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Multiplication Tricks



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Telling Time Misconceptions


Equivalent Fractions


Simplifying Fractions


Clock Fractions


Math Fact Motivation


Math Night 2012


Bulletin Board Ideas


Classroom Management


Lines and Angles



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Dollar Deals on TPT!!!

It’s like the Dollar Store except on TPT!  All you have to do is type #onedaydollardeal on April 24th in the search box on TPT to find teachers’ products that are selling for $1!  I have put five of my products on sale for this event–two of my newest ones are $1!  Happy Shopping!



How Can You Make the Most of Addition Flashcards?

STOP IT!  JUST STOP IT!  If you want to bore kids out of their minds and keep them from wanting to learn their addition facts, give them a box of  flash cards and say, “Here, practice these.”

  1.  Kids are overwhelmed with the whole stack.
  2. Kids are bored and most likely off task shortly after you have given them the stack of cards.
  3. They have no way to help make connections with the patterns if the cards are disorganized.

For these reasons and probably a few more, using flashcards cause little impact upon learning.

SO….Do this!

Have students sort their cards by helping strategy.  For example, have students pull out all of the doubles facts and stack them.  Then have them pull out all of the doubles + 1 facts and stack them.  Haves students layer the cards so that the doubles sit on top of the doubles + 1 facts.  That way they look at one that is familiar and then progress to one that isn’t as familiar.  For example, place 5 + 5 on top of  5 + 6.  If 5+5=10, 5+6 must be one more–11.


The easy doubles facts helps students know that the doubles +1 facts are just one more in their answer.  Not only this, but you are teaching properties of operations when students layer their flashcards.  Furthermore, layering the cards by helping strategy helps them make a matching game of sorts out of their flashcards.

You can also layer sums of ten on top of sums of ten + 1 for the same effect etc.  Always have students layer their math fact cards to help them learn patterns.  When they learn facts with patterns, they have something to “hang” or attach their learning to which produces a higher impact than handing them the whole box.

For a printable version of these flashcards complete with printable backs, you can go here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 10.31.12 PM

All sums to 19 are included.  These cards ARE separated by helping strategy complete with teacher notes so that you can print them in color and arrange them more easily by their helping strategy.


Do You Have this Testing Secret Weapon?

Last week we began our state testing for our 3rd-5th grade students.  We started with the 3rd grade group since we have to rotate children through our computer lab to do online testing.  Sadly, many of the students were coughing and we used almost two entire Kleenex boxes of tissue by the end of the week.  Because of this I decided to bring in my testing secret weapon!

(Star Wars music playing in the background.  Enter: Diffuser and Young Living Peppermint Oil!)



This helped students breathe better, freshened up the testing area, and best of all, helped kids focus on their test!  The proctors also mentioned how well they could breathe while smelling the Young Living peppermint oil! Since I have been made the testing coordinator this year, I needed a little happiness to help calm my emotional stress.  Peppermint helps me feel happy :), so I brought the oil for myself just as much as for my students!


There you have it folks!  My testing secret weapon!!!

If you want to learn more about the oils I did another post here about them.  If you want to buy some peppermint oil go here.

Don’t Cause This Misconception When Teaching Angles!

We all have started out teaching right angles like this…

“Okay, class this is a right angle.”


But, have we left it at that and gone on to teach other terms such as acute and obtuse?

Then students are left to draw their own conclusions when faced with this.


Obviously to a child, this is a left angle because it is facing the opposite direction and the opposite of right is left!


Or if left to their own conclusions, this is a left, down angle.



And, yes, all of the angles pictured above are in fact…right angles.

It is up to you to make sure students see angles in lots of different directions so that they do not form misconceptions about angles.

So how can students test to make sure that right angles are, in fact, right.  Well, they can just use a paper corner such as a sticky note or the corner of their paper.






Each time they come across an angle they can put the paper corner in the angle to know if it fits exactly.  If it fits exactly, it is right!  If it covers one of the sides (rays) of the angle, it is acute and if one of the rays of the angle sticks out, it is obtuse…but that is another post for another day :)

A St. Patty’s Day Giveaway!

For several reasons I teamed up with Growing Grade by Grade and Reading and Writing Redhead to host a giveaway!

