Monday, July 28, 2014

Family Made

Ahhhh....nothing like sitting down on a hot summer night with a cold glass of buttermilk in my Old Lady Room. Yes, that's right, buttermilk. I'm probably one of the eight people in northern California who buys buttermilk (The other seven are my relatives.). (I'll tell you another time about my Old Lady Room)

Buttermilk is a southern staple. Growing up, I could ALWAYS count on it hiding inside the fridge at both my grandparents' homes. My mom's family is from Alabama, and my dad's family is from Texas and Oklahoma. And boy do they love their buttermilk!

My favorite buttermilk snack would be at my dad's mom's house (Nana). Unlike my mom's mom, Nana made her cornbread a bit sweet. It was crumbly and delicious hot or cold. My favorite was to take a glass of buttermilk and crumble the cornbread up and drop it in the glass. I'd grab a spoon and push down the golden bread until it was all soaked up with the sour, thick buttermilk. 

I'm hankerin' for some now! Lucky for me, I bought some the other day (wish I had gotten a bigger carton. This here is the last of it).

With all this nostalgia for my childhood, it got me thinking about my home. There are times when I walk in, and it smells like Nana's house. If I make a roast in the crockpot, I'm whisked back to her home by my nostrils. When I tell a story that cracks me up to the point of tears, I think of her telling me about the time she set up a tent in the dark while camping, only to wake up the next day to honking. She had tears in her eyes laughing so hard recalling how they had set up camp in the middle of the road. "I wondered why it was so hard driving those stakes in!" she said through roaring laughter.

We have pictures everywhere of our family in our home. The biggest issue I have with that isn't the amount of pictures we have, but of how we have them displayed. Our shelves are covered with different sized black frames from our 16 years together. We have one wall that cannot seem to get anything attached to it other than my two guitars. Meaning, we've hung a large poster photograph, and it fell. We attempted to rub one of those stencil things, and it wouldn't stick. I searched for a framed art piece that I could hang, yet nothing was "the one".

Then I came up with an idea. If I could create a centerpiece that represented us, we could hang the photos all around it! Here's what I did:

I bought a canvas, Mars Black acrylic paint, some scrapbooking paper, dragged out my unopened bottle of glossy Mod Podge, my husband's adhesive spray, and my old paintbrushes from art class. The rock is merely to keep the papers from blowing away.

I had my three year old son help me paint the canvas black using the sponge brush. We then let it dry overnight on his hopscotch court.

The next day, we went to my friend Jessica's house so we could use her Sillhouette Machine. Have you seen these things? They are AMAZING! I'm still gushing over it! We picked out the font, and sent each scrapbook paper through to cut out a different letter on each paper.

I then sprayed my fingers the letters with the (removable) adhesive and placed them accordingly. I let it dry overnight (although, it could've been done sooner). Note to future self: Spray, let it dry a bit, spray again, and make sure all letters stay FLAT before applying Mod Podge. Or use vinyl (sticky paper) instead.

Cue the Mod Podge.

I again used the sponge brush and did left to right motions. I also made sure to get the sides of the canvas. It goes on white, but dries clear and shiny (unless you're using the matte version). After a few hours of drying, I added a second coat. It turned out FANTASTIC!

Now, where can I find a Sillhouette machine? 

I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics' Monday Made It. Check it out here:

Fourth Grade Frolics
And Teacher's Take-Out here:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Life Hacks With Guest Blogger Jessica

Hey there! I'm Jessica from a little ol' blog called Covered in Glitter and Glue

Sarah asked me to guest blog today about a classroom or general life hack. I have to admit, when she first asked, I was a little skeptical. I always see people posting brilliant life hacks on Pinterest and Facebook, but I wasn't sure I used any in my own life. After a little bit of thought I realized I had one that really worked for me this past school year, and while it may not be mind blowing, maybe it will work for you too! 

First up is an idea I use in my classroom. I'm not sure what happens in your neck of the woods, but kiddos in my class are always getting hurt on the playground or complaining of some sort of ailment right when I pick the kids up from recess (more so with some groups of kids than others). While my first go-to is always a wet paper towel (because ladies and gentlemen, those things are miracle workers), a bag of ice will usually cure all should the paper towel not do the trick. I don't know about you, but if I sent a kid to the office for a bag of ice every time they "needed" it, the office would be out of ice by 9 am and I'd never have a full class of kids. 

