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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The World of Foldables

As I wrap up this school year and begin thinking about next year, FOLDABLES come SCREAMING to mind.  I have mentioned previously that I am trying to go towards a math center classroom (at least on Friday's next year) and thought that foldables would compliment my new approach.  In social studies I use vocabulary foldables (by clicking this link, you will be opening a PDF - it is safe.) The students are given multiple vocabulary foldable worksheets in order to accommodate all of the vocabulary.

While reading some older posts on Corkboard Connections I came across some very neat ways to use foldables in the classroom.  Many of the ideas shared can be used in my middle school math classroom.  Check out the list for your self by clicking below!

Let me know what you think and share any additional links to information on foldables in the classroom!  Through the link above I found The Enlightened Elephant (very colorful foldables) and Runde's Room (very cool math journaling.)  Both blogs have FANTASTIC uses for foldables in the math classroom.  I will be spending my summer pool-side with stacks of foldables!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Island Conquer Learning Center

As I have mentioned previously, I am trying to prepare myself for "Center Friday's" for the 2012 - 2013 school year.  The first mass produced learning center I made was Laura Candler's Island Conquer.  For this game students play in pairs.  A student draws a card and plots the four points.  The other student then finds the area or perimeter of the figure drawn.  Points are scored based upon accuracy.  You can download her learning center HERE!

I made seven of these games, each their own color, and had everything laminated.  (Even the envelopes! Neat trick I discovered - use a stitch ripper to gently re-open or cut the envelope opening.)  The game is contained to a manilla folder for easy storage.  The fronts of the folders are labeled and the inside has been covered with colored construction paper.  I stapled the directions in separately so that the students could flip them over to play either variation of the game.  (Perimeter directions are on the front and the area directions are on the back.) 

 The cards are all individually glued on corresponding colored construction paper and laminated for durability.  It was extra work, but I hope they last this way!  The cards are stored in a laminated envelope that is secured to the learning center with a binder clip.  There was some separation at the top of the folder where the construction paper was glued.  If I were to re-make these, I would cut the construction paper just short of the folder to prevent this since no glue in the world of glue seems to work as well as I would like when it comes to gluing paper without a mess!

I am thrilled with how all seven learning centers turned out and I am currently working on the Fraction Spinners (also Laura Candler's).  I will post pictures once they are assembled and labeled.  I am aiming to have a class set of everything I make.  I read in another article/blog that the best way to structure a learning center classroom is to introduce the game to the entire class and play it as a whole class before giving each pair or group their own individual game.  Please leave me feedback on these centers and how you have made centers or use them in your classroom.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Math Centers

Next year I am going to integrate math centers into my math classroom.  Ideally I would like for centers to take place every Friday.  I can structure the 47 minute period into two separate sections so that the kids can either play two games, two variations of a game, or in different groups.  In my quest to save money and make my own creative math centers, I came across a number of FREE materials for math centers.  As I have mentioned before, I love the resources I have downloaded from Laura Candler. Follow the link provided to a umber of resources on math centers in your classroom!

Super Math Centers

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Well, it looks like the warm weather is here to stay and I am LOVING it!  Being cooped up all day inside with 100 sixth graders, however, is not fun.  Since the school year is not over and I plan on teaching until the last possible second, I try to work in activities for the students that get them up and moving or outside.  Chalk is by far the best teaching tool I have in my arsenal for this time of the year.  The kids love using it and enjoy the opportunity to go outside.  On our first nice day of spring, back in March, I taught the properties of multiplication and addition.  I took the classes outside and lined the students down the sidewalk.  Each student was given a piece of colored chalk and asked to draw an example of one of the properties using variables or numbers.  We then moved down the line labeling the examples.  This was a great test review activity for the kids.  They loved being out of their seats (and the classroom) and it reviewed material they were being tested on.  Chalk is cheap, nice weather free, and in my opinion, chalk fits into any subject.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Classroom Organization

My room tends to get a bit out of control during the school year.  I always start the school year with some sort of organizational plan in mind, but by Christmas it is out the window.  Through Pinterest I found Mrs. Terhune's blog.  She is full of fantastic organizational ideas for her classroom.  Her blog is geared towards 1st grade, but many of her ideas work across all grade levels.  Everything on her site is amazing!  While it is not technology driven, it is definitely creative and innovative!  I went ahead and ordered the All Purpose Teacher Organizer from Lakeshore Learning and some really great magazine holders (Whitmor) from Amazon to organize my unit games and activities.  I play lots of BINGO and Concentration with the kids so I have lots of sets of cards.  Instead of trying to store them in bins in a separate location or squeezing them into my unit binders, I will keep them in the magazine storage bins between binders.  This way everything is exactly where it needs to be for me to use it each year.

Hopefully I will get a chance to post some pictures of my new super organized classroom soon!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I wish I had a class set of iPads for my students to use.  I am in love with the app Nearpod.  It allows for the synchronization of all of your classroom iPads so the teacher can control the content on the iPad and "push" through presentations and such.  If you have iPads for your classroom, you must check this out!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012



When I am creating or downloading worksheets for my math classroom I like notes and sample problems at the top and practice problems below.  This way the kids have something to refer to if they "accidentally" took their homework out of their binder and "accidentally" left their binder at school.  :)

I am totally hooked on Education.com.  They have HUNDREDS of free worksheets that are fabulous for both my math and social studies classes.  In social studies I create unit packets with games, projects, general information & readings, and worksheets.  This summer I plan on updating these packets and Education.com has a lot of great resources that I will be incorporating into my packets. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

TeachersPayTeachers - Laura Candler

Taken from L. Candler's Factor Race

My new addiction is TeachersPayTeachers.  I heard about this site before and glanced at it briefly.  However, it wasn't until my cousin (and fellow math teacher) Courtney posted all the CRAZY stuff she was downloading for FREE that I bothered to spend any amount of significant time on the site.  While poking around before bed I found this fantastic author of teacher resources - Laura Candler.  While most of her resources are parts of eBooks she has created and cost money, she does offer a few games and activities for free.  Two games that I downloaded to use in my classroom are Island Conquer and Factor Race