Friday, July 24, 2015

Math Dice Games

A long, long time ago I told you all how I had switched up my math program to better suit the needs of my students... or I started doing math groups.

Math groups worked wonderfully in my classroom for a few reasons 
1) I had a range of abilities in my students in math (which class wouldn't though?)
2) My students were fairly responsible (or at least I could make sure there was a few responsible students in each group and separate some of the ones that liked to fool around)
3) It allowed me to make myself more available for my students during math class
4) Students got to play 2 games every time we did math groups (which would end up being about 30 minutes of games)

When I wrote on the board that we would be doing math groups in math on any day they got excited.  
And I loved that.

What kept me from starting math groups was my fear of how long it would take to put together a decent amount of games.  
And to be honest... it took a bit of time.
I ended up using a report card writing day (well, just the afternoon) to get a good start on my games which helped a lot!

If you are at all interested in finding some dice games for your math class I'm going to provide you with some links to some free games and some suggestions for books that you can buy.
Anything to help a fellow teacher with setting this up!

** the games I have listed below are all ones that I used in my grade 5/6 class BUT many (like the books I list) have options for lower and higher grades OR they can be adapted for lower grades**

One center was always dice games and the other was either a card, board, or bingo game.

Before putting a new game in a center I ALWAYS spent 5-10 minutes at the beginning of that class to teach the class the game.  I would invite a small group to the front of the room and we would play it together.  As long as I had 1 student from each of my 4 math groups I could hope that even those who weren't paying attention during the demonstration could be taught it later.

So without further ado.. the games

My students LOVED the game SNAKE.
We often would play it as a whole class

I got a number of my games from a math dice game book that my coworker had
Here are some books that may not be the exact same one that I used but would likely provide you with great dice games as well:

The nice thing about the games from the books was that they were all very similar.  Teach them a few of them and they will quickly pick up on the others
AND they had range of difficulty levels.  Some of my students may have needed to practice their 3 times tables whereas others would be way beyond that and practicing their 12's.  These books have the same game for every ability level.  This was great because I would just set down a stack of them and tell them to pick the level that would be a challenge to them.  I trusted that they at least sometimes picked one that would be a challenge.

You can get Order of Operations Bowling free!
(also, clicking on that link brings you to a bunch of file folder games that you can check out)

Multiplication Yahtzee was also one that my students liked.  
It's free here!

If you want to support some teachers you can check out Teachers Pay Teachers for many more games
If you are cheap (like me) here is a link to a bunch of dice games on Teachers Pay Teachers that start with all the free ones

To help my games last I stuck them all in a page protector (I was making the games when the laminator was down).  The students knew they weren't to take the papers out of there and I don't think they ever did.  They held up quite well.
As a bonus I found that using white board markers on the page protectors was easier to erase than on laminated ones... I'm not sure why this is... maybe someone can fill me in.

Then I stuck them all in this handy accordion file.  I always pre picked the game that the students would play and took it out of here and just handed them the sheets and dice they would need.  I have a feeling that is I would have given them the folder to go through it would have ended up being a giant mess at the end of every math groups session.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Professional Development

I've officially run out of lake invites (until the end of August) so it looks like I'll be spending more time in the city from here on out.  But one must keep busy whilst staying in the city!  So why not check out some absolutely free professional development sessions that you can take part in from the comfort of your very own living room... while wearing pajamas and eating ice cream (it starts at 11:30 EDT but I won't judge if that's what you choose to do).

I've been a member at Share my Lesson for a while now but only recently discovered that they offer free webinares (mostly because they sent me an email and I read it because I had the time to).

Unfortunately they are nearly all wrapped up (probably because teachers in the states are going back to school a lot sooner than we are here.. or that's my guess anyways).  So the only one that I could have taken part in is the one that is this THURSDAY JULY 23rd at 11:30 EDT (So I'll be watching it at 10:30am my time).  The topic is "Classroom Foundation and Back to School" and I for one am looking forward to it.  It's only going to take up 50 minutes of my morning (I'm hoping to get to the gym before it starts but that might not happen.. I'm on vacation here!)

I've also registered for a few others (all on June 23rd) but many of them start at the same time so I'll catch them later and just participate as a viewer and not in the live chat feature.

Find their summer series and all the other webinares they have done recently by clicking here

Fortunately, for those of us who have been away this summer (or still teaching in June) you are able to watch any of the old webinares also for free by clicking here


Want to know what else is great about Share my Lesson?  There are tons of absolutely free resources available!  Everyone definitely needs to check it out!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five for Friday

I think I did one of these eons ago and well, I'm back!

It's too hot to do anything outside so it is the perfect day to get some blogging done!


I've been making cookies!

On my other blog *gasp 2 blogs!?!* I'm attempting to make a different cookie a week for an entire year...
what can I say... I love cookies!

I decided to do this and then I decided that I should be eating more healthy


It was my birthday last Friday and what can I say, I have a pretty swell boyfriend


I don't have a classroom for next year (yet) so I had to bring all my stuff home and I dumped it all into my spare bedroom.  
A week ago you would have had a hard time finding a square foot to stand in but today it is nearly all put away!

Now to get all the things I put away organized!


It's summer vacation and I don't have anything to get ready for next year so I've been spending some time outside


I've been following a bunch of people's blog posts on their
Just gathering ideas in the hopes that one day soon I'll have my own classroom again.
(if you click on the link just above it will take you to one of the blogs I've been following it on)

Packing up a Classroom: Where to Put it All?

I'm sure I'm not the only one out there that had a classroom to call their own for a school year only to be displaced for the following year. 
 I'm not sure where I will be teaching next year (or if I will be going back to substitute teaching) which meant I had to pack up the classroom that I was in the last school year and bring it all to my lovely 2 bedroom condo.