This past year I decided to get a couple of those boo-boo bear frozen ice pack thingymabobbers for my classroom to throw into the little mini fridge/freezer I have in my room. In the rare chance that the wet paper towel didn't work, I handed the student the frozen boo boo bear and all was well. When they were done I cleaned it off and put it back in the freezer. 

Those bears got a lot of use this past year and unfortunately bit the dust pretty quickly which meant replacing them quite frequently. But they worked. They kept the kids calm and focused when other "ailments" were trying to distract them. Enter the life hack. 

As I was perusing Pinterest I saw a brilliant idea of using a wet sponge in a Ziploc bag thrown in the freezer. 

Cheap. Easy. Brilliant. Bonus that these boo boo bags weren't cute little bears, and the novelty wore off quickly. Know what else? This idea can also be used as an icepack for lunches. I mean...not the same ones you use for the boo boo bags, because that would be gross. But they're easy to replace and much more cost effective. 

While we're on the subject of sponges, have you seen the brilliance of glue sponges? I have yet to venture down this path of genius, but I think it's pretty fantastic. When your kids are cutting and gluing lots of little pieces, these things could definitely come in handy. No lost lids or unclogging glue bottles with a paperclip either! 

Check out this blog post and video on how to make them for your classroom by Greg from Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten.

And finally, a life hack that would've been really handy to know on my last adventure out of state- 

Leave some comments with your favorite classroom or life hacks. I may need to go create a Pinterest board...

Lookin' for a good deal? Getting' ready for school to start soon? Check out Jessica's Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizers for Primary here!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life Hacks With Guest Blogger CaseyJane

Life Hack: Hotkeys Many thanks to Sarah for allowing me to guest post here today! I am CaseyJane from Wiggling Scholars. Sarah is putting together a series of Life Hack posts from guest bloggers. Enjoy these great hacks.
Sarah's post about life hacks mentioned one of my favorite things: "command s"
It got me thinking about computer fluency and my never-ending process of learning new tips to get faster and avoid carpel tunnel.
Are you right-click happy? I know I was for years. Everything was in the right click menu. Need to copy text? Right click. Need to paste text? Right click. Need to (fill in the blank)? Right click. I was addicted to that side of the mouse and it became my go-to. If you have right-click syndrome, you have come to the right blog post.
Here is a techie secret you need to know!
You know those funky things you see in the menus? Those actually mean something! They are a secret time saving code given to you by the geeks (I say geeks lovingly) who wrote the program. Cherish these little nuggets, as they will make you a far more proficient and efficient computer user. What are they called, you ask?
Hot Keys!
Some people call them keyboard shortcuts. Honestly, I prefer 2 syllables to 4. Far more efficient and much more exciting!
That's right~ "command s" is only one of many, yes many of these little keyboard shortcuts called Hotkeys!
Not all hotkeys use the command button, but many of them do. Different computers have different command keys, but these are the 2 main styles.
Image of Apple Command Key
Most hotkeys require only 2 buttons: command and something else. The list below has a "+" sign, but that is asking you to use both buttons at the same time, not to click the plus sign!
These 2 are the most frequently used hotkeys for me. Highlight the text or image you want to copy and click: Command + c (copy) Then follow with: Command + v (paste) It's that simple people!
Have you ever gotten to a website and can't see the tiny images? Or have you opened a PDF and had to look around for the magnifying glass to enlarge? This next tip will make that easier for you! Command + - (minus~ not dash or underscore, makes the image smaller) Command + + (plus~ actually click the plus this time, makes the image larger)
Sometimes you may have 2 programs open (Word and Chrome, for example) and you would like to switch from one program to the other. No need to minimize a window... just click: Command + tab
Ever make mistakes? Right, me either. (wink) But should you make a mistake, try undo: Command + z. To redo: Command + y
For my last trick, sometimes I want to select everything. You know, all of the text in a text box, all of the text on a page, all of the pictures in an album. Just use: Command + a.
I've also included a link to a hotkeys cheat sheet FREEBIE for you to print and have near your computer while you learn! Enjoy!
It is important to note 2 things: 1) Not all hotkeys are the same in every program. 2) You can make your own hotkeys on a Mac! I'm guessing you can do the same on a PC, but as far as I could tell, you'd have to download a program to do that. Mac users: System preferences/ keyboard/ text tab. You're welcome!
Side note: I used a hotkey 43 times while writing and posting this one document. If you image that it takes about 3 seconds to move my hand to the mouse, navigate the mouse, click, and return my hand for each one of those instances, I saved 2.15 minutes. Okay, that seems far less impressive. But when you are a busy teacher or an even busier parent, 2.15 minutes can make a world of difference. Add that up over multiple documents, over multiple weeks, and you will have gained an extra prep time!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Life Hack

