Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rockin' the Math Skills!

Hey everyone!  I want to share a great teaching resource with you today, one that I'm currently using with my daughter to help her improve her automaticity with multiplication facts.  She is 9, and she knows her multiplication facts, but she sometimes takes a moment or two to come up with the answer.  I was offered a complimentary copy of Rock n Learn Multiplication Rap DVD to review on my blog, and I jumped at the chance with my daughter in mind.
The first time I put the DVD in my computer, she came running out from her bedroom, drawn by the music and the beat.  She looked over my shoulder, watching the encouraging and upbeat introduction to how the program works, totally engaged by the music, the beat, the characters, the pacing, the colors, and the lyrics. 

After watching the introduction, where they also did a quick explanation of zero property of multiplication -- any number times 0 equals 0, and  of the identity property of multiplication -- any number times one equals itself -- they moved into the twos.  The first time through, they give the problem and the answer together.

But the second time through, there is a pause between the problem and the answer to give the kids time to shout the answer out.  The program goes all the way through the multiplication facts through 12s.

We have been using the DVD every day for a week now, and she loves it.  She is now to the point where she is quickly shouting out the answers before they give the answer.  I think this is really going to make a difference with her automaticity, which is so vital in fourth grade as they go deeper into division.  

There is also a menu, where you can go straight to the multiplication songs, watch the "What is Multiplication" segment, which they recommend you do before you start the multiplication songs to make sure your children understand the concept of multiplication, and a section on skip counting.

I highly recommend this video for second and third grade teachers.  It is a fun, entertaining, and engaging way for children to become fluent in the basic multiplication facts.  It appeals to learners on many levels, musically, visually, through movement, through repetition, and it will help all your children gain confidence in their ability to memorize those basic multiplication facts.  You can even go to to get additional material for math facts practice to go along with your DVD!

From now through July 1st, Educents is running a sale on Math DVD bundles from Rock n Learn.  Bundle 1, for grades 1+, includes Addition and Subtraction Rap, Money and Making Change, and Telling Time.

Bundle 2, for grades 3+, includes Multiplication Rap, Division Rap, and Beginning Fractions and Decimals.

Be sure to check them out!

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

13 Weeks is Really Not That Long and a Facebook Hop Freebie

What seemed like it was so far away has come upon us so suddenly.  Tomorrow my son will leave for Marine bootcamp.  He'll be gone for 13 weeks, which really isn't all that long, especially in the summer!  We all know how fast summer goes, right?  To keep myself busy, I created a new packet I will use to keep in touch with him while he's gone.  I also think it will be a wonderful resource for teachers to use during holidays when they want to initiate a correspondance with military personnel.

During Sean's party, I put out multiple copies of the notecards shown above and asked guests to write a note for me to send out at some point during his stay at bootcamp.  Reading through the notes the next day, I literally laughed out loud at so many of them.  His 9-year-old sister wrote, "See you.  I'm proud of you, Sean.  I (heart) you.  Love, Colleen."  Sweet, huh?  Then his best friend, Andrew, wrote on the other side, "Colleen has sloppy handwriting."  Ha, ha.  Some people wrote inspirational advice.  Some wrote jokes.  Some wrote nonsense, especially his friends.  But I think they will all really help keep his spirits up.
Earlier this week, I got a brand spanking new laminator.  It was like Christmas for me! 

It is a Fellowes Saturn 2125 laminator from MyBinding at www.MyBinding.Com.  This came with a starter pack of laminating pouches.  It is much nicer than the last laminator I had that I bought at KMart years ago, which I broke on the last day of school this year, so the Saturn 2125 came at just the perfect time.  The first I thing I used it for was to laminate a portion of "Until You Come Home" packet.

I laminatead the poster above to count down the weeks until Sean comes home.  Since I made this one, I've had to make two more, one for his best friend and one for his girlfriend!

I also laminted all these signs for his See Ya Later party we had Friday night. 
So you can see, laminators are great for home and school use.  I know I will continue to use my laminator for many, many more school items throughout the summer, and I can't wait to share them with you.  If you don't already have a personal lamintor, I  highly recommend this one.  It has a cool laminting setting as well as three different heat settings.  It's very simple and intuitive to use.  An especially nice feature of the laminator is the jam release handle.  I haven't had to use it yet, but I know on my old laminator, it was very difficult to clear jams, and ultimately, that was what caused it to break. 

