## How Can Short (or tall) Teachers Hang Items with Ease in Their Classrooms?

I have done everything in the past to hang items from the ceiling at school. I’ve climbed on tables and chairs, borrowed tall people, and sweet talked the custodian with a candy bar. Hanging items from the ceiling is something that I always dread doing since it takes so much effort. Now I don’t have to borrow my custodian or climb like a monkey because of these new hooks I ‘ve found–Magster ceiling hooks. Magster ceiling hooks have a convenient pole that I can use to attach magnetic hooks to the metal part of the ceiling. I just lift the pole to the ceiling until the magnet attaches. They are easily moveable and can be taken down with the same pole. Now I am just thinking of things to hang up for next year.

Here is what came in my starter package:

Above the wood sticks join with the black pieces to make a long pole. The U-shaped black piece holds the hook. The other white plastic items are the hooks.

Above you can see how the wood pieces join to make the pole to hang the hooks.

Here is me standing ** on the floor** (not on a chair, not on a table) with my 5 ‘ 3″ self and hanging a hook.

Ta Da! That was easy and quick!

I can even use this to hold my posters…See!

The pole makes it super easy even to hang posters above! (I hate that my ceiling is cracked right there. They won’t fix it though 🙁 )

Surprise! I’m hosting a give away of one package of these wonderful hooks which you will absolutely LOVE! All you have to do is make a meaningful comment on any post on my blog, and leave another comment below about what you would hang if you won the new hooks. The contest will close on July 10th. I will select two winners at random and announce them on July 12th!

## Fun and Easy Tool to Teach Number Sense for Kinesthetic Learners

Here is my absolute favorite session from NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). The presenter was a lady from Canada who brought The Learning Carpet for us to see. The learning carpet is a 10 by 10 grid of empty squares that you can use for many things, but it is especially useful for a large 100’s chart.

The number cards are 6 1/2 inches square and made out of card stock. Students in groups of five can see how fast they can place the number cards on the carpet. This can be easily differentiated by giving the easier numbers to the struggling learners and the larger numbers to the students who need a challenge.

Students can also be asked to pick up the numbers whose digits makes sums of 10 or any number. Students will start to see patterns such as how different sums follow diagonals. I felt dumb when she showed us this because I had never noticed that the sums make diagonals.

In the above picture you can see the gray squares on the mat. You could easily make this on a tarp with paint or tape to show the number boxes. The gray boxes are 6 1/2 inches and the black stripes on the grid lines are 1/2 an inch. If I made one of these carpets, I would make the squares actually bigger so that feet could more easily fit inside the boxes. I ordered the book with all the games that you can play so I could make my own if I wanted. Next year, there may be money in the budget to actually purchase some of the carpets.

The amazing thing about the fact that there are no numbers on the grid actually teaches more number sense. Students are made to think about number relationships to find spaces on the grid. If asked to find any number on the blank grid students have to understand the relationships between the numbers. For example, if trying to find 57 on the grid, students will know that all the sevens are in a column so that 57 will be in the column with sevens. A marker can be thrown on the grid and then students have to tell what number space that it landed on. They can walk on the carpet to help them figure it out.

The grid can be used for bar graphs or coordinate grids. The grid can also be used for area and perimeter like below.

There are so many fun activities you can do with this carpet, and I love the idea of the students actually being able to get up and stand on it to be involved. If you want to order the resources you can buy learning carpets and resources here. The kindergarten teacher who designed these is in Canada, and this is the only place you can buy them. They don’t sell through a larger distributor like Amazon etc. I have no stock in these, I just think that it is a great idea whether you order the ones she makes or make your own.

## My Favorite Fraction Tools

I wanted to share with you these new tools that I ordered for this year. I knew that we would be studying a lot of fractions, and we only had the linear models for a class set. Normally, when introducing fractions I start out with whole sheets of colored paper and have students cut them apart into halves, thirds, fourths, and so on. Then students can lay these pieces of paper on each other to find equivalent fractions. While this has value for students understanding that fractions are parts of a whole (piece of paper), students tend not to cut them out perfectly, so their equivalence investigation is a bit skewed. Because of this I move to manipulatives for the equivalence investigation, but again, I only had tools that were linear models…so here is what I ordered… Foamy fraction squares!

