Monday, April 30, 2012

Have 2 Minutes to Spare??

Hi Friends!!

I'm SO excited to let you know that my school has been registered as part of Rack Room Shoes' $50,000 Beautification Photo Contest!  Our PTA has been trying for about a year now, to build us a shade structure/outside classroom behind our school, near our playground, and recently we have been so blessed to be a part of this HUGE grant giveaway!!!

This $50,000 Grant Giveaway is a VOTING CONTEST!  The one school from around the country that collects the most votes by Monday, May 7, will be the winner of the $50,000 Beautification Grant.  How exciting would that be to win?!?!  We could get our shade structure AND lots of pretty flowers and such!  :)

So here's a favor I need of you.  If you have 2 minutes (or less!) to spare, will you please click on over to Rack Room Shoes' contest website and vote for my school??  If you click the link or picture above, it should take you to the "Texas" 1st page!  My school, Carlena Chandler Elementary, should be somewhere on that 1st page (its location seems to change everyday...not sure if that's due to ratings or what!)

I would SO SO SO appreciate your help!  You can vote once a day, up until May 7, and you don't even have to log in or say where you're from!  :)  Super quick and easy!

***Finally, don't forget about my Membership Giveaway from Sunday!!!  It ends TOMORROW evening, so if you haven't entered yet, click on over to Sunday's post to find out how.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Heart Greg Tang...And A Giveaway!

In yesterday's post, I mentioned using as one of my short, filmed examples of technology in my classroom. 

Today, I wanted to further show you how GREAT this website really is, and how it can be SO beneficial in your classroom, too!  (And no, I am in no way affiliated with Greg Tang, I just think he is an amazing man with amazing resources!  I promise you'll LOVE this stuff, too!)

When you first pull up the Greg Tang site, it will look like this:

As you can see on the home page, there are several different resources on this one site.  There are lots of fun games, several online versions of Greg Tang's picture books, and even a place where you can download and print teacher materials and masters! 

One of my students' FAVORITE places to visit is Kakooma!  (As I'm typing this, I just realized it's very hard to explain how to play without actually showing I'm going to let the website do the hard work and give you a break down!) 

My class uses Kakooma both as a whole class fluency activity and as a math center.  To play as a whole class, we sit in a "rainbow" around the SmartBoard like this:
Sorry for the poor picture's hard with the lights half off and the SmartBoard giving off a glare!

The website is pulled up on the board, and we all complete the game together!  Students are all participating, either looking at the problem we're on, or looking ahead to be prepared.  Here are a few step-by-step screen shots:


If we clicked the correct one, the sum will be displayed largely in the center of that box.  Then, the main box will rotate (you can tell by the bolded black outline) to the next one in a clock-wise order.  You can see, after we click the correct sum, it will take us to the next box:

And this pattern keeps on:

Now, when you get to the last box, your game is not yet over!  Students NOW must figure out the BIG math fact from all the sums from the individual boxes!

Once students click on that one, they've finished the game!  The "Scoreboard" screen may or may not come up, depending on their time.  (As a side note, I don't let my kiddos normally play easy fours, so that is why I got in the top 10 during this explanation! Haha!)

When we play as a class, we record our "Top 10" with dates, so we can see our progress throughout the year.  Sometimes we play boys vs. girls or teams, and we make little notes in our "Top 10" with initials or letters like "B" or "G".  Here is an example of one of our class' "Top 10" from hard fives (We don't play this one that often, either!  I guess I should have done a screen shot of a more up to date one that we use often!  Oops!) 

The date when we played as a whole class, and the time we got!
Here are a few final notes I'd like to share about Kakooma. 
Another blurry class shot!  :)
  • The way our class plays has evolved throughout this year!  It has taken some time to learn to play as a whole class.  When students think they know the fact, they raise their hand to be called on to go up.  Then student then "announces" the fact to the class as they press it.
  • There IS a penalty for wrong answers, so students must be careful! 
  • Students can "look ahead" to upcoming squares to be prepared!
  • If I see a student not participating, I will call on him/her and specifically give him/her a square. 
  • If a student wants to participate but is stumped on the fact, I call on other students to share one of the addends.  Then, the original student must come up with the other addend and the sum!  This ALWAYS helps, even my low students that are pulled out for math.  (Yes, they participate too, and do a GREAT job!)

I really invite you to click on over to the website and take a look!  There's a FREE version of Kakooma you can play, and you can also explore all the other resources there too!  (SO many other great games we play, and printables that I use with my class!)

