Intentional Teaching Checklist

I had the pleasure of being a guest on The EDVERYTHING Podcast: for Everything Education with Nicole and Danielle.

"Danielle and I got the chance to sit down with Hayley Cain and learn about her experience transitioning from the middle school to the elementary level and the lasting lessons she picked up having previously worked at a “failing” school. 
Hayley has witnessed first-hand how powerful decoding standards and team planning time can be, and she has taken these strategies and applied them successfully to a new school and grade level.” 
-Edverything Podcast with Nicole and Danielle
Click here to listen to Episode 11: Decode Standards Like a Pro

Below is the Checklist mentioned in the Podcast that will help guide you in your teaching to be INTENTIONAL!


Click here for more information about what awesome things Nicole and Danielle are doing and their website!

Math Teacher Gift Ideas

Gift ideas for a teacher? You may be reading this to get ideas for your own child's teacher or maybe you have a math teacher in your family. Either way, here are some real gifts that I have loved or would love to get as a math teacher! Some of these only math teachers will get. 😉

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Pencils In Bulk
Every teacher needs pencils. Don't ask if they need them because the answer will always be yes. In math, pencils get used frequently because mistakes happen! These are great pencils and come pre-sharpened which is a huge bonus! Click here or on the picture below. 

Cap Erasers
These are my favorite and have been for years! I order them every year! I do not hesitate when students ask for an eraser to hand them one of these. The erasers on pencils never seem to be gone before the actual pencil. They come in bright colors and fit every pencil. Click here or on the picture below. 

Dry-erase Lapboards
I cannot tell you how many times these things have saved my sanity. If I feel that students need a break from a worksheet or need to change the lesson up I break these out. For some reason all students will work on a math problem if they are using dry-erase markers and these boards. Teachers can put problems up on the board and have all students working while they are walking around checking their answers. Click here or on the picture. 

Dry-erase Pockets
You can also go this route with dry-erase pockets. Save paper and don't make copies for every single student. You can make a class set of worksheets or even just enough for small groups. Slide the paper into these and students can practice and show their work using dry-erase markers. These come in a set of 30 in bright colors. There is a marker holder and an eyelet so you can hang it up if needed. Click here or on the picture.

Hidden Figures Young Reader's Edition
This book is amazing! This story is based on four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program! It is also a major motion picture! Let your math teacher add this to their classroom library! Click here or on the picture.

Math Teacher T-shirt
Who doesn't love a teacher t-shirt?! I can't tell you how many I have! There are lots out there so here are a few that I think math teachers love! Click the pictures below.

Sierpinski Triangle Wooden Earrings
Look at these super cute wooden triangle earrings! These are not only math related but actually stylish and timeless with the wood design. These would match everything! Click here or the picture below.

Math Teacher Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Every teacher drinks coffee or tea...I think? This can be used with hot or cold drinks. It has the best math quote on it which makes it perfect for any teacher! Click here or the picture below.

Amazon Gift Card
If you still cannot decide on a gift-seriously an Amazon gift card is where it is! The teacher can use this for whatever they need for their classroom. This takes the guess work out of the gift and requires no effort! Write a quick thank you note and put the gift card inside and you are done!
Click here to purchase an Amazon Gift Card

I hope this list gives you some ideas of gifts for the math teacher in your life! Leave me a comment with the best gift you've gotten(or given)! Happy Shopping!

How To Put Tennis Balls on your Classroom Chairs

Let's talk about noise level. I'm all for students talking with each other and having a "loud" classroom. What I found I couldn't deal with was the unnecessary noise my chairs were making. This is new to me because I came from a middle school classroom where we had traditional desks where the desk tops were connected to the chair. There was no movement of desks or chairs only of students. The concept of tennis balls on the bottoms of chairs is not new. I just had to figure out where to get them and quick and how to easily (and safely) cut them to put on my chairs.

Do the math, I have 24 desks with chairs in my classroom. Yikes! For the chairs alone, that is 24 chairs with four legs each. That equates to 96 tennis balls I needed! I'd love to also put them on the bottoms of the desks but I figured I'd start with the chairs first.

This post contains affiliate links. 

What you need--lots and lots of used tennis balls. Key word here is used. Do not go and purchase brand new tennis balls. You will need to cut the tennis balls so there is no need for them to be perfect and clean.

