Saturday, January 25, 2014

Winners for a Blogger Gone Bad...

I'm having one of those months/school years.  I just can't seem to keep up.  Remember my one little word:

With that, comes the neglect of this blog.  And for that I'm sorry.

Last week, I posted about the new Fractions Menu that we started in class and gave an opportunity for you to pin it to win it.

Well, you pinned...and I never picked my five winners.  So, if you pinned earlier this week and commented on {this post}, please email me (funinroom4b@gmail.com) and I will send you the file!

Thank you for being such loyal followers to this Blogger-Gone-Bad.

Happy Saturday!  I'm off to watch a movie with my family.  --BALANCE :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Math Menus: Fractions {Pin to Win}

Happy Extra Saturday, friends.  Don't you just love having a Monday off?  (I have read in several places that some of you don't have tomorrow off.  I'm so sorry.  Hopefully you will have a break in the near future!)

I finished and posted the Math Menus: Fractions file that I have been working on for the last few weeks.
My students have been completing their math menus during their "Math Facts" rotation during Math Workshop.  They also work on these activities when they are finished with tests and need something to do while others are still working.

Check out some of the work I've seen so far:



Why use Math Menus?
Math menus (or choice boards) offer teachers the opportunity to create a student-centered learning environment based on choice.  Menus are a differentiated technique that allow students to show what they learned in a creative format. I created this menu to provide an opportunity for my students to creatively show what they had learned about fractions. The level of complexity varies by the “value” of the activity. 
When can I fit it in?
My students work on their menu during our Math Workshop during one of their four rotations.  However, you could use this as a stand alone activity one day a week, as a bell ringer activity, or as an activity to complete when students say, “I’m through, what can I do?”. 

I gave my students two weeks to complete their menu, but you could provide more or less time depending on the needs in your classroom.
Editable Format:
I know that not everyone has the book from the appetizer menu: The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Fraction Book by Jerry Pallotta.  I am lucky enough to have a signed copy!  He came to our school last year. Check out that post {here}. You might also not own my iPoke activity (although you can get it in my store if you’d like :) I know that those options might not work for everyone.  Also, maybe you don’t want to have students creating posters, writing raps, etc.  To make this product more teacher friendly, I've created it in an editable PowerPoint.  
Grading:
I've provided a rubric that you can use for grading purposes.  I've also included a blank rubric for you to fill out to fit your needs.

I printed my menu two to a page to create a menu that was ½ a sheet.  My students then glued this into their math notebook and they are completing most of the work within their notebook.  This will provide the documentation I need for grading purposes.   
And, just as I have done in the past, I'm giving you a chance to Pin It to Win It :)
Just leave me a comment with the URL link to your pin below. You may pin to this blog post or directly to Teachers Pay Teachers at the link {here}.  I'll pick 5 winners on Wednesday night!

Good luck!

***Winners Announced!  Thanks to everyone who pinned!***

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Math Menus

Last week, I began Math Menus with my students.  Here's a sneak peek into what we are beginning:

I am always looking for ways to do things "just a little bit better" in my classroom.  I guess that's the life-long-learner in me.  I'm among friends here, I know.  We are all looking for ways to improve our instruction, aren't we?

Have you heard about using Menus? I started doing some research earlier this year about how to use menus in math and found this great book:

After reading/researching math menus, I knew it was the perfect way to differentiate my math rotations even more than I do now.

Menus provide students the opportunity to choose what activities they would like to complete.

How do menus work?

*Students "choose" menu items that add up to an amount that the teacher determines.  (For my menu, my students will choose items that add up to $10.)
*The menus are created with differentiation in mind.  For example, the level of difficulty varies by activity.
*Students work at their own pace to complete the activities on the menu.
*Some activities can be completed with a partner or in small groups.

We are currently knee-deep in our unit on fractions.  So, I created a "Fractions Menu" that my students will work on for three weeks.  During this first implementation, I am only "grading" for completion of the work.  However, on our next menu, I will be grading on the quality of work and will provide my students with a rubric before the menu begins.

We will work on the menus during our "Math Facts" rotation during Math Workshop.

You can read more about math workshop {here} or {here}.

Stay tuned for more information about menus as the weeks progress.  I'll be adding highlights about what's working and what's not.  Because as we all know, whenever implementing something new, there will be hits and misses along the way :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Have You Heard?

Of these???
I've been checking them out via Facebook and Instagram for weeks.  From a far....and then decided to bite the bullet and order some.

Why?  I love a great manicure.  It's one of the ways I feel like I "stay young".  At this point in the game, my daughter still approves :)

I have been indulging in gel manicures for a few years.  I loved them!  The manicure would last for a few weeks!  What I didn't like was the price.  So, I bought the "at home" version and LOVED that, too.