**So now, are you ready for the GIVEAWAY part of this post?!?! 

I will give away one FREE yearlong membership to to one follower on Tuesday, May 1 at 6 PM (Central Time!). 

There are 2 ways to enter NOW 3 WAYS TO ENTER!!!

1. Leave one comment saying that you follow my blog.  (MANDATORY!)
2. Go explore  In the "Kakooma" section, try the free game of 6 number addition.  Come back here are leave a comment telling me what you thought of it AND your time!  (Yes, you MUST try it yourself!)  :)

**NEW #3. Post about my giveaway, and earn 2 entries!  Leave your comment twice with the link to your post!  :)

I will use's Random Number Generator on Tuesday evening to pick one winner.  Good Luck!  I hope you enjoy!  :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Technology in the Classroom!

Well I'm not sure if you can tell (but you probably can), that I love to use technology and fun new things in my classroom!  I have been so blessed over the past year with new "techie" things to use with my kiddos!  Last school year in January, I was one of the first teachers on my campus to receive a SmartBoard.  Since then, they have installed each classroom with one, and I LOVE using them!  (They are so versatile-- I can use them with all levels of kiddos, whole group instruction, small group centers, and even during my reading intervention time!)  My document camera is also in use almost every hour, too!  (We have a neat little cord that connects the SmartBoard and the document camera, so we can intertwine and use both at the same time!)

A little shot of my grant
application.  If you would like
more details or even a copy,
feel free to contact me!
I always wear my teacher microphone that hooks up to the PA system in our room (nerdy, but useful).  I also use my 4 classroom computers EVERY day with my students.  I know it probably sounds dorky, but I want them to have as much exposure with them as possible, since they will grow up in a major "techie" world!

I'm also really excited, because our PTA has graciously (informally) accepted my grant application to purchase one iPod for use in my classroom, and hopefully, (fingers crossed), it should be approved and coming to my school pretty soon!  (I'm SO overjoyed for this one!!!)

So anyways, earlier this week, my principal asked if she could "use" me as an example at her "End of Year Principals Meeting"-- and of course, I eagerly said yes!  (Not even knowing what all it entailed!)  Well here's what it entailed:  4 different "videos" of me explaining the use of technology in my classroom and then 4 different "videos" of my students actually using certain things.  Then, I helped our wonderful librarian put it into a cute Powerpoint (along with another teacher's "videos" to give to our principal to share at her meeting.  (This meeting, I would later find out, will include ALL the district's principals, many admin members, AND ALL OF THE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS!!!  No pressure there or anything...)

You can see now, my stress level has begun to rise...  Lots of thinking went in to WHAT I should have videos of...  I certainly need it to be educational (especially since all those important people are going to see it) but at the same time, I want my kiddos to be having fun and using things we normally use each week!

Well here's what I ended up with for my 4 "chunks" (each one included a little blurb of me talking first to explain by myself, then later, the video after it would show my students using it):

1. 1 "chunk" about using the SmartBoard during Math "Fluency" with 
2. 1 "chunk" about using the SmartBoard during Spelling with 1 SmartBoard lesson and 1 website game
3. 1 "chunk" about my students using the computers to incorporate for independent practice that ties directly into our textbook
4. 1 "chunk" about my students using the computers for enrichment with

Here's a quick little breakdown of how I use each one, just incase you want to go check these resources out!  They're all VERY teacher friendly!

1. is an AMAZING site that I picked up this summer during the big, week-long math conference, "CAMT" (the Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teachers).  This site has a TON of great games, activities, and even some of Greg Tang's books as online versions!

2. I am constantly looking on SmartExchange for great (already created!) activities to use with my kiddos.  If it's not already there, I make my own, but why invent the wheel if someone else has already made something?!  (By the way, everything listed there is FREE once you sign up!) 

I also use other sites for games to tie into our weekly spelling rules.  This week, I used a Suffix Matching Game that I found through Google.  It worked GREAT with our SmartBoard, too!

3. ThinkCentral is a website that is from the makers of our Math Textbook (Houghton Mifflin)!  It not only has an online version of our math book, but it also has fun games, math concept readers, practice workbooks, and more!  My kiddos log in both in class and at home for extra practice.  (Your school does have to have an account for this one.)

4. is a FANTASTIC non-profit website with video lessons for students to watch and learn almost ANYTHING!  After watching a series of videos on a certain concept, students can then "practice" with timed questions.  In general, this website is geared at older students, however, it is WONDERFUL to use as an enrichment tool.  (I will tell you that I have a very specific system set up, that takes a lot of teacher time on the front end, but my students know exactly what they can watch and practice, and in what order!)

