Saturday, March 31, 2012

TBA turns 1, with giveaways, blog hops, and lots of fun!

Head on over to Teaching Blog Addict for their first birthday celebration!  I was just reading about how far they've come in just one year, and it's amazing.  It begins tomorrow and lasts all week, ending with a big old giveaway!!:)

Great informational text online!

  Dig is an archeological magazine for kids

The Why Files has reading and science links for kids and teacher links too!

DOGO News has a great layout and is easy for kids to navigate.  

By the same company that puts out DIG and Cricket, Odyssey has a link that focuses just on science!

On a completely different note...

Remember the old adage "Be careful what you wish for?" Well, as I was settling in to my new and exciting changes for next school year, that I felt I wanted and needed, I received an email I wasn't expecting.  More on that when I know more...all I can tell you is that the change I wrote about in my last post could be MUCH bigger than I thought!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Next Year Changes

My team sat down today to try to come to concensus about who will be teaching what next year.  I've said for at least 2 years now that I need something different.  I don't want to be stuck in a rut, not spending time like I once did, so today I did something that I never thought I'd do...

I gave up math.

My passion, something I desperately love to teach, I was willing to give up in order to have a little change in my life.  Next year, awaiting admin approval, I will be teaching science and history.  I love science and I found a few years ago that I actually love ancient civilizations too.  I feel that both of these areas encompass everything that I could teach during the day if I was self contained, but I get to spend next year teaching through investigation and story telling...the fun stuff.

Although I will miss math, I won't miss one bit the parents that expect miracles that I sometimes just can't deliver on.

Excited for the possibilities!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Content Reading

As I think about going back to school next week and prepare for 4th quarter, my team needs to put together units for common core implementation.  We must include all areas of the curriculum, so I've been in search of ideas.  

I first went to my go to site for content articles for kids, Science News for Kids.  This online magazine separates science topics so that exploration is a little easier.  I found this fascinating article about electronic skin in the tech and math section.  It allows doctors to temporarily tag patients or help doctors running tests.  The article talks of all of the potential for this state of the art technology.  Amazing, but not what we will be covering during 4th quarter.

Click the picture to read about Electronic Skin
on Science News for Kids

Then I found this piece about the Mayans.  Now here is something that might work for us.   We do cover Mexico and South American Ancient History.  Again, you can click on the picture to read the article. 

After that my ADHD got the best of me as I began hopping from one science site to another.  These are also noteworthy and provide different types of resources.  Archimedes Initiative provides videos, Discovery Education has contests and grants...anyone? and DOGO News is another great site for gathering science content reading.  Anyone else have a go to site for science content reading in the middle grades?  I'd love to have some other internet resources so that I'm not at the mercy of this month's topics!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Prime Factorization

Phew!  With spring break almost over, I've been frantically planning for the upcoming quarter.  Last night I just finished a week long unit that centers on prime factorization.  Trying to figure out where and when it aligns with Common Core has been a pain.  Some of it is now in 6th grade, some isn't in common core at all, and I'm sure the state will add its own pieces to it as well.  I had found that this unit tied into 3 performance objective, but when I went back to double check on the common core website, it wasn't there!  Our book covers everything from using prime factorization to finding square roots with it.  I worked on getting together a unit for my stores, but here are a few pages of the divisibility section.  Happy Friday!

If you want the whole shabang it is at both my TN and TpT stores.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

7th Grade CCSS Posters...Done!

If you would like a copy of these posters and wall cards, just click on the picture.  Beware, it's an 81 page download. :)

Want more freebies?  Check out this Linky!

The Great Paper Airplane Launches today!

The Pima Air and Space Museum is launching a 40 foot paper airplane today via helicopter.

They are blogging live as it happens here.  Their aim is to get kids excited about aviation.  What a great way to start a unit on flight!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Everything's Intermediate Expo

I was very excited to hear from Mor at Teacher's Treasure that the Intermediate Expo is coming in April!  I've never participated in anything like this before, so I'm excited to watch different teachers share their expertise!  Having taught primary and then intermediate, it's sort of like having a girl and then the boy.  There are tons of resources and professional development for primary, just as there are tons of cute items to buy a baby girl.  Then I moved to intermediate and found how little there is available in the resource category, just as the boys section at the stores are always smaller with fewer options.  I can't wait not only for what everyone will be showcasing, but to get to do some PD virtually!  Here's the link if you want to join me!

