Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Analog Clocks or Digital Clocks?

Ahhhhhh, yes. Social media. There's a whole lot going on there!😐

A few months ago, I saw a Facebook post someone shared about schools removing analog clocks because students didn't know how to tell time. Some people that commented were outraged! Some people commented that we don't need to use analog clocks anymore because we live in a digital era.

To be quite honest, I was outraged! But for another reason.😞
Teachers don't have enough time to do everything they need to do!😵😵😵😵😵

There is just NOT enough time! #TRUTH
If that's the case, should we remove ALL types of clocks?
Because there is just not enough time!
Wait a minute! (Yes. That was a pun.)
If there isn't enough time, should we actually put up more clocks?
All types of clocks!
An entire wall of clocks!🤔
Just a thought.

Back to the original reason I'm posting.

About that post I mentioned earlier, the original one was from schools in the UK. Then, all of a sudden, I started seeing posts about schools doing this in the US!

Now, I never would even think of just getting rid of something that students don't use or don't know how to do. If that were the case, I'm pretty sure those state tests would be a whole lot shorter and so would our curriculum!!! (Yes, that was sarcasm.)

However, our job is not to get rid of, but to educate. As a teacher, I know we cannot teach our students EVERYTHING. I also know that students need to be willing to learn. So, just in case you came across one of those posts about schools getting rid of analog clocks, I wanted to share this with you.

Before any of those posts came about, I've had two clocks hanging on the wall in my class room, one analog and one digital. At the beginning of every year I explained why there are two different types of clocks. Some students know how to read both and some don't. I also take the time to demonstrate how to read an analog clock. I challenged students that didn't know how to read an analog clock to learn. If they needed help, I would help them or they could ask someone else to help them.

Guess what? I didn't get to teach ALL of my students how to read an analog clock, but I did teach MANY of my students how to read an analog clock. (Remember ⭐The Starfish Story?⭐)

Having the two types of clocks right next to each other helped.

You see, our students had to sign out and sign back in every time they left the classroom. That meant that they had to write their name, where they were going and the time they left and then the time they returned. So they had to look at those clocks quite a bit throughout the school year. I could tell which students accepted my challenge, because they would make comments or ask questions. (Please take note that many asked privately, not out loud in front of the whole class.) This told me that they accepted my challenge for themselves, not anyone else. That means a lot to me because that meant that they wanted to learn.  Crazy, right?

Then there were those moments where we were in the middle of a lesson and I would notice some students' eyes would wander over to the clocks to see how much longer they had to be in math class.  Tick tock, tick tock. You know those students. Everyone has them.😉

Heck! Some of those students might not have been listening, but they were comparing those two clocks! Guess what was happening? Yup! Learning! I'm so glad they took the time to do that.

I know which students were successful because of comments and conversations that occurred. Some mentioned that it was easier than they thought! Imagine that!

I don't really know if that post about schools removing analog clocks was true. You know how it is, you can't believe EVERYTHING on the internet. However, you can believe me!😉
I just wanted to share my experience with this situation in my classroom.

If given the opportunity, they will learn. Some at their own pace. Some at their own will. But they will learn.

I know, clocks are expensive especially when you are living on a teacher budget. But the analog clock was purchased by my school, so that one was already in the classroom. A few years ago, as I was perusing the clearance aisle at Wally World, I happened upon the digital clock and only paid about $4. If you're not that lucky, how about requesting one from a parent that offers their help? At the beginning of every year, I have many parents that will tell me to contact them if there is anything I need for the classroom or for my students. If that happens to you, definitely take advantage and request a digital wall clock, amongst other things.😄

Here is one of the tips I gave students that were struggling with the hands on the analog clock.

I explained how one hand is longer than the other. I then asked them which word had more letters, hour or minute. Of course the answer was minute, so I told them that the word minute is longer so that is the longer hand and the word hour is shorter so that is the shorter hand.

I then made a quick sketch on the whiteboard to show them what I meant. It may seem silly, but it truly did help many of them out.

As in life, not everything works the same for everyone. I'm just sharing what worked (with most students) in my classroom in the hopes that it will help someone else.

Well, that's it!  I think I've run out of time.
Okay, that was the last pun. I promise.😊
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and read my post.
Oops! That one just slipped in.

❤❤❤I really appreciate it!!!❤❤❤

Have a wonderful day and thanks so much for choosing a noble yet challenging profession that allows you to make a difference in the life of a child!

