### The Length of a School Year

The past few years I've done a fun math activity at the end of the year that gets my students thinking about how they spent their school year.

Students enjoy this activity because they are often AMAZED by the answers they find.  For example, one of the problems they solved has them realizing they get 9400 minutes of recess time each school year!!!  Sometimes they are amused by the answers as one of the problems I had them solve asked about the amount of toilet paper they used in a school year (forgive me, but these are the questions that actually get my boys begging to solve the problem - you've got to do what works, right?).

I like to post these end products on a bulletin board in the lunch area (which conveniently happens to be just outside my classroom) because all the students in the school enjoy reading these fun trivia facts about their school year.

I've liked this activity so much I wanted to make a back-to-school version (The Length of a Summer) that I could use during the first days of school.  It would be a great diagnostic for me to assess my students' problem-solving skills, as well as their knowledge about different math concepts.  It also gets the students working cooperatively, as I have them work in pairs to solve one of the problems.  So, this weekend I took a break from working on my Interactive Math Journal resource (it's coming along well - I promise), and created the two activities below  (the products contain both American and Canadian versions as some of the questions cover measurement concepts).

The Length of a Summer - This real-life math application is a great back-to-school activity that gets your students thinking about how they spent their summer.  It makes a great diagnostic activity to assess your students' problem-solving skills.  The product contains 27 different word problems (in both American and Canadian versions) that span the concepts of time, measurement, money, multiplication, division, fractions, and more.  The resource also contains a problem-solving graphic organizer, calendars, and a way to display the work to make a fabulous bulletin board.

The Length of a School Year - This real-life math application is a great end-of-the-year activity that gets your students thinking about how they spent their school year.  The product contains 26 different word problems (in both American and Canadian version) that span the concepts of time, measurement, multiplication, division, fractions, and more.  The resource also contains a problem-solving graphic organizer, calendars, and a way to display the work to make a fabulous bulletin board.

As a special treat for my blog followers, I uploaded a page from The Length of a Summer to google docs for you to try in your classroom.  I included both the American and Canadian version of the page, so everyone can give it a try.  Click HERE to download your little fun freebie.  I hope you enjoy!!!

Happy Monday!!!

### Everyone LOVES a Dollar Days Sale!!!

OK - before I get into all the money-saving details, I wanted to brag a wee bit ... how do you like my new blog design?  I am in love with it.  Seriously.  There are a just a few little things to finish up, but stay tuned for my "Grand Re-Design" celebration coming up next week.

Now ... on with the sale!!!  The Lesson Cloud is hosting a Dollar Days Sale just in time for some back-to-school shopping.  From Sunday, July 29th - Monday, July 30th, you can find HUNDREDS of \$1 and \$2 bargains from your favorite TpT sellers!  There are items from K-12, so no one is left out.  Click here to head over to The Lesson Cloud for links to all the sale items.  Happy shopping and don't forget to leave feedback for the products you buy to earn your TpT credits!

The products I have up for sale are below.  Click on any of the titles to view the product.  Be sure to click on the image above to see ALL the products on sale.

Happy Sunday ... and Happy Shopping!!!

### End of the Year Poetry and Art Books

Okay - so I'm a little late in posting this ... I guess I've been enjoying the start of summer too much.  ;)

Those of you who follow regularly know how much I love doing art projects with my students.  If you click on the "Friday Art Feature" button on the right column, you can see all the fabulous art we have completed this year.  We've completed all our art on 8.5 x 11 pieces of paper this year, with one goal in mind - compiling them into a fabulous art book at the end of the year.

Do you remember these crate stools I made last summer for my classroom?  I bought the crates at Staples, and legal-size hanging files fit perfectly in them.  I use one to store some phys ed supplies, but the other two are full of student files - one for their portfolios, and one for their art projects.  By the end of the year, we had quite an impressive collection in our art folders!  But that wasn't all - because we had "published" all of our poetry in such a visual way, they became art pieces, as well.

