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Math Engagement

I have a confession to make… math is not one of my favorite subjects to teach.  Our school uses the Saxon worksheet kits. I like their spiraled review, but it just feels so boring (especially for my high-ability group).  The hands-on ideas fall flat and are spread too far apart in the lessons.  We all know how time-consuming it is to create your own materials, games, lessons, and activities from scratch though.  
That’s a big reason why I love TeachersPayTeachers so much.  It’s a place where hard-working teachers can buy and sell their products, which I see as a win-win.  I get paid for the items I’m creating on my own time for our classroom and other teachers can save that time by purchasing my resources for a small price.  I’ve also purchased great materials from other teachers.  In case you missed it, here’s a linky party of math resources

You can purchase this in my store.

Our class loves playing the math PowerPoint games that I created. A whistle blows to signal the start of each new problem and a countdown begins to encourage students to work quickly (but accurately!).  The answer is revealed to a round of applause before starting all over again.

See it in my store

What students don’t love an occasional sweet treat?  I use Marshmallow Mateys for this data sorting and graphing lesson each year.

I also use the Take It to Your Seat Math Centers in our room.  They took some time to put together, but I’ve noticed that they improve independence and engagement too.

What are your favorite math resources?  I’d love to hear all about them!


Upcycled Learning Board

While using math wrap-ups in class last week, I noticed how much one of my hands-on learners loved using the string. She’s working on counting, AB patterns, and her alphabet.  The multiplication wrap-ups were far beyond her current skill level.  However, she wanted to be part of the class.  

After talking with my teaching assistant, I realized lace-up cards might be a good option for her.  However, I wanted her to work on her academic and fine motor skills.  My assistant and I discussed laminating poster board and then punching holes in it.  We could label the holes with numbers or letters and then wipe-them off and update as needed.  This would allow the particular student to participate in class at her own level by using string to connect the holes in order.

Pin It

I thought about the idea some more that night and came up with a better idea.  I have a ton of white boards at work that my husband cut for me out when I first started teaching.  (In case you haven’t heard of that, you can get the Melamine material at stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot and use it as whiteboards for your students.  They’ll even cut it down for you at the store.)  Anyway, I had my dear husband randomly drill holes across the board.  We tied parachute cord to one of the holes (knotted on both sides so it can’t be pulled off). and now we can use a dry-erase marker to label the holes as many different times as we like. How great is that?!

social studies

Happy President’s Day!

I love finding other third grade blogs, so when Krista stopped by earlier today I was thrilled to connect with a new blogger. It’s great timing too because she’s doing her first ever giveaway.  But hurry, your chance to win ends Friday.  Click on over to visit Krista at Stellar Students.

I hope you’ve had a great President’s Day.  I spent mine reading on the couch with my pups and adding a few new items to my TeachersPayTeachers store. I also finished updating all my old items. Glad that tasks is over!

I have several posts planned for this week, so check back soon. =)


Classroom Auctions

I believe that engaging instruction is the best way to keep your students on-task, but an effective classroom management plan is also important.  I use positive and negative reinforcement in our room, but I prefer to focus on the positive.  That’s where our classroom auctions come in.

I run ours just like a traditional auction, but students purchase items using raffle tickets instead of money.  Students earn five tickets every Monday morning for returning a signed weekly report from their Friday Folder.  They can earn additional tickets for showing life skills (cooperation, responsibility, perseverance, etc.).  Students can also lose tickets in our room, but that doesn’t happen very often.  At the end of each nine weeks, it’s time to bid on prizes.

The prizes don’t have to be anything expensive.  I auction classroom freebies like homework passes, sitting in the teacher chair for a day, extra recesses, writing in ink for a day, and anything else each particular group of students seems to like.  I also ask parents to contribute items from home such as gently used toys, books the family has outgrown, or dollar store items.  I also stockpile items for the auction throughout the year.  I’m always getting free stickers, posters, magazines, canvas totes, and other “teacher” stuff the students want.  Shells from the beach have also been a big hit in our room.  

If you’re looking for a way to shake up your behavior management routine, you might want to consider classroom auctions.  The students always count down to the next one because they’re so much fun!


Just One More Reason Why I Teach

I celebrated the start of a three-day weekend by updating items in my TeachersPayTeachers store most of the evening.  I’ve been working hard to switch everything over to offer preview downloads and update page counts.  After creating all the files I found out that their uploader was down.  Oh well, at least I have lots to update when it is working again. =)

I wanted to post this adorable picture too.  One of my students made a tutu for my dogs with her grandma.  The student instructed me that they would have to share and requested photographic evidence the following day.  How cute is that?!  I love how much my kiddos and I can share with each other; it makes learning so much more fun.

Check back soon for posts about our classroom auctions and a new learning tool I created for a student in our classroom with special needs. She loves it, and the best part is that it’s upcycled too!