Thursday, March 31, 2016

Math Problem Solving Strategies

We hope every year that our students will come to us being excellent problem solvers. Right?

Sadly, that's not the case. We have to teach them to be good problem solvers.

We can't just give them one strategy because one strategy doesn't work with every single problem.

So we teach them multiple strategies, so they can choose to best one for each problem.

Through research and seeing how my students process their thoughts, I have put together a list of 16 problem solving strategies.

Teaching multiple problem solving strategies in math is a must these days! Here is a comprehensive list of 16 problem solving strategies that you can start using tomorrow in your classroom!

Math Problem Solving Strategies
~ Draw a picture
~ Look for a pattern
~ Guess, check, and revise
~ Make a table or chart
~ Make it simpler
~ Make an organized list
~ Use logical reasoning
~ Work backwards
~ Act it out
~ Use a model
~ Use a number line
~ Part part whole
~ Use key words
~ Write a number sentence
~ Use objects or manipulatives
~ Make a flow chart

To teach these to my students, I show them a problem that would fit well for each strategy, and then we solve the problem together using that strategy. We do these in their notebooks, so they always have them to look back to.

I also created posters for each problem solving strategy to hang up in my classroom. Here are a few of them. I think they turned out pretty cute. You can find them HERE.

Teaching multiple problem solving strategies in math is a must these days! Here is a comprehensive list of 16 problem solving strategies that you can start using tomorrow in your classroom!

I included a half sheet for students to glue into their notebooks and a sheet where students can tell what their favorite strategies are.

To read more about WHY I believe problem solving posters are essential in the math classroom, read my post HERE.

Happy problem solving!

Oh, and by the way....I won't be able to blog for over a week. I'm going on a cruise to Key West and the Bahamas!

Bon voyage!



Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The FuN way to clean the classroom

It's the end of the day, and your classroom is a mess. There is trash ALL OVER the floor. What do you do?

I've got the answer! I learned this "game" years ago, and it's the best thing I have ever found for getting my classroom clean at the end of the day.

And the best part?

Kids LOVE it! They think it's awesome.

Attention teachers! This is THE easiest way to get your students to clean the classroom at the end of the day. Students love and beg for the "game"!

Kids love it so much that when I forget, they remind me. Seriously.

So here's how it works.

When it's time to clean up, you pick a piece of trash on the floor and announce that you have chosen the "magic piece of trash". It can big or small. To really make your kids work (especially when it's super messy), pick a piece of trash that's really tiny or hidden.

Then you say "go" and all the kids work to find the "magic piece of trash". They will get on their hands and knees to find it. It's awesome just to sit back and watch them clean your room.

Attention teachers! This is THE easiest way to get your students to clean the classroom at the end of the day. Students love and beg for the "game"!

Attention teachers! This is THE easiest way to get your students to clean the classroom at the end of the day. Students love and beg for the "game"!

I always watch to see who picks up the magic piece. Otherwise you'll have 20+ students coming up to you showing you their pieces of trash. I'll admit that sometimes I don't see who picks up the magic piece, so I'll have to look at their trash.

The winner in my classroom got Star Bucks. I would give away a random number of Star Bucks...6, 9, 23 (if the piece of trash was hidden). They LOVED it!

You could use whatever classroom management system you use in your classroom...tickets, classroom cash, etc.

Let me know how it works!



Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mission: Jewelry Organization

I have a confession to make.

I am a jewelry fanatic. I love jewelry.

I do. I really do.

I have a lot of jewelry.

A lot of necklaces. A lot of earrings. And some bracelets.

I had my necklaces in small snack-size baggies in my standing jewelry box. But I would always forget exactly which necklaces I had. So some necklaces felt left out and didn't get worn a lot.

I needed a solution. I needed to organize my jewelry.

Since I moved a couple of months ago and was decorating my house, I figured it was the perfect time for a change.

Attention jewelry lovers! Here is an easy DIY idea to organize your jewelry. This is a super simple organization tool for your bedroom, and it looks great too! Looks like a work of art on your wall! Home decor and organization all in one!

Here is my solution!

I went to Lowe's and bought a towel bar and shower hooks. These particular shower hooks are awesome because they are double, having a hook on the front and the back...which means MORE necklaces!

I had a friend help me hang the towel bar, and then I hung up the shower hooks and necklaces.

I LOVE it! It is so easy for me to pick and find a necklace to wear with my outfit! And I love that it looks like a work of art on my wall!

Attention jewelry lovers! Here is an easy DIY idea to organize your jewelry. This is a super simple organization tool for your bedroom, and it looks great too! Looks like a work of art on your wall! Home decor and organization all in one!

