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Multiplication Tricks




Telling Time Misconceptions


Equivalent Fractions


Simplifying Fractions


Clock Fractions


Math Fact Motivation


Math Night 2012


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Classroom Management


Lines and Angles



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Nifty Tricks for the Number 6!

The other day I came across this and never realized that 6 multiplication facts repeated in this way or had this pattern!  Imagine, I have been looking for patterns in the 6’s for years and never realized this.  Did you?!


I mean I knew you could double your 3’s facts to find your 6 facts, but I never realized this happened with the even numbers.  I am sure you can tell by the image above that the factor multiplied by 6 repeats in the ones place of the product!  Hmmm, I wonder if this happens with more digits?  Well, does it? :)  What a great problem to pose to your students.  Then ask them to show other examples of this working or not working with larger numbers.  I wonder about odd numbers….does this idea work with odd numbers?  Hmmmm?  What fun!!!  Do you know any more tricks that work with 6?

A Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be teaming up with Winchester Lambourne who is a very talented clip artist!  Checkout her adorable Halloween, Thanksgiving,  and Christmas sets for your upcoming projects!  She is offering a giveaway for 10 packs of clip art.  This will be going on from today until midnight Thursday.  The winner will be announced Friday!


Also, that’s not all folks!  I will be giving away 2 items of your choice from my TPT store!

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All you have to do is register to win here on Rafflecopter!  Easy peezy, lemon squeezy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congratulations Elaine who is the winner of the giveaway!!!

(so sorry, but I forgot to announce this here Friday!)  I announced it everywhere except my blog :/.

How Do You Teach Rounding?

To teach rounding I take several approaches.

The first method I use is to teach rounding with a sentence strip number line.  I have students build a number line on sentence strips with whatever numbers we are working on.  If they are working on the nearest 1,000 and nearest 10,000 for example, I may double side the number line sentence strip.  If we are working on nearest 10 and 100 then I would double side the sentence strip counting by those two numbers.  Here is how I have students build their sentence strip without much fuss.

First, I have them put a finger space down with one finger and make a mark.  We put a zero here.  I also have them leave a finger space before the end.  They put the last number here such as 10,000 in this case since we were rounding to the nearest thousand.




Then, I have them fold the strip in half so that students can at least find a mid point.  They put a mark at the  mid point.

I have them put four fingers down to hold the space to make the next mark.  Students repeat this four finger spacing until they get to the midpoint and then repeat the four finger spacing after the midpoint.  This gets a fairly even number line if students do this.  IT ISN’T Perfect, but it’s close enough to reasonable spaces give or take the size of the students hands.


Next, students label the numbers underneath the marks.



This will give students the numbers they need to use when making a number line sketch such as in the rounding roller coaster model I like to use.  Before actually talking about rounding.  I like to pose a number such as 8,456 and ask students where this number would fall on the number line.  I have them place their finger where they think the number would go and I do a quick sweep around the room to look for understanding.

Here is how you can progress to the rounding roller coaster.  Whichever numbers the students’ fingers are pointing between on the number strip go on the end of their roller coaster.  For example with 8,456.  The numbers would be 8,000 and 9,000.

Next, have students put the midpoint number in between the numbers on the two ends of the roller coaster.  Then have them put a dot where the number they are rounding actually is.  Explain that when a roller coaster is on top of the hill at the midpoint it will coast all the way to the end.  If the roller coaster isn’t all the way at the midpoint then it will coast back down to the beginning.  Whichever side it coasts to is the answer.



Now of course in the midst of all this, I have students learn the rhyme “4 or less let it rest, 5 or more raise the score” so that students have another rounding strategy to fall back on.

Now the rhyme and the roller coaster I cannot take credit for.  I either learned it on the internet somewhere or from another teacher.  I can’t remember, but both of these strategies support students’ understanding.  These are my preferred ways of teaching rounding.  Now, of course you will have students who don’t understand the above because they cannot count that high or have understanding of numbers that high.  That is when I give them some counting practice using these number charts:

This is free in my TPT store:


And you can get these which count to larger numbers and they cost $4:

Number Charts to Million


Or these count by smaller numbers up to 1,200 and are $7.  I use these a lot with kids at school.  They are great for up to grade 3 or as an intervention for older kids.

