#Made4Math: Weekly Warm-up Sheet 2.0

I LOVE doing these weekly warm-ups with my students.  They have been great! Check here if you want to read about them in my original post. A few reflections:

*Giving them the weekly sheet on Monday of each week keeps me from forgetting or skipping a day.
*I love that it has all the days of the week on one sheet (front & back)
*The layout was easy to check each Friday.
*I’ve been using these as a way to give feedback without a grade. I check to make sure their warm-ups are completed for each day and I read the weekly reflections on Friday before I leave school.
*I’ve been referencing the math practices when giving feedback…be precise, etc.
*I definitely like the Weekly Reflection on the back. It’s a good gauge on the week’s lessons and activities and let’s me know where they still have questions.
*They were told they had to write one thing that was still circling their mind under threat of death. 🙂 Not really death, but if they did write “Nothing” for that part, I googled random trivia and would write a question there for them.
*This gives them something to do when they walk into my classroom and they are picking up on the routine.
*They have mentioned that they like doing these problems!

*Oh boy do they not like to reflect when doing the Estimation problems. We keep talking about how “I looked at it.” is not an appropriate response for listing your reasoning.
*I didn’t like the layout for Tough Patterns Tuesday because they essentially had to write the equation twice, once in the table and again on the line I made for the equations.
*I need to keep reminding them for the What We’ve Been Doing Wednesday and Flashback Friday boxes to draw all graphics and write the original problem.
*Sometimes it takes more time than I intended, even with my music cues, but that’s because we are having great discussions and THAT’S OKAY.
*Sometimes they are WAY too chatty during this time, but I am okay with it as long as they are completing the problem. (walking around does help this a lot)
*I wish we could fit in Estimation each day because it’s fun when they build on each other faster than once a week.
*Because of the style of warm-up problems, it is not easy to have students go over the answers like I have done in the past.

*I made the line in Tough Patterns Tuesday say Correct Equation. This is where I intend for them to write the correct answer when we share it in class.
*Per a student request, I change Thursday and Friday.  They wanted Throwback Thursday (I agreed once I heard it, so much better than what I had.) and told them I would switch it once I could figure out another name for Friday. Tonight I used the online dictionary to find synonyms for mistake and came across Flub and Faux Pas. Initially I liked Faux Pas Friday, but the true definition of Faux Pas (socially awkward or tactless act) made it seem like the mistake was embarrassing to do. So I changed it to Find the Flub Friday and it’s catchy!
*I added “Draw all pictures/graphics and write the original problem.” to both Wednesday and Thursday.
*There was a Friday a couple of weeks ago where I had a really bad, no good, rotten, very bad day and didn’t want to leave the week on a crabby note.  So when they were writing their weekly reflection, I asked them to share one good thing from the week with me, since I had such a bad one.  To be honest, I enjoyed reading about their week and their one good thing more than I thought.  I liked hearing about what was good or bad…a few students said they had bad weeks too. So the next week I asked them to share one good thing again.  Therefore I changed the line in the Weekly Reflection from “Anything else you want to share” to Share One Good Thing from your week”.

So here is my Weekly Warm-up Sheet version 2.0! Enjoy!

#Made4Math: VistaPrint Stamps

Waaaayyyy back in the summer I purchased the Vistaprint Groupon when it was $17 for $70 worth of items. I love Vistaprint and have used it for years in many aspects of my teaching and non-teaching life.  I procrastinated (huge overarching theme for me) and waited until the last minute to finalize my purchase.  I had all of these grand ideas of positive note cards and cute things with my name.  That didn’t happen, but I did order the following stamps and items. I am excited to get them in the mail (I did the free shipping that says it takes forever but it never does.) Checked is in red ink, Like and Whoooo’s paper is in blue and the fridge one is the larger stamp because I wanted it in green. I should have ordered the Whoooo’s one larger too and gotten it in purple, but it will be fine in blue.  I also ordered some note cards. I used the Teacher Appreciation Subway Art file from eighteen25. Check out the rest of her cute subway art files for FREE!

checkedin like WhooosPaperfridge

I am already thinking about what other stamps I could order. 🙂 I use them to check in their daily work, so using different graphics, words and colors would be fun!

#Made4Math: Weekly Warm-up Sheet


I know I’ve been quiet and haven’t blogged since school started. I have quite a few blog posts in draft form, but haven’t gotten around to finishing them. This week…promise! I was able to squeeze this one out because I needed this sheet for my classes this week. Just know that the year has started very well and I am loving my classes and students!

#1 – I always start doing warm-ups at the beginning of each year totally gung ho and then by the middle of the year they are non-existent.  It just seems to be something that is hard to keep up with preparing & stressing to students to get started when they come in, yadda yadda.  I have about 43 minutes in class, so taking 5 minutes to do a warm-up is about all I can give, but that will allow me to take attendance and do other house keeping things during that time.

