Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Love My Job

I am experiencing a new adventure this year. I am co-teaching a third grade class that has an enormous number of students who have been identified for special education services. Yeah, it is exactly how it sounds.

Yesterday, in class, one of my students put his arm behind his head, pulled his sleeve up, and began sniffing and (possibly) licking his armpit. I was trying to teach about rounding numbers to the 1,000s place. Do you have any idea how hard it is to teach on rounding when there is a student licking his own armpit?

I have another student who became very upset at transition time. He was standing in the room, sobbing. The reason he was so upset was because he had a handful of rocks wrapped up in a paper towel. Every time he would try to pick up his book box to leave the room, he would drop some of his rocks. "How can I carry my cubby when my hands are full of rocks? I can't pick up my cubby because I have to hold on to these rocks! I'm not going to be able to leave school!"

Another student was singing "What You Gonna Do With That Big Fat Butt?" in the lunch room. My student with autism told on him and he started to cry.

There is a little boy in my class who can only read 6 words per minute. He stumbles over the simplest sight words. When he was given a reading passage as a part of his PALS testing, he looked at the passage (with the very large print and few words on the page) and said to the teacher, "Are you kidding me? This is a joke, right?" I gave him a story that I wrote using some site word phrases and his response was, "I'll read this, but your story doesn't make any sense."

I also have a student who is extremely sensitive to noise. I gave her a set of headphones to wear because I thought it might cut down on the amount of noise she can hear. Unfortunately, I have created a monster. Now, she wants to wear the headphones all the time and the headphones have to be "plugged in." Oh, and now all the other students want to wear headphones as well. It is like a Daft Punk concert in our hallway.

I love my job.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pirate Math - Pirates vs. Ninjas!

One of the favorite activities in my classroom last year was a surprisingly simple game that I created to help my students practice comparing numbers. It was called "Pirates vs. Ninjas - The Epic Battle Continues!" The title is a play off of an internet activity where people argued about who would win in a battle, pirates or ninjas. I was amazed how many of my students knew about the activity and how sound their arguments were for each side. Then again, these were the kids who knew every character in Lord of the Rings and "Doctor Who."

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The game came with two decks of cards, one for Pirates and one for Ninjas. Each card had either a 3-digit or 4-digit number. Two students played the game and each one had a deck. Each student would flip over a card from the deck and compare the number with that of his partner. The student with the largest number would collect both cards. After playing through the deck (about 24 cards), the student with the most cards was declared the winner.

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To help promote accountability and to check for understanding of the skill, I provided the students with a recording sheet. The students were to write down their own numbers and the numbers of their partner. They would then use the inequality symbols (<, >, and =) to indicate if their own numbers were greater than, less than, or equal to the number of their partner. I would collect this sheet and look to see if the students had an understanding of the concept of comparing numbers. Obviously, every student page would be different from the next, but looking at the work turned in provided me with a glimpse of how well each of my students understood the concept.

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"Pirates vs. Ninjas!" is really one of my favorite games. Even after we were finished with our place value unit, it was popular during Math Games and Math Centers. I get a lot of feedback on the game and many of the teachers tell me how excited they are to use this game with their boy students. I had girls who loved to play as well. You would do well to add this game to your math classroom.

"Pirates vs. Ninjas! - A Comparing Numbers Game is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for $3.00.

For some other great Pirate products, please visit Teaching Momster to see what other teachers are using in their classrooms.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to School - Day 1

Yesterday was my first day back in the building. I have been doing some training, but hadn't been in my classroom yet. I don't have a lot of exciting things to report, so I thought I would share some of the things that I did today.

First, I had to reorganize the furniture in my classroom. When I arrived this morning, all of the furniture was on the opposite side of the room from where it needed to be. Additionally, all of the desks had been taken out of the room so that the floor could be waxed. Needless to say, I had a bunch of moving around to do.

Here are a few pictures of what the room looks like at this point:

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Obviously, I still have a lot of work left to do.

In addition to moving furniture, I also got a little bit crafty. I am going to have 23 students this year and my co-teacher will have 24. I soon realized that I didn't order any name tags in my school order and I didn't have enough left over from previous years. What was a teacher to do? I pulled out my laptop and put my Teachers Pay Teachers skills to work. Here are my new name tags for this year. My students will have blue and my partner's students will be in red.

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Another thing I made was a cover for my students' binders. It is pretty simple, but I think it makes the point.

