Home About Me Frequently Asked Questions Freebies Products Image Map

Are you feeling pressure by the teacher blogging community?

I love the teacher blogger community, but sometimes, I feel a lot of pressure to keep up.  This summer, I just want to relax, play at the beach, stay up late and sleep in until I feel like I'm ready to start the day.
Are you feeling pressure by all of the posts of teachers working over summer like I am?  Are you a blogger who wants a break? I posted about this topic over at the Primary Pack.  Join me in a challenge to find balance and live in the moment. I'm posting this photo on Instagram and will only be posting photos that aren't teaching related for the next week (or more)! 

post signature

Summer Stock Up: Are Math Centers Just Busy Work?

I'm participating in The Primary Gal's annual Summer Stock Up party and wanted to share with you a bit about math centers.  Let me ask you, do you think math centers are just busy work?

I don't and I want to share with you why! In my class, math centers are a class favorite for many reasons.  Sadly, some administrators or teachers may look at games as just a filler to give teachers time to do something while the students are entertained for 20 minutes.  Some have said it's busy work or that they aren't meaningful.  But in my class, math centers are purposeful, engaging, and fun.  Let me show you!

I've got a few tips for those of you who want to implement math centers and games, but aren't sure where to start.  You can see a previous post I did on how to set them up, here.  

Tip 1: Find a storage unit that works best for you and students can access easily.  

Tip 2: If you have a bookshelf for your math station area, use baskets for storage.

Tip 3: Below is what my math station looks like.  I was lucky to have a book shelf in my room so I used the baskets pictured above and a shoe organizer to store all of our materials.

If you look on top of the shelf, I have one basket that has addition and subtraction games inside.  This is a yearlong standard in my district so I want to make sure that students have access to these games all year. 
I have another basket that has games that relate to the unit of study at the moment.  I use both of these baskets for different purposes, depending on the lesson's objective.

Tip 4: Now that we've got them set up, let's explore how they can be used.  I have used math centers all sorts of ways over the years.  In my class this year, my early finishers love going to the math centers area and picking a game that interests them, which leads to engagement! If I want them to get extra practice with a skill that we're working through, then they can only choose games from the Units of Study basket.  Sometimes I leave both baskets out, or I'll pick one or the other, depending on the objective.

Tip 5: Not only are math centers great for early finishers, they should also be used like you might do with literacy rotations.  In our class, we have math center rotations once a week.  This is the time I'll choose 5 math centers, 1 for each table group.  If we're working on time for example, once center will  focus on a standard related to time that we've previously covered.  I like to use the centers as reinforcement practice so that my students can work independently.
Since our year long standard is adding and subtracting, I'll always throw in one or two centers to make sure students are exposed frequently.

We have our technology center where students work on many things, depending on the objective.  We used Ten Marks last year which was great because I could assign problems based on the standards we were working through.  It gave me immediate data which helped me see who needed extra support or challenges.

Last Tip: I'm also a HUGE fan of no prep. games that are simple to set up and easy for students to use.  During this center, kiddos rolled a dice and spun a spinner to come up with a sum.  Super simple and can be differentiated in a million ways!  Get creative!

If you're interested in math centers, check them out individually or invest in the entire bundle!

post signature

Treat yourself with a 260.00 shopping SPREE to TARGET

I am so excited to bring you a fabulous giveaway from some of your favorite teacher bloggers. We are giving away TWO prizes! A $260 Target Gift Card and a TPT bundle valued at almost $100! Please see the rafflecopter below for how to enter. Best of luck!

Teach. Inspire. Change.


Our TPT Bundle includes the following items (all valued at almost $100!)

post signature

End of the Month Reflections, the Easy Way

It's important for kiddos to reflect on their learning.  Back before Common Core, my master teacher would have her kiddos reflect on their learning at the end of each month.  I saw how powerful it was and have been doing it ever since, so thanks Mrs. Gates!  I've been asked to explain a little more after a few of my Instagram posts, so here you go!
I'm a fan of thinking maps so we like to use a bubble map or tree map (as shown). At the top of the chart, I write "In ______, I learned about..."  Later on, students will use that as their topic sentence. I create headings for Language Arts and every month, on cue, they ask "What's language arts?" I also include math, social studies, science, and other, for those other things like PE, art, holidays, and such!

