSpots for your classroom, you can enter the giveaway below! We are giving away 6 $50 gift cards! Joyce has also kindly offered a discount code to all of our blog readers! You can use the code "sitspots6" through November 8,2015 to get 15% off your order!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Click on the picture below to head over to Angela's blog to see how she uses Sit Spots!

Using Punch Cards with a Classroom Clip Chart

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I've used a clip chart for the past few years as a form of behavior management. The clip chart has worked really well for my students and me. I've had students who needed alternate behavior plans which I've provided on an individual basis, but the clip chart has been overwhelmingly successful and appreciated by both my students and parents.

One of the reasons that I liked the clip chart so much is because it gives students the chance to move both up and down. If they make a mistake they are not stuck there all day, but instead the have the opportunity to correct their behavior and move up. I use a lot of positive reinforcement of good behavior in my classroom and students are usually moving up on the clip chart and rarely down.

In conjunction with the clip chart, I also made punch cards for when students move their clips up to extraordinary!

At the end of every day after packing up we gather on the carpet for a read aloud. If students have moved their clip all the way up on our clip chart, they get a punch on their Extraordinary Achievement card. Once they're card is complete, they get class money!

I keep extra punch cards and hole punches in a supply basket by my chair. This makes it easy for me to punch cards while I am waiting for students to come to the carpet. 

There are many different online sites that you can order similar punch cards from! They are just business cards and many sites offer deals where you can get a certain amount for free or for a great price. I picked a pre-made design when I ordered my cards and just added numbers and a spot for each student's name. I ordered a batch of 500 a few years ago, so I can't even remember which site I ordered them from!

You can get my chalkboard clip chart for free in my TPT store! I specifically stayed away from using red as the "bad color". You can click on the picture to download it from my shop!

Teacher Pay Teachers 2015 Conference!

Monday, July 13, 2015

This past Wednesday I flew to Las Vegas to meet up with some of the most amazing, dedicated, passionate teachers from around the world! I had such a wonderful time seeing old friends and meeting new ones! The Teachers Pay Teachers and teacher blogger community is such a wonderful group of people who are so passionate about teaching! 

I have made so many wonderful friendships that have come from blogging and TPT. I met Sandy through blogging a few years ago and now she is one of my best friends! We had so much fun on our flight to Vegas together!! 

Once we arrived we went straight to the pool! I love the sweet girls I roomed with! Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher, Sandy from Soaring Through Second, and Nicole from All Things Apple in Second are such amazing friends and teachers and it was fun to share such an inspirational conference experience with them!

They are all so incredible and inspiring and I'm pretty sure we talked nonstop the entire three days!

That evening was the Teacher Blogger Meet-up! It was so much fun see everyone and incredible to have a group of over 1,000 teachers in one room!!
Hope King is one of the first teacher bloggers I ever followed and she has the most amazing classroom ideas!!! In addition to being uber talented, she is also sweet as can be!! Love her and I am hoping to be able to visit with her again at the Ron Clark Academy!!

I was also super excited to see some of my favorite upper elementary bloggers who have been a huge support for me since I started teaching! Elizabeth (Funin4b), Tara (4th Grade Frolics), and Kristen (Ladybug's Teacher Files) are amazing and I feel like I have known them for so long! It was so great to finally meet these sweet friends in real life!

I also loved meeting CaseyJane (Wiggling Scholors) who joined us for dinner Wednesday night and Kayla (Top Dog Teaching) who was so fun to chat with! Seriously every single person I met was so sweet and inspiring and so fun to talk and connect with! 

Also, there was an amazing photo booth at the meet-up thanks to GoNoodle! We loved the fun pictures and props! 

 Thursday and Friday were filled with everything from meet-ups to amazing conference sessions, to lunch with some fabulous girls!! 

If you don't already follow these girls, make sure to check them out asap! They all have such an amazing positive energy about them! We were all smiles the entire time!

I absolutely love Joanne (Head Over Heals for Teaching) and her passion for teaching and anything that sparkles!! I can't wait to have our classes connect this year!

Loved hanging out with these lovely ladies!
Of course we also had to get a picture with Paul, who started the whole Teachers Pay Teachers movement!!! 

 We were also so happy to run into Cara towards the end of the evening on Friday!! She is absolutely adorable!

I had so much fun spending the days (and evenings) with so many fabulous teachers!! I was so excited to see Kelley (The Teacher Idea Factory) present a session for the second year in a row... she is a hoot! Also,  Stephanie (Teaching in Room 6) is another one of my favorite upper elementary teachers!!! It was so great to see her again!

If you didn't get a chance to go to Vegas this year, I would definitely recommend looking into it next year! It is such an incredible experience and I loved being surrounded with other people with the same strong passion for teaching!! I can't wait to go again next year!!

Class Rotation Schedules (Reading, Math, & Spelling)

Monday, June 22, 2015

I am so excited today to share a wonderful idea for you that I have been using all year! I got this idea from my sweet friend Catherine who blogs over at The Brown Bag Teacher! She posted about how she organizes her math and reading rotations on Instagram earlier this year and I immediately knew I wanted to do something similar in my classroom. After talking about them with Catherine, I came up with class rotation schedules to use with my students.