Hours, uh, I mean ours is not a profession that can be taken on by just anyone. It takes a very special, brave and creative someone that has an abundance of patience and love for education.😉

Monday, June 11, 2018

Dollar Tree Items for Your Classroom

Well, hello there! I know it's been a minute since I've posted, but it's summer now and I actually have time for myself!!! Hollaaaaah if you can relate!!! 🙌😉😄

Soooooooo...with that said, I went to Dollar Tree today and my mind was whirring with ideas as I walked through each and every aisle. Yes. EVERY aisle. That's what one does when at Dollar Tree. Go through EVERY aisle because one does not want to miss anything that could have a multitude of uses in the classroom.

Wait. Please don't tell me that I'm the only one that does this! 😲😳

NAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! I know there are others like me out there. Right?😏

Anywhoooooo!!!!! Onward to ideas I envisioned in my mind with all of the stuff I saw today.


Item #1:

You can create a durable $1 Math Station with these miniature tower blocks! Just write a math problem on each block and assign it as a math station. Of course, you can buy more than one. Create a station for addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division of whole numbers, decimals or integers. Whichever suits your grade level. I created a math station for my middle school classroom with a larger version that I found at a Goodwill store.

Here's a link 👉CLICK!

I grabbed a few of these and will post pics when I have them done. (Be sure to click the blue FOLLOW button on my blog page so that you will receive an alert when I post them!😉)


Item #2:

These aren't just regular craft sticks. They are JUMBO SIZED craft sticks!!!! That means that they are PERFECT for writing on with a fine tip permanent marker. I have used these before for random name calling in my classroom. Wait! I don't think I worded that correctly. I can assure you that I don't call students names, randomly, in my classroom.😳

What I meant was, I write one student's name per craft stick and use them to keep students engaged. They don't know whose name will be chosen for the next question or who will explain next, so they are "motivated" to listen carefully during lesson.

Being a middle school math teacher, I have more than one class. So, I color code sets to help keep them organized. For example, I use a red marker to write the name of my 1st period class, blue marker for my 2nd period class, and so on. I also write the number of the class period at the bottom of the craft stick. A small plastic cup, rubber band or, my favorite, a Crystal light container with a lid can be used to house them for when you are ready to use them.

I have also used them in a few of my math stations. I'll be posting how I do this soon, so stay tuned!


Item #3:

Acrylic Frames that only cost $1 can be used to display directions at a math station, list of expectations for a certain event, or even used to post reminders by the pencil sharpener. Just print in color or on colored paper and slip into the frame. They come in various sizes too!

I also realized that you can write on these with a dry erase marker. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?!?!?! You can type up a student list with boxes beside them to use as a check list! So you can place a basket/box where students submit their assignments and have them put a check in the box by their name when they turn it in. (Or you can do this.) This idea will definitely help keep track of who still needs to submit an assignment.

Here is an example of how I used one in my classroom. I love this quote by William Glasser and needed something to cover up all of the wires behind my computer screen, soooooo TA-DA!!!!

Here is a link for a FREE DOWNLOAD of this mini poster



Item #4: 

I have bought these before in the past and think that they are TERRIFIC to use for storing small items in the classroom. At 3 for $1, it's definitely a bargain and the clips on the side make it so easy for students to open and close

Playing cards fit PERFECTLY in these small containers. Dollar Tree usually has a package that includes two sets of playing cards for $1. One set has a red design on the back and the other set has a blue design. This makes it easy to sort them.


I'm working on a post that will show the different ways I organize and use playing cards in my classroom. Be on the lookout for that!!!😉

These can also be used to store colored counters, dice, bingo chips, and two-color counters. Ooooooh! How about task cards for stations? They also come in green and blue.


Item #5:

I posted about an activity I've used involving Velcro and ping pong balls. Well, I saw these at Dollar Tree today and wanted to share, again. All you need is about a yard of felt fabric and a black permanent marker, plus Velcro and ping pong balls. Trust me. Your students will thank you for this one. 😊😉

Click here for that activity
👉On Target With Math


Item #6:

I just LOVE these tiny containers! They are always available at Dollar Tree. They have them in a circular shape as well, but I prefer the rectangular ones because they are easier to stack and store.

These are just some of the ways I use them in my classroom. Perfect size for setting up with stations. My students were also pretty good at putting everything back in the container. Of course, I always told them that if we lose any pieces, we can't do math stations! I think that might have had something to do with it. 😉


Item #7:

I also found this two pack of cute mini buckets that came with a "bonus".....a third mini bucket! All I saw was "3 for $1" and I was hooked!

