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12 in 12

I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten and A Teeny Tiny Teacher for the 12 in 12 linky party!  Click the picture below to link up too!!

My 12 favorite things!

12. Favorite movie you watched: 21 Jump Street - I think movies should make you laugh

11. Favorite TV series: New Girl & The Mindy Project

10. Favorite restaurant: Mogul's - a local Indian restaurant - SO good!
9. Favorite new thing you tried: Teaching a self-contained classroom instead of resource room...I LOVE having my kids all day, even the days they suck all the energy out of me!

8. Favorite gift you got: My new humidifier: 
It's the round white thing...Waffles was not pleased that there was steam coming out of it.

7. Favorite thing you pinned:
soooo cute!
Probably gave me inspiration for making my own bulletinboard adorable!

6. Favorite blog post: My Favorite blog post(s) are the Peek at My Week posts...I should probably do them more!

5. Best accomplishment: Finishing Grad School!!!

4. Favorite picture(s):

My two new neices!

3. Favorite memory: Road Trips this summer with Dave

2. Goal for 2013: Have more fun!

1. One Little Word: Relax

2, 4, 6, 8!

I've been dreading introducing multiplication to my class. I have been using Touch Math in my room...well by "using Touch Math" I mean I printed off some packets from the touch math kits.  I only taught the touch points to 2 students.  I told the rest of the class to just ignore the touch points and add like they usually would.  They didn't listen.  As I walked around, I noticed that EVERYONE was using the touch points without me teaching them!  When it was time for subtraction, I let them choose which packet they wanted - touch points or no touch points.  They all picked touch points.  One day instead of doing math, we just talked.  I asked them why they wanted touch points, because all but 2 of them could add without them.  Their answers surprised me....the touch points took the anxiety out of math for them!  They said things like: "I don't need a number line now" "I lost my place on the number line" "I don't have to think as hard".  They LOVE touch math.  

I decided to go find the upper touch math kits to see how they teach multiplication.  They use skip counting...students have to skip count by 9's to multiply by 9.  To me, that seems incredibly hard BUT last year, I had a student who learned to multiply that way.  He taught himself to skip count insanely fast.  So I figured I would focus my multiplication instruction on skip counting and see what happens! 

As I said in previous posts, I am starting centers when we get back from break.  Since I'm also starting multiplication, I decided to make some simple center activities (and posters). 
Here is a sample of the posters (Sorry the edges are cut off a little): 

 Here are some center cards...students can either skip count and put the cards in order (2, 4, 6, 8) or match the problems to the answers. 
I made 2 different sizes for these cards...below is the larger version: 

Finally, I wanted to give my students the visual of hopping over numbers down a number line so I made cards with numbers 1-100.  I also included a frog game piece that students can make hop by 3's (or whatever number).  

I have a few other activity ideas for these cards but I'm saving them for when I can take pictures of them in my classroom.  If this is something you could use in your room, check it out here!  Remember, everything in my store is 20% off until January 1st!!

New Pinterest Boards

Hello Readers! 
I hope you all are enjoying your time off, I know I am!  I don't think I ever stop thinking about school.  I decided to start centers the day we go back to school for both reading and math.  I've been pinning ideas like crazy for my reading centers so I decided to create some new boards specifically for center ideas.  Tonight I worked on a word work center board and a listening center board.  There are soooo many materials out there, most of them free!  I am not going to spend my time reinveting the wheel and you shouldn't either. Go check out my new (and old) boards for ideas for your centers!  I will post more about the centers as I set them up and actually implement them.  
Also, follow me on Pinterest if you don't already...I'm VERY good at keeping up with pinterest (unlike the blog lately).  
I'll leave you with a few items from my pinterest boards: 
fishing for letters
Use an inflateable pool (or a large cup or bowl) to "fish" for letters to make words. 

Reading response mat...uses all different reading skills and strategies.  Kids love them because of the vis-a-vie marker.  (explanation on blog...sign up to get a free sample)
Make listening center folders with response sheets in page protectors or laminated.  This way students can write on them over and over again.  Collect their folders once a week, check their work, and have them erase everything.  It cuts down on the amount of copying you need to do.  

P.S. Don't forget about my sale...ends January 1st! 

Grad School Sale!


Here are some items available in my store all at 20% off: 
Math Work Stations

Science Journals

Prompting Guide

Readers Notebook

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Enjoy your few days off :)

Work Drawers & Sale

The most common question I hear from teachers is "What do your kids do while you are meeting with small groups?"  As a resource room teacher, I didn't have to worry about that.  However, now I have 9 students with special needs at 9 different levels who need customized work while I meet with each of them 1 on 1 or in pairs.  My biggest reading group is 2 students.  I started the year with individualized work folders.
You can read about those here.  Basically, I was printing individualized work for all the students every day...a lot of books from Reading A to Z.
Here are the bins.

Inside each crate, each student had a folder for Monday-Friday.  

My principal has limited our paper and ink supply so I had to come up with a new plan.  It was also a lot of prep work to make that many books and packets a week.  My new plan was to use work drawers.  I inherited a cabinet full of games and activities.  I assigned each child a drawer (a few students share a drawer but again, no more than 2) and loaded it with games and activities that target the skills the students are working on.  I now change the drawer contents once a month.
I bought dry erase labels from Martha Stewart at Staples for the drawers.  I recommend writing with wet erase markers because as the kids touched the drawers, the writing started to come off.  
Each morning my students had to complete a checklist before going to their work drawer.  The checklist changed a little but it was something like: 
Journal Writing
Spelling Page
Sight word flash card practice
Sight word book (2 pages)
Phonics book (3 pages)
As the students worked, I pulled my reading "groups" over.  
I really like this system because it is very low maintence and the routines are easy to teach.  The drawers also served as my "When I'm Done" work.  My biggest problem with it is that so many of my students need adult support to read the directions and make sure they aren't practicing wrong. The other problem is that during times like the week before Christmas, it was slightly too unstructured.  The kids were bouncing off the walls (some literally jumped on walls).  Maybe I'm the grinch but I like a quiet, structured classroom so starting after break, I'm going to attempt centers (again). 
 Any advice as I work on setting centers up over break? 

Also - I'm going to have a Sale from December 26th to January 1st in my store to celebrate finishing Grad School!!

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary