Monday, January 20, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014


WOW!! Let me start by apologizing for the incredibly long break we took from this blog.  I also want to apologize to everyone that commented on the posts and asked for resources, that we never sent.  I am going to take complete blame on this one.  A LOT has happened since the our last post for instance my husband had our first child, a beautiful baby girl named Layla.  She is amazing and as I am sure most of you know, take a lot out of you.  In fact I had just found out I was pregnant when I made the last blog post, and from there life got hectic.  So now my daughter is already 8 months old and I am just now getting back into the swing of things.  Also, my sister and I went back to school and are getting our masters in Administration! It is exciting to finally take that step, but IT is a lot more work then either of us imagined.

If anyone is still interested in the Place Value Battleship or any other resource, please let me know, and I promise I will try my best to get back to you.

Also, I plan on making more posts in the near future, I have had some great success with some pins that I posted and plan on getting those on here as soon as possible.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Place Value

I decided to share a couple of place value games that I have come up with and utilized in my classroom:

Place Value Battleship

My kids LOVE Battleship so I decided to use that to my benefit.  Here is how the game works:
The kids partner up and each student receives a "game mat" and 2 sets of number 1-9 (that are cut apart).  They separate their game mats with a folder and then make up any 7 digit number they want using 1 set of the 1-9 numbers with out telling the other player. They place the cards on the game mat in the "my number" spot.  They then take turns guessing the individual digits of their partner's number.  For example Johnny might say, "is there a 3 in your hundreds place" at which point Suzie looks at her hundreds place and sees she has a 5 there. So she would respond with "higher" indicating to Johnny that his next guess for her hundred's place should be higher than 3.  If Johnny makes a correct guess, Suzie will respond with "hit" at which point Johnny uses his second set of numbers and places the correct number in the correct place under the "My Partner's Number" place on the game mat. Meanwhile Suzie flips over the number that he "hit" indicating it was "sunk".  Once one of the players feels they have correctly guessed each individual digit they then have to read the number back to the person in order to officially win the game.

Human Place Value Chart

For this one my goal was to get my kids use to and aware of the different place value positions especially with decimals.  Before class  I made a set of numbers 0-9, laminated them, and attached a string from end to end. I then taped off a place value chart on my floor that included the thousandths place through to the hundreds place, and placed a four square ball in the middle to represent the decimal point.  I then gave 10 of my kids individual numbers they could wear around their neck.  I gave the remaining students individual white boards and dry erase markers to follow along as we create the number.  I had 20 different 3-6 digit numbers placed on index cards that we used for each round.  I would pick one of my "white board" kids to read off the individual digits in any order (there's a 1  in the tenths place, there's a 9  in the hundreds place, and so on ) so that the kids wearing numbers could place themselves in the appropriate slot.  Once everyone is placed I have a different white board kid, read the number correctly to everyone.  I then finish the round with asking the white board kids to give me the value of certain digits. If I felt they understood and comprehend how to find value, I let them switch with someone in the place value chart, if not, then they stay for another round or two.
*Note - I am fortunate enough to only have 16 kids in each of math classes this year, so one set of numbers worked for me. If you have a rather large class you may want to split them into two groups with two place value charts.

Hope you enjoy the games! Let me know if you need any further explanation or if you would like a copy of the place value battleship, I will be happy to send it to you!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Two Sisters Teach ... and CRAFT!!!

So much of our time and energy goes into our teaching and families, but sometimes we do have a little extra time to do something else we love... CRAFT! As you have probably figured out the Cricut and vinyl are our favorite way to craft ;) We have dedicated several blog posts to things we have created for our rooms, but Amy and I also absolutely love to make things for our family and friends.  Here are just a few of the things we have created:
Personalized coolers 
A few more personalized cups!
This is my cup for work- I love it because it holds 48 ounces!!!

A sign for our mom's wall.  It's part of a  picture display.

A personalized platter- the perfect wedding gift!

We just love coming up with new vinyl creations.  It's so exciting when someone calls and asks us to make something!!!