Then my friend had this awesome idea of hanging shelves to show off some of my vintage purses. My mom had all these awesome vintage purses, and I inherited them when she died. I am so glad my mom saved them. I also have a couple of purses from my travels.

Don't they look great?

Attention jewelry lovers! Here is an easy DIY idea to organize your jewelry. This is a super simple organization tool for your bedroom, and it looks great too! Looks like a work of art on your wall! Home decor and organization all in one!

And yes, that picture is of me. I was a flower girl in my aunt and uncle's wedding, and my mom had my picture taken in the dress....at Olan Mills of course! Remember Olan Mills?

Hope I gave you an idea for your own home!

Have a great rest of the weekend!



Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Super simple critical thinking strategy

Critical thinking is a big buzz word these days. With the standardized testing getting more challenging every year, incorporating critical thinking into our everyday curriculum and teaching has become a necessity.

OK. I agree, you say. Sounds good, you say.

But just HOW do you do that?

I've got an answer for you.

And it's simple.

And you can use this strategy for any subject.

And you can start using it tomorrow.


Looking for a SUPER simple way to integrate critical thinking into your everyday teaching? This strategy works for ANY subject, ANY grade, and ANY topic. Teachers, you cannot miss this easy to implement teaching strategy!

Raise your hand if you watched Sesame Street growing up.

Yes, I am totally raising my hand. I LOVED Sesame Street.

There was a song/game that they played on Sesame Street. It's one of those songs that gets in your head and won't go away. Don't you just love those songs?


This song/game is called "One of these things is not like the others". Simple concept, right?

I started using this strategy in my classroom several years ago, and wow....it made a huge difference. And it forced my students to think. Really think.

Let me show you some examples of how I use it in my classroom.

In 5th grade math with prime numbers - 28 does not belong because it's the only composite number

Looking for a SUPER simple way to integrate critical thinking into your everyday teaching? This strategy works for ANY subject, ANY grade, and ANY topic. Teachers, you cannot miss this easy to implement teaching strategy!

In 6th grade world cultures with forms of government

Looking for a SUPER simple way to integrate critical thinking into your everyday teaching? This strategy works for ANY subject, ANY grade, and ANY topic. Teachers, you cannot miss this easy to implement teaching strategy!

I would use them as warm-up questions, and I would make my students explain why their answer did not belong.

I have also created some task cards using the same cards. This really did help my students better understand their math facts.

Looking for a SUPER simple way to integrate critical thinking into your everyday teaching? This strategy works for ANY subject, ANY grade, and ANY topic. Teachers, you cannot miss this easy to implement teaching strategy!

Looking for a SUPER simple way to integrate critical thinking into your everyday teaching? This strategy works for ANY subject, ANY grade, and ANY topic. Teachers, you cannot miss this easy to implement teaching strategy!

This concept works with any topic and any subject. Here's something I created to help my students with finding the sums.

Looking for a SUPER simple way to integrate critical thinking into your everyday teaching? This strategy works for ANY subject, ANY grade, and ANY topic. Teachers, you cannot miss this easy to implement teaching strategy!

This concept is so easy to implement! Try it in your classroom...I'd love to hear how it goes!



Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.

Friday, March 11, 2016

St. Patrick's Day activities!

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. I cannot believe it's almost April!

Looking for some fun classroom activities for St Patrick's Day?

Looking for easy to implement learning activities for your classroom for St. Patrick's Day? Look no further for a list of fun teaching activities for March!

1. Check out this fun "would you rather" FREEBIE from Rachel Lynette!


2. These treasures would make an adorable bulletin board!

Looking for easy to implement learning activities for your classroom for St. Patrick's Day? Look no further for a list of fun teaching activities for March!

3. Have your students Make a Wish on a four leaf clover!
Looking for easy to implement learning activities for your classroom for St. Patrick's Day? Look no further for a list of fun teaching activities for March!
4. The Bubbly Blonde Teacher has some adorable writing activities like this one which are perfect for St. Patrick's Day. Perfect for reinforcing figurative language!

Looking for easy to implement learning activities for your classroom for St. Patrick's Day? Look no further for a list of fun teaching activities for March!

5. Looking for some great read aloud books for March? HERE is a fantastic list!


6. Looking for a fun math activity? Use Lucky Charms cereal to make a graph. Now why didn't I think of that?

Looking for easy to implement learning activities for your classroom for St. Patrick's Day? Look no further for a list of fun teaching activities for March!

7. Looking for some creative activities? I created a choice board for St. Patrick's Day, which includes 9 activities for students to choose from. They are great for creativity and differentiation. And not to mention students love to be able to choose!