Mini buckets are great to have in the classroom to use as mini "trashcans" when ever you have those group paper cutting activities. I instruct students to place all trash in the bucket and when everyone in their group is done, one group member could stand up, walk over and empty out the mini bucket in the classroom trashcan.

They can also be used to prepare items needed for the day's lesson. Store scissors, markers, rulers, pencils, etc. and have the "Materials Manager" for each group pick up the bucket when the class is ready to begin the activity. The "Material Managers" should also be responsible for making sure everything is placed back in the bucket for the next class.

These buckets can also be used to prepare items needed for the day's lesson. Store scissors, markers, rulers, pencils, etc. and have a "Materials Manager" for each group so that they can pick up the bucket when the class is ready to begin the activity. The "Materials Manager" should also be responsible for making sure supplies are placed back in the bucket so that it will be ready for the next class.

I assign groups numbers in my class, so I label my buckets with numbers. It's just easier to keep tabs of materials and buckets.


Wow! You're still here!!!!

❤❤❤I really appreciate that!❤❤❤

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading through. I hope you find my ideas useful and I sincerely hope that you stop by again! I'm really looking forward to sharing more of my ideas with you.

Be sure to click the blue FOLLOW button on the right side of my blog page (closer to the top) so that you will be notified when I post again!!!!

Please be sure to share any ideas you have for using these items in your classroom in the comment section below! I'd love to read them and I'm sure other would too. 😊

Thanks again and have a wonderful day!!!😉

Monday, March 12, 2018

Free Editable Labels for Dollar Tree Letter Trays

I found these nice stackable paper trays at Dollar Tree and bought some to keep my copies organized for the week.

I created the labels to easily identify which tray had the copies for the day. 

The top one is for extra copies. This is handy for when students are absent or “mess up” their copy and want a new one.

If you print the labels actual size, they will fit perfectly on the sides of the letter trays. I cut them out and taped them to the sides of the trays. You can laminate them for durability if you prefer.

I've included an editable page in case you wanted to label your trays with something else.  They would be great to organize Literacy Centers or Math Centers!

You can get this free download at my Teachers Pay Teachers store, My Math Imagination.

Just wanted to share!  I hope you find these helpful.

Thanks for looking and have a wonderful day!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wake Up Spray?

Are you tired of students falling asleep in class?
How about sleepy students that ask if they can go to the restroom to splash water on their face?
They miss out on so much learning, don't they?

Well, I have got a solution for you! 

Okay. I know that sounds a lot like I'm selling something, but I'm not! I just wanted to share an idea I saw online a few years back. I currently use it in my classroom now and my students love it!

You can prepare the best lesson in the world! Let’s face it, there is still going to be that one student that is going to start dozing off. Maybe it’s because they didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Maybe it’s just because they’ve had a long week and they’re tired. Maybe it’s just because they’re bored. Whatever the case, sometimes they ask to go to the restroom to put water on their face. Sometimes YOU ask them to go put water on their face. This is just so that they can wake up. But when they go to the restroom to do this, they happen to take a while. While they’re doing that, they are missing out on what is occurring in the classroom. This is where  “Wake Up Spray” comes in handy!

All I did was buy an empty spray bottle from the dollar store and fill it up with plain water. I adjusted the nozzle and glued it in place so that it sprays a light mist.  I didn't idle hands to twist the nozzle so that it sprays a straight stream into a face.  The idea is to wake them up, not to freak them out. 😉
No frills. No fancy oils. Nothing scented. Just plain water.

I labeled the bottle with a permanent marker as "Wake Up Spray" and then introduced it to the class as such. I explained that if they ever need a quick "pick me up" or feel sleepy that they can give themselves a quick spray or two in the face.  I also explained they they hold the bottle about a foot away and close their eyes when they do this.  Believe it or not, they were very excited about using this.  So excited that many wanted to try it right away.  I allowed it and used this opportunity to show other students how it should be done.  Some even make the "ahhhh" sound as they refresh themselves.

I keep the "Wake Up Spray" on a shelf behind my desk. Students ask for it when they need it. Once in a while, I'll recommend it to a student that keeps placing their head down. However, the option is all theirs.

I hope this idea is useful in your classroom! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!!!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

On Target With This Classroom Game!

I know the world we live in today is filled with amazing apps and technology that can be used in our classrooms to engage students and motivate them to participate. However, I wanted to share something I created years ago. I got the idea from one of the 1000+ teacher workshops I attended throughout my career. Every now and then I use it with my students and the reaction is always the same. “Miss! This is so cool!” and “Can we play this everyday?”  The best part is that it can be used in ANY classroom for ANY subject.