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Finally, we will be sending out our placement letters to our students on Friday. Our principal asked that we put together a personal letter to the students to introduce ourselves. Here is the letter that I made to send out. To be honest, the idea is not original with me. I got the idea from Pinterest.

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So, that was my day. How was your day at school? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Student Teaching - What's the Worst That Could Happen?

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Everyone has memories of their student teaching experience. Some are good, some are bad. While my student teaching semester was one marked by the worst kind of tragedy (my classroom experienced the death of a student), my "worst" experience happened on the very first day of "Full Responsibility."

For those of you not familiar with that term, "Full Responsibility" is the week where a student teacher is completely in charge of the classroom. My supervising teacher handed me the roll book and walked to the back of the room, where he picked up a novel and started to drink coffee.

When students are coming into the classroom, the best word to describe this is chaos, pure, unadulterated chaos. Even the most organized and managed classrooms experience this chaos every single morning. As I was standing there greeting the students and collecting notes, one of the girls came up to me in a bit of a panic.

"Mr. Pearson, I don't know what happened. I just looked down and noticed that my skirt was covered in blood and I don't know where it came from!"

Did I mention that I was teaching 6th grade? Yeah, that should set some context for this story.

I didn't really know what to say, so I looked back to my supervising teacher. He shrugged, took a sip of his coffee, and turned the page in his book. Great.

The poor girl looked like she was about to cry, so I did the only thing I could think to do: I sent her to the nurse. "Quick, here's a pass. Go to the nurse. She'll take care of it."

The girl left and I was able to get the day going without any further catastrophes. About an hour later, the girl returned to class wearing a new skirt. A little later in the day, I asked her if everything was okay, secretly hoping she wouldn't share too many details of what had been going on.

Oh yeah, everything's fine. There was a kid on the playground this morning who cut his leg open. I guess he brushed up against me and that is where the blood came from. I had to wait in the nurse while my mom brought me a change of clothes. No big deal."

No big deal for her. It certainly threw a wrench in my plans for the day. And, fortunately, that was the most traumatic (for me, anyway) thing I had to deal with during my student teaching. Interestingly enough, my student teaching experience is not at all what my actual teaching experience has been, but I guess that is the case with most teachers.

What memories of student teaching, good or bad, do you have?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Five For Friday - A Bunch of School Crafts, Comics, and Bow Ties

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Another week has come and gone which means it is time for another Five For Friday. As always, I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching. Be sure to swing by there to see what some other awesome teacher-bloggers have been up to this week.

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I think the fact that school is just around the corner has caused me to get a bit "crafty." I have a confession to make, however. I hate doing crafts and making projects. I shared this information with my wife and her response was, "And why are you an elementary school teacher?" That being said, I made a few things this week to get me ready for the upcoming school year. First off, I made some pencil cans. I took some old fruit cans and wrapped them in duck tape. I think I got the idea on Pinterest or somewhere like that. Here are the originals and the final product.

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The second product I made was a multiplication math fact center. Again, I think I saw this on Pinterest (I really need to write these things down), so if this was your idea, I apologize for not being able to give appropriate credit. Anyway, the activity involves using an egg carton to create math facts. Inside the egg carton, I wrote the numbers 1-12. I put some duck tape across the openings and painted the tops and bottom. The students will put two markers inside the carton and shake it. After opening the egg carton, the student will multiply the two factors together. Here are the pictures I took:

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Another thing that I worked on this week was finishing up some bow ties. I wear bow ties every day to school and a few months ago, I started sewing my own. I'm still learning to make them look good and some are better than others.

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I'm probably the only one who cares about this, but about a week ago, I was able to get a month's subscription to Marvel Unlimited, an online comic book collection. I've spent a bunch of time going back and reading old Marvel Comics, especially a set of stories called "Planet Hulk" and the old Frank Miller Daredevil comics. Some of you may recognize the name Frank Miller as the director of the movie Sin City. I've never seen it, but I hear it's good.

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The last thing is that this is the beginning of my last week of summer vacation. It is shaping up to be a busy one, beginning with a doctor's appointment. This appointment was rescheduled from an appointment I was supposed to have in April. My wife has been bugging me to go to the doctor for a check-up, especially now that we have five kids. I am very excited about the beginning of the school year. Each new year is a new adventure and I am ready to get this one started.

