A New Day of Learning: January 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's My Birthday!

My birthday is this weekend and to celebrate I thought I would give YOU a gift!  All you have to do is visit my Facebook Page and click on the Birthday Freebie Tab! I hope you enjoy it!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fraction Action

I just introduced fractions to my math R.T.I. group and thought it would be a good idea to review some vocabulary with them.  I dug out this Forever Freebie and put it in my plans for next week.

It is a super fun game that you play using your smartboard.  You divide the students into two teams.  Have one student from each team come up and give them each a flyswatter.  Display one of the slides of the PowerPoint and have the students should swat the word that matches the picture.  The person who swats it first, earns a point for their team.  Then have two new students come up and the game continues.

The students have such a blast playing this! I can't wait until Thursday when my students get to play!

You can download your copy by clicking on the picture below! Make sure you are logged into your Google account.


If you don't have a Google account, you can download
Word Attack Fractions from my 

I am linked up this week at:
Classroom Freebies Manic MondayFreebie Fridays

What strategies do you have for introducing fractions?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Equal or Not?

In math class yesterday we studied equalities and inequalities.  I used the analogy of a balance to show them that equalities must be equal on each side. We drew pictures of balance scales, like the one below, and practiced equations that were equal and not equal. 

When I felt like they had a good understanding, we played a game. I made this game using using super cute dog clip art from Ashley Hughes.   I gave each student a piece of paper that had equal and not equal signs on it. (see photo below)  The symbols were made out of dog bones and the students thought it was the best!

Next, I displayed a problem on the SmartBoard using the document camera.  The students would do the work on their whiteboards. On my count, they would hold up either their equal or not equal sign.   Then one of them would come up and use smaller versions of the dog bones to make the equations equal or not equal.

To really test their knowledge and understanding, we ended the lesson with a fun craftivity.  The students were each given a large dog bone to cut out. They were asked to write an equality and an inquality on the inside of the dog bone.  (see photo below)  They used dog bones in bowls like the photo above to show whether their equations were equal or not.  

When they were all finished, I put together a super cute bulletin board to display their excellent work!

If you would like to do this game and craftivity in your classroom, it is available in my  

What strategies do you use to teach equalities and inequalities?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Testing Survival Kits

I would bet at some point you have all felt the pressure of finding your students' reading levels! In order to help my team power through our Fountas and Pinnell testing I went to work whipping up some Testing Survival Kits for them!

I left them in their rooms for them so they were greeted on Monday morning by a welcoming and bright container of goodies! Do you feel like your team could use a little boost?  If so, click below to download the FREE templates to make your own Testing Survival Kit! (Remember to log in to your Google account!)


If you don't have a Google Account, you can download The Testing Survival Kit from my

What do you do to celebrate testing?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Do You Close Read?

I am wondering how many of you do Close Reading in your classroom?  If you do, how do you approach it? Have you had amazing or lackluster results?

I have just started doing close reading in my classroom a few weeks ago.  So far, my students have been very engaged and have reported greater understanding in what they have been close reading.  Those are things I love to hear!

I thought I would take minute and share how I have approached it in my classroom.   I started with the document below that I found at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's website. I used this to help me plan my instruction.


Next, I went in search of a good anchor chart to help teach my students what to do while they close read.  I went straight to my good friend Theresa of Trifecta Book Reviews.  She recommended that I take a look at Tracy Watanabe's website.   I went and I found exactly what I was looking for. Here is my chart next to her original chart. Click on her chart to go to her post!


I picked out a Social Studies passage to go along with our study of Ellis Island and then introduced the concept of close reading to my class.  I modeled for them how to do the steps and then set them free to try it.  Here are some pictures of their papers after their first close read.

I am pretty proud of how well they did after only a short mini-lesson.  They were able to make connections, identify words they didn't know, and write down questions they still had.  Even better, we had a great conversation about the article after the close read. 

How do you do close reading your classroom?
What are you favorite resources to use?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chocolate on the Brain

Hi all!
Do you have candy hearts and chocolate on your brain?  I do! I have been thinking a lot about what I am going to give my students for Valentine's Day! In order to cure myself of chocolately thoughts,  I decided to whip up some cute V-Day cards for my class.

I started by making these  adorable Owl Valentines, but then realized they might be a little too "cutesy" for the rugged boys I have in my class.

With the boys in mind,  I created some colorful space robot cards.  I think they will enjoy those much better than the "girly" ones! Don't you think?

How would would you like some Valentines to hand out to your class?  Click on the pictures below to get your FREE Valentine's Day Cards! (Make sure you are logged into your Google account.)


If you don't have a Google account, you can download them from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Freebie Fridays

What do you give your students for Valentine's Day? 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Knock, Knock!

It was so cold last week that my school had two snow days.  I went to school to get some things done that I normally don't have time to do! One of things that I tackled was getting my door decorated for winter.

What is great about living in Wisconsin is that once you decorate your door for winter, it can stay that way for MONTHS! I don't change my door decorations nearly as much as I would like to, so I didn't miss this opportunity to spruce things up!

I had found this super cute idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago. My inspiration picture comes from The Butterfly Jungle.


She says it was "easy peasy" to make the polar bear, but I know my artistic ability and that would not be "easy-peasy" for me! Instead of attempting to draw, I found an adorable snowman in some clipart I bought from Clementine. I bought her  Winter Friends set from her Etsy shop.

I printed out one of the snowmen and put it under my document camera and projected it onto my smartboard.  Then, I traced it onto a large piece of white paper, took it down, colored it, and cut it out.  My snowman is also blowing snowflakes.  (If I were going to do this again, I would make my snowman turn sideways.)  I added real buttons and cut out the snowflakes using my Cricut.  

How do you decorate your door for Winter?
Do you have a blog post about it?
Put a link in the comments so we can see! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Last Chance to Win!

Hi all!
Hope you are having a wonderful week.  I just wanted to remind you that the giveaway ends tonight at midnight! This is your last chance to enter!  Thank you all for your support! If you would like to enter, you can click on the picture below to take you to the correct blog post! Good Luck!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Freebie Link Up

Happy Monday, Everyone!
First, I wanted to give you a quick a reminder to Enter My Giveaway!! Second, I sure hope you are all doing well and staying warm! My school was cancelled today due  to the extremely cold weather! In honor of an extra day off, I have decided to link up at Classroom Freebies and Freebie Friday with  a Valentine's Day Game FREEBIE! This is such a fun game to play during your Valentine's Day party at school. You can download your free copy by clicking on the picture below. (Make sure you are logged into your Google account.)

If you don't have a Google account, you can download it from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Check out some other great freebies at Classroom Freebies and at Freebie Friday!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My First Give Away!

Hi All!
Starting a blog has been something I have been thinking about for over a year.  In celebration of finally starting my blogging career and in thanks to everyone who has supported me,  I have decided  to give away (2) $10 credits to anything in my TeachersPayTeachers Store!

The giveaway will run from  Friday, January 3rd until midnight on Friday, January 10th. The winners will be announced on Saturday, January 11th on Facebook and right here!

You can enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again for your support! Best of luck! 

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