Tuesday, August 30, 2016




Drill and Practice! Oh how students groaned and moaned when they were handed a worksheet with problems to work out. They needed the practice though, Practice Makes Perfect! Right? I use Math Puzzles in my room and my students never, ever turn them down! They are aligned to the Common Core Standard that we are working on at the time. I can use them as an assessment or just as practice. I love color and cute, and these are both, but they are also a meaningful activity that incorporates some higher level thinking by having students think about the numbers and move the puzzle pieces around until they all fit together. 
Math Puzzles CCSS Aligned 4.NBT.4

First I took the regular Magic Squares that we have all used for years and “fixed” them up a bit. My Math Puzzles are designed for groups of 4, with each student getting a different Puzzle Sheet. No more having to cut the pieces out yourself and paper clip together for each student. Also, every 4 students will have a different puzzle and you will have the answer sheet for a quick check. This is how it works for me.

Math Puzzles 4.NBT.4 
In the picture you see a Teacher Answer Sheet #1 and a Scrambled Squares for Students # 1. The fonts match on the TA Sheet 1-4 and the Scrambled Student Sheet 1-4. I put the 4 TA sheets on a Clipboard to carry with me so I can monitor my students working out the problems.

Students working in journals using Math Puzzles 4.NBT.4

The picture above shows two different students' work. After cutting out their squares, they get to work. The math problems align with the common core standard 4.NBT.4. They are working the math problems out in their journals (showing their work.) I ask them to write the answers on the math puzzle pieces because it makes putting the puzzle together easier. 

Notice one Student pasted the I Can Statement at the top of her puzzle page. This is required and is included in the Math Puzzle 4.NBT.4 packet. ( I always include PAM somewhere in the  puzzle.) They love it!

This student went to another page where she had some extra room (to save her paper) and starting working her problems out. The journals are graded every 9 weeks and kept to show students growth.

You can see where this student has written her answers in with pencil.

The 4 different fonts keep the students from glancing over at what someone else is doing. All students have the same 31 problems that match 4.NBT.6 but they are scrambled up!







Some students work methodically. 

These are finished squares from 5th grade.

After finishing, I check their work by just looking at my 4 clipboard pages. Then they glue the squares and color. Some students never get to the coloring part because they might work slower than others. To differentiate by giving some students less problems to work with, just take off the bottom 4 squares from your Teacher Answer Sheet. When the student has cut all of his out, take those bottom pieces away. It gives the same practice but with fewer problems to do which would be helpful with some students who cannot process so many at one time.

Hope this helps with your classroom activities. Email me with any questions for comments! Next time I'll show of the work we are doing with task cards.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Third Graders Reading To My Kinders!


Students get so excited about summer (don't we all,) It seems each year I have the  funniest and most adorable students ever. They all have a great sense of humor and we really have some fun times. At the end of the year my students all want to tell me what they are doing over the summer break!

I am always excited to hear what my students are going to do over the summer. Some of these things never happen, but it is fun to talk about. So if it's fun to talk about, it has got to be fun to write about!

As a writing 'craftivity,' I always give my students a Summer Bucket List Assignment. First of course, I had to explain what a bucket list was. When I knew they had processed this new bit of information we went on to talking about our Summer Bucket List. They were all excited to write their list, but when I pulled out the buckets and shovels, they were ready to roll!


Here are the products of a 3rd grade class at my current school. I think they did an awesome job!

You can see that some of her students really wrote a lot! I've added some writing papers to this craftivity since Ms. Hobbs did this. I love them!


You can't imagine how proud we were of this child. She really came alive when writing using the craftivity! She was really proud of herself and wasn't a bit nervous when she read aloud to my Kinders.

I taught this student's brother in fifth grade AIG. She was so happy to share her writing!



This is a fun packet for any grade level. My Kinders will be doing this next year and I'll let them write or draw and label! My BF teaching buddy, Jodie Yantachka (a link to her TPT Store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Sugar-Spice-And-Everything-Nice) sent some of her student work down for my Kinders to see! Jodie is the best writing teacher. 

