Using AR books to help with Science & SS

At Oak Grove we are big on Accelerated Reader. AR is a program where students read a book, take a test on the book, and earn points based on how well they did on the test. It's suppose to help students with fluency and also help give them a drive to read. Being as I teach Math, Science, and Social Studies I wanted a way for my students to read AR books while still working on the skills they are learning in my room. My solution: I get AR books based on what we are learning in the class! I have a basket labeled SS/Science Sponges which includes games and books for students to play or read when they finish with an assignment. Last week we were talking about erosion and landforms in Science so I had books on all kinds of landforms and erosion so that the students could read and test on it. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Not only do they get to earn AR points, but they are reading about the things we are learning in the class! I have to give props to the library staff here at The Grove! They are fantastically helpful when I need books on certain topics. They are always more than willing to help when I let them know what topics I will be needing the next week! Maybe you can use this in your classroom. If you need something for early finishers to do while the other students work this is a great way to continue their learning experience without any wasted time!

New Products & Free Stuff!

If you're anything like me you LOVE free stuff... here are some great free items you can download.

Here is a FREE polygon matching game. I use it as a sponge activity for students who finish early!

Here is a FREE Moon Phases matching game. Used again as a sponge activity, but I also use it to help reinforce recognition of the picture of the phase with the correct name. These are a bit tricky for the students to memorize and practice makes perfect!

Here is my newest item for sale on my TeachersPayTeachers Store. It's Adding & Subtracting Decimals using models. The kids loved coloring in the grid to represent adding and subtracting the decimals.

And last but not least here is a FREE item from a fellow TeachersPayTeachers seller who has a great way of helping students remember 7x8.

I hope you enjoy all these free items!

Using the Blog in the Classroom

I originally made this blog to connect with other teachers, but I couldn't help but include my students in this new blogging world! I included three tabs at the top of my blog just for my students. Each tab has games and videos that my students can play and watch on the topics we have learned or are learning about in class. I use the blog for early finishers mostly. For example, if a student finishes Math early they can get on the blog under the Math Tab and play games on Math and same for Science and S.S. I usually have them work on whatever we are working on in class, so if it's Science time they need to be playing a Science game. Again I reach my goal of having students learning while still having fun! With it being too cold or wet to go outside for recess we have recently been having a little free time in the classroom. During this time I will also allow them to get on the blog and play the games. Lastly, I use the blog at the end of the day when we are packing to go home. There is about 10 minutes to get our backpacks and get ready for home. Usually students finish pretty quickly and are again begging to get on the blog to play games.  Imagine my excitement to see my students begging to spend their free time on learning! It doesn't get much better than that! I am very excited about this new blogging world. Not only for the collaboration that is possible between teachers, but about giving my students yet another recourse for learning!

Other 4th Grade teachers: If you are interested in having your students use the blogging world then feel free to send them to this sight. I add more games and videos all the time to keep the students interested!

Matching Games

I've mentioned before that I hate wasted time during the school day, but I also don't want to just give assignment after assignment to my students to complete! I have been using what I call "Sponge Activities" during down time to give students "free time" while they are still learning. These sponge activities are aligned with what we are learning at that time. So the games change often. One sponge activity has quickly taken the role of favorite game in my classroom! It's matching games. I recently made a matching game for relating fractions to decimals. I printed the cards on colored card stock, laminated, and then put them in baggies. Not only are the becoming more and more familiar with what fraction and decimal go together, but they are LOVING it. Isn't that the point?! Here are a few pictures of my kids playing matching games. Here is the link to the matching game they are playing.

Moon Phases continued...

While studying moon phases last week I was searching for great worksheet and activities for my students to do. I was able to find the great oreo idea, which you can see here, but I wasn't able to find great worksheets that covered what I wanted covered. SO I made my own worksheets! I really enjoyed making these worksheets, but I enjoyed more my students using them! I have posted it at my Teacher Pay Teacher store for $3.00. Check it out here!

Moon Phases

 This week we have really been studying hard to learn the phases of the moon. For 4th grade the students need to know the names of the phases in order and to be able to identify pictures of the phases. We have done several things to learn these concepts. First, we had a flipchart to tell the moon phases in order and I gave cute ways to remember each ones name. Then, we did the Oreo Moon phases project. It turned out really cute! They kids went on and on about how much fun they had! Next, we did matching games to match the pictures of the moon phase with the name. We also watched some videos which illustrated the moon phases. To say the least we have really worked hard to be able to know our moon phases!

        Get the Matching Game Here!-Free!

Classroom Ideas!