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Now here is what I do with students who are seriously struggling.  I don’t like teaching rounding this way because it really takes the number sense out of what they are doing, but some students just need to know how to get the right answer and do not have the number sense to build on to be able to round with understanding.


I showed the method above to a group of 5 struggling learners and all were really getting correct answers by the end except a resource student.  Being able to write something down on their paper before they did much thinking really helped the students.  To know that they could go ahead and fill in the zeros and fill in the beginning really helped them.  However, like I said this isn’t the best way to teach for understanding.

MORE Back to School Sale!

Just when you thought the TPT sale was over and you missed out on the first sale…there’s another day sale!  WOO HOO!  Stock up on items you will need for the next few months!


Don’t Miss Out on this TPT Back to School Sale!

Don’t miss out on the TPT back to school sale coming this Monday and Tuesday, August 3rd and 4th.  All items will be up to 28% off!

Come on over and visit my store…why don’t ya!

How Can You Help Your Students Focus During Instruction

I am going to share a little secret with you about something I have been using for myself and plan on using this year at school.  I have started using essential oils in a diffuser when I am working at my home computer.  I have found that using two drops of peppermint, two drops of lavender, and two drops of lemon in my ultra sonic bamboo diffuser with these oils helps me focus, helps me stay alert if I’m working late at night, and helps lift my spirits.  In other words when I diffuse these three, I just feel happier :D.  See my happy face!

I am planning on taking it to school this year to diffuse in my room.  I have even been thinking of buying another one so I can have one at work and at home.  Not only that, but I have a close friend who took hers to school last year and diffused lemon on a daily basis to help her students focus during instruction.  Another great benefit of using a diffuser at school….if you use the Thieves blend of essential oils, it promotes cleaner air, which is especially needed during those winter months.  As if, ALL teachers haven’t already spent a small fortune on using hand-sani!  This would be another way to support the prevention of germy surfaces!

Here is my diffuser in action with my favorite three oils.  As you can see it sits in my office in front of my gargantuan printer.  This model is my favorite that Young Living sells because it has a one or four hour timer so you can choose how long to diffuse.


 If you want to order an ultra sonic diffuser and oils like mine, the best value is to buy a starter kit here.  If you decide to buy some be sure to use my enroller and sponsor number 2600343.  I would really appreciate it!  Happy calm school year!

Do You Need a New Chic Planner to Start Your School Year Right? (Freebie)

I mean just LOOK at these new adorable planners, I have found!  These are called “bloom” planners.  I know at the beginning of a year, I look and look for planners that are cute and functional, and at times, have problems finding one.  I normally settle for one at Target and decorate the plain cover with stickers.  With these fabulous planners, there is no need to buy stickers because they come decorated with a pattern that you can choose to suit your personality!


They have planners suitable for students in middle school, planners for teachers, or even planners that would suit moms.

Bloom even has some accessories that you can use to match your planner cover, like this “to do” list matches it’s planner.


What’s even better is that they aren’t even very expensive!  Many of them are between $10 and $13 at the time of this post writing.  I know Office Depot sells planners many times that are around $20, and they aren’t even cute!  I put them back immediately!  The teacher planner, though, is priced around $26, but it is well worth it for the bulk of planning capabilities available.  Just look at the teacher planner features…

Brightly colored tabs…


Monthly and Weekly Planning Options…IMG_1885


…a place for student information and right next to the student information, a parent communication log!



And one of my favorites is the pretty design on the inside front and back cover.  Also, there is a handy pocket in the back!


There are also other nice goal setting feature pages embedded within each month.  I personally don’t know if I would use these.  However, this is a nice option.  I would probably do better writing my goals on the monthly calendar, so that it would always be in front of me.  Also, there are inspirational quotes sprinkled throughout the planner.

Some other nice features are a section of graph paper for possible seating charts, and a page for substitute teacher information (I wouldn’t want to leave my planner behind for the sub ;)).  This teacher planner could potentially be your go-to book where almost all of your important and often used information is stored–an organizational lifesaver!

Now, the moment you have all been waiting for, I teamed up with bloom to offer this free planner and mousepad to you.

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All you have to do is sign up below to win this ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE mousepad and planner set!