This is from her third grade class!


Have fun!

You can pick this free packet up from my Teacher Pay Teachers store:




Have fun and let me know how the craftivity goes! 


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Study Guide for Look To The North: A Wolf Pup Dairy by Jean Craighead George







Why I use Study Guides in my classes. I love reading about animals and I have always had students that love reading books about animals. The Informational Narrative, Look To The North: A Wolf Pup Diary by Jean Craighead George is the sweetest nonfiction book that tells the story of three wolf pups as they grow up in the north. Jean Craighead George loved animals and this love comes through in all of her books. The book is beautifully illustrated by Lucia Washburn. The lexile level is 580L. (http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/look-north)

I didn't choose the book because of a certain grade level, I wanted my students to enjoy reading a beautifully illustrated book, with a clear sequence, and one that they could find details in the text to answer questions and new vocabulary words. I don't think anyone is ever too old to read a story with beautiful illustrations. To make sure that my students were receiving the instruction that followed the Common Core, I made a Study Guide. You can download a preview of this study guide at my teacher store on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Student has finished the research section and is now working on connections  to the story.
I made this Study Guide so that my students can get all the information needed, plus work at their own pace. I included some research, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, lots of critical thinking questions and writing. I also included a Science and Social Studies Integration. While students are busy working together or independently, I can pull students in small groups and monitor other student's progress. I always makes sure students have access to a computer, dictionary, pencils and erasers, and always a book and a nice box of crayons.

The Vocabulary section pulls in the vocabulary words that a student might not be familiar with. There is a section at the bottom of this page where students must come up with a word from the text that they think should have been a vocabulary word.

There is a poem with relavent questions to answer and also a section on personification. 

My favorite part of the study guide is the front cover. Students draw a new cover and they must use color and details from the text!


Each student uses a dictionary for the Vocabulary section.

Students reference the text to answer the Comprehension Question. Each question has the Revised Blooms level so students know why this question is important.

Each section has the Common Core alignment. You can also see the Revised Blooms Levels above each Comprehension Question.

The Science Research has the Essential Question and give students a chance to learn more about an Arctic animal. I also post urls and videos on Edmodo so students have a starting point for reference.

Finished cover showing the Alpha pup. 

Finished Cover. This is before I look over the Study Guide. Students will be given a chance to correct handwriting and grammar mistakes before turning the guide in for grading.

Another sweet cover.

All my students wanted their cover on my blog. They did a great job of using details from the story to make their cover. If you have read the book, you know that Talus is smelling the grizzly and alerting his siblings. The blue flowers are Harebells.

Cover showing originality. 

Fast finishers spend time coloring and usually find parts where they might need to erase and start over. Coloring not only gives my students a chance to process the information they learned, it also gives them a chance to check back over their work.

I like the way this student illustrated her vocabulary word. Not only did she draw the harebells she also illustrated that they bloom in July.

I always include a Phonics section. Students in 4th and 5th grade still need phonics instruction, even if it is just reinforcing what they already know.


This is a very creative cover, this student wanted to include the title after drawing so she put it into her moon and clouds.


A lot of pictures I know! My students love seeing their work on my blog. I wish I could show their sweet faces while they are working on these study guides. This guide has 12 pages. This might be daunting if I had given them 12 pages of worksheets. In a nice booklet, they are able to read and study the book without being intimidated by the workload. And I have a product showing their learning and growth.

Study guides can be useful tools teaching the Common Core way. Students are involved, there is a section where they must read a poem to a buddy and then listen while their buddy reads back to them. Students are working independently but can discuss and collaborate as needed. I can monitor, check for understanding and also work individually with a student or with small groups. Students are using the computer and a reference book. They are involved with their learning and delving deeper into the text with the comprehension questions.  This book seems like a nice picture book, but students are learning to infer, evaluate and question the text they are reading.

Let me know if you have any ideas about using Study Guides in your classroom.

As always, thanks for visiting! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Letterland Letterland! There is no better land!