  1.  I reached 700 Facebook likes!  Hooray!
  2. It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Pi Day all in one work week!
  3. Cristina a Jamberry Consultant contacted me about doing a review and giveaway.  She is a New York teacher!


Thank you to Glitter and Glue Designs, Pink Cat Studio, and Hidesy’s Clipart for the graphics above.

You can register here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is my review of Jamberry nail wraps:  When they were on the next day I really enjoyed looking at my fingernails and felt very spring time-ish since I picked a pretty pastel pink with polka dots.  I figured that they would match the nude colored polish I wear most often.  I definitely couldn’t have pulled anything off like this with the polish I have at home!

The reason I say that I liked them the next day is because when I first put them on, I probably needed to file the edges down a bit more and little wear and tear between days helped finish the edges off better.  This is the first time I had ever used these nail wraps.    I will see if the Jamberrys make it to their expected two weeks worth of wear.  Even if they make it to one week, I will be impressed. (I will post an update later.)

Now the drawbacks to the nail wraps.  They took me a long time to put on–more than an hour.  In fairness, I have never done this before so I don’t know if  this is normal or not.  If the wraps really last more than a week, then the extra time put in at the beginning will be worth the wait. The other problems I had with these is they didn’t fit perfectly in width to my ring finger.  From the side you can really tell.  I was surprised about this because I have generally small hands.

Overall, If I want to feel festive, the wraps are definitely a way to dress my nails up.  Just look at the possibilities.  I wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of these looks without Jamberry. Oh, and FREE SAMPLES PEOPLE…whoever wants a free sample just go here.

No Regrouping Needed!

Why does this alternative to regrouping work?  I have noticed an image similar to this on Pinterest/Facebook.


The comments go something like:

  • Wow!
  • Cool, I’ve never seen this before!
  • How does this work?!
  • Why does this work?!

I thought I would take a moment to explain why this works.  A simple piece of ribbon gives us a chance to explore this concept.  Above I used smaller numbers to demonstrate.  100-88=12, but subtracting one from the minuend and subtrahend gives us the same answer.  99-87=12 also.  When moving the ribbon down the number line we can see how the distance on the number line stays the same because we took the same amount from both the numbers.  Hence, the ribbon remains the same size because the distance doesn’t change.




The distance = the difference.  As long as the distance is constant between the numbers this will work.

Now, you tell me, will this work if, instead of subtracting one, I subtract five from the minuend and subtrahend?

How You Can Improve the “Office”

I know you probably have a collection of “offices” in your classroom–you know the two file folders stapled together and laminated if you went the extra mile.  I have a collection of colored file folder ones from when I was in the classroom.  I loved these things!  We would pull them out any time we tested or I wanted students to think independently.

Well, guess what!  Someone has improved “the office”!  The resource teacher borrows the back of my room to work with some of her students.  One day she left this up.  I thought it was genius!  If using a round table, do this for four kids at a time. offices-1


She made four regular offices by stapling two file folders together…



Then she clipped the four offices together with paper clips and binder clips.  This allowed four students to sit and work privately.



And voil’a taking file folder office to the next level!

Liebster Award Nomination

Wow, what a nice surprise to find that Pat, from Growing Grade by Grade, sweetly nominated my blog for The Liebster Award!

What is the Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.

The rules:

*You must post 11 random things about yourself.

*Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.

*Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.

*Choose 11 blogs you love {with less than 200 followers} and link them in your post.

*No tag back {but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!}

Here goes…

11 Random Things About Me:

I love photography!

I have a furry black chipoo.

I love the Greek song where they break plates!  It makes me happy!

I hate going to the doctor.

I think sitting in the DMV feels like a Seinfeld episode which makes me chuckle to myself when I go there.

To relax at home, I use essential oils in my diffuser.  My favorite is 2 drops of lavender, 2 drops of peppermint, and 2 drops of lemon.

One of my goals is to read A Patriot’s History of the United States.  It is 800 pages and so I’m not very far along.

I love to bake desserts!

The older I get the more I realize that you are still the same person but in an older body, so it may be true that youth is wasted on the young.

I like to make a change in jobs about every five years to keep myself from being stagnant.  I don’t ever want to be resistant to growing and learning.  Challenge is what makes you stronger.