Scientific Notation Practice, anyone?

Here are a couple of fun things I've been doing today between pulling weeds and running taxi service!

The numbers are in the middle of this scientific notation puzzle because I'm making multiple versions for some review when I go back to work.  I need some way to keep the separated so that I don't end up with a mess! There's also a cootie catcher in the download.  I love those!!

The whole set is here.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Have you seen TED Ed's new site on You Tube?

This is my favorite in the videos that they have out right now, but I'm entranced of the neat mix of animation and interrelated content.  They are also looking for lesson ideas.  If you have something fascinating to share, you can go here to make a submission.  I'm not sure my content knowledge is deep enough in anything to contribute, but maybe yours is.

Here's another one on space.  I've long been interested in space, but I just can't seem to wrap my brain around the size.  I get the math, but my brain just can't hold a visual representation of 10^500, as they reference.  This TED gives some great visuals and will help you entertain the possibility of size.

This TED talk was given to a bunch of high school students by a neuroscientist.  It shows how electrical pulses in the body can be shown and heard, through the use of a cockroach's leg.  It is so creative and interesting, that it would inspire me to want to study the brain!

Big Idea Posters

I spent this rainy Monday trying to get a jump on next year.  We will be implementing Common Core and a new teacher evaluation system.  The evaluation system requires, among other things, that objective be written in kid friendly language and displayed.  I've spent the majority of the day putting together cards that I plan on laminating and putting magnets on to display on the white board.  This zip file provides a white copy, plus several different color backgrounds to pick from.  7th Grade Math CCSS posters. When the individual objectives are complete I will add them as well.  With the Common Core being copyrighted, I didn't feel comfortable making anything for profit, so if you teach 7th grade math, you are in luck.  The download will be close to 100 pages when I'm finished, and I don't mind at all sharing it with everyone.  It will at least make me feel as though my time has been worth it!  I'm having a really tough time with the statistic objectives right now.  Making all that math lingo kid friendly has my brain exhausted.  If you have any good suggestions on how to make 7.SP.3 and 4 friendly, I'd love to know.  I'm still not really pleased with how those strands are sounding.

I also found some time today to play with my version of photoshop.  I'm not very good at it, and it frustrates me to no end, but I made this for my store...

What I really need more than anything are some math manipulatives clip art.  That would make my life easier, to say the least.  I thought I'd try to make sketch some on my own and use photoshop.  Epic Fail!  I really need a protractor that's clear, so if any of you know someone who sells math clip art, let me know!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Blog Linky Party

Donna, over at Math Coach's Corner is having a linky party by grade level over on her site.  I truly felt, "caught in the middle" since there was no 6th grade, so I opted for multiple grades.  I realize that so many 6th grades are in the junior high, although in my district 6th grade is still in elementary.  I sort of teach multiple grades since I'm teaching both 7th and 8th grade math this year.  That counts right?  Anyhoo...if you have time, stop by and link up!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

2 Weeks off with 10 Weeks to Go!

I'm so thankful that my district gives up 2 weeks off for spring break!  I'm not constantly worrying about doing all the home projects and dr. appointments and then finally having time to myself... before poof! it's over.  When we go back we will be in the final stretch of the year.  It can definitely be challenging with 6th graders and their hormones, but I'm trying to find all kinds of interesting activities to keep them on task.  Luckily Pinterest and the blogs keep me stocked with all sorts of ideas!  Even if I don't use what I find, everything I come across seems to be inspiring.  Here are some samples of work I've done this week.
The cootie catcher is something that I modified from what I usually do.  This one asks students to answer math story problems.
Taught myself to create a cube template because all the ones I found were too small, or too big, etc.
I've been working on some angle units over break.  Here is an I have who has that I didn't put in the download.  I felt like it was a little to high for the math level I teach.

A page for working with vocabulary.  It's a variation of the circle map we use as part of the Thinking Maps program.  Having a very visual 11 year old reminds me that kids need a variety! (and...I HATE flash cards) 

Just click on the picture to download from google docs. if it looks like something you could use.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Check out these Blogs!

