Monday, June 15, 2015

Rational Numbers Venn Diagram

I am looking over my year and creating new things, upgrading old lessons, and keeping the good stuff.

This is one activity from the very beginning of the year that had the students practice classifying numbers that I will be using again this year.

I gave each group of students a graphic organizer.

We reviewed what type of numbers were included in each set. Then the groups of students had a index card and had to list 10 numbers of various types that the next group would have to place correctly on the graphic organizer.

Because the students were creating a quiz for other students, they got creative with the numbers they chose and tried to "trick" their classmates.

Once students had their assignments from their classmates, they worked together to place the numbers. Then I had the students pass their work forward to another group to grade it for them.

So the students talked 3 times in the space of about 20 minutes about 3 different sets of numbers. I also love how the students get feedback on their work and the conversations they had as they debated where they numbers went.

You can get this Venn Diagram for FREE on my TpT store right now.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

STAAR Quick Reference Guides

This is a resource for Texas Teachers.

I do not think that TEA has a good place to find the TEKS. And I like to refer to the TEKS often and don't like to carry around a lot of papers.

Region 20 has a list of STAAR resources that include a Quick Reference Guide.

For 6th grade math, I carry this around glued in my notebook.

I love it. It has all the TEKS and lists Readiness and Supporting. So much easier to navigate then the TEA website. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Teaching Philosophy

Its the end of the year and everyone is done. We have one week of "real school" left before we enter a week of field days, awards, talent show, etc.

While I am dreaming of a summer of book reading, sleeping in, and spending time with my baby, I need to be reminded that I still have students to teach. For 8 days anyways.

I came across an old blog post from before I got a teaching job about my teaching philosophy.

It starts with this quote:

"I was successful because you believed in me."
--Ulysses S Grant to Abraham Lincoln

Expectations matter to our students. They all deserve someone who believes they can be successful. I work with students who come from difficult backgrounds, who go home to difficult situations, and generally don't have family encouraging them to do their best.

I always had personal cheerleaders at home who expected me to do well in school and go to college. That made a difference in the choices I made. It is something I took for granted until I realized that not everyone has that.

I absolutely believe that my students are capable of being successful in life. They need to know that someone believes in them. They don't need to be told they will end up in jail one day. (Something I've actually hear a teacher tell a group of students.)

So as the school year ends, I want to remember why I am there in the first place.

What is your teaching philosophy?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Quick post here. I am almost ready to come back to blogging. I have 21 days until I graduated from grad school! I am about to have so much time to do other things besides school work!

I found this picture from my classroom a few years ago. I wanted an easy way to separate notebooks by class and subject. Colored duct tapeto the rescue!

I LOVE all the color and how organized it looks. Remember, my classroom is a bit of an organized mess, so corners like this are rare to find. 

It takes time at the beginning of the year to wrap the spines with duct tape, but it is worth it in the end. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Small Group Table

I think I was on Pinterest last week when I saw these dots and had to have them. They are dry erase dots about a foot in diameter and they stick to surfaces. (And can be re positioned but I haven't done that yet.)

They make my small group table pop and make it easy for me to get started in my organized mess. No more hunting down where I last laid the small whiteboards. 

I have plans to organize this area of my classroom soon. There is a filing cabinet there filled with old worksheets from previous teachers that needs to go. 

The reviews I read online said to not leave what you write on these dots too long or it will be harder to erase. I would also imagine that some colors won't erase to easily either. 

There was three in every package and I bought two packages. I think it is my best investment in my classroom so far. I have just had the students write on the table before, but this is just more fun. They come in lots of colors! Click on the picture below to take you to amazon for all the colors.

This is my little helper in the classroom with me. With two parents who are teachers, she has a life of being in the classroom after hours. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015


This is Day 1 of how I will be teaching Triangles this week.

With the new Texas standards this year, my 6th graders are supposed to already know the types of triangles, but they do not. So I really cannot spend any days on teaching classification of triangles, but I will.

Inquiry Question: How can triangles be classified or grouped?

Engage: Ask students where they have seen triangles or how could they be useful.

Explore: In groups: Cut out a sheet of triangles of all types and find 3 ways to group the triangles.
Allow students to share how they classified the triangles. (I expect that some students will already know the types of triangles, so this will be a way for me to assess who knows and who doesn't.)

After listening to student ideas, have them try again and find 3 other ways to group the triangles.

Explain: Glue notes into ISN giving definitions of triangles and watch this video.

Elaborate: Using the app Geoboard, students will make and explain all the types of triangles.

Evaluate: Write triangle riddles: I have 3 60 degree angle, I have 3 equal sides. What am I?
 and a quick 4 question exit ticket.

This is the plan. I'll report back after execution.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Giant Hand

One of my classes was catching onto proportions fairly quickly and I wanted to give them an activity where they could apply those skills. 

I found this link to a lesson called Hands on the Giant. I projected a giant hand onto paper and traced one for each group. There instructions were to find the height of the giant just knowing how big its hand was. I gave them no hints and let them work. 

Immediately some groups were measuring themselves and their hands and then setting up an equivalent proportion. It was great to see them pull from the math they knew to solve this problem.