Interactive Notebooks

Interactive Notebooks
Interactive Notebooks



Organizing Journals with Tabs

I’m linking up with Ladybug’s Teacher Files and Fun in Room 4B for their Optimum Organization linky.  It’s pretty ironic that I would have an organization tip because I really try to be organized but it doesn’t come easily to me. 
For years I’ve used interactive math journals in my classroom.  I’m hooked and I’m sure I’ll use them forever more.  My students are encouraged to use their journals as a reference.  I mean, that’s why we put all the effort into them, right?? But the kids sometimes have trouble finding what they need when they need it.  We put so much into our journals that the table of contents gets overwhelming even for me!  The picture below shows just part of last year’s table of contents.  See what I mean?

For this next school year, I’m going to try something a little different.  I decided I would divide my math journal into sections with a separate table of contents for each section.  I’ve done something similar with our writing journals in the past.  Here’s the prototype I’ve been working on.

The table of contents is less overwhelming.  Kids shouldn’t have a problem skimming and finding what they need.

One problem I think I’m going to run into is that many kids aren’t going to know which section to look in.  I added details to the section headers to help out.  Underneath “Measurement” I included all the topics we cover.  I also plan to reinforce which category each skill falls into as I teach the skill.

So far I’m happy with my prototype and I’m looking forward to trying this out.  Have any of you ever sectioned off a math journal?  How did it work out?

Have a great weekend!

Skip Counting Game and Mastercard Winner

I’d like to start today’s post off by thanking everyone who participated in my Mastercard Giveaway.  I appreciate you so much!  Without further ado, the winner is….

Vicky Hunt! 

Congratulations, Vicky!  Be on the lookout for an email from me.

Now for today’s post -
I teach 3rd grade so my kids mostly come to me knowing how to count quarters. But as you know, there’s always one or two who aren’t fluent skip counters.  I learned a quick little activity at a recent math conference that should help.  I got this idea from Wendy Hill from The Learning Carpet.  The game is like the math version of playing Sparkle and is a great time filler for when your class is lined up ready to go somewhere but you have a few minutes to spare.

Pretend like this is my class (scary but some years are like that).  We’re waiting in line before going to lunch.

My little monsters start calling out numbers.  The Purple Monster yells out 25, then the Neanderthal mumbles 50, Green Dude says 75, and then Zombie Kid dejectedly mutters $1 because he has to go to the end of the line.

The kid who never faces front, Green  monster, starts the count over with 25.  And, the game continues until you run out of monsters kids or run out of time.

Why not do this with other counting skills? 
  • Count single-digit odd numbers and whoever says 9 goes to the end. 
  • Skip count multiples of 3, 4, 6, etc.  You will need to decide which number causes a kid to go to the end of the line.  In the beginning, you could start off small then add more multiples as the kids improve.  Example: start off with 3, 6, 9, and have kids go to the end of the line on 12.
  • Skip count fractions – my kiddos have trouble with this one.  Since I teach 3rd graders, I would have mine count 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and go to the end on 1 or the next consecutive whole number.

Have any of you ever played this game before?  How did it go?

Have a great day!

Another Monsteriffic Monday

Welcome back for another monsteriffic Made It Monday!

One of my teaching buddies shared a cute dragon quote with me.  Of course, I had to change it to fit my monster theme.  Click on the picture below if you would like a FREE copy for yourself.  I can’t decide if I’m going to frame mine or make it into a poster.
Don't Mess with Monsters

I like having a special place just for homework.  In the past my homework tray has been b-o-r-i-n-g!  I used a plastic letter tray that was a different color than my other paper trays.  This year I’m doing something a little different and, of course, I had to make it to fit the monster theme. 

I added the speech bubble to give the monster a little personality.  I made extra speech bubbles that I plan to switch out from time to time. 

If you have any suggestions for what my homework monster could say, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know!

Here’s a plant that I monsterfied for the occasion. 

I give my new students a water bottle at the beginning of each school year as a way of letting them know they can drink water in my class.  I typically create labels for the bottles on the computer.  This year I did something a little different.

These water bottles were much more time consuming than the ones I’ve done in the past.  I think next year I’m going back to designing the labels on my computer.

If you haven’t entered my Mastercard giveaway, click here.  Time is running out!

Also, be sure to check out all the other Monday Made Its at Tara’s blog.

Have a great week!

Ten Pin Linky: Writing Ideas

I’m linking up with Just Reed to share some of my favorite writing pins.  I hope you get some pinspiration from these.

Here’s a great activity for show – don’t tell.

The bulletin board turned out super cute!

This is another great activity for showing emotions and feelings.  I’ll definitely be adding this one to my writing journals this year.

