Math in my room this year has been interesting. Mostly because I don't actually have a math book. We're going into our seventh week and they've been on backorder since school started. It's really ok though. I like the freedom of not having the book. I do miss it at times because, let's face it,  it's a LOT easier to use the book to drive your instruction than having to search for and prep the most appropriate, relevant, and meaningful activities. But, no one ever promised us this job would be easy, right?

I've been making sure to cover the same skills as the rest of my team, but I have to say, it's been a lot more fun than ever before. Thankfully, I've had my own resources to fall back on. Our text starts out with place value and forms of numbers. I'm HUGE on teaching my kids how to draw "quick pictures" to represent base ten blocks because they're asked to do it so often. You would think that would be an easy task, but nope. We had all kinds of weird ways to draw the base ten blocks! I  swore I took pix, I guess I didn't. We really seemed to be having some difficulty with it, so I created an extra practice page, and we finally got on the right track. Here's the practice sheet if your kids could use some help, too.

Without a book, other visuals became essential so my kids could actually see what I was talking about. Luckily, I had the anchor charts that I made for my Place Value and Base Ten Resources pack, so those helped a ton. 
We had some time for a little hands on fun too since I wasn't rushing through to finish the pages in the book.  We made the Any Way You Slice it Apple project, which you can read more about in this blog post from a few years ago. This year, we glued them onto black paper plates and they made a great bulletin board display for open house.

Here's a little apple I made for the title of that board. You can snag it here, if you like.

Shortly after I hung them up, my fabulous teaching partner/neighbor/friend remembered that I made another version of that activity last year! So she did that one. It's a freebie in my tpt shop, you can grab it here.

We played lots of games, which is the BEST way to practice math facts in my opinion. For this one they had to match up the same number in different forms. There are enough cards in one set that four kids can easily play together. It's part of this pack on tpt.

That pack has a lot of other goodies too, including more anchor charts, math journal topic strips, practice pages, and easy to make "show me folders".

We also worked a bit from this pack, but my kids were already doing a pretty good job with skip counting. We just used the pages with the larger numbers for this. Although these anchor charts in the bright colors are my FAVE, so I had to display them for a while anyway.

I was also able to use my Math Assessment pack instead of the chapter tests. Each standard has three assessments, so I was able to use two for homework and saved one for a formative evaluation before moving on.

Did I mention that I don't have social studies or science books yet either? Yeah, good times. 
Never fear, though. It's made me step up my game a little and I'm actually enjoying it. (I just keep telling myself that over and over...)

Two math adoptions in less than 5 years combined with 21 years of teacher hoarding collecting, has left me with an abundance of math manipulatives - especially foam shapes like these:

I seriously contemplated throwing them out or trying to find a place to donate them, when I realized that I could put them to good use. I needed a quick center for my kids to practice adding 10's so instead of making matching cards with each number, then laminating, and cutting them all apart, I wrote the answers on extra foam shapes and I was done in a fraction of the time!

Besides being faster and easier for me, it's also easier for the kids to pick up and use the pieces that have a little depth to them. It's also a lot easier to spot pieces that fall on the floor. Using different colors and shapes for different boards also helps keep things organized. 

If you've got some extra shapes hanging around, give this bright idea a try! {Also works well for bottle caps if you happen to hoard collect those, too}

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas more than 100 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up  below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

I love that our school always makes a big deal about the International Day of Peace, which will be on September 21 this year.  We've always participated in the Pinwheels for Peace project and have the kids make pinwheels that we plant around the school grounds, which are adorable. You can learn more about that here.

This year we're celebrating a little early, which works out for you if you want to join in! Today all the kids in the school decorated a tag (like these) and wrote their wishes for peace. Then we all went outside and tied our tags to a tree. There was some soft music playing in the background while we tied and then we checked out the tags that were already there.

It was a quick and easy way to take part in Peace Week activities and it was a really meaningful experience for the kids.

Here are some great books to help kids understand the concept of peace, just click on the cover to see them on Amazon:

Peace Out!
Whew! We're wrapping up our first month down here in sickeningly hot and humid sunny Florida and I kinda sorta finally feel like maybe I have both feet on the ground. Personally, I had a weird start to the year. I'm always so excited to get in and start working on my room, but between having work done on our house, no AC at school (which in Florida equals sauna times a thousand), and an infected wisdom tooth, the first couple of weeks did NOT go the way I had carefully plotted and planned as I feel asleep every night over the summer.

Maybe you noticed that I didn't have a big "classroom reveal" post. Maybe you didn't, which I totally understand because sometimes I don't even have time to notice that I'm wearing two different colored shoes or that I've been wearing my shirt inside out all day. #truestory

My room didn't really come totally together until about 10 minutes before the parents came in for Open House on Wednesday, and even then it's not exactly what I want but really, the important thing is that we're building a nice little community in our classroom and I love love love love my kids. Like super love. Like I walk around the room and watch them sometimes and I'm almost on the verge of tears when I realize how lucky I am that I get to spend my day with such amazing little kids. I mean, look at them! See those sweet smiles? They're genuinely happy little kids. Which makes me a genuinely happy teacher. These faces are what help me forget the crazy political bureaucratic testing baloney that can threaten to overwhelm most of us on a daily basis.

Here's a little peek of the parts of the room that I did manage to get looking sorta like I pictured. I'll blog a bit more about my room at some point I'm sure. But I do like how our science center is shaping up and I'm really lovin the fact that I got rid of my big honkin teacher desk. Now I just use my horseshoe table and behind that you'll see the two Ikea Kallax bookshelves that I'm using for storage. It's working out really well so far!

Ok, so I promised Open House ideas. Here's what the tables looked like as the parents came in:

That lapbook was something I just stumbled upon on Tpt. You can see it here. Super cute and perfect for open house. The colored strip is for the parents to make a bookmark for their kids. The little poster is from my friend Gina at Beach Sand and Lesson Plans. The kids make a welcome poster telling the parents about school and their classroom and they don't know it, but we have the parents make a version to welcome the kids the next morning! You can see it here on tpt.

Kids Work:

Parent's Work:

And look at these priceless reactions when they saw the little notes from their parents on their desks.

Open House is the first time I put out the Estimation Station jar. Before this, the kids haven't seen it. They really get a kick out of seeing the guesses their parents made. We put their guesses in order from least to greatest and then see whose mom or dad came closest. That student then takes the jar home and fills it for the next week. You can read a lot more about how we use Estimation Station in our classroom every Friday in this blog post and this one which has a few freebies.

So things are slowly coming together in our little corner of the world. The decor in the room may not be picture perfect, but the little people in it sure are!

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