Sunday, November 1, 2015

Currently November 2015

I'm linking up with Farley today at Oh Boy 4th Grade to do this week's currently!

Listening - My kids awoke bright and early, didn't take advantage of the time change to sleep in at all.  They're trading candy right now.  Does anyone besides me have kids who break all their candy into groups right when they get home from trick or treating?  Mine sort, re-sort, tally chart, graph, etc..

Loving- It's supposed to get down to the 70's this week!  Break out the soup and chili recipes!  We've been in the nineties for what seems like forever.  Fall is my favorite season so it kills me every year to wait so long for it. 

Thinking - Organization...again.  I'm trying to figure out how to keep all my various parts of life planned well, without leaving one or the other out.  I think I'm getting a system down, but if you have a great one I'd love to know about it.

Wanting - I've been in the mood to shop lately.  In all fairness I do really need clothes.  We've been on a spending freeze for 2.5 years while my husband went back to school for a new career, a career he just started.  The problem right now is prioritizing the list that has piled up over the last 2 and half years.

Needing - I have a craving this year like never before for a great cup of hot apple cider.  Help me out here.  Got a recipe for a well balanced cup of this wonderful elixer?

Hours?  Yummy? - Farley had her personal list with "yummy" for her last prompt.  I'm keeping that one but it kind of overlaps with hours and last day.  I've been baking.  I plan on baking more.  Break out the cooler weather and I can't stay away from the oven. 

Head on over to Oh Boy 4th Grade to what everyone else is up to lately!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Science Lab - Bobbing For Apples

Why does it seem like primary grades get to have all the fun in the fall?  No more!  Bobbing for apples can be used to teach density, displacement, and buoyancy...all higher grade concepts!

I just added this lab to my store!  It's aimed at grades 4-8- and teaches the initial concept of these physical science ideas.  It does not go into measurements and formulas, just introduces the ideas. 

As usual, my labs come with a student lab book:

and step by step teacher directions - following the 5E method of science inquiry:

You can pick this up in my shop today for only $3!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Coming Soon - The Professional Development Series

Do you ever see professional development books you want to read, but just can't seem to squeeze one more thing into your schedule?  There's a lot of stuff out there that looks fabulous!  And helpful!  And it would make you a better teacher!  But you just can't do one more extra thing!!!!!

That's what this series is for.  I'll be going through some books and professional development ideas and sites, etc... and bringing them to you in easy to manage chunks via blog posts.  Doesn't that sound fabulous!?

I'll be starting off this series with this book:

I'm a little over half way through it and it has some valuable things to offer your graphic organizer repertoire.

Later on in this series you will find other books, and ideas and resources for general topics.

I'd love to know two things:

1-  Have you read this?  And if so, what did you think?  I'd love for you to interact in the comments with your experiences and insights as I go through this.

2-  What else would you like to see?  Is there a book or topic or some other area of growth you'd love invest some time in?  Let me know!  I might add it the lineup for future professional development topics.

I'll start on this book later this week!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

New to my Shop!

I've been busy creating things this year, but have not been busy blogging about them. ;(  Normally I write one specific post for each new item I upload to my TPT store, but I've been slacking lately.  So I decided to do a highlight-them-all-briefly-in-one-post post.

Most recently I posted my Emergency Sub Plans - designed around a mini booklet I wrote about gravity.  I wanted to make a few emergency plans so there might be more to come.   If you have a topic idea you'd like to see, let me know in the comments.   I don't like to leave new concepts and 'real' work for subs, but I do not like to waste an instructional day.  I thought this was the perfect balance.  And you don't need to buy a separate book to keep with the plans!

And apparently I'm not the only one who likes this idea.  I sold 3 the first hour after it was posted!  I've never sold so many of something so quickly after posting!  I've sold lots of one item in a day, I've sold some fairly quickly after posting, but 3 within an hour?  That's a joyous first for me!  Grades 3-5

Before the sub plans I posted some Social Media Style Shout Outs:

These are also geared to upper elementary and are just a fun way to give quick, daily recognition.

Before the shout outs I posted a few lessons and kid book creation project for Where The Wild Things Are.  Adjectives, synonyms, and writing... I used to do this with my second graders.  It was one of my favorite things all year.  3-5 days of lessons for 1st - 3rd grade.

This Prime Factorization Puzzle was also posted about a month ago:

I designed it to be used one puzzle at a time for beginners, or all 5 combined for some serious thinking, which makes it an easy way to differentiation practice.

And last but not least, the Jello STEM Earthquake Lab.  As always, the student lab book is included, along with step by step directions and photos for the teacher.