Thanks for checking in from another week. I hope you all ready for the fun to start. Those kids are coming soon, if they aren't with you already.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Guided Math in Action - Chapter 9

We have come to the last chapter in the book, Guided Math in Action by Dr. Nicki Newton. I hope that you have enjoyed reading my recaps and that I have convinced you to purchase a copy of the book for yourself. Seriously, it's a good one.

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In this chapter of the book, Dr. Newton provides a day-by-day plan for how to introduce the guided math framework to students. She gives the topics for mini-lessons and provides a number of anchor chart examples to be used in the classroom. If I can be honest, these examples are worth the price of this book alone. She has has some really great stuff here, many of which I am going to be making for my own classroom.

The framework that Dr. Newtown provides covers 4 weeks, or 20 days. In the first week, the focus is on the structure of math workshop and the ways that mathematicians communicate with each other. The second week is for focusing on the routines and procedures for things like the daily calendar and how to work together in groups. Week three continues the focus on the routines and provides guidelines for using manipulatives and playing games together. In the fourth week, the students are taught what is expected of them at the end of math workshop, or "debrief."

I didn't feel the need to go into a huge recap of each day or week (you can read the book for more specific details.) If all of the information that needs to be covered in the first 20 days seems overwhelming, Dr. Newton has provided a rather specific chart at the end of the chapter to help you know what to cover and when. I will certainly be referencing it in the days and weeks to come.

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Question 1: There are so many things that I need to prepare/finish up for the upcoming year. These include:

  • Hot topic centers
  • Anchor charts
  • Take home bags (love this idea!)

There really are so many things that I learned in this book that I could attempt to make a part of my instruction. There is so much that it can be a little overwhelming. I think the best thing to do is choose a small part or parts, put it into practice, then implement another part and repeat.

Question 2: The things that I am going to continue include:

  • My Problem of the Day
  • My Number of the Day - very similar to Calendar Activities, but teaches numeracy

Again, the key is to take things slow and steady. I know that if I try to implement all of these awesome ideas at once, I will quit and that's not good for anyone.

Thank you for joining me as I worked this book this summer. I hope you have learned as much as I have and, if not, get a copy of the book!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Guided Math in Action Book Study - Chapter 8

Chapter 8 of Guided Math in Action is the chapter that everyone has been waiting for: this chapter is all about centers!

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Because most classes are made up of more than the five or six students that work in a small group, a teacher needs to have a plan for what the other students are going to be doing. In a perfect world, all of the students would sit quietly and engage themselves, but that is certainly not the case in any classroom I have been a part of. To do that, the teacher provides the students with centers, or independent activities that the other students can work on while he is teaching a small group.

Dr. Newton begins the chapter by offering some suggestions about how to set up centers and to keep them organized. These are important to use as guidelines because it will help the centers to run smoothly. We all know that students can't breathe on their own without specific instructions, so the better organized your centers are, the smoother the process will go.

It is also suggested that students work in various types of activities throughout the week. These include individual work, partner work, and group work. During individual work, a student is working on an activity by himself without the help of another student or group. In my classroom, this is when students are doing a math sort or working on task cards. There are times where students may work beside other students, but each student is doing his or her own assignment. When my students are working on task cards, they will often share the set of cards, but each student is doing the problem on the card by himself.

During partner work, students are working together with one other student. During this time, they may be working on a project together, such as a puzzle or matching game. In my classroom, my students will often work together on the Monster Match Fact Family Puzzles. They can also play games against their partners. This is a large part of the centers we do in my classroom. An example would be Pirates vs. Ninjas - A Comparing Numbers Game.

During group work, the students are working together with a bigger group of students. This may involve each student having a role in the group. Dr. Newton described each student in the group having a role in solving story problems, such as number cruncher, illustrator, and problem checker. Students can also play competitive games against others in their group. A wonderful teacher named Rachel Lynette has created a set of game boards that she offers for free in her Teachers Pay Teachers store. These boards are excellent for use in group work. My students love playing them.

Dr. Newton also gives a list of the seven centers she believes should be in every math classroom.