#2 – Since we use ISN’s, I was struggling to figure out where to even put the warm-up problems.  I originally wanted to incorporate a page or section for them, but realized that wouldn’t work. I thought about creating a pocket to hold them, but there’s no way it would hold an entire quarter’s worth of paper. I knew I wanted a weekly sheet, but didn’t know what I was going to do with it.

I emailed my thoughts and questions to @msrubinteach (http://everybodyisageniusblog.blogspot.com), who was great enough to respond with a few thoughts of her own.  One of which I am running with…they hold onto the currently weekly sheet, but after I give back the one from the previous week, they will keep it in their Skill Folder (Portfolio).  DUH…why couldn’t I think of that?  But this is what I LOVE about the MTBoS, being on Twitter and blogging…I have made connections that allow me to get another set of eyes or another opinion on something I am trying to work out. And they are honest and helpful opinions that help me and in turn benefit my students. Anyways…then at the end of the quarter, we pull together all skill quizzes, checklist and warm-up sheets and staple them together. This keeps everything together for the quarter and provides them with a great study guide and practice for the semester final.

I plan to collect them each Friday, BUT they are NOT a grade. I will collect them to check a few things and make sure they are on the right track, but most importantly I will collect them to read their weekly reflection and to write feedback to them on something from that week.

First, the original form layout came from @kklaster (http://nolearninglimits.blogspot.com/2012/07/made4math-stamp-sheets.html). She shared parts of it during our Embedded Formative Assessment book chat (#efamath) this summer and I knew I wanted to incorporate the Weekly Reflection piece. I thought using the shapes reflection in Geometry would be a fun touch. I also modified her form so it was double sided for one week, instead of single sided.

Then I worked to set up my days. I had this discussion with @MrVaudrey (http://mrvaudrey.com/) at the start of August. He tweeted out his weekly warm-up thoughts and I liked his wording of Get the Goof and have borrowed it.

Mental Monday – Using Estimation180.com a la @mr_stadel
Tough Patterns Tuesday – Using visualpatterns.org a la @fawnpnguyen
What We’ve Been Doing Wednesday – Geometry problem relative to what we are currently learning
Get the Goof Thursday – Error Analysis questions covering both Algebra & Geometry topics
Flashback Friday – Algebra review
Weekly Reflection – Completed on Friday

I also incorporate music cues into my classroom and have enjoyed @MrVaudrey’s blog posts about his class routine and music cues. I use music to keep us on time and as a cue to the student to start or end something; I really enjoy not talking  as much and not directing as much. I am shooting for 5 minutes for the warm-up from start to finish, but we will see how it goes.  I am going to test it out this week and get an average time to then set up my music cues for our warm-ups.

When putting together the warm-up sheet, I used aspects of the Estimation180.com handout, visualpatterns.org handout and a part of an older 3 Acts handout.

The problems will be projected at the front of the room. I usually project the daily agenda, so I am going to have to modify the plan somehow. Either write the agenda on the whiteboard or split the agenda and the problem on one screen. Any suggestions?

I will start this week, we will see how it goes!



#Made4math: Thinking is Visible

20121001-135141.jpgWaaaayyy back in March when @pamjwilson (pamjwilson.wordpress.com), made a comment on Twitter about a sign she wanted that contained a quote from the book Making Thinking Visible, I jumped in and created it for her.  It was the perfect thing I needed to procrastinate a few things I needed to get done.  But it also enticed me to purchase the book and get reading! Though the reading part ended up a little delayed…I am just now finishing it.

I wanted to share the poster because now that I am reading the book, I understand Pam’s desire for the quote to be in her room.  It is important to communicate to students that thinking is important to learning..the process of discussing and working through a problem is just as important as knowing and understanding what the problem is asking.  This poster will be displayed in my room next year for sure!  Thanks Pam!  I recommend this book to everyone!!  I have found it especially applicable to my US History classes and can’t wait to weave in all of the ideas I gained!

#Made4math: CCSS Flipbooks – My most used resource


Okay…so I was thrown into the Common Core Standards this year with little direction from our district.  They had a committee that put together curriculum and they did a great job, but it was a little difficult to follow and just so much at one time…I think we were all seeing stars.  At the start of the year, we were looking for any resources we could find.

During one of our Institute Days, while searching for some resources I came across the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics Common Core resources page.  And while it may not look like a lot at the start, if you scroll down to the middle of the page, you see a link for these AMAZING flipbooks.  They are for the Math Standards and broken down by grade level.  The teachers I work with and I were thrilled!!!   We gathered card stock paper to print them on and went to town.  My keen eye for organization allowed me to color code my book so each standard is a different color.  (For those that follow this blog or my Twitter feed, this is not surprising.) Check them out!


