So I went into Office Depot the other day to pick up something I had printed…and then…I noticed the school supplies! I just can’t help myself! I walked deeper and deeper into the school supplies until finally I found the tape. Colored tape, patterned tape, duck tape, masking tape, etc. Do I need tape? NO! But I muuuuuust have some! Pink tape, polka dotted tape, chevron tape, mustache tape, striped tape–they are all calling my name!

Then I showed some restraint and thought…what would I do with all of this pretty tape? I had absolutely no idea! So I left it there , but I’ve still been keeping my eyes opened for ideas. Then I happened across this blog post from Peace, Love, and First Grade. She shows lots of ways to use pretty tape in your room. Also, I found My Own Twist on Things did adorable makeovers to her bookshelves and file cabinets with tape and contact paper! I’m so inspired!

]]>I must admit I was a little nervous about flying somewhere ALL BY MYSELF where I knew NO ONE, but everything turned out great! I met lots of new people and passed out business cards like a school girl passes out Valentines. I met Deanna Jump in person. She is absolutely precious! I love how she said at the end of her presentation to STAY HUMBLE and STAY GRATEFUL. I truly think being humble and thankful with the mix of hard work is the secret to achieving just about anything in life. I am glad she is the “poster child” so to speak for Teachers Pay Teachers! I also met Paul the founder! The staff of TPT seem like truly good people!

I saw Jen Jones in person, but didn’t get to meet her. She has all those wonderful fonts which I have purchased!

I also saw Rachel Lynette. Her practical advice and common sense suggestions really helped me know how to improve my TPT store! She presented her advice in a very witty way. My newly made Canadian friend said, “Oh! Isn’t she a firecracker!” I don’t think I could have put it any better! Rachel expressed that you need to evoke the emotions of your reader to keep them reading your blog with humor, sadness, happiness etc. Thank you, Rachel!

I also saw Erin Cobb, who was so generous and helpful! The one thing that she solidified with me is that success is out there, but are you willing to work hard enough to go after it. I think many people think that TPT is a get rich quick scheme, but the folks who are successful are VERY HARD WORKERS! I didn’t think to take a picture of her :/! Hey, it was after lunch!

When we registered for the conference we also got these super nice teacher goodies that I am going to show off this upcoming school year! I am forever taking a thermos bottle to work so this one will work out great! The durable canvas tote bag will definitely come in handy when I need to take things home from school. We also received a very nice teacher pin and bumper sticker.

Here is an up close image of the teacher pin.

I also came with goodies of my own. I had business cards, but I also handed out pens because I figure that people may throw away business cards, but they won’t most likely throw away a good pen! Plus, imagine the distances a good pen will travel especially in a school!

So my order of gray T-shirts came in or shall I say “asphalt” like the store calls them. I loved them and they were very comfortable throughout the trip. Lots of people gave me compliments on them. I will be giving some shirts away later this month like promised. I feel so disorganized right now after the trip that I just need a little time to tuck small chunks of myself back into drawers and closets:)!

This is the hotel the conference was in…well, a small portion of the hotel–the Venetian Pallazzo.. When I asked for directions to the “Pilazzio”, I was quickly corrected by the bell man–”pah-lah-t-zo”. I had never been to Las Vegas and must say I have never seen such a large hotel. The only one I can think of that rivals this is the Opryland Hotel in Nashville (a must see), but that doesn’t even come close. This hotel has a mall, food court, casino, and hotel all rolled into one. Not to mention it has beautiful architecture, enormous fountains, and gondola rides!

The one touristy thing I wanted to do was see the Bellagio Fountains, so that is what I did. They ARE a beautiful must see! I strolled by an alien, Marilyn Monroe, a transformer, a guitarist, and other various street performers along the way but eventually saw them!

I am so glad for the opportunity to have made new friends and to have seen Las Vegas!

]]>Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh, ya’ll! I’m so excited because what came in the mail today but my first T-shirt order! I had no one to show at home when the package came, so I tried to get my dog to look at the shirt in my excitement. She sniffed it and realized it wasn’t food, so she couldn’t figure out my excitement.