  1. Basic Fact Center - students are practicing math facts.
  2. Hot Topic Review Center - students are practicing and reviewing skills taught up to that point in the year.
  3. Geometry Center - students are exploring shapes
  4. Word Problem Center - students are working to solve story problems at the pictorial, concrete, and abstract level
  5. Math Poem Center - students are working with math poems and other written materials
  6. Math Journal Center - students are working on math journals, including foldables and other activities
  7. Math Vocabulary Center - students are practicing with math vocabulary

Chapter 8 was the most exciting chapter because this is an area that all teachers want to improve in. Dr. Newton offered a number of great examples and ideas for getting centers up and running so that small groups can take place

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Question 1: The majority of my math centers are individual activities or partner activities. My students play many math games (especially ones that will help them improve their fact fluency) and work on sorts, cutting activities, or task cards. There are some times when there is group work involved (making graphs, using measurement tools), but not as much as I would like. I hope to make it a goal this year to introduce groups to solving story problems. This may make for a great small group lesson (introducing the procedures and modeling the steps) before adding it as a center.

Question 2: At the present time, my students are accountable for their centers work through something I call the Centers Grid. The centers that we are working on for that time period are listed on a grid. I will often assign three or four "required" centers and allow the students to choose 2-3 others. The majority of the centers have a student recording sheet that goes with the activity (this is especially true of the Scavenger Hunts or task cards). I did like the idea that was introduced in the chapter of calling on students to share what they completed during centers. I am also going to be making reflection sheets for my students to use a few times a week to share what they have done in centers and what they are learning. Dr. Newton provided three different examples of forms, each becoming increasingly more involved. I hope to add reflection like this to my math classroom next year.

School starts in just a few weeks (or days, depending), so I hope you are getting some great ideas from this series on how to run your math class for next year.

Here are some other great blogs to check out their thoughts on this chapter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Guided Math In Action Book Study - Chapter 7

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Chapter 7 of Guided Math in Action looks at the opportunities teachers have to build mathematical proficiency while having small groups. The chapter is broken down into five sections. These include:

  • Conceptual understanding
  • Procedural fluency
  • Strategic competence
  • Adaptive reasoning
  • Mathematical disposition

Let's examine each one briefly.

Conceptual Understanding. Conceptual understanding is when students know what they are doing on a conceptual level. This is often what we teach in our small groups. Dr. Newton give the example of using coins to help teach dividing decimals. There is also a sample lesson that shows how one teacher used this strategy, giving students 28 pennies and asking them to put the pennies into 4 groups. This portion is where manipulatives and the teacher toolkit comes into play.

Procedural Fluency. Procedural fluency is knowing how to do mathematical procedures. It is when the students know how to do math. The example that is given in the text is adding numbers with 8 (a concept that I am totally going to "steal"). Students know the procedure of adding 2 to a number that ends in 8 to help make the number friendlier.

Strategic Competence. Strategic competence is when students are able to solve a problem and then explain their thinking as to how they were able to solve that problem. Students don't just jump straight for the answer, but they can show someone what they did to solve that particular problem. This can include using number lines, grids, or arrays. It is important for students to have a number of different ways to solve a problem.

Adaptive Reasoning. Adaptive reasoning is when students can think logically about math and then explain and justify why they chose that specific course of action. These mathematical discussions should allow the students to talk in an environment where they know their thoughts have value and they will not be made fun of because of the way they did a problem.

Mathematical Disposition. This area focuses on what students believe about math. How many students do you have that believe they are bad at math? As teachers, we need to promote perseverance, so that students will understand that some problems just take longer to solve. This involves scaffolding and helping student to stick with a problem or concept. Reflection is also a big part of this area.

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I am only going to focus on answering the second question today. In my math classroom, we focus a lot on problem-solving. One of the key aspects is what we call the "Wrap Up." The Wrap Up is a concluding question (based on the day's lesson) in which students are asked to explain their thinking about a particular question. They are given the opportunity to solve the problem using words, numbers, or pictures. At the beginning of the year, the vast majority of the students will write one or two words. As the year progresses and the students become more adept at answering and solving math problems, their thinking becomes more elaborate and I begin to see longer explanations and pictures to illustrate their thinking. Of course, this type of thinking requires a good deal of scaffolding. Many third grade students try to take the easy way out when it comes to math, so building their perseverance is a huge part of teaching.

Be sure to join us on Sunday for Chapter 8.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two for Tuesday - Great Place Value Activities 50% Off Until Friday

It's Tuesday, so that means it must be time for another...

Two for Tuesday

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To celebrate the fact that it's Tuesday (and school is about to start for most of us...sad but true), I've put two of my place value activities on sale for 50% off until Friday, August 1! Just click on any of the pictures below to go to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to take advantage of these great offers.

