Sunday, October 27, 2013

Math Museums

So, I am very new to Everyday Math, but one recommended 1st grade activity is creating various "math museums" to display objects related to the topic we are focusing on. A few weeks ago, I had my students bring in 5 items from home that showed numbers. We then classified their "number" objects into things we find/use at home, at school, and in the community. We also discussed the various ways numbers are used in our daily lives (money, measurement, addresses, phone numbers, street signs, etc.). It was a great way to make the math that we study each day relevant. For many days after we "opened" our museum, students were bringing in new examples or pointing out numbers in textbooks, the cafeteria, and all around the school. My next museum will be a "Patterns Museum" since we are focusing on patterns right now. I am excited to see what the students bring in to share!

Do any of you use Everyday Math? What are your favorite activities?

Here are some pictures of our "museum":

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Moving on 1st Grade

Well, I suppose I need to change the title of my blog because as of this past Thursday, I am now a 1st grade teacher! On August 2nd, my family arrived in Okinawa, Japan. Less than a week later, I got a few calls for interviews at Department of Defense schools (I taught in the same system in the US). I interviewed at two schools, both for 1st grade, and received job offers from both! I accepted a position at my children's school and it has been a whirlwind ever since.

I got to meet my wonderful students and their parents on Friday. It was so hard for me because my classroom was NOT at all ready, but the parents were so gracious and understanding. Our household goods did not arrive on the island until Thursday (2 months after they were packed and shipped from our home in NC), and I had given away quite a bit of my teaching gear because I was worried I wouldn't get a job and I would not have the room in our home to store it. Boy am I kicking myself now :) I did save a lot of books and other materials, so I will just have to deal with what I have for now. Fortunately, my school has great materials in the classroom ready to go.

aI spent today organizing my home and working on plans for the first week of school. We start on Monday! Tomorrow I will be heading in to finish up my classroom the best I can for the start of the year. I have a feeling it will be an ongoing process, but I am so excited! I am praying for quick shipping since we don't have teacher stores or anything here. EEK! I hope you will continue to visit my blog, as I will continue to share ideas and activities, but now they will focus a bit more on primary concepts!

I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL school year!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Feeling Lost this Summer!

This is the first summer in quite some time that I haven't had any planning to do, and I am not sure that I like it! Since we are moving to Japan, I do not have a teaching job lined up. It doesn't sound very promising that I will get one anytime soon :( So, I have been browsing Pinterest and all of the teaching blogs to try to gather awesome ideas for all of the grade levels in case I have the opportunity to teach. What are some of your favorite blogs for "general" education ideas?

Monday, June 17, 2013


The end of the year festivities this year were bittersweet as I said goodbye to my students and my school. My family is moving to Okinawa, Japan this summer. I had to give away TONS of my teaching materials, and that was SOOOOOO rough! Fortunately, I know that my colleagues will get so much use out of them. I still have about 6 bins of things, so I won't be heading overseas empty-handed. I am not sure if I will be able to get a teaching job for next year, but who knows.

Here are pictures of the gifts I did for my students:

I just found some cute, FREE water bottle labels, threw in some smarties, drink mix, and a crazy straw. They all seemed excited!

I had my students do an activity I found on the blog "Confessions of a Teaching Junkie" called "Just One Word", then created word clouds using on Tagxedo.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

End of the Year

Wow, this school year has definitely flown by! My grade level has decided to do a "Minute to Win It" game day to celebrate the last days of school. I am so thankful for all of the wonderful teacher blogs out there who have shared information about how they did activities like this in their classrooms. We are also doing some heavy-duty review, especially in Math. I am sad to see how much my students have forgotten, even with regular review throughout the year :(

What are some of the end-of-year activities you do with your class??