What is even better than the fact that they are brightly colored and quiet?

They are exactly the same size as a base ten block! This makes teaching decimal equivalents so much easier! I know the shadow makes the base ten block look larger but, they really are the same size.

See!

Students can easily see that one-half equals five-tenths, one-fifth equals two tenths, and one tenth equals ten hundredths.

I ordered a class set of these from EAI education here. I promise I make no money from telling you about these, but they make teaching fractions so much easier. Every teacher who has used them loves them!

## Need Activities to Teach Counting?

I was so excited to get these unifix books that I ordered. With there being a shortage of counting activities in our regular kindergarten textbook, I was eager to find more. These simple and practical books for kindergarten and first grade offer several counting activities like the following:

- Shapes that students cover with cubes to see how many cubes will fill the shape. Students count the number of cubes that fill the shape.
- Cards with a different number of shapes on them that students match to numbers cards.
- Number cards to match to plastic baggies with cubes in them.
- Games like “First to Fifty” in which students spin a number spinner to draw a certain amount of cubes to cover a board. Students can count how many they have left to cover.

There are some other good number sense activities included also. These are available at Didax for $13.95.

## My New Singapore Math Manipulatives!

I get the luxury of ordering new math materials for my school. To prepare for all of the common core instruction in place value, fractions, and decimals, I ordered lots of fraction circles, some more unifix cubes, and some place value strips. When my order came in this week, it was like Christmas! That is always the feeling I have anytime I rip open boxes of new math materials! I am most excited about the place value strips which are pictured below. As you can see in the pictures, they come apart so that students actually see the value of the number. These are one of the Singapore Math manipulatives. Each color matches the Singapore math discs if you decide to get those as well which I use with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. If you want to have a smaller size, there is also a copy, cut and laminate version in one of Sandra Chen’s books, *The Parent Connection for Singapore Math*.

## How Can You Teach Common Core Standards with Number Bonds

Well, I have let my blogging activity slide as I have been trying to give more attention to developing my materials for Teachers Pay Teachers. My sales have done better this year than ever–I suppose due to the work I put in on some lesson activities from this summer. I have TONS of math activities I could sell that I have made over the years for all grade levels however to sell them I want them to be perfect so it takes me a while to make them look as good as I want them to look.

I hope you will be pleased with the most recent activity I posted today. First graders at my school are working on becoming fluent with their number bonds (sums) up to 10. They have been building number bonds with two colors of snap cubes and then coloring a model of what they built. They have been using the printables I just uploaded to TPT. I also developed a Smart Board lesson to match the number bonds printables since one of the first grade teachers reported at our last planning meeting that the students were confused about how to write an equation. The Smart Board lesson allows the teacher to model the bonds of ten with snap cube virtual manipulatives and move the symbols, and numbers around to build an equation. See below. Click on the picture to read more.

## You Can Use this Fabulous Tool to Build Word Walls

Post-it definitely had teachers in mind when they developed these repositional lined sticky notes. These sticky word strips are great for word walls, to help highlight a word on anchor charts, or to label items in your classroom. This tool allows teachers to easily create a print rich environment. They are also colored, so they easily allow for coding the stickies by topic. For example all life science words could be green. Since they are repositional, I like to leave them on my white board while we are learning the concept, so I can write a definition or draw a picture with each word. Then move them over to the word wall later when we aren’t currently using them. I can always move the words back if we work on them again. I highly recommend these to anyone wanting to teach vocabulary! Target carries these and I usually can pick up a package for about $5 before school begins.

## Where Can You Find Amazing Word Walls?

I just heard some colleagues discussing word walls that come pre-printed with pictures to go with the words. They have math, science, and literacy word walls–all with pictures. I didn’t know how good they were until I clicked the link for myself…and wow! They are fabulous! Just take a look at the pictures. I am attaching a link to the picture so if you are interested in viewing more or purchasing them, just click the picture.