My class did this one last year and LOVED it!  If you need a persuasive writing activity, be sure to check it out.  It’s from Teach on a Limb and it’s awesome!

This one is from Katie at Rock & Teach.  This is a great idea for getting kiddos ready for icky state testing.  I must admit, I love everything foldable!

Here’s a fun anchor chart for word choice.  Love the lips!

I haven’t done this one yet, but I certainly plan to.  It looks like snow much fun!

Here’s a cute activity for descriptive writing.  Create a snowman, and describe the snowman so that others can find the one that is yours. Very cute for a Winter Writing board!

I saw this one this past spring and instantly fell in love.  This one is from Krista Wallden at the Creative Chalkboard.  She uses this activity as an incentive for kids to “expand” their writing.   Krista bought one of those tiny little critters that grow when you add water.  The more descriptive detail the kids include in their writing the more water they get in their cup. The kids get to pour the water they earned into the critter container and watch the critter grow.  I can’t wait to try this!!

Here’s another pin that I plan to use next year.  It comes from Ms. Fultz’s corner and includes a FREEBIE.  I’ll be using this set to help my class write autobiographies.

Have you heard of Boom Writer Kids?  It’s a web site that allows kids to collaborate together to write and publish small chapter books.  They even have an online summer camp.  I signed my daughter up for a session that starts next week.  Bestselling author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, will be a part of it.  My daughter is uber excited!!

I hope you have gotten some pinspiration from this post.  If you haven’t entered my Summer Giveaway for a Mastercard Gift Card, be sure to check it out.

Have a great weekend!

Summer Giveaway!

I appreciate everyone who took the time to comment and vote in my Tervis tumber poll.  As you can see, it was close. 

I have ordered my new tumbler and even got free shipping with the promo code: PREVIEW!

I thought it would be fun to host a giveaway where you could win the chance to customize your own Tervis but Tervis doesn’t have gift certificates.  So, I had to go to plan B – a Mastercard gift card! 

With the Mastercard gift card you could get something from Tervis.

Or, something from Erin Condren.

Or anything your heart desires.

The giveaway ends on July 22 and I’ll announce the winner on the 23rd.  Good luck everyone! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Customize Your Own Tervis Tumbler

Happy Monday everyone!  I’m back with more monster ideas for Monday Made It!  Actually, I’m cheating.  I’m not actually making this one – I’m letting the professionals handle that.  I’m just designing.

Let me back up a little.  I recently discovered that I drink more water if I use my Tervis tumbler.  Not only does it keep my water cold all day but having a straw helps.  I don’t know why, but it does. 

I might be pushing this classroom theme a bit far, but I decided I needed a Tervis tumbler with monsters on it.  I know there are people who can add vinyl designs to the outside but then the tumbler needs to be hand washed.  That’s not my style.  I did some searching on the Tervis website and discovered I could create my own design.  The design is put between the two layers of the cup which is crucial for me.  I don’t hand wash anything.  I created several designs and now I can’t decide which one to order.  Please help!!  I have it narrowed down to these two:


Is choice 2 too busy?  Is choice 1 too plain?  Please help me decide!  BTW, the graphics for these cutie monsters comes from Prettygrafik Designs.

Which Tervis tumbler should I buy?

If you want to try your hand at customizing your own Tervis tumbler, go to  It’s super easy.  Here’s a glimpse at the customizer.

I missed my 1 year blogiversary but I’ve been thinking about having a late giveaway.  If I can work out the details, I think it would be fun to give someone the chance to customize their own Tervis tumbler.  Whatchya think?  Do you want to give it a try?  Would you customize a tumbler with your…

class theme?
class colors? 
school mascot?
dog’s picture? 
grandmother’s picture?
The possibilities are limitless.


Saturday Snapshots from Math Conference

Hey everyone!  I just got back from a road trip to San Antonio where I attended a math conference.  I had a blast as usual and learned tons!!  I’m linking up with Miss Nelson at Run! Miss Nelson’s Got the Camera! for the first time ever.  Today I’m sharing some random pictures but I plan to share some of the really cool things I learned in the next few days after I’ve caught up on some sleep. 

The Alamo

The Riverwalk

I met Stuart Murphy, author of the Math Starts series.  He was nice enough to autograph a couple of books for me.

I got some great ideas from visiting Dinah Zike’s booth.  She is an amazing woman with some very creative ideas.  Here are a few:
Fraction Quilt

Addition Flap Book

Envelope Book

This book has 3 pockets for storing goodies.

More Cool Stuff from Dinah Zike

If you ever have the chance to attend a conference with Dinah Zike, you MUST do it!  She is very inspiring and she is the queen of all things foldable.

Have a great weekend!  I hope to be back soon to share what I learned at the conference.