Sunday, September 7, 2014

Recovering from the Earthquake and a Two Digit Multiplication Game

School has been off to a slow strange start.  Soon after school started, we had a major quake in Napa. Our district canceled school for students for two days while employees came in to clean up.  Our school had a pipe break in our staff room.  Classrooms had things on the ground.  Overall, though, our school was fine.

Many teachers and friends had most of their possessions fall to the floor.  My husband and I were lucky.  We have a couple cracks in our house but nothing dangerous.  Our belongings that fell didn't break.  Some of my friends had everything in their kitchen cabinets fall to the ground.

The theme was clear.  We were all a little shaken, but its stuff.  Thankfully we are safe.

Often, when I meet people from other states, they ask about how I can live somewhere with earthquakes.  Even after this one, I still would take an earthquake over tornadoes or hurricanes.  I've lived here my entire life, and this was only the second quake I felt that did any damage.  Once or twice every thirty years is the kind of odds I like.

The hardest part, honestly, has been getting some sleep.  My dogs seem to feel every aftershock, even when we don't, and the stress of that has been taking its toll on them.  There have been a few times in the middle of the night where our dogs were barking and nothing we did could stop them.  Not so great for sleep.

Tired teachers can often make for grumpy teachers so I've been tying to give myself as much rest as possible.  I took a break from blogging until now and have so much backed up to share with you!

Today, I want to share with you this simple two digit multiplication game that I've been playing with some 5th graders that needed intervention for multi digit multiplication.

Since students miss out on Art, PE or Computer Lab when they are assigned to me for Intervention, I try to make sure they enjoy it. Why multiply on a worksheet when you can play a game? I made this game up and was pleased that they loved it.

One partner would draw two cards and make a two digit number.  The next partner would draw two cards.  They would multiply the two numbers on white boards and then compare their answer.  I used white boards with penmanship lines turned sideways.  This way they had lines to use to keep their digits straight.  I also told them it wasn't a race.  We are focusing on accuracy- attend to precision- not speed.

The wonderful part of this activity was the conversation that arose when they had different answers.  Students had to figure out whether one or both of them made a mistake.

I spent my time helping to guide those conversations.  Of course, at first they'd look at me and ask who was right.  I would guide them through the process of comparing line by line.  They would find the difference between the two answer and check their multiplication.

The students learned where they were making mistakes.  They would say to me, "I need to remember to cross off the number I carried the first time."

My intervention groups this week pretty much followed the same pattern for all 7 grade levels.  I'd tell them their goal.  They'd tell me that goal was too easy for them.  I'd give them a pretest.  If they got 100% they "graduated" from intervention.  The ones that didn't then realized they had room for growth and were motivated to get 100% on their next attempt.   Once students have bought into their goal, they are motivated to learn which makes my job simple.

If you'd like a free copy of the simple test they were trying to pass, here it is. :)

The best part of the week?  I had several 5th graders get 100% on a test but ask to remain with me the whole week anyway.  I'd let them take the post test whenever they felt ready to earn 100%.  I noticed that one partnership had matching answers every single time.  I suggested that they were ready to get 100% on the test.  The boys looked at me and said, "We don't want to take the test because we want to stay all week."  How awesome is that?  5th grade boys who would rather multiply than go to Art, PE, or the Computer Lab!  (Of course I assured them they could stay and they promptly got 100% on their test.)

So, even though our staff room still looks like this....
... my stress level has been pretty low.  

I'll keep making sure learning is fun for them, and work will be fun for me.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Washi Tape Clipart Accents

I've survived the first full week of school and my brain is tired.

How do I recover?  A little netflix marathon while playing with colors.

I started my morning working on some products and wishing I had some simple Washi Tape clipart that wouldn't clash with the words I wanted on top.  Next thing I know, I'm playing in Photoshop.  This is so much more relaxing than thinking.

Teaching 7 grade levels is mentally exhausting.  I'm glad I remembered how much fun I have playing with shapes when my brain is tired. :)

The first result is this Washi Tape Crosshatch Clipart accents.

