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January 24, 2012

Clean Up the Money!

I love Mathwire.com!
They have great ideas and resources.

A long time ago (in dog years probably) I found this great game called "Clean Up the Money!"

Not only does this game have kids practicing counting coins but . . . using grid coordinates!
We are working on using grid coordinates in Social Studies.

Here's what Mathwire says about this game:

Clean Up the Money! Game: this 2-player game challenges students to toss 2 dice, form a coordinate pair, then collect the coin from that space, if there is one.   First students alternate placing quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies on the gameboard. Then students toss a regular die and a special die (A-B-C-D-E-F) to form the coordinate pair and remove the coin from the matching space.   Variations of the game are given but students must always find the value of their coins to identify the winner of the game so they get plenty of practice sorting and counting coins. NOTE: Buy wooden cubes at craft stores to create the ABCDEF die or use labels to cover the faces of a regular die.

So, we are playing this game tomorrow.

Some of my darlings just can't get a handle on the money thing.  Arg!

I also have my observation tomorrow.

Fingers are crossed that a certain little nugget (love that term from don't recall who) is absent.  If so all will go well.  If not, then . . .

yike-a-roni-soup . . .

I am in for it!

"No meds since Thanksgiving boy" is driving everyone nuts including me.  He is as loud as a freight train and less capable than my special needs kiddos.  Add a dollop of defiance and a sprinkling of potty mouth and you get the picture.

Anyway, if your kiddos need some coin counting practice go snag yourself this little ol' game.  You'll be glad you did.

January 22, 2012

Favorite Followers

I was awarded the Favorite Follower award by Mrs. Lamb of Views from Room 205 for being fantastic not freaky!  Whew!

She created this award to show some love to those who are faithful followers.  What a great idea.

So now I get to pass on this little slice of love.

First of all I am thankful for all my followers.  This little blog would be nothing without you.  Really.  How fun  would it be to blog to myself?  :)

Seriously pathetic is what it would be.

So I looked through my comments and found three people who comment quite regularly (and naturally make my day!)

First is Kelley from Buggy for Second Grade.  I can always count on this girl leaving me some sweet comment.  (Although for awhile there, I don't think she was too happy that I "made" her want to get rid of her teacher desk.  But now that she's done the deed, I think she'll forgive me! :)  I sound like one of the kids.  "She made me do it!")

Second is Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files.  Kristen has inspired me immensely and been a great mentor in my journey as a blogger and in organizing my classroom.  She is so good about answering my questions.  I feel honored that she hasn't set her email security to automatically put my emails into her spam or junk folder.    If you aren't familiar with her tutorials you need to be.  For real people!

Third is Rachel at Ms. Rachel's Room.  Rachel is a sweetheart and always leaves me kind words.

So ladies, thank you for making me feel like someone out there is listening and cares.  Especially on those less than wonderful days!

Please pass this wonderful award on to those you consider favorite followers if you wish!

January 21, 2012

Keepin' It Short

I was home yesterday with a stomach flu.  You know you're really sick when you don't feel up to reading or blog stalking.  What a waste of a good sick day!  Between trips runs to the bathroom all I did was sleep with my fur babies.  Today I am slightly better, but still not eating solids.  On the plus side I could lose a few pounds.  :)

A co-worker called to tell my how yesterday went for my sub.  She said my sub about freaked when she realized I didn't have a teacher desk!  :)  I got a good chuckle out of that.

I spent today napping and then quickly caught up on blogs.  There are some great freebies out there.  Here's a couple that you should check out.

Sarah at Adventures in Teaching is having a giveaway of some beautiful homemade (by her) Valentines to boost her number of followers.  The cards are lovely as you can see.  Go check out Sarah's blog, enter to win, and show her a little love!

Heather at Swinging Through Second Grade is giving away a $10 gift certificate to TpT.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

January 18, 2012

On A Roll

In math it is all about money right now.

I've played this simple game with my students for years although it never had a name or any recording sheets.  So as we were playing today for the umpteenth time, cause the kids love it, I decided it needed some tweeking and a name.

So this is what I came up with.

All you need are dice, real or fake coins, and the recording sheets.

"On A Roll" can be played to 50 cents using pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Or to $1.00 using the same coins with or without half-dollars depending on the ability of your students and curriculum.