In an earlier post, I reference making the Geometry one.  I opened up the High School Flipbook, but only printed the pages that I needed specifically for Geometry, since I will be teaching it next year.

How to make your own awesome flipbook:

1. Download and save the PDF for the flipbook you need
2. Open the file and go through the book counting how many pages for each standard strand. This will allow you to color code it as you print it.
3. It says you can print back to back, but I haven’t been successful ANY TIME I have tried to do that.
4. When you print you want to select 2 pages per sheet, so you get a handy small flipbook and not a large giant one.
5. Use the paper cutter to cut the pages in half. No other trimming of the sides is needed.
6. Now is the “fun” part, you will need to sit down with a good pair of scissors and cut off on the dotted lines (provided in the PDF file) to create all of the awesome HELFPUL tabs.
7. Use your three hold punch to punch two holes in the pages.
8. Get two binder rings from someone in your building…they can be found.  Or ask someone who scrapbooks.
9. Bind them together with the rings.
10. Put your name on them and show them off at every meeting you attending.  Make all other math teachers jealous!

There you go.  I use this awesome resource DAILY as I look for the standards I am teaching or will be teaching.

Thank you to Melissa Hancock for creating them and posting them on the KATM site!

Posters, Signs & Labels

I warned you all that I was going to catch up on my blogging…this is post #3 in one day. 🙂 It does help that there is a huge thunderstorm going on outside; perfect day to get some work done! I am working on blogs and planning the next 7 days before Thanksgiving break at the same time, yeah.

I love inspirational posters, quotes, catchy sayings that are shown in a visually appealing way.  This summer August when I was figuring out how I wanted to decorate and organize my classroom, I came across some amazing sites that really helped me pull a decent looking classroom together.

Blog Sites
Technology Rocks, Seriously – I can not say enough about this fantastic blog and the woman behind it who is so helpful and creative.  The majority of the signs I have in my classroom came from her blog. THEY ARE ALL FREE! These are the posters that I have along the top of all four of my walls.  I also used her Group #’s signs to hang above my groups and to put on the group supply bins. You will easily get lost and spend an hour or more looking (& downloading) all of the great signs that she has available.  Did I mention they are FREE?!!!

Venspired.com – Another awesome blogger who creates posters and puts them on Flicker for FREE.  The sayings that she uses are awesome and she really has a knack for laying out a great poster with graphics and text.  If you really want to be jealous, check out her blog and click on the Classroom Decoration category she has…the ideas and the themes that she comes up with are AMAZING! Almost…almost makes me want to teach 4th or 5th grade.

Ideas from Online
Dear Students Poster – from MissCalculate – If you read in the comments on her blog, she posted a box.net link to her poster file.  I LOVE this poster! I also had a similar one pinned on Pinterest and was over the moon when I read her post and she posted the link to the file. Funny thing was that I even had the font she used already on my computer! I didn’t change anything (except my name) because she did such a great job.

Two Nice Things Rule – I mentioned this in a blog post on 9/23/12, but it’s such a great rule, it deserves to be mentioned again. This year I adopted MissCalculate’s Two Nice Things rule. I am SO glad that I came across that before the year started. I have always disliked the students being mean to each other and they love calling each other out with this rule when they are. It works great for my students and I do think that it is helping them consider what they say. Thank you @misscalculate! I created a poster for my room, I printed it on three sheets of paper taped them together and laminated it. Actually, I sent it to my district print center after the fact because I thought it was too small and had them print it on 11×17 paper in color and then I taped it together and laminated it. I hung it right above the smartboard in the front of my room. Here is the file if you want it:

Classroom Expectations – from Sarah at Everybody is a Genius – I loved the organization of the expectations, the wording and the clean outline and design.  I printed it as a poster for my room and colored it before laminating.  I had gotten away from posting expectations over the years and wanted to change that this year.  Her post and her expectations was exactly the change I needed.

Correct ISN Heading – from Sarah at Everybody is a Genius (again!) – In her post about ISN set up she outlined the Left side/Right side and the proper heading for the ISN pages. I loved the wording and after a quarter of using our ISN’s one would think my 8th grade students would get it…they do not.  So I compiled it into a poster so I could send it off to get made into a poster to put on my wall.  Still waiting for the poster to arrive, but I am hoping it will help. Here is a link to my version of the Correct ISN Set Up.

My Own Creations
All of the below signs were created for something I needed (or wanted…same thing right?). Let me know if you want the non-PDF document to modify for your own uses.

Class period & material labels – to label ISN bins, Skill Folder Holder, plastic drawers that hold extra materials

File Folder Labels – to label ISN bin folders, Extra Handouts files, my turn in bins, etc.

Class Period Headings – used on top of my poster sized TOC to give students a place to check their TOC for accuracy & updating

Stop Light Folder Labels – Attached these to Red, Yellow and Green file folders (that are stapled to the wall by the door). Students turn in Exit tickets, Entrance Tickets, etc. in these folders based upon their current understanding of the material. It gives me a great way to see if their feeling about their understanding is correct.

Highlighter Cup Sign – This is new as of today. I was doing some grading today and couldn’t enter grades because of all of the no names.  I am TIRED of the no name papers; in 8th grade it’s a little ridiculous. I saw this on Pinterest and wanted to create it myself. Not sure if I am going to have them highlight their name or under their name, we will see. If their name is missing, they must write it in pencil/pen, not highlighter. 

Bathroom Thank you – I just saw a picture of this saying from a classroom one someone’s blog this morning and can’t find it. So I apologize for not linking to the right location where I got the idea. Let me know and I will update the post with the link.  Either way, I created my own version with some of my fun fonts.  The students know this rule, but as of the start of 2nd Quarter were doing a lot of bathroom and water fountain visiting.  I am not against them going and I will let them go; I just prefer that they don’t go. 43 Minutes of class goes by fast so I try to maximize every minute.

Make Mistakes – I have this quote on my mirror and wanted to type it up, mainly for me, but then I realized it could apply to the classroom as well. 

Thanksgiving Stationary – Each year we have the 8th grade students write Thank You letters to a staff member (other than their Core teachers) who has helped them in some way throughout their time in middle school.  They can do more than one, it’s just their first one can’t be to one of their core teachers. I updated our stationary this year to include a different picture.  The students this year like to color, so I found a picture that provided more coloring opportunities. We do these letters the Monday before Thanksgiving break and place them in the teacher’s mailboxes so they get them before we leave. The teachers appreciate receiving the letters and it’s nice to have the students take time to thank a staff member.  I love reading the letters the students write because it shows how hard working, dedicated and caring the staff I work with is.  Here is my updated stationary, I turned it into a card. I made it all grayscale because it will be copied that way and we want the kids to color. 🙂

PHEW!!! I am done for a while, until tomorrow’s #MsSunFun. Enjoy!

#Made4Math: Sticky Ball Review Game


I am so excited to have something for #Made4Math Monday and that I am actually posting it on the right day.

Sticky Ball I play this game quite often during the year, I tend to use it in my better behaved classes, which usually helps the classes that aren’t the best improve their behavior enough to play. Regardless it is a fun game. The date the powerpoint was created was in 2006, so I have been using it for a while. Being honest, I know I created a few of the slides, but I am not sure if it was originally found online.

This game involves brain, skills and luck. By answering questions correctly, students get the opportunity to throw a sticky ball at a target and earn points for their team.

game board slides, Individual whiteboards for each student, markers & erasers and STICKY BALLS! These came in a pack, I believe from a party store, but it’s been so long I can’t remember.
**You do need to use a regular whiteboard to project the game board on, not a smartboard…the balls won’t stick. I usually use a projector connected to a laptop to display the targets on the side board. And I use my smartboard to display the questions to solve.

1: Compile a list of questions. Can use as a review game or practice

2: Divide the class into two teams, or you can use multiple groups of 4…really whatever works for your classroom. I use groups of 4 and the quietest team will get the first question to answer, BUT all students and all teams should be solving each problem on their board because they can steal points if the question is missed. I continue choosing the quietest team for each question, but to keep in mind which groups have been called on.

3: Put one of the problems on the board to solve. ALL students in the room should be solving on their whiteboard because they don’t know which student I will call on from their group to answer.
If they answer correctly, they get a turn to throw the sticky ball at the target and earn points for their team.
If the ball ticks to the target, assign the corresponding points. If the ball misses or doesn’t stick, no points are awarded.

I tend to change the target AFTER they have solved a question and answered it. I have found if they see the target ahead of time and think it’s too hard, they won’t work to solve the problem.

Check first what is happening on the other side of your whiteboard! Depending on your set up, this game can create an annoying thumping sound in another classroom. (Unfortunately I know this from experience, it sounds even louder when the class next door is taking a test)

This game is a lot of fun and has the tendency to become loud and boisterous. I do remove points from the louder teams as necessary.

If you are unable to find a sticky ball, use another toy that will stick to your white board. If noise is an issue, use a pom-pom or other soft object to throw.
Consider adding “no-go” areas where a poor/ill-considered toss can result in a loss of points (e.g. hitting another student or anything other than the whiteboard).