Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Make Your Masterpiece! Math Spiral Review

Last year, I began creating my OWN math spiral review each week for my grade level.  I wanted something that aligned with our standards in a rigorous way, and I wanted something quick and simple that I could use daily, as well assess somehow at the end of the week.  Thus, my spiral review was born!  I worked on it ALL year last year.  We had used spiral reviews previously and they were never really what we needed.  Our campus even purchased one last year for us - I looked at it and immediately found several instances where it wasn't actually aligned to our standards.
This summer, I have gone back to the reviews I created during the year and completed the ones I managed not to save somehow, and then over-hauled it to make it as user-friendly as possible.  I made some changes to it, completed it, and have it ready for YOU!
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

You can use this in a few ways with your students.  I used it as morning work.  So the kids came in and worked on it independently, and then during the first few minutes of my math block, we would quickly go over it.

It can also be used as homework, as small group work, or put in a daily math center. 

For each week of the year, there are two sheets.  The first one is a Monday through Thursday practice sheet with 4 questions for each day.  The second sheet is an assessment over the skills covered throughout the week.  The questions are similar the ones asked during the week.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
 As you can see, the questions asked during the week match the types of questions asked on Friday.  This will give you good data on which skills students have mastered and which skills still need more work.  It can very easily be good information for you to use to drive your small group instruction.

Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

If you are interested in this, I have a 3 week FREEBIE of this product that you are welcome to download and try out by clicking HERE!  If you like it, please purchase the full school year by clicking HERE!
 Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

Monday, June 29, 2015


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Monday, June 22, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge - Makeover Madness and Dare to Dream

I joined the party a little late, but I completed my week 1 seller challenge and my week 2 seller challenge, so here they both are!

Week 1 challenge is Makeover Madness.
My makeover was an easy choice.  I made this awesome subtraction practice unit when I first began on TPT, and it hardly EVER gets looked at, let alone bought! I have looked at it over and over and thought, I should really redo that….and then I don't.  I am a checklist person, and once that item is off of my checklist, I am pumped to get started on the next thing.  So, going back to something I already completed feels like working backwards!  Anyway, here is my MAKEOVER MADNESS!
I changed the frame, background, clip art, font, and even the title!
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
I put it on sale 20% off today and tomorrow if you'd like to get it for your classroom!  Just click on the picture!

Week 2 challenge is called Dare to Dream.
The challenge is to blog about my dreams and goals for my TPT business.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
I have twin 4 year olds, and while I obviously have 14 years left to save for their educations, college is going to be CRAZY expensive by then.  I know while I was in school, my tuition went up every. single. semester.  Seriously - we need a law to stop that madness!!

I would also like to live beyond the old paycheck-to-paycheck routine.  While my district is well paid, and I appreciate what UEA does to ensure we get fair raises, I still wouldn't survive if I missed a check for even one month!  It would be nice not to have to worry about money and be able to focus that energy on more positive things!

I would love for my TPT store to afford me to be debt free!  Before my twins were born, my husband was finishing up school and when the twins were born, he began staying home to care for them, so we have been on ONE check for the last 5 years.  Y'all.  It is ROUGH.  I LOVE that my kids didn't have to go to daycare, but the credit card companies are now my number one fans because of the amount we have had to charge and the fact that we can basically only make minimum monthly payments.  BLECH!

And last, I'd LOVE to get to retire from teaching early.  While I do LOVE teaching, I love my family and the time I get to spend with them.  I want to be able to help out my kids when they start having families and I want to see the world with my husband!

Those are my dreams!  Thanks for reading this little ol blog of mine.  I hope you have time at some point to poke around and see what else is going on in my teaching adventure!

Thank you to these four fabulous women for hosting this seller challenge!!!  It is so much fun!

One Item That Means the World to Me

Hello!  I am linking up with Miss Monica at I Heart Grade 3 for her Weekly Summer Link-Up.  This week, the topic is, "One Item That Means the World to Me."
How, oh how, can anyone narrow it down to ONE item?? I interpret this as a tangible item.  What do I choose?  My college degree? Our home? My Bible?  My Macbook, which I couldn't do any of my TPT/bloggy stuff without?