This game includes teacher directions, student directions, and recording sheets.

It is now available at my Teacher's Notebook store for $1.00.

I'll give it away fuh-ree to comment number...

(And only one comment is allowed.)

But if you warm my heart on this wretched below zero day (with inside recess all day and loud snow-crazed kids) you might get lucky and get one too!

BTW, the weather isn't supposed to improve until after Friday.  Can you say inside recess all week, no recess aides, no breaks, someone's gonna die?

January 16, 2012

You Could Win My Heart

My little ones are going to be "officially" working on two-digit (or double-digit) subtraction in the weeks before Valentine's Day.  So today I whipped up this little math game for them to use to practice this skill.  It is called "Win My Heart".  It will actually make your students want to get a math problem where they have to trade (or borrow) for a ten so that they can earn an extra point.

It is available at my Teacher's Notebook store for $1.  (Hey, a girl's gotta retire someday somehow, right?!)

I will give it away free to comments 1 and 5!  (I like odd numbers.  What can I say other than, yes, I am a little odd myself!)

January 15, 2012

Love, Love, Love

Love, love, love,
That's what it's all about.
Cause God loves us we love each other.
Mother, father, sister, brother.
Everybody sing and shout!
Cause that's what it's all about.
It's about love, love, love.

I wish you could hear me singing this cute song that our kiddos sing during the month of February.  Well, actually it's a good thing you can't because it would hurt your ears.  I had an adorable kiddo last year who told her mom and grandma (both teachers) "Mrs. Schaff just starts singing and she isn't even embarrassed!"  Uh, should I be?  Yeah.  Another year a little darling told me that I sang so good that I could sing at the local theater.  Sure, if it was closed, empty, and boarded shut.  But I do love to sing!

I am so excited to be sharing in all the love that's going around.

Be My Valentine

I have joined the Be My Valentine Exchange 2012 after missing out on the Christmas fun.  So excited.  Can't wait to get the info on my partner and start shopping and/or making!  You can still join in the fun if you haven't already by going to Ms. Preppy's blog.

I've also joined up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten Love to Joplin linky party.  I'm sure you already have seen these everywhere, but if not click her link and check it out, then spread some of the love.  I donated a gift card since I don't have a lot in my Teacher's Notebook store and wasn't sure if anyone would want anything from it.

Can you feel the love?

January 14, 2012

Currently & Some Answers

I am linking up, a little late, with Farley's Oh' Boy 4th Grade Currently party.

I have had a really hard time picking my one little word (OLW) this year.  I had a word last year that just came to me, but this year I think I worked too hard to find the perfect word.  I also know I didn't pray about it enough.  So that is why I was late getting to this.

Thinking about my OLW reminded me that I have a set of Virtue cards from The Virtue Project that I use for personal reflection at home.  These cards are wonderful.  Each day I try to remember to pick a card to read and reflect on.  I pick a card randomly knowing that God will give me the card I most need that day.  However, I've been bad about remembering to use these lately.

On their website homepage, you can click on "Do a Virtues Pick" and it will randomly pick a card for you to read.

This is what the card for Moderation says.
I definitely need to use moderation in work since I can let it consume all aspects of my life.  I need to use moderation in my personal life (especially with my computer) so that I spend the most time on what is most important to me...my family.  I need to remember moderation when I eat and exercise.  I need to remember to pray and to play more.

They also have these cards for children on the Education page, including a random pick as well.  These cards are great discussion starters and vocabulary builders.  There are no religious references for those of you in public schools. 

I've had numerous questions about the crate seats.  Let's see if I can answer them.  These seats were not my original idea.  I only wish!

I did have to lower the table, but it works fine for my second graders.  The kids love sitting on the crates and will drag them all over the room.  I'm going to make more for next year to put at my little extra group of three desks and probably my computers.  The storage they provide is wonderful!  They might be a little low for third graders, however my 12 and 14 year old daughters still like to sit on them when they are in my room after school and they are both taller than I am.

To make the crate seats buy sturdy crates in the color of your choice.  The crates with holes are sturdier.

