Teaching in High Heels

Saturday, March 31, 2012

One Day Sale!

Just because it's a gorgeous day out...and I absolutely ADORE Saturdays...here is a 'lil sale for all of you lovely readers. 
I hope y'all take advantage and stop by my little store. Here's a glimpse at what you'll find there...
And everything is a $1...but just until midnight...so I hope you take advantage and shop 'till you drop!

Friday, March 30, 2012

PTL it's Friday and a New Unit

Hey y'all!
 In the words of my friend Abby, PTL it's Friday! 
Have y'all had a week that just goes on and on and on...you know what I mean, right? The never ending week?! Please say yes...and if you haven't had one yet just humor me and lie to me a bit. This was the never ending week for me...I blame our state assessment..you know which one..the twinkly one..the bane of my existence..don't let the name deceive you..STAAR. Yea..fun times with 5th graders. Glad round one is over and done with. 
Oral administrations=no fun!
So you see why I'm beyond excited it's Friday?! Yea, planning for 3 days while I go administer a test..is just not what I call thrilling. 

Anywho...enough of the pity party. I'm here to tell you about my new little math unit..Spring into Math Centers..it is full of fun and engaging math activities for your kiddidles..5 math centers perfect for math stations or tubs, each with a recording sheet. I hope you take a looksie...
As always the first two people to comment will receive this mini-unit for free! Just make sure to leave your email address..so that I can send you your goodies. :)

I will also be having a HUGE sale tomorrow on all items at my TpT store..come back tomorrow for more details..it'll be worth it..I promise. ;)

Oh..one last thing..don't forget to enter the Vocabulary SpellingCity Giveaway..the prize is a 1 year Premium Membership..amazing! Click here to enter..the giveaway ends tonight at midnight. 

I'll leave you with this picture of my little..silly girl..just pretend you don't see the mismatched hair thingies..yea I'm that mom..priorities people..that..and I was trying to avoid a hair meltdown. 
She still looks adorable, don't 'ya think?!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guest Blogger...Misty

Today, Misty from Think, Wonder, & Teach has put on a pair of high heels and danced her way over to Gladys' blog to fill in as the guest blogger.
I am so excited to be here with all of you and I am hoping Gladys is having fun while she is away.
I was a project manager for many years prior to becoming a teacher. My office was considered a place of organized chaos... it was loud, fun, and you rarely saw people sitting. Even during a "meeting" I had people running and working. My classroom still reflects this style. Each person is a unique individual with their own personalities and way of doing things. We may have the same goals - to complete the project or master the standard but we can each take a different journey to get there.
When you walk into my classroom you will see children scattered everywhere, if you look real hard you may find me somewhere in their directing traffic. Individualized or differentiated instruction has become a concept that many teachers want to implement but don't quite now how. For me, I let my students tell me what they need.
Yes, I put my students in charge of meeting the standards. I am the director of this orchestra, they make the music. I use several things to help me direct my students. The Zebra Club is all about mastering concepts taught in Grades K-8. Students do this on their time to earn prizes. Brainy Matters replaced student planners which allow my students to summarize each lesson they are taught. It doubles as a great journal of growth at the end of the year.
I brought emoticons into my classroom. These faces show up on assignments and in Brainy Matters. On tests and on notes I find in my mailbox. A simple smiley conveys a world of information to me. A student can tell me if he/she is at the bored, just right, or your insane! level. With this information, I can create an appointment where we can work together in the midst of chaos to meet their needs. Students can also ask to work on something they are interested in or schedule an appointment with me to discuss any needs they have.
So... what are all these kids doing running around my room while I am directing? It's quite simple... they are learning on their terms!
My bff visited my classroom the other day and said "I didn't know you are using Daily 5." My response was "I'm not, its on my list to read." After a quick explanation, my class runs similar.
We have short meetings where I provide my students with minilessons on a topic. Then I provide them a wide host of options to re-enforce the concept (games (individual, with a partner, or a group), worksheets, crafts, legos, etc..). My students then choose one or more ways they want to learn and off they go. Those who need more explanation can join me at the board or perhaps the small group table and we will talk about it some more.
Oh how I wish I had a video or some pictures to share with you! Alas... I can only paint a picture with my words.
My kiddos are currently working on time. So I scoured the internet and pinterest for ideas. Teacher Tipster has so many great ideas that I use in my room. One of them is "I Spy Time."
Using his video for inspiration, I created "I Spy Time and Other Time Games." It is a packet of activities that I have been using. The I Spy Time game is included as is a matching game, go fish, and memory. Students can work together or alone. It's their choice! In this packet, I have created cards for the hour, half-hour, and fifteen minute increments. With this one packet, I have countless versions of these same four games to share with all my little friends.
To celebrate blogging in high heels, "I Spy Time and Other Time Games" is available for free!  With the help of a few friends, there are a few other surprises waiting for you as well. Remember, these are available for today, March 27 only. So hurry on over to Think, Wonder, & Teach to get your prizes!

