Incredible Equation

In January I added a little something we call "Incredible Equation" to our day.  It is usually a time filler when you have that random extra 5 minutes here or there in your day or sometimes part of calendar time.

The little ones tell me equations that match the number for the date. For example, today, on February 20th, the number we used was 20.

In the beginning you really have to model it A LOT, but they get the hang of it quickly. If I were to start it earlier in the year I may just rotate through numbers 1-10 rather than adding the higher numbers, but now they impress me every single time with how well they can deal with the larger numbers!

Right now they are really into these types of equations: 20+100-100=20. One clever friend figured that thing out and now they all just think it is the best... and really, I think it is too!

I like this because ALL the kids can participate. I have some throwing out equations without any hesitations and others who can't create their own but after they hear "9+1=10" they can tell me "1+9=10." I mean, this is the commutative property of addition, isn't it?

And as you can guess, after seeing "15-5=10" one little  friend may try "5-15=10" and this leads to a great conversation and pretty soon they get it. Some years subtraction doesn't show up on the scene for a while, but that is all dictated by what the class is ready for.

Sometimes we add the tally marks and/or the tens frames to help them build equations. Sometimes we fill the paper up and sometimes time only allows for a few equations. Really it is up to the kids what goes on here. Oh, I do have one rule... and that is the good ol' "1+1+1+1+1+1 etc" can not be used on any numbers greater than 10, but on the 1-10 days it is almost always the first equation thrown out there.

Have you ever bought the packs of stickers (or punch outs) and you use the letters, but what do you use the numbers for? They just seem to accumulate over time...... well, that is why I use the stickers. Sometimes I just keep it simple too, though:

This is on a clip board on my calendar wall and each day I draw a name to take home the Incredible Equation from the day before. They love taking these home.

What are other time fillers and extra calendar pieces that you do?

Update {August 2013} I have added an Incredible Equation Pack to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store... just in case you want to give this a try!


Recently I was asked a question about my circus themed classroom I used to have so I decided to share a few pictures and take a walk down memory lane...

I loved having a circus theme, but I am also one of those people who has to have change often, so now it's all about the ocean.

A while ago I shared my circus to ocean transition- {Click Here} to check it out, but this time I am sharing a few circus pictures of when it was being used... not the sad destruction of taking it all down. These pictures are from two different school years... and 2 different rooms... but all circus!

I bought plain red fabric to make a red tent. I created the letters at the top, mounted them on blue paper and laminated them. There are many good circus fonts out there. Check out {this blog} for a few! On the side you can see my clip chart for behavior management. You can see a better picture of that {Here}

In the library I had this tent from Oriental Trading Company. I didn't seem to see it on their site now, but they do have some other things you may find useful if you are going to do a circus theme. The beanbag was donated by a parent and the little elephant rugs I bought in Bangkok.

It is hard to see in this picture, but there is a ringmaster (under the square) and he usually would have the "Ringmaster of the Week" (aka Star of the Week) poster next to him.  The ringmaster is a clip art from DJ Inkers on their Critter Craze Collection.

The above picture shows the same red tent as you saw above, but this time I used a smaller board and put the "popcorn words" (aka sight words) on there rather than my calendar. You can also see on my other bulletins I put accents that I made from Thistle Girl Designs. I LOVE her circus clip art! She does tell you on her site that the collection she has was made for use on the web, so when you print them out as large as you see in my picture (poster size) they are a bit pixelated... but when they are on the wall up high you can't tell.


Hooray, Hooray it was FINALLY the One Hundredth Day!

We may have been the very last school to celebrate 100 days! So yes, when most schools will be celebrating their LAST day of school.... we will be just as far behind then.... oh well :(

We all dressed up like we were 100 years old! But the best part was a visit from Zero the Hero himself. I'd rather share a picture of one of my cuties with Zero, but since I can't, you're stuck just getting to see me. I can't even tell you how itchy that wig was!

We did so many activities- almost every single one is out of Kathleen Pedersen's pack. Oh my word it has great stuff in there. Click {HERE} to check it out. I also have her Zero the Hero Unit which we've been using all year, but finished up on the 100th day.

100 day necklaces:

100 dots:

100 Detective Game- students are searching for numbers posted around the room to make a mystery picture on their 100s chart:
 100th day snack:

And more... 100 day hats, sharing our 100 day collections and reading lots of books about the 100th day of school.

I was so wiped out it took me 3 days to sit down and actually blog about it!


Messy Fun.... All in the Name of Love!

These tissue paper "stained glass" Valentine hearts are one of my favorites! I have these big windows in my room so they are able to catch the light nicely. And yes, we have plenty of light here in Southern California even in February. But these look great even without sunshine!
This is a multi-step project - so you have to be patient. 

Step 1- Tear wax paper in pieces for as large as you would like the hearts to be. I usually tear it to be 11 x18 inches (about the size of a large piece of construction paper)

Step 2- Cut tissue paper - you can do squares like in the picture above (more difficult) or strips (as shown below). I have done both, but prefer the strips because it is faster and they can practice patterning as well.

Step 3: Students "paint" the tissue paper on to the wax paper using liquid starch. Click {HERE} to see the kind that I use. I usually add a little water to it. Be careful: depending on the tissue paper brand the color could seep through onto your table. Put something underneath (even though my picture doesn't model this!) I put their names on small pieces of masking tape and stick it on the end of the wax paper.

Step 4: Wait for this to dry. Believe it or not it dries fast! Like super fast... you could almost do the next step later in the same day, but that could just be chaotic.

Step 4: Time to add yarn to make this a heart shape. This is when it gets messy and the kiddos love this... or they aren't too sure what to think. But most of them love getting messy. I suggest you pre cut the yarn. Then have them dunk it in the glue.

I tell them, "Get glue all over that piece of yarn!"

Step 5: Make the heart shape. If you are going to put some type of writing or drawing in the middle like me then you care about the size of the heart. I have this black heart stapled onto a white paper... not the prettiest thing... but it helps so the kids can have a guide to make their heart the correct size:

If you are not putting anything in the center you can have them free hand the heart shape.

Step 6: After the yarn dries... this takes a while, have them cut it out. 
Step 7: Add whatever you like to the center. I usually have them draw and label the people who they LOVE.... it is the month of love! One year I used these as their parent cards and they wrote a note to their families in the middle. 

Ta da!