Place Value Scavenger Hunt

The first activity I have listed is the Place Value Scavenger Hunt. My students loved Scavenger Hunts! This particular activity had 28 questions that were related to place value concepts. The students were asked to round numbers, compare numbers, and write the numbers in different formats (standard, written, and expanded form). Each of the cards has a unique QR code associated with it.

The Place Value Scavenger Hunt makes a great center. I prepare the cards on cardstock and laminate them for durability. Then I cut out the cards and hang them randomly around the classroom. The students use the included recording sheet to write their answers down. After completing the activity, the students would use the classroom iPad to scan the QR codes using an app installed on the iPad. The QR code would provide the students with the correct answer, making the activity self-checking. Of course, the Scavenger Hunt can be used without an iPad as well.

This product normally sells for $3.50, but you can purchase it through Friday for just $1.75.

Check Writing - A Place Value Activity

The second activity is Check Writing - A Place Value Number Writing Activity. This activity is designed to student to the real world concept of check writing. The students are given the option of choosing from 24 different task cards and they are also given a blank check. The students are to fill out the check with the information on the card.

This was one of my students' favorite activities during our place value unit. They felt so grown up writing checks to me, their parents, and to the principal. One student even asked if she could take her checks to the principal. Too bad the checks weren't real.

Check Writing normally sells for $3.00, but, until Friday, it is on sale for $1.50. Please don't miss out and definitely share this with your friends and fellow teachers.

These are great activities to start the school year with, especially if your first unit is place value. You can also visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store for other great math activities. You can also follow my store to get updates when new products are available.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Guided Math in Action Book Study - Chapter 6

Chapter 6 is all about how to plan a Guided Math lesson. It was relatively short, but there was some really good stuff inside. I especially enjoyed the "peek in" of a Guided Math lesson.

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Dr. Newton provides a framework for guided math that is broken into 3 sections. These sections include the mini-lesson, student practice, and share time.

  • Mini-Lesson In the mini-lesson, it is our job as teachers to hook the students into that day's learning. We do this by making some kind of connection. I like to make the connection by telling a story. My students love to hear stories about my life or when I was a student in college and I always do my best to tie the story back to the lesson. After the hook, it is time to demonstrate the material.
  • Student Practice After the teacher demonstration, it is time for the students to practice the skill being taught. This is the part of the lesson where the teacher and the student interact and discuss what they are doing as they work through the lesson. This would be a time for using whiteboards or playing games.
  • Share Time The final part of the lesson is the share time, where students are asked questions about what they did during their practice time. Students can be interviewed one at a time or they can be asked to retell the main points of the lesson. The share time is then concluded by reinforcing the concepts one more time to clarify any confusion the students may have. The math centers are then explained and that group of students is released to go work.

The key take-away from this chapter is the need to plan out the lessons. Guided math is not something that can be done by the seat of your pants. It takes careful planning to be effective

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Question 1: I have never been one to use a Guided Math lesson plan. Because of the way I build my small groups, I tend to do many of the same things each time I meet with a group. The key thing is that I already include all of the aspects of a guided math lesson when I meet with my small groups. We begin by reviewing the material. I show the students a couple of examples. The students are then given the opportunity to practice the lessons. Finally, we discuss what was done. I would like to become more conscientious about doing a more formal plan.

Question 2: When teaching from the concrete to the pictorial to the abstract, I always start with manipulatives. This can include base-10 blocks or coins or even cards. The students need something to hold in their hands. After they are used to moving the objects around, I show them how to draw pictures. A good example of this is showing the students how to draw arrays for multiplication. I also show the students how to use large squares, lines, and dots when using base-10 numbers. I have a blog post that I really need to write on how I teach my students to solve multiplication problems. I've been trying to write it for months.

It's hard to believe that we are almost finished with this book. Be sure to leave a comment about how you plan your guided math lessons or ways that you move from concrete to pictorial. I would love to hear some new ideas.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Teaching Multiplication With Arrays and a Freebie

I have a confession. I absolutely love teaching multiplication with arrays. I love to draw them and I love to see my students drawing them, especially when they are attempting to solve a fact that they have not memorized yet. One of the projects that I am excited to have my students work on this coming school year is a giant multiplication chart where each space on the chart is filled with an array. I'll post pictures if/when we get it finished.

I realize that arrays may not be the most time efficient way of solving multiplication facts, especially when you get to larger facts like 11x12 or 12x10, but I think they provide students enough support and scaffolding as they learn their "smaller" facts to provide the foundation for those "bigger" facts.

