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big kid units, Christmas, math, teacher tips

Save Yourself Some Merry Little Minutes This Winter

Oh, the days leading up to winter break in the elementary classroom. The excitement of Christmas, the rehearsals for our holiday show, the semester assessments for progress monitoring, and writing all those report cards… it’s enough to make you want to eat the entire cookie jar. 😉  

To help you out, I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite upper elementary bloggers again to bring you this quick blog hop. Our goal is to save you some of those precious little minutes as we wrap up 2014. Less time on prep and more time with family is what it’s all about.

My tip to you is to work in BULK. This is something I apply to many aspects of my life, but seems to be something many teachers struggle with. When my husband and I first got married, it seemed like we were at the grocery store every other day because we couldn’t work ahead on our menus. I hate the grocery store and dreaded having to go so often. It was a waste of time! I felt the same way about our copy machine at school. Ain’t nobody got time for waiting in that line!

So now I work in bulk. I sketch out my lesson plans in monthly units and pull the folders/bins/centers I’ll need for those units all at the same time. Then I go to the copy machine one time. Yes, one time. I’ll run all my copies and then put the masters away. This saves so much time!

I’ll go in before or after school one day and run them all when no one else is around {like on common prep periods or lunch, you know, rush hour times}. I paper clip each stack together and toss them on a shelf behind my desk. Then I have them right at my fingertips when I’m ready to prep my daily folders each week. This not only saves me copy machine time, but has me “sub ready” without scrambling. She just grabs my daily folder and teachers her way straight through it. It also saves me when our copy machine takes one of its frequent vacations. 

Classroom organization: time saving lesson prep

Another way you can save yourself some time this winter is to grab print and go materials from TpT. We’re having a big ‘ol sale too! Be sure to use the coupon code when you check out for 28% off everything in my store.

Here are a few activities I can’t teach without this time of the year. First, we dive into my penguin unit. I’m all about teaching in thematic units and the penguin theme is always a hit with my kiddos. They’ve studied penguins before, but we go much deeper and they truly become experts about a penguin species of their choice with this pack. Of course, I carry the penguin theme over into word work, math, science, and social studies too. We’re sneaky like that. 😉 This is also a great unit for coming back to school in January.

Penguin Nonfiction Unit for Elementary School

For a little seasonal fun, I use my Winter Wonderland unit. It has tons of seasonal writing activities with math activities, map skill practice for social studies, and crafts/recipes mixed in too. It’s mostly winter themed with just a few Christmas pieces, so it’s perfect for schools that can’t do Christmas in the classroom.

Winter Wonderland Unit for Elementary School: Alternative to Christmas

Next up, I use my Multiplication Workshop pack all month long in my math group centers. I actually finished this a little late last year and we used it through January too. 😉 It has black/white as well as color options to save your ink. 
Multiplication centers and color sheets with a Christmas theme

There’s a set of matching cards for each multiplication fact family 1-12. Students can use the cards alone in “memory” games, or use them as game cards with the included board games. 

Multiplication centers and color sheets with a Christmas theme

These coloring sheets are included in the pack, but I also pulled them out separately for those of you who just need print-and-go sheets. I use these for fast finishers.

Multiplication centers and color sheets with a Christmas theme

Finally, my fall math craftivities were such a hit I had to carry the theme over into winter with Santa, Christmas Tree, and Snowmen. These all come in addition/subtraction and multiplication/division options. I like this because you can differentiate for your students while everyone works on the same thing too. Again, sneaky. I pass out multiple options so we wend up with a variety of finished crafts for a bulletin board display. I also like that this reduces the temptation to share answers so everyone has to work the problems. 

Winter or Christmas themed math crafts for elementary school

Thank you so much for all that you do for your students. We appreciate you so much! For more time-saving tips, head over to any of these great blogs. 

giveaway, misc

$50 Stitch Fix Giveaway

Are you hooked on Stitch Fix yet? I *finally* decided to give it a try and think I’m going to be in love with my mailman even more. It’s no secret I love online shopping, but this whole personal stylist thing is kind of rad too. 

I’m revealing this month’s box and giving you a chance to win your own $50 gift card over on my new blog, Completely Christi. Don’t worry, Ms. Fultz’s Corner isn’t going anywhere. I just wanted a place to share the other side of my life outside the classroom. This will be my place to blog about family, Pinterest projects, home decor, fashion, beauty, recipes, my sewing hobby, and all the other things that we juggle as women. We’re more than just teachers and it’s time to put ourselves back on the list!

Head on over and be sure to follow me by email or with Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss out on the other giveaways I have planned for you in the coming weeks. I have lots of favorite things to share! =)

freebies, math

Teachers Thanking Teachers: Math Craftivity

***The freebies have ended. Thank you so much for your support! Be sure to follow my blog with BlogLovin‘ and on Facebook so you don’t miss out on the next ones!***

Does anyone here like freebies? =) I’ve teamed up with a few of my upper elementary teacher friends to bring you this quick and easy blog hop of freebies to show our appreciation for YOU! Teachers work hard and sometimes the “thank you”s are just too few and far between. So today you get to relax, hop around, and collect a few freebies to help make it through the next few {crazy} weeks until winter break.

