Fraction Fun with Freebies!

My little cutie at home is learning how to use silverware. She's a hot mess! Our kitchen is a hot mess after every meal, but she is determined to be independent. Even with her face in the bowl, she never loses that spoon!

In the midst of wiping up the kitchen for the billionth time, I created some fraction lessons inspired by life at home. My learners at school loved these silly and fun lessons for common core geometry. We transitioned from shapes to fractions by learning about equal parts. (You can check out the whole set of shape lessons here.)

After we mastered equal parts, we started talking about halves and quarters. The kids loved the silly lessons with the baby throwing the food on the floor and the girl with all her toys! Talking about cutting food in half or coloring parts of a whole picture made fractions easy to understand. Here a a few of our favorite slides.

 We worked through the projectable lessons together on the promethean board. You can project these onto a dry erase board or print them and use them with a doc cam. You can also print them and put them in page projectors for small group practice or center activities! I always print the practice pages to use as a little assessment for my learners. 

You can get all of these lessons for FREE here! I'm sure your learners will love these silly and fun lessons! The best part is...there is NO clean up, unlike my house!


Sounds of y FREEBIES

I love teaching with a theme! It isn't always possible for me, but I am thrilled when it works! Last week, we had a blast using two amazing characters to help us meet all of our ELA objectives. Here are some of the skills we were tying together: sounds of y, point of view, and persuasive writing. 

We read oodles of Fancy Nancy books as we learned about when y sounds like long e. We called these words fancy words! We practiced reading and writing words that fit this pattern. Some of my kids wore feather boas to look fancy throughout the week too!

The kids loved reading Fly Guy books and finding words with y that sounds like long i. We practiced reading these words and writing them too!

We are also studying persuasive writing so this was a great way to tie everything together. Each learner chose who would make a better friend, Fancy Nancy or Fly Guy. They had to write three reasons to explain their choices. They came up with some fabulous reasons....Fly Guy could fly in the sky to find our house if we were lost. Fly Guy could eat my family's garbage. Fancy Nancy is confident! She likes to learn new words and so do I!

We used our writing planning pages, edited our sentences, and then wrote a complete persuasive paragraph. It was our first persuasive writing piece, so I was very happy with their work!

I planned a surprise lunch celebration for my learners based on the characters they selected as friends. While my class waited for their lunches in the cafeteria, I quickly set up the classroom. (I was literally running around the room like a crazy party planner!) The Fly Guy tables were covered with black table clothes and decorated with "trash" and fake bugs. I put a selection of Fly Guy books on the tables too. Each little learner got a "You're so FLY" certificate and bugs. They were in love!

My girly Fancy Nancy friends sat at a table covered with a pink table cloth, faux topiary tree, and silk flowers. They each got a "You're so Fancy" certificate and jewelry. They were thrilled to accessorize themselves at lunch and read some Fancy Nancy books together. 

During our lunch, we watched Fly Guy on BookFlix. Fancy Nancy books are also available on YouTube so you can watch those too! We had so much fun throughout the week, and the lunch was the perfect way to wrap things up. You can grab ALL of these activities for FREE here. I hope you love trying these with your learners too!

Happy teaching friends!

Hello from Your Child's Teacher!

I am super excited to be teaming up with Ashley and Angie for May's edition of Together We Are Better to talk about Parent Communication! As a teacher and a parent, this topic is near and dear to my heart!

I love hearing from parents. I love learning from parents too. I have tried lots of different parent communication systems over the years. I have done daily behavior charts, communication notebooks, ask me about my day bracelets, daily emails, phone logs, and lots and lots of notes! Some of these have taken a lot of time and a lot of acres of the rainforest....sorry Lorax!

Over the past 8 years, I have found that I get the most meaningful responses from parents when they have time to look things over, answer questions, and think about what they want to say. There are times when I make a quick phone call or jot down a quick note, but if I really want important information I try to give parents a little more time. I typically give them a full school week to respond. Here are a few things I send home...

I send home a questionnaire for parents at the beginning of the year to tell me about their children. It addresses a wide range of questions, such as...What strengths does your child show? How does your child learn best? What are your goals for your child? What do you like to do as a family? Is there anything special you would like me to know about your child? I LOVE reading these! Even though I get a mountain of paperwork back the first week of school, I read every single word written on these papers. I write down important things to remember and try to use my new knowledge of student strengths, interests, and goals as I begin planning my year.

There is an option to attach an additional paper if parents want to say more. I can remember a mom who wrote the most beautiful letter about her child. It truly made me look at that little girl through her mother's eyes. It's something I wish that little girl could read when she's all grown up, and something I felt lucky to read.

I send home another parent form before fall conferences.  I like to start conferences by going over their feedback. The form also helps me prepare for concerns so I can have data or information ready! No one likes surprises at conferences! There are also questions for the children to answer too so that everyone gets a chance to be heard! These forms are FREE in my store so you want to grab them here

Throughout the year, we send home test packets with parent signature pages. If you ask my firsties, they may tell you it is really a "lunch party ticket," because they have to return it by Friday to come to a lunch in the classroom. These signature pages help me communicate with parents through work samples, and families often write back very meaningful feedback in the comments section.

As the end of the year approaches, I also send home a survey about homework for parents and for children. I use the feedback to improve our school to home connections the upcoming year. 

I know that there may be obstacles when trying to communicate with parents. I've called plenty of voicemail boxes that were full. I dialed lots of phone numbers that are no longer in service. I have found two week old notes still stuck inside folders, but I have had a LOT of success sending home papers and giving families time to fill them out....

...and remember, if all else fails, calling important papers "lunch party tickets" also helps!

Happy Teaching Friends!

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