Thursday, October 30, 2014

Balancing Teaching and Being a Mom

The end of October marks two full months that I have been back to work full time since having my second child one year ago. My baby girl will be one year old in a few weeks and it's hard to remember life without her.

There have been a lot of challenges in going back to work with two kids and I can honestly say it's been stressful at times.

My house is always a mess.

I don't always cook the way I want to.

My pile of marking grows daily…and I rarely make it a priority.

There are days when I am planning my lessons period to period.

Workouts have dropped from 7 days a week to maybe 4 days a week…if I am lucky.

I can't remember the last time I got my hair cut.

Thank god for coffee. 


I wouldn't change a thing. I know I am a better mom when I am back to work. I love teaching. I love my class. I love constantly learning about teaching.

I am also a better teacher because I am a mom. I have more patience. I think more about how I would want my child to be treated. I am more fun and less focused on just the curriculum

It'll get easier. 
This I know. 

But right now?

Wow, finding balance is tricky. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Skip Counting Task Cards- A New Product!

This year I have Guided Math fully up and running in my class and I must say that I am loving it. In the past I tried to jump in too fast and then it all fell apart but not this year, we have been going slow. Mixing in whole class lessons, math journal work, and the three-part lesson.

Right now we are working on skip counting and data management...I like to do two strands of math at the same time. It helps the students connect patterns between the types of math.
But anyway...I offered a skip counting freebie last week as part of the Halloween Blog Hop I participated in and now I have the full product for you.

I think if you liked the freebie than you are going to LOVE these skip counting task cards.

This pack contains 65 task cards that can be used in a variety of ways in your math class.
I plan to use them as Must Do's during my Guided Math rotations and for assessment during Math Conferences.

I have included a recording sheet so your students can track the numbers they are counting with and begin to see patterns in their skip counting.

Communication in math is one of my favourite things to teach so I have also created 2 different reflection sheets that students can use to help explain their understanding and thinking about skip counting. 

I hope you find these useful in your class.
If there is a number that your curriculum dictates that you teach for skip counting and it's not included in the package, please email me and we can see if we can work something out!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Halloween - Blog Hop!!

I love fall!
The leaves change colour. The air gets crisp.
It's Thanksgiving (for us Canadians) and Halloween all in the same month.

I've gotten together with some Canadian blogging friends to celebrate Halloween by having a blog hop and giveaway. Each blog is posting about their favourite way to celebrate Halloween in their class, sharing some freebies and we've gotten together to offer you the chance to win a TPT gift card.

How happy of a Halloween is that?
Pretty awesome.

To be honest, I can't say that I have a favourite way to celebrate Halloween but in the past I have done haunted house glyphs, watch a spooky movie, and done other art activities.

This year my class is reading Bunnicula leading up to Halloween and I am hoping to get some small pumpkins we can paint closer to the holiday. 
Fingers crossed.

As for my freebie, I'd love for you to head over to my TPT store to check out my Skip Counting by 5's Task Card FREEBIE.

I'm planning on extending this freebie into a full product with a variety of skip counting task look for that soon in my TPT store. 

Happy Halloween!!

P.S. The blog hop doesn't officially start until Oct 17th...I just wanted to share with you all a little early. So come back on the 17th to check out the other blogs and grab some great freebies. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 11, 2014

It's a SALE! It's a SALE!

Happy Thanksgiving!!
Yes, that's right here in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October.

Crazy Canadians.

Since we wanted to invite all our American and world-wide teacher friends to celebrate with us I have joined up with OVER 30 Canadian blogger/TPT sellers to throw a Thanksgiving sale.

That's right. 
A sale.
Who doesn't love a sale?

If you head on over to my store you will find everything listed for 20% off, including my newest product- Guided Math Group Labels and Famous Mathematician Class Book, on Sunday, October 12th and Monday, October 13th.

Click on the buttons below to check out all the other Canadian sellers that will be hosting a sale as well. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Using a Math Huddle to Teach Workshop Skills

If you have been following me for awhile now and reading my posts you already know all about my love for the three-part lesson and math huddles.

Love them!

This year as we are starting up our Math Workshop I decided to try something new and use the same Math Huddle framework to teach a concept that will be the cornerstone of our Math Workshop program....Math Talk!

Here is a picture of the finished Math Huddle board. It's such a nice clean way to organize the student work and create an interactive anchor chart.

This was my class' first experience with a Math Huddle and they did a bang up job (if I do say so myself!). We had been slowing moving through the parts of our Math Workshop and talking a lot about the expectations for each area. 

As the Minds On for this Math Huddle I simply displayed the poster for the Helping Others component of our Math Workshop and had the students turn and talk about what we would be doing during this time. 

Then I posted a simple problem that I thought the students could handle but would still need to take some time to really think about. I also wanted an open-routed problem so that my students would be able to use a variety of strategies to solve it.

BUT here is the most important doesn't really matter what type of problem you use, or if you even talk about the problem, which I didn't. 
The focus of this Math Huddle was actually the math talk that would be happening during the problem solving stage. 

You can see here that I posted all my students' work up on the board but we never actually looked at it. Normally during a Math Huddle I would have students present their work, discuss their strategies and make anecdotal notes on the board to help other students stretch their thinking. 

This time, however, we focused on Math Talk. I posted this anchor chart in the Key Ideas and Highlights section. We had previously completed the section that has the question- "What is good math talk?" but had not yet done the chart at the bottom.
After the students complete their first Math Huddle we discussed their feelings and what they thought of the experience. 
Then we created this Looks Like/ Sounds Like/ Feels Like chart together.

My favourite part...Students loving math!

How do you promote good math talk in your class?

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Peek into My Class...The First Weeks Back From My Maternity Leave

No, I didn't forget about you guys and my little ol' blog over here. I just didn't quite anticipate how much more juggling there would be with 2 kids and going back to work. Add in an entire new focus on working out and getting fit (I'm talking 7 days a week) and there just isn't enough time in the day!

I have some pictures of my class to share and I promise to try and be back more regularly to share....
Fingers crossed.

The start of our lesson on "Just-Right" books...notice that the t-shirts are all different sizes. 

Finished posters to be posted soon!

Our carpet and Morning Math Meeting area. 

Class library

Bulletin boards
 (I love that I painted them black!)

More carpet area

View of the room from the back corner. 

Our first Math Huddle....success!
We focused on math talk and didn't worry too much about the actual math being done (good thing...) and it went super well.
We've done a second one since that I want to post about soon. 

Close up of the Math Huddle board. 

Anchor created during the Math Huddle...notice where it says "kids loving math"?
Totally their input.
Love it.

Turn a card behaviour system used school-wide. 

Small group meeting area...under construction as well are still getting our routines in place.

View of the whole room. 

And that's where the magic happens folks!

I have promised myself that I will set time aside for blogging...and I will do it.

If I don't- can you all drop me a line and yell at me?

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