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Product Reviews

Math Cardsorts…Free Addition With No Regrouping Sort

I just finished a product that I posted on Teachers Pay Teachers.  If you buy it before tomorrow, you will still get a chance to get it at the sale price.  This product contains 8 sorts with addition and subtraction both with regrouping and without regrouping.  Some of the sorts contain matching word problems and number disc picture cards.  Others contain matching equations and number disc picture cards.  In each sort, there is an extra card so that much discussion among student pairs can revolve around the common errors that confuse students with regrouping.  These sorts were designed for use after adding and subtracting with  number discs.  Number discs are one of my favorite ways to teach addition and subtraction with regrouping.  They are right up there with base ten blocks.  I can’t decide which tool I like better.  Number discs are a bit more abstract for students than the base ten blocks.  Base ten blocks are the size of actual ones, tens, or hundreds which make them more concrete.  Number discs are all the same size–but much easier to draw.  For a FREE sort, you can click on the sort below to download the addition sort with no regrouping.   The link will take you to the TPT site.  Just download the preview for the free sort.   I hope you enjoy it.

My New Singapore Math Manipulatives!

I get the luxury of ordering new math materials for my school.  To prepare for all of the common core instruction in place value, fractions, and decimals, I ordered lots of fraction circles, some more unifix cubes, and some place value strips.  When my order came in this week, it was like Christmas!  That is always the feeling I have anytime I rip open boxes of new math materials!  I am most excited about the place value strips which are pictured below.   As you can see in the pictures, they come apart so that students actually see the value of the number.  These are one of the Singapore Math manipulatives.  Each color matches the Singapore math discs if you decide to get those as well which I use with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade.  If you want to have a smaller size, there is also a copy, cut and laminate version in one of Sandra Chen’s books, The Parent Connection for Singapore Math.

Place Value Strips


Place Value Strips Showing the Value of the Digit


Decimal Strips


Decimal Strips Showing the Value of the Digit

How Can Your Students Easily Generate Writing Topics?

I just spent a day in a writing workshop.  Our presenter discussed Ralf Fletcher’s new book Marshfield Dreams:  When I Was a Kid about his childhood memories.  He described how Fletcher wrote different short stories about his childhood in this book, which would be great for mentoring students in their own writing.  Since the pieces are short in Fletcher’s book, they would mirror the length of a short story that a child may write.  What I especially liked about this workshop is when the presenter had us to draw a map of our childhood homes and neighborhoods with all the places that were important to us.  First, the presenter showed us a map copy of Ralf Fletcher’s childhood neighborhood home which is in Marshfield Dreams so that we could see an example (great idea to model for kids as well).  Then the presenter had us to put an F for fear next to a place that we thought was scary.  We put an S next to a place that was secret.  We put an L next to a place where we learned something or did something for the first time and so on.  Then the presenter had us write a short piece using one of the places on our childhood map.  I thought this was a great way to lead us into writing especially because kids like to draw pictures.

How Can You Teach Common Core Standards with Number Bonds

Well, I have let my blogging activity slide as I have been trying to give more attention to developing my materials for Teachers Pay Teachers.  My sales have done better this year than ever–I suppose due to the work I put in on some lesson activities from this summer.  I have TONS of math activities I could sell that I have made over the years for all grade levels however to sell them I want them to be perfect so it takes me a while to make them look as good as I want them to look.

I hope you will be pleased with the most recent activity I posted today.  First graders at my school are working on becoming fluent with their number bonds (sums) up to 10.  They have been building number bonds with two colors of snap cubes and then coloring a model of what they built.  They have been using the printables I just uploaded to TPT.  I also developed a Smart Board lesson to match the number bonds printables since one of the first grade teachers reported at our last planning meeting that the students were confused about how to write an equation.  The Smart Board lesson allows the teacher to model the bonds of ten with snap cube virtual manipulatives and move the symbols, and numbers around to build an equation.  See below.  Click on the picture to read more.