Thanks for being a guest blogger, Misty! 


Monday, March 26, 2012

Guest Blogger...Kelli

Happy Monday! It's Kelli from Castles and Crayons!
Castles and Crayons
I am SO thrilled to be a guest blogger for Gladys today! I hope I can fill in the pinky toe of her fabulous high heels! :)
ONE of my favorite things about first grade {I have about 5, 273 things!} is teaching comprehension. As a former Kinder teacher, I LOVE that we can dig a little deeper in first!
We focus on a comprehension strategy each month. Here is our map for this year:
August ~ Daily Five launch
September ~ Characters
October ~ Main Idea and Details
November ~ Making Connections
December ~ Making Predictions
January ~ Making Inferences
February ~ Asking Questions
March ~ Retelling
April ~ Summarizing
May ~ Visualizing
This month is all about retelling! One of my very favorite ways to teach retelling is with the Retelling Rope. One of the reading coaches in our district shared this idea with us and I knew you would love it too!
After reading a fiction text, I have one of my students hold the Retelling Rope in front of the class. We touch each part of the rope as we retell and discuss each element of the story.
All you need is ribbon, the wooden shapes {I got mine from Hobby Lobby}, a few beads or pom poms, and a hot glue gun. If you don't have a craft store near you, I included some pictures that you could print, laminate, and glue to a ribbon. I made four Retelling Ropes {for my first grade team} for a total cost of $10. It is simple, adorable, and EFFECTIVE! What's not to love??!!?? :)
Click {HERE} to download the directions to make your very own Retelling Rope!

I would love for you to stop by Castles and Crayons! I have a SLIGHT obsession with The Daily Five, Word Work, There Was an Old Lady books, and the color pink! Hope to see you soon! :)

Thanks Kelli...your retelling rope..is presh! Thank you for sharing!

P.S. I'm having a Spring Sale over at my TpT store all my items are marked down to $2...hope you come and shop 'till you drop! ;) Sale will end on Tuesday at midnight. Toodles!

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Vocabulary SpellingCity Giveaway!

I am pretty sure that most of you have heard of Vocabulary SpellingCity...if you haven't...you should definitely check it out...this website is AWESOME! It is full of fun games to practice your vocabulary and spelling lists...very interactive and totally differentiated. You can use it as part of your computer center, or if you have a Promethean board have the class play one of their many instructional games...the games are compatible with interactive white boards. 
I've only had the free membership...and it's been very fun...but when SpellingCity contacted me about reviewing their site with a Premium Membership..I jumped at the opportunity! And omygosh...there are lots of differences between the two...here are just a few of the perks you get with a Premium Membership...take a look. 
Aren't these features FAB?!?
So I have been using this site with my students and I.AM.IN.LOVE! 
My students have been playing the interactive games and I've been using the customizable flashcards. I've given my students each a login that keeps tracks of their progress on their spelling tests...and it's been very helpful...but my favorite feature is that I can differentiate the instruction by uploading different spelling lists for different students...no longer do I spend tons of time making differentiated spelling activities..because I know that my students' needs are being met through SpellingCity! 

I also love the Teaching Resources that they have...tons of vocabulary lists, dolch lists, compound words...and many, many more things...all at your finger tips and ready to use! 

One more thing I want to mention is that Vocabulary SpellingCity is not just for teachers in the classroom...if you are a parent that is homeschooling your child...SpellingCity is perfect for you too! 

Here is the exciting news...SpellingCity is going to giveaway 1 free one year Premium  Membership to a very  lucky winner! 
Here is what you have to do to enter:
1. Follow my TpT store and blog. 
2. Follow SpellingCity on Twitter.
3. Like SpellingCity on Facebook.
4. Add SpellingCity to your circle on Google+

That's it...easy peasy lemon squeezy and 4 chances to win! 
I will choose a winner on Friday, March 30th...at midnight...Texas time. 
Good luck, friends! 

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Guest Blogger...Teri

Hi everyone!  It's Teri from

A Cupcake for the Teacher
I'm so excited to be guest blogging here today :)
{Thank you, Gladys!!  Love ya, girl!!!}

Let's get started!

