Great Math Products!


Base Ten Number Line


Multiplication Tricks



TwoFingers Numbers

Telling Time Misconceptions


Equivalent Fractions


Simplifying Fractions


Clock Fractions


Math Fact Motivation


Math Night 2012


Bulletin Board Ideas


Classroom Management


Lines and Angles



I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas!

Fun, Free, Halloween, Pumpkin Activity!

I just learned about this fun, free, Halloween, pumpkin activity this year!  The kids absolutely love it!  I used it with kindergarten and first graders.  All the teachers that have seen it love it too!  First stock up on some orange paper!  I used copy paper.

Read this Story.  A teacher friend gave it to me, but I changed out the witch and ghost for a mouse and a cricket. ( i don’t know who wrote this story, but if I knew I would give credit.

As you read the story the children will fold and cut as the directions in the story tell them to.

Once upon a time a very small mouse was walking in the woods. The cold wind was blowingthe dry leaves all around her. The little mouse was frantically searching for a house for the winter. She could not find one. Suddenly a piece of orange paper, blown by the wind landed at her feet. She picked it up. The little mouse looked closely at the paper and then she said, “I shall make myself a little house from this piece of orange paper.”

She folded the paper in half.

Then she took her scissors–she always carried a pair in her pocket.(Cut off the two corners to make a roof. Cut the construction paper as a story indicates.) 


This will do just fine, she said as she looked at her new house, but I will need a door. With her scissors she cut a door. She cut a special door for her pointy nose.(Cut a rectangle shape with one endpoint up more towards the bottom of the folded edge.)

The little mouse walked through the door into the little orange house it was very dark inside. She quickly hurried back out. I will need to make windows to let in the light in,”she said. The little mouse cut a front and back window (cut a square shape in the middle of the paper opposite end of the paper than the door. Cut through both sides of the paper. I have students fold the paper a bit to get their scissors in the paper.) 

Oh it was a very fine looking house. Her very own little house with a roof, a door, and windows was all finished. But just as the little mouse started to go inside for the winter, she saw a tiny cricket come down the wind- swept path. As the cricket came to a stop near the little house, the little mouse saw that the cricket was crying. Why are you crying asked the little mouse? The tiny cricket stopped crying and answered, “it is cold and windy. It is getting dark and I have no place to spend the winter.” “You may spend the winter with me in my new house,” said the little mouse. “Oh thank you!” the happy tiny cricket said as she peeked in through the window. “This is a very nice house!” “First,” said the mouse, “ I will need to make you a little door of your very own.” She took her scissors again and began to cut. She cut a very tiny door.(Cut a triangle on the fold of the paper between the big door and the window. Make a longer part of the triangle point up)

The two happy friends went inside. The tiny cricket went in the very little door, and a little mouse went in through her own special door. All winter long they lived happily together inside a little orange house. Do you want to see inside their little orange house?  Just open your piece of paper and surprise!


Before you open the paper, take predictions from the students to see if they can tell you what the inside of the house will look like.

What do you see? A pumpkin of course!

I hope your children enjoy this as much as mine did!

5 Fun Activities for Halloween

  1. Halloween Oronyms/MadGabs.  In case you don’t know oronyms are phrases that are that sound like another phrase.  These would be most appropriate for third, fourth or fifth graders.  My students absolutely LOVE these.  For example, COUNTER ACT YOU LAW = COUNT DRACULA.  Check these out by sawdust girl.
  2. Pumpkin Logic Puzzles with ordinal numbers:  Check out this fun logic puzzle by KinderIRick on Teachers Pay Teachers Pay Teachers.  This would be perfect for your kinder or first students!
  3. Don’t forget Super Teacher Worksheets!  You can find this fun crypto riddle for free! This would be great for K-2. 
  4. Halloween Hink Pinks.  Hink pInks are rhyming words that answer a riddle.  They are usually one syllable.  For example, ghost toast would be the answer to a Hink Pink riddle.  These would be most appropriate for third-fifth graders.

5.  Pumpkin Patch Math Investigations.  These are different activities to do if your class goes to the pumpkin patch and brings back pumpkins!  This is the only paid item on the list for $3.50.  These come from my own classroom of third graders several years ago–most appropriate for grades 3-5.


Need a Beginning of the Year Lesson for Symmetry?

This lesson was almost an accident, but it turned out so well!  Not knowing I was going to have to teach a particular class, I desperately went in search of the librarian’s expertise for a beginning of the year book. I couldn’t find the book I was looking for so she gladly showed me this book.

I read the students the story, calling particular attention to the stamp she receives from her grandmother, and then I had students make stamps.  In order to do this I used some bottle caps we had been collecting. Sadly, I spent too long at home hot gluing foam squares to bottle cap lids.