You Can Use this Fabulous Tool to Build Word Walls

Post-it definitely had teachers in mind when they developed these repositional lined sticky notes.  These sticky word strips are great for word walls,  to help highlight a word on anchor charts, or to label items in your classroom.  This tool allows teachers to easily create a print rich environment.  They are also colored, so they easily allow for coding the stickies by topic.  For example all life science words could be green.  Since they are repositional, I like to leave them on my white board while we are learning the concept,  so I can write a definition or draw a picture with each word.  Then move them over to the word wall later when we aren’t currently using them.  I can always move the words back if we work on them again.  I highly recommend these to anyone wanting to teach vocabulary!  Target carries these and I usually can pick up  a package for about $5 before school begins.


Where Can You Find Amazing Word Walls?

I just heard some colleagues discussing word walls that come pre-printed with pictures to go with the words.  They have math, science, and literacy word walls–all with pictures.  I didn’t know how good they were until I clicked the link for myself…and wow!  They are fabulous!  Just take a look at the pictures.  I am attaching a link to the picture so if you are interested in viewing more or purchasing them, just click the picture.

Pi Hoop–Deal or Dud?

After designing a lesson for students to discover pi and trying to collect many sizes of circular containers, I happened across this The Pi Hoop in the ETA/Cuisenaire catalog.  Since I order all of the math supplies for my school, I thought, “Wow! At only $4.95 I could order a whole class set”.  So I did.  When the hoops arrived I was excited since this alleviated having to find multiple containers to teach the discovery pi lesson.  On showing them to some teachers at a common planning meeting, I was dismayed to find that the cheap plastic cracked when trying to fold down the ruler part that creates the radius of different circles.  If you are gentle with the pi hoops, the concept of the hoop is great because it allows for a discovery lesson–however if an adult was able easily to break the plastic, imagine a class full of kids with the pi hoops in hand.  In my opinion, save your money–they may come out with a sturdier version later on.  Collect containers for now.  An assortment of containers most likely will engage your students more than a plastic hoop anyway.

Improve Your Students’ Engagement During Reading/Writing Workshop

Visiting with a colleague, she passionately shared with me the amazing difference that a book called The Daily Five had made in her literacy instruction.  My colleague, who is a veteran teacher,  learned about this at a differentiation conference, and she tried using the methods for the first time this school year.  Other teachers have come into her room during her reading workshop and see the quality of student engagement.  They insist that she share what she is doing to have students so engaged.  The Daily Five improves students’ stamina to read voraciously on their own and to independently work on their own while the teacher pulls small groups.  The small groups are more targeted to individual needs because the teacher spends less time with each student and doesn’t have to attend to students who are working independently.  To read more about “The Daily Five” visit this link:

Ordering Materials…Get a Price Match Guarantee

Classroom Products Warehouse (CPW) may not be as well known as some educational catalogs that are slipped into your mailbox over the course of the school year.  As a matter of fact, you will probably only receive one catalog at the beginning of the school year.  CPW invests more time and money into their website instead of sending out multiple catalogs, so they can keep their prices low to save you money.  In fact if you find an item in another educational catalog, they will match their competitors’ prices.  If you order by phone, CPW also has excellent customer service.   Be sure to remember CPW for your next order of classroom products.

Increase Your Students’ Achievement By Following This Tip

Classical music influences learning, memorization and spatial reasoning  according to research.  The limbic system in the brain which causes long term memory is affected by music.  The more emotional responses one has while learning new information, the more easily the information is retrieved from the brain. Since music causes emotional responses, begin playing music in your classroom give students a learning advantage.

A source for classroom music well worth considering has been written by music educator Maribeth Alexander.  Maribeth, wrote the piano music on the album entitled Creation.  She has used the music with her own students, and other teachers have used her music successfully to calm their students and increase student achievement  in the classroom.

Maribeth Alexander’s Creation album may be purchased on itunes or CD baby. 02 Earth Click to hear Maribeth’s album.



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