March Math Centers: Baseball Spring Training

Hey, y'all! Are your students ready for some spring training? I know mine are. This time of year is so tricky, you know? Some schools are on spring break during St. Patrick's Day, some aren't. Sometimes Easter is during March, sometimes it's in April.

But one thing that stays the same is the start of baseball season. The great American pastime always begins spring training in March. So I know if I spend the time getting baseball centers printed and laminated, I can use them every year no matter where our spring break or Easter falls. Talk about a time saver!

Each unit is packed with centers to keep your students excited for a whole month. Kindergarten centers focus on:
⚾ Number identification
⚾ Addition to 12
⚾ Subtraction within 10
⚾ Graphing
⚾ TEMI-style missing number practice
⚾ Non-standard measurement
⚾ Number order
⚾ Skip counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's. 
⚾ Comparing numbers with base 10 (to 20) 

Super simple games keep the kids working independently and engaged in their math work.

First grade skills covered include:
⚾ Base ten number comparison
⚾ Telling time
⚾ Adding 2 numbers
⚾ Adding 3 numbers
⚾ Subtraction
⚾ Measurement
⚾ Coin identification
⚾ Number bonds
⚾ Missing numbers/sequencing
⚾ Graphing and data analysis
⚾ Adding on 10 (2, 12, 22, 32, etc)

The centers look similar to the kindergarten and second grade ones, but with targeted instruction for first graders. This makes differentiation easy. Using the unit for the grade above or below lets students work on skills that they need, without giving them work that looks completely different. No stigmas here!

Second grade centers are just right for our "big" kids. The skills focused on in this unit are:
⚾ Comparing three digit numbers 
⚾ Time to the quarter hour
⚾ Measuring with inches and centimeters
⚾ Adding US coins
⚾ 10 more/10 less
⚾ Skip counting
⚾ Addition and subtraction with regrouping to 100
⚾ Expanded form 

My second graders absolutely LOVE these centers. They are just challenging enough to keep them engaged, but not so challenging that they get frustrated. Again, we can always use the centers for a grade level down for those students that need to review some foundational skills. Since they look so similar, your students won't know the difference.

On a side note, I have a student this year who thinks expanded form is the coolest thing ever. Who would have thought?!

I hope you found some wonderful ideas for your own math centers this spring. You can check out the full lineup of baseball centers here and grab a free write the room center here.

Stay sweet,

Spring Centers!

Hey, y'all! Is anybody else ready for some spring weather? I know Valentines just ended, but spring break and Easter are right around the corner and I can't for my students to get their hands on some new centers.

First up is a spring sight words write the room. The words are from the Journey's Kindergarten curriculum (most of which are on the Fry's list as well). There are 6 words for each type of candy and a recording sheet to go with each. Students color the recording sheet to match the candy and write the word.

We also like to walk around during these little Peeps Addition Write the Room cards are perfect for kindergarten and first graders to practice writing and solving addition problems. Students add the 2 colors of peeps together on each card and write the number sentence on the recording sheet. 

My littles also need practice with number order. These differentiated task cards are just right for kindergarten and first grades to practice writing numbers from least to greatest and greatest to least. 

This open-ended game is easy to differentiate. Students draw cards and either add them together or subtract the numbers. This is great for small group intervention or independent centers. 

My students are fascinated with telling time and these Peeps time matching cards are always a hit. Students draw cards and match the times together or draw and record the time on the recording sheet. Simple, but always effective.

In science, we just love to experiment with food (because they always hope they get to eat it after! Ha!). That's why we love this little Peeps Science booklet. Just put a few marshmallow Peeps into different liquids and watch how the different liquids affect each Peep. The kids are fascinated by this simple activity and it's minimal prep for you. Score!

Whew! That was a lot. For hanging with me to the end, grab this little sight word egg hunt freebie. Just place the cards in a pocket chart and hide the egg behind one of the words. Students take turns reading and guessing the sight words trying to find the hidden egg. The first player to find the egg wins. :) 

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to check out the other amazing things at my TpT store! Have a happy spring!

Stay sweet, 

Must Read Books for Every Teacher

Hey, y'all! I've been doing a lot of reading lately and most of them have books about teaching. Some of them have been amazing and some of them…well not so much. With all of the choices of reading material out there, I wanted to share some of my personal favorites.