I was kind of worried that if the squares weren’t perfectly rectangular or square it would not look good when students stamped their letters, but actually kids wasn’t able to tell after the stamp was pressed down.  It really just mattered where the pressure was when the stamp was pressed down.

When I brought these to school, I had kids find the Korean letter that corresponded to one of their initials.  I used this page I found after a Google search.  Then I had students write their Korean initial once, draw a line of symmetry and flip the Korean letter over before they carved it into their stamp.  Because not every letter of the Korean alphabet corresponds to an English letter, I had students find the Korean letter that most closely corresponded.  I also gave them the option of picking a letter from their middle or last name if their first initial didn’t correspond to a Korean letter.  Students carved with their pencil into the foam.

Here are some of the results.  I let the kids take their stamps home.  NOTE:  If you don’t want stamp ink everywhere invest in some baggies for them to put their stamps into.

I did this with both first and second graders.  I was a little nervous about doing this with first graders, but they handled it like champs (one of my stamp pads was worse for the wear due to a first grader I might add).  I would do this lesson again, and it was such a rich lesson.  There were connections in the book to another country, the Korean alphabet offered a connection to another language, and the symmetry added a math connection.  The whole lesson took three class periods of 30 minutes each. Happy stamping! 🙂

Could You Be Hurting Your Students by Using This?

Recently, I started doing math intervention with a small group of students.  I noticed when given a mat similar to the one above that the students didn’t really understand all of the wording beneath the boxes.  They heard the word thousand and they were completely confused.  This caused them to begin looking for the thousands box when hearing a number called out orally.  I also had students holding the mat vertically and writing the numbers vertically.  For this lower group of students, I finally just pulled out the white boards and had them begin writing numbers by filling in blanks such as this…

_____,  _____  _____  _____,  _____  _____  _____

This worked out better with much less confusion after I explained how when coming to a comma that you say the name of the period such as thousands or millions.  Show students how to cover up everything on the outside of the comma and just say the three digit numbers.  This will give students a starting point.  Most students can say three digit numbers in third grade and beyond.  If you teach kids that there is a pattern to being able to say numbers, they will feel so empowered.

In case you are having difficulties with this in your classroom, this product below may be just what you are looking for!  It completely explains how to verbalize large numbers with great ideas for anchor charts like below.

In Need of a Challenging Back to School Bulletin Board?

Back to school is always a time that we struggle to arrive at a fresh new back to school bulletin board.  Now I have used a similar idea in the past for a bulletin board, but I have never included a rebus with the board.  This year I did include a rebus/plexer/hink pink/ or whatever you like to call them. Some might say that I just wrote the words backwards and tried to make a mirror image while other students I have worked with for a while recognize my tactics and know there is a secret hidden meaning.

two schools

backwards schools

back two school

OH!!!! Back to school!

For the board materials, I just used some extra school supplies that were around the school.  I can always return the supplies for them to actually be used because no supplies were damaged in the making of this board.  The items that wouldn’t hold a staple were merely placed on the board with hidden masking tape rolls.

If you are looking for some free rebus puzzles for your bulletin board, you can search for some (free ones in fact) on Super Teacher Worksheets.  I use these sometimes.

Happy Back to School Season to you!

Best, Cheap, Color Pens Ever! {Giveaway}

I have been on a quest for good colored pens and didn’t want to spend a gazillion dollars on them.  I searched at Office Depot and deliberated over several pens.  Then I finally bought some Paper Mate ball point colored pens.  There were about four in the package for five bucks.  I liked them okay, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for in the way they wrote. Well, I gladly remembered I had a gift card to Target, so a few days later I spent some time in Target and bought a pack of cheap Bic pens.  I got 12 pens in the package.  They were multicolored and had a pen stroke of 1.6 mm.  I tend to like a heavier pen stroke.  At only $2.44 for a package of 12 pens, what did I have to lose?  I bought them and took them home.  Pen love ensued.  In the package you get 6 colors with two of each color…black, red, light blue, pink, lime green, green, and my personal favorite purple.  Look how nicely they write!  They would even be wonderful for grading papers with the bright colors.

Prize: $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 8/13/18 and is open worldwide.
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Is There Math in Building Robots?

It seems building robots is frivolous…an extra activity….not really necessary…just for fun, BUT I recently had the privilege to attend a 5- day robotics summer camp, which opened my eyes to the skills involved in learning robotics.  Elementary students in grades 2-5 worked with VEX IQ robotics in teams of 2-3.

1.The first day they built the robots from the kit directions.

2.The second day they practiced having the robots drive to certain points on a floor mat.

3.The third day they programmed the robot to go to certain points on the mat.

4.The fourth day they learned to drive the robot with a controller.

5. The fifth day they put all they had learned into practice and competed.

The day they competed was my favorite day because I got too see the students excel with all they had learned.

