Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Another Year in the Books {2015 Reflection}

I cannot believe 2015 is almost over. So many exciting things happened to me this year, and I am going to countdown my most exciting parts of my year and share some goals I have for 2016!

1. Beginning my Journey
In 2015, I began this crazy journey of mine, just a few short months ago with Teachers Pay Teachers and my blog. I had contemplated starting a "teacher blog" for a while, but after talking with some amazing teacher bloggers, I took the plunge. I was scared and constantly thinking, "Who would want to read what I have to say? I haven't even been teaching for that long." So, I shoved those thoughts to the back and before I knew it, I had posted my first blog post and uploaded my first product to TPT. 
I have enjoyed every second of it, and I cannot wait to see where it takes me in 2016. 

2. Connecting with Teachers
Just since the last half of 2015, I have been able to connect with so many different teachers through all of the social media platforms. I have been able to bounce ideas and ask questions to expert bloggers who have helped me immensely begin my journey.

Visiting RCA was up there in the best things about 2015. I was lucky enough to go to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the most amazing school I've ever been to. My teaching has completely changed since that visit. I am constantly thinking of ways to take my teaching to the next level, and I often do that by asking, "What would they do at RCA?"  I am beyond grateful for that experience. Read more about it here.

There were a lot of exciting things that happened in my life over this past year, but the highlights of my teaching life were definitely those three above.

I hope you had a wonderful 2015 and have an even better 2016!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Frankenstein Mystery

So the end of the semester craziness got the best of me, but here I am sitting getting my car's oil changed at 8AM. On my break. What was I thinking? It's all okay because I am coming to share a really fun math activity I did the Friday before Halloween. I got some inspiration from Pinterest and made it happen. What is beautiful about this activity is it can be used any time of the year, just have to tweak it a little bit. 

Here is the quick back story to this activity. It was the Wednesday before Halloween and I told my roommate, Brooke, that I wanted to do something fun in math, but I just couldn't think of anything. Earlier that week I had turned my room into a Haunted House (check that out here), so I was stumped. Brooke started looking things up on Pinterest and she came across a picture of balloons attached to crate paper. Then an idea was born.

The most important thing was the content. It was the Friday before Halloween, ya'll, I had to think of something engaging to keep the crazy under control. I was going to use this activity as a math review. because in the fifth grade you live, eat, and breathe decimals and fractions. We needed some time practicing and working with the skills we had already learned. 

I only needed 3 things for this activity to come to life. 
-crate paper
-the problems

So simple. Well, my lungs didn't think so on Friday morning blowing up 54 balloons, but it was all worth it. My roommate and I stuff the deflated balloons with the problem and the secret letters, so all I had to do at school was to blow them up! 

Now the fun, why not blow up 54 balloons and put math problems and secret letters inside? Well, let me tell you the premise of the activity. Frankenstein had a chance to be turned back into a boy if the class helped his figure out the time and place he needed to be. I mixed my class up into groups and they had 9 balloons with problems they had to solve. With each problem, they received a letter that would help the class figure out the mystery. We needed every group's letters to help Frankenstein have the opportunity to get turned back into a boy. 

The best thing about this activity from a teacher's perspective is the academic math talk that was happening between my students because they couldn't get another balloon until everyone had solved the problem! 

This activity was such a hit. BEST PART-was watching the balloons being popped. I bought my balloons at Target and they must have been some heavy-duty balloons because some of them were impossible to pop! 

Disclaimer, I did go and warn my principal that there might be some loud popping sounds coming out of my room, and that she should't worry. 

This could be used for any content area, you can decide what you want to put in the balloons. I know it is passed Halloween, but if you want to see this activity to possibly use it for your class send me an email at and I can get you the materials.

I hope you are having a relaxing break and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather!