Sunday, June 30, 2013

Task Cards - How I Use and Store Them

I have been away for a while due to needing some time to rest after a long school year. 
Just as the school year ended, my laptop crashed (without warning!) and I had to purchase a new one.  Fortunately, my step-father gave me an external hard drive that I had been using to back-up my files.  If you aren’t backing up your documents, I STRONGLY suggest you do this immediately!  I could not have imagined losing all that I had saved on that laptop.

The last time I blogged, I had a small giveaway for my favorite color crayon out of a 24 box Crayola crayons.  Unfortunately, no one was able to guess my favorite color.  I would still love to giveaway the product.  If you would like to win one, please go here and take a guess. Read the comments, my mom left you a hint.  I will send a copy to the first person who can guess my favorite color.

My students and I love using task cards in the classroom. They are convenient and there are so many ways you can use them.  Here are a few ways I use them in my classroom:

·      to play Scoot  (I love any chance for them to get up and move!)

·      I hang them around the walls of my classroom for students to walk around and solve.  (another opportunity to move)

·      literacy and math centers

·      small groups

·      whole class I place them under the projector and show them on the SMART Board.  The students use their white boards to answer the task card.  This is a good way to do an informal assessment.

·      Jeopardy game I place them in a pocket chart and assign a value to the question.  We play the game just like the original game of Jeopardy.

·      To play Quiz, Quiz, Trade
For my first year of using these wonderful tools, storage was a HUGE problem.  I could not find a system that worked for me.  I needed something that would hold task cards (of all sizes), answer keys, and the recording sheets.  I like to have everything in one place.

About three years ago, I found a perfect solution to my problem.

Here are the six things I use when preparing my task cards for classroom use and storage.
laminating sheets to laminate the task card cover sheet and the task cards
scissors to cut out the task cards, like you didn’t know that
Ziploc (in this case Dollar Store Brand) bags I buy the sandwich, quart, and gallon size bags.  I place the task cards in the bags depending upon their size.
glue dots I use these to attach the laminated cover sheet to the front of the 9x12 clasped envelopes.  One dot in each corner has been enough for me.
velcro mini dots I attach two of these to the back top of the envelope to keep them closed.  Over the years, I have found that those clasps don’t hold up well after being opened and closed several times by nine and ten year olds.  Velcro is easy and last over the wear of being used.
9x12 clasped envelopes I attach the laminated cover sheet to the front of the envelope.  Then I place the answer key, recording sheets, and task cards in the envelope.
This system may seem like it has a few too many steps, but after trying many different ways this is definitely what works best for me.  My task cards have lasted for a few years and very few have gone missing.  Not one has been torn or destroyedsaid as I knock on wood
Here is a post where I share where I store these envelopes.
Check out Melissa’s post at Common Core & SoMuch More for other ways to store task cards.

Do you use task cards in your classroom?  I would love to hear how you use them and your storage solutions.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dollar Tree Finds, Crayon Storage, and a Small Giveaway!

I posted here about needing to find a sturdy container for my students to keep their crayons safe. I am always finding broken, dirty, and/or lost crayons.

Well I took a trip to the Dollar Tree, which I frequently visit just in case they put out something new, and I found several goodies. 

All of the following items were located in the front of my store. They were being housed in boxes.

The first was the perfect container for a box of 24 crayons.  It is called a “Lock-Top Snack” container and comes with two containers and top lids.  They are made of the sturdy thick plastic. My store had them in blue, green, red, and purple.  If you live near me, I cleaned out the blue and green ones!

Here are some pictures of the containers.

They have secure side flaps that snap closed.

I added Avery Labels 6359 to the top of them and used Modge Podge to keep the labels from getting dirty.
The container with a box of 24 crayons in it.
These containers will be kept in their table crates.
They had some other great new products in the store.  Here are some pictures of some of the other finds:

I purchased a few of these items.  I will post about them soon.  Do you have the perfect use for one of the items I found?  I would love to hear your comments and suggestions. 

