Friday, August 31, 2012

Daily Four Math and Math fact Practice

This is the first year we are introducing “Daily Four” math with our kiddos.  As many of you probably know “Daily Four” consists of math fact practice, Math by Myself, Math with a Partner, and Meet With Teacher.  We have previously called it Daily Three (excluding the math fact practice because we had a shorter math block).  We switched around our schedule this year which makes a longer math block and allows for math in the morning.  What a difference!!! No longer are the days after lunch where we have to literally wrack our brains to figure out why our kiddos cannot stay focused even with the most entertaining lessons (o.k. well maybe not every math lesson was the most exciting.)  ;)
Memorizing math facts is one of the skills our school really seems to struggle with. So….we thought we better try something new this year!!!! We are always eager each year to see what works or doesn’t work so we can improve or tweak it for the following year!  We seriously start to go crazy around May thinking of new ideas for the next school year. Ok getting back to “Daily Four.” We found some awesome websites which make our students look forward to practicing their math facts. Changing the websites biweekly or even weekly keeps our students excited to “play” their math games. Little do they know it is truly helping them to memorize those important facts!  We thought we’d share some of the sites/activities we found effective and easy for students to access without downloading or having to install software.  We hope you find them useful!
(Here is a two player math fact game)
I’m sure many of you are thinking so what do you do with the other students who chose math fact practice while your only 3-4 computers are in use!?!? Well, we have grouped our students so there is an even number (most of the time).  Therefore, students can practice math facts with a partner if the computers are in use. We really like to use the math fact triangles from the Every Day Math Series because students become familiar with relating the three numbers.  Here they are if you’re interested!
Moving on to Math With a Partner…This is where students work with a partner to review previously learned skills through the use of various games.  Many of our games we found online at websites or have created to meet our individual student’s needs for the year. We have arranged them with the following labels that change throughout the year based on the skills we have taught: Time travelers, Number Sense Knowledge, Measurement Mania, Money Magic, Friendly Fractions, Problem Solving, Park, Addition Adventures, Geometry Junction, Subtraction Station, Place Value Paradise, Pattern Puzzlers.  (We found the names for these skills from a website we found which called them "Math Zones.")      
Below you will see a picture of how they are set up in our room.  The bottom basket is where the math fact triangles are kept.
Math By Myself: We have received many questions such as “what do you do when students finish their paper and pencil work for the daily lesson?”  We have found that making a packet based on students individual levels are useful for a spiral review.  So if students finish early they can finish a page in their “math pack.”  If they are still done early, they can practice task cards that we have on a key ring at a designated spot in our rooms. They write their answers in their “math lab” books.  This is a fun mini composition book  where students record their answers. 
So that is our “Daily Four” math in a nutshell.  We always appreciate any feedback on what you found that works for all of you!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Geography Pack

This post is going to be short and sweet; these first two weeks are making me exhausted! We have been working for a while (too long, really) on our Geography Pack and it is finally FINISHED! We start off each year with a geography unit which includes: map skills, continents/oceans, types of communities, landforms and the change of land over time. So, we decided to combine all of these topics into one learning pack. 

Here is a peek as to what is included:

Interested in checking out this pack? Head over to our TpT store. 
In light of having a fabulous start to a new school year, this pack will be 50% off until Wednesday. Don't miss out!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Going on a “safari” to see more classroom photos!

I’m soooo excited so share my classroom photos with all of you! This is my first year having a “theme.” I always switched things up, but this year I had a ton of fun creating safari/jungle items. I am kind of crazy about that inspired me to have my kiddos take a safari adventure.  Below you will see the closest I could get to a whole classroom view.

This is my small group table.  I am a HUGE advocate for small groups.   I believe all kiddos CAN be successful at their individual level.  You will see my “FACE of a Safari Guide” board.  I love the lights outlining the board.  Also, My mother-in-law made the cool palm tree!
The “Grrreat Behavior” board is where students earn a piece of their lollipop for doing outstanding work/ being kind to others.  After all four pieces of their lollipop are earned, they get to choose from the “lollipop tree” on my desk! It’s amazing how little dumdums can be such an incentive. ;)

Our “Writing Hut” reinforces skills used during writer’s workshop.  Students can refer to this board after individual writing conferences as well.  Next to this board is our “Daily Five” choice board.  I just love the monkeys for each student’s name!  To the right of this board is our “Wild for Math” resources board.  Students use this often to look up strategies learned throughout the year.

