Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21st - Monday Made It

I finally found time to get creative this week and make a few things for my classroom, so I am linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.  I love spending my Mondays (and sometimes Tuesdays) looking through all the great ideas that are posted. 

On Friday, I mentioned that I made a new Super Hero Themed Super Improver Wall.  This is what it will look like all put together:

I know that my students will love earning stars on their shields for making growth in behavior and academic areas.  I plan to make a big deal about earning the next color shield. If you would like to use this in your classroom, it is free in my TPT store. Just click on the picture.
After reading about Reagan’s Rise and Shine Binders, I knew I needed something similar that would work for 2nd and 3rd graders.  I am one of the few teachers at my school that allows students to come in the classroom before the morning bell.  However, after teaching in Louisiana for two years with the staggered arrivals of students, I feel that it creates a calmer start to our day and allows my early arrivals to get a head start on learning.  I created Morning Brain Boosters for my students.  I picked up a class set of plastic pocket folders with prongs from Target at 50 cents each.  I also purchased a class set of pencil pouches, but you could also use plastic zipper baggies.  Then I put 4 page protectors in each one.  I decided to focus on math skills since I teach math first, but I can change up the pages whenever I feel like it.  I printed the math pages on cardstock and slipped them in the page protectors.  In the pencil pouch, I put a dry erase marker, foam die, and a square of microfiber cloth to erase. I bought the microfiber cloths at Dollar Tree (it only took 2 to make enough squares for all of my students…much cheaper than the socks I used last year.  Plus they match the color scheme of my classroom perfectly! (It's the little things that make me happy.)

I love using the foam cubes from the Dollar Tree for dice because I can differentiate the numbers for different students (Bonus: They are quiet!).  Some students may need to work on smaller numbers while others need larger numbers. 
The math pages also allow me to differentiate for different students:
Number of the Day: I have options for 2-digit and 3-digit numbers.  I printed these back-to-back, so that I can flip the page when I feel that a student is ready for 3-digit numbers. 
Word Problem of the Day: I plan to project a word problem on the board each morning along with the number of the day, but I could also differentiate this step for certain students. 
Roll & Add/Pick a Card & Add: My students feel that anytime they use dice, it is a game.  These activities will be a great review of addition facts.  I also made a pick a card version in case anyone wants to use playing cards instead of dice. 
Roll/Pick a Card & Multiply: These will be used as a challenge for some of my students towards the end of second grade, but would be great for 3rd or 4th graders all year. 
Fill-In Addition Table: This is another fun way to practice math facts.  My students will be able to use one of our classroom timers to time how long it takes to complete the addition table. Then they can try and beat their previous time. 
Fill-In Multiplication Table: This is the same activity, but to work on multiplication fact fluency.
I plan to have my students complete the Number of the Day or Word Problem of the Day page first on alternating days.  Then they can complete any page they choose.  After debriefing the pages, the students will be able to erase and the folder will be ready for the next day....No copies to be made each day or week. I can also see these folders becoming a part of guided math workshop because it will be a collection of activities that my students can complete independently. 


  1. Fabulous set-up! If I still had a regular classroom I would definitely use this! I love that you can differentiate for students. Thanks for sharing!
    Teachers Are Terrific!

  2. Ooo, lots of good ideas here, Lauren! Great differentiation.
    Kidpeople Classroom

  3. I allow my kids to come in the classroom too. It just makes life so much easier and keeps everything calm. Love the idea of the Brain Booster binder!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. Thank you Alison! The other teachers think I'm crazy for giving up my morning, but it is so worth it.

  4. I love your super improver wall. WHOLE BRAIN teaching works.

    1. Thank you! I love to hear success stories of Whole Brain Teaching.

  5. Wow I love how many different ways you can differentiate your brain booster binder! And I saw those microfiber clothes at dollar tree and never thought about cutting themy up for student erasers! Great idea!!!

    1. Thank you Cole! I try to differentiate in ways that students don't realize the different levels. I hope the cloths work all year with a washing or two. If not, they were only $1.




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