Yesterday I went shopping. But not without stopping off at a Starbucks. Now, I'm not one to frequent a Starbucks often, but today it was needed. I was thirsty, and had a long afternoon/night ahead of me, so I grabbed a drink I'd never heard of before. It was something something something Valencia Orange (gives you a hint of how often I go, right?). It was cold and delicious. And it was a grande. I'm pretty sure that's coffee fancy for "medium"?

I then took it shopping.

Since I didn't have my son with me, and the cart didn't have a upholder (REALLY?! I thought EVERYthing came with a cupholder these days!), I improvised. Or as I like to think, created a new life hack.

I folded the little seat down, pushed up the strange seat flap, and proudly strapped in my drink into the seatbelt. This hack worked well for two reasons: One, the strap kept it from sliding around. And two, the seat is at an angle down and toward you, so gravity keeps it leaning against the strap! WINNING!

I honestly don't know why I didn't think of this before. And then it dawned on me...there's usually a kid sitting in that seat.

Tomorrow, be sure to tune in! I'll have a guest blogger sharing her life hacks. And I have to say, I was quite impressed by them! I learned a few new ones I can't wait to test out. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Combo Class Management

Last school year I had the pleasure of teaching a 1-2 combo. It was my first combo. And it was great! I got to keep some of my firsties from the previous year, change up my teaching techniques, and get amazing parental support.

The hardest part of teaching a combo class, is the classroom management. I struggled with, "How do I get my students to be able to know what to do, when to do it, and allow me time to work with smaller groups of kids?" I finally came up with this board:
They can do the three things in any order. I set the timer for the day (usually 45 minutes). They have to learn to manage their time too! The numbers next to the students' names are the order they go in to work on the computer. At the computers, they have a choice of three-five different tasks they can work on during their 7 minutes. To the left of this board is an explanation of what the different tasks mean as well as their spelling words for the week.

My favorite part of this board, was that it allowed students to walk over, know exactly what they are to do, and it becomes part of their routine. This made life SO much easier for subs walking in the door. I would write in my sub plans, "They are on auto-pilot during this time. You can monitor the class and check in on ______ and _______ as they tend to 'forget' what to do at times."

I thought about printing off each individual student's tasks for the week and put it in their BEACH Binder, but thought better of it. I didn't want to be responsible for more paperwork and be committed to this board, should I decide to change it up.

I also have a board at the back of the room with almost the same idea, but for math. This board (which I don't have a picture of) had these tasks: computer, iPads, Task Cards, Flash Cards, Math Notebook (Interactive Notebook by Yvonne Crawford).

I'm hoping to use these boards again even though I'm not teaching a combo class this year. It has helped so much in just classroom management of daily life alone, that I can't see giving it up!

What types of reading or math classroom management helps you during the day?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Overcoming Obstacles

I often find myself in a mental struggle with "am I doing a good job as ______?" Filling in the blank is easy. I find a lot of things to worry about whether I'm doing a good job. Mom? Teacher? Wife? Friend? Driver? Homeowner? Businesswoman? Cook? Maid? Daughter? Granddaughter? Neighbor? Student? Nurturer? Blogger?

I often feel I wear so many hats, that one never seems to get worn longer than another. This, in turn, makes me wonder, "Am I a jack of all trades, master of none?"

I have since come to the conclusion that I don't get bored easily, yet I can get too complacent. If I don't do something different, I can get, what seems to be, bored. So I find myself hopping from one project or idea to the next so they all seem "fresh" to me.

Since going to the TPT conference in Las Vegas almost two weeks ago, I'm finding that I'm challenging myself to do things differently. I'm back to blogging more, I'm improving products in my store, I'm leaning new technology techniques, and exploring my neighborhood on foot more.

Yes, you walk everywhere in Vegas.

These new self-challenges have helped me get past the "Am I doing a good job?" mentality. I"m now thinking, "Why yes, I AM doing a good job!"