At the beginning of the year, I add commas at the end of each idea, the word "and" between the second-to-last and last thought, and a period at the end of each last thought to remind my kiddos to use proper punctuation.  

I also use sticky notes to model how to organize these ideas into a complete sentence.  I'll ask a friend to choose something from the language arts column and put a sticky.  Another friend chooses something from math, sticky.  We follow this pattern until we have gone through all of the columns.  Then, I would model how I use those ideas and write them in a complete sentence.  
Most times, my friends like to put their fancy paper on a clipboard and come to the carpet to see the easel better.  When their done writing, they go back to their desk to color it and then they add it to their memory book.  It's a perfect addition to their memory book!  I've blogged about how to make these easy memory books before!
In the past, I'd save the anchor charts and we'd review them at the end of the year.  I hope this is something you find valuable in your class!

post signature

So many questions about the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference...Answered!

Whether you attended the first annual Teachers Pay Teachers Conference last year or you're a newbie, I'm sure you're filled with excitement, butterflies, and a ton of questions.  I blogged over at The Primary Pack and I'm so excited for all of my new friends to attend this year but I started to feel like a broken record when they'd ask me what to expect.  So...I created a little post to help answer some of your questions.  I've included tips, some ideas about what to expect, a TpT Conference Planner, and a meet up Friday night!

The Primary Pack

post signature

So Cal End of the Year Link Up {FREEBIES}

I'm so happy to be hosting the So Cal Blogger link up with some of my friends from all over Southern California!

The best thing about this little blogging community is that I've met some honest-to-goodness genuine friends over the last couple of years.  You can see some of our meet ups, here, here, and here!  I hosted one last weekend in Carlsbad and it was great seeing old and new friends!
Jen fron Sparkling in Second, Beth from A Kindergarten Life for Me, Courtney from Ramona Recommends, and myself.

The goodie bags were filled with So Cal swag and info from Sheila Jane Teaching.  If you love all of the graphics, make sure to check out Nikki of Meloheadz.  Her work is amazing and her cute little bobble head friends make me so happy!

Do you recognize some of your favorite So Cal bloggers?

How lucky is Holly from Research and Play?  She won a 50.00 gift card to Melonheadz's store!

When I'm not doing "teacher stuff," I spend as much time at the beach as possible.  
 I love walking my dog down to the beach, especially at sunset.
 Before a back injury, I would surf all the time.  This is a photo of me last summer waiting for a set.

 The weather is pretty awesome here in Orange County and San Diego, so I love to spend my time outdoors with friends.
 Brunch is another big thing here.  Champagne brunch is even better!
 When I worked in Laguna, my dad and I would go out to lunch at the Rooftop, which is literally rooftop dining on the water.
Does this not look like a beach out of a movie?!?!
 When we're not hiking, surfing, and playing at the beach, we love to paddle board in Mission Bay.
It's not all about the beach though in So Cal, we even have a dessert.  Weekend trips to Palm Desert are a must for shopping, tanning, and relaxing.  Seeing these dinosaurs are always a plus!

Thanks for getting to know a bit more about life in sunny Southern California.  If you're ending the school year soon, you may like this End of the Year bundle full of everything you need for some much-needed and deserved fun!

end of the year awards, teacher, school, parent survey, photo prop. summer

This countdown sign is part of this bundle.  Grab a mini version by clicking the button below!

Want some more freebies from your favorite So Cal Bloggers?!?!
An InLinkz Link-up
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I'm obsessed with Tieks.  They are incredibly comfy {even after a long day of teaching} and are just the cutest.  Win yourself a gift card to treat yourself to a pair!

post signature