In my humble opinion, there are six books that every educator should read during their teaching career. Mainly when you feel like you need inspiration, motivation, or (basically) a reason to keep teaching. (We've all had those days!) There are many more awesome books about teaching, and this list certainly isn't the end-all, but it is a beginning if you're looking to grow your mindset about your teaching style.
This post includes affiliate links.

1. The Wild Card
Yes, I know I've written about this book before, but it really is wonderful book to get you thinking about how you can bring your own passions and creativity into your classroom. Don't feel you're very creative? By the end of this book, you will. I read it the first time in one weekend. I'm now going back and reading a chapter at a time to discuss the big ideas with other teachers at my school. It's that powerful. Reading it once quickly was great to get the big picture, but going back to absorb it all apply it is powerful.

"You have to decide how you will breathe life into your curriculum, regardless of what it is."

"You have to teach standards, that's a given. But standards don't determine how you deliver the content—and it's your delivery method that drives engagement."

"Predictable will never equal magical."

2. Move Your Bus
Are you ready to become a teacher leader? Or a better one?  Move Your Bus illustrates the types of teachers (or workers in any profession) that you will run into: from the people that drive the organization to those that are just along for the ride. This book will inspire you to get up and steer your school into a positive direction. Ron Clark's writing is powerful and thought provoking and perfect for anyone ready to get motivated and to motivate others.

"You can spend your time at our school however you choose, but you can spend it only once."

"There is one thing that will make me more proud of them than anything else. That simple act is to uplift one another."

3. Kids Deserve It
Kids Deserve It is the new Chicken Soup for the Soul, Teachers Edition. When you forget why you started, this is the book to read. It will challenge you to think outside of your everyday interactions with your students and to take everything in your classroom to the next level. You will be inspired to bring the energy, excitement, and compassion into the classroom. (We hope you already do, but we all need reminders at times.) This book is a quick read (I read it on a flight from Austin to San Diego) but will be a game changer for you. A word of warning though: if you're even the slightest bit emotional, keep some tissues nearby. The stories of students in this book will pull at your heartstrings.

"We live in a world where we can no longer claim ignorance—only an unwillingness to learn."

"How dare we ask our students to show up every day and learn if we're not learning and pushing ourselves?"

"If you want to be remembered, choose to be different—and be remembered for the impact your choice makes on your students. Dare to take the risks necessary to inspire kids to see their limitless potential and push their own envelopes one day."

"Our job is to focus on kids, not spreadsheets, and to be awesome all of the time."

"When you create imaginative and engaging lessons grounded in the learning standards, kids are more apt to behave well so they don't miss out."

4. Culturize
"Culturize: To cultivate a community of learners by behaving in a kind, caring, honest, and compassionate manner in order to challenge and inspire each member fo the school community to become more than they ever thought possible."  Every teacher is a leader. Every teacher is responsible for the school's moral, yes every one of them. I always tell my students, "If you don't like where you are, move. You're not a tree." The same holds true for your school. If you don't want to be there, why would your students? If you want to make it better, do it. Culturize will show you how and motivate you to get on it. Don't waste your time complaining about the culture of your school. Change it.

"As school teachers and leaders, it is our responsibility to prohibit average from becoming our standard."

"No one person is responsible for determining your success or failure but you, and no one is responsible for your morale but you."

"The difference between today and tomorrow is us."

"What would you do differently if you were not afraid? What is keeping you from going for it?"

5. The Essential 55
Now, The Essential 55 is very different from the other books in this list. It is not an inspirational book per se, though it is full of inspiration. It is however, a list of rules, or guidelines, every student must follow in order to be successful. Yes, 55 classroom rules. But not really. They are more behavior expectations that will lead to success in school and in life. Many of them are manners that used to be common sense but have fallen by the wayside in recent years. Things like making eye contact, responding when people talk to you, being thankful when receiving something, shaking hands, holding doors for others, and greeting people with respect are included in this list. Other things, like classroom procedures are listed as well. "Transitions will be swift, quiet, and orderly," is one of my personal favorites.

Also discussed in this book is tips for dealing with parents and setting rewards and punishments for students.

