Great Math Products!


Base Ten Number Line


Multiplication Tricks




Telling Time Misconceptions


Equivalent Fractions


Simplifying Fractions


Clock Fractions


Math Fact Motivation


Math Night 2012


Bulletin Board Ideas


Classroom Management


Lines and Angles



I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas!

Product Reviews

Use This Amazing Cleaner When You’re Cleaning Your Room!

I recently had a sticky mess all over my front door’s glass which I admittedly created.  See, my front door’s glass has these pretty damask rose cut outs in it, but if I were to walk by in say a towel or less after just getting out of the shower, you can see right through the door’s glass where it isn’t frosted.  Eeeeek!  So, I spent $17.49 with a coupon to purchase this sticky frosted film to add some privacy to the door.  About two hours later, I had stickiness on every finger, on the door, and my hair even got stuck to the stuff.  My dog was just laying there looking at me like, “When are you going to give up?”  Disgusted with myself, I went to the grocery store to find some Goo Gone which my mom swears by…listen to your momma!  The Goo Gone got every bit of the sticky mess off of the door.  I couldn’t stop saying “Wow” while I was cleaning with it because it worked so well.  When you rub it on with a paper towel, it takes the stickiness out of the residue.  Then you go back over the residue with a wet soapy paper towel and the sticky stuff  balls right up and comes off.  Ta-Da!

While I was cleaning with it I was thinking how great Goo Gone would be great for cleaning off all kinds of sticky messes that are made from things you put up all around your classroom…especially the sticky residue left by attaching name tags to student desks.

Happy back to school cleaning when the time comes!

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.


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.


Math Cardsorts…Free Addition With No Regrouping Sort

I just finished a product that I posted on Teachers Pay Teachers.  If you buy it before tomorrow, you will still get a chance to get it at the sale price.  This product contains 8 sorts with addition and subtraction both with regrouping and without regrouping.  Some of the sorts contain matching word problems and number disc picture cards.  Others contain matching equations and number disc picture cards.  In each sort, there is an extra card so that much discussion among student pairs can revolve around the common errors that confuse students with regrouping.  These sorts were designed for use after adding and subtracting with  number discs.  Number discs are one of my favorite ways to teach addition and subtraction with regrouping.  They are right up there with base ten blocks.  I can’t decide which tool I like better.  Number discs are a bit more abstract for students than the base ten blocks.  Base ten blocks are the size of actual ones, tens, or hundreds which make them more concrete.  Number discs are all the same size–but much easier to draw.  For a FREE sort, you can click on the sort below to download the addition sort with no regrouping.   The link will take you to the TPT site.  Just download the preview for the free sort.   I hope you enjoy it.

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.

Place Value Strips


Place Value Strips Showing the Value of the Digit


Decimal Strips


Decimal Strips Showing the Value of the Digit

How Can Your Students Easily Generate Writing Topics?

I just spent a day in a writing workshop.  Our presenter discussed Ralf Fletcher’s new book Marshfield Dreams:  When I Was a Kid about his childhood memories.  He described how Fletcher wrote different short stories about his childhood in this book, which would be great for mentoring students in their own writing.  Since the pieces are short in Fletcher’s book, they would mirror the length of a short story that a child may write.  What I especially liked about this workshop is when the presenter had us to draw a map of our childhood homes and neighborhoods with all the places that were important to us.  First, the presenter showed us a map copy of Ralf Fletcher’s childhood neighborhood home which is in Marshfield Dreams so that we could see an example (great idea to model for kids as well).  Then the presenter had us to put an F for fear next to a place that we thought was scary.  We put an S next to a place that was secret.  We put an L next to a place where we learned something or did something for the first time and so on.  Then the presenter had us write a short piece using one of the places on our childhood map.  I thought this was a great way to lead us into writing especially because kids like to draw pictures.

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.





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