I buy bins, baskets, and trays like there's no tomorrow.
My husband Some might say I'm obsessed.
I'm always in search of the perfect storage solution!
Here's a little look :)

I have a tray for each subject:
Plus the fun extras like holiday coloring, etc.
I copy my master copies at the beginning of the week, paper clip them,
and drop them in the appropriate tray.
See how I organize master copies of my theme papers here.

I also use these trays to make things easier for my classroom aide.
She puts HW, notices, etc. into my kiddos' take-home folders each day.
We use a BEE Book with two sides: "Left at Home" and "Right Back to School."
I put papers in the appropriate bins so my aide knows where to put them :)
There are also baskets for their BEE Books and their Spelling HW books.
The kids drop them off each morning so my aide can go through them.
They pick them up at the end of the day in their cubbies.

 I use mini baskets for pencils:
Read a little about my pencil policy here.

All of my math manipulatives can be found in baskets and bins as well:

Even our dust pans have a home in bins:

I also have bins for all of my supplies {glue, index cards, glitter, etc.}
but I forgot to take a picture.  Oops!

So as you can see, I have a slight obsession :)
I hope my addiction can help you organize and do some
"spring cleaning" in your own classroom!
Thanks for sticking around!!

Please visit/follow me!
my blog

And be sure to check out my fun Spring activities on TpT!!

Thanks for your post, Teri! We all need an organization fairy! ;)

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guest Blogger...Kim

Hey there!
I am so excited to be guest blogging for Gladys today!
 I am Kim from

I want to share one of my math groups favorite activities. 

Steal the Crown

What You'll Need:  
100 Bead Rack or 100 Bead String
Steal the Crown cards available at this link:

I CAN statement:
I can add or subtract a single digit number or 10 from a number in the range 1 to 100 with support of a bead rack or bead string.

1. Deal each player 4 cards and put the remaining cards face down on the table.

2. The youngest player goes first and begins by putting a card face up on the table.

3. The next player will put a card on top of that card and will announce the total. (This stack will be called

the Treasury). Each time a numeral card is played, the Treasury is adjusted according to the card

played. The Treasury total may be shown on a 100 board, bead rack or bead string or with sticks and

4. All players will draw a card after his or her turn.

5. In order to steal the crown, do one of the following:

a. Play a specialty card that allows you to steal the crown

b. Play a card that makes the treasury equal a multiple of 10.

6. When the Treasury equals or exceeds 100, the last card is drawn or the teacher calls the end of time,the player who has the crown wins.

I hope you enjoy!! :)

Thanks for being a guest blogger, Kim! 
Love the game you shared with us!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guest Blogger...Jen

Hi there!! I'm Jen R., from
I'm so excited to be a guest blogger over here for Gladys!! I just LOVE her blog!!!

Today I wanted to share with you how I set up my literacy centers.

My students do 5 centers a week; one each day...
Yes, there are 6 tubs here, because at one point they did 6 - Tues - Thursday, 2 each day. But because of schedules this year, one each day works better.

I use these tubs - they work PHENOMENALLY!!
My labels on the front are interchangeable - I have Velcro on them to change them out to match the "subject."

I used to use this..
but now being in a grade where a lot of the centers can be cumbersome, it wasn't working as well for me - but I used it for YEARS in 3rd grade.

This is where my students pick their centers. The labels on here match the labels on the tubs. Each student takes his/her clip and puts it on the center they want for the day....do you see the holes??? That's my way of making sure that no more than 4 are at each center. (there are two sides of holes for when we did two centers a day, but they only use one side now). If all 4 holes are plugged up with the clothespin, then they can't choose that center. 
And this is how I "grade" their centers. They get this menu to keep in their folder. They write the digital date in the box that they chose for that day. After centers are over, they go back to their desk with their center and menu ready for me to see. If their work is complete and acceptable, I will sign where it says "T.S." (teacher signature). If not, then I circle that box so they know they have to fix something before all centers are turned in on Friday.
My menus change weekly to match the centers I make for that week, and I usually have the clip art match the theme :) This week, we're doing my Bear Snores On/ Hibernation unit.
I can't upload it to share with you because Docs doesn't let me upload publisher - and plus I can't give you that clip art - ha!
BUT, if you would like a template of this menu, please feel free to email me at 
jenross1018 at yahoo dot com
and I will get one to you!

Thanks for letting me come over and spend some time with you!! Hope to see you over at my blog :)

Thanks Jen! Loved your center management system!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guest Blogger..Ms. Thomas

Hey everyone!
This is Ms. Thomas coming to ya from The First Grade Jungle!! I am so excited to be guest blogging for the lovely Gladys!