Whew!  So there's my little breakdown of this week's fun.  I can't tell you how crazy it was, everytime we were video taped!  I think my kiddos were more stressed out than I was!  (and of course, there are those little gems that need even MORE redirection while the film is rolling...)

But, all in all, it went very well.  I haven't seen the end product yet, so that will be very interesting!  I just hope there were no MAJOR boo-boos that the principals, administrators, and school board members will be laughing at next week!  Keep your fingers crossed for me that it goes well! :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Uh Oh....I Cannot be Trusted....

Yes, that is correct.  I officially cannot be trusted to go into Michael's without a chaperone....

They are having their "Customer Appreciate" coupon sale right now, so I thought I'd go pick up a few things tonight.  Weeeelllllll....look what happened......

Oye!  Can you belive it?! I really did get lots of good things, though, and LOTS of great deals (like the penny items!)

I also got things I can use for end of school year gifts, like cute cards for other staff members (with funny puns on the front, like "Oh NUTS!" or "I need to wine a bit!"), things to give my volunteers and Room Mom, things my students can use, and so much more...So, it wasn't ALL for me!!! :)

So, if you have a Michael's around you, and are planning to go soon for the sale, definitely take someone with you to keep you accountable!!!  And if you live in an area without a Michael's, just count your lucky stars that you can afford to buy groceries this month....(because after tonight, I'm not too sure I can!!!)  Haha joking, joking! 

Have a great night!  (I know I did!)  :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

3D Shapes (By Request!) and a Quick Giveaway!

Well I'm so happy that my Shape Sort freebie from the TpT Newsletter this week has been such a wonderful blessing!  I've had so many downloads, so many kind comments, and so many fun emails and messages to read!  It's really kept me on my toes, but it has also made me think and create new resources.

My class finished up our shapes unit a while ago, however, I still "spiral" past concepts in my own teaching, so I'm proud to admit that I still even use my "Shapes Sort" page!  I never thought about doing it for 3D shapes, though (which is kind of a "duh" moment...why didn't I think of that?!)!

So, since I've had so many comments and requests for a 3D sort page, and since my original "Shapes Sort" was such a big hit, I've been working the past few days on putting together a file (my new 3D Shape Pack!) of a few different things I do during my 3D shapes unit! 

Normally, to begin identifying attributes, I draw out on chart paper an example of a cube to show the concept of "face", "edge", and "vertex".  In my pack, though, I've made this 3D Shape Attribute "poster" on the computer (so it's very nice, neat, and perfectly square!).  I've also included 2 different tables for a 3D shape sort (very similar to the original Shape Sort).  Finally, I compiled a practice page for kiddos to identify attributes by coloring faces, edges, and vertices different specified colors!  (We do this all the time, just tracing in our math books and such, but now there's an acutal, grade-able page!)

I know it's not enough for you to teach the WHOLE unit with, but it's a great supplement!  AND, for today and tomorrow only, I'm offering my new 3D Shape Pack to you for $0.75!  That's right!  Seventy five cents!  :)

Finally, as a quick little giveaway, the first follower to tell me what shape has 8 edges, 5 faces, and 5 vertices will get my new 3D Shape Pack for FREE!!! Just leave me a comment below!  Happy Counting!  :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New to Thirty-One (and a hectic week!)

Phew!  I don't know about you all, but it certainly feels like a Friday here!  This week has already been SO incredibly hectic.  I feel like I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off!  (Bok, bok, boooook!!!!)

Well to give you a QUICK breakdown of why I'm loosing my mind, I'll share a little list:
  1. It's State Standardized Testing Week here in Texas.  (Need I say more?)
  2. It's getting close to the end of the year, so I have like 39,485 annual ARDs.  (Not really that many, but it feels like alot!)
  3. Our "Class Cards" (the method we use to make next year's classes) are due on Friday.
  4. I have 2 routine doctor appointments this week. (Nothing major, no need to worry!  Just puts another little stressor, though, time-wise!)
  5. Did I mention it's our testing week?  Oh, and even though I teach 2nd grade, I'm still administering the test tomorrow!  Lovely!  :)
Okay, so now I've vented all my negatives, I'm sure you're ready to close the browser window and never return!  BUT WAIT!  I do have one SUPER fun and exciting positive!

To my long list of after school activities, I've now added the job title of "Thirty-One Consultant"!  I don't know if you all know of the company, but they make VERY cute, VERY useful, VERY affordable, and VERY addicting (yes, I said it!) bags and other items!  Have you heard of Thirty-One before? Used it? Have it?  I can't wait to get all my pieces!