And now I think you're all caught up!  Check these items and more out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Friday, October 2, 2015

October 2015 Currently

I'm linking up with other teachers today at Oh Boy 4th Grade to bring you this month's state of my brain. ;)

Have a happy October everyone!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Five for Friday Link Up

I'm joining Doodlebugs Teaching this week for my first ever 5 for Friday link up!

This was a habit forming week (hopefully).  I spent the time with very careful planning and goal revisitation trying to form a new rhythm for my work/home schedule.

I kept mostly to my hours and expectations with the exception of 1 day.  I hadn't slept well and had trouble focusing.  Hopefully I'll be able to make up the lost task time over the holiday weekend.

I made this new puzzle for factorization.  My son loves it!

You can pick up a copy in my TPT store.  

We're also engaging in some Jello STEM labs around here.

This is also something you can get in my store.  My kids can never get enough of these STEM labs

I've been eyeing some beautiful fall decorations.  I just can't wait for the air to crisp up here.  We don't always get fall here and it's in the 90's right now.  Hope lives in my heart though. I'm thinking of making these for Thanksgiving place cards this year.  If only my dishes were as cute as these as well.

Also on the home front, my husband built me a nice wood planter box.  I'm hoping to get a mini blackberry patch going.  I didn't have time to get a picture of it but this one is close.

Head on over to Doodlebugs Teaching and check out every one else's week!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Great Classroom Decorations for Back to School

I came across a few ideas (mostly of Pinterest of course!) with some fabulous classroom applications!

Like this door from

Even though this is a hotel room door, the idea could easily be applied to a classroom.  One teacher on another post mentioned adding pics throughout the year.  I was also thinking you could put pics of various 'places you'll go' during the school different ecosystems, math diagrams, etc...

And hey, why not use those fabulously fun (and cheaper than most decorations) giant tissue pom poms in the classroom!?

I saw these over at School Girl Style and she has some other pictures with coordinating decorations to go with them.  They're great because they're K-6 (or higher) and they fill in and brighten up the classroom when you don't yet have student work to put up.

I couldn't find the source for this fabulous scrunched tissue paper border, but I love the layers.  I like dimension on my borders but I've never thought of scrunching tissue.

I fell in love with this idea that just found yesterday on The Resourceful Room.  Binder clips + dollar store baskets with wire handles = storage underneath the white board rail.  The possibilities here are endless.  

KUC bluprint has this great idea to add to your teacher binder:

Put in a clear sleeve and add in birthday calendar items, certificates, anything else that goes to specific kids throughout the year.  Put one of these sleeves in each month's section of your binder.  I like to give my team birthday cards so those could go here too.

For other cute ideas you might want to check out my Classroom Management Pinterest board and my The Cute Classroom board!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September 2015 Currently

I'm linking up with Farley today over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for the September Currently.  I'm glad it's here, but I don't feel ready for it. ;)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Math Missions! An Entire Year of 4th Grade Problem of the Week Booklets

I put these in my store yesterday.  It's been a long term project for me...a labor of love. 

Math Missions (AKA – Problem of the Week) help you support your students’ understanding and application of the Mathematical Practices on a consistent basis. This is a comprehensive packet that covers all domains and almost every standard!

Each little booklet walks yours students through the processes of evaluating the problem, deciding on an approach and order of approach steps, working through the math, and explaining their reasoning.

These are ready to print, copy, and use!


The Math Missions pack includes 37 problems (that’s enough for the entire school year!) , centered around 4th grade standards. They cover all domains (Numbers and Base Ten, Geometry, etc…). They can be used for remediation in 5th and 6th grades as well.

These are all aligned with common core standards and are consistent with the Smarter Balanced Assessment style.

I've included a rubric and methodology for getting started with these, helping you and your kiddos get the most out of the process. 

Head on over to my store and pick these up now so you have them all year!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Elementary Professor is Now on Instagram!

I finally broke down and started an Instagram account for my TPT/TN store.  You can find me at:

Who's going to be the first follower?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cumulative Number and Number Word Practice 0-30

Summer is on the downhill slope, and while it's not time to get stressed about the impending school year and stop enjoying the days off, it is time to start thinking about putting together some units, decorations, organizing features, know that list.  I've got a new product for the younger years!
This pack has groups of numbers put together in ways to practice those recently learned, along with those newly learned.  Students fill in the shapes according the the number or number word inside the shape.

The above example is for the 0-1 page but there are lots of combos.

Great for centers or math stations, homework, seat work, guided practice, individual practice, you name it, it fits!  And it's just copy and use!

You could make them reusable for centers by placing them in protecting sleeves and using dry erase markers.  

Get a whole year of practicing 0-30 for only $3 in my store!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Target Inspired Cooperative Murals

I was shopping in Target one day.  With a little time to kill before picking up the kids I decided to have a coffee in the Starbucks inside and sit with my to do list to get my thoughts in order.