I thought and thought on it, and I decided that the one item that means the world to me is my wedding ring.  When I thought about it, my ring is a symbol of the things that I hold most dearly to my heart - God, love and family.  My ring represents my love and commitment for my husband, our marriage made strong with the help of God, my family who celebrated us as we wed, and my family that was created because of our love.

Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

This was fun!  I can't wait to see what the topic is for next week! Thank you Miss Monica!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Walk the Plank! Math Fact Fluency Game

I don't know about you all, but one thing I feel like my kids ALWAYS need more practice on is fact fluency.  In 2nd grade, students are expected to be able to fluently add and subtract within 20.  In order for kids to get in quality practice, it has to be engaging.  At the end of the year, I put together this little game called "Walk the Plank."
This game is usually played in pairs, but could be played with four players in teams of two.
Begin by giving each pair of students one "plank," two 10-sided dice (or cubes you have written on with numbers up to 10), and each child 20 playing pieces.  You can also give them a recording sheet if you wish.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable MomentsMrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

Each player lines his or her playing pieces along the side of the plank, aligning one piece under each number.  Player 1 rolls the dice and adds the two numbers together.  Then, he or she removes Player 2's playing piece next to the number that matches that sum.  Then, the turn is over.

The pictures below show one turn for a player.  I only had enough 10-sided dice for the kids to have one, so they just rolled it twice.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

Player 2 then rolls the dice and repeats the process.

Players continue taking turns, repeating this process over and over.  If a player gets the same sum they have already made, they just don't get to remove a piece on that turn.

My students LOVED this game.  We played it several days in a row, and the next week they had the choice of this game and a few other fact fluency games, and they overwhelming chose "Walk the Plank!"  

You can check it out here at my TPT store by clicking on the image below.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments

Friday, June 19, 2015

Five for Friday!

Well this week flew by!  That seems to happen in Summer, doesn't it?  Well, let's get right to my Five for Friday hosted by Kacey at Doodle Bugs.

I have some exciting news to share!  If you read my last post, you know that I was interviewing for a new position and…….
I accepted a 4th grade position at a new campus in my district on Tuesday.  I am SO ready for a change, and I am getting a big one!  I will also be getting GT certified over the summer because my group of kids will be GT and ESL.  I am moving from a non-testing grade level to a grade with 3 tests!  I hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew!  Strangely, I am not nervous about it at all.  I'm excited and already looking over 4th grade standards and our district's scope & sequence.

I do plan to take something with me to my new 4th grade position that I used with my 2nd graders.  It's my class wide reward system inspired by the game called "Words with Friends."  At the beginning of the year I hang up the game board on the wall with several words written on it that spells out different rewards the whole class can earn.
I chose to use mine for behavior, so they could earn letters by getting a compliment in the hallway, no one earning a color change all day, getting a good report from the enrichment teacher, lining up correctly the first time asked, everyone bringing back signed notes on time, etc. (You can allow them earn letters for whatever you like!)
I would draw a letter from the little bag to the left and then tell them the possible words the letter can go on.  Then, the class would vote and I would place the letter on the board!  It is super fun, motivating, and builds community among the students.  They have to work together instead of it being every man for himself!

If you want to check it out, click here or on either of the pictures to be taken to my TPT store.  
The kids love it.  I always let them know, this is an opportunity for us to earn a letter!  It helps for them to remember they are working together for the reward.
We enjoyed a warm afternoon in the backyard playing in the sprinkler.  I couldn't convince the kids to run through it until I showed them how.  They aren't crazy about water getting in their faces, so I showed them how fun it was!

In true Mindy-fashion, something crazy had to happen.  When I tried turning the water down so the sprinkler wouldn't be QUITE so wild, the whole faucet came OUT of the wall and water was spewing out of the side of the house like a fire hydrant!  I DIED laughing.  My husband?  Not so much.  He had to go turn the water to the house off and fix it.

 Ben and Emily tried helping, too.  LOL.

We are enjoying our new puppy, Ellie!  She is pretty good, as far as puppies go!  She is learning to ring the bells on the back door when she needs to go potty, and learning what she can and can not chew!  She also sleeps a LOT- sometimes on my shoulder, y'all!  SO cute.