I want to share some addition task cards that I made for my class. You will find 4 sets of cards with a total of 100 task cards.  Students will need to add numbers up to 5-digits with regrouping.  Here is a picture of them:

Anyone who can guess my favorite color from a box of 24 Crayola Crayons will win a FREE copy. You must use the exact name from the crayon.  I will accept answers until 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 21st.  Don't forget to leave your email address. 
You can also pick up a copy HERE in my TPT store.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ten Pin Linky - Classroom Management

Hello All!!
Unfortunately, on July 1st you will no longer be able to follow and read your favorite blogs through Google Reader.  Bloglovin’ is the next best option!  It is simple to set up an account and add the blogs you are currently following.  If you haven’t done so, please click on the button to the right to follow my blog through Bloglovin’.  I was a little over three-quarters of the way to my first milestone giveaway and hope to regain those numbers and more through Bloglovin’.

Now for the good stuff...  I am linking up with Ashley at Just Reed to show you some of my favorite classroom management pins from Pinterest. 


Here are my top 10 picks:

I am changing my classroom theme this year and this basket would look great in it!  I would love to take out my two filing crates and change them over to baskets.  All you need to do is find a basket with the inside measurements that will fit your letter size files. The interior measurement of this chest is 12x12 inches. To securely hang letter or legal-size files inside, add an adjustable hanging file frame from an office supply store.
I have a small collection of comic books that I allow my students to read occasionally and this would be the perfect holder for them.  This can be purchased at IKEA. 

I have space under a large bulletin board that could use a little bit of lovin’.  I can always use extra storage spaces and my students will enjoy having another comfy place to read and work.

I use clothes pins to hold students work in my classroom.  Why didn’t I think of doing this in the hallway as well?  I love how convenient it is in my room and I love that it is easy for my students to place their own work on the board.  I will definitely do this for the hallway this year!  This pin is from Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten Blog.

This is great way to keep flashcards organized.  The boxes that they come in never last more than a week with my students.  Now, I am on the lookout for the royal blue or green ones.
I don’t have carpet on my floor and the groups of desk take on a life of their own and start move all over the room.  I will be purchasing some zip ties from Home Depot to place on the legs of the desk. 
I love the pencil holder made from a straw dispenser and the eraser dispenser made from a bubble gum jar.  I just ordered the straw dispenser and hope to find a bubble gum jar at a yard sale.  This pin is from Teaching Maddeness’s Blog.
This is such a fantastic idea.  I use interactive notebooks for reading, math, and social studies.  I will need to add a ribbon and an envelope in the back of each of their books.  The ribbon will be great for easily locating the last page or a page that I would like to grade.  The envelope is perfect for the times when the students cut out materials but we don’t have time to finish adding them to their books.  This is a safe place to leave cut outs until we can continue.      
I use these binder clips all the time.  The original poster used paper and modge podge to place the labels on the clips but I have a label maker that will make it much simpler. Adding labels will make it easy to remember what to do with the papers next.
My mother made me pennants to hang in my classroom windows.  I had the hardest time keeping them up on my cement block walls.  I believe this is the answer to my problem.
Head over to Just Reed and take a look at what other great pins bloggers have linked up today. 

Stop by Joanne at Head Over Heels For Teaching.  She is celebrating a 300 follower milestone with a giveaway.  Also, Kathleen at Middle Grades Maven is celebrating 1,000, WOW!, followers with a giveaway.  There are some wonderful items in both of these giveaways.  Don’t miss out!



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text and The Winners Are...

Today I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties for the Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  This week we are linking mentor text for math.

Perimeter, Area, and Volume:  A Monster Book of Dimensions is written by David A. Adler.  This book was not only a great resource for my lesson, but the students truly enjoyed reading it. 

Here is a short description from Scholastic’s Book Wizard:

This star-studded cast of cute and funny monsters needs measuring! How tall are they? How wide? And before the movie begins it's time to calculate the perimeter of the film set, the area of the movie screen, and the volume of a monster's popcorn box. Written by a former math teacher, this creative and brightly illustrated picture book provides a thorough overview of essential math concepts.

I read the book to them while projecting it on the SMARTboard.  I also gave each group a copy of the book.  The book is very interactive and requires the students to complete activities along the way. 

We solved some of the activities together and some of them the students solved in their small groups.  Then we would come together to discuss their solutions.

Be sure to stop by Collaboration Cuties to learn about other Must Read Mentor Texts for math. 

Now, it is time for me to announce the winners of my PlaceValue Task Cards for Upper Grades.  

The winners are

I will be emailing you this resource right away.  Thank you to all who left a comment.  If you would like to get a copy of this resource it can be found here in my TPT store.