Buy a heavy-duty fabric (about half a yard per seat) in a darker color than I chose so they don't get dirty or grungy easily.  (Some of mine have pencil and marker marks on them already.  Arg!)

Cut 1/4" thick  plywood to fit the top of each crate.  (Each crate will be slightly different, so measure accordingly.  Because you will be covering with batting and fabric, a tight fit isn't necessary or desired.)  No sanding is necessary since it will be covered.

Attach a 2" piece of foam to each piece of wood with spray adhesive.  Then wrap each with a piece of batting and fabric.  Use a staple gun to attach batting and fabric on the underside.  Attach a coordinating ribbon from side to side with staples to make it easier to lift the lid to get to storage.

Not having a teacher desk for one week has been life changing.  I do not have spots or space now for stacking piles so I have to decide pretty quickly what to do with things.  If I take something out to use, I put it away when I am done with it.  If something comes into my mailbox and then my room, I either put it where it should go or get rid of it.  I am being forced to stay organized and it's a GREAT thing.

I am not wasting time walking back and forth between multiple work zones.  I hate to say this and jinx myself, but I've actually gotten out of work earlier this past week!  And this week I was also working on report cards.

Hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend!

January 13, 2012


How many of you have a massive drawer or container of stickers?

If you are a primary teacher you probably do.

I wanted to share one of my organization tips with you.

Like most of you I love containers, containers, and more containers.  A number of years ago I picked up this little expanding file from Big Lots that has about fourteen or fifteen sections in it.  Didn't know what I was going to use it for but I liked it so that was all that mattered, right!?

Inside of this handy, dandy thing-a-ma-jig I now have all my stickers.  Yes, you heard that correctly, ALL!

I cut file folders down to a size that would fit in each section and added a sticker to the front with the name of a month.  I got the stickers I used at the Dollar Tree in their scrap booking section.

Then, I sorted all the stickers into folders.  If they went with  a specific month they went into that file.  If they could be used for anytime they went into an "anytime" folder.  If they were subject specific they went into a "spelling" or "science" folder.  If it was a sheet of stickers that was too large to fit in the folder, I just cut it in half or fourths, or whatever so it fit.

Now, each month I pull that month's sticker folder and keep it in a spot where I can use it easily while correcting papers.

No more digging through a messy drawer or container searching for the dang snowman stickers for what seems like forever.

In addition to the drawer of stickers, I've tried using baggies for sorting my stickers in the past, but this is my favorite and by far most successful and easy solution.

I keep this on a shelf behind my new small group/desk area.

Also on this shelf I have my two Sterilite Clearview 3 drawer storage units that I keep my daily teaching materials in.

I have one drawer labeled for each day of the week and the extra drawer is sub only materials.

My kiddos know where to go to grab a set of papers or book, etc. for me if I need it.  I literally can say, "So and so, go grab today's math papers and bring them to me."  I also can pull the day's drawer out and take it with me anywhere in the room.

Every sub that I've had has made positive comments about the drawer system.

I've used hanging file folders in the past and the papers slipped and bent.  Didn't like that!

I've not had any problems getting everything to fit in the drawers, but I don't do a ton of paperwork.  However, you can get drawers that are wider or deeper.  Mine are slightly larger than 8 1/2" X 11" paper size.

The only thing I don't put in the drawers are art projects, big books, or manipulatives.

If you give either of these ideas a try, I'd love to know what you think.

January 09, 2012


I spent more than a few hours at school this weekend, but the desk is officially gone!  Woot!  Woot!

And, after one day of school, I think I'm lovin' it!

Classroom measurements:  28 feet by 29 feet.  Small!

I had more junk piled and stashed in and under that thing than humanly possible.  Part of the problem was the cabinets and counter tops behind my desk where I just piled, and piled, and piled and then piled some more.  Then I had two extra student desks pushed in front of my desk with more junk on them.

Here is an embarrassing "before" picture.  Yikes!

I removed all the piles and everything from the counter tops and started from scratch.  On one counter I put word work materials and on the other I put the globe, a little plastic drawer of magnetic math manipulatives that we use on the magnetic easel, and a box that holds the books I've read aloud to the class.

These photos just go around my room in a large circle.


New improved, and larger gathering area.