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Classification Activity

At the beginning of our Living Organisms unit, we study Animal Classification. The students do very well with this unit (I have not met many 4th graders who don't love some sort of animals!!), but I like them to have a greater understanding of the process of classification. It also helps them to understand why some crazy creatures, like the platypus, are in certain groups even though they have characteristics of others. This year, we used a variety of beans and left it open to the students to determine how to classify each type of bean. The students had a blast, and it was great to hear them defending their classification groups!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wild and Wacky Weather

I am currently finishing up plans for my science unit on weather. I always find that my students do really well with understanding the concepts of this unit, and I am sure it is because weather is all around us all the time! I am especially excited this year because I have seen such a huge spark of interest in meteorology since our assistant principal asked our class to monitor and record data from the rain gauge that is housed at our school. The students are in charge of checking the rain gauge every day. They then go online to record the data on the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) website. The students have LOVED looking at patterns of rain and comparing our rainfall to nearby (and far away) places. Without even realizing it, some have become mini-meteorologists making predictions about upcoming rain, analyzing and hypothesizing about why some areas didn't get as much rain as we did, etc.

For my unit, I will start out with review of the Water Cycle. My intern already spent some time on this, so I am planning to use a Smart Notebook activity I found on Smart Exchange as a review. Students will use their Science Notebooks throughout this unit, and I am working on some fun ways to incorporate notes/vocabulary and creative output ideas. We also have to study the three major types of clouds, so I usually have students make models of the clouds with cotton balls. It may seem a bit "young" for 4th graders, but it is a great way for them to really focus in on the characteristics of each of the clouds (cirrus, cumulus, and stratus). Any and all "art" activities are a hit with the majority of my class. We will also build our own weather instruments and hopefully use them to collect some data and make some predictions. To wrap things up, students will be researching hurricanes, tornadoes, or thunderstorms and creating a product to share their findings with the class. I am still not 100% certain what activities they will choose from, but I think they will do a detailed poster/infographic, a commercial, a brochure, or a web-based presentation (Prezi, PowerPoint).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I have the best intern in the world!!!

I feel so blessed to be working with someone who I think will probably be the BEST teacher in the world when she completes her education! My "teacher intern" has really motivated me. I think after 9 years of teaching, it is easy to get in a "rut" and to forget what good teaching is all about. However, introduce someone who has fresh and new ideas, and that "rut" is quickly a thing of the past. She is currently teaching my class full-time, but I am excited to get back into the swing of things in mid-April. I hope that I can continue the momentum she has created with my students. They are really LOVING to learn. I thought I was pretty good at motivating them to want to learn, but she has taken it to a whole new level.

The day she was observed for the first time, she set up 6 different astronomy-themed centers to help the students review our Astronomy Unit. The activities included "Moon Phases Twister", a crater creation center, an awesome Smartboard activity, a "calculate your weight on other planets" was so engaging and really helped the students review. Her supervisor was in awe, as was I! I believe that great teaching is a gift, a talent, and she has that talent!

So...if you have worked with a teacher intern (aka student teacher) who was great...what did they teach you?? Do you have any ideas you still use?

UPDATE: I had to add some photos of her astronomy activties!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I have not been keeping up with my blog at all lately, and I am so sorry! I have some new adventures that I am embarking of those is that I am working with a teacher intern this semester. She is WONDERFUL. It is nice to feel like I can sit back and relax (a little) as she begins to take over responsibilities in the classroom. I am learning so much from her, and I hope that I teaching her a thing or two :)

My second adventure is that I will be moving to Japan this summer! My husband is a Marine, and although we had planned on him retiring soon, we were offered the opportunity to be stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, and we jumped on it! We are so excited, but the move planning is extremely exhausting. My life outside of the school day has involved paperwork, appointments, more paperwork, and more appointments. The fun part is yet to come, as we will need to rent out our home here in NC, sell our car & truck, and organize all of our possessions into things we want to move with us, things we want to store, and things we want to sell/donate. Such fun!

My world travels so far have consisted of visiting Canada, so I am ecstatic that I will have the chance to see other places and meet people from different cultures. We will be about 30 minutes from Hiroshima and only 6 hours, by train, from Tokyo. There are many trips planned to places like South Korea, China, and Taiwan. I have a feeling that we are going to LOVE our time in Japan. I am so excited that my children will have experiences that many people never get to have! I am hoping to teach for the DOD school on our base, but that will all depend on if they have positions open. No matter what, I hope to keep up with my blog :)