These were on the wall:

I immediately thought, "I could do that with a class!"

The next week I had the opportunity.

This is how it came out with third graders:

We made two projects with the one set of pieces.  The first was a card for their teacher whose sister just died.  She loves art so I knew she'd love this.

This second piece was a mini mural for her classroom display.

Here's how we made them:

-I gave each student a 4"x4" piece of white paper.  You can make them any size as long as they are square.

-I gave each table a 3.75" circle pattern and a 1.5" circle pattern to draw two concentric circles on the square.  How's that for a math lesson, concentric circles!  Gotta love geometry. 

I showed them how to use the border around the outside to see if the pattern was centered before tracing. 

This is slightly different from the Target art in that I had each student make a whole target shaped picture instead of a large section of a target.  It was easier to manage this way and still came out great.

-I showed students how to fill in each section with a different pattern.  I warned them against drawing an actual picture because it would get cut up.  No families, houses, etc.... Pick a pattern and fill in a section (dots, strips, paisleys, rainbows, etc...), then pick a new one for the next section, etc...

-Next, each student brought me their square and I cut them each into 4ths.  I allowed each child to pick one piece to keep, one went on the card, and the other two went on the mural.  I had a large sheet of plain black paper ready for the backing and I glued pieces on.

Viola!  Some fabulous collaborative art.  The teacher loved her card, and now has a new idea for next year's Art Walk and Ice Cream Social Night.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

End of Year Activities - New Reflection Journal Posted!

I just put this reflection journal / memory book in my shop!

This reflection journal has room for an artistic cover, and many other great features.

Just copy and staple - No other prepping involved!

The document includes:

-pics of student samples
-pages of journals to copy and assemble

The student journal includes:

-cover art space
-'about me' pages (descriptive words, hopes and dreams)
-summer plans and life favorites
-favorite memories and friends made
-word search with answer key picture
-what I've learned this year
-hopes for next year
-one word summative poster

You might also be interested in my Back to School and End of Year Activity Pack.  This has all those activities that tie the beginning to end and the end to the next class.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Great Educational Video: How Paper is Recycled

This could be a good resource for Earth Day, or just science in general.

Watch a recycling center in Staten Island take A TON (or rather, many many tons) of waste paper and turn it into pizza boxes!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easter Learning Experiences for Upper Elementary

Why should primary teachers and students get to have all the fun around the holidays?!

I decided to compile a list of ideas I could find for 4th grade and older revolving around Easter: eggs, jellybeans, spring flowers, bunnies, etc...and of course share them!  Don't forget a lot of these supplies are available from dollar stores too!

You've seen those cute Pinterest ideas where a teacher puts an addition problem on one half the egg and the answer on another half and the students have to match the problem to the answer right?  Why not do that with upper grade math?  Try equivalent fraction matching, an algebra problem with the solved part, multiplication tables, etc...  Just be sure to either mis-match the colors or use all one color egg so students don't know the answer just by matching the pink top and bottom, the blue top and bottom, etc...

You could also use the egg carton along with the plastic eggs to make the same types of problems.  Just put the answer in the carton instead of on the other half of the egg.

Or coordinate graphing with jelly beans!  You could have a set of coordinates for students to put jelly bean markers on, then reveal your own with answers so they can check theirs against yours. The one below even makes an egg picture!


Zentagles are easy to create.  Just find a clip art black line of an egg, cross, bunny, etc... and make it the size of a whole page.  Then Have students section it off and add their own designs and colors to each section.

Crayon resist also makes a statement. Use white or black crayon on a white page to draw an egg or spring picture.  Then watercolor wash it and watch the magic happen.

Social Sciences

Put numbers on the eggs and hide "artifacts" inside.  These could be miniature artifacts or little clip art pictures you find online.  List clues with the number for what's inside each egg.  Students can guess and then check inside the egg to see if they're correct.

There are a ton of jelly bean and egg science experiments out there!

How about this one from Martha Steward Crafts that creates geodes out of eggs?

Or try my recently posted Naked Egg lab where you use chemical reactions to dissolve the shell off an egg and then learn osmosis by creating situations where water passes into and out of the egg through the membrane!

How about egg drop soup?  When I was in 7th grade we had to do this project called egg drop soup. We had to engineer our own container that would keep a raw egg from breaking when the teacher dropped it off the top of a ladder (the container was homework, the dropping was done at school).  There were only 2 successful designs.  Mine was one of them. ;)  I'm still proud.


How about creative writing?  Put a few small objects in an egg.  Each one can be different.  Students have to create a story that uses all of the objects.  Even better, the setting has to be in the time frame you are studying in Social Studies. :)

Or you could have students choose the objects.  Then they write descriptive clues and trade with others to guess what's inside.

Those are just a few ideas that will hopefully lead to some upper grade fun!