Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's finally here! My automated center rotations wheel!

It's finally here! My center rotation wheel! And the best part - IT'S FREE!!!!

I hope you enjoy this little management tool. It has truly been a lifesaver for me!!

 Center Rotation Wheel

Click on the wheel to grab it from my store for free!! It has been such a lifesaver for me during centers! I hope it is as helpful for you too! 

Unfortunately, I currently cannot make any modifications to the wheel.

The wheel is set up to completely keep your centers on track all you have to do is press play! You must first assign your students to one of the 6 color groups. I don’t group students based on abilities and/or levels. My center groups are heterogeneous. I evenly distribute the high, med, and low students in each group. I have found this method to be successful because students are able to get help from their peers within the groups versus the entire group struggling. When I pull my guided groups, the students I’m pulling are all spread out among the different centers. This is why I’m not listed on the wheel as a rotation. To add your students name into the wheel simply click in the text box and replace the “Enter students names here” with your students’ names. If you change your students’ groups a lot, you may want to consider creating a poster with the names of students in each group and delete the text box from the wheel. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Centers Management Tool

Friends I know I promised that I would be uploading my amazing...fantastic...automated centers rotation tool over the weekend. {did I mention how awesome it is!?!?!} However, my computer is not working with me tonight. Until then...please enjoy this little sneak peek {I mean teaser}.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Back from my hiatus...

I'm for real this time. I've taken a long {really, really long} break. It has been exactly 3 years and 1 month since I've blogged. Oh how I've missed it! I miss sharing ideas...collaborating....and honestly my friends that I've made through blogging. Life has been crazy to say the least, but I'm back! So lets get to it....

My last blog post in 2012 was a teaser for a project I had been working on...which I never posted about {oops!} I created a tool that kept me sane through centers. I hate managing centers! Truly hate it! Well this tool has been helping me the past few years. Don't you wish you had something that would tell your students which center they went to and when to switch...something that kept everyone on task. I know I did! I created it because I searched the web high and low for something that met my needs and I couldn't find anything. So of course I created it! That was 3 years and 1 month ago. Funny thing is... I was searching Pinterest {this is where I've been the past 3 years BTW} the other day when I can across a pin of a tool similar to my idea. I couldn't believe it!! Someone, somewhere had my same idea. HOW WILD IS THAT?!?!?

So in the spirit of being back to blogging, I'm going to share {for FREE} my amazing centers tool. {Hopefully you find it as amazing as I do!} It's such a simple idea - but it saves me everyday during centers. I will be posting my automated centers wheel in my store this weekend. {I have a few tweaks before I upload it} In the meantime...I'll see you soon!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Finally swimming above water....

Really....have I not posted since summer? I can't believe I have once again neglected my blog! I have good reason though! This year I decided to test out being superwoman...guess what...I'm not! I thought since I finally finished grad school, I could take on everything. Ha! Ha! Ha!   WHAT WAS I THINKING! So on top of my regular day job of teaching {and we all know that it's a piece of cake since I get out at 2:45 on the dot everyday!} - I decided to be PTA membership VP, ERTC {technology contact/support for our campus}, head up the computer lab, roll out our iPad check out system,  serve on: technology campus committee, parent involvement committee, and GT committee....oh and be a part in the Leadership PLC for our campus! Not even considering that I have 2 kids that both decided to do activities this year that consume every single day of the week, including weekends!{soccer, volleyball, flute lessons, Hispanic culture club, choir, soccer...and some more SOCCER} Sooooooo.....this is why I've been so backed up in posting!

But I think I've finally found a balance and schedule I can deal with and I'm BACK! And I'm coming back BIG! I created something that I have even blown myself away with...I know could I brag any more....but it has seriously changed my life. I'm not ready to reveal it just yet, but let me just say it has changed reading centers for me  for-ev-er {can you hear this in the sandlot voice like I do?} I have done a dry run of it already, but I want to make sure it is PERFECT before I share it with you! So come back and see me soon! It may just change your life too! ;) And I may even give a few away!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tech Tip Thursday - Sumdog! Best Math Site!

I just realized it is Thursday (already!) Where are my days going?!?! I apologize for having 2 posts in one day, but I've missed a few tips and I need to catch up

Today's tech tip is the website Sumdog! I heard about it from a fellow blogger and I swear by it! Hands down the best math website! It's a math website that allows students to practice math concepts in fun game formats! To sign up and play the games is absolutely FREE....however they do have a reporting section that will give you details {reports} about how your students are doing {and what they are struggling with}. I'll be honest, I have only used the free features.