Materials needed:
About a yard of felt fabric, preferably a light color
Velcro strips or dots, but only the hook (rough) side
Permanent marker
Ping pong balls
Projector and document camera, such as an E.L.M.O. or an overhead projector
Picture of target with numbers

All I did was tape the felt fabric to the wall and project the picture of the target with the numbers on to it. I then traced the picture with a black permanent marker.  Light colored felt is suggested so that the marker is easy to see.

I then wrapped the ping pong balls with the hoop side of velcro strips. The hoop velcro will latch onto the felt target easily when the ping pong balls are thrown at it.

As you can see above, students throw the ping pong balls onto the target to score points for their team. The balls should be gently thrown underhand. If thrown rapidly or overhand, they will bounce off.  If that happens, students lose a turn. I demonstrate and inform them of this before we begin to play.

Now, how can we use it in class?

So many ways!!!

Divide your class into two teams and have them compete against each other by solving math problems, defining words, spelling, answering questions, etc. whoever gets the answer correct gets to throw a ball at the target and earn points for their team.  The possibilities are endless!!!

I also have students create names for their teams and take score on the dry erase board at the front of my class.

I used this last week and had students practice computation with decimals. I showed them decimal computation problems using PowerPoint slides and had the entire class solve them.  Students used dry erase markers and wrote on their desks to solve. To hold them all accountable for their practice, I don't announce whose turn it is until all have solved the problem. This keeps them on their toes since they don't know who will be chosen to answer for their team.

I then randomly choose a student's name from my set of name cards. That student then gives their answer.  If it is correct the student gets to try and score points for their team by tossing a ping pong ball to the felt target. Their team scores the number of points that the ball lands on.  If the answer is incorrect I randomly chose another student on the opposing team.

I do monitor throughout the activity and assist students that might be stuck or have forgotten a step.

Please share this idea with your colleagues. It certainly can be used in a variety of ways and for many subjects. Can you imagine it for a test review! YAAAAAASSSSSS!!!!

Here is a free powerpoint you can use with it. Just click and download.   Computation Practice with Decimals

I truly hope this is helpful.  Please share your ideas on how you can use it in your classroom!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!!!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Integer Fluency

In life, there is always a positive and a negative to everything. But I'm not here to give you a life lesson on that. Wait, that just may be a positive! Anywhoooo! I just wanted to share some of the activities I've used in my classroom to help students practice integer fluency.

Bottle Cap Math
This type of activity can be used to practice many different types of math skills. Practice for integer fluency is one way I use it in my classroom

Step 1: Save enough bottle caps
Step 2: Wash them thoroughly. I placed mine in a lingerie bag and washed them in the dishwasher. Just be sure to lay the bag flat and spread out the bottle caps so that the soap and water can hit all of them.
Step 3: Write out integer  problems and answers on those circle color coding dots. I write problems on one color and answers on another.
Step 4: Adhere problems at the top of the bottle cap and answers on the inside.
Step 5: Find a container to keep them in and tape the directions to the container. One of those powder drink mix containers work great!
Step 6: Let the children “play” and listen to the wonderful conversations and peer tutoring that will occur.         


I allow one calculator per team to allow for immediate checking. I also have them write down their problems and answers on a sheet of paper.

Any types of plastic bottle caps can be used! You can use milk jug caps, sports drink caps which are bigger, soda caps and more!  However, I do use all of the same size and color caps for each activity, that way if one falls on the floor students know immediately which set it belongs to.

Here is a free download of the directions I adhere onto the container for this activity. 

Integer Fluency Circles
This is a fun way to practice adding, subtracting or multiplying integers! I have a class set laminated and have students write on them with dry erase markers. You can also use page protectors to do this if a laminating machine is not available.  Nothing like a little friendly classroom competition! Students LOVE to compete. Just give them the operation (adding, subtracting or multiplying) and the number that goes in the center of the circle and it's game time! This set includes different types to choose from, including a blank circle to create your own!

You can read more about these HERE.

Fact or Fib - Addition of Integers
This is a great way to get your students talking about integers! This animated  PowerPoint includes modeling of integers with two color counters and zero pairs to show students how to solve problems involving addition of integers. There are also some examples given at the beginning of the presentation as a review.

1st: Show review slides
2nd: Show first Fact or Fib problem
3rd: Give students think time (no blurting!) and then have them show their answer "Fact or Fib".  The signal I use in my class is "Ready? Set. Show!", they then hold card up to their chest so that only I can see their answer.  If I get 50-50 response, I have them talk to their shoulder partner about what the answer should be.
4th: Click to show the answer and two color counters, zero pairs and the correct answer will appear. Students can discuss further if necessary.
5th: Continue doing to same with the rest of the problems on the PowerPoint.

