Monday, July 20, 2015

Customize Your Class Calendar (Plus a Calendar Math FREEBIE)

Calendar area in my classroom has gone through so many different  revisions.  I'm always looking for a way to display materials in a cohesive and organized way.    My current calendar was inspired by the supremely creative Babbling Abby at The Inspired Apple.
Last year she posted a painted canvas calendar she was using in her home school classroom.  I loved the idea, so over Christmas break, I stocked up on canvases, black paint, and velcro and then went to work.  (My daughter loved it so much she helped me make a canvas calendar for her playroom).

To make a canvas calendar, paint your canvas any color(s) you would like.  Do a little measuring to create the lines.  Print and laminate your calendar pieces.  Then add velcro rounds to the back of the calendar pieces and the canvas.  You can also add mini clothes pins for additional display options.

 I decided to add additional components to my calendar area.  I created a 120 chart.  Of course, all of the numbers are attached with velcro which makes it is easy to remove them to do various 120 chart activities.

I used small goodie boxes to make holders for the number of days straws.  We track the number of days in each month on the tally canvas.  I found dry erase paper in the scrapbook paper section at Hobby Lobby.  I used the dry erase paper on the calendar (numerical date) and on the tally mark canvas.

 Two of the canvas serve as focus areas.  There is a math focus canvas and a reading focus canvas.  There is enough space for a couple of anchor charts on each canvas.  When the anchor charts come down, they go in binders that students can look through for review.

I use touch math with my students.  I have the touch numbers in my calendar area for easy reference.  If you are interested in a free set of these touch number posters, click here.

Some of the materials I use are not posted.  I keep a tote on the shelf under the calendar that holds additional calendar pieces, a model clock, demonstration coins, pointers, calendar instructions for a substitute, and more.

There you have it, the calendar set up in my classroom.  Using the canvases made it so simple to create a set of materials that all go together.  The canvases are light weight and easy to mount.  Since I'm using a bulletin board, I just used several thump tacks and a little hot glue to hang everything.  If you don't have one long bulletin board, I'm sure they would be just as easy to hang on other surfaces.
This project was well worth the effort.  I love that I have the flexibility to customize the display to best suit my students and to make it work in my space without looking too cluttery.

In addition to the classroom calendar area, my students also get independent practice with various calendar math skills using our monthly Calendar Connection booklets.  Each month students complete interactive printables covering calendars, counting, number representations, coins, time, graphing, word problems, place value, and more.  If you are interested in using my Calendar Connection packet with your own students, you can try it out with my Calendar Connection {A FREE Sampler}.  
The free sampler is a great snap shot of the full Calendar Connection.  You can find both packets at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Happy Monday!

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Daily 5: Breaking It Down (Part 3)

Hi friends.
Before the summer gets away, I'd like to share the third (and final part) of my look at the updated Daily 5.  Part 3 focuses on The CAFE and Math Daily 3.
When The Daily 5 Second Edition was published, I was super psyched to see there was a chapter on Math Daily 3.  I was so excited, I actually had to make myself wait to read the math chapter.  #totalnerdalert
The CAFE and Math Daily 3 are two more ways the authors of The Daily 5 enrich classroom instruction and help students take ownership of their learning.

I hope these Daily 5 breakdowns have been a helpful review or have inspired you to take the leap and implement it in your own classroom.
Each year, the Daily 5 has looked a little different in my classroom.  However, the training outlined during the "launch" has seriously upped my classroom management, because students really understand what is expected of them during literacy and math time.  The Daily 5 has worked great with my students.
By the way, if you would like to read a little more about how our class started with Math Daily 3, click here.
Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Work It Wednesday: July 1, 2015

Hi All.
I cannot tell you how excited I was to run across a wonderful summer linky by Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle.  Work It Wednesday is a weekly linkup to share all things fitness that motivated teachers are doing this summer.
I don't know about you, but reading and seeing what other teachers are doing to be healthy is very inspiring.  And we can all use a little inspiration every now and again.

One part of my fitness routine is running.  I have been running for a while.  I usually run for time (not distance).  Meaning, I try to go for about thirty minutes (or maybe a little more).  If I happen to be training for a race, I will focus on hitting milage goals.
Since there are no races on the horizon, my Wednesday Workout was a thirty minute run at the park.  It was a bit rainy and cooler than usual for a July day, so today's run was pretty nice.

If you are thinking about adding running to your fitness regime, I have a few tips for you that might help along your way.
My first tip is, as you're building your indurance, try interval training.

Interval training can mean many things.  What I'm talking about is intervals of walking and running as you work to build stamina and endurance.  Start out walking for one minute and then running for one minute.  After a few workouts, decrease your walking time and increase the time you are running.
If you are consistent with your workouts, you will eventually build your stamina up.
When I first started, I would run to one lamppost and then walk to the next.  After a little while, I would run to two lampposts and then walk to the next one.  I kept adding lampposts and over time, I was able to do longer runs.

My next tip for new runners, is to be patient with yourself.  You can do this.  But, like all things worth doing, it's going to take some work.  Going out and running three miles (and not feeling like you are about to die) will take a while.  Be patient.
You are going to get passed by people running much faster than you.  It's OK.  Their speed has nothing to do with you.  Be patient with yourself.  Also, be proud of yourself for just getting out there and doing what you can.

My third tip is to choose your gear wisely.  Most importantly, use good running shoes.  I usually get new shoes every five months.  If you are running in older shoes, you are likely to feel it in your joints.  Running shoes are very important.
As far as other gear, I'm pretty low tech.  I mainly need my watch.  But, there are lots and lots of gadgets that you may help you get the most out of your runs.
For apparel, (ladies) a supportive sports bra is a must.  I like Target's Champion sports bras.  As for tops and shorts, I like Nike.  Nike also makes great cold weather gear.  I usually go to Zappos or 6pm for my Nike stuff.  Gap makes some comfy exercise tops as well.  Bottom line on running apparel, go for comfort.

My final tip is to realize that taking care of yourself is very important.  I know you're busy.  But, if you do not take a little time out of your week to take care of your health, eventually it's going to catch up to you.
Teaching is a physically demanding job.  Improving your fitness will make you a better teacher because you will have more energy to meet those demands.
You may have to be creative in how you fit in your runs.  #sosorrybut  Maybe consider early morning workouts.  If you have a family at home, maybe try to include them.  My seven year old daughter has accompanied me on many runs.  I used to push her around in our jogging stroller.  Now she rides her bike.  I love that we can get out there together.
Taking care of yourself is important to you and to the people who love you.

There you have my tips for adding running to your routine.  This summer is a great time work toward your fitness goals so you can return to school with more energy and confidence.