Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Activity for Middle School Math

Hi everyone!

I don't normally have time to post during the week, so this is just a quick post to let you know of my newest product in my store for Halloween! It is a set of comparing and ordering rational numbers cards that you can use in so many ways!

Some options are:

  1. print out several sets and have students play war
  2. print out one set and give each student 1-2 cards. Group them with others to put in order from least to greatest or greatest to least. 
  3. have the students line up in the hall silently from least to greatest while holding a card in front of them
  4. have students draw cards at random and add the values
And those are just to name a few! Click the image below to view the product on TPT!

Rational Roundup - Halloween Activity

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Made It: Scratch Off Tickets

I finally had a productive weekend! I've had these two things on my to do list for over a month and I finally had time! I partially owe it to my new cleaning lady we just hired. I am so blessed to have some extra money every other week from tutoring that I can have someone clean my house while I am at work. Now I can actually spend time at home with my husband and puppy dog and not spend the weekend cleaning! Yahoo!

So, I have made these for a while, but have always forgotten to take pictures to show to all of you. These are super easy to make and are a HUGE hit with middle schoolers. They are scratch offs as reward coupons! The catch is that not everyone is a winner...just like real scratch offs! Now, only about 20% of the ones that I make sent winners, whereas in real life, it's way more than that. I'm trying to teach them about the real world. Baby steps. 

Anywho, start with a pre-printed card with any reward that would be appropriate for your class. I used bonus points on a test, quiz, homework, and then there are those that say "sorry, not a winner!" At least I say sorry, right? 

Ok, I'm getting off track. Print these on card stock. I can get 15 to a page. I usually do about 15 sheets at a time because that's about as much counter space I have at one given time. You'll see what I mean in a minute. After you cut them, you want to cut a piece of contact paper and place it over the typed reward that you want to hide under the scratch off part. 

See the contact paper? Not a huge amount. Just enough to cover. Then lay them all out. I use my entire island in my kitchen plus another small area. 

Now it's time to make the "scratch off part"

It's very scientific, so make sure you follow directions--1 part dawn dish soap (must be the original blue!) and 2 parts metallic silver acrylic paint. I want to try gold next. I wonder if that would work! You know me, always living on the edge. Okay, mix up the soap and paint and start layering it on the contact paper!

You may need two coats. Do one coat on all of them and then go back over to touch up. 

Let dry for a few hours. I usually do this at night and let it dry overnight. Then test it out!

It works! Huzzah! Now I just need to think about what else I can make into a scratch off...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

New Posters in my TPT Store!

Well, I realized that I had not actually posted a new product on TPT in a LOOOONG time. So, I remembered the Essential Questions Posters that I have been making for my class and posted the four that I have done so far. If you have purchased my whole store, they are already added to the dropbox account!

Here is a preview:

I also have them for Rational Numbers, Pythagorean Theorem, and Solving Equations. They are for sale for $1 a piece! What a deal :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: Sweet Notes Sent Home!

I have wanted to link up for this FOREVER...but on the weekends I am so drained from the whole week of teaching, I can't think of anything that I do that is motivating! PLUS, I am beyond exhausted so I just want to sleep/watch TV/do nothing, etc. I don't know what has gotten into me today, but I was up early and getting things crossed off my to-do list! I am even going to set up as many blog posts as I can for this week. I literally miss blogging. 

ANYHOW--I am for sure not the first person to do this for my students nor am I the first to blog about this, in fact, this is the second time I have blogged about sending sweet notes home. You can read the other post here.

At my school, we are required to call/email home with 3 positive things each week. I have 180 students, so 3 calls/emails a week is easy! I decided that instead of an email, I would send a postcard. This is what they look like:

I decided that since I have 6 classes, I would send home 6 a week, one from each class. I know the easy thing to do would be to send them to the "better behaved" students, but I started with the students who are acting out or who never really had a positive bond with a teacher in middle school. So many of my students are really sweet kids when you sit down and get to know them. The first week of school, I was terrified that if some of them were this badly behaved the first week of school, what would my life be like in April? Or better yet, June?! 

Let me tell you something--the kids who have received a post card with just a simple message like "Johnny had a great week in math!" or "I am so excited that Sarah is in my class this year" have done a complete 180 and are now some of my top students! Everyone is competing to get a postcard...and I teach 8th graders! These are the 13-14 year olds whose hormones are so out of whack you never know what kind of students are going to walk into your room on any given day. I know. I am still shocked. BUT, I am knocking on all kinds of wood so that I can keep the positive energy in my classes going. Some days I just sit back and think to myself, "I can't believe that they actually learned something today!"

I wish I had started using these earlier!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Currently October

It has been stressing me out all week that I haven't put up my currently post for October! Not even sure if the linky is still available...but I am putting mine up all the same! I MISS blogging during the week...but I just don't have enough time right now. So, without further ado...I am "linking" up with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade for her monthly link-up!

I am listening to The Voice...LOVE THIS SHOW! In fact, one of my friends from elementary school made it on to TEAM BLAKE last week and I am so excited to see how she does. Her audition was I hope she goes far!

I am LOVING this cooler weather. I live in cooler weather is anything below 90 degrees...walking the dog this morning was so nice this morning. It was 52 degrees! Talk about a cold front...fantastic! Now, if it would just be fall permanently...

I am thinking I need to take something off my plate. I am getting to school by 7 AM each day (school starts at 9) and leaving between 5 and 6 each night...that is just crazy. I am still bringing stuff home to do. And working almost all weekend. AND, I am not even doing 1/2 of what I was doing last year! I was head of social committee, coached the dance team, and helped with curriculum, had three preps, among many other things. Now, I am just teaching (one prep), and can't seem to get it all done. What happened?? Maybe things will all slow down soon.

This past weekend was my 10 year high school reunion. Time FLIES...After having a big hand in the planning process, I am so glad that it is over, but I am sad that it went by so fast! It was so good to see so many people that I have only seen on FB for the past 10 years. It's funny how you recognize the spouses from pictures and you've never actually met them before. So, after this weekend, I just needed one more day off...

Funny side note/story: In my economics class my senior year, we had a budget project and I was "married". Instead of just doing the project as the directions stated, we went a little out of the box. He "proposed" in the cafeteria with an aluminum foil ring, we went on dates, planned a wedding, apartment hunted, got jobs, went grocery shopping, etc. AND documented the whole journey in photos to turn into a scrapbook and turn in for our grade. It was SO much fun. We for sure got an A...and we referred to each other as husband and wife for the rest of the year even thought we were dating other people. Fast forward 10 years to this past Saturday night. He walks in, I am working the registration table, and he turns to his wife and says "Hey, my 1st wife!" I just about died. How cool that he remembered!? Now, just to find that "wedding" album...

Back to this :) I need a vacation. Good thing I have one planned. A great one actually. The hubs (current one, not high school...just to keep all my stories straight!) and I are going on a Thanksgiving cruise. I am ecstatic, except I think my momma is a little bummed that we won't be here for Thanksgiving...she'll get over it :) We are also talking to some friends of ours to see about planning a winter break hill country getaway. We LOVE going out to the hill country a few times a year. I love going in the summer...but bad things happened in August. Remember the sunburn from you know where? Good thing when you go in the winter, there are different activities. Like wine tasting. And shopping :)

Lastly, I HEART using edmodo in my classes. If you aren't using! go to and see all it has to offer. This is my 3rd year using it with kids and it is WONDERFUL!

Hope everyone has a great week :)