I also placed an order for some “asphalt” or dark gray ones which I think I will like better. I wasn’t too impressed with the quality of this shirt, so I am glad I only ordered one. The gray ones are supposed to be a lot better and, guess what?! I ordered some so I could give some away on the blog later this month. If you like this super cute design come back in a couple of weeks to check out the T-shirt giveaway!

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Finally, onto Math Work Stations in a first grade classroom. Now remember we explored using stations during the last few weeks of school, so they are lacking in beginning of the year meticulous cutesy-ness! We set the stations up similar to the way we set them up in 3rd grade. We had several colored tubs arranged in a shelf like organizer. (I rescued this out of an old junk room which is the catch-all for teachers’ unwanted items.) This organizer had eight tubs, and that helped us get started. The teacher also found some tubs she had that she put with these extra tubs. We placed this in an easy traffic flow area near the wall. All the materials needed for each station are stored in each station’s tub.

I must say that the above tub organizer was not the best for stations even though it is what we used–it is what we had to work with at the time. There was a problem with fitting folders or books into the tubs without them bending when placed on the second or third shelf, as you can see in the picture. Next year, the teacher is going to use tubs on a bookshelf instead like the 3rd grade teacher.

Because first grade uses literacy centers, the teacher just used the same pocket chart to organize students’ names for math work stations (remember we are making this simple with only a few weeks left in the year). Unlike literacy centers which name the station, she chose to just number the stations for the students on the wall and on the tub. This is what Debbie Diller suggests.

Brightly colored numbers are also placed around the room to guide students into going to the correct place in the room for their math station. You can see the bright yellow number below.

Now originally when we put the stations together, I told the teacher I would write the “I Can” statements on the bottom of the tubs. I did this with illustrations. Now, Debbie Diller’s book has the “I Can” statements written on the lids of tubs, and a math coach I work with also has the directions labeled on the tub lids.

However, after the first grade teacher saw what the third grade teacher had done by putting the “I Can” statements on the inside of the folder, she, too, opted for putting the “I Can” statements and directions in folders. She numbered the folders only. This way the inside of the folder can be switched out without having to buy new folders.

So here are some of the stations and games that we put into place for the 1st graders. Again,with first grade the target of the stations was fluency with number facts and with counting.

Station 1 was simple and easy–Reflex Math Fact Practice–addition, of course, for 1st grade.

Station 2

I already showed you the “I Can” statements for Station 2 above in the blue bucket with *Ten Sly Piranhas. *Kids could read the book, they could act out the book on the mat with the cubes, or they could write their own Piranhas word problems. The alligator on the work mat is just something I found on Google images and cut out.

Station 3

This station revolves around counting and number patterns.

One choice the students have is to read *100 Days of Cool by Stuart Murphy*. This book is about counting to 100. The second choice they have is to use one of four different colored sets of number cards and fill the pocket chart in. The colored numbers are differentiated to suit both high and low learners. For example, the white cards span the numbers from 21-120, the green cards span the numbers from 121-220, the orange cards span the numbers from 221-320, and finally the turquoise cards are the most challenging and span the numbers from 921-1,020. Students select the cards that will best suit their needs.

Above are some cards that the students were filling into the pocket chart. I chose this picture because the students soon self corrected and noticed that 309 and 318 cannot be in the same column. Looking at this picture, I am just now realizing that the kids will have to move the numbers down because the rest of the numbers are less than 300. The kids can grapple with this and figure it out. However, I’m thinking that writing what number to start with on the baggie would be a better idea.

The above number cards came from a product I made when I realized students cannot count past 100 with a hundreds chart. The last time I checked the number cards that are sold commercially only go to 120 now. I’m posting a link to the number cards I made below in case you would like to save yourself the time from making them to fit your chart just right. The cards come in red on white, white on red, and black on white so that you can make the cards any color you want (like above).

Finally, the last choice for Station 3 is for students to put together number puzzles which are basically just 100′s charts that have been cut apart. First, you could try out these whole class (shown below) which are on TPT before having students do them independently in the math station. For a station, I recommend that the chart be cut apart already because students won’t have time to use scissors in a math station.