"Can I sharpen my pencil?"... If you're a teacher you probably hear this 15 times per child per day. It drives me crazy! SO I use these super cute jars to store extra pencils in. This way they can just borrow one of my pencils when they need it so they don't interrupt class to sharpen pencils. I used a plain mason jar and hot glued a ribbon to it to decorate it. I also write my name on my pencils so that they will know it's a borrowed pencil. It works great! Whenever they need a pencil they just get up and get one themselves. No more interrupting my lessons. I also store my red pens in a mason jar. We use red pens to grade work that is graded together.

Relating Fractions & Decimals Game

I made these cute matching game cards to help reinforce the relationship between fractions and decimals. We will be having a complete lesson on this in a few days and I can't wait for my students to be able to use these! After the lesson I will let each group play for about 5- 10 minutes before beginning their daily assignment. After we do it as a class I am going to put it in the math sponge activities basket for finished students to be able to pull back out and play with a partner during extra time. You can find it here

Extra Info: My sponge activity basket has math games for students to play when they complete their math assignement. What better way to get kids interested in math then to turn things into a game? 

Multiplication Exit Ticket

This year after studying multiplication I realized that my students were still struggling to remember their facts. Everything in Math revolves around them being able to call out their facts quickly. So to help them I have made multiplication flash cards their "exit ticket" out of my class. Every time we leave the room the students have to answer one multiplication fact as they walk out the door. I only give them about 5 seconds to answer and if they don't know it I say the problem and the answer and they repeat it to me. In the beginning, this process took FOREVER! However, I am noticing a drastic difference in their ability to recall their facts. The process runs quite smoothly now and my students are learning their facts. I also have found that they actually LIKE doing it. For instance we are running late for lunch a couple weeks ago and I decided to forgo the flash cards so we could get to lunch. My students moaned and groaned the whole way to lunch because they weren't able to show me their mad multiplication skills! I think this could easily be used for vocabulary or memorizing other information as well. 

Valentine's Day Graphing

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching, which means I am looking for fun educational activities for my students! I did an activity using gingerbread men at Christmas that my students LOVED so I decided to make something similar using conversation hearts. I can't wait to do this activity with them. Be looking for more Valentine's Day activities to be coming soon! Get this activity here.

Classifying Triangles

When it was time to teach my students how to classify triangles I was trying to find something interesting to help them remember it. I couldn't really find anything that I liked so I decided to make something myself! I made this flipchart so that my students could learn about triangles and it be interactive and fun. I also took my second try at writing a song! This one was fun to do with my students and after we completed the flipchart they drew the different triangles and described them. Take a look for yourself!

Classroom Craft

Every once in awhile I get bitten by a creative bug and I just feel like making something! Now keep in mind I am not that great at being crafty, but I sure do try! Over the summer I made a couple of things for my classroom. Not only were they pretty inexpensive, but it gives my classroom a touch of uniqueness! On top of that my students thought I was  an up and coming Picasso when they found out I made it!

Here are two things I made for my classroom. The first one is a sunburst mirror! I found the idea on pinterest (surprise surprise). All you need is a small mirror, pencils, hot glue, and ribbon! It was pretty easy to make. (Outside of burning my finger a few times, which happens every time I use the hot glue.) The only down side was that I made it at home and when I put it in the car some of the pencils broke off and I had to hot glue them again when I got it to school. Other then that it turned out great! The second thing I made is a painted canvas with acrylic paint. I still think I want to add something to the white part around my name. It looks a little bare, but I'm not sure what else to add....


I found that teaching polygons was challenging. Not because I don't like teaching it, but because I felt like the students didn't have an easy way to remember them all. I made this flipchart so that learning about polygons would be interactive and fun for the students! I even wrote my first song! My students loved it! They were also pretty impressed with my song writing abilities. Who knows maybe I can get really good at writing songs and that could be my main income and teaching could just be for fun! Get it Free Here!

Journal Entry's

Everyday for morning work my students do a journal entry. This is the first year I have done journal entries on a daily basis and I have come to really enjoy them! Every morning my students come in, get their journal from the journal basket, and begin writing their journal entry. Not only does it help with a morning procedure because my students do the same routine every day, but it really helps their writing skills. Having a time to write every day makes them much more comfortable with writing and putting their thoughts on paper. I read their journal entries (almost) daily. I love learning about my students. I get to learn something about them that I probably never would have found out typically. You can get all the Journal entries at my teacherpayteacher store.

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it's already 2012! 2011 just flew by! Life has been very busy lately! I was able to spend my first Christmas and New Year with my husband and it was wonderful! I also had some time to work on school stuff... I know, I know, it's Christmas break and I shouldn't be working, but I can't help it! I can't help but think about what we are starting in Math when we get back from break. I also recently got new clipart and I'm anxious to use it and get some things ready for school! They are on my store! Check this equivalent fractions flipchart out and leave comments I always want to know what you guys think!

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