Sometimes I get a little nervous when I head over to my blog....I think to myself it has been so long since I have been there, what if it is gone!!! But thankfully when I came over tonight it was still here so I can share a quick freebie with you.

Today at the end of the day while we were lining up for home (cause yes I am still teaching!) my students were talking about the calendar and arguing about whether or not it was indeed the last day of May, which made me say (in my head), OMG it is the last freakin day of May!! I need some calendar cards for tomorrow, what theme do I want to do, when am I doing that....and so on (to my students I said totally appropriate teacher like things).

So tonight I made up some super cute (IMO....this clipart makes me smile) calendar cards. If you want to pick up a set (cause like me you are still teaching into June, or maybe you are teaching summer school) click here.

There is a July calendar header too....I won`t be teaching but maybe you will be : )

This week was full of some creepy crawly learning fun. I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky.

First up, my blog has had a wonderful update from the talented and patient Megan @A Bird in Hand Designs.

I did some serious shopping at the TPT sale on Tuesday.....and again on Wednesday. Plus I got two gift certificates from TPT to giveaway. I added 2 more gift certificates cause I think teachers deserve a treat and if you are anything like me you have already found other things you NEED to buy!!

You can enter the giveaway here, it closes in a few hours.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And finally we are on to some classroom happenings. This week was all about worms. We read this book....

and used the fabulous free activities from Ideas by Jivey to go along with this mentor text. She has a freebie mentor sentence unit and a better than basal unit to go with this story. We read the story (and laughed and giggled and talked). The next day we looked at the mentor sentence.

Using mentor sentences and texts in the primary classroom
We make a group anchor chart showing what we notice about the sentence. We always start with how we know it is a sentence. I number what they identify then label it underneath. After we identified the comma (nope, not a comma), that thing up there....yes an apostrophe!! We also picked out two things we are working on...compound words and fancy words.

On Thursday we worked on revising the sentence. Our focus is on using fancy words. So together we picked out words we could fancify. Here is our thinking.

Here is a student sample...

We also read all about earthworms using the passage from this pack.
We made connections between this non-fiction text and Diary of a Worm. We picked out information that was in both texts, looked at how they are the same and different. This led us to researching an insect of our very own to write a Diary of


My students are loving math and literacy centres. What they are loving most is telling me that they are finished and asking if they can use my tablet to take a picture of their work. I accidentally used this technique to reward a student for some great on-task work and to buy me a few minutes of time working with a few students. Now, picture taking is all the rage. It is kinda funny watching them frame their shot....for like 2 minutes before deciding they have got the perfect shot. So now I am constantly going through the camera files and deleting 15 pictures of word puzzles and math towers!!

Here is a typical shot (that just had to be taken before recess could begin!!)

This activity is from Molly's Whoa Domino Long Vowel Pack.

Mixed in with a whole lot of shots like this one, with a lovely finger in the shot...

Lastly we made these adorable firefly Mother's Day crafts. We got the idea from this pin on Pinterest (where else!!). We used clipart from Krista Walden, blue cardstock, yellow copy paper, ribbon, a little bit of yellow paint and sparkles. They turned out adorable and considering that we were reading about fireflies today and how to let our light shine they were the perfect tie in!!

I am linking up with Erin over at Mrs. Beattie's Classroom for her linky....

Today I want to share a tip that just came to me this year. Perhaps it came to me as a result of having repeated the following line "Step 1. Put your name on your paper." more times than I care to think about. Or maybe it came as a result of taking artwork off of the bulletin board only to realize it has no name, no one recognizes it or 3 students claim it as their work!! My solution artwork labels.

teacher tip artwork labels
I printed off a few sets of these labels. Now when we are creating some lovely pieces of art I still remind my student to put their names on their work. BUT before I put up their work or file it away I label it. Easy peasy. Plus I think it makes the artwork a little more keepsake-y for parents.

teacher tip artwork labelsteacher tip artwork labels

I do have another tip for you....head over to TPT to take part in the fabulous sale that is going on right now!!

and one last tip....enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of four $10 TPT gift certificates. TPT was super generous and gave me two gift certificates to share with my readers and I wanted to show my appreciation for you so I added two more!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Math Detectives in the Classroom

We have been working very hard this year to become math detectives!!! Last year I was introduced to number talks and number strings and have incorporated these practices into our math learning. We have been having a lot of success with these so I thought....why not incorporate some of the skills that we are developing into other learning activities....and math detectives were born!!

An area I wanted to focus on this year was the mathematical process skills of reasoning and proving. While these are really important skills to develop as mathematicians I was having a hard time targeting and developing these skills with my first and second graders. Through number talks and number strings our ability to explain our thinking or strategy was improving but students were still having a hard time explaining how they knew an answer was correct and what to do if someone gave an incorrect answer or an answer they did not agree with. I have found that my students are much more willing to disagree with an answer when it does not belong to one of their classmates (no hard feelings in our math class!!). So to help my students develop their reasoning and proving skills we started working on questions where we knew there was an error and our job was to find it.

First we had to find out what math detectives did....

math detective anchor chart

Then we had to make our math detective journals....

math detective journal
Then we began working on finding errors. To begin I project one slide. We talk about what we are looking for, how to check the answers, what to do when we found the error and how to prove our case by explaining our thinking to our fellow detectives. After going through one slide on the first day students become more independent with the following five slides (there are 6 slides with a common type of problem). Here are some examples...

math detectives
math detectives

At the end of the week or into the second week (depending on our schedules!) we would move on to a word problem that built upon the skills we had been practising all week. We read through the problem together, discuss some possible strategies and how to "make our case".

Here is our success criteria....

math detective anchor chart
Here is a sample problem....

math detective word problem
Each student gets a copy of the problem so they can solve the case!!

math detective journal

We glue the weekly problems to the top of the folder. Sometimes I print out the daily slides and cut them into four pieces. Students select a piece and put a check mark if it is correct and an x if it is incorrect. They share their thinking with a partner and then with the class. We glue these on the bottom of our journals.

After completing all 7 sets of slides and problems it was official....we were math detectives. So we made ourselves into math detectives!!!

math detective craftivity
We have been having so much fun with this detective theme I decided to make our calendar cards for this month detectives....
detective calendar card freebie
 Click here to pick up a copy of the calendar cards.

If you want to check out the resources we used to become math detectives you can check them out here on TPT.

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