It still looks busy, but trust me it is organized!  I have the easel and rocking chair in front of part of the cabinet but they aren't cabinets I get in a lot.  And this way no one can "hide" behind it.  (You know those kids!)  I also cleaned out part of one of the cabinets to make room for some of my "before" mess.  I have more cleaning to do in them because I am not utilizing all the space to its best potential.

Now here is my small group table and new desk/headquarters.

And a close up.

I put my computer on a rolling cart.

This is a little reading area.  (Math wall is hanging above.)

Math wall (pocket charts) that hangs on a clothes line in front of the windows.

One part of the classroom library.  The three desks are a small work area.  You'll notice those desks are holding/storing items.

This is the rest of the class library.  Chapter books and magazines.  Boggle & language arts focus wall is on the white board above.  The top shelf holds class lotion, tissue, tape dispensers, staplers, and three hole punch.  The two file holders on the left side of the top shelf are Work on Writing & more Word Work items for Daily 5.  To the right is my portable (on loan) Promethean board.

This is my math manipulative area on the other side of the Promethean board.  Behind the tubs are my two computers and the book shelf is all my books that I use for teaching various concepts. Those book shelves as you may recall from an early post were what were referred to as "the closet".  Floor sweeper that the kids adore using!!  Seriously, one of my kiddos actually saved up his money and bought his own!  Isn't that hilarious?

Computers.  Writer's Eyes bulletin board (that I love and have for sale in my TN shop.)  Stages of the writing process.  Bulletin board storage container and a basket of books on the floor that I need to put in the book closet in the hallway.  The two pencil sharpeners are mounted on the door frame.

Filing cabinets on the other side of the door, tarantula, bathroom sign out desk, and back to the gathering area.

And floating in the middle of this little oasis are the student desks arranged in groups.

I give the kids a lot of freedom to move around and work where they are comfortable so kids can be found laying on the floor, sitting in the rocking chair, on the floor using lap desks, in the reading area, lounging on a pillow pet or standing at the counter.

I have a lot more to do, but got a ton accomplished and the room ready to be used again today.  Which believe me, I wasn't sure was going to happen yesterday afternoon!

I brought my desk home to make a craft area in our sunroom.  Woo hoo!  Donated a few items to other classrooms, threw away a few bags of stuff, recycled a boatload of paper, and hauled a small truck load to the local rescue mission.

All in all, I feel like it went great and will only get better.

Not only that, the kids loved it too!

Please share the dimensions of your room so that I can feel a little jealous (if your room is larger) or a little joy (if your room is tinier).

Thanks for touring my room.  (And putting up with my senseless worry about getting rid of the desk!)

January 05, 2012

Passing It On

First, just let me say this, you are all so awesome!  I am giving you all a roller coaster.  Click, click, click...Woo, woo, woo!  {If you don't know what I mean by a roller coaster, you've got to check out Teacher Tipsters Silly-Brations.  The roller coaster is my kiddos fave!}

Why, you probably are wondering, is this weirdo giving us this weird roller coaster thingie?

Well, you all have given me the sweetest comments about my stress/anxiety and getting rid of the desk.

Honestly, I think I'd probably have given up the task if it weren't for all the love and encouragement I've received.  Thank you!!

As of today, the desk is EMP-TEEEE!  And if I can get some strong men to move it out this weekend.  It is ouda-here!

Then once I get everything shuffled around and in a place, I'll post some pictures.

After seeing pictures of all the classrooms out there, I've come to the conclusion that I have the smallest room on earth...except for maybe some of you that have resource rooms.  I would love it if people shared the measurements of their rooms some time.

Okay.  On to the award.  (Because I have already received and passed on the Liebster Award, I am not passing it on again.  Or am I supposed to?  I don't know the etiquette on this.  Anyone that does please let me know.)

The rules are to:
1. Thank the person who presented the award to you and link back to them.
(Did this in yesterday's post.)
2. Tell seven things about yourself.
(Did this in yesterday's post.)
3.  Pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they've received the awards.

First Grade Found Me

Taming My Flock of Firsties

Inside the Classroom

Following Optimism

Smiling in Second Grade

The First Grade Diaries

Swinging Through Second Grade

Klinger Cafe

The Teacher's Chatterbox

Wild About Second Grade

Happy (almost) Friday people!


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