Student Choice Within the Classroom = Positive Mindset

I want to begin this post by saying that we all teach within our comfort zones. We ultimately teach the way that we feel is best, so this is simply something that I have found that works for me, and I hope that maybe what I have done will inspire you to give it a try, as well!
The words "positive mindset" seem to be huge buzz words in the world of education right now. The fact is, we have more than likely been practicing positive mindset methods within the walls of our classroom for quite some time, but now we simply have a title for it! 
Positive mindset can appear many different ways. It may be in the form of kind words and positive reinforcement. It may be through posters that you hang on your walls that remind your kiddos of the power of their thoughts and actions. Or, it may be through empowering them through their own choices and actions. 

This is where I'm headed today!
What would happen if we gave our students the CHOICE of what they learned? Would our classrooms be turned upside down, and would we lose our sense of control?

Don't worry. You won't.

DO NOT

I have created an interactive classroom environment that allows my students to not only interact with it, but it allows me to provide students with choices to engage in various parts of my classroom. 


There are very simple ways to go about this. Here are a couple:

1. Allow students to choose partners, work alone, or in small group. (Do these within reason...simply because some kiddos work best alone, with certain partners, and with extra support.)



2. Allow students to sit where they want in the room. I have different seating options in my classroom that allow for more of a flexible seating situation when I am finished teaching them whole or small group.



When my students walk in and see choices for them on the board, they get excited! It's THEIR day to determine what it is that they'll be doing. I keep the content relevant, and students know that they'll have to work, but depending on how they prefer to learn, and what they like to do, the experience of my class is a bit more personal to them.




There are two ways to go about this.

1. Have students complete one or two tasks of their choice within a given time limit.

2. Have students complete each of the tasks over a period of time, allowing them to decide the order in which they complete them.

I am always sensitive of my students' learning styles, as well. I was always a visual/hands-on learner. I also learned best when someone else read to me, and asked me questions. Other kiddos may want to be the ones doing the reading, or researching a topic for a report.


I use my interactive writing center in my classroom. It is a perfect fit for student choice. The tasks that I choose to put on my bulletin board, and there are a ton, are varied in their complexity. So, let's say that I have a kiddo that's really low, and is reading and writing way below grade level, they may choose to create a greeting card instead of another kiddo that wants to try their hand at writing a fractured fairytale.


I can't tell you how many times I have seen that look of defeat on students' faces when I handed them something that they just could not do. It was heartbreaking. It has taken me a long time to really understand how to truly differentiate my instruction, and how to provide those empowering opportunities to each of my students. Their mindset and self-confidence really can alter their willingness to try, as well as their willingness to take on new tasks. That, to me, is the ultimate goal.

Positive Mindset = More Confidence = 
A Student Who Believes They CAN!

A positive psychology researcher by the name of Barbara Fredrickson has a "broaden and build" theory that ties right into this frame of thinking. After researching and testing her theories on positive thinking, she has found that "positive emotions will broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind. 

That sums up my goal...to open the minds of my students, and to believe in themselves. 
There are SO many ways to make our classrooms adaptable to change. I just wanted to highlight a few things that I do in my classroom. You can also implement student choice with technology, morning routines, and classroom decisions. Let your students have some ownership of their home away from home, and I think you'll see that you become less of a classroom and more of a family.


Click below to check out an awesome collection of growth mindset posts from some of my friends!



Interactive Math: A Hands-Off Approach to Teaching and Learning

Growing up, math class involved a chalk board, worksheets, and desks in rows. Interactive Math? What's that?

Look...there's me in the front row with my arms folded, looking completely amused. HAHA!

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

Okay, so maybe this is a bit before MY time, but doesn't your heart break a little when you see this picture? Could you even imagine what these sweet kiddos from the past would think if they stepped ONE foot into our classrooms?! 

Although I have nothing but
Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}
 for my educational memories of my childhood, it still amazes me just how much the process of teaching and educating the young minds of the world have changed. Now, we are playing around with flexible seating, student-led learning, and small group instruction! Imagine how many of the kids in the picture above would be smiling if you just put a bean bag under their bottoms. Right?!

Okay, so let's step forward into this this very fortunate time in education and imagine something even more astounding. In doing so, I have a couple of questions for my modern-day educators, more specifically, math teachers...

Would you like to have someone run your centers for you? Or would you like for someone or something else that could take the time to show your students step-by-step directions on how to solve math problems during class time while you worked in a small group?

Who doesn't?!

For the last several months, myself and fellow TpT seller, Mrs. Shelly Rees from Appletastic Learning, have been collaborating on something pretty special. It's a resource that truly does allow a hands-off approach to teaching and learning, if you so choose.

Interactive Math!

Let's walk through what we came up with, and see just how this mathematical beast works!

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}


The first thing that you should know, is that there are 


Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}


One option listed above was the use of this product as a math center. Here is a look at a bulletin board that I set up to do just that! Think of it as a menu of sorts. This is how it works...

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}
So, the five standard categories are displayed at the top of this bulletin board, so I chose to do a little of each standard.
Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

Placing these particular headers at the top will help each student as they fill in the optional tracking sheet with each particular standard listed on it.

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

Back to the wall. Under each major standard header, there are specific skill headers,along with preview cards.
Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

The skill header is used to identify the topic, and the preview cards are used to provide an example of what the students will be asked to do to complete their tasks. They may choose to do something that you already taught in your classroom, or perhaps they will choose a brand new topic. Either way...we got ya covered!

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders} 


Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

Once they choose their interactive math topic, they are ready to dive in! They will find their work inside of a file. I chose to organize mine inside of a hanging file, however, you could totally organize these into pocket folders or accordion folders. Labels are provided for optimum organization ease, as well.

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}


I rest this file beside or beneath the bulletin board, so the center is complete and easily accessible to students.

Inside, you will find hanging file folders that are loaded (by you ahead of time) with skill sheets and example cards.

THERE ARE 340 SKILL SHEETS INCLUDED! They are black and white and ready to print.

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}
Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

ANSWER KEYS ARE INCLUDED! 

You can choose to check over student work or have them self check and keep track of their own progress.

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

THERE ARE 74 EXAMPLE PAGES! 

These were created to create a fun, visual impact, while breaking down each interactive math skill process step-by-step. You are able to work in small groups while students work on their own. 

The idea behind the example cards came to me when I saw just how dependent my students were on me. I wanted to alleviate their reliance and free up time for my small group work. How would I do this? I needed a "teacher" available to do my job while I did something else. That's how these priceless tools were created.
Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

Student work mats are provided if you choose to use these for students to solve their work. Otherwise, a plain sheet of paper will do the job!
Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

So, to work through this station, students would...

1. Choose their topic
2. Find and go back to their seats or work stations with their practice pages and example cards for that particular skill
3. Complete and keep their interactive math work in the student tracking folders

You can have a pre-selected topic for each kiddo to work on, or they can have the freedom to work through each one on their own. The flexibility of it all is incredible!

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

I totally get it! All of our classrooms are different, or perhaps you have things where you want them. No problem. We are also showing you the option of putting these materials on to a trifold board. The cool thing about this is that you can interchange the content very easily. We put Velcro on the back of these and when we're ready to change them out...it's a matter of pulling these off and putting something else in its place!

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}


Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

Yes, there is a little bit of effort on your part at FIRST setting this up. However, instead of being overwhelmed with the thought of it, we want you to keep something in mind...

You set this up ONCE...and other than the practice pages, you literally will have this forever. 

I recommend printing the example and preview pages professionally. You can load that particular file online to a site such as Staples and send it to their printer. BE SURE TO PREVIEW THE PRINT JOB BEFORE SENDING IT! Sometimes, it will be set in a portrait setting when you need it in landscape. That will make the print job worthless, and you'll have to do it again. You don't want that to happen! 

Here's the setup breakdown:

1. Print
2. Laminate sample and example cards and cut
3. Place example pages and student skill pages into desired system (hanging file, pocket folders, accordion folder, etc.)
4. Explain to kiddos how to work the center
5. Start working with your small group and having mathematical freedom!


Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}
To check out our presentation of this incredible file, click here!


Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}
To check out this product, click here!


We sincerely hope that our time and effort will make strides in education worldwide. We love what we do, and we love that we can alleviate a little bit of stress for our fellow teachers. We appreciate and respect each of you. Wishing you all the best!

Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}
Interactive math is a great tool for your upper elementary classroom! With this one tool you can create math centers or stations, homework, pre and post assessments, test prep, interactive notebooks, small group work, whole group focused study, morning work or routines, intervention, remediation, enrichment or challenge work (GATE), and even homeschool! Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom or home school students will love this. Click through to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth graders}

Like this interactive math product? Check out these while you're at it!

Quick Tips for Back to School


Back to school time is upon us once again! With that, comes the continuous spinning of our teacher-mind wheels that toss and turn new ideas, old ideas, what worked, what didn't, and new things we want to try. For me, I have a personal goal each year of being more and more prepared for my school year that inevitably is upon me each fall.  