Many thanks go out to Misty at Think, Wonder, Teach and to Krystal at Lessons from the Middle for the awards passed along to me!  Misty gave me the top 10 about a week ago, so it's time to pass it on!

I've been spending some quality time online this week as I begin my 2 week spring break.  It is much needed and I don't have the stress of traveling, so I've been stalking.  I definitely have my favorite blogs that I read religiously, but wanted to try and branch out.  I've found so many great places out there, and so these are the sites I want to award the top 10 with a description, just as Misty did.

Go Figure!
I recently received some great feedback from Scipi on TpT, and decided after visiting her shop that I needed to see what she has going on over at her blog, Go Figure!  It is a site dedicated to teaching math and is full of all kinds of great ideas.  She looks for fun ways to bring math to the "mathphobics" while sharing with other teachers. I know that she has already received the honor, but I wanted to share her site with you, if you aren't already a stalker!

Second Story Window
I found this awesome blog through Pinterest (surprised?)  This sister duo are teachers of younger children, and although my teaching passion is intermediate, I've found so many amazing ideas for my own preschooler.  They have linky parties, printouts, and pictures of everything they try in action. I really love their layout, and can't wait to see what they will come up with next!  I'm so visual, so I love it!!

Mrs. Tilmon says...
I'm not sure where I first found Mrs. Tilmon's blog, but I'm always checking out what's going on because she has such adorable products for middle school math. I also like the set up of her's so organized, and posts are easy to find.  (Hmmm... maybe something to consider during the next make over.)  Knowing that these kids still love the fun stuff, makes her my kind of teacher.

Heather shares so much of her classroom in her blog.  She is another blogger with pictures galore of what goes on in her classroom on a daily basis.  She's also a fellow desert dweller, so what she does with her students could very well work with the curriculum that I teach as well.  I see so many bloggers out there from around the country, especially the midwest, but not as many out west.

Zombie Math Teacher
Mandy's late night ramblings are so entertaining, I usually laugh out loud!  Although one might think that her blog is all about math, hers is certainly one of the most well rounded blogs that I read.  She talks about everything from her cat to interdisciplinary units to the plight of middle school teachers.

Ms. Preppy
I laugh out loud when I read her blog about teaching primary kiddos.  Someday she vows to write a book about all the wisdom that comes from the mouths of the students she teaches.  Part of me enjoys the hysterical anecdotes from her daily adventures, and the other part of me is reminded that being a primary teacher is something I no longer have the stamina for.

Making it As a Middle School Teacher
I love when I find blogs from teachers that do what I do.  You get to see all aspects of Michelle's life in her blog.  It's so diverse and that is what I love most about it.  She leaves so many different posts about different school topics, but will also blog about crafts, recipes, and fashion.

To the Square Inch
Kate shares her classroom activities almost daily on her blog and has so many items that she shares freely.  I can always find something that I can use in my room, and most of her ideas have a twist to the typical classroom math work.  Along with her downloads, she shares pictures of her class working and what works well and doesn't work in the middle school setting.

Ashleigh's Education Journey
This is one of the newest blogs I've started following, and I can't seem to read enough about this 4th grade class. Ashleigh is also one that shares all the wonderful activities going on in her room!

The 3am Teacher
Aren't we all 3am teachers?  Michelle, also living in the desert, has so many wonderful ideas and creates her own adorable graphics. There is always so much going on in the blogs and around in the sidebars, I stop by there if I'm looking for I need and can usually find it.  If you haven't found her blog yet, you should stop by!

Monday, March 12, 2012

No good deed goes unpunished

I wasn't sure how to title this post.  My next post was supposed to be awarding blogs the Top 10, but I feel compelled to make this post and help out someone who has helped so many of us in creating teaching products to sell online.

Late last night I received an email from Denyse over at Scrappin' Doodles.  She has been contacted by the Seuss Enterprises that she is in violation of copyright for her cute Seussy art.  As a result, I have removed my freebies from my blog, my TpT site, and from Pinterest.  I've also removed other items that I have pinned that use those same graphics.  I know that the blogging community is large and interconnected, and I'm sure it would help Denyse out if we could pass along the information to others out there that may have our work with these graphics on it.  She does amazing work and has helped so many teachers, that I feel that she now needs our support.