Station 4

Station 4 reinforces adding and subtracting one from a number with the story *Ten Flashing Fireflies. *The students could read the book, act it out with yellow cubes on the jar work mat, or write their own story problems about Ten Flashing Fireflies in their work station journals.

I got the jar clip art from…you guessed it…Google images. I think there is an actual jar picture in one of the Math Solutions books, but it was just quicker to find a jar on Google images. This book is one of my favorites in which the fireflies are being gathered one by one in the jar from the night sky. The illustrations are compelling.

Station 5

In stations 5 through 12 we included the same activities with the intention to change them out later if the students became bored with the activities. These stations dealt with adding and subtracting sums of 10 and sums of 20–namely, where we needed the most work, fluency.

The first choice students could work on was “Sums of 10″. Their second choice was Differences and Dice. Both of these games can be found in Debbie Diller’s Math Work Stations book in the section about Addition and Subtraction stations. Also, students had the choice to play Close to 20 which helps them become fluent with larger sums. The Close to 20 game and score sheet came from a TERC math book. However, you can easily find Close to 20 instructions and score sheets on the internet in multiple places. In Close to 20, students pull out five number cards and try to build a sum as close to 20 as they can. Close to 20 can be easily differentiated to Close to 100 or Close to 1000 for advanced learners. The wonderful thing about this station is that *every* game uses number cards 0-9. There are also other games that could be incorporated in this same station such as Tens Go Fish, which uses number cards as well. Later on after math stations were established, the teacher did incorporate the Tens Go Fish Game (another TERC math goody) into this center. If you plan on doing math centers at any level, number cards are a great thing to have on hand.

The first grade teacher also decided to go with spiral bound notebooks for the students to carry around if they had any writing to do at a math station. Above shows a student’s recordings of the Close to 20 game.

After experimenting with Debbie Diller’s Math Work Stations at the end of the year, both the 1st and 3rd grade teacher opted for journals that students could carry with them as opposed to community journals. Also, both teachers next year will include the “I Can” statements and game instructions inside of paper folders. My goal in general for our Math Work Stations is that we improve differentiation in each center for low, average, and above average learners.

I hope you can use some of these content ideas for stations in your classroom next year!

You may also like to read this post about our 3rd grade math station experiment:

or this addition/subtraction freebie for math stations…

]]>OH! MY! GOODNESS GRACIOUS! Scholastic emailed me last week from New York to tell me that my blog was featured in their new *Instructor* magazine for summer 2014! The email said that Teacher Blog Spot was featured as one of their “best summer reading recommendations for, and from teachers.” Not only that but my blog has also been chosen as an “Award Winning Teacher Blog for Thought-Provoking Ideas!” And to think, my blog is right beside Kleinspiration! Erin Klein who is the author of Kleinspiration is a famous blogger to me, and she speaks at large conferences. (Once I rode the elevator with her at a conference!) Anyhow, here is the cover of the magazine that they mailed to me. Maybe I should sign it! It might be worth lots of money someday !

So, I have TWO celebrations…that was the first one!

My second celebration is that Teacher Blog Spot has over 500 Facebook likes! YAY!! I have been waiting for this day for a LONG TIME!

Can I get an “O U DID A GOOD JOB!” Hold your arms up in an O shape while saying “O”, then a U shape while saying “U”, and now point at my blog (your computer screen) while saying “did a good job”! –My favorite school celebration!

Because of these two celebrations, I am throwing a sale in my TPT store! To say thank you to my followers, everything is 20% off and my best selling item will be 50% off! Scoop up some goodies for the upcoming school year!

]]>Last time, I told you all about my experiment with Debbie Diller’s *Math Work Stations*. Well, it is about 5 weeks into the experiment, and I am loving the idea. Using math stations does however take excellent classroom management skills, but more about that later. The pictures below show a 3rd grade teacher’s classroom. She is an excellent classroom manager and very organized. Once I helped get her station activities together and discussed the details of running the stations, she made the math stations her own. Because we only had a few weeks until the end of the school year, and I was concerned about the students’ fluency with multiplication, we focused most of the math stations around multiplication. Some of the stations are built around multi-digit addition and subtraction to keep this skill fresh in their minds also.