Just take a look at my adorable new lunchbox:

They have SO many wonderful items for teachers, that I'll probably end up being my own biggest customer!  (And that's okay, because that's one of the main reasons I signed up in the first place!)  I swear, just look at all the practical items....

So yes, I'll probably be broke here in a few months, from my own Thirty-One addiction...but for now, I'm SO excited and ready to get my life organized and add some flare with some new bags and such! 

Hope everyone's having a great Tuesday, and I hope your week hasn't started off as CRAZY as mine!  Feel free to leave me any words of wisdom, or other advice to get me through my fun week! :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gracious Kim Sutton!!!

Hi Friends!!

Just a quick picture recap, if you didn't read
My Area Zoo Post, from last Monday!
I know many of you were very interested in the fun, cute, and informative Kim Sutton "Area Zoo" activity I did with my kiddos last week.  (And I must admit, I definitely see why!)  My first thought was that this activity was only available in the Critical Content Math TE from Kim's workshop, and I didn't want to get in trouble or break any copyrights by copying it and giving it out!!! 

HOWEVER... I just spoke with Kim Sutton HERSELF (still in shock), and she has graciously offered to send you all the "Area Zoo" activites if you would like them!  Simply send her an email through her website,, and let her know that you saw the "Area Zoo" here and would love a free copy!  (And be sure to give her a BIG "THANK YOU"!!!)

Hope this helps!  Give me an email or leave me a comment if you need anything else or have any other questions.  Have fun making your own zoos!  :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Featured in the TpT FREE 10 Downloads Newsletter!

Wowwy, wow, wow!  This morning, I was featured in TpT's Weekly Newsletter as one of the 10 Free Downloads!  My Geometric Shape Sort has received so many hits, and I'm so thankful for all the wonderful new feedback that has been left!  :)

I've also included a pretty sweet deal, to entice some feedback and new followers (with a "Dollar Deal" freebie!)  So, if you're here from TpT, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure you follow all the directions to get your free item!!!  I especially need your email address to be able to send you it!!! :)

If you follow my blog and DON'T yet have my Geometric Sort Freebie, be sure to head on over to TpT to download it!

Also, I wanted to quickly let you know about my sweet, bloggy friend Jessica and her 100 Follower Giveaway!  Visit her blog, A Turn To Learn, to see the 13 great items she's included in her giveaway!  (One of them is MY Mother's Day Coupon Book Craftivity!!)

(My donation to Jessica's HUGE Giveaway!)

**Update:  Don't forget to stop by Miss Nelson's blog, too!  Her big giveaways end today, April 22!  (I'm crossing my fingers for a win...there are SO many great things!)

(This certainly seems like the week for giveaways, huh?!)

Lastly, I just wanted to share that I'm so grateful to all my followers, both old and new, and I hope everyone's having a great Sunday!  Enjoy the last bit of your weekend! :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What Teachers REALLY Want to Tell Parents!

I was cleaning out my school email this week, because I got the big MESSAGE OF DOOM, that my inbox is almost full and will not hold much more!  It was actually a great thing to do, because I forgot about how much interesting, funny, kind, and even educational things I have hoarded in my inbox! 

One of the emails I came across was from earlier this school year, sent by one of my Room Moms from LAST year!  We still talk frequently, and I see her often up on our campus.  But anyways, earlier in the year, she sent me this email with a link to the article: What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents.  (Posted on CNN by Ron Clark).

In her email, along with the link, was a long, heartfelt appology about all the "troubles" she gave me last year (which, actually, out of all the parents, she was one of the LEAST questioning do you put this nicely...."high maintenance")!  She ended the email with letting me know that she was forwarding this article on to every parent she's friends with, because it was such an eye-opener for her!  (Isn't it nice to have open-minded, receptive parents?!) 

Again, it's funny because she was such a GREAT parent to have last year (very helpful and involved).  And while she did ask questions and worry about her son's grades, she never doubted me or gave me any troubles! 

So I just thought I'd pass along this article, because it so "hits the nail on the head"!  Here's just a little "blurb" of the high points:

Have fun reading it in your free time (you're probably thinking, "WHAT free time?!").  It's worth it, though.  I KNOW you will definitely smile, laugh, say a few "uh-huh"!s, and even make connections to your own classroom!

Friday, April 20, 2012


Happy Friday Everybody!!!