My son was recognized on Saturday in his gymnastics class for doing a good job. He had been struggling with his own obstacle. He couldn't seem to do the backwards roll without assistance from his coach. Everything else seems to come naturally to him, but this. After several weeks, this Saturday he finally "got it". He was so proud and excited when his coach gave him his first star of accomplishment. It surprised him. I was proud because he didn't give up, and he didn't complain. He just did the work without expectations of anything other than accomplishing his goal.
I'm pretty sure I can learn from him in that sense. I will focus less on the the "what's in it for me?" mentality, and instead focus on the task at hand. 

What mental blocks are preventing you from overcoming your challenges?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Life Hacks

On the plane back from Las Vegas (yes, I'm still processing that whirlwind four days in Vegas), I watched some free videos on the little screen in front of me. One such video was of "Life Hacks". Life Hacks are things you do to shave time or energy off of your life to make it easier.

I had seen several life hacks on Pinterest, but this guy (Grant Thompson, "The King of Random") showed me exactly how to do some of these things and much more. He showed me that I can peel a kiwi in record time using a spoon. He proved how filling a water bottle part way then placing it on its side in the freezer allows the ice to form, yet still allows for water to be poured in. GENIUS!

I use "Life Hacks" all the time in technology to create my products for TPT. "Command S" is such a simple way to save my work. And at home, my favorite beauty life hack is to use my old mascara brush as an eyebrow brush (after cleaning it, of course. I also use it to brush off any excess mascara I may have.).

It got me to thinking. Next week I'll have guest bloggers on my blog. And what to have those guests write about? How about Life Hacks?! I bet we all have some that we use without giving it a second thought. I love learning new things...especially if they save me time/energy/money.

So what life hacks do you use?

Friday, July 18, 2014

How To Secure PDF Files Using PowerPoint

I'm always up for learning new things. And I'm always up to share the things I learn. For example, I try and learn something new every day. Yesterday, I learned that I like to bake chocolate cake with my son. I also learned that a can of chocolate buttercream frosting can actually cut your bare foot when dropped.

Lessons aside. Let's talk about something a little less painful. Securing PDF's. I always thought that by having my PowerPoint projects saved to a PDF meant that they were secure. Oh how I was wrong!  Apparently, there are some people in this world who like to steal. And a PDF is no match for those who really want the clip art, digital papers, and fonts. However, there is a way around least for now.

I've created a video tutorial that you can watch that shows you exactly what I'm talking about. Just click the picture below. Happy securing! :^D

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Feels Like Yesterday...

I'm going through my memories of the TPT conference last Friday. It feels like it was yesterday 800 of us TPT'ers were sitting in a large room listening to the inspiring keynotes of Paul and Deanna. I knew this conference was something bigger than myself. I had known it the minute I saw the ads for it on TPT months before. I had been in a little slump inspirationally for my store. I had so much on my plate that I wasn't taking the time to nurture new products.

Sitting in the keynote and all the other sessions I went to during the TPT conference in Vegas, reignited my passion and reminded me of the possibilities! Hearing how TPT was inspired from atop a mountain and put into action, seeing the growth since its beginning, and feeling the passion behind its roots, reminded me that everything starts out small. Success can be measured in different ways. I learned to set goals, track my progress, and keep it in the forefront of my mind.

I am honored to have finally met Carol Martinez!!!

She once told me that she's always chasing me on the California TPT leader board. I never knew such a thing existed. I had no idea I was someone's inspiration for striving to push themselves to do better! She had a secret "competition" with me and I was excited to have met my first TPT friend outside my school district. We battled it out, then hugged it out before the night was over. :^D

I cannot express my gratitude to Paul and his team for creating the most supportive, inspiring, and wonderful site I've ever had the pleasure of logging in to. Feeling the camaraderie and love everyone has for their stores, their products, and helping each other is something I will never forget. If you get the chance to join us next year, please do. You will not regret it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gardening in Vegas

Well where to start? How about I start with a fact about me.

Fact: I'm finally rested from my Vegas trip.

I had been to Reno, NV several times in my life, so I thought I was ready for Vegas. I've eaten at the Peppermill's buffet, gambled in a few casinos, and driven down the main drag and seen some interesting shops along the way.

But nothing in Reno prepared me for what Vegas has.

