Monday, 25 November 2013

Gift #2

If you missed my post from last weekend, I have decided to show you how thankful I am for all of you by surprising you with a few gifts over the next few weeks.

The arrival of winter, has definitely put me in the holiday season. A few decorations made their way up over the weekend and I spent my Saturday morning at a Christmas craft workshop, making my own Christmas centerpiece. I think it turned out pretty good. What do you think?

I am a crafty girl at heart, but have a hard time finding the time to be crafty. I have the vision for my yearly Christmas card in my head, so that is next on my to do list... along with a million other things...

Anyhoo...I guess you are anxious to see what your gift is this week.

Click on the present to find out!
This gift will only be available for a short time, so make sure to grab it!




Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Giving Thanks Giveaway

Well, Thanksgiving has already come and gone for me up in Canada. The turkey was cooked, the pie was eaten and it was all very delicious. But all my American friends are just getting ready for their Thanksgiving festivities, so why not use that as yet another excuse to show you how thankful I am for all of you.
I promised you some great things this week, so let's get to the next one on the list.  

 It's ........................ another giveaway, specifically designed for middle school teachers.

Middle School Giveaway

Krystal from Lessons From The Middle and Kate from Kate's Classroom Cafe have teamed up to create a giveaway just for middle school teachers, as a little thank you for all you do! I'm excited to be a part of this awesome giveaway and there are lots of fantastic prizes to be won! So, let's get to it!

Middle School Giveaway
Middle School Giveaway
Middle School Giveaway
Middle School Giveaway
Middle School Giveaway
Middle School Giveaway
Good luck!

Monday, 18 November 2013

It's the month of giveaways!

I told you there would be some surprises this month. Here is yet another amazing giveaway opportunity you do not want to miss out on!

I've joined forces with Tracee Orman and an awesome and talented group of secondary school teachers to celebrate the final countdown to "Catching Fire". Not being an ELA teacher (for very good reason, trust me), I have not had the opportunity to incorporate the Hunger Games series in my own classroom, but I will admit that I loved the books and am probably just as excited as most of the teens out there to see the latest movie. So what better way to celebrate than a giveaway, and this is a big one with 26 teacher-authors offering up more than $100 worth of resources!!

Click the image below to find out more.

Good luck!


Sunday, 17 November 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like...

I'll let you be the judge.

Here is the view outside my house today...

and here is the view inside my house...

It is definitely looking like winter, and I have to say it's beginning to put me in the holiday spirit.

It is so easy to start complaining about the cold temperatures, the shoveling, and the terrible driving conditions, but seeing the look on my son's face when he looked out the window this morning made me quickly forget about such things. After all, we chose to live in "winter"peg, and we should know what to expect by now. Watching the white snow fall slowly to the ground is definitely a beautiful thing!

Anyways, the weather has put me in a giving mood, and seeing that the holidays will be here before we know it, I thought I would show you how very thankful I am for all of you out there in blogging land. Click on the present below to see your first gift of the season.

There are a few ways I plan to show my gratitude in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned.

Pssssst...It involves more presents and a giveaway...shhhhhhhhhh!

Enjoy the weather, wherever you are.


Thursday, 14 November 2013

It's an "all new" Giveaway.

Who doesn't love a giveaway???

Especially a really awesome, amazing, fantastic giveaway!!!

I am so excited to be joining up with an amazing group of TpT authors, to help our friend Meg, over at The Teacher Studio, celebrate her one year anniversary with her "all new" blog.

Today you have the chance to enter to win 12 - $10 shopping sprees in some fantastic TpT stores, geared for grades 5-6. Yes, I said 12!! That's $120 worth of free stuff if you win, and the best part you get to pick what you think will work best in your classroom.

Head on over to "The Teacher Studio", by clicking the image below, to get all the details.

You do not want to miss out on this one!

Good luck!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Reports are DONE! Time to celebrate!

I am very happy to inform you that, as of 10:45 p.m. last night, I submitted my last class of report card comments for term 1. They were due at midnight so I had 1 hour and 15 minutes to spare!
Every year I promise myself that I will get them done ahead of time, but somehow they always seem to sneak up on me.