During all this, my more-than-bloggy friends put together a fabulous Facebook hop.  I had every intention of participating but just couldn't get my head around installing the app needed at this time.  I had a (I think) wonderful product that is a paid item in my store all set to give to you for free, so I decided to put it up for you here. 
Click here to download your free resource.

Finally, be sure to visit the Facebook blog hop.  You will wind up with 10 fabulous freebies if you visit and like each page.  You can start your hop here, at Pirate Girl's Facebook page.  Click on the aqua tab to get to her freebie.  From there, you will be able to hop to 9 other pages.  What fun!

Until we talk again, have a great week everyone!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Catching Up and a new Facebook Fan Freebie

Click here to visit my Facebook page
and download your freebie.
I thought that summer would bring some relief from the hustle and bustle that is my life these days, but you might know how it is when you're planning a big event.  Everyday has a new to-do  list.  Today, I have to buy all the paper products for Sean's going away/grad party, clean both bathrooms and my bedroom, and get on hubby about cutting the grass and cleaning the gameroom.  Please, pray for nice weather Friday!  Life would be so much easier if the 40 to 60 people expected to show up can be in the pool, at the firepit, and playing games outside!

I've got a new fan freebie up on my Facebook Page!  Finally!  It is a small part of a larger room theme I am working on.  I have always used apples as a room theme, but this year, I am going to have the cutest apple room theme ever!  I can't wait to get into my room and post all these new items.  It's going to look fantastic and coordinated.  So far, I have editable pieces that include name tags, desk tags, helper apples, schedule cards, and bulletin board apples.  The non-editable pieces include the schedule card header, the bulletin board header and basket, a welcome to X grade banner (I've included K-5th grade), and an apple number line with numbers 1-120.  Each 5 is in yellow, and each 10 is in green and yellow.  It's going to be huge.  Can you think of anything else you would like to see included in the room theme?  If so, leave a comment here or on my Facebook page, and I'll try to work it in!

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Time is Flying By!

Hello everyone!  Where has the last month gone???  We are down to our last half-day of school tomorrow and then a teacher work day on Tuesday.  Where are you in your countdown to summer?

Sean is front and center in the middle of this photo.
I've had a lot going on in my personal life lately.  I haven't had time to do much of anything as far as creating, posting, or sharing great ideas.  I've done a couple of fly-by Facebook page shares, but that is it!

It started with my son's high school graduation and hasn't stopped since!
Soon after graduation, the parties started.  In addition to attending, I am trying to get Sean's party organized.  As you might know, he's leaving on June 17 for Marine boot camp, so we're having his party as graduation/going away party.  I got the invitations printed with time and place, and just today my hubby called me and said he got a callback on the place.  Guess what?  They made a mistake and it is NOT available on June 14.  Are you kidding me?  I sent out the invites.  Argggh!  Okay, back to, make up new invites with new time and place (home), and guess what I'll be doing today?  If you guessed writing out addresses again, you guessed right.  On the plus side, we don't have to worry about the Penguins possibly playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs that night.  We'll just pop the TV on at home for the rabid hockey fans.

My Summer Retreat 
This season's pool opening was the. worst.  ever.  I had algae and who knows what else in the bottom of the pool.  (I didn't know because I couldn't see it!)  I've been spending every spare moment at home working on adding chemicals and cleaning the filter out repeatedly.  It has taken 3 weeks, but finally, the pool is crystal clear.  Finally, our backyard is summer (and now party) ready!

In addition to all the above, the typical end-of-the-year bustle at school has been in full swing. Between grades due, field day, room cleaning, eighth grade graduation mass, and very hot days with no air, I've been coming home and collapsing at the end of the day -- for five minutes until I go to mess with the pool or run my daughter to whatever it is that she's doing that evening.

It hasn't all been stressful.  We did manage to squeeze in a day of fun at the Kennywood Park with my daughter's girl scout troop.  Sean even came with us!   Here's Sean making a beeline for Colleen on the bumper cars.  He got her good, and she loved every minute of it!

Summer is right around the corner, and I will be able to focus on the fine details of getting this party finalized. There is light at the end of this tunnel!

I leave you with this little freebie that you might be able to use in your planning for next year -- whenever you're ready to start thinking about next year.  I found it at  Click the picture above to download.

So enjoy the end of your school year if you are a teacher whose year is ending, or if you're still teaching, I hope your class is wonderful and you're having a great year! 

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