Teachers can sign up and then setup their class with individual logins for each student. I am always weary about entering my students' names into online programs. I only entered their first name and last initial. It generated passwords for each student. It's a very simple process and it's super easy to go back and add new students.  Students can play as guest, however I don't recommend this because they miss out on some of the features.

 The students are able to choose which concept they want to work on. The choices are place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, or algebra type equations. Then they can even choose which skill they want to focus on and level. I have tried to figure out how to set these particular skills so that students could only work on skills that I have set, however I haven't been able to figure it out. I can set up competitions and set the skill level there.  I'm hoping that this will be a feature they add in the future. I don't want my students to choose easy concepts, nor ones that they would struggle with.

Students then choose how they are going to play: against the computer, a random person, or a classmate. This is the best part of the site! The students get such a kick out of playing against each other and they can be playing the same game but working on different skills and levels. I even jump on a computer from time to time and challenge the kids...they really get a kick out of it.

Finally the students choose which game they want to play. There are some really fun ones! My favorite is junk pile. You have to answer questions and then pile up junk in the junkyard, but be careful or your pile could fall over.  There are about 20 games in all that keeps a variety of interest in mind.

As the kids play they not only compete against one another, but they are racking up points {coins}. The coins allow you to purchase different clothes and accessories to dress your character. They also have different animal levels. My kids really got into these rewards. My kids were so into this site that they would call each other so they could challenge one another from home. It was such a great way to get kids to memorize their facts {but in a fun way!} This website is one of the sites my kids during our Guided Math rotations.

Where Are We Poster! Finally!

I cannot tell you how many requests I get for my Where Are We Poster. I have to be honest, I lost the file and finally found it this morning. I've uploaded it to my Teachers Notebook store - where you can snag it for FREE!!!!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I'm currently attending a 3 day CGI {Cognitively Guided Instruction} training (with 2 additional days later in the year). I signed up for the training so that I had a better understanding of what my students were coming to me with... I had always thought that CGI was ONLY for the lower grades (our 1st/2nd grade use CGI) - After today, I'm realizing that I can easily apply this philosophy to my math instruction. The basis of CGI is that students are allowed to investigate and discover their own methods to solve problems. They extend their strategy database though the modeling of other students {not the teachers}. I'm not going to a 3rd grade teacher - this FREAKS me out! Problem solving is so crucial in 3rd grade and this is a HUGE adjustment to how I currently teach problem solving. This book will definitely take me out of my comfort zone. I am going to try it and see how it works in my classroom. On another note....our instructor is very knowledgeable and has so many wonderful math resources. You can see her teacher store and wonderful math activities! She has great center activities and they are very inexpensive - go check her out! Here is her website with more freebies and resources.

Along with the training, we're also doing a book study with the above book. I would love to bounce ideas off of anyone who has read or who implements CGI in their classroom - especially in the upper grades! Here are my thoughts & questions so far with the first few chapters of this book:

Chapter 1:

  • Students don't naturally solve problems the way that we do. They follow the action of the problems, similar to a recipe to solve the problem. For example Alyssa has 5 erasers. How many more erasers does she need to have 11? We would solve this problem by subtracting 5 from 11. However kids would take the 5 and count up till they got to 11. 
  • Kids already have a knowledge base for mathematics, we need to tap into this background knowledge.
  • Students should be allowed to discover their own strategies to solve problems. They will learn different ways to solve by sharing with their peers. Teachers should not model and impose our thinking on the students.
  • Children don't have to be taught specific strategies to solve particular problems.
My questions:
  • Where should we start with upper students? The instruction videos show that you allow students to use manipulatives and it seems they start very small. Should we revert to the basics with older students as well?
Chapter 2: Here is a organizer that explains the different types of problems.
  • Problems are classified based on the way children think about the problem.
  • Addition/Subtraction are separated into result unknown (most common), change unknown, and start unknown (hardest type of problem). The problems all have an action that happens in the problem (something is added or taken away)
  • Part-Part-Whole & Compare problems have no actions, and instead are based on relationships.
  • Problems can be more challenging or rigorous by changing the wording to past tense or numbers within the problem that don't represent a set number of objects (such as weight)
My questions:
Should the structures of the different types of problems be explicitly taught to students? How would this be accomplished if the teacher shouldn't be modeling problems?