I know we're all pretty tired, and we're all probably very glad for the weekend to be here! So here's my quick little Friday FREEBIE (the give you a quick "pick me up")!  It's a "Smartie Pants" encouragement craft for our older students about to take the State (STAAR) Test.

I snagged this idea from Lori's post over at Teaching With Love and Laughter (who got her idea from another blog!)  Isn't it great how we can all share ideas!  I LOVE it!

After a bit of tweaking, our team decided on a little bit larger design (same concept!) to give to our 4th grade "Book Buddies" on Monday before their big test on Tuesday!  On Thursday, we started making it, and we finished it this morning.  My kiddos wrote a sentence or two on the inside, then decorated it, cut it out, and mounted it!  Here are a few cutie-patootie designs:

This weekend, I'm going to buy some Smarties to tape onto our "Smartie Pants" before we give them to our 4th grade Book Buddies on Monday!  Very exciting and VERY cute!!! :)

I also wanted to quickly let you know about Ms. Nelson's GREAT giveaways!  Now that mine is over, stop on by her blog to check out her amazing things!  I'm hoping to win the Giveaway #3- the Vocabulary Membership!  (So you can enter all the rest, but leave that one for me! Haha!)

Hope everyone had a great week.  I can't believe our school only has 29 days left before Summer.  CRAZY!!!  I know I'm definitely going to enjoy my weekend, because once we get back on Monday, we're going to start moving at warp speed!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Curious to Find out the WINNER?!

I was, too, this morning!!!

Congratulations to Andrea, the BIG winner of the 9 free products!!!  She was comment #40!

AND, for the BONUS giveaway, chose a few comments that didn't leave their "dream product" wish...but it finally chose # 27, which was Kelly's post!  A few posts later, she DID comment about her dream product, so she's the big winner for the bonus giveaway!  Congrats!

Well I'm off to get ready for school (so ladies, be checking your inboxes later this evening!)

I hope everyone had a great time with the giveaway-- I know I did! 

(Oh, and guess what?  It's almost Friday! :) )

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Area Tiles and a Giveaway Reminder!

Hi Friends!  Happy Tuesday!

Well I just got back a little bit ago from our monthly PTA meeting.  My dear, sweet 2nd graders had their big performance tonight, after the meeting!  They have been learning and practicing lots of dances in Music, and they did SO great!  It was such a fun time, and they even had a part for parents to join in on.  Such a great time!

So anyways, since it's late (and I'm tired!), my post will be quick and to the point!

Today we worked on area a bit more, but this time we used floor tiles!  Now we don't have floor tiles in all the classrooms (thank goodness most classrooms are carpeted), so we had to travel to our Science Lab to do this fun activity.  One of our hard-working team members had pre-taped off different floor tiles in similar shapes, but different sizes!  It was the students' jobs to figure out a few different things. 

First, and foremost, we talked about WHAT to measure area with!  Should we go back to our class and grab those inch tiles?  Nooooo...because we just used the floor tiles!  Then, the students worked in groups to figure out the areas of each set of figures. 

There was 4 stations: 1 square (with a large square and small square), 1 rectangle (large and small), 1 "L" shape (large and small), and one "T" shape (large and small)!

Here are my kiddos measuring areas:

And recording data:

It all went on a 2 sided page (front and back) like this:

After students measured the areas, they compared the 2 shapes at each station.  Although they were both the same SHAPE, one had a MUCH larger area than the other.  (They came to this conclusion quickly, and even transferred the thought by suggesting that we could technically make an even LARGER shape, too!)

Finally, of course, I had to post one fun class pic at the end!  (Area "all-stars"!)
While it looks like I have a very small class, in actuality I have 7 students out in different places during this time (Some in Speech, G/T, Resource, OT/PT, etc.-- We're a very busy bunch!)

We've had such a great time these past few days with area.  It's taken a bit of work, but the kiddos finally realize that area isn't some big, scary, hard concept--it's only the number of square units inside a figure!

(On a side note, I just HAD to email Kim Sutton to tell her how much I enjoyed her Area Zoo activity from yesterday!  She definitely deserves kudos for her brilliant ideas!  I KNOW her activity had a BIG part in convincing my students that area is not hard and IS fun!)

LASTLY, Don't forget about my "Totally, Terrific, Tinkerin' Giveaway!".  It ends TOMORROW (Wednesday, April 16) at Midnight!  So hurry on over to the post (if you haven't already) and ENTER!!!  There are 9 great prizes plus 1 bonus prize that will go to a 2nd winner.  Happy Entering!