Organizing Supplies and Blogger Giveaways!

Hello All,
I am linking up with Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B and Kristen at Ladybug’s Teachers File for their linky party Optimum Organization. 
I am learning so much from the other bloggers!

In this post I will share how I organize community supplies in my classroom.  I forgot to take a better picture of this shelf before I left school, and this is the only one I have at home.  I hope it is clear.
In the top row you can see the group baskets.  I discussed them in this post.
The second row holds all types of glue (glue dots, extra Elmer’s Glue All, and glue sticks), extra dry erase markers, and dry erase erasers.
The third row has our classroom supply of markers. The markers are kept in bags inside the crates. There are 14 bags with 24 markers, 12 thin and 12 fat, in each.  Two students share a bag. ( I have 23 students in my class, so there are some extra bags.)  You will also find watercolor pencils and decorator Fiskars scissors on this row.
The forth row holds extra color pencils, extra boxes of crayons, and a class supply of rulers.  When my students bring extra pencils, pens, erasers, etc. to school; I give them a gallon size Ziploc bag to keep the “extra” items.  They write their name with a Sharpie marker on the bag and keep the bag in one of the crates marked “extras”.  I don’t allow them to keep any extra items in their desk.
Once again, thank you for taking a look into my classroom.
I love comments and suggestions.  Check your email for my response.

I hope you will stop by Fun in Room 4B and Ladybug’s Teachers File to learn of other great ways to get organized! 

If you are looking for some place value task cards, enter my giveaway here.  It ends tomorrow evening!

Christina at A Tale of Two K Teachers is having a 200 follower giveaway. 
Nick at Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason is holding an awesome giveaway in celebration of reaching 100 followers.
Help the two of them celebrate these wonderful milestone and visit their blogs to enter to win some great products from fellow bloggers.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Optimum Organization - Teaching Resources and a Small Giveaway

I am back today to link up with Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B and Kristen at Ladybug’s Teachers File for their linky party Optimum Organization.  I am so happy that they decided to continue this throughout the summer.
This week I want to share with you how I organize my resources for ELA and Math. 
I keep all of my materials and resources in plastic drawers like these.
I printed the labels on plain color cardstock and taped them into the inside of the drawers.  I like having them inside the drawer to keep the labels from getting torn, dirty, and/or dusty.  I could laminate them (love my laminator) but I think this is working well.
When I am preparing to teach a new skill or concept I can easily go to the draw and take out all of the mentor texts, task cards, games, activities, worksheets, graphic organizers, notebook foldables and assessments for the unit.

Here is a look into the “cause and effect / fact and opinion” drawer. 
In the top right hand corner of the picture you may be able to see the green poly folder.  I love these folders.  They have pockets on the inside front and back covers, three two-sided pocket folders, and spiral binding.  (I purchased these at Target two years ago.) In each drawer the folder holds the notebook foldables assessments, graphic organizers, and any worksheets I may use.  I need to work on labeling my folders this summer.
I hope you will stop by Fun in Room 4B and Ladybug’s TeachersFile to learn other great ways to get organized! 
I am glad that you are still reading because I have a small giveaway. 

Each year I begin math by teaching place value.  This is one of the skills that is too valuable to speed through.  I enjoy teaching it and have many activities and games in my classroom for students to work with during math workshop. 
I noticed that I was lacking task cards.  Well I decided to fix that last week and my latest resource was completed.  My Place Value Task Cards for Upper Grades includes 9 sets of tasks cards (148 cards in total), a student reference sheet, recording sheets and answer keys.
You will find the following sets of cards:

·      place value
·      base ten blocks
·      base ten blocks with regrouping
·      standard form
·      expanded form
·      word form
·      comparing whole numbers
·      rounding whole numbers
·      ordering whole numbers

I would love to share two sets with two of you.  Just leave me a comment telling me what math skill is your favorite to teach and your email address. 

Sunday evening after 7:00 p.m.  I will post the two winners and email them a free copy of this resource.

You can also click on one of the above pictures or here to go directly to my TPT store and purchase it. 

Have you been by Courtney’s and Sarah’s blog Hoots N’ Hollers.  They are having a 100 follower giveaway.  It ends at midnight today, so click here and enter to win!
I hoped you enjoyed another peek into my classroom. I love comments and suggestions.  I email my responses, so please make sure you allow email replies.