I'm pretty sure Vegas is its own entity. I can describe Vegas in one word--EXHAUSTING! There is so much to see and so much to do that you cannot possibly do it all in one trip. I was lucky enough to have my good friend Mercedes with me as my own personal tour guide. She prepared me mentally by creating our itinerary of To Do's and giving me the run-down of how the hotels are so close, yet so far away from each other. Each trip to a casino was like a trip to another world. They all have their own niche and are beautiful in their own way.

One of my favorites was the atrium in the Bellagio. I felt tiny amongst tall flowers and gardening tools.

In the middle of the room is a large tree with a treehouse. You can walk through the tree. Inside is a TV screen that displays fish swimming. I was quite confused by this at first, and then realized it was a "fish cam" for the fish in the pond right outside the tree!

The atmosphere in the atrium is slightly breezy and air-conditioned. A much welcomed feel from the hot air outside. Oversized sunflowers were beamed onto the floor from lights above. They came in and out, so as not to be immediately noticed. There also was a subtle change in lighting overall. It was neat because I was there at 9 at night and yet, the "daylight" looked as if it were coming through the trees. 

I think I really enjoyed this room because it was relaxing, subtle, calm, cool (temperature-wise), and beautiful. It was my little oasis in the desert.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Using MP3s in the Classroom (Step 2- Splitting)

Once you have your MP3 downloaded from Youtube, you'll want to cut it down to the length needed for your project. Here's a video tutorial on how to do that.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Using MP3s in the Classroom (Step 1)

I am a music fan. Always have been. Not sure if it was because I was born into a family who always were in a band when I was growing up, or if it was because I just like music. Either way, music ROCKS! (see what I did there?)

So I try and instill the same love of music to my son and to my students. In talking with a friend about her students' behaviors, she mentioned using music cues for transitions. I had used a palm tree that plays music, but hadn't used it for anything more that station rotations.

She created an ActivInspire flip chart on her Promethean Board that had more than one song. She said her voice is saved, her sanity is saved, and the kids actually respond to it.

GREAT! I decided to make one. And by golly, if she wasn't right!

The first step is to create an MP3 of a song that you like. And this video tutorial will tell you just how to do that if you don't already have an MP3 song on hand.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Son, The Rock Star

As I'm scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a touching story of a young woman who was killed by a drunk driver. The message her mother wrote to her on a Facebook Page set up as a memorial, hit me hard. I'm finally recovering from the tears.

My three-year-old son is sleeping soundly in the next room. Every night I check on him. Sometimes several times a night, as I often have difficulty sleeping. And I can't imagine my life without him. (Here comes the water works again.)

This weekend has made me appreciate him in different ways. My neighbors' kids had an all night party going on in their house last night. I am dreading having "the talk" with the parents upon their return about the evidence they left behind in MY recycling bin. But this incident made me appreciate the age my son is and how simple life is for him.

I got to hang out with my friend Mercedes and her husband on Thursday. Together, we prepared details for our TPT Vegas trip this week. She was kind enough to give me a quotes journal because I'm always posting quotes that my son says. This was so touching and made me appreciate just how innocently adorable his thought processes are.

I also recently read about how a Florida father may have left his son in the car "accidentally on purpose" thus killing him. This turned my stomach. I cannot imagine anyone doing that to any living thing...even a plant! It made me appreciate that my parents pick my son up and care for him on days my husband and I both work. He gets all the attention from my parents, and my grandmother, who are retired and spoil him in the best ways.

This, in turn, made me appreciate the fact that I have summers off and can go and do things with my son during the week. Park? sure! Swim all day? OF COURSE! I enjoy making my son laugh. He has a WONDERFUL sense of humor.

Did I mention what a huge AC/DC fan he is? I'm often told, "I'm Brian Johnson. You're Angus. Let's play." I get down my guitar, and he pulls out his broom and off we go!

My family had a Karaoke Party on Memorial Day weekend. For me, it was the best party because my son got up and sang all by himself without feeling nervous. He's a ham. And I couldn't have been more proud.
I guess this blog post was just a way to get my appreciation for my little guy out into the world and remind me that life is short. Don't hold grudges, be open to suggestions, hug and laugh many times a day, and make connections. Happy and safe travels to all my fellow TPT'ers!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

How To Format Your PowerPoint Slides to Portrait

Much like many of my Teachers Pay Teacher'ers, I'm gearing up for my Las Vegas trip this week. I am excited to be going with my friend Mercedes Hutchens from Surfing to Success. She is a wealth of knowledge on Vegas. She has created an amazing FREEBIE for those of us (like myself) who have never been!

