Friday, July 4, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - #5Things

Happy Independence Day! I'm so happy that a 3 day weekend is upon us and I'm excited to spend some time with hubby this weekend.

I have now blogged 6 days in a row and dang, this is HARD! I don't know how hubby has done it for over a year! I decided this morning on my walk that I will probably be more successful if I'm able to do a "theme", such as #Made4Math on Monday and #EduRead on Wednesday. I used to do "My Favorite Friday", but I ran out of topics for that one, so I'm changing my Friday theme to #5Things. (Shout out to @BridgetDunbar for the inspiration for a list-based theme)

Today's #5Things is brought to you because of an incident that happened in my classroom a few days ago. Our AP Stat program has grown and we are bringing on another teacher. Thankfully it is someone I've known for a few years and I'm excited to work with her. She is moving up to the high school from our freshman academy, so she asked if she could pop by on Wednesday to ask me a few questions. While she was there, we talked about organization, how things were set up in my room, how I did X, Y, and Z, etc.

#5Things I cannot do without in my classroom

  1. Red/Yellow/Green Cups

    I've written about my love for the R/Y/G cups before, but seriously, these are a game changer for the classroom. I often have students working in groups and I would walk around listening into the conversations. However, prior to these cups, I would too often jump into a conversation and interject my opinion or try to guide students on the right path when they really didn't need me to. With the cups, the students control when I jump in, which is just amazing. Groups would keep their cup at green way longer than I thought they would. The best endorsement of the cups came in May when one young man recommended that for next year, the cups stay on the desks at all times rather than just on group work days.

  2. Acrylic Photo Frames

    This is another item I've written about before and every time I see them at Dollar Tree, I pick up a few more. I have them in both portrait and landscape and I love love love these frames. I use them for station activities, for lab instructions, for quiz reviews, and just about anything that I can come up with to use them for!

  3. Papermate Flair Pens

    These are my absolute favorite grading pens! I grade each objective in a different color so that students know which problems are attached to each objective, which makes it easier for remediation and reassessment. The bold color makes it easy to see but they don't bleed through the paper.

  4. My Wall Thingy

    I picked this up a few years ago from Big Lots in the dorm organization aisle at back to school time. It was advertised as a magazine holder, but I use it to hold my attendance, notebooks, Advisory sign out sheets, etc. The part I love is that it gets some of the clutter off my desk but since it hangs right by my desk, it's easy to keep things within reach but out of the way.

  5. Document Camera

    I don't know how I taught for so many years without a document camera! I use this thing all the time.. filling out foldables, projecting flashcards, showing student samples, projecting a timer, to-do lists, and so much more!

What are your #5Things? July Challenge I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you! Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love! The bloggers (so far) Robin at Flip! Learn! Share Bridget at Reflections in the Plane Teresa at GeometryWiz Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules! Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated John at Functions are Fun Jedidiah at Math Butler Pam at the radical rational Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher Paul at TeacherPaulP
Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)


  1. I miss our Friday favorites posts! I am obsessed with Flair pens. Someday I will really have to do a post on my marker obsession. LOL

    I have wanted to find clear 8x10 frames, but my dollar store never has them!

    Thanks for starting the blogging challenge. I'm loving it and it's motivating me to post every day.

  2. Remembered Julie mentioning the acrylic frames - found them last week - bought some. Now I wish I had bought the landscape version as well. Better plan another trip soon before they disappear!

  3. Oh my my, a definite side effect of this blogging challenge is going to be the drain on my bank account after I buy all the wonderful things and books I'm reading about!!! I love your 5 things! Something similar to the hanging organizer that I am dying to get this year is a hanging shoe organizer to put my calculators in.
    I too can't live without my document camera. It is the most consistent piece of technology I use.

  4. I am really thinking of trying your cup idea... My class is teams at all times... I can't do green, yellow and red though...So I think I will go with my color scheme and do lime green, teal and hot pink... I tried to find a post about your R/Y/G cups . I am not sure what the middle cup is for? :o)

    Roxygirl Teacher
    Rockstar Math Teacher

  5. I love using the GYR colored cups in my classroom. I teach middle school so this visual aid helps when we are working in collaborative groups. I use these as behavioral aids. If I heard a group speaking off topic or a group that is too loud, I quietly walk over to the group and switch their cup to yellow. That way, the group knows that is their warning and the rest of the class isn't distracted because this is done very quietly.

    I, too, am addicted to those flair pens! I buy a pack every summer!! Nothing like new pens/markers to get a teacher motivated to get work done!!

    I'd like to join the July Challenge! Sounds like fun! :-)

    Happy 4th of July!

    The Math Nerdette

  6. I LOVE the RYG cups. I will absolutely be using that next year. Your frames have got me thinking too! Great #top5.

  7. The acrylic frames are always at Wal-Mart for $97 and the Target dollar spot has the shoe holders in different colors right now.

    On the cups, is there a set on each student desk or just one per group?

  8. For one of your blog posts this month will you consider linking some ideas for the acrylic frames? I have seen them used on someone else's blog, but I am not sure how to get started.

  9. This is a great topic to discuss.

    1. A 3-way coffee pot, fridge and microwave!! For those super long grading and planning days.

    2. My wall thingy too! I use it for the seating chart. Each class has its own index card color. Each row says which group the student is in. Each column states their role for group tasks. Many times I use it to make sure

    3. Doc Camera and Projector...ditto, I also don't remember life without them!! It makes it so easy to share student work with the whole class. In fact, I have two of each now. This way I can zoom in on a calculator on one and use the other for my written explanation. Otherwise I have to keep zooming in and out.

    4. My graphing calc (TI-Nspire) with a backlight. The backlighting makes it so much easier to see with the doc camera. The grey scale calc screens can be really difficult to see.

    5. My organizing file folder box. I have a section for each class and each class has the day of the week. I put all the papers in the file that I need for class that day. I fill it about once every 2 weeks. If something is not ready or too bulky, then I highlight it in my plan book so I remember. It makes it so much easier to be ready to teach and is a huge time saver!!