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One of the games that I will often have my students play in math centers (regardless of the topic) is Matching. Some people call it Memory, but I think that term may be copyrighted, so I call it Matching. The way the game is played is to have all of the cards turned face down on the table or floor. Students take turns flipping over two cards at a time. If the two cards are a match, the student keeps the cards. If not, he has to turn them back over. The key to the game is to keep an eye on the cards that have been flipped so that when a player's turn comes up, he can flip over cards he already knows. The player that makes the most matches is the winner.

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I created a small freebie of this game and I want you to have it. Obviously you can use it as a Matching Game, but there are many different uses for it. If you do use it as a Matching Game, I would recommend printing it on card stock, but you probably know that already. Just click on the image below and it will download the activity.

If you are looking for other multiplication activities, I have several available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. To take a look, click on the images below and it will take you to the product for more information.

I hope that you enjoy the freebie and I would love to hear how it works for you. Please leave a comment below to let me know how it is working for you and your classroom. You can also follow my blog or follow me on Facebook for other updates.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five For Friday - Five Things I am Thankful For

It's time once again for Five for Friday, hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching.

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This week, I think I am going to write about five things I am thankful for.

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My beautiful family. If you recall from last week, my wife just had a baby. She is a beautiful little girl, a true answer to prayer. In addition to my daughter, my wife and I also have four boys and they are just as amazing as you can imagine. Yes, they can be a handful at times, but they are wonderful little boys and I couldn't ask for a better family. Right now, as I type this, I am sitting in the garage, watching them ride their bikes. I am beyond blessed. And, while I don't want you to leave my blog, here is a link to my wife's blog where she wrote about our daughter in a much more beautiful way.

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My health insurance. If you turn on the news, you are probably aware that healthcare and health insurance are big news lately. I have no desire to make political statements here, but I do want to say that I am thankful for the health insurance that my family has. Right now, our daughter is dealing with jaundice. I know that's not a serious thing, but her levels have been slowly increasing each day. As a result, she has had to have daily blood tests at the hospital and has been wrapped in a blue light blanket almost every hour of the day (I'm not a doctor, so I don't know the name for all of these things). Anyway, without our health insurance, I can't imagine what the costs would be.

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Our trip to Disney World. This is a strange one for me to be thankful for today, but hear me out. I love Disney. I love Disney World. My wife and I took our boys to Disney World in June 2013 and we had a blast. We rented a van and drove from West Virginia to Orlando. That was an adventure in itself. Right now, we are planning another trip in June 2015. Yes, I realize that it is a little less than a year away and that I have an entire school year to get through between now and then, but it is giving me something to look forward to. Having a goal (and a pretty heft one at that. Have you seen how much it costs to go to Disney recently?) is helping to push me into working harder and to be a little more frugal with our funds. My wife and I have a goal of paying off our credit card before the trip and my desire to get to Disney is causing me to work on that even more. If you are interested, I recently wrote a post on ways that I am saving for my Disney trip. It might help you start saving for a trip of your own.

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Running. I have mentioned running in each of the three Five for Fridays that I have participated in so far. Today, I am thankful for running because I am able to do it without it hurting. Earlier this year, I developed a really, really nasty case of tendinitis in my lower left leg. It hurt to walk or even stand up sometimes. Do you know how difficult it is to be a third grade teacher and not be able to walk? I kept trying to run and had to wear fancy compression sleeves on my leg in order to help alleviate some of the pain. Fortunately, most of the pain is gone. I ran almost 4 miles today and don't feel any discomfort. It's a great feeling. Now, if I could just get a little faster and go a little farther.

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My Teachers Pay Teachers store. I am incredibly thankful for my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Having this store has done two things for me. First, I think it has made me a better teacher. By creating materials for the store, I have really "upped my game" because I want to make certain that the materials I am posting of top quality. Everything that I make for my store is something that I use with my own students and I want them to have the very best. Second, the money that I have made has helped as we have been paying off our credit card and saving for different things as a family. I am incredibly humbled that there are teachers who spend their hard-earned money on products that I have made and trust me to make products for them to use in their classrooms. It has been and continues to be a wonderful experience.

So, another week is in the books. Hard to believe that a few more of these and we will be back in school. I hope you enjoyed reading about the things I am thankful for. I would love for you to share something you are thankful for as well. It reminds me of that song we used to sing in church. "Count your blessings, name them one by one..."