So with that in mind, it got me to thinking (aside from the fact that I've seriously been neglecting my blog lately) that there are tutorials I haven't gotten around to yet. I've been asked several times "How do you set up PowerPoint to make worksheets?" Well, here's my latest video tutorial on how to do just that!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Veggie Surprise

My district has a program called "Harvest of the Month". It's designed to introduce students to fruits and vegetables they've never tasted before. The monthly delivery comes with a page with the fruit/veggie's "stats" and a recipe. It also comes with my favorite part--where the food comes from with a short bio of the farm.

I always start my lesson with having the kids sit on the carpet in front of the Promethean Board I load up Google Earth and start at our school's address. Then I take us on a "virtual field trip" to the farm. I read them the information about the farm. Finally, I show them a picture of the food from the "stats" page. We smell the food, we feel it with our hands, we draw it (sometimes on the iPad), then taste it. I'm always amazed at how many kids are willing to try the food!

When my class first signed up for it last year, I liked it, but it didn't seem like too much of a stretch for my kids to taste mandarin oranges, snap peas, and broccoli. These were all things they had access to at the lunch line. I was expecting things like figs, cumquats, rhubarb, or starfruit.

But this year. Oh wow. They've really stepped up their game. This month's harvest was kale. Delicious, healthy, and oh so intimidating kale. Most of the kids had neither heard of kale, nor tasted it. And to be honest, until a year ago, I too was in the same category.

Our class was given three bunches of kale. I can remember thinking, "Yeah, right. Who in their right mind is going to need three bunches of kale?!" When I buy kale, I'm lucky if I can remember to cook the ONE bunch I buy before it goes bad. And that's my point. I cook it. I don't just sit down to a handful of raw kale and think, "Yeah, this is a good idea." Let alone, get 26 first and second graders to try it!

The district must've been thinking the same thing because they packed the bag full of kale, gloves, a small plastic bowl, plastic forks (not sporks), serving boats, a recipe for making a kale salad, and at the bottom was my saving grace--honey dijon dressing. I complained to my teammates how ridiculous I thought this month's harvest was. "They expect me to make a salad?! Did you see how tiny that bowl was?! How can I serve this? I have to prep this?! They've GOT to be kidding!"

Luckily, one teammate had already delved into the depths of the green veg and survived. She gave me hope. "I served a small chunk in the boat and then poured a little bit of dressing in the side so that if they wanted to dip it in the dressing, they could."

Pure genius.

I took this information back to my room and began happily setting up an array of boats with a chunk of kale and poured in a dollop of dressing. When the kids began getting their kale, there was a buzz around the room I hadn't heard since we began Harvest of the Month.

Many of the kids hadn't tried kale and were excited about it! This is EXACTLY what I was expecting with this program. Some kids liked it with the dressing, others didn't (which also surprised me). Some said, "May I have more please?" Others said, "May I have more 'dip' please?" 

When I surveyed them, only three kids had ever seen kale or eaten it before. When I asked about whether or not they liked it, about 17 of my 26 students liked it. One girl was proudly announcing at the end, "I had fourths!"

I told them that they should go home and tell their families about kale because I bet many of their parents had never tried it either.

Sure enough, I got a message from a mom that night saying her daughter "was raving about it at dinner. She even liked your dressing too!"

Proud moment as a teacher. Our job is to make learning and experiences that last beyond the walls of our classroom. I am happy that Harvest of the Month has helped me to do just that.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Explain Yourself!

I have one more week of Winter Break and I'm slowly gearing up for the change back into waking up at 5am. This week I've had two nightmares about work! How strange. 

During the break, I've been pretty relaxed. I got to spend time with friends and family, go to a beautiful wedding at the beach, wear sandals for the crazy California weather we're having, and cuddle on the couch with my kiddo. 

I also had a few chances to create some new items for my teacher stores. I wanted to create a set of task cards that challenges students to show that they fully understand certain math ideas. My second graders have been learning about regrouping, but some are having a hard time explaining to me the "how" when I ask them about it. I thought, if they knew a problem was wrong, could they explain why it was wrong? So I came up with Explain It Math Task Cards (Second Grade). I can't wait to use them!!!