Here at Ms. Fultz’s Corner you can grab one of my new math craftivities. I’m a big fan of sneaking in a little art wherever I can, so I created a series of seasonal math crafts that feel more like fun than work. Sneaky, I know. 😉 Students solve math problems and then color the pieces using their solution to check their work. When they’re finished, they can assemble the pieces to make their craft and illustrate the background. And there you have it– an educational bulletin board display. Voila! 

You don’t want to see my attempt to illustrate the background.

I also made them in two versions, addition/subtraction and multiplication/division for differentiation. The crafts look the same, so students don’t have to know who is working on what. Love that! Just click here to grab the addition/subtraction scarecrow and here to grab the multiplication/division version. Hope your students love it and thank you for all you do!

If you love this version, be sure to check out the rest. In addition to the scarecrow, I also have a pair of pilgrims or a turkey. For winter, I have a snowman, Christmas tree, and Santa. I like to mix and match what I pass out so we end up with a variety on our bulletin board displays, and it also helps cut down on sharing answers so everyone is practicing their own skills. Shhh… 😉

I’ve bundled the multiplication/division set for extra savings. The addition/subtraction set will be coming soon and check back this spring for more new seasonal sets. I love them so much!

Don’t forget to visit these teacher-friends for more great ideas:

big kid units, craft, freebies, Thanksgiving

Turkey Tuesday

Hey, friends! Last year I blogged about all of my turkey ideas after Thanksgiving so I promised myself that wouldn’t happen again this year. I’ve been staring at my to do list for 11 whole days now with “Turkey post” right at the top. The control freak in me just can’t take it anymore. ha! So here is a little throwback to how we rolled turkey style the month of November.

It’s no secret that I like to teach in themed units. If I can work a theme into reading, writing, language, word work, math, science, and social studies while tossing in some art as well, I am a happy teacher of a happy class. It increases buy-in for my students and their knowledge of our topic goes both deep and wide because we’ve spent so much time on it.

For the month of November, we are all about turkeys. Turkey poems, turkey anatomy, turkey math, turkey nutrition, turkey word work, turkey…. you get the point. 😉 I bundled the majority of my stuff into my Turkey Unit for Big Kids to keep it simple.

Nonfiction turkey unit for elementary students

My favorite piece is actually a little nonfiction book I wrote for guided reading. We use it as the starting point for our unit and you can print it into mini books with multiple pages per sheet, project it, or print it off in whole-sheet size as a big book. It comes in both color and black/white options too. My students love all the little turkey “tidbits” in there.

Then I have my students show what they know by labeling a turkey with details. We’re constantly working on nonfiction text features, so I love that this reinforces those skills. 

Mix science with nonfiction text features and label the parts of a turkey

But we don’t just keep turkeys in our literacy instruction. I move that theme right on into math. I actually use two versions of this for differentiation; one for addition/subtraction and one for multiplication/division. It’s sneaky because the crafts are the same so the students don’t even realize there are two versions floating around based on their skill level. 

A turkey craftivity using math problems

Even though my poor fella doesn’t have a face, I had to share these cute little bags with you too. We make them on the last day before break {you know how crazy those days can be!}. I have students write individual notes for what they are thankful for this year. I encourage them to write at least one for each family member, and then add to those if they have time. They’re always so proud and ready to take their bags home to show off what’s inside.

Finally, how cute are these cookies? We work on following directions with these, but then students get a yummy treat when they’re finished. I don’t show them the example first, so it’s always fun to see how each individual cookie comes together. 

Follow directions to create a cute turkey snack

Throughout the week, we’re also working on turkey themed word work. I have my students complete individual work work/spelling contracts each week, but like to mix them up with themes around the holidays. You can click here to grab your freebie

Hope that gives you a few ideas in advance this year! =) Here are even more ideas for you from my Pinterest board:

Follow Christi @ Ms. Fultz’s Corner’s board School Thanksgiving on Pinterest.

Fall, freebies, Halloween

Doing Halloween Without Doing Halloween

Boo! Did I scare you? 😉 Halloween can be a tricky time in the classroom. And no, I’m not talking about the extreme increase of “sugar” as the main ingredient during snack time… although that CAN be a problem of its own. But today I’m talking about how we celebrate the holidays in our classrooms while still being careful to include everyone.

When I started teaching 10 years ago {yikes!} we did Halloween Parties. Those have turned into “Fall Parties” now in order to include everyone. It sometimes means revamping old ideas to take the Halloween factor out, as well as rounding up new ones. I personally focus on pumpkins, spiders, and monsters in October. 

I’ve already shared my pumpkin unit ideas recently, so we’ll stick to spiders and monsters this time around. =) 

Here’s a fun spider idea for you– make webs on your student chairs! My students literally became spiders and had to read nonfiction spider texts to learn how spiders weave their webs. Then they wrote from a spider’s perspective about the activity. We do this in conjunction with my spider thematic unit, in case you need more ideas to round out your spider ideas. Here are some of my favorite spider books to go with it:


For monsters, we held adoptions. Students adopt a monster and then write an instruction manual with things you need to know about their new monster baby when it’s your turn to babysit. They do this in the form of a monster shape book. I have four different monster patterns for my students to pick from. Each pattern comes with a face, writing lines, and blank options for creating a book. They absolutely love it and it’s so funny to see the unique personalities they craft for their monsters. It definitely stretches their creativity! Here are the books I use in our unit:

Of course Pinterest is full of ideas too– here’s the link to my fall ideas board over on PinterestAnd here are a few more of my favorite free ideas to help you get through the Halloween season without doing Halloween.