Wednesday, April 27, 2016

One Little Thing Wednesday

I'm joining Enchanting Elementary for her first "One Little Thing Wednesday." Today's post is about one little thing I drink at school.

One Little School Day Drink
I don't care for coffee at all, never have. (Sacrilege, you say?) I just never liked the smell, or the bitterness. Yuck!

Of course, with all the talking we teachers do, I need something to keep my voice from cracking throughout the day. Although I usually carry a bottle of water with me everywhere I go, I do have one special treat beverage that I consume from time to time. It's warm, it's sweet, and it makes me happy the rest of the day. Yes, I'm talking about that holiday drink, peppermint hot chocolate. I find that EVERYTHING is better with chocolate, and a little peppermint opens up the airways and puts a spring in my step. :D
Mmmm, hot chocolate!

With Peppermint, Please!
What about you? What's your "One Little Drink?" Head over to the link-up and join in the fun!

"See you" next time!

Monday, April 11, 2016

5 "T"'s for Teaching Probability

Do you want to teach probability to your students, but are you running out of ideas? Use these tips to help your students learn and remember probability in a way that's meaningful to them.
1. Treat probability as a "treat." By this time of year you're tired. Your students are tired. Everybody wants a little reward for all their hard work leading up to testing, so why not treat your students to a little sweetness during your math block? I used Starburst candies for this example, but you could also use different flavors of lollipops or other individually wrapped candies.

Use Various Flavors of Candy as a Treat

Start with a paper bag and the wrapped candy pieces. Show the class the various flavors of candy, and count the number of each one as you place them in the paper bag. Write the flavors and totals on the board for the class to see, along with the total number of candy pieces in the bag. Ask for a volunteer to come up and choose a flavor from the bag, without looking. Once a volunteer is chosen, ask him/her what flavor they like the best from the flavors in the bag, then ask the class what the probability is that he/she will get what he/she wants when they choose one (without looking) from the bag. Make sure you have enough of the candy to share with every child in the class when you are finished with the lesson!

2. Technology: use computers to make probability fun. As part of your math centers, have students use this free online game to practice their probability-using skills. Make sure to include the link to the game on your weekly newsletter for students to play at home. 

Play Probability Fair on the Computers
Another use of technology is to turn on the Brainpop clip. Kids love Brainpop, and they love animation. This cute clip helps students understand the basics when probability is involved. 

Turn on Brainpop Probability
3. Try tales, dog tales, that is! The first tale involves a lovable pooch named Penny, from It's Probably Penny and what probably could or could not happen this weekend. This is an adorable picture book to use during reading time with your class, so that you can activate your students' prior knowledge about things that often happen in their own lives, or that probably could happen, as well as things that could not happen.

Activate Prior Knowledge with Probability Books

The second tale is called The Runaway Puppy, and it's about another puppy named Brada. When Brada escapes, the children race to help find her. First, however, they have to think about the most likely places the missing pooch would have gone. This is a terrific book to include in your classroom library, and will easily become a favorite for your students.

What's the Probability She Ran Here, or There?
4. Tune it up! Use music to engage your musical learners. Then use dance moves to involve your kinesthetic students! Use your school's search engine to locate a probability song or video and get your kids singing and dancing their way to learning about probability! Here's a sample from YouTube to get you started.

5. Try task cards during math centers. They are terrific for hands-on learners and colorful enough for visual learners. The best ones are differentiated so that students can work at their own levels. This set has three different levels for each probability task, and 36 task cards in all. It even includes answer keys, so students can check their own work, if desired.

Probability Task Cards
I hope you have some new ideas for teaching probability to your students. Whether you treat it as a treat, use technology, try some dog tales, tune it up, or try some task cards, there no limit to what you can do to make these last weeks of math instruction interesting and fun! Have a fabulous rest of your year!

"See you" next time!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Currently at Carol's Teaching Garden!

Okay, so I'm more than a week late, but I promise I have a worthy excuse. However, I'll get to that later.

First of all, I'm listening to our next-door neighbor mow his lawn. Since every property here is at least one "Green Acre," he's been busy for awhile. That means it's officially SPRING!!! as the grass doesn't grow much in the winter.

Do You Remember Green Acres?
Loving - my classroom has a chalkboard theme, and I have purchased several resources from other sellers to match it. However, every week I have been typing up plain old boring "I Can . . ." statements on white paper and posting them on my whiteboard. The principals around here require that these be large enough for the students to see and read from across the room, so that was a LOT of boring on my boards. However, I have been creating new, colorful "I Can . . . " statements with a chalkboards brights theme to match the rest of my classroom environment, and I'm really happy with the results. They're in my TpT store under "I Can Statements for Tennessee," but they'll work for any fourth grade classroom using the Common Core, since they are exactly the same thing. These ones are for math, but I have all the core subjects covered in my store.

Thinking - about a lovely message I received from a chairperson for a Reading Conference in a nearby state. She sent a message through FB that she knew some teachers who followed my TpT store, and that she was inviting me to apply to present at the reading conference next fall! Now, I know that doesn't mean I would automatically get the gig, but it was so sweet to be asked to apply, and to know that there are teachers who recommended me! Sometimes this whole social media thing gets me down. It seems so impersonal, but this was a welcome friendly surprise!

What I Imagine It Would Be Like . . . Right?!
Wanting - my own lightbox to take better pictures of my products. I feel like I pretty much know what I'm doing when it comes to creating products, but since Pinterest changed its algorithms my advertising skills STINK!!! I have been following several other teacher-sellers as they discuss the lightbox set-ups they use, and I want to jump in and get started. Here's  a link to Tabitha Carrro's SmartPhone Marketing School's post where she talks about how she set up hers.

Needing - This is where I could easily break down and cry. Our beloved kitty Boots, a.k.a. "Mr. Fluffykins" has been extremely ill with pancreatitis. On one of his many trips to the vet this past two weeks, I honestly thought it would be our last day with him. He's had so many shots, pills, and force-feedings that I wondered if he would make it through. Just in the past couple days he has returned to eating and drinking on his own (a restricted veterinary diet, though), purring, and acting like himself again. He goes back to the vet again tomorrow, and I am praying he makes a complete recovery.

"Mr. Fluffykins" on the Mend
EGGS-plain my store name - It's pretty simple really. My first name is Carol. I love to garden and I think of my plants as my "babies" to nurture to their full potential. I think of teaching children in the same way. Each student is different and beautiful in their own way, and I can either help or hinder their growth based on my actions. So, I'd better learn everything I can in order to help them grow up to be their best.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my Currently! Please leave a comment! (I LOVE reading comments! It makes me feel like I'm not alone in the blogging world!)

Then head over to Farley's post and join in the fun!
"See you" next time!
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