There are many ways to acquire used and flat tennis balls. Here are a couple ideas:
  • Your county middle/high school tennis teams
  • Local recreation department
  • College/University nearby
  • Dog training business or Doggie Daycare
Offer to bring them a box for them to put them in and to come pick them up when it is full. Ask your school if you can get a donation receipt to give them for tax purposes. 
I didn't want to wait for enough to be collected so I decided to go online and search my options. You can find bulk used tennis balls here on Amazon(Affiliate link) or sometimes on Ebay.

Now, how to cut those tennis balls. I researched how to cut tennis balls and asked coworkers how they did it. There are lots of methods out there. The biggest thing to remember is safety! Be careful! I read that the method that works best is to cut one slit. This makes it harder to put on the chairs but will mean it is is harder to get them off. You don't want the tennis balls coming off of your chairs. 
I used a very sharp meat cutting knife. You can also use a new utility knife.(Affiliate link) Be sure to wear heavy duty work gloves so you don't slip and cut yourself. I borrowed one from my husband to hold the tennis balls in place. I sat down outside in my driveway and went to town. I held the tennis ball in one hand on the ground and then poked the knife into the ball and cut the slit.

Tennis balls have a design from the seams and I found that starting in the center of that circular area and cutting straight down to the center of the opposite area was a large enough slit. You don't want to cut too long of a slit or it will come off your chairs too easily. Keep cutting until you are finished! It took me about an hour to cut all 110 tennis balls I had. My dog was very confused at all these "broken" tennis balls!
Take your tennis balls to school and flip all your chairs upside down. Work the tennis ball onto the bottoms and then marvel at the quietness of your chairs!

Here is a quick demonstration of the noise difference of my chairs. Be amazed!

I plan on getting more for the bottom of my desks so when kids bump into them or we move seating arrangements the noise level is low. I didn't realize how much the noise from the chairs were bothering me until I had all the tennis balls on. I can now hear kids instead of chairs.
Good luck with your tennis balls and let me know if you have any questions!

Sudoku Interactive Bulletin Board Tutorial

Do you have students who need some movement after they have finished working or just need a brain break activity? Sudoku is your answer! I have always loved Sudoku because it deals with numbers but it doesn't involve math. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, Sudoku is defined as "a puzzle in which missing numbers are to be filled into a 9 by 9 grid of squares which are subdivided into 3 by 3 boxes so that every row, every column, and every box contains the numbers 1 through 9". I tell my students they are using deductive reasoning to complete the puzzle. When I tell them there is no math involved they are game to play!
This post contains affiliate links. 
Here is how you can make your own giant Interactive Sudoku Bulletin Board for your classroom. Click here to purchase the kit.

Step 1:
Print numbers one through nine on white paper. These will serve as your "original puzzle". These are the numbers the students will not move. Then, print numbers one through nine on colored paper. I like to print mine on nine different colors! You will then print the playing board which is a nine by nine grid. I highly recommend laminating so your board will last for years!

Step 2:
You'll need a way to store your extra numbers for students to grab to put on the board. I love these mini file folders to organize them on the board. Click here to get your own.(Affiliate link) I write the numbers on the tab and use double sided tape to place a number on the outside. I also laminate these folders so they will hold up to wear. I use the folders for the "original puzzle" pieces (the white numbers) and store in a quart sized baggie in my desk. 

Step 3:
Next you'll need a way for the numbers to stick to your board. In the past I used thumb tacks on the side of the board. That board lasted four years and could have been more but this year I used Velcro Dots on the back of the numbers. I think this will last longer than the thumb tacks. Click here for the Velcro dots I used.(Affiliate link) I suggest putting the soft side on the back of the numbers and the tough side of the Velcro on the board. 

Step 4:
Staple up your title, game instructions, and number folders. Put up the original puzzle(the white numbers) and let your students start thinking! 

Tips for using the board:
I usually allow for this during homeroom, warm-up time, coming into or leaving the class, or other down-time. I do not allow them to get up during instruction or while working on an assignment. You can use this as a reward too! Be sure to explain and model how to place numbers on the board. Remind students that they do not move the white pieces. I do not let students hover over the board. I tell them since they can view it from their seats to get up when the time is appropriate. I do not allow more than three students at a time to be at the board. 
In the beginning when students are just learning I usually check that the number is correct before allowing them to place on the board. I also love having them explain how they figured out the number to put up. 

Click here to get the Sudoku Bulletin Board Kit for your classroom!

I hope you enjoy and have fun! I'd love to see your completed board! Tag me on Instagram @activityaftermath Let me know if you have any questions!