Friday, July 24, 2015

Addition Detectives

Hi everyone!

I'm so excited to share with you one of my newest products that I've just released. Let me start with how I came up with idea. And I'll be honest -- it was not cute. No clipart. No real theme. Just pure content and high levels of thinking for the small group of kiddos I was working with. That's what's important anyway!

I came up with the idea when I was working with a small group of my first graders. It was the end of the year and I wanted to make sure we were using up every second we had with valuable instruction. And let's be real... At the end of the year, it better super engaging or these kids are not going to want to have anything to do with it. So I decided to turn everything into CHALLENGES. I chose activities where if they completed it correctly, they got to "level up" and move on to the next challenge.

And really... the activities were extensions of things we'd previously worked on in the year, but whatever. You tell the kids there are challenges and levels involved and they're on board.

So anyway, one day they had to use a given set of numbers to make addition sentences. For example, if I gave them the numbers 4, 7, and 3, they would make 4 + 3 = 7. For some kiddos, it was more difficult. I'd give them something like: 2, 2, 5, 9, 4 and they'd make 25 + 4 = 29.

But seriously. When I did it with them, I had index cards cut into small squares where I wrote numbers on them and addition, subtraction, and equal signs. Some kids were ready for more challenging problems, so I just kept cutting up more cards than I had planned on using! Let's be honest: Real Life Isn't Always Laminated! (click for the blog post from Blair Turner).

Now, when I did the activity with my small groups, it was a bit chaotic because I had squares of paper ALL OVER MY CARPET. So that's when my lightbulb went off -- JUST MAKE IT. AND GO ALL OUT WITH THE THEME AND THE KIDS WILL LOVE IT. So here you have...
 The idea is simple: students still use number cards to make addition sentences true. With the product, I made four different levels, so as they complete one level, they move up to a more difficult level. Each level begins with a mystery like the one below.
These little intros to the four mysteries just add an element of engagement. :) Once students complete the ten problems, they can read the card that tells how the mystery was solved. 
Students use fingerprint number cards to move around and make addition sentences true. The problems shown below are from level one (addition to 10). 

If students are struggling with a problem, they can pull out the TOP SECRET FILES (aka - CLUES for those friends that may need a bit of direction).

These clues will tell them where ONE of the numbers in the addition sentence is located. Included in the product is also a recording sheet for them to record the addition sentences they make. Once they complete a level, they can color in the thumbprint on their DETECTIVE ID card.

When they complete all four levels, you can reward with a CERTIFICATE!

Want to try this out with your students? You can head HERE to grab your copy!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I've Been Absent... I'm Sorry.

Friends, I've been MIA in the blogging world here recently. I know, I know, I rarely blog anyway (BUT I'M TRYING TO BE BETTER). So I figured I'd let you know what's going on over here at Simply Creative in Kentucky.

WHAT?! Yep, I crossed out "in Kentucky" and I'm still pretty sad about it. I'm now... Simply Creative not in Kentucky... because I moved to Indiana... yep. The hubby and I moved to Indiana at the end of June and life has been BUSY! Let me give you a little recap. :)
Enjoying a little Bible putt-putt (because that's a real thing in KY, no joke) before the big move!
For those of you who don't know, I actually grew up in Indiana, went to college in Kentucky, fell in love (with my hubby and my job), and we stayed for awhile. However, as the Lord would have it, we prayed and prayed and made the decision to move to Indiana after my husband got into law school! While leaving Kentucky and my school family was SOOOO difficult (just imagine puddles and puddles of tears -- not even kidding), I'm overjoyed to be back. We are living much closer to my family, so it's been wonderful to be able to spend more time together. When I told my dad back in the spring that we were moving back home he actually cried on the phone. He's precious and I love him.
One of first days exploring our new hometown!
I'm happy to say that after tons of applications, resume editing (over & over & over), emailing, phone calls, a Skype interview (YUCK - seriously, those are for the birds), a face-to-face interview, dealing with the Praxis people to transfer my scores (THEY ARE THE WORST. I MIGHT TELL YOU MORE LATER BUT TRUST ME ON THAT FOR NOW)... I'm employed as a SIXTH grade teacher! What the WHAT!?!
I may or may not be wearing my school shirt from my previous school on the day I took my hubby to see my new school! 
I've been busy transforming this space right here to make it work for the BIG kiddos. Here's a little peek into my room, but I'll show you more at another time!
Adding lots of color, getting organized, and making it functional for BIG kids!
Yes. I'm absolutely terrified. I'm used to the little people. The ones that come up to you and hug you for no reason. The ones who still think school is THE BOMB. The ones who come up to you with a little bump on the arm and you make a joke about chopping it off and all is better in the world... I'm going to miss the little people.

But the Lord is preparing me. I know that for sure. Each day I get a little less worried and a little more excited. The big kids will challenge me. I will probably be stressed out and surely cry once a week (but I'll be honest, I cry that often anyway)... But I will do everything I can to be the teacher the Lord has called me to be for them.