 My carpet area is also titled our “Reading Hut.” Many of our mini lessons take place right here.  It is enclosed with crates my awesome dad made me a few years ago.  My “bench buddies” for the week get to sit on the crates. They are chosen for making good choices throughout the week……yet another incentive that works so well to get kiddos motivated!

I absolutely LOVE my behavior “ladder” this year!!  We call it a ladder since the goal is to reach the top.  The names are what crack me up.  They are arranged in this order: “Mischievous monkey,” “Troubled tiger,” “Poor parrot,” “Happy hippo” (everyone starts out here each day), “Great gorilla,” “Stupendous Snake.”

I’m ending my tour with a pic of my “Hunting for Helpers board.”  I have to share with you that my students were absolutely fantastic with already remembering their “jobs” this week.  I’m so excited for this year as I hope all of you are!

Check back early next week to see our geography pack and grab a freebie!  We hope all of you have a RELAXING weekend!  We know we will get some much needed zzzz’s to start out our first FULL week of school on Monday!  J

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Classroom Photos (Galore) Party!

Well the first day has come and gone, just like that! I have the most fabulous group of kiddos this year but geez, am I exhausted!.

We are linking up with the Classroom Photos (Galore) Party!

Here are a few photos of my pirate-inspired space:

This HUGE treasure chest is sitting outside of my doorway. Our VBS theme this year was 'diving deep' and this was graciously given to me when it was over.

When you walk into the room, my carpet area is the first thing you see. This is a new rug and chair this year (my fabulous aunt let me do a little shopping in her basement....can you tell she decorates homes?!) Math games and brainstorming pages for writing will soon fill the counter.

Behind my meeting rug, is the small group table where our interventionist meets with her groups during math and reading. The red pocket chart is where students will make their Daily 5 choices each morning.

Continuing along the back wall of my room are my computers and word walls. I have two word walls that my kids use on a daily basis. The word wall system is another post in and of itself, but that will be coming shortly!

This is my small group meeting area. Behind me is our "FACE of a pirate board".

This is the area behind my desk. My classroom job board is to the far left, and my social studies/science wall is to the far right- just waiting to be filled with terms from our geography unit! The 'Shiver Me Timbers' board is an incentive board. Each student has a "treasure chest" (library card pocket). If they are cuaght doing something good, they get to add a plastic coin to their chest. 4 coins by the end of the week = a prize!

On the left, is my writing wall. The top will be utilized for writing goals for my students. The bottom will be used for examples of skills taught during lessons. In the middle is the calendar. On the right is my math wall. Important terms and things to remember are here. Last year my kids used the math wall alot. I love it when they are working on a worksheet or even a test and they have to stand up to see what's posted on the wall. I'm big on teaching them to use their resources! 

This is the closest 'whole-room' shot I could get!
Looking back, I realized I didn't get close enough to see all of the little 'pirate' embelishments on everything but oh-well it has been a crazy past few days!

Head back here soon to see what Val's safari-inspired room looks like. (It's fabulous, you won't want to miss it!)

We hope everyone's school year is off to a great start!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Guest Blogger! Featuring Yvonne Dixon from Sassy in Second

Hi everyone!  My name is Yvonne Dixon (from Sassy in Second) and I am SO excited to be the guest blogger today for …Two Tacky Teachers!  I just LOVE their blog name and want to thank Jayme and Val for asking me to join them to share some Common Core ideas and resources.  We are all in the same boat trying to come up with assessments and materials to support our new Common Core State Standards.  I am so thankful for all of the amazing educators out there posting ideas for us all to use!

