Whale of a Time

Hi blog hoppers!

I wanted to quickly stop by and let you know that I have been having a 'whale of a time' recently, completely and utterly inspired by some sketches I've been doing and books we have been reading here at home.

My little boy Sam (he's in Kindergarten) has just hit his sweet-spot in reading and literally cannot stop pulling books from our shelves. He has also started drawing All. The. Things. But I will save that for another post!

If you have missed some of the whale resources I have shared recently, be sure to pop over and get them today.

When, why and how to teach children about whales?

Besides being awfully cute and engaging, whales make a perfect stimulus for many learning activities in the classroom:
  • learning the consonant digraph 'wh'
  • learning to write animal information reports (there are loads of interesting and awesome facts about whales to research)
  • responding to literature (there are a plethora of beautiful texts featuring whales)
  • learning about our world and environment in science (children on the east coast of Australia may be currently witnessing whales and their calves in the ocean and at the beach - use this as a springboard for learning about these fascinating creatures)
  • looking at photos and pictures of whales and their habitat to inspire some lovely expressive artworks
Please stop by my blog to find these goodies, I would love to share them with you. I look forward to sharing some more ideas with you next week. 

- Mel (From the Pond)

Ready to Organize Your Writing Folders? Free file!

Are you looking for ways to organize your student writing folders?  I have a PLAN for YOU!

Writing Folder Organization FREE labels for your early primary writers' workshop students. This blog post will give you ideas on how to create writing folders for your classroom. Great for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade!

Many years ago I had made writing folders for my older students.  The other day, when I was "cleaning" out my catch-all drawer, I stumbled across them again.  SO, I cleaned them up and made a free file!  SWEET!  These are GREAT for any grade level!

Swing by my blog to read more!

You can read more by clicking: WRITING FOLDER Organization FREE FILE!

The First Few Days of School in Kindergarten

Are you ready for the first few days of school?  I have shared some of my activity ideas to get your year off to a great start.
First few days of school can make even a seasoned kindergarten teacher nervous. Let me show you how our week looks. Center ideas and a fun name poem too! Free Handwriting download too!

You can read more by clicking:   The First Few Days of School

Back to School Essentials

Hi Peeps!
Are you approaching "back-to-school" mode? I'm in it full-swing over here in my neck of the woods. My school year starts up in just a couple short weeks!

I wanted to share with you some essential ideas and tools that I use each and every year to make heading back to school a little easier.

From management, parent communication, establishing behavior routines and expectations through curriculum and planning musts, to first weeks' essentials - I'm yapping about it all!

Hop on over to my post and grab some ideas for Back to School Essentials!

PAPERLESS Number Talks!

A couple of years ago, I started using digital/paperless Number Talks during my guided math block. The results from this simple, powerful teaching practice blew me away. They instantly became the perfect math warm-up! My students were engaged in meaningful discussions focused on mental math and computational strategies. They were building their understanding of number sense and flexibility in number thinking. The benefits of this daily (5-10 minutes) Number Talk routine was also evident throughout the rest of our math time. 

To make Number Talks effective for my students, as well as for me, I started carefully crafting problems into digital slides each week. It didn't take long for me to realize that digital Number Talks are AMAZING! All I had to do each day was open up a slideshow and my Number Talk lesson was ready. Such a time saver! Since Number Talks are all about the process of mental math computation and sharing strategies, the digital/paperless format was perfection.
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1. Teacher presents each problem and gives wait time.

2. Students mentally figure out the answer (no paper or pencil) and give a thumbs up to show that they have at least one solution. *Students can put additional fingers up if they have more than one way to solve the problem. Example: Two fingers up means I have two ways to solve the problem.

3. Students share their thinking as the teacher records (students can also record). During this time, the teacher is asking questions like: "How did you get your answer?" and/or  "Why did you use that strategy?". Incorrect solutions and methods can and should be part of Number Talks.

I personally like to do Number Talks at the beginning of my math block, but it can be done at any time that works best for your schedule. 

Encourages math communication from all students
•Provides structured practice for mental math
•Promotes the value in using mental math to compute
•Promotes the importance of being flexible with numbers
•Uses a variety of strategies for computation
•Helps strengthen students' understanding of place value

You can start Number Talks at any time of the year, and I've made it really EASY for you! You can get 40 weeks of PAPERLESS NUMBER TALKS in just one click here!

3rd-5th Coming Soon (Summer 2018)

These Number Talk lessons were designed to engage your learners in meaningful math conversations focused on mental math and computational strategies throughout the year. As I mentioned before, they make the perfect math warm-up! All you have to do is upload the Number Talk digital slides (PowerPoint)- PAPERLESS and ZERO prep! Everything is already done for you! 

Each day of the week has a specific Number Talk mental math focus. 
The predictable and student friendly structure of the digital slides allows you to spend more time talking about math instead of giving directions/expectations over and over.

Make it Monday
 Students will mentally think of equations that make the number in the circle using the given numbers. 

True or False Tuesday
Students will mentally solve the equations to determine whether they are true of false. 

Work it Out Wednesday
Students will mentally solve the equations and share their thinking. 

Time to Subitize Thursday
Briefly (5-10 seconds) flash each slide. Students will share what number was shown, as well as, explain their thinking in determining the number. 

Fact Fun Friday
Students will mentally solve the equations and share their thinking. 

Every week has 5 slides/problems for each day with the exception of Make it Monday. I've also included editable/blank slides in case you would like to create your own problems.