-Andrea :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

180 Days of Math

I stumbled upon this book at the beginning of last school year, and have loved it ever since.  When I purchased the book I was looking for a way to help my students maintain information all year long.  I have found in the past that when I try to review with my kids right before our State Standardized Test, it's like starting from scratch with the topics that we went over in first semester.  This book answered all my prayers. 
Here's what is great about this book: there are 12 problems everyday and each problem is aligned to a particular math skill, for example #5 is always a fraction, decimal, or percent question and #10 is always a graphing question.  This way my kids are practicing all 12 topics all year long and when it comes time for that dreaded standardized test, the review isn't so overwhelming!

Here is how I use it in my classroom:  I call it their "Daily Math Practice."  I give each student a folder (color coded by class) and inside that folder is a chart that you can print from the CD ROM that comes with the book.  On this chart I can keep track of how many problems they missed and which ones (so if Johnny keeps missing #5 I know he needs help with fractions, decimals, and percents). This is also where they keep their assigned worksheet for that day.  I copy the pages front and back, but they only do one side per night.  This worksheet then becomes their nightly homework (Monday-Thursday), that they have to have complete and turned in by the next morning.  I am lucky enough to have a 1st hour prep so I grade all the folders during that time period.  Then when it is time for their math class they get the folders returned to them and we go over the results and correct answers.  Now when it comes to counting them for a grade, I do not grade them on their perfection rather I grade them on their attempt.  I don't feel it's fair to take points off on topics that we haven't even covered yet.  So instead I take them for a completion grade; if they are finished and turned in on time they receive 5 points, if they are late or incomplete they receive 0.  The hardest part about this whole system is explaining it to parents, and that it is OK for their child to miss certain problems (especially at the beginning of the year). Other than that I love it and I have seen some great results because of it!

Here is a link where you can purchase the book if interested:

 They have them for all grade levels K-6. Check it out, I promise you won't be disappointed!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Monthly Self Portraits

 I hope everyone's school year is off to a great start!  I forget how exhausting the beginning of the year is, so excuse this short post.  But I love this idea and wanted to share! Each year I put together a memory book for my students.  One of my favorite things to include in this book is  "monthly self portraits."  At the beginning of each month I have the students write his/ her name and draw a self portrait.  It is amazing the progress made by the end of the year.  It is a very simple page:

This is something that could definitely be adapted for several grade levels.  I just love being able to see the progress!!!

I haven't quite figured out how to include a document for download yet :(. If you would like the pdf of these, just email and I will send them to you!  As soon as things settle down at school, it is my goal to figure out how to include a document in my posts!!

-Andrea :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

5th Grade Read Alouds

Now that school is in full swing, I thought I would share some of my favorite read alouds.  This is my 5th year of 5th grade; every year I seem to find a book that I absolutely love and add to my "Read Aloud Library."  I don't know what I am going to do when I have too many favorites and not enough time to read them all!

So the first book I read every year is "The Top 10 Ways to Ruin The First Day of 5th Grade"which is about a 5th grader and his obsession with David Lettermen's Top 10 lists. It even takes place in Kansas City, Missouri and talks about MIZZOU - it couldn't be more perfect, plus my kids absolutely love it!  However, it wasn't until I started writing this entry that I realized the book is apparently now out of print and has become crazy expensive.  I guess I do have some comfort in the fact that I suddenly have a little financial security blanket sitting on my bookshelf!  So I apologize if you don't have this book or can't get your hands on it, because then this is really of no use to you.  However, if you can get a copy, I like to make it my theme for the first couple of days. I show my kids a "Top 10 About Mrs. Alferman" power point that I made, then I have them create their own "Top 10 Things You Should Know About Me" paper.   Here is a link to the book just in case you need to know what you're looking for or you want to make a classroom investment :)

I fell in love with the "Swindle" series from the very beginning!  These books follow a group of kids that  first came together in order to prove a point and correct something that the adults would never figure out on their own.  I love these books, and my kids can't wait to hear the next chapter everytime I start them!

These next two books both came from recommendations by other teachers.  My friend Cheryl recommended "The Wednesday Wars", and it is honestly a book that I look forward to reading every year!  My friend Nikki recommended "Abduction" after she said her 5th graders loved it and mine would too, and I couldn't believe how right she was!  These are both definite musts every year!

I hope you guys enjoy the books above!!

Does anyone have any other recommendations?  I know I would love some new read alouds and I am sure others would too!  Let me know!