Looking for easy to implement learning activities for your classroom for St. Patrick's Day? Look no further for a list of fun teaching activities for March!

Go wear green and enjoy St. Patrick's Day!



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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Skip counting and multiples the FUN way!

It's spring break here this week. And it's been raining.....

All. Week. Long.

I like the rain. Makes me feel all cozy. Like I want to watch some good reality TV and curl up with a blanket.

I don't have children that need to get their energy out.

But I do have dogs. Two in particular that do not like the rain too much.

Kobe is a hoot and just makes me laugh. He comes to the back door and sticks his head out, with his body halfway in and halfway out. He sees the rain, contemplates going outside, thinking "Do I really want to go out there?". And then....uh uh. I'll stay inside.


I don't know about you, but I sure am glad that my bathroom is inside!

I am excited to share that I got an interventionist job at a local elementary school. I am so excited to be working with kids again.

It's sharing time! Don't you know that sharing is caring?

I wanted to share how I teach skip counting and multiples. When I was in school, we wrote the multiples over and over again on a piece of paper.

Bor-ing. Right?

Teaching and practicing skip counting and multiples doesn’t have to be boring. Here are two simple ways to make learning multiples easy and fun. Get your students ready for multiplication success!


It doesn't have to be boring! Not at all!

First of all, I ALWAYS had multiple posters hung in my room. When I first started teaching, I used sentence strips hung vertically on the walls. Each sentence strip had a separate set of multiples.

However, then I learned how to do it even better than using sentence strips. I started grouping the multiples together. The posters are grouped in specific colors for a reason. When students see how they are connected, it helps them truly know the multiples. I saw that it really did make a difference.

I created these posters to use this year with my students. One set of posters for skip counting and one set for multiples.

These are great for hanging up in the classroom, printing 2 or 4 to a page and gluing them in notebooks, or projecting them up on the big screen.

Teaching and practicing skip counting and multiples doesn’t have to be boring. Here are two simple ways to make learning multiples easy and fun. Get your students ready for multiplication success!

Not only did we use the posters, we also always practiced our multiples using funny voices. We might say them like a country boy with a good ole twang. Or with a southern belle accent. Or like Dory when she spoke "whale" in Finding Nemo. My students always loved to practice their multiples, and it was never a chore or a "have-to" thing.

I put all the funny voices together into a FREEBIE! Go grab it HERE!

Here are some sample voices...

Teaching and practicing skip counting and multiples doesn’t have to be boring. Here are two simple ways to make learning multiples easy and fun. Get your students ready for multiplication success!

Teaching and practicing skip counting and multiples doesn’t have to be boring. Here are two simple ways to make learning multiples easy and fun. Get your students ready for multiplication success!

What I did was print them, laminate them, cut them out, and put them in a basket. When it was time to practice our multiples, I let one of my students pick a card out of the basket. Fun times!

How do you practice skip counting and multiples?



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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Current events in the classroom

Are you like me and don't watch the news? I don't watch the news because it's depressing. But it's also not a good thing because sometimes I don't know what's going on in the world.

I wish growing up in school that I had learned an appreciation for learning what's going on in the world around me. I didn't really start to desire that until I started traveling.

I have a great idea for getting your students engaged in learning about current events, in your neck of the woods, in your country, or even in other countries.

Engage and challenge your students in current events by using choice boards with differentiated activities

Have you ever used choice boards? I LOVE LOVE LOVE using choice boards in the classroom. Did I mention that I love them? Here are my top ten reasons for loving choice boards:

Top Ten reasons to ❤ choice boards!
1. Students love to be able to make choices in their learning
2. Allow for differentiation
3. Allow for student choice
4. Students can choose according to their multiple intelligence
5. You can have the students do as little or as many as you want
6. You can enforce that students do one or two activities in particular if you choose
7. You can also differentiate among your students how many each activities to complete
8. You can choose to assign them as homework or classwork
9. Students love to be able to choose how they show you what they know
10. Students love them!

With my current events choice board, you can have your students look for a current event either on the internet or the newspaper, and they choose 1 activity to do from the given 9 activities on the board. Scholastic News would be a great resource as well.

If you have a student who loves to draw, then they could choose to do a comic strip.
If you have a student who loves to write, then they could choose to do the diary entries.

One tip I do have is to show them an example of what to expect. You could create an example beforehand or have one of your higher students or GT students do one of the activities as an example before you introduce it to the class. That way you won't have students completing an activity in 10 minutes.

To save paper you could make a class set and then either laminate them or have the students keep them in a sheet protector to use week after week.

Engage and challenge your students in current events by using choice boards with differentiated activities





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