As a second grade teacher that has taught for 20 years in Georgia, I’ve seen the pendulum swing from Quality Core Curriculum (QCC’s) to Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), to what we now have…National Standards with the Common Core.  Unpacking and unwrapping standards is a tedious job and finding materials and units can be a little tricky.  Thank goodness we are in a blogging world where we can find resources at our fingertips!  If you haven’t already seen this, I would suggest you check out the amazing resources this Common Core for Educators article provides.  At the top of the list is the Common Core Initiative (a must for all teachers)!  It has everything you need from finding text Lexile levels to Common Core lessons on the Teaching Channel!
I realized a couple of years ago when my principal announced that we were moving toward National Standards that I would need to create materials that not only supported the standards but offered opportunities for differentiation as well.  I decided to design tiered math tubs that fit the levels of my kiddos while covering the expectations of Common Core.  Below is an example of one of my Tiered Math Tubs aligned with Common Core Standards.  I’d love for you to check them out on TpT!


 In addition, I’ve created a Common Core Notebook that is LOADED with pages that include:

Essential Question Posters, Domain Posters (notebook dividers), Word Wall Vocabulary Cards, Standards at a glance, a parent letter explaining about standards based notebooks, standard recording sheets, work sample evidence of learning sheets, and much more!

I am also reading books to help me design or implement units for Common Core instruction in my classroom.  I highly recommend you purchase the Common Core Curriculum Maps for your grade level.  I am participating in a book study on these “roadmaps to learning” for Common Core lessons and planning.  Many schools are implementing these across grade levels.


Thanks again to Jayme and Val for having me on their precious blog and I hope you can use some of this information as you implement CCSS in your school. Come visit me sometime at Sassy in Second!  Thanks friends!-Yvonne

Friday, August 10, 2012

Meet-the-teacher night and TPT sale!

It is extremely hard for us to believe school starts in a week and 2 days—yes we are including those two precious days!  ;)  As we mentioned in our last post this is the very first year we are having a meet-the-teacher night. We’re thrilled to meet our kiddos and parents prior to day one to ease some of the first day jitters.  

Sooo…..due to this new experience, we decided to create a few items to go along with our “Safari” theme to help on this special night.  We are sharing the pack with you as a {FREE} download. Some of the items include: a PTA signup sheet, a transportation list, a helper signup sheet, goodie tags, a safari match game and more.  Click on the picture below to download the pack from TPT. We hope you can find it useful!

As many of you already know TPT is having a HUGE sale the 12-13th. We are debating back and forth as to what items we have to purchase! Haha. We are including all of our packs in the sale so please stop by and grab one of our items for a great discounted price. Have fun shopping!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Pinterest Finds

As with everyone else, we have been working like crazy to get our rooms ready for the new school year. We are waiting on one last order to come in so we can put the finishing touches on our rooms. Until we are 'picture ready' we thought we would share some cute ideas to use in your room this year....Pinterest inspired, of course!

This is just plain smart

I will admit, I RARELY use paint in my classroom. (Rarely, as in maybe once a year?) But, after I came across this brilliant idea, I though "I may be able to break out the paint TWICE this year!" This is such an easy way to minimize spills and splatters. And, hey, since they are plastic cups, you could easily rinse and re-use as needed!


This year is the first year that our school will be holding an Open House before the start of the school year. I am excited that I will get to see many of my new kiddos before they walk through the door on the first day and I want to make sure their first impression of the classroom is a good one. How fun are those balloons?! I am thinking I will need to stop at the Dollar Store and pick up some red, black and white balloons to match my theme this year, tie them to the back of each chair and VOILA instant excitement! I'm even thinking of having the kiddos who do show up take their balloon home with them. Then I can see who was able to stop by and who wasn't (becuase let's face it, after the craziness of Open House it can be challenging to recall if you got a chance to speak with everyone). It also means less clean up for me. Cute? Yes. Able to be kept up on the first day of school? Not likely.

Finally, my favorite one of all.....
They have to leave it on their desk for when they come back...This will help with those kiddos who just 'forget' to wash their hands!

Genius! My why-didn't-I-think-of-that moment! When a student leaves the room, they put the hand sanitizer on their desk. When they return, they need to use it before the put it back on the counter. This is perfect for those kids who just, ya know, *forget* to wash their hands before coming back to class!

Three simple and inexpensive additions we hope to add to our classrooms this year, thank you Pinterest! Be on the lookout for pictures of our classrooms coming SOON!