Free Valentine’s Digital Paper…in January?!

I’ve been procrastinating working on some digital papers for Valentine’s Day and thought I’d give you a sneak peek.  I’m supposed to be working on second nine weeks progress reports, but wanted to do something fun on my SNOW DAY!  🙂  My eight-year-old helped me design some of the hearts and he is mighty proud of himself.

This pack of digital papers is great to use as backgrounds for anything you might make on the computer.  I know a lot of TpT sellers use them to make fancy-schmancy covers for their products, but I also use them to jazz up PowerPoints for use in my class.  There are 10 designs in 6 different colors.  I made a white background version of each one, too.  Altogether, there are 120 digital papers in this set!

As a treat for you, I have a sample set you can have for FREE!  That’s right.  Just click the picture and download your three images.  🙂

Freebie Pic

I hope you like this set.  What other themed sets/colors would you like to see me make?

Joy of Teaching

It’s Currently January!

Oh my word.  I can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve blogged.  Its been so long that I had to reset my password!  Yikes!  I thought a good jumpstart would be to link up with Farley at Oh’ Boy 4th Grade for January’s Currently.

Currently January 2015I am loving the sound of my three boys playing and causing a ruckus together.  For the most part.  😉  There are pretend guns and putting each other in jail and some spontaneous singing (think three-year-old meets “All About That Bass” in a new rendition called, “Bubba Bass, No Trouble”).  What wonderful sounds!


One of my very favorite gifts this year is a new game.  I adore playing games and was so excited to receive Qwirkle for Christmas.  It is a simple, straight-forward game where there are six colors and six shapes and the goal is to create a line with all of the different colors or shapes without repeating.  My entire family has gotten in on the playing of this.  And we are all in jeopardy of losing to the eight-year-old, to tell you the truth!

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t posted anything since the end of July!  What in the world?!  I’ll tell you.  This school year has been kicking my butt!  I am still trying to get situated in a way that I can handle it and stop feeling as if I am sinking.

I am desperately wanting a longer break.  I love my family and enjoy staying home with them.  🙂

Then I start thinking about the Christmas decorations.  Does anyone want to volunteer to come over and put them away for me?  Pretty please?!  If I don’t get them put away before break is over, there is a chance they could still be up in May (much to my husband’s chagrin!).

Now for the good stuff.  YES, I WILL POTTY-TRAIN MY YOUNGEST.  I will.  I will.  I ABSOLUTELY will.  He is three and no motivation, charts, wearing underpants, prizes, candy has enticed him to want to do this on a regular basis.  Ugh.  I WILL PERSEVERE!

I do need to start focusing more on me.  I need to spend more time doing things that make me happy.  If I’m happy, I will be healthier and my family will be better for it.

My wish is kind of a new surprise for me.  I went to an author presentation at my local library and came away wanting to try my hand at writing a book.  Wish me luck!

I hope everyone’s had a great 2014 and I wish you all the best in 2015!

Joy of Teaching

Tech Tips for Basic Facts

Welcome to the “Just the Math Facts” blog hop!  I sincerely hope you find something helpful for teaching basic math facts on this hop.  🙂

Do you remember how you learned your math facts?  As I sat down to write this post, I tried to recall what had helped me as a child.  I remember sitting on the floor in front of my parents while they used flashcards to help me practice…every night until I had them mastered.  I remember my dad buying an addition/subtraction BINGO game to play with me.  I remember having a fifth grade teacher who made us recite each set of multiplication facts in front of the class…and being rewarded with a full size candy bar from his cabinet when we mastered a set.  Yes, I remember timed tests, but more as proof that I had memorized the facts – not as a way to practice them.  I strongly believe that mastering math facts (multiplication facts, in particular) is a big key to success in math.  This post is full of tech tips with different methods to help students practice their math facts…beyond flashcards.

Just the Math Facts ButtonMy first tech tip is not so techie.  I have created a Pinterest board, Basic Math Facts – Gotta Know ‘Em, filled with activities and games that can be used in the classroom for extra practice for the kiddos.  There are already over 100 different pins on this board, so it’s definitely a place to start if you’re looking for ideas.  🙂

My second tech tip is to download the game, Timez Attack, by Big Brainz.  There is a free version and a paid version.  The free version will practice all of the facts, but each level looks the same, whereas the levels are different in the paid version.  I have the free school version (there is one for home, as well) on all three computers in my room.  This is the first educational game that looks, sounds, and plays like an actual video game that I have come across.  My kids BEG to play it – and even line up to play it during inside recess!  I ADORE this game because it practices the facts just a few at a time and keeps spiraling what they just learned with the facts they have already shown mastery of.  The school edition lets you set up a class list and monitors each kid’s progress.  It began as a game that only practiced multiplication facts, but they have since added addition, subtraction, and division.

I love using my computers as part of my math station rotation and here are a few of the websites I rotate through to give the kids variety (though we truly do use Timez Attack at least a few times a week).  I have FIVE different websites for you to check out that have games focused on learning basic math facts.

Just the Math Facts Math Fact Websites Button

  1. A Plus Math  Here you will find games such as MATHO and Hidden Pictures that will have the kids practicing their math facts gladly!
  2. ABCya  On ABCya, students can play Math Fact Shoot Out, which is a basketball-style game that sports-lovin’ kiddos will thoroughly enjoy!
  3. Math Playground  These games are great for the competitive kid, because they allow them to play against other online players.  What fun!
  4. Fun Brain  Fun Brain has a great Math Baseball game for one or two players.  You can select which operation you want to work on, or choose them all!
  5. Sheppard Software  Exploring all the options on this site might take a while.  With so many options, there is surely something that will appeal to everyone!

Just the Math Facts iPad Apps Button

Last year I was blessed by my buildings PAC (Principal’s Advisory Committee) with an iPad to use with my kiddos with special needs.  Here are my FIVE favorite math facts apps I have discovered:

  1. Math Duel  I LOVE this app!  It is a multiplayer game that pits two players against one another…simultaneously!  Better yet, you can set each side of the iPad for different levels – and different operations, even!  What a wonderful thing for easy, instant differentiation!
  2. Math Blaster Hyperblast  Players have a good time holding the iPad as a steering wheel while trying to avoid obstacles as they steer their spacecraft in a fun, fast-paced game.  Word of warning however: it is very brightly colored and the fast movement of lights might be hard to handle for kids who struggle with sensory input.
  3. Timed Test  This is an app that lets you set up kids to take timed tests.  You can choose the operation, the numbers included, the time allotted, and whether to have the app give feedback (a certain sound to accompany incorrect and correct answers).  I appreciate this app because it keeps a record of past tests which allows for easy progress monitoring.  Not to mention I don’t have to spend time grading timed tests!!!!
  4. Math Bingo  Another fun way for kids to practice their basic facts is in a BINGO format.  🙂
  5. Sushi Monster  This Scholastic game has a twist on practicing basic math facts by providing the answer and having the kids find numbers that make that answer.  It is a fun game for kids to work together on.

In addition to all the above, I have several items for sale in my TeachersPayTeachers store that focus on basic math facts.  For more teaching tips, check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and (of course!) Pinterest.  🙂  And if you have a tip for teaching basic math facts, I sure would love to hear it!  Just leave it in the comments below!

The next stop on the “Just the Math Facts” blog hop is to Tabitha from FlapJack Educational Resources.  Head on over to learn more about Poke Card Math Facts.  🙂

FlapJack Educational Resources
Thanks so much for visiting!  🙂

Joy of Teaching