This year, I have a unique situation, because I just had my third (and final) kiddo! She's such a doll, but amidst staring at her precious face, I have to plan for a sub while I'm on maternity leave. 

For your viewing pleasure...meet my newest little miss!


So what's my tip? 
I'm pushing forward with my goal of being more prepared...and I'm sharing something for FREE with all of you, so you can do the same! 

While nesting before babe, I came up with these editable calendars. I'm using mine to communicate with my classroom parents. They will know their child's special class schedules, important district dates and events, upcoming assignments, and much more at the beginning of each month with these calendars.


Here's a look at what I've done so far, but I'll be adding more (assignments, projects, special reminders) as I make my approach into the classroom with my school kiddos.





To get these calendars, simply click HERE! Don't forget to enter in a chance to win $25 in TpT cash, enter my Rafflecopter Giveaway below! 


Be sure to check out my fellow TpT buddies' tips to help you start off your school year on the right foot, and enter to win a few more $25 TpT gift cards!


Have a wonderful school year and thanks a bunch for stopping by! I'm new to IG and having a GREAT time sharing my pictures with everyone...click on the link below to follow me on all of my teaching and life adventures!


Back to School Supplies 2016 - What to buy and HOW to SAVE!


So, each year I have to reevaluate what I have in my classroom from the previous years, and then decide if those supplies have been tortured...I mean LOVED...enough and need renewed...or if I just want a change of pace and go with something completely different. I know, I know...decisions decisions! What's a teacher to do!?

But in all honesty, you can ALL relate to the back to school struggle. There's so much to choose from, so much to replenish, and new and improved inspiration all around us. It can be a little overwhelming to say the least.

This year, I was presented with an opportunity from a company called Office Supply. It started off with giving you wonderful teachers a discount, to me saying...let's work together! Let me evaluate your entire ordering process and give my honest feedback to other teachers, because there's really no better feedback on a company than having gone through the entire choose, order, ship, and delivery process with them. They happily agreed and now it's time to dish on OfficeSupply.com! (aaannnd....get a peek at the goodies that I got from them!!)

After I thought about what my classroom, my kiddos, and I needed... I got to work! In the screenshot below, I highlighted the main toolbar in pink. I found that for my needs and budget, I was focused on the Office Supplies and School tabs. However, there are a TON of fun crafting goodies, along with every single paper product that you could possibly want! I did LOVE how they had a specific school tab...clearly letting teachers know that it's NOT just an office supply store, AND, of course...that we are kinda special. :)


The site was super easy to maneuver, and if I couldn't find something, I just used their search toolbar. I would type in what I wanted, and sure enough...they had it!

So do you want to see what I got? Enough chit chat?? Okay!! This is my favorite part!! I can almost smell the freshly sharpened pencils!! Eek! (Anyone else get this excited over school supplies?! This is how I KNOW that I was meant to teach...seriously.)

I wanted to show you  how I will be using some of these goodies. Others, I'll tell you about. At the end of this post, I will have a list that gives specific names of products that I purchased. Instead of searching for them in their store, you can just type in the name in the search engine on their home page!

Look at this beautiful sight...honestly, I'm like a kid in a candy store anytime I get packages like this at my doorstep! 


...my back to school hallway activity,

How cute are these?!

a galvanized tin full of Crayola colored pencils,


beautifully-colored whiteboard art and messages to greet my kiddos each morning,
(I LOOOOVE THESE!! They are magnetic, AND they have built in erasers!)

(These are not magnetic, of course...but I can't get over these colors! Look out for some serious whiteboard art this year!)

highlighted passages that will help with student comprehension,


GORGEOUS black/white/and brightly-colored bulletin boards that scream for attention and student work to adorn them,

an addiction to Paper Mate Flair pens,
(aren't they GORGEOUS?!?!)


an interactive spelling center,


and so much more!


I'm not sure that it's normal to get this excited over teaching supplies...but I really can't stop staring at this stuff! There's just a couple more things that we should talk about...so without further ado!

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I'm not sure about you, but sometimes I'm hesitant to purchase things online because I am by far someone that likes instant gratification. However, you guys...this literally took a day and a half to arrive at my doorstep...even I can wait that long!


Click on the image below and start loading your cart...easy peasy! If you're wondering where you, too, can find the goodies that I snagged, see the list below. 



Here's a list of what I received from Office Supply, in case you are wanting the same items added to your shopping cart!


Thank you for stopping by to check out some of the lovelies going into Room 309 this year!

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