"…the rules are more than about getting kids to behave; they're about preparing kids for what awaits them after they leave my classroom. It is about preparing them to handle any situation they may encounter and giving them the confidence to do so."

6. Disrupting Thinking
Disrupting Thinking is a book that focuses on reading, but really the principles can be applied to the reading required in any subject area. Reading should not only be about what the text says, but also about what the reader brings to the text and what he or she gets out of it. In science or social studies classes, students are expected to read and answer questions about the text, but it is the connections that the student makes with the material that makes it stick long term. While this text is geared toward reading teachers, EVERY subject area teacher should read this and apply these strategies. And, as the title suggests, it really will disrupt your thinking about reading.

"We need students who can do more than answer questions; today's complex world requires that our next generation of leaders be able to raise questions."

"We ask students why Jess took Maybelle to Terabithia when we should be asking how Terabitihia has changed their understanding of who they, the readers are."

"It is only when they link that text to their own experiences that the text will begin to matter, and it may then evoke more rigorous attention, reflection, and analysis."

"Rigor without relevance is simply hard. We've made a mistake in beginning a conversation about raising the rigor without having a conversation about developing relevance."

As stated before, there are many other amazing books for teaching inspiration and motivation, but these are my personal top 6. The Teach, Lead, Learn, and Explore Like a Pirate books are also worthy of reading, as well as The Excellent 11, Readicide, and many, many more.

What books would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

Stay sweet,


HaPpY Go TeAcH—The Happiest PD on Earth

Hey y'all! This week I had the pleasure of attending the Happy Go Teach conference in Houston, lead by Kayla Delzer (Top Dog Teaching) and Jen Jones (Hello Literacy). It was an experience like none other!

First off, this trip was provided by a very generous donation through Donors Choose. If you haven't used Donors Choose before, it's definitely worth your time to check it out. Basically, you post a project you need for your classroom but don't have the funding for and people can make donations towards your project. I've had a couple of projects funded this way and it really is a game changer!

Now, about the conference…

I really had no idea what to expect when I got there. I mean, I'd seen some pictures and videos on Instagram and I'd looked through the conference website a few times, but as far as what was really supposed to happen, I had no idea. And then there's this whole talking to people I don't know business, which was a whole other issue in itself. But you meet people and you go to the photo booth together and it's all good. (I even ran into someone I used to teach with several years ago. Who knew?)

The day was absolutely PACKED with actual strategies and learning experiences to use in the classroom right away. We started the day with a model morning meeting, presented by Kayla. We were up and moving and acting like volcanos and coconuts! I couldn't wait to share these games and ideas with my own students when I got back and they loved every minute of it!

Kami Butterfield (Teaching with Appitude) presented about paperless classrooms and how she transformed her students' learning. She had so many amazing ideas and strategies, it made me want to run to my principal and beg for 1 to 1 iPads. And all of the apps she shared were completely FREE! If you've never heard Kami present, she's amazing—funny, fast, and fantastic! That woman gets a workout in when she talks. :) 

After a mini Edcamp and a game of Quiz-Quiz-Trade, Jen Jones presented about best practices, Kayla Delzer presented about reimagining education, and David Jones presented about modeling collaboration.  I could have listened to them talk all day. But what I loved the most were all of the real-life, take-it-to-your-school-tomorrow strategies. 

We even completed STEM challenges at our table groups and did a scavenger hunt using the app Goosechase. Our table did the "create a roller coaster" challenge shown above, while other tables made a tower with marshmallows and toothpicks (shown below), and others made a maze with plastic cubes and blew a cotton ball threw it. It's amazing how going through the process yourself makes you think about how your students view the task. 

While I was there, I purchased a copy of the book Education Write Now that Kayla co-authored with several other leading educators. It's an excellent read and I completely covered the book with sticky notes while I read on the plane ride home. It's a down-to-earth and practical, but change-the-way-you-think-about-teaching book. Or solidify the ideas you've already had about changing education. Either way, it's an excellent read.

Long story short, it was an amazing day. My head was swimming with ideas and I have so many more things I want to do with my students now! If you ever have the opportunity to go to a Happy Go Teach conference, by all means go! Kayla, Jen, Kami, and David are all warm and welcoming, the atmosphere is exciting, and you will leave feeling inspired. Now happily go teach!

Stay sweet,