Thursday, February 9, 2017

Seeing Symmetry with Mirrors

Symmetry can be a difficult and abstract concept for some kids, especially in the upper grades when questions get more complex as well as the shapes they are analyzing. I've found that the easiest way to help students "see" symmetry is by using a mirror. Of course, cutting out shapes and folding and manipulating them is always the first step in the process. But, what happens when the shape or picture can't be cut out and the student still hasn't mastered the concept? This is where the handy-dandy mirror comes in!

I stumbled upon a class set of mirrors a few years back in our science supplies and they have been a life saver during my fourth grade symmetry unit each year. So much so that my students ask for the mirror at the beginning of the lesson and even keep one in their pencil boxes to use throughout the unit. Here is an example of how it works:

Let the students know that in order for the shape or picture to have symmetry, what you see in the mirror should be the exact same as what is on the paper. (*Note- I always reference this first because I've come across a lot of students who have the misconception that if what they see in the mirror is the same as that half of the picture on the paper, it has symmetry. If that were the case, everything they placed the mirror down on would have symmetry!)

I usually start with having them place the mirror horizontally and vertically down on the shape. If it has symmetry, they use the edge of the mirror to trace that line (using it as a ruler). After they have tried horizontal and vertical, we discuss the fact that objects can also have diagonal lines of symmetry as well. Sometimes they tend to skip over this! When they have found all of their lines of symmetry, they are done! It's so simple and it seems like common sense yet many teachers don't use this tool. After using the mirrors for a few days/weeks/lesson most students don't need them any longer because they can finally "see" the symmetry!

I've created some task cards that work great with this skill. You can find them in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. They've really helped my fourth graders to master this sometimes difficult skill. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Math and Me Posters: Getting to know your students through math!!

It's that time of year for us teachers, students and parents... BACK TO SCHOOL!! I've actually been in school for about four weeks now (perks of teaching at a year round charter school) but for most of us in the south, the 2016/2017 school year has officially commenced! 

My favorite part about the first weeks of school was all of the getting to know you activities and community builders I was able to do with my class. After changing roles, those activities had to be adapted to meet the needs of my schedule and groups. And so, "Math and Me" was born. I had seen different versions and adaptations of this throughout the years but nothing was exactly what I was looking for so I just decided to create my own! 

My students completed these the first few sessions they came to me and I created one of my own along side them. Theirs found a place on my bulletin board for the first month of school and now they have become the first page in their math interactive notebooks. I love this activity because it not only helps me learn about my students but it incorporates math! Also, depending on the ability level of your students, they can get as creative as they would like with the numbers. For example, they can create an expression, write the number in expanded form, word form, make a number sentence, etc. 

You can download this activity for FREE in my tpt store! Happy Teaching!!!!


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Nursery Decor: Custom Order Fun!

I love it when people contact me to do custom orders for them. Mainly because they are usually so creative and different from anything I would have originally made and it gives me a chance to do something outside my norm. Sometimes I have seen the piece(s) they want on etsy or pinterest or instagram and I just scrolled by thinking, "that's so cute," or, "if I had some extra time I would totally make that." This was the case in my latest order. My old neighbor's daughter contacted me through etsy because I had made a few things for her in the past. She attached some pictures of what she was looking for and I was thrilled to get started! The best part about this project was that she allowed me to add and change things around and trusted my vision. 

The first piece was for her daughter's baby shower. They were going with the whole "baby woodland forest animals" theme and she loved this welcome sign she saw on pinterest. I changed up a few things and love the end result (she did as well)!
 My version 
 Next, I moved on to the signs she wanted for the nursery. These were probably some of my favorite pieces I have ever made. I just love the way the white pops with the dark walnut stain on the pallet wood and the plywood that I used for the quote signs.

My creations

Overall I am extremely happy with how everything turned out- which is rare for me. I typically find things that I don't like or wish I would have changed or done differently. I can't wait to receive the pictures of the signs hung up in the nursery. I'll be sure to share when they come in! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Our Very Own DIY Curb Appeal Project

It's been almost an entire year since James and I moved into our house. We've been updating this, painting that, repairing things, etc. The joys of home ownership. One of the things that kept bugging both him and I was the lack of curb-appeal. The contractors that remodeled our house and the neighbors seemed to run out of creativity and steam by the time they got to ours. Our front porch was no more than an unstained platform with some railings slapped on to it. They did no landscaping but they did paint the door a bright lime green for that pop of contemporary color!

 The back porch is much larger and painted/stained so I made the trip to Lowes and had them match the stain. Our first thought was to see what adding paint would do and how much it would help. It did, a little, but it wasn't enough.

Luckily I have a handy-man husband who decided to take on the project of adding on to the porch. I came home one weekend and viola! The porch was larger! Of course, I had to paint it because that is one thing that my husband refuses to do! Once we added on to the deck we decided to get started on some landscaping. I don't have the greenest thumb and one thing I hate doing is getting on my hands and knees and weeding out flower beds. I did that as a child and I knew I didn't want to as an adult. Since James makes beautiful planter boxes, we decided to add some to our home. We covered the surrounding area with white rocks first and then inserted James' planter boxes.

Next came the fun part- for me at least- choosing the flowers. I did some research and talked to co-workers and friends about which plants would be easiest and best for the Texas heat (and for my laziness). I wanted color in the planter boxes and then some flowering bushes in front of the porch to eventually grow up to the height of the deck. James bought a flowering tree to place on the porch. Overall, I'm very happy with how everything came together. Now I just need to make sure I keep them all alive :) 

Even with all of these updates and improvements James and I both knew we needed something more. Eventually we want to add a roof and cover the front porch but that's a larger project than we want to dive into right now. So, I thought about shutters. James agreed and my research began. I found a great video tutorial through a trusty pinterest blog and after watching it- we made the trip to Lowes for lumber and paint. We followed the directions to a T (other than the measurements since our windows were 84" versus 60"). They were super quick and easy to make and I think they fit perfectly with our home. 

Even though we have more work to do, we are happy with the transformation and what we have right now!!!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Check out my teachers pay teachers store. I'm having a sale, Tuesday May 3rd and Wednesday May 4th!!
 Teacher Appreciation Sale