Why don't I just stick with that?

Well, the main reason is because I am unhappy with what it is doing to my actual nail.  When I go to take off the polish, I have to soak my nails in acetone.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you might remember this silly picture:

 That can't be good, right? Nope.

When I started reading about Jamberry, needless to say, I was intrigued.

Then, I saw this:

And I was sold!  Hook-Line-And-Sinker!

Y'all that is olive oil!  Olive oil takes of Jamberry nails!  After more than 2 weeks!

So, I said, "Yes, please."

Check out some cool manicures:

So cute!  I just received my sample from Christi (Ms. Fultz's Corner---check her out {here} and {here}).

What do you think?

These took me about 15 minutes to complete.  Christi has a great little video about how to apply them using a "cold press" method.  Check out the video {here}.  It was super easy and I think that mine turned out super cute for my first time trying!

I've already ordered my Buy 3 get 1 free!

And now, I'm throwing a party!  Won't you come?

Here are a few tidbits of information you might like to know:

Jamberry wraps are nontoxic, vinyl wraps that "shrink wrap" to your nails using heat and pressure.
One applied, they will last two (or more) weeks on your fingers and up to six weeks on your toes!
Jamberry wraps come in over 300 designs and also include "Junior Jams" like these (perfect for little fingers):

Sheets are $15 each and you should give you two manicures and one pedicure.

Right now, you can Buy 3 and Get 1 Free!

If you are interested, I'd love for you to join my party {here}.  I'm very happy with the results and would love for you to check them out, too!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bouncy Bands!

A few months ago, I was contacted by Scott Ertl from Bouncy Bands about reviewing his new product.  Having several students with ADHD, I am always on the look-out for sensory resources that can give my students some freedom of movement while still allowing them to maintain attention to instruction.  Movement is crucial for students with ADHD...but also beneficial for ALL students.  I also find that it is important that sensory tools should only result in minimal distractions for the other students in the room.

Check out this awesome {and now improved} tool:

Bouncy Bands

Just last week, Scott sent me a new improved Bouncy Band.  The band pictured above is a recycled bicycle inner tube.  The white "stopper" is PVC pipe.  Scott encourages teachers to use the sample and create your own by purchasing 10' lengths of PVC and having the store cut them down to size.  Then, you can ask bicycle stores for used bicycle inner tubes. By doing this, you can have a class set of 26 for about $20.  This is so much cheaper than other sensory resources like sissel seats and therapy/ yoga balls.

Now, check out how the new/improved band looks in use:


 This new and improved Bouncy Band includes a band that is secured and will not come loose. (The bicycle inner tube would occasionally slip loose and we had to retie them.)  I absolutely love this new/improved band!  My students love it, too.  I hardly ever notice when students are using the band.  It's quiet and students are able to "get the wiggles out" and stretch.  Every child could benefit from this band!  Check out Bouncy Bands {here}.
**I did receive the Bouncy Bands in return for this review.**
 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January Currently {Thankful}

Happy New Year, blog friends.  I have been enjoying some much-needed R & R.  How about you?  I haven't even turned on my computer much.

As the new year begins, it is time to reflect upon what is working, and what is not.  It's the perfect time to do this, isn't it?  One of the things that I have struggled with the most is finding the right balance in my life.  That is why I have chosen this word as my "One Little Word" this year.


If you haven't heard of this idea, you can read more {here}.

I'm linking up with Farley for January's Currently.  I love these posts.  They are another time that I can sit down and reflect on what is working and what isn't working. And...and...I can do this every month.  So, thank you, Meghan, for having this linky each month.  There are already almost 300 link ups so far. Man, has the blogging community exploded or what?

Here goes:


Listening~Y'all...my daughter and I can't get enough of this show!  We have been on a Scandal marathon for the last few days.  This show is amazing/shocking/addictive  #cantgetenough
Loving~My new Silhouette Portrait just arrived in the mail.  I won this on Megan's blog: i Teach, What's Your Superpower?  I am so incredibly excited to start creating on this little baby!  Everyone. E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. I know who has one loves it.  I love that I can use all of my adorable fonts on my computer.  And that's a majorly good thing since I'm slightly addicted to fonts.  Speaking of...that's Cara Carroll's Mascara Queen on the Currently picture.  Thank you, Megan! I am so thankful for this new toy :)
Thinking~I have at least graded the stack of papers that I brought home. But, as far as lesson planning goes...not so much.  I really need to get busy.
Wanting~See above....
Needing~Yep, see above, too.
Memory and/or Tradition~ Each year, my good friend, Beth, hosts a Christmas Mother/Daughter Girls' Night.  It is always the "jump start" to the Christmas season.  It is such a fun night and always full of good food and festive cheer and fun with great friends!


Have you linked up with Farley yet?