Many great opportunities will occur where students can explain to each other or discuss why the answer was a fact or fib.

What is a Fact or Fib? Click HERE to read about it.
Click HERE to see a video preview.
Click HERE to find it at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Integer Spinner Game - Integer Fluency
This is a quick and easy prep activity that is great to use as a math station or math center. Just print, add a paper clip (a.k.a. poor man's spinner) to use as a spinner and play! A student work page is included to hold students accountable for their practice and learning.

Click HERE to see more on this activity.

Exponents with Integers - Matching Card Set
This activity will also make a great math station. It's more hands on in that students have to solve the problem on one card and match it with the answer that is on another card. It keeps them active. A student work page and an answer key is included as well.  

Click HERE to see this activity at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

I hope you like the different approaches I use in my classroom to help my students with integer fluency or maybe even inspired you to try different approaches.  Don't get me wrong. Worksheets are okay, however using varying activities will keep students more engaged in learning. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a positive day that involves absolutely no negatives whatsoever! 😉

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Class Word Search

Wow! It's been a while since I've posted!  I guess I've really been taking advantage of my summer break.  LOL

Any who!  I've been thinking about activities for the first week back to school and remembered one I used to do when I taught 5th grade. It think I'm going to use it again this year! 

Have you ever heard of the website Discovery Education?  It's really cool and it has lots of free resources for Teachers, Parents and Students! I'll share the link later.  ;)

Before I go any further, let me just say that I am NOT being paid to promote this site.  I do not take credit for any resources on this site.  My main goal is to share ideas and resources I have used in my teaching career in hopes that it will help someone, somehow.

Now, onward!

One of the resources I love to use on this site is Word Search. It's found in the Puzzlemaker section.  It's great for introducing vocabulary at the beginning of each unit. It get students familiar with the words they are going to be hearing and using.  However, it's also great for introducing students to each other in the classroom! It's also SUPER EASY!!!! We all like SUPER EASY don't we. There is nothing better that we like than that.  No wait. Yes we do! Did I mention that it was FREE!!!!! We all LOVE FREE!!!!  

So here is what I do.

First go to http://www.discoveryeducation.com/. Click HERE to get there quicker. ;)
You will see a Login button on the upper right hand corner, but quite honestly, I have never needed to use it.

Next, scroll all the way to the bottom.  You will see this.
Look under Free Teacher Resources and click on Puzzlemaker. They are circled in yellow.

It will then take you to this page.
Look at that list of resources. Amazing! Right? So much you can use that they have to offer!!!  Now click on Word Search.

BAM!!! Let's begin!
Step 1.  Type in the title you want to give your word search.

Step 2.  I leave this as is but you can change it. I've done 20 by 20 word searches before.

Step 3.  Puzzle options. I select share letters occasionally. Just to keep words spread out on the word search. You can choose the option you are more comfortable with.
Step 4.  I leave it as is, but of course the choice it up to you.  Don't you just love options!!!

Step 5.  Type in your list. It gives you three different options to use.  I use the last option.

Step 6.  Click on the Create My Puzzle! button and VOILA! That's it!
Here it is!  Now just print your word search and have your students find their name and their classmates names.

If you scroll down further, you will notice a Solution button. However, you do have to be registered to be able to get this.  I'm okay with out it though.  :)

Students LOVE to find and see their name on this word search! It's the first one they look for. Then they continue to find the rest of the names on the list.  I do let my students work with a partner or two, or three. I allow it because it becomes an bit of an ice breaker. It gets them to talk to each other.  This is great for me since I do have them talk a whole lot to each other during activities throughout the school year. So it's good that they get use to it early on.

I hope you get to go back a see some of the other things that this site has to offer! I've used the crossword puzzle before with vocabulary and definitions. It's a really good tool.

Oh! I almost forgot! Be sure to try Hidden Message!  It's a word search as well, but after students are done, they read the letters that were not used to reveal a "hidden message". Isn't that cool?!  The last time I used this one, I used "I hope you have an amazing summer" as the hidden message. As you can tell, it was at the end of the school year.

I hope this was helpful. The site definitely has many resources that you can use in any classroom and any grade level.

I know this is mostly a math blog, but please share this with teachers that teach other subjects. I'm sure they will appreciate it.

By the way, the link is http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Be sure to bookmark it! ;)

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!!!