Reports are definitely time consuming and we have had the format of ours switched on us twice in the last few years. So it seems every year, something a little different is expected of us. Gone are the days of clicking on the pre-made comments, "so and so does satisfactory work" and poof, you were done. We are now required to write individual comments, highlighting each student's struggles, challenges, and goals, which I am all for, as it actually makes the comments meaningful and worth reading (at least I hope they get read, seeing that I spent the better part of my weekend writing them).

Even though I am in total agreement about writing individual comments, sometimes my attitude isn't so positive at around 10:00 at night, when I find myself staring at my computer screen, with those last few students left that you just can't seem to put two words together for to save your life.  I am sure more than a few of you know what I'm talking about.

So, this term, I was determined to make things a little easier on myself. I spoke to a teacher across the hall, who always seems to have her reports done a month in advance, and she told she gets the students to write the comments. Now let's think about this for a minute, I don't trust my own grammar and spelling at the best of times, how am I going trust my grade 8's to write their comments? Of course, she didn't mean literally allow them to write their comments in my grade book, but why not have them tell me, what they feel they struggled with, what they felt was a challenge, and what they hope to achieve next term. I feel that I know my students fairly well by the end of term 1, but I don't necessarily know how each of them feels about their growth over the term, and I am all about reflecting and journaling in math class, so this is what I came up with.

After I handed them out, I started by explaining the grading scale. I wanted to make sure to come up with kid friendly language that they would all understand. Second, we brainstormed about what concepts we have learned this term and filled in the top chart. Third, we also thought back and made a list of specific assignments they could reference in their answers on the back page.

Now that I have a good idea of how they feel they did this term, I am always interested to see how it compares with how I feel they did. Far too often, I find kids do not give themselves enough credit. Most of the ratings were pretty close, if not identical to what I had assigned them. But the part I was most interested in was the answers on the back. I find these answers to be a life-saver when writing comments. When I got stuck on a particular student, I would read their answers, it would jog my memory, and in the end it made for a much more personal comment that I know the students will connect with when they read it.

I will admit that once they hand them in, I immediately flip to the last question on the back to see the responses. My main goal every year is to get my students, all my students, to become more confident in their math abilities, and actually enjoy math. This answer let's me know if I am succeeding.

Here's a few that stood out. I hope you can see through the terrible penmanship and  grammar...

...and since in reality, teaching isn't all rainbows and lollipops...

Now, it may not seem that I am making much of an impact on this particular student (and trust me I am trying) but I did happen to catch her explaining an assignment to another student who had been absent, and I hadn't even asked her to. Plus she was explaining it correctly! So progress is being made, slowly but surely.

If you think you could use this reflection in your own math classroom, you can download your copy here.

So here we are at the end of the term, it feels like a little celebration is in order.
I want to take this time to tell you about a little (it's actually quite big) giveaway that I am taking part in this week.

My blogging buddy Meg, over at "The Teacher Studio" is celebrating her brand new blog design with an amazing giveaway. Some amazing teacher authors have donated $10 shopping sprees in their stores. Each day is a different grade range so head over to her blog to check out the details. I am being featured on Thursday in the grade 5/6 package, so I will have some more info for you then. You don't want to miss out on this one.

Good luck!


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Math is Real Life - November Edition

It's that time of the month again, and I am eager to once again join up with the fabulous linky hosted by Miss Math Dork, 4mulafun, Fourth Grade Studio, and Teaching to Inspire in 5th!

So here we are, the first full week of November and it is definitely feeling like winter outside.

This month, I wanted to write about something very important to me...saving money! I fully admit I am a bargain hunter and I will not pay full price for anything! I was taught very young the value of a dollar, and how to stretch it. Those who know me, make fun of me all the time, but hey it makes me happy! Each time I go shopping it is like my own little math challenge to save the most money possible.

Being Canadian, we already celebrated Thanksgiving back in October, and now that we are in our new house, we have the room to host such dinners. Well, as I am sure you know having a large family dinner can be expensive. Luckily everyone signed up to bring an item of food, so I was left with the turkey and the pumpkin pie...and so began my hunt for getting the best deal on my holiday dinner.

Step 1 - Do your research

In order to get the best deals on anything, you need to know your prices. Thursday the flyers arrive at the end of my driveway, which is one of the highlights of my week (sad I know, but hey its the little things in life...). So I started by looking through the flyers and comparing prices.  I didn't have to look far, as every flyer had a turkey on the cover, however I wanted to get the best deal all around, not just on the turkey. With my list beside me I compared all the prices of the items I was going to need to purchase to pull off a delicious dinner. Once I evaluated all the comparisons, I then decided on the store.