During the last two days of school, students organized their art and poetry pieces together to make their very own books.  Each book had between 20 and 30 pages.  I had the students create their own covers for the book (we used cardstock so they would have a little more strength).  They were free to create anything on the covers of their books.  We laminated the covers, and all the art pieces had already been laminated over the year.  I pulled out my binding machine ... and voila - an impressive book the students could be proud of, and the parents would appreciate so much more than a bag full of papers and supplies brought home at the end of the year.

We tried to arrange the poetry and art in a way that "fit" for the books.  For example, our "If I Was In Charge of the World" poems went with our "Recycled Earth" pictures.

I really liked how some of our art and poetry just naturally fit together - I think I'm going to do a lot more of that next year.  Perhaps, each time we finish an art project, we'll do a poem to fit the theme of the art.

Happy Tuesday!!!

### Drama Circles Guest Post

I'm SO excited to be doing a guest blog post on Laura Candler's Corkboard Connections today.  Laura is a fantastic teacher and author, and is the owner of the Teaching Resources site - a virtual treasure chest for teachers in grades 3-6.  Laura was the very first teacher site I followed on facebook, and I have learned so much from her over the years.

For my guest post, I wrote about my drama circles - go on over and check it out.  For a special treat, I've created a brand new Fairy Tale Drama Circle freebie just for this post - be sure to download it after your visit.  I hope you enjoy!!!  Click on the picture to the right to read all about it!

While you're visiting Corkboard Connections, be sure to check out Laura's Graphic Organizers for Reading and Power Reading Workshop books.  I have both of these resources and love what they have added to my literacy blocks.

Thanks for the opportunity, Laura!

### Character ROCKS!

Do you remember my Character ROCKS! posts from last year?  If not, you can read about them HERE and HERE.

I wrote about this quick and easy character recognition program on my post for Classroom DIY today.

On the post on Classroom DIY, I explain my system and I included a link for a file that contains the character cards and everything I used for the bulletin board display.  Drop by Classroom DIY to pick up your own package, and remind your students that good character ROCKS!!!

Happy Sunday!!!

### Enjoying the Holidays ...

I've been off for a week ... and it feels GREAT!!!  Haven't posted in a bit, but I've been busy with the family - and I wouldn't trade those moments for anything!

We spent a bit of time at the cottage over the Canada Day weekend.  Here's a pic of my girls on Canada Day - for some reason, they always agree to dress alike on Canada Day.  They're 4, 6, and 8 right now - gotta dress them up while I can ... for some reason I can't see them agreeing to this in 10 years when they're 14, 16, and 18.  ;)

We've also been keeping busy with soccer.  My husband and I are coaching my oldest daughter's soccer team this year - we had 3 games last week (won all 3!!!) and have a tournament coming up this weekend.

I hope you've been joining us for our Daily 5 / CAFE book study over at We Read, We Blog, We Teach.  We have two chapters posted so far, and in addition to the fantastic posts, the amount of ideas and suggestions in the comments section is mind-blowing!!!  I've had to start a notebook to record some of these fantastic ideas.  I can't wait to start planning on what this is all going to look like in my classroom.

And if one book study wasn't enough, I jumped into another.  My good friend, Kim, has the most amazing posts about the Guided Math book over at Finding Joy in Sixth Grade.  You can read more about the book study and organization at her link.  All I can say for now is ... guess what book I got in the mail yesterday???

I've also been hard at work on my Interactive Math Journal resource.  I'm also done all of the introduction and assessment stuff, and am just about to start on the entries and templates.  It's keeping me quite busy.  For a little break, I decided to work on a Parts of Speech product using my Crystal Ball Template.  I just posted it last night.  This is a SMARTboard file with 20 multiple choice questions for the 8 parts of speech - when an answer is pressed, the page links to a page where it is "magically" revealed on the crystal ball whether the answer is correct or incorrect.  You can take a peek and download the preview by clicking on the picture below.

Well, that's about it ... just a quick update for now.  I still plan on doing my FAQ post for my math journals ... just let me get through the soccer tournament this weekend.  Whew!!!  I'm going to need a holiday from my holidays!!!