My students love Letterland! I'll post more activities later this week!


You know you hear a song and it plays over and over in your head? Well, that is how the theme song to Letterland is with me and my students. We hum it all the time!



When we first started with Letterland last year I have to say I had some issues with the program! First, the accents were all British and I had to teach little Ks the letter sounds in English! AND nine of my students were ELLs! 


I started using it and really got into the program and now I love it!  The characters are cute! They call the characters, Letterlanders! They live in another land of letters, sounds complicated if you are new to the program, but as you get into the program you can see it does work! Students learn the sounds and letters!


We had a Letterland Parade on the 31st. Students had a month to get their costumes ready. Red Robot on the left hand side was the cutest little guy! They all had fun and parents walked along with us as we went in every classroom in the school.

The only thing I can that I wish Letterland would change, would be the activities and 'center' work that they have available.
I made some up with just Annie Apple and Clever cat.  I'll try and upload them here, but will put them in my  TPT store as a free download.
Students cut out the pictures and sort them under the /a/ or /c/ sound.
The clip art all came from DJ Inkers and Whimsey Clips.


I wanted my students to identify the beginning sounds of /a/ and /c/ words. Of course, learning to write the letters correctly helps! The clip art all came from DJ Inkers and Whimsey Clips.



I made double copies of the picture cards that are in Annie Apple's center. My Kinders couldn't draw as well as some of the other classes I have had, so they put the picture of /a/ words under their paper and traced. They are getting a lot better now!

I love interactive emergent readers and this is printed back to front. I hope someone who is teaching using the Letterland program can use some of these supplemental centers. I have more centers, powerpoints and all that I have made up,  so please follow my blog and I will put these up as I go. 

This link is for the Annie Apple center:

This link is for the Clever Cat Center:

Let me know if these links work. I hope this helps someone. Also, I will be putting some freebies up on my TPT store. If you want to be notified, please go to my store and click Follow. I promise I don't out a lot of emails, just when I have a new Free Item.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Letterland! Letterland! There is no better land!




My students love Letterland! I'll post more activities later this week!


You know you hear a song and it plays over and over in your head? Well, that is how the theme song to Letterland is with me and my students. We hum it all the time!



When we first started with Letterland last year I have to say I had some issues with the program! First, the accents were all British and I had to teach little Ks the letter sounds in English! AND nine of my students were ELLs! 


I started using it and really got into the program and now I love it!  The characters are cute! They call the characters, Letterlanders! They live in another land of letters, sounds complicated if you are new to the program, but as you get into the program you can see it does work! Students learn the sounds and letters!


We had a Letterland Parade on the 31st. Students had a month to get their costumes ready. Red Robot on the left hand side was the cutest little guy! They all had fun and parents walked along with us as we went in every classroom in the school.

The only thing I can that I wish Letterland would change, would be the activities and 'center' work that they have available.
I made some up with just Annie Apple and Clever cat.  I'll try and upload them here, but will put them in my  TPT store as a free download.
Students cut out the pictures and sort them under the /a/ or /c/ sound.
The clip art all came from DJ Inkers and Whimsey Clips.


I wanted my students to identify the beginning sounds of /a/ and /c/ words. Of course, learning to write the letters correctly helps! The clip art all came from DJ Inkers and Whimsey Clips.



I made double copies of the picture cards that are in Annie Apple's center. My Kinders couldn't draw as well as some of the other classes I have had, so they put the picture of /a/ words under their paper and traced. They are getting a lot better now!

I love interactive emergent readers and this is printed back to front. I hope someone who is teaching using the Letterland program can use some of these supplemental centers. I have more centers, powerpoints and all that I have made up,  so please follow my blog and I will put these up as I go. 

This link is for the Annie Apple center:

This link is for the Clever Cat Center:

Let me know if these links work. I hope this helps someone. Also, I will be putting some freebies up on my TPT store. If you want to be notified, please go to my store and click Follow. I promise I don't out a lot of emails, just when I have a new Free Item.