Step 2 - Make a plan

Most of the prices were actually pretty similar, so I took a few other things into consideration.

I decided to go to Safeway. Not only were the turkeys $0.99/lb, but if I did my shopping on Tuesday (customer appreciation day) I would save an additional 10% on my total order. I am also an avid Airmiles collector, and Safeway is the only grocery store to offer airmiles, so that helped me make my decision.

Before I headed out to the grocery store I finalized my shopping list, double checked my prices, did a quick coupon match-up, and patiently waited for Tuesday.

Step 3 - Go shopping!

When Tuesday finally arrived I was ready to go. I got everything I needed and didn't break the bank. The best deal, had to be the turkey.

Regular price- $20.56
Sale price- $13.72
Additional 10% discount - $1.37
Total cost of the turkey - $12.35
Total savings - $8.21

I ended up paying $12.35 for my 13.8 lb turkey, which turned out beautifully (I wish I had taken a picture) and it was more than enough for the family. We had turkey leftovers for 2 days and I was still able to make a huge pot of homemade soup.

I think I got my money's worth. What do you think?

I plan on teaching my students how to get the best deal, when we start learning about unit rates in the next few then we will be thinking about Christmas dinner.
Here's a little preview of something I've been working on. I hope to have it posted by American Thanksgiving.

How did you use math this month? Any other bargain hunters like me out there? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

I hope all my Canadian friends had a great Thanksgiving, and I wish all my American friends a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Harvest Cart Challenge

In order to get full use of the pumpkins we got delivered to the class. I decided to end the week with one final challenge. I call it "The Harvest Cart Challenge". I took my Wheelbarrow Challenge and put an Autumn spin on it.

The students were placed into groups of 4-5 students, and presented with a bag of "junk". Using only the material found in the bag, they were required to design and create a "harvest cart" that would carry the heaviest pumpkin.

For the bag of "junk", I use whatever I can find, but I always make sure that each group gets the same items. Here is what I was able to dig up this time around.
-paper bags
-juice concentrate lids
-milk lids
-paper clips
-clothes pins
-pipe cleaners
-popsicle sticks
-construction paper
-foam paper
-masking tape/duct tape (I usually give an arm's length)
-hot glue (each team is given a set amount of time to use the hot glue gun)

If you plan on doing this activity in your class, your supplies could look entirely different than mine, don't stress about finding the same things. That is what I love about this activity, the students are basically making something from nothing...the more random the items, the more creative the final product!

**I always send my students on a scavenger hunt at the beginning of the year to collect things I will find useful in my math classroom, so I always have plenty of junk lying around. If you don't have a pile of junk lying around your classroom like myself...I would recommend starting to collect supplies a couple of weeks in advance. Make sure to ask your students and other staff members for help.**

Ok, back to the challenge.
I usually start by showing my students a few ideas on the projector. Ie. A picture of a wagon, wheelbarrow, old fashioned cart, etc. just to get them thinking.

Each group was required to first sketch their cart, before beginning construction. Depending on your students, the construction phase can take anywhere between 1 and 3 classes.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures during the construction phase, so I will skip ahead to the testing phase.

Down the middle of my classroom, I placed masking tape about 5 meters apart signifying the start and finish line. Each group was required to transport the pumpkin on their cart by either pushing or pulling. If the cart made it the full distance with no major signs of distress, it made it to the next level.
With each level the pumpkin increases in size. I usually start of with one of those small ornamental pumpkins, just to make sure everyone passes the first round. Make sure that you have a variety of different sized pumpkins (I usually write the weight on the pumpkin for the students to see) I would recommend having at least 6 different sizes. I always end up being amazed at how heavy a pumpkin some of their creations can actually withstand!

Here's a few pictures of us testing the carts out. (sorry, they aren't the greatest)

The kids had a blast!

I hope you try this activity with your kids or something like it. It is a great way to get kids interacting with one another and putting their creative porblem solving skills to the test. I also find this to be a great activity for incoporating the design process, which is a large component of their science mark.

To finish the week off, the kids were all able to carve a pumpkin to take home.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween, next up...Christmas!