Here are the major skills I observed kids learning during the process of building robots:

  1. learning interpersonal skills by working in teams to accomplish a goal
  2. learning and communicating in angle measures because they had to program their robot to turn
  3. learning the difference in mm and inches as they had to program their robot to move a certain distance.
  4. estimating distances as they had to program their robot to stop at a certain point
  5. exercising perseverance when a part of their robot didn’t quite connect correctly or behave correctly when programmed

Below you will see some photos showing the first mat students used in learning to drive their robots.  On this mat students programed  their robot to turn and learned about distances.  Their task was to program their robot to drive from home (the orange sign) to their friends house (the green sign) to the movie theater (the pink sign).  Then they were to program their robot to drive their friend back home and return to home themselves.  This task was way more challenging than it appears.

For your students who are unmotivated, what better way to create motivation than to have them do a culminating project of building robots after they learn measurement or as they learn measurement skills.

So I am going to fumble through learning this with my students this year.  I will be a novice robotics coach learning along side the kids.  🙂


Crayola Markers STEM Challenge

I made scribble bots with my students during the last days of school.  It was a GREAT activity with high engagement and interest among students.  Not only that, it is a great way to use your almost dried up markers–the ones that still make a mark, but may not be so good for coloring.  All of the other materials are available at the Dollar Tree except for the small motors and items from around the house.

For each scribble bot you will need:

  • a small motor (from Amazon)
  • a clothespin
  • tape (I used masking)
  • a AA battery
  • a cup (I used styrofoam)
  • a popsicle stick
  • Old Crayola markers (at least 4)
  • old Christmas light wire (we used this instead of alligator clips)
  • bulletin board paper large enough for the bot to travel a little way

First, I showed this video to my students.

Next, I reiterated a few parts of the video such as make sure your motor is perpendicular to the popsicle stick and make sure the motor is all the way on the end of the stick.

This will probably take your students the better part of an hour, but your really smart kids may finish earlier.  These students can still be challenged by trying to find a way to make a different pattern with their bot, or using their materials and motor in a different way.  Notice the scribble bot with lots of markers all around…my little over achiever made this one.  His bot actually made a fabulous pattern!  Notice some of the different patterns that are being made on the paper by different students’ bots.

I hope your students enjoy this as much as mine did!

STOP! Don’t Throw Out the Markers!

Here’s what happens.  I’m in the middle of a lesson or art project.  You name it.  Then my Crayola, Sharpie or, Expo marker etc. stops working.  I declare, “This marker is going to marker heaven,” as I toss it into the metal trash can. BONG!  

As you can see above, I have a whole collection of markers that aren’t in the best shape.  I go through these every year to check for ones that don’t work so that they can be thrown away.  Now there is a better way!

Did you know Crayola recycles markers?  Not only do they recycle their own markers, but they will recycle other markers, too!  They will also recycle  other brands of washable markers, permanent markers, dry erase markers, and highlighters.  They will do this for any K-12 school in the contiguous 48 states.  The school has to have a contact person to register the school, though.  You can get more information by clicking here.  Now, no more marker heaver–just marker reincarnation.

Try this Fun Activity for Your Promoted Fifth Graders!

We always have a big ceremony for our 5th graders who are being promoted to 6th grade every year.  In fact it rivals many high school graduations in its attention to detail and classiness.  This year, I wanted to add little something to it, so at the prompting of my students, we made these cute profile images of their faces.  The students put quotes on them that meant something to them.  In some cases students made up their own quotes, and I let them.

I had students make up the rubric for what a good profile image would look like. Most of them agreed that a quality profile had to have no white spaces, at least two colors, and at least one quote.  They turned out SO well, and I’m so proud of them! 🙂  You will notice that some profiles look similar to others.  That is because when one student had a good idea, other students tended to copy the good ideas.

First you must know that I work next door to the art teacher (HOW convenient!).  The art teacher let me borrow these spotlights that make the perfect shadow on a large sheet of white construction paper.  I outlined the students’s shadow and had them trace their shadow in black Sharpie.  If you don’t do this first, it turns out disastrous because then students end up coloring over the pencil lines and then when they cut out their profile, their lips and nose look somewhat deformed. I had them make their colored design first, and then AT THE END they can cut out their profile.  I allowed students to be able to use oil pastels, water color, black Sharpie, and crayons to make their images.  I emphasized the fact that they must NOT use Sharpie over the top of oil pastels or crayons because the wax will ruin the Sharpie.  I had them use the oil pastels, crayons, or Sharpie first and THEN they could paint over it with water color.  The wax in the crayons and oil pastels will cause the water color to resist causing a nice effect.

Parents and students took much pride in these as they lined the hall after their “graduation ceremony”.




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