Although I feel that the community's efforts are to help promote Dr. Seuss's birthday, I wouldn't want anyone in trouble because of copyright infringement.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


This week we have begun to review and strengthen our knowledge of integers.  Some kiddos have it in the bag, while others not so much.  For the next couple of days, I have several integer centers set up for the students to rotate through.  They love doing rotations, even in 6th grade, and I love all the active engagement.  I'm using one of Lisa Tilmon's games (they are super cute, and fun, and cheap!)  and then I have several that either the kids love and ask for again and again, or ...I just made.  It's free because I haven't had the opportunity to use it in the classroom yet, but since the students love triominoes, I know they'll enjoy it too.  Click on the pic to download your own!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Finding Inspiration

Over the past two days I've been reminded of why it is that I do this blogging thing.  I truly feel that there is so much inspiration shared over the internet, that there are not enough hours in the day to read about them all.  I've thought many times about turning this into a career, but I'm sure the hubby would find my dreams comical.

At the end of last year, I felt spent.  My beloved principal was leaving, parent involvement was either non existent or inappropriate, I'd been in a grade level for long enough that I felt uninspired about my content, and working with curriculum (it's what I've wanted to do for a while) seemed almost out of reach.  Over the summer I tried to work through the need for more creativity in what I do by creating a school wide science resource page for K-6.  I doubt anyone at my school actually uses it, but for me I needed that outlet.  When school started this year, I began my blog in hopes that I would find others that inspired me out of my slump.  And WOW.  This is exactly what I needed.  Other teachers that have the same outlook about teaching as I do, and ideas galore.  I think Mor, at Teacher's Treasure, left my first comment.  It was supportive and kind and everything that I needed.

Then I found Pinterest....enough said.  I was happy again.  I found support and ideas and they were just out there waiting to be discovered.

And then it happened...after making my New Year's resolution, I started to look at that curriculum dream again, but a little different this time.  I'd found so many resources while I was pinning to a place called Teachers pay Teachers.  I'd even purchased some items from Lindsey Perro, and realized I will never buy commercial again.  Then I began thinking, "Could this be the creative outlet I've been so desperately needing?"  I gave it a shot a little over a month ago, and I think I have a new addiction love.  I add lessons as I create them for my students, and little by little I've seen traffic and even threw my first sale.

I felt like this teacher community had given so much to me that I so desperately needed.  I was contributing, but hadn't felt like I had the opportunity to give the love back to be inspirational, to help.
Then yesterday, I felt overcome with the need to provide some love to my bloggy friend Kim, at Finding Joy in 6th, and as usual, I wasn't alone.  Many others came to throw in their two cents, but more importantly provide her hugs, support, and inspiration.

Then, as if the day wasn't filled with enough cyberlove, Misty came by to let me know that she would be featuring me in her post today.  Many thanks to Misty over at Think, Wonder, Teach for bestowing upon me the top 10 award.  She had such an amazing post this morning, and reached out to all of her nominees with so much appreciation, I promise that in the next few days when I pass it along, that I will do as nice of a job as she did.  If you are looking for new teaching blogs, Misty gave a little reason why she likes each one, and as a result I began following some new inspiration.  You can find her post here.  I hope that the blogs I nominate will feel the love and inspiration that I felt today.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Science Stinks (Literally!)

This week's topic was the digestive system.   More specifically, we learned the importance of mechanical and chemical digestion, and how one just isn't enough!  Here are some pictures from our "stomachs" that experienced mechanical digestion.  Even after 2 days ...yes, you heard right... food didn't continue to break down all by itself (it was stinky).

One bag was kept as a control.  It was a great visual as we looked at what was still recognizable.  

We also took a look at chemical digestion both by soaking a piece of chalk in vinegar, and by allowing chewy candy to dissolve in our mouths without the use of our teeth.  The conclusion that everyone came to was that although both mechanical and chemical digestion is important, one alone isn't very effective.  That is why they both occur in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine.  So glad they threw the baggies out, now my room just needs the weekend to air out!