The station tubs are located on a back shelf in the classroom.

There are numbered labels on each tub and little stickers on the shelf below so that students can find the correct place to put the tub when it is returned to the shelf.

The numbers coordinate to a chart which is numbered with the students’ names on it. The teacher put the name on the chart of one of the activities in the tub in addition to the number to make it easier for herself to manage.

I blocked out the students’ names on the cards for their privacy, but on each pink card and on each yellow card there are two names. The pink cards are her first class and the yellow cards are her second class. Our school departmentalized math this year. Students work in pairs in each class. We initially started with only one station and after a few weeks worked up to more than one. In Debbie Diller’s book, she says to start with one for about 20 minutes and do no more than 2 a day totaling about 40 minutes (50 with rotations and cleanup etc.) We placed matching numbers in the room so that students would know exactly where to go when their name was on a particular math station. We also placed these numbers in sequential circular order around the room so that students could easily rotate without running into one another.

In most stations we gave students three choices to pick from which is what Debbie says to do in her book. That way students feel empowered with the fact that they get to make choices. Each of the choices at a station relate to each other. If students don’t want to do one of the games/activities at a station, they have other choices to pick from. Also, if they aren’t as confident with one activity, they can pick a different activity.

In station 1 we placed several addition/ subtraction games which use some of the same materials. The games we included were Close to 100, Close to 0 (basically the same game but subtracting),

and addition/subtraction tic tac toe. Close to 100 and Close to 0 are both games that can be found in the TERC math series. This is out of print, but many buildings have copies of these. Both games use number cards. T

The addition/subtraction tic-tac-toe is teacher made. One student answers the problem. the other student in the pair checks the problem. If the problem is correct, then the first student may place a marker on his problem space. Just like in real tic-tac-toe, the first player to have 3 in a row wins. The three colors of boards are three different levels of problem boards.

I found that both teachers in first and 3rd liked to organize their games in pocket folders.

In station 2 we built the activities around *Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream*. This is a fun book with lots of multiplication applications on each page.

In this station students can read the book, work out word problems from the word problem sheet, or create their own word problem stories.

The cake work mat and word problem sheets come from my Discovering the Commutative Property of Multiplication Unit.

Station 3 is a Multiplication Bump game that she got from TPT. Because there are several different game boards, we didn’t provide many options at this station. I have really enforced calling them “Math Work Stations” like Debbie Diller suggests so students remember they are working–NOT playing. I also really like how the teacher took this to heart. Instead of writing I can “play” this or that game, she wrote I can “work” on this game on the I CAN statement sheets.

Station 4, 5, and 6 are duplicates of other stations. Station 7 is a computer station where students are practicing math facts on Reflex Math. Station 8 is also a duplicate. When getting started Debbie Diller says it is fine to duplicate stations so that you aren’t overwhelmed. Because the length of time between when students will be at the same station again is several days, students are okay with a repeated station.

Below is station 9. This station revolves around multiplication as arrays. The *100 Hungry Ants* book is about ants in arrays and one of students’ choices is to read the book. Another choice is for students to write their own story problem about arrays with ants on a paper plate…how darling…right? I even suggested that the teacher hang the plates outside her door on a checkered table cloth. (plastic ones are available at the Dollar Tree as I type) Students can also play Array Card Game War, which basically works like regular War but with multiplication facts to go with the Array Cards. This is another TERC math goody in the *Things that Come in Groups* book.

I included this speech bubble card which Debbie Diller suggests to help students use math language while they are playing games. We didn’t make them for all of the stations, so I cannot speak to their effectiveness.

Station 10 includes two different publisher made games for multiplication. One is Four in a Row and the other is Hit the Road. These are both games the teacher just had in a file. I am pretty confident you could easily find a game like Four in a Row on the internet because I have come across several games like this before.

