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Monday, February 8, 2016

Be My Valentine FLASH FREEBIE!

Just in time for Valentine's Day, you can make my heart happy by trying Valentine's Day Square Puzzlers absolutely FREE!

If you are not familiar with square puzzlers, you are in for a treat! Here's how they work:

The 2x2 puzzler is perfect for introducing the task and can be solved by students as young as kindergarteners. The degree of difficulty increases exponentially with each iteration of the puzzlers. My intermediate enrichment students beg to do the 3x3 and 4x4 puzzlers.

These puzzlers are a wonderful challenge for any student in that they promote visual discrimination, problem solving, flexibility, and perserverance. 

Give square puzzlers a try. I think you'll like them.  But hurry.  They are only free today.

You may find that your students want more of this fun thinking challenge. Not to worry! Here are some other versions:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Super Bowl Flash Freebie

It's Super Bowl Sunday!

To celebrate, I'm offering a FLASH FREEBIE!

It's only FREE until the Super Bowl is over. Rush over to my TPT store to claim your copy.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Files for a New Year

It's about time, teachers, to

I've been busy the last few weeks, refreshing and renewing my Hinky Pinky files.

Take the time to get the new files.  You'll be glad you did.

Happy new year!

Check out these files, also renewed and refreshed:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

FLASH FREEBIE for 12/8/15

It's about time for a gift for the teachers! So here's a flash freebie.


Although this center has overtones of Christmas, it is actually holiday neutral in the materials your students use.  Thus, you can use it at any time of the year.  It's a great addition to any gingerbread man activities you may do, as well.

          Run, run
          As fast as you can!
         So you can catch
         This gingerbread man!

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Shopping Story

It's about time, teachers, for . . . 
holiday shopping. 

Thus, I took a trip to Target today to gather stocking stuffers (and whatever else jumped into my cart). Imagine my delight when what to my wondering eyes should appear --

but this forest of friends!

Since I decided last summer to create a Forest Friends classroom, I have been amazed at the number of products available in a forest theme. However, mittens and stocking caps, towels and sheets, shower curtains and crib mobiles were not priorities for my classroom. But these ornaments, well, that's a different story entirely.

I have visions of sugar plums forest friends dancing in my head. These little guys will be adorable hung about my room, adding swag to centers and shelves.  Now my dilemma is which ones to choose. The buri animals are a definite.  Their natural look is perfect.  But the fur wrapped birds and the scarf cloaked owls are so darn cute.  

The white knit animals are appealing, but perhaps impractical in the elementary school world. The little felt fox is mighty dapper, but not so natural looking.  The metal owls are bells. Pretty sure I have to have those.

Then I wandered over to Pier One and there were even more buri forest animals. Larger, but they were sporting small amounts of glitter. The glitter eliminated them from my wish list. 

I had to give myself a stern talking to about having priorities and making careful budget decisions, especially this month when expenses sky rocket. And so I drove home hoping that before I can get back to Target, they will have sold out of precious woodland wonders. OK, not really, because if they are still there when I go back it's a definite sign that I am meant to buy them! 

Some forest friends products you may like in your classroom:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Thrilling Thursday Flash Freebie!

What makes it thrilling? Well, it's only 1 more day until the weekend. That's pretty thrilling. But if that's not enough thrill for you, how would you feel about a --

You can grab Turkey Tails for free on Thursday, 11/5/15. Turkey Tails is a literacy center focusing on the long and short vowel sounds of a and e. Students sort the 28 words on the turkey feathers, placing them on the turkey that sports the same vowel sound.

All of the words used in this activity come from the 1st 200 Fry words.

Turkey Tails is CCSS aligned to K-2. 

If you snag this Thrilling Thursday Flash Freebie, please leave a comment and/or follow my TPT store.  Thanks!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

To be effective problem solvers, children must be able to think fluently and flexibly about numbers. This requires frequent and enduring practice as a well-developed sense of numbers grows over time. Young learners will usually "make friends with numbers"* by interacting with manipulatives. The physical experience of making sub-groups from groups of objects and, conversely, combining small groups to make larger groups, is nearly universal in developing counting concepts.  

Once children have developed a sense of what numbers mean, they can begin to see connections. This, in turn, promotes mental math and estimations. These abilities enable children to operate with more complex mathematical concepts. Students who do not develop a good number sense will struggle with simple arithmetic. More complex math will be even more problematic. 

In order to promote number sense, teachers must provide frequent and on-going practice. One of the activities my students enjoy the most is "Wednesday's Wanted Numbers Posters."  

In completing WANTED NUMBERS posters, the students demonstrate their progress in acquiring number sense.  This open-ended activity requires them to express numbers in a variety of ways: meaning, relationships, magnitude, operations, quantities, … 

I use 3 versions of WANTED NUMBERS posters. The first poster, intended for early learners of a concept, provides a drawing space for students to depict a variety of visual representations for the number. This poster also provides a list section for descriptive phrases.  

The second poster, appropriate for advancing students, calls for descriptive phrases and equations. The third poster has additional space for longer lists; hence it ups the ante.

Expectations for the representations of the WANTED NUMBER will naturally evolve as your class advances through the curricula.  Primary grades may begin with single digit numbers; adding digits as their understanding grows.  Upper elementary classes may start with multiple digit whole numbers, then progress to fractions, mixed numerals, decimals, negative integers, irrational numbers, etc.

WANTED NUMBER Posters can be used in myriad ways. Students can select their own number, the teacher can give parameters for the selection (e.g. a 3 digit number), or the teacher can assign a specific number. They work well in math centers, math journals, and/or as an anchor activity.  WANTED NUMBER Posters provide instant differentiation within a class and can be effective in every elementary grade level.  

*Carlyle, Ann, and Brenda Mercado. Teaching Preschool and Kindergarten Math: More than 175 Ideas, Lessons, and Videos for Building Foundations in Math, a Multimedia Professional Learning Resource.Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions, 2012.

Other Wild West products you may like: