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Groundhog Addition and Subtraction FREEBIE!

With Groundhog Day coming up, I wanted to give you all a little freebie!  I made these cut and paste printables to help students practice their addition and subtraction facts and finding unknown numbers.

There are 2 pages for addition and 2 for subtraction.

Students will need to manipulate the numbers and use some critical thinking skills to solve each equation correctly.

It's a good idea for students to move the numbers around and figure out where they will all go before gluing them down.

I hope this is something you can use with your students!  I'd love to hear your feedback.  :)

You can download it {here}.

Exploring Hawaii: Lulumahu Falls

This weekend, I saw this amazing saying on Instagram.  By the way, you can follow me on Instagram @extraspecialteaching.  It's my new favorite place to be!  :)

Since my One Little Word is balance this year, I have been trying so hard to collect moments. 

This weekend, we headed out to explore Lulumahu Falls.  This was a fabulous hike, but I would definitely follow Yelp directions to help you find it.  Seriously, what did hikers do before Yelp?

Anyway, it was a pretty cool hike and a little different than some other ones we've been on since there are a lot of different scenery changes along the way.

You start off going through a bamboo forest, which is just freaking cool.

Then you get to walk through a forest of these trees.  I don't know what they are, but the trees reminded me of Dr. Seuss' Truffula trees.  Super cool!

A walk up these cobblestone steps….

let's you out to this view!

On our way back, some college kids were debating whether they should jump off this or not.  I hope they didn't, because that would have just been dumb!

Then you get to trek through some mud, through a stream, over and under some fallen trees, and over some boulders.  I have to say that I felt like this really encourage some critical thinking skills of the dogs and the kids as they figured out how to get where they needed to go.

Stopping for shaka pictures on the way is mandatory.  :)

And then you reach your destination!  It was a really cool waterfall!

There's a pretty big pool at the bottom of the waterfall.  Not enough to jump into but deep enough that the kids could have splashed around and had fun.  However, we didn't want the kids to get leptospirosis  so we didn't let them get in.

This is definitely a hike we'll be doing again!

1.  Not very long or steep.
2.  Amazing waterfall!
3.  Pretty cool to see all the different scenery changes along the way.
4.  Not very crowded!
5.  Totally fine for dogs.

1.  Muddy (but we don't mind).
2.  You have to climb over and under fallen trees and boulders.  Might be an issue with younger kids (our 8-year-old triplets were fine) or people who aren't as confident with this kind of thing.
3.  Definitely need some kind of directions (like Yelp) to find it.

Teaching Without a Classroom

Last year, I told you guys about the hard decision I made to leave my teaching position and take a leave of absence.  You can read about that {here}.  One thing that experience taught me was that sometimes you really do have to close one door for a better door to open.  My leave of absence gave me the opportunity to take a part-time intervention position at the same school my sweet friend, Courtney from Teaching in Paradise, works. 

Let me tell you, I love the hours.  Part-time is perfect for those of us that have families and spouses with demanding jobs.  Even better though, I love the students, staff, and school.  I've been able to fall in love with teaching again!

Although there are some logistical challenges to my "classroom".  Much like every school, there just isn't extra room for intervention teachers.  Since we're in Hawaii and get to benefit from this amazing year-round weather, I teach at a picnic table outside.

This is my classroom.  

 A little unusual and does make for some different obstacles to overcome compared to what you would face in a classroom.  But we make the best of it everyday, and I'm constantly reminded how teaching is all about being flexible.  :) 

The big thing is I HAVE to stay organized, and I really had to think about what supplies I really need on a daily basis.  First thing was to order a super cute 31 bag to store all my stuff.

This bag has been a lifesaver!  I keep all the stuff I use everyday inside the bag.

 I've tried to keep a consistent routine with my intervention groups, so I can use the same type of supplies.  Inside the bag, I keep these things:

1.  A wooden chart stand that has a pocket chart on one side and dry erase board on the other.

2.  My The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson book.

3.  Making Words folders for building words.  You can find out how to get the cover page and the letter tiles {here}.

4.  My Erin Condren lesson plan book.  Love that thing!

5.  My small group materials binder with all of the pages I use for word work.  You can read a post about those pages and find out how to get your freebies {here}.

6.  Dry erase boards and markers.  I use baby socks for erasers.  :)

7.  A binder where I keep all of my curriculum guides and materials we're currently using (like math pages and reading passages).  I love these pocket folders to keep all of my groups neatly organized.

I use all of the pockets to store things that are smaller like pencils, pens, and all of my Fluency Task Cards.

So there you go!  A little glimpse into my "classroom".  And this just goes to show that sometimes a little thinking outside of the box can help you come up with alternative solutions to get things done.  Now if only I could make the VERY large cockroaches and ants go away!  :)

Exploring Hawaii: Likeke Falls

This weekend, we did a new hike to Likeke Falls.  The hike was so much fun!  We started up at the Pali Lookout, which is the longer way.  You can find directions on Yelp that will tell you how to get there.  I highly recommend directions or you will be searching for hours.

There's some great views as you head down the Old Pali Hwy.

There is a tricky part where you can climb down a ladder RIGHT beside the highway.  Our dog wasn't so sure about how to get down so my husband helped her.  Look how close we are to this major road!

 There were these awesome HUGE flowers.  Seriously, the thing is was almost as big as my daughter's head!  It reminded me of being in Jurassic Park or something.

You really need the directions to find the waterfall, but there are some helpful signs along the way.

And after traipsing through the jungle (literally the jungle) and getting super muddy, we made it!  You hear the waterfall before you see it, and it was awesome!

This is probably one of our top 3 hikes here so far!  We'll definitely be doing this one again.

1.  There's a waterfall……that makes it amazing no matter what.
2.  Fairly short, about 3 miles there and back.  There is a shorter way that you can get directions for on Yelp.
3.  Dog and kid friendly.  Our dogs were fine but did some coaxing around that one ladder.  On the way back, they figured out how to go up beside the ladder.  Our triplets are 8 and did this no problem.
4.  This isn't a big touristy hike so there wasn't a ton of people.
5.  You can park at the Pali Lookout for free if you're military or local.  Just show the the parking guy your ID.

1.  Hard to find without directions.  I had phone service the whole way and was able to check Yelp when we missed one of the turns.
2.  Muddy.  Don't wear nice shoes or flip flops!
3.  Mosquitos at the falls.  You may want to bring bug spray.

Using QR Codes to help review!

Before winter break started, my 3rd grade intervention students were finishing up a division unit.  I wanted them to have an opportunity to review all that we have learned and a chance for me to informally assess them.  I've seen several posts in blog land and products on TpT using QR codes and thought I would give them a try.  

As we've upgraded our iPhones, we've kept all the old ones, and my kids use them to play games.  Essentially, an old iPhone becomes an iPod once you take away the phone service.  You can still download apps to it using either wifi or plugging it into your computer.  This is an easy way to get some technology for your classroom without spending money, especially if you're upgrading anyway.

I made these Winter Division QR Task Cards for my students' review.  

I paired my kids up and divided my task cards up between them all.  They each got an iPod and recording sheets.  They solved the task card problem, recorded their answer, and then scanned to see if their answer was correct.

My favorite part was that they were super engaged!  And they worked together so well.  This was super easy for them to figure out.  I had to do some reminding that you record your answer FIRST and then checked your answer, but that was minor redirecting.

Once students check their answer, they put a check mark in the snowball if the answer was correct.  This was a really great way to review the different division skills and for me to see which students were still struggling.

I love seeing my students working so diligently!

Since this was such a big success, I think I'll be using them again.  Have you ever used them in your classroom?  If not (and you have the technology), you should!  It was super easy.

Exploring Hawaii: Moana Falls

A few days ago, I posted about my One Little Word balance that I will be focusing on this year {here}.  While I'm still super invested in my teaching and creating things, I'm also trying to focus more on my family.   So you guys might start seeing some of my experiences in Hawaii mixed in with some of my teaching posts.  This place is just too awesome not to share with all of you guys.  :)

This weekend, we finally made it to Moana Falls.  This is one of the more popular hikes here on Oahu, and I can see why.  It was beautiful!

Seriously, how lucky are my kids to grow up experiencing this kind of beauty in nature?

Every kid likes to swing on a vine!  Ok, this isn't actually a vine.  It's really the root that grows down from the tree branches of a Banyan tree. Pretty cool, huh?

If you're coming to Oahu, this is definitely a great little hike to check out.  

1.  It's beautiful!
2.  It's only $5 to park.
3.  This is quick, only took us an hour.  Mile in and mile out with without being too steep on a mostly gravel path.
4.  You can bring dogs, but I would keep them on a leash.  We kept ours on their leashes and it was fine.

1.  This is a popular tourist spot, so it was pretty crowded.  The crowds will probably keep us from doing it again unless people come visit that would like to see the falls.
2.  If it's been raining, the path will be muddy.
3.  The path is narrow at some points so you may have to wait on people to pass.

One Little Word……Balance

It's been pretty quiet around here lately.  Another blog I follow has been quiet lately, and she wrote that she had lost her voice.  Of course not literally but more figuratively speaking.  I don't think I've necessarily lost my voice, but I have moved my voice onto other things.

The last month I've been spending a lot of time with my family and really reflecting on what I want this new year to mean for me.  I thought hard about what One Little Word I wanted to use to represent my focus for 2014.

What I realized is that I need a lot more balance in my life.  The funny thing is that I've noticed a lot of other bloggers have also picked this word.  It seems that many of us are all looking for the same thing.

Finding balance means I need to focus more on these precious children that I am responsible for raising.  I need to focus more on enjoying moments like this and taking a break from the rush of life.

Balance means I need to enjoy life more.  I look at my Great Dane and think I could really use to learn a few lessons from her.  A roll in the sand and an orange ball makes her incredibly happy.  Sometimes it's not about the big things but just the little ones that can bring us peace and happiness.

Finally, balance means I need to treat my body better.  Over Christmas break, I hiked this and it felt amazing!  It was one heck of a climb (like a bajillion steps) but so worth it when I reached the top.  The last year I haven't treated my body that well.  Not enough sleep or exercise and way too much junk.  It's time to treat me better!

And I need to find balance with blogging, creating things, and teaching.  I love doing all of these I really do.  But these things shouldn't come before my family and taking care of myself. 

My 18-year-old daughter came from college to visit over Christmas break.  That was such a reminder that time does go by quickly.  It seems like just the other day that she was a baby and now she's off to college.  

So while I haven't lost my voice here on this blog, I'm not sure how my voice will be changing.  I do know it's time to take some pressure off myself.  I'm not sure what direction this blog will take during the next year, but there may be a shift in the direction.

What's your focus for this year?