I have been thinking about posting about this certain topic for a while now, and figured why not send it this way!
So I know most of y'all have read Math Workstations by the fabulous Debbie Diller. (She is my idol) I started really using them this year! I love them, and really we call them math tubs in my class. After we finish calendar math, they can head to their first math tub. This is what my chart looks like:

It actually is a Debbie Diller product. Check out reallygoodstuff.com
The students are in pairs, and then the numbers tell them which basket to get.
Each basket has a number, and specific activity or game inside. I change these up frequently. I usually will have at least five baskets with a game centered around the specific skill we are going over. I keep the others with a review skill in them. Right now we have: addition, fact families, and odd & even numbers. Just to keep my babies on their toes!
Once they pick up their basket, they go find that assigned number on the floor. I wrote out the numbers on name tags and just stuck them on the floor. This was a management thing to make sure they would not sit too close to another group.

Money center

Fact family review
I use mostly games or activities I find on TPT or ones I make myself. I also have a few file folder games I bought a couple years ago at a school store. 

Now what am I doing during all this? I am meeting with a group! I found it was too crazy for me to get all separated into groups since kids move so quickly in and out of levels in math. I decided instead that I would meet with one partner pair and then we would do their assigned math tub at that time. It works! It allows me time to make sure they know how to perform the math tub activity, and to check for understanding. If we finish early then I can take this time to build on the skill and push them farther, or review. 
This is my math group binder!
This is my schedule for what partner pairs to meet with.
I use these cards to make anecdotal notes for my students. I can then look at these later to see which ones are doing well and who needs an extra push.
Above is an example of a group that met with me and we finished early. I gave them clocks and then practiced putting time on an analog clock from a digital clock. {They love getting to write on the table! Dry erase marker!}

So this is how my math tub and small group time all goes down! I hope this helps organize that math time! I know for most of us reading is easy, but math makes us scratch our heads for the best way to get that small group time!

I enjoyed blogging over here today!  Come and check me out!
-Ms. Thomas :)

Thanks, Ms. Thomas...I love your math time!
Thank you for the great ideas!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Guest Blogger..Courtney J.

Hey guys! I'm Courtney from

First off I'm so excited to be able to blog here at Teaching In High Heels and I hope you find this tid bit of information somewhat beneficial. In my building we don't have school on Mondays so today I'm relaxing at a farm in rural Missouri over looking the North River (jealous yet??) Anywho with all this extra time on my hands (yea right) I've been on a freebie search. I'm out of class money by now so my TPT purchases on my class budget really has come to a sudden HALT. So I'd thought I'd share some tips and freebies I have came across throughout the pass couple weeks to use at a couple different grade levels! I guess you could look at this as "teaching fractions on a small budget"--Hope you all enjoy!

We started the topic of fractions by introducing basic vocbualary and talking about how the numerator started with an N as in NORTH so a numerator is always above the line just like North is up on a map.(hopefully that makes sense to everyone). For the denominator we said since it starts with a D just like DOWN, the denominator is always "DOWN" underneath the fraction line.
Our students seemed to really catch onto that.
Here is a super short video that reinforces the concept of fractions

My FAVORITE activity we did so far was this so so cute Lucky Fraction worksheet found here! My kids LOVED doing this. It simply requires a box of Lucky Charms and some basic knowledge of fractions. I only had 3/19 (haha) students struggle while doing this worksheet. Which I thought was pretty darn good.
Next on my poor teacher fraction search I turned to Pinterest. Almost a duh right? I can't express how amazing the math resources are on there. I've found some GREAT resources for fractions. If you don't already follow this math board I highly suggest you do so now..and her other teaching boards as well.
With that in mind here are a few activities we have planned this week-



Can't wait to make these fraction books!


This also comes with a great worksheet that we did on the smartboard as a class!

Freebie Here!
Darling yes??
Another approach on the name fraction idea

Both ideas VIA

Another fun activity that is perhaps a teeny bit more advanced


An awesome easy to use math center

Another approach on the name fraction idea

Both ideas VIA

photo VIA

If you can get your fingers on the Fraction Foam Burgers I highly suggest it. Although I think they are impossible to find online my kids really enjoyed playing around with them. I'd ask around if you don't have access to them already. Some of the more experienced teachers might have them hiding on a shelf somewhere ;)
If you aren't as poor as me right now I'd check out this unit here. Be use to download the freebie though also!
I'll leave you with these two freebies I created for my classroom!

Apple Fractions

Click here to download

Pizza Creations

Click here to download

We used THIS as the pizza dough and printed it on tan paper!
Hope you all found something you can use to make your life a little easier while teaching fractions. Be sure to stop by Miss Third Grade for more ideas that you can use in your classroom!

Thanks Courtney! Great ideas and freebies!

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