So what did I do with everything?

For starters I live on my own.
If  want to turn my living room into a classroom storage room I'm allowed to (I didn't do this)

If I want to turn my 2nd bedroom into a storage room with a bunch of shelves I'm also allowed to do this too.  
(I also didn't do this)

It's been about a week and a half since school ended and let me show you what my condo looks like (with all my school stuff moved in).

To begin with I keep all of my school stuff in one of two places.

The first place is my 2nd bedroom
Doesn't look too shabby, at least it doesn't too me.

You'll see hanging from the ceiling some of the decorations from my classroom... I wasn't ready to part with them so I didn't let my students take them (despite their pleading).  I have a lot more but this room only came with 2 hooks already put in the ceiling and I have no desire to add more.

Spare Room Closet

Here is where I've hidden away most of my stuff.  I put a bookshelf in my closet because I felt it was too big for the actual room.  On top of it is my printer and a bunch of dictionaries, Bibles, and other books that I'm not so sure of.
Below that is a bunch of decorative stuff.  My bulletin board backings, extra tissue paper that matches my theme colours, and writing folders.
Below that are books that could go in my classroom library 
(there are more beside my printer that you can't see).  
Bottom 2 shelves are a bunch of resources that I should go through and decide what is worth keeping.
In front of the bookshelf are the picture frames I had tacked up on my MOLA bulletin board.  Since they have tacks on the backs of them they don't stack very nicely (I guess I could take all the tacks off the back though)

And the other half of the closet

Pretty much just 2 large bins for storing stuff that I really should go through
I have some room on the top shelf in my closet to store things too (if I find I could use the extra space once I go through some stuff)

The bookshelf

The top shelf of this bookshelf is for my personal library of novels/books
The bottom shelf is more resources.  These resources are ones that I use more often though (but I should definitely still go through them)
In front of that bookself is the last load of stuff I brought home from school.  I'm not entirely sure what is in that black grocery bag.  I have a stack of more resources and the black bag in front is the bag I bring to school every day.  It has served me very well these last 2 years.  I still need to empty it.

One last box of stuff that holds who knows what

I need to go through this box.  I'm hoping everything in it can either be 
1) tossed
2) placed in a binder
3) go into one of those rubber maid like tubs in my closet

The 2nd place I store things to do with school is my storage room

My school stuff takes up one very small portion of my storage room.  This long box was one that we were required to purchase for an art class in university.  I think it still holds a bunch of supplies for that art class but it also holds any posters that I've used in my classroom and boarders for my bulletin boards.  I'm sure it is also something that I could go through.

As a bonus that long box functions as a little shelf because I so rarely have to go into it.  So on top is a bunch of flour and sugar.

I have an outdoor storage space that is relatively empty.  I'm hesitant to put resources out there because they involve a lot of paper and bugs love to hide in paper.  So there isn't any school stuff out there... yet.

And there you have it.
My condo/classroom storage facility.
My goal is to go through all of those bins and resources in July
We'll see.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

End of the Year

My students finished classes on June 26th and then I was at school on June 29th and 30th this year (how sad that we actually had to go right to the end of June this year).

I really hadn't been doing so great at snapping pictures lately and the end of the year was no exception.  

So let me just share with you what we did

1) Decades Parties.  
I put a pair of students (some worked in groups of threes) in charge of a decade of the 1900's to share about it with the class.  I gave them a sheet with some suggestions and whatever they picked from there had to total 100 points.  We had a lot of Power Point presentations, food, dressing up in clothes from the decade, and trivia games.  Some groups did a really awesome job at it.  We had at least 1 "party" a day for the last 2 weeks of school.

2) Loonie Carnival
This year my students were in charge of helping the teachers at the different centers.  Mine were puzzle races and fish races... Fish races were a huge hit until I switched the candy from sour soothers to gummy bears.  We did this the morning of our last day.

3) Parties!
The kids threw me a surprise birthday/going away party (my birthday is July 3rd).  There was food, games, a movie, and even a karaoke machine!  They were so thoughtful and when I came back to the room (after being kicked out so they could set up) my desk was covered in presents!
Then about a week later they asked what I was going to do for them.  My original plan was to walk to the ice cream store and to get them each a cone but then someone suggested I just buy ice cream and toppings and stretch that dollar a little more... so that's what I did.  I think I spent about $50 on all the ice cream and toppings and boy were we stuffed!  We ate our ice cream outside... it was a REALLY hot day.

4) Movies, Karaoke, and Games
On Friday afternoon the grade 5 and 6 students got to pick a room to hang out in.  We knew we were going to do games in one and a movie in another... when I asked my students what they wanted in our room they said karaoke... again.  And it had to be my room since I had the mic.  

5) Art and Poetry Books
Throughout the year I was collecting all the artwork my class had done and adding it to a folder with each students name on it.  For every piece of art that we did I also had them write a poem to go with it.  At the end of the year I took out their folders and they organized them how they would like it to be in a book.  They also made a cover for their books.  I spent a looong time binding all those books together BUT it was so worth it.... last year I saw a lot of art work end up in the recycling bin... at least this year it didn't end up in there (at school at least).  I'm definitely going to continue this.

And Finally, something that didn't happen.

I didn't end up getting a teaching position for next year in my division.
I wasn't eligible for another term and I suppose they couldn't hire a permanent teacher.
So, it looks like it is back to substitute teaching for me.

I'm still applying to other teaching jobs that I'm seeing posted but right now, the plan is to substitute teach starting in September.

So, look forward to some more stories from the substitute teacher's classroom!
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