Friday, June 29, 2012

Hit it, Maestro!

I'm really excited about the "Turn the Music Up" Linky Party at Teaching Maddness!  I LOVE using music in my classroom.  I have to be careful not to really crank it up and disturb my neighbors.  

I use music from many different resources.  Whenever possible, I try to add the music to my iTunes library and create content specific playlists.  It makes the music easily accessible.  I also use music videos from You Tube.  The kiddos beg me to play them again and again!  Finally, I like to stream music when we are working quietly.  

There are so many cool resources that I can tell you about, but the following have been awesome year after year!

Rockin' the Standards  is a huge hit with the students and have really helped support learning Math concepts in my classroom.  I love that their music is on iTunes, as I can store it on a playlists on my iPhone.  They also have a Rockin' the Standards You Tube Channel that gives you its of ideas for using the music in your class.

Here are a few YouTube videos I use that are very catchy:

"The Long Division Song" by Karl Roemer

"The Polygon Song" by Peter Weatherall

I also LOVE Scholastic's Study Jams!  This site has over 200 Math and Science videos with karaoke-style songs.  Here is one of my favorites!

                                Solid, Liquid, Gas Karaoke

My favorite site to stream music during quiet time is Shirley Cason's New Age Music.  It is SO peaceful.  You will love it so much, you will find yourself listening to it at home!

My personal favorite is Icicle Melt on her Winter Mornings CD.  

I hope you found something in my favorites that you can use.  Have a wonderful day!

q Diane r

Thursday, June 28, 2012


One of the things I really want to focus on this summer is gaining simplicity in my life. This is not an easy task for me and I am reaching deep to gather up my moxie to win this battle.  

Enter a simplicity angel by the name of Jennifer.  Jennifer blogs at Teaching Simplicity.  She is  currently writing a series of posts called "Simplify Your Life in the Classroom".   I have been glued to each new post. 

Another post on Teaching Simplicity that hit home for me is titled "How Pinning Complicates Teaching".  Wow!  That was an eye- opener, as I have been hopelessly addicted to Pinterest.  

I don't want to steal any of Jennifer's thunder.  But, if you are trying to simplify, I highly recommend visiting her blog.  I wonder if she provides private sessions?  ; )

q Diane r

A Summer Project: Personal Chalk Boards

If you've always wanted your students to have a personal whiteboard or chalkboard, but purchasing a class set is cost-prohibitive, this summer project might be the solution for you.  With poster board and chalk board spray paint, you can create a class set (24) of personal chalk boards for about $12.00.

To make a class set, you will need four poster boards ($2) and Chalk Board Spray Paint ($8), both commonly available.  You can also use foam poster board.  Coat the poster boards in overlapping rows.  The first coat should be very thorough.  Let it dry completely.  Add 2 additional light coats, letting each coat dry completely before adding the next.  Finally, cut each poster board into 6 equal rectangles.  Wa-LA!  I am amazed at how beautifully the chalk is erased!

I love how thin and lightweight these are for younger children to store and use.  They fit perfectly in an inside pocket we create in their math journal.  Also, chalk is inexpensive and never goes dry like dry-erase markers inevitably do.  A little piece of felt, an old sock, or a craft pom pom make great erasers.  The chalk boards can be cleaned with a damp paper towel.

q Diane r

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Do you have a Class Pet?

Meet our class pets!  

Having a class pet was not on my radar until my son's friend was moving and couldn't take his fish, Clover.  We started the year with Clover and the kids absolutely loved the little fish.  They loved having the responsibility of feeding Clover as a class job.  Clover showed up in their math journals, story problems, and artwork.  I was wondering why I hadn't thought of this before.  

Then the unthinkable happened....Clover died.  The students handled it pretty well, but they missed having a pet.  A few weeks later, one of my very tender-hearted little boys came to school with two beautiful Beta fish.  He told me their names were Mr. Bates and Mr. Carson.  If you are a Downton Abbey fan (as I am!), you will recognize these names.  The class was so excited! 

Later, his mom told me he used his allowance money to buy the fish.  I was so touched.  At the end of the school year, I asked him if he wanted to keep the fish.  He wouldn't hear of it.  He said the fish belonged in our classroom for next year's class to enjoy!  The whole experience was priceless.  Now, Mr. Bates and Mr. Carson are keeping me company this summer next to my computer.  It's a little extra work, but I think I will always have a fish in my class. 

Do you have a class pet?  I would love to hear about your experiences with a class pet!

q Diane r

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Best $20 I Ever Spent

I am a huge fan of Kim Sutton, elementary Math guru.  She is part of a team of experts that you can learn more about at their website, Creative Mathematics.  Last year, I attended one of Kim's workshops and discovered a tool that became invaluable in my classroom......a number line.  

This tool is more than the "numbers on a line" that you can buy at your local teacher store. This number line gives you stickers so that you can color code all the multiples to aid children in skip counting, recognizing number patterns, teaching odds and evens, and learning their multiplication and division facts.  It provides the true visual aid that children need in learning number relationships. You can even purchase the negative numbers section for upper grades.  

Here are pictures the number line in my classroom.

For example, note that all the even numbers have red stickers and are multiples of two.

I can't tell you how many "A-Ha!" moments I've heard from my students using this number line!  If you are interested in purchasing it, click here Kim's Number Line.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Awwww.....summer. The kids are gone, the files are updated, but there's one thing left to do. The dreaded......classroom move. I'm moving from fourth grade to third grade for one year, then will loop back to fourth grade. Everything has been physically moved. But, I want to take this opportunity to organize a bit. My main tool is containers and labels. I also need to start a new filing system for all my third grade materials. Have you been here before? Please share any advice you might have for anyone in my shoes! I'll keep you posted!

q Diane r

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Welcome! What's Moxie???

Welcome to my blog!

Well, there's no one here yet....except for my talented teaching partner, Megan (Check her out at "I teach. What's your super power?").  She designed my blog title and I love it!  I'm new at blogging, but she has graciously offered to teach me some tricks along the way.  As usual, I'm a work in progress but have the "moxie" to jump in with both feet.

Speaking of moxie....what is it, you ask???   Moxie is a word that entered modern lexicon via a soda advertising campaign.   The soda, Moxie, chose to identify its product with rugged individualism.  True or not, the word evolved into a definition which is described in a blog called "The Lexicon of Cultural Folly".  It is:

1.  A knack for facing adversity with unwavering optimism.

2.  Energy mixed with determination.

Well, that's me in a nutshell.  I'm always looking for a better way, a new idea, a different way to reach a child.  I do not like to give up.  I see obstacles as opportunities.  Everything happens for a reason.  The glass is half full.  If I fall down, I get up again.   If I fail, I try to learn from my mistakes.  I am a work in progress.

That's why my passion is "Teaching With Moxie"!   Thank you for sharing my journey with me!

q Diane r

ted williams moxie
A Brief History of 'Moxie' by Answer Fella

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...