I loved how clean and clear the layout was and I was ready to switch up my old system of keeping track of rotations.

We do rotations throughout the week during spelling, reading, and math. You can read more about our weekly reading and language arts schedule here. We usually do a version of the Daily 5 three days a week. Like Gale Boushey and Joan Moser (aka The 2 Sisters) note, Daily 5 is meant to be adapted to your classroom and schedule. So although I don't do everything the way they lay it out, I have found a method that works really well for my students and me! You may have to switch things around and find a way that works for you and your students!

One way that I have adapted the Daily 5 for my classroom is that we do four rotations a day instead of five. This ensures that students have enough time at each rotation to work on what they are doing.

Also, I use Words Their Way for spelling, so on Monday when students see me during "teacher time," I introduce their spelling words for the week and do the initial sort. We call these Spelling Rotations, which are different from our regular Daily 5 rotations because the students are in different groups for reading and spelling based on their reading/spelling levels. These change frequently throughout the year and I move students to different groups as the need arrises. 
Another change is that I usually schedule their rotations. My students have a lot of choice in our classroom in regards to where they work and whom they work with, but sometimes it just works better to have a pre-determined rotation schedule, especially during math, when I want two of my groups to wait to start their "at your seat" work until after they've done the lesson with me during teacher time. (Note: I almost always give my students a choice as to where they work... on the floor, standing up, at a friend's desk, etc. so even though this rotation is called "at your seat" they may not actually be at their seat.)

Also worth noting, when we do math rotations I have my highest group start at rotation 1: "at your seat." For us, this means that they start their math homework. We currently use Saxon math, which gives students 30 spiral review questions to do for homework every night. Since that would take way too much time for them to do it all at home, I give them time to work on it during class with a partner. My above grade level group starts on their homework before they meet with me for teacher time. Since the homework is spiral, many problems cover material that we have previously learned, so they are able to complete most of it prior to the lesson. If they come to a problem that is something we will be covering that day, they skip it until they have done the lesson with me. 

The thing that I love most about the Daily 5 is that you can structure it to fit your classroom. You can start by telling students which rotations to do when, and work up to giving them choices, or you can start with choices from the beginning. If you have a smart board or another way to display this rotation schedule electronically, it is nice because you can make changes as often as you would like to your rotation schedule. If you don't have access to that, you can always just print these off and display them under the document camera, or hang them up for the class to see. They not only keep students on track, but they also help me know which group of students I will be seeing at which rotation.

I've created an editable file for you to adapt to fit the needs of your classroom! You can change the font, colors, columns, and text to whatever you would like! You can access it by clicking on the picture below!

If you are interested in using these rotation schedules in your classroom, you can get them for free here. The fonts I used are:
KG Call Me Maybe
KG Camden Market Script
KG Second Chances Solid

For the fonts to show up correctly when you open the Powerpoint, please download and install these fonts on your computer prior to opening the presentation!

You can see how Catherine uses her version in the primary grades by visiting her blog post at The Brown Bag Teacher.

Hope your summer is off to a great start!

Fabulous Teacher Giveaway!

Monday, June 15, 2015

I am so excited to bring you a fabulous giveaway from some of your favorite teacher bloggers. We are giving away TWO prizes! A $260 Target Gift Card and a TPT bundle valued at almost $100! Please see the rafflecopter below for how to enter. Best of luck!

Teach. Inspire. Change.


Our TPT Bundle includes the following items (all valued at almost $100!)

When You Enter This Classroom... Door Decor

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Earlier this year I posted a picture of my classroom door and I've received a lot of questions from teachers who wanted to replicate it!
Well, I've finally put everything together in one nice little file for all of you, along with some details on how I created the design! I had several questions asking if my door is painted black, and the answer is no, I actually covered it with black fadeless paper!

The white writing is done in a white Chalk Ink marker.
The white marker comes either in a pack of four, or in a pack with other colors. I actually own both packs!

I wrote out the lettering on the top of the door first, and then taped on the banners that spell out CLASSROOM. I held the banners up first to try to figure out spacing and make sure they all fit! The next part of the door I wrote out "you are" in chalk ink and then I taped on the word where I wanted it.

I loved using the chalk ink when decorating my classroom door and definitely would do it again! It is a great alternative to cutting out lots of different letters to tape up!

To get the free printables that I made to create this door, you can go here, or click on the picture below!

The door was not my original idea, rather it was inspired by many images of posters and other teachers' classroom doors on Pinterest! 

Student Sunglass Gift Tag Freebie!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Is it really almost June? This year has absolutely flown by! I have the sweetest group of students and I can't believe our time together is almost over! I am cherishing every minute with them these last few weeks!

Today I am joining some fabulous SoCal bloggers to bring you some end-of-the-year freebies!

The weather is always perfect in June and I like to send my students off to start their summer with some fun sunglasses! In previous years I've found cheap sunglasses at the Target Dollar Spot, but last year I found these ones from Amazon! They probably didn't last long and the lenses had some scratches, but they were cheap and my students loved them!

Click the image below to grab the Sunglass Tags for free in my TPT store!
And enter the giveaway here!


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