They will be a flash freebie  in my TPT store until Sunday morning.  If you like them, please leave feedback.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

How We Made a Pirate Ship: Finishing Touches

The best find for building the ship was mini 99 cent chalkboards.  I hot glued some twine around the edges of the chalkboard and my hubby added a wood scrap wrapped in brown duct tape.

We attached dowels together with wire and twine and then hot glued them to secure.  When we were camping, we bought wood in mesh bags that became our sails.  I just cut them to size and tied them to the dowels with twine.

We glued down some Styrofoam and a corner piece from a package to place the dowels into.

My husband cut a piece of cardboard and wrapped it to hold a captains wheel.

The final touch was to add some silver yarn and a painted silver anchor to the boat.

I'm still working on my pirate bulletin board.  Right now all it has is some adorable Melonheadz pirates.

Whew, that was a lot of pictures and blogging about my pirate ship.  Maybe someday it will help someone build a ship of their own. :)



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How We Made a Pirate Ship- Part Two

My husband watched the time lapse video I posted a few times.  He laughed every time he watched me take a break.  Who hasn't wanted to just stretch out on the floor and take a break?!  I was already there and no kid germs were in there yet!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How We Made a Pirate Ship for my Classroom

I have an ocean themed classroom.  Mostly my room looks like it is underwater. 

Last year, my Kinders fell in love with Harry Kindergarten's Subtract Like a Pirate song.  I had a blast speaking like a pirate and telling pirate related math stories.  Since pirates live in the ocean, I decided it was time to add them to my ocean theme.

I recently shared a time lapse video of my husband and I making the pirate ship.  Check it out HERE.

Day 1- Shaping the Ship from Cardboard Boxes

I set up my GoPro to take pictures while we were working.  This was my favorite picture.  If I didn't know any better, I'd think my husband was proposing.  I should have been the one down on my knees thanking him for all his hard work!

When it doubt, take a Pinterest break!

You can check out my Pinterest Pirate Board here.  
You can see some wonderful examples that inspired us.

I should add: glue, glue, glue.  I spent so much time gluing.  My husband spoke in welding terms about gluing.  He wanted me to tack things down and then glue all the seems with thick beads.  All that gluing worked out.  We've moved that thing all around it holds together.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pirate Ship

At the end of last school year, I told my husband that I wanted to build a pirate ship for the top of my cabinets.  He laughed and suggested I buy one at a toy store.  By the end of the summer, he'd come around.

I'm so excited to share what we made.  I'm so proud of how it turned out.

My students are loving the pirate ship.  I'm mostly hearing, "We love your boat."  My favorite compliment was a third grader that told me the ship was boss.  So funny hearing a kid say that.

When my fifth graders came in, they were so distracted by the old globe on the shelf, they didn't notice the pirate ship at first.  One girl put her backpack on a hook under the globe and announced, "This globe smells AMAZING!"  The kids gathered around her and all started sniffing the globe.  I was cracking up.  I walked over and whispered to her that there was an air freshener plugged into the wall under the globe.

When we started building, I set my GoPro to take a picture every 30 seconds.  I put those images together to make this quick time lapse of how we built the pirate ship.  

 Click below to follow me on bloglovin.

This week I'll be blogging about how we made the pirate ship.

I'm linking up with Tara for Monday Made It.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Freebie to Remind Us

I normally only have this freebie active during the month of October for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Unfortunately, we recently lost a close family friend after she had a long battle with breast cancer.

I'm not feeling very calm these days.  The only way I really know how to fight is through awareness.

Please take a moment every month at the beginning of your cycle to do a breast exam.  Here is a page by the American Cancer Society with details.

I'm sharing this in August in honor of Pam.
If you know someone fighting cancer, give them an extra hug.  If you know someone who is a caregiver, give them a little extra support.

My hope is that using these backgrounds will remind you to take care of yourself and those you love.

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