My last point for Five for Friday is actually a favor!  What are your favorite 4th grade teacher blogs?  Do you have a "go-to" that you love?  What about your favorite products from TPT for 4th graders?  I need all of the advice, tips, and help I can get!  I appreciate any feedback you can give me!

Well that takes care of me for the week!  What spectacular-ness have you been up to so far this summer?  I'd love to hear from ya!

Friday, June 12, 2015

June Currently

So, a fellow blogger-friend of mine told me about a monthly link-up party that Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade host each month called "Currently."  I am brand new to this link up and excited to be a part of it for June!

So without further ado, here is my inaugural Currently post!

Yes, my friends, summer has begun for me and I have quickly slipped into summer-teacher-mode.  You know, that one where you lay in bed a little longer, where shoes for only 20% of your day, go to the bathroom anytime you feel like it, and begin to slow down and enjoy your lunch again!  Anyone else right there with me?

Even though I am in summer mode, I am still thinking of school! (Don't judge me!  LOL)  Mainly because I am interviewing for a 4th grade teaching position this coming Monday!  I am really excited because it sounds like a wonderful opportunity for growth as a teacher, it will be on a new campus which means a whole new adventure, and it will be a challenge as well! (Bring it on!)  

I am also getting excited for July.  I am going to the Las Vegas TPT Summer Conference this year!  I've never been and am nervous/eager to get to go!  Anyone else going this year?  I plan to blog more about my preparations for it soon and will certainly post something about it when I return!

Well, I hope summer is treating you well, your A/C works well (especially if you are a Texan), and you are filled with happiness each day!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Five For Friday!

My name is Mindy, and I just survived my sixth year of teaching.  LOL!  Just joking.  But seriously, I am OUT of school for summer and I am SO ready to relax, recharge, and hang out with my family - including a new addition!  (More on that in a moment).
Well, it is FRIDAY again which means I'm linking up with Kacey over at Doodlebugs for my Five for Friday.  Ready?

 Our last day of school with students was this past Friday, but we had a half-day to make up on Monday thanks to that crazy ice storm a lot of country 'enjoyed' earlier this year.  After the kids left, a few teacher friends and myself decided to unwind and get our dork on.  Please enjoy this little ditty we threw together…

Wednesday, a couple of other teachers and I presented a course called Math Guided Practice with Games at our school district's Summer Curriculum Conference.  It was a fun professional development course because we shared lots of fun games to use in math centers and had some giveaways.  I donated a few of my products and we also gave everyone a game called Snap It Up!  This game is fun and very versatile!  If you haven't heard of it, click the picture below to check it out. (I am in no way associated with this company).
 Snap It Up from Learning Resources
Our curriculum coordinator also found a wonderful resource from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  Their research shows that playing games in math allows for meaningful practice. Appropriate mathematical activities are essential building blocks to develop mathematically proficient students who demonstrate computational fluency (Van de Walle & Lovin, Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics Grades K-3, pg. 94).
Click the picture below for a document that has TONS of games for 2nd grade math. (These are also available in other grade levels - you can Google them).

Last week my sweet baby had her first dance recital.  
Our beautiful, tiny dancer.

She's serious about her tap dancing.  She KILLS me!!

Here's the world's proudest, twin brother.  He cheered her on in the aisle and wanted to give her the flowers by himself.

My happy little family!

My twins are also turning 4 on Monday - which I seriously can't believe.  So, we had their birthday party over the weekend.  They are SUPER into Despicable Me right now, so we had a minion party.
Ben and Emily with their minion piƱata. (Funny story - we had that minion for a couple of weeks before the party.  We had to keep it up on top of our dresser, and every morning they'd come tell it good morning, and if we were leaving, we had to tell it goodbye).

Ben spent a GOOD chunk of time at the drink dispenser.  He thought it was great fun.  My aunt later told me every time he got a drink, he got a new cup - no wonder we went through them so fast!

Emily with her new minion, Bob.  

And last - about our new addition to the family.  We are NOT having another baby, but we DID get a puppy!!  We rescued her from a shelter and totally lucked out in the way of puppies!  She's such a sweet girl!  She's so gentle with my babies and has been such a good girl!  We named her Ellie.

And THAT, my friends, is my Five for Friday!  I hope your summer has begun and that you all have a wonderful break!