The contest ends on July 19th at 11:59 p.m Eastern Time.  I will announce a winner on the evening of Monday, July 20th! a Rafflecopter giveaway


4 Back to School Teacher Discount Sales 2015

I have had several people exploring teacher sales on my blog lately and wondering when the back to school teacher events were going to be held this year.  Here is the information that I have found so far.

Mardel Educational Supply let me know on the phone that originally they had planned their date for July 16th, but their corporate office had recently changed this to a whole week.  Now their sale is from July 13th-18th for 20% off of educational supplies for teachers!

Wal-Mart is offering 10% off all school supply items to teachers until school starts if you show your teacher badge!  Wow!  Who knew?! (See below for edited information about Wal-Mart.)

Office Depot is not having their normal back to school teacher breakfast and sale date.  However, they will be having sales up until the time of school starting back with $10 off of $50 coupons being mailed out to everyone who has a teacher rewards card.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a teacher rewards card, or if you didn’t receive any coupons.  You can simply show your teacher rewards card in store or you can sign up for one with your teacher badge.

A-plus will be having a sale of 20% off in store merchandise July 15th, 16th & 17th 9-6 pm.

Tax free holidays for you to save money on school supplies.  Here is the link to find your state and the dates.

Target is not hosting any special back to school discounts for teachers.

Also, I wasn’t able to reach anyone who knew anything about back to school discounts for teachers at Staples.

And this blog Passion For Savings has done a way better job than I could have explaining just plain old back to school sales for office supplies, so I am leading you here as well.  Stores such as Staples, Office Depot, Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Walgreens, and CVS are included.

Edited (thanks Mike):

So the first person I spoke with left out the nitty gritty details about the Wal-mart discount…You can save 10% by entering the numbers on your receipt after you purchase the items on the website here. Then you must enter the number on your receipt above the bar code at the bottom. They will give you an egift card by email for the 10% you saved. You do not actually get the money back. The discount only applies to stationary and craft department items. There are more details here and here.

In their words: “Visit by August 15 to register receipts by entering teacher’s school information and receipt transaction code.
Savings on eligible items from select departments* will be delivered on a Walmart eGift card via email within 14 days of submitting the receipt online.”



Did You Know this about Super Teacher Worksheets?

In case you are a Super Teacher Worksheets fan, you may like to know this little secret.  On top of the fact that they have eleventy billion fabulous sheets at your fingertips at the click of a button (no losing your files here), they also have a new site for Smart Board lessons!  This new site is called Modern Chalkboard.    Their Smart Board lessons also are compatible with Smart TVs.  It gets better, their Smart Board lessons are also aligned with Common Core Standards!  WOW!  Imagine saving yourself so much time throughout the school year to have these lessons readily available to you.  Here are some of my favorite samples…

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If you are willing to pay $5 for all of these resources per month, which in my opinion is totally worth it, then you could invest $50 for all of their high quality Smart Board lessons for $50 a year.  I wouldn’t tell you they were high quality if they weren’t, so you might as well get a head start and buy a membership at the beginning of the year so you can have more time for your family ;)!  Here are a few free lessons to sample!

Why Do We Do That? 3 Traditional Algorithms with Decimals

I went to one of the most beneficial decimal and fraction professional developments I have ever been to this summer.  I want to share what I learned with you so you can share it with your children.

1.  Traditionally adding and subtracting decimals:  Just line up the decimals to add or subtract.  Then just add and subtract like normal.  You may have to add zeros to the end of the decimal number on top if you have additional numbers on the bottom.  Why does this work?

Lining up the decimals is like adding like denominators. See:


2. Traditionally multiplying decimals:  Multiply the numbers like there is no decimal point.  Then count the places behind the decimal.  The number of decimal places in the numbers you multiplied is the number of decimal places in the product when you count from the back of the number.  Why does this work?

This works because you are counting the powers of ten in the denominator.  That is why there are three places behind the decimal!  See:


3.  Traditionally dividing decimals:  If their is a decimal in the divisor, move the decimal to the back of the number.  Then move the decimal that many places back in the dividend number.  Divide normally.  Then place the decimal on top of the “house” above where the decimal is in the dividend.  Why does this work?

Well, if you, again, turn the decimals into fractions, you can see what is happening.  If you divide straight across the fractions, you get the resulting 25 tenths.  Like with multiplication, this works the same.  You count the zeros OR powers of ten to know how many decimal places to include in the quotient.  See: