Something New, Something Different – Check out ‘Simply Made by Lisa’

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Along with working on creating fantastic resources for our fellow friends here at Teaching Rocks, I have also taken interest in a new, creative and unique hobby! I have called it ‘Simply Made’ – custom made wood blocks and other things!

Here you will find creative customized wood blocks and letters, specially designed to add character to your little one’s nursery, child’s room, as well as, other rooms in your home. They also make the perfect gift for others who may be expecting, have just had a little one, got engaged, married, accomplished something great, graduated from school, having a special birthday, a token of thanks to friends, teachers and SO much more! Simply put, these blocks and letters, among other things can be created to match any theme, print or occasion! The possibilities are truly endless!

I have also created a folder filled with personalized subway art and decorative posters to match any of your sets, or to make a special gift on it’s own!

I get special requests all the time and am happy to hear any and all of your ideas! I truly enjoy making new things and love how the projects have been coming out!

This is the best time to start looking at some new things for your classroom, which is why I decided to post today about ‘Simply Made’. I have been getting some special requests such as initials for teacher’s desks, welcome blocks, name blocks and much more! You should definitely check it out! I have a page on facebook  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Simply-Made/604769226221892 where you can take a look at all the projects I have worked on and completed so far…be sure to ‘like’ my page while you are there! I also have a board on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/papal/simply-made-by-lisa/  where you can also see the many completed projects! I would love to hear any feedback! Let me know what you think!

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Back to School – Teachers Pay Teachers SALE!!!

Its that time of year already! Heading back to school!

What better way to start then with a HUGE Teachers Pay Teachers Sale!

Head on over to Teacher Pay Teachers for a site wide SALE for all of your purchases. Be sure to check it out! You don’t want to miss out! You only have two days! Don’t forget to use the code BTS13 at the time of purchase to make sure you are taking advantage of some of the greatest deals!

Not only is the site providing you with great deals for all your back to school items, but many stores are also discounting their products!

Check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store where we will be providing an additional 15% off your items!

Don’t miss out on this HUGE Teachers Pay Teachers sale!

Don’t have a Teachers Pay Teachers account? Get one now! It’s completely free and you’ll be able to purchase great teacher resources written by teachers and for teachers!  Some of the best resources we use in our classrooms were purchased from TPT!  You definitely don’t want to miss out!

Looking forward to beginning a new school year with each and everyone of you! Remember to share our page with your colleagues! We will definitely be adding great, new resources this school year!

Loriana, Elita and Lisa

Designing a Math Focus Wall for Your Classroom: The Planning Stage

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Part 1: 12 Essential Components of a Math Focus Wall

In Part 1 of this series, I explained how I wanted to create a math focus wall for my classroom.  I came up with 12 items that I think are necessary components of a math focus wall.  Since I teach intermediate students, the math focus wall I am designing would look different than many of the primary math focus walls I have seen.

To set the scene, I have five bulletin boards at the back of my classroom.  The SMART Board covers the bottom half of the middle bulletin board.  I decided to spread out my math focus wall over the three centre bulletin boards.  Since I want to incorporate several items into my math focus wall, I really needed the space to do it justice.

So after quite a bit of copying, cropping, and pasting, here’s my plan:

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I’ve managed to include all the 12 items I had mentioned previously. These are the items that are ready to go:

  • my SMART Board is at the centre and is ready to be incorporated into my math lessons
  • on the left hand side, I have my math talk sentence starters…there are 52 sentence starters and I will be changing them on a regular basis.  They will be used to help guide students during their math discussions (I will post a link to this new product of ours soon!)
  • at the top left hand corner, the four posters help student decipher math word problems and determine which operation to use (I will post a link to this new product of ours soon!)
  • on the right hand side, our GRASS posters help students to break down word problems.  The white boxes along the poster set will show student solutions to problems we are working on…these will be changed on a regular basis as well
  • along the top of the board you’ll find our posters “What does a good mathematician do?” to help students become mathematical thinkers and apply various skills when solving problems

The items shown in white on my plan will be co-created with or created by students:

  • learning goals and success criteria will be co-created with students for each new lesson
  • the white tiles next to the GRASS posters will contain student problem solving steps

I still need to work on the following items (the items shown in blue on my plan):

  • make a sign for my math talk prompts
  • find examples of math in everyday life
  • find funny math comics
  • an eye catching border and title
  • work on key terms for each section (term: definition, diagram, examples)
  • math reflection questions for their math journals
  • challenge question of the week (University of Waterloo’s Problem of the Week and Math Circles are great resources for this)
  • and math strategy posters (e.g. work backwards, draw a picture, solve a simpler problem)

Any other suggestions? Any areas for improvement?

Tune in for more updates on my math focus wall!

52 Science Journals…Now in a PowerPoint Version!

Have you seen our 52 Science Journals Prompts? They’re an excellent and engaging way to incorporate English Language Arts in your Science classes!

Now, we’ve created a PowerPoint presentation for our science journals! Still the same great content, but in an easy to display presentation.  Depending on your preference, you may either want to print out our original science journal prompts to create booklets for your students or you may want to display the PowerPoint presentation and have students write their journals in their notebooks or type them out.  Either way it’s a great way to get your students writing, reflecting, researching, and communicating during your science classes!

Get the original 52 Science Journal Prompts as an easy to print PDF!

Get the 52 Science Journal Prompts as an easy to display PowerPoint Presentation!

The Tuesday 12: 12 Essential Components of a Math Focus Wall

Welcome to another edition of The Tuesday 12! I recently had a SMART Board installed in my classroom and I’d like to incorporate it in my math lessons.  Then I began to think of creating a math focus wall on the bulletin boards that surround my SMART Board.  I looked through Pinterest and couldn’t really find the perfect plan (which is odd because Pinterest has everything!), but I did find one picture to use as inspiration:

Lots of great ideas for an interactive math bulletin board

(Aside: I tried linking the picture to the original source, but I can never get that page to load properly)

Based on previous experiences teaching grade 7 and 8 math, some research, and some creative thinking, I’ve come up with 12 items I’d like to include on my math focus wall.  Some things will be static, while other things will be dynamic.  This list isn’t carved in stone…until I get into my classroom at the end of August and begin to put everything together, it will be hard to imagine.

I’ve decided to turn this into a series of posts from the initial ideas to the final creation!  So join me in creating a math focus wall for my classroom and then adapt the ideas for your own grade levels!For my next post, I’ll draw some pictures to help me visualize my ideas.

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12 essential (for now…lol) components of a math focus wall:

1. A number line…really a no-brainer for a math focus wall, but it will probably be from around –45 to + 45, since integers are used throughout the grade 7 and 8 math program

2. A spot for our learning goal and success criteria which we will be co-creating with each new lesson.

3. A section with math accountable talk sentence starters (I’m working on a set now!)

4. Challenge question of the week

5. Steps to problem solving…like our lovely GRASS posters!

6. Help in decoding math word problems (e.g. multiplication-of, product, twice, times, multiple)

7. Key terms and definitions for the unit we’re working on

8. Our posters—what does a good mathematician do?

9. Different problem solving strategies (e.g. work backwards, draw a diagram)

10. Examples of math in everyday life

11. Bright and colourful parts—I’m thinking a blue or green background, a patterned border, and something really cool for the title (maybe just the word MATH done in an interesting way)

12. The SMART Board…I just need to start incorporating it into lessons regularly!

Do you have any suggestions?  Let me know! As I said before, until I can go into my classroom and begin arranging all the different sections, this list can—and most likely—will change!

Tune in next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12 and more on my math focus wall!

52 Science Journal Prompts to Integrate Writing in the Science Classroom! Updated for 2013-2014!!

Sometimes it feels that no matter how well I try to organize lessons, units, and long range plans, there never appears to be enough hours in the school day to cover all the curriculum expectations!  One of the best strategies that I have learned as a teacher is to take a cross-curricular approach when planning activities, lessons, and units.  A great way to cover many English Language Arts expectations is by integrating writing into the content areas; in this case, journal writing can be integrated into the science classroom.

We’ve created a student science journal with 52 prompts to help you integrate writing in your science classes.  The journal prompts are organized by week, so the entire 2013-2014 academic year is already planned out for you!  Each journal is labeled with the corresponding week of the year, provides a prompt and space for student responses.  You can either photocopy the entire bundle for your students at the beginning of the year and work through it each week or photocopy individual weeks as you progress through the year!

The writing prompts alternate between historical events, creative responses, opinion pieces, persuasive arguments, national awareness themes, and science process skills. A blank journal page is included for you to add your own ideas as needed.

We have updated the dates on the journal pages to correspond with the 2013-2014 academic year.  We also changed the order of a couple of journal topics to correspond with changes in dates (e.g. the full moon in October is earlier this year).

If you have purchased this product already, then simply log into your Teachers Pay Teaches account and download the updated version!

If you haven’t purchased this product already, then what are you waiting for?! Just click on the link below!

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