I like to grow things!  For example, I like to take the green onions from the grocery store that I don’t use and put them in the ground or grow herbs.

My 11 Questions with Answers:

  1. What’s your guilty TV pleasure? The bachelor…I get sucked in to it every time!
  2. What is your favorite movie of all time?  Chronicles of Narnia
  3. What is your favorite book of all time?  The Hiding Place
  4. What is your favorite holiday and why? Valentines Day because you can give to someone without them feeling obligated to give back.
  5. As a teacher, what is a strength of yours? Classroom management
  6. Describe your favorite dessert.  Cold, yummy ice cream specifically Rum Raisin from Haagan Daaz
  7. What describes your home decorating style?  Thrift store remakes.  I like to refinish used furniture.
  8. If you could meet a celebrity, who would it be? Jim Caviezel
  9. What do you hope to receive for your next birthday? jewelry
  10. What is something that you learned recently? Since I have been studying essential oils, I learned that they have a MHz reading and so does our body.  I learned that the human body has a MHz reading between 62 and 68 MHz.  When your MHz dip below 60 you start getting sick, but essential oils raise your MHz making it more difficult for your body to get sick.
  11. What is your favorite subject to teach?   Math!

Questions for Blogs I’m Nominating:

1. Who is your celebrity look alike?

2.  What is your teaching super power?

3. What is something you wish you knew 10 years ago and why?

4. If you had $10,000 to give away, who would you give it to? Why?

5.  If you could put yourself in a TV show, which one would it be and why?

6.  What is your favorite hobby?

7.  What book have you learned most from?

8.  What do you like best about teaching?

9.  What do you like least about teaching?

10.  When you have had a bad day at work, what is your comfort food?

11. Who is your teacher hero? Why?

The 11 Blogs I’m Nominating:

  1. Managing and Motivating Math Minds
  2. Fantastically Fifth
  3. Kinder Molly
  4. Hamilton Ed Solutions
  5. True Life I’m a Teacher
  6. Third Grade Grapevine
  7. Steele Teaching
  8. Strive to Sparkle
  9.  Ms. E Teaches Math
  10. Teaching in High Heels
  11. Food and Forte

And don’t forget that if you were nominated, to come back and comment on this post with a link to your post so I can go and read all about you!

How to Use Clocks to Teach Fractions

I just recently revisited one of my favorite lessons due to teacher request.  I used to teach in a Title I school last year, but now teach in a more affluent area.  I found myself teaching differently with the new set of students.  Still, this lesson is one of my favorites, and helped 100% of students answer one of our practice standardized test questions (we are taking the ACT Aspire this year).  First, I copy clocks on three different colors of paper for the students.  Students get 3 different colored clocks each.Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.27.05 PM

I pose questions to get the students to think about how we would cut the clocks into halves, fourths, and thirds.  I found with the new group of students they had more intuition to think about how to divide the clock–reasoning about a clock face containing 60 minutes.  Next, I questioned them about how we could divide the clocks into halves.  This was easy for students.  They knew we could split the clock into 30 minutes for each half.ClockFractionHalfHour

Because halves relate well to fourths, through discussion I had students break their next clock into fourths.  Sometimes there is a misconception when students break a clock into quarters or fourths because there are four quarters in a dollar.  Students want to start their sections dividing on the four.  This didn’t happen in this case however.  Students knew that they could split the circle on the 3, 6, 9, and 12.FractionClockFourths

Next, I had students divide a clock to make thirds.  This is always more of a challenge to students because thirds are not multiples of twos.  I allow students to have a little group discussion at this point among themselves because they are unsure of how to divide the clock into thirds.  When I remind them that the clock face contains 60 minutes, suddenly, they realize that they can divide the 60 minutes on the clock face into three parts on the clock face into equal 20 minute sections.  Some also realize that they can take the 12 numbers and divide them into 3 equal parts which places four number sections in each part. The kids say, “Oh! It’s like a peace sign!”



From here, I have students  do a worksheet which asks them questions about fractional parts of a clock.  For example, what is 2/4 of an hour? ¾ of an hour? ⅔?  And we explore how the size of the whole affects the size of the fraction when times smaller than a whole are used.  Read here if you want to know more about this lesson.

If you want materials for this lesson, go here:








Happy Valentine’s Day!