At Station 11, students could read the book Each Orange Had 8 Slices. They could solve the problems in the book, or they could write their own problems like the ones in the book.

The above notebook shows an example of some student work that took place while the students were traveling in their math stations. This teacher opted to have each student carry his/her own journal around to each station as opposed to having a community journal at the station. This is a teacher’s personal choice. Students head the page with their math game/activity title, date and math station number.

The classroom teacher also incorporated a missing pieces bucket like Debbie Diller suggests.

And we must mention last but not least BORING STREET. This was a first grade teacher’s idea. This is where you go when you are not behaving at Math Work Stations. This is a collection of boring math work that you can do while everyone else is playing fun math games. The work must be turned in at the end of math station time.

Next year, we will know just what to expect for Math Work Stations and we can make them even better since we did this end of the year experiment. Up in the next few days…our Math Work Station experiment in 1st grade!

]]>Maybe I’m a little late to jump on the Math Station band wagon, but when anyone mentioned math stations to me, all I heard was centers. I didn’t feel that math stations were the right thing for our school until I read Debbie Diller’s *Math Work Stations* book. So began my math workstations journey.

The book completely changed my mind about implementing stations. I LOVE IT!

After reading this book, I decided to experiment with the idea of math stations in a 1st grade and 3rd grade classroom. Right now we are getting them set up–deciding what activities to place in each station, making locations for each station in the room etc. Since it is the end of the year, I knew we could spend time working out kinks with stations so that we could start out full force with math stations next year. I will be writing more about our math stations with photos included coming soon.

I am including a freebie here for now that you may want to use in one of your math stations. This sheet will go with an addition/subtraction station like one of the activities Debbie Diller suggests so that students may mark off the facts they know. Click the blue link to download a copy.

AdditionFactsOrganized By Helping Strategy

If you are using Debbie Diller’s math stations, I would love to hear about your experiences with what worked and what didn’t. Please comment below.

]]>After trudging through decimal teaching the last two years, I decided that students needed a stronger visual to help them see the patterns within decimal numbers…after all when students count to 20 in kindergarten, we have pictures of 1-20 plastered everywhere with visual models for students to see. Because students need to see a longer set of decimal numbers to see patterns, I created this decimal number line (and a few other items). The number line has numbers from 0.001-1 on it counting by thousandths. On numbers where the zeros occur at the end of the decimal number the zeros are printed very lightly to remind students that these do not change the value of the decimal number and can be left off. There are picture and number representations of each decimal and optional word cards that can be added by the teacher with the students through class discussion.

Below are the first few numbers on the number line…

and the last set of numbers on the number line…

the word cards…

To top this all off, you can find the Wall Decimal Number Line on sale for 50% off through Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014. Scoop it up while the sale lasts.

You may also like…

Decimal Pocket Chart Number Cards

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To celebrate over 100 followers in my TPT store, I am having a sale in my store with 20% off everything and my newest product is 50% off its original price. The sale will last through Wednesday April 23rd. Find something fun for spring!

Thank you to Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah Designs for the pretty polka dot background above !

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Each year a pair of teachers are assigned a month to do the cafeteria bulletin boards. We were given April. With all the pressure of upcoming testing and the additional stressor of losing time to snow days, I didn’t have much creativity roaming in my brain. This board started out as me just wanting to make a simple spring flower to cover up lots of space fast and then… the board looked empty so I decided I must add a little lady bug. I made the flower petals from bulletin board paper folded over and over before I cut similar to when making a paper fan. This helped me not have to cut out a LOT of different petals separately. Then the flower and lady bug idea kept growing and growing and growing…

We have an upcoming science fair so we decided to tie in a science theme along with the spring theme. We made a larger lady bug with an investigating magnifying glass over the top for the second bulletin board. A hula hoop wrapped in black paper strips was used to make the magnifying glass. Then laminating film was stretched over the magnifying glass to look similar to glass. Rolled up black bulletin board paper was used to create the handle for the magnifying glass.

We have gotten so many compliments on these boards about how they brighten up the room. These are on either side of the stage in our cafeteria. I hope these help spark an idea for your spring bulletin boards too!

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