Halloween Freebie

I know I'm a little late to the party with Halloween only being 9 short days away, but if you haven't quite planned out your festivities yet, I've recently uploaded a freebie to my TpT store that I'd love for you to check out and see if it can't help you with your math classes next week Monday.


This Mean, Median, Mode, & Range activity provides 6 stations for students to rotate through to solve MMMR problems.  They will also be asked other questions as well, requiring them to identify outliers, inference, predict, recalculate when more data is discovered, choose the best measure of central tendency and more.

I've used it with my class for a few years and we always have great fun while still covering some much needed practice and material.  I hope you find the same worthwhile experience.  Thanks for your consideration, and I wish you the best this fall season.


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Building a Positive Classroom Culture




Establishing a positive classroom culture can be a tricky endeavor.  You want your classroom to be a warm and inviting place for students to feel welcome and for learning to feel enjoyable, but at the same time you need to create a level of respect and a certain understanding that you are in charge when it comes to your classroom and the conduct that will be tolerated while within its four walls.

Even before day one I try to establish a positive classroom culture by reaching out to my students via postcard, welcoming them to the school year and introducing them to some of what they will be seeing over the next few days.  I find that it takes the edge off the first day and helps to ease the nerves when they know what to expect and they know what their teacher is going to look like ahead of time.

I also like to welcome my students on the first day with a little treat which they find at their desk as they enter the room.  It may seem a bit elementary, but I find that even my big kids like a treat and a little recognition that the first day is a tumultuous day for everyone involved.



Once the year gets underway, I prefer to rely on a reward based system to get the desired behaviors I wish to see in my classroom.  Reward cards provide a great incentive to my students to behave properly and they don't cost me a penny.


Another tactic I like to employ is that which I call the "Hot Seat".  The Hot Seat takes about 5 minutes out of your day, but is well worth it in the end.  Each week I pick one student to sit in the hot seat, while their classmates each get a strip of colored paper.  While their classmate sits in the hot seat for 5 minutes, the rest of the class is given the task of writing down positive comments they enjoy about their fellow classmate.  I then take these strips, double check them just in case, and bind them for the students as an end of year gift.  It's one that most students keep and cherish for years to come.


Another item I like to use throughout the school year is my "Pat on the Back".  These simple hand prints allow students to thank one another, staff members, or anyone they choose, thus leading to a more positive atmosphere within the classroom and school.  I then share them and hang them up in my room for all to see.  You can get your own copy here.

Finally, as we round out the year, I love to reward the character I have seen displayed by my students throughout the school year, so rather than give GPA or Honor Roll certificates, I give character awards.  It's easy to identify a character trait or two that each student has personified during our time together, so I celebrate those moments that really stood out to me, usually shed some tears, and wish them the very best as they head off onto their next endeavor.


Hopefully I've provided you with some ideas that you can add to your classroom repertoire as you get ready for another fabulous year with your students.  Remember, your classroom culture is all up to you and how you decide to address it, so make it a positive one.

Thank you to Desktop Learning and Darlene Anne for hosting this wonderful blog hop.  If you want more ideas and ways to build a positive culture, check out the other blogs below.




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Pi Day - Not Just Another Day


One of my favorite days of the year is quickly approaching.  On March 14, we get to celebrate Pi Day in math, and that's one of the best days by far.  Not only do we get to celebrate something in math and have pie, but we get to teach kids that math is more than just numbers and equations and that is cool.

At my school we have a whole afternoon devoted to Pi Day.  Each teacher at our grade level takes on 3-4 activities and the students not only rotate through activities, they rotate through the rooms, so that they get to engage in at least 9 activities each year.  Between that and the fact that almost everyone wears a Pi Day shirt, which our math director designs, the day is epic.

Here's an example of a typical set-up.  We usually have one teacher that enjoys crafts more than the others, so he or she takes on most of the craft related activities.  In their room, they may have stations related to making a paper chain with colored rings related to the digits of pi.  They may have a similar activity where students then use beads to make a necklace, key ring, or bracelet.  And finally they may have a station with a crossword or word search puzzle with terms related to pi and circles.
Our next teacher often doesn't mind a little chaos and noise in their room, so they often get the round table buffet with foods which are round.  Also in this room we often have a piano or synthesizer marked with keys as numbers and students play the digits of pi as a musical number.  As a last station this teacher might have a basic measurement station where students measure the diameter and the circumference and then try to figure out the ratio between the two - which is obviously pi.


The third teacher's room tends to be more mathematically based and has activities that line up with that premise.  In this room students may test the magical ratio with polygons just as Archimedes himself had done.  They may play with the wonder that are moebius strips and see how they react when twisted in different loops various times.  Another good activity for this room is to discover the relationship between parallelograms and circles.  Finally, if you have the time, space, patience, and responsible students, an experiment with Buffon's Needle is an interesting look at pi and probability.

These activities and many more are available in my packet, Pi Day Fun Activity, available in my TpT store, but whatever you decide to do, I hope you have an amazing Pi Day educating your students on the wonders of Pi.




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Google Classroom...Revolutionizing Education

If you know anything about me and the products I create, you know I love interactive notebooks or living books as we used to call them back in the day.  The cutting, gluing, folding, and synthesizing of information is all right up my alley.  But folks, there's a new game in town and it's revolutionizing education.  It's Google Classroom.

If you haven't heard of it yet, you might want to check out this great demo video that Google created to explain it.


As more and more schools head to the 1:1 classroom, Google Classroom is going to be there.  It's fabulous for the disorganized students who never seem to have their materials or always seem to lose their rough draft the day you go to work on the final, because everything is stored on the Google Drive.  There are no more lost papers, no copy lines, no more prep - Google has got you covered.

But even better than that...Google doesn't just have to be for writing anymore.  There's now a whole army of teachers out there creating new lessons for the Google Classroom platform and they're differentiated, dynamic, and diverse in content.  Just by searching Google Resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, you are lead to a whole world of new lessons to fit virtually any subject matter you may teach.

As for myself, I have started to turn my interactive notebooks into Google Classroom lessons.  I've only just begun, but I love the possibilities and the dynamic new way of bringing education into student's hands.  You know students love their technology, so melding education and technology together is a necessary way to garner their attention and thus get the learning across.



My first Google Classroom product is my very popular Get to Know Greece Geography, as seen above.  This 30+ page resource features a slideshow presentation of Greece and its various geographical attributes.  When the teacher presents this slideshow the students can complete a cloze note guide that follows along with the presentation.  Students are then asked to drag and drop map labels to label various features such as islands, seas, cities, and more.  The great thing about the Google Classroom is that unlike a conventional map which gets written on once and is used up, the students can practice labeling over and over until they have it down pat.  When the learning has been mastered, a study guide and test are provided to assess mastery of this geography unit.

I've also recently introduced Ancient Greece: The City State in a Google Classroom version.


Feel free to check them out and see if they help revolutionize learning in your classroom.



Digital Learning Day 2016--Why Should You Try Something New? Because Your Students Will Thank You.

 To help you get started, we’ve teamed up to share an amazing selection of blog posts and classroom activities that are designed to propel you and your students into your digital learning adventure.  Thanks to Photobucket moving to a paid site, many of the links may look bad, but if you click them, you will be directed to a new blog with great ideas and wonderful resources.  Give it a try!




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