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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Help Teachers Clear the List!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Have you heard about "Clear the List"?! It's a movement to support teachers by purchasing items from their supply lists. 

Back to school time is coming up fast (it's already here for some of us). Teachers are getting ready for the start of a shiny new year. But, as most teachers know, we often spend money out of our own pockets to buy supplies. That's where "Clear the List" comes to the rescue! 

If you're a teacher . . .

Head over to Amazon to create a classroom wishlist and then share it publicly. You can also share the link to your list on social media with #clearthelist so that others can find it and help YOU clear your list! 

To make your teacher wishlist:

1. Go to "Account & List" at the top of any of the Amazon pages. Then click on "Create a List." Don't forget to name your list!

2. Go to the 3 dots MORE menu on the right. IMPORTANT: Click on Manage List to make sure your shipping address is correct. 

3. Then choose whether your list is public or private and whether or not it is for an organization. 

4. Just click "Save" and start adding your items! 

5. You will add by finding the items on Amazon and clicking on the gray "Add to List" under the Buy box (You might have to scroll down. It took me a minute to find it.).

Make sure to share your wishlist on social media using #clearthelist. Don't forget to share it in the comments below, too! 

Happy teaching!

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Why I (Heart) Boom Cards™!


Boom Cards™ are one of the coolest things I've seen in a while! They can be thought of as mini apps or digital task cards. AND they are created by teachers! You can even purchase an Ultimate membership ($25 per year) and make them yourself! Each deck has a certain number of cards, tasks, or questions (usually 20) for the student to complete. Decks have already been created for a wide variety of subjects, including math, reading, phonics, science, social studies, and more! They work on interactive white boards, desktops, iPads, tablets, and even your phone! So, they can be practiced in a large group format, then individually.

The decks come in different formats. Some are multiple choice, some are drag and drop, while others include fill-in-the-blanks or have multiple correct answers. I love how this provides teachers with many options for helping students practice different subjects, while offering the students unique ways to interact with the material. You can even add sounds so that students can have the directions or sight words read to them.


I have been using Boom Cards with my kindergarten class for a couple of months now. Here are the features I love:

1) Students can practice content that exactly matches our curriculum! Right now, they are working on making numbers 11-20, identifying sight words, counting objects, and beginning addition.

2) I can add my own sounds! I use this feature to add an icon for students to click when they need to hear the directions. I also use it to ask students to find specific sight words. The possibilities are endless!

3) Since the content is digital, I can use as much color as I want . . . and give absolutely no thought to how much ink it will use! So I add photos for the backgrounds to make them interesting and artwork from the best clipart artists around. I can add so many things to make the cards more engaging and fun!

4) Students can practice at home! No more summer slide!!! You can send the link, username, and password home for each student. This makes it easy and fun for students to work on academic skills over school breaks!

5) You can assign decks to the whole class or individual students! This is huge! This way, I know that each student is working right at his/her instructional level. 

6) BoomLearning.com is always improving! They are very busy getting feedback from teachers and creators. They are always adding new features and improving old ones. I love having new features to add to my decks!


Boom Cards™ are self-grading, DIGITAL resources. They live in the cloud. They can't be printed. They play on most modern browsers, Android, iPads, iPhones, and Kindle Fires. You open a Boom Learning account to play them (to protect the children). Create Fast Play pins to assign your Boom Cards™ to students.

If you are a new Boom Learning customer, when you redeem your Boom Cards™ purchase you get 90-day free trial of a premium account. When your trial ends, you can renew or move to a free account. You may upgrade, downgrade or cancel at any time. Free accounts use purchased Boom Cards with Fast Play pins. Boom Learning also has premium accounts. Premium accounts offer advanced assignment tools, individual and whole class performance tracking, and more.

To read more about these offers on the Boom Learning site, CLICK HERE

AND . . . CLICK HERE for more info on adding Boom Cards to Google Classroom(TM). 


There's no better way to see what Boom Cards™ are all about than to try them for yourself! Every deck on the site has a four-card preview. That way, you know exactly what you are getting. Or, download one of my FREE decks! Just click on the photos below to take a look! Download the freebie and click on the link in the resource. 

Don't forget to follow my shop on Boom Learning! Just click here. 
Happy teaching!

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Response To All the Homework Haters

(Photo: Dreamstime)

There seem to be a lot of homework haters out there lately. And, in certain respects, I am among them. As a mom of 3 grade school kids, I know I look like the mom in the picture above more days than not. Is it a hassle to come home, make dinner, give baths, do after school activities, wash clothes, AND do homework? Sure it is. Do the kids WANT to do homework? Of course not. So then the question becomes: Is homework worth it? 

Despite all the negative press given to homework lately, my own short answer to this question is yes. 

The foremost researcher on homework (by many accounts) is Dr. Harris Cooper. His most recent work is a meta-analysis of homework research, "Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003". Several recent blog posts and articles have taken his work to mean that homework is, at least at the elementary school level, pointless. One example is the article "Homework is Wrecking Our Kids." I, however, do not agree. 

Some parents, teachers, and perhaps even school districts seem to be reacting to this plethora of recent articles by getting rid of homework or by contemplating doing so. But, let's first take a look at the findings of Dr. Cooper. To quote the article: "The authors found that all studies, regardless of type, had design flaws. However, both within and across design types, there was generally consistent evidence for a positive influence of homework on achievement. Studies that reported simple homework-achievement correlations revealed evidence that a stronger correlation existed (a) in Grades 7-12 than in K-6 and (b) when students rather than parents reported time on homework"(Cooper, 2006). Yet, as his ideas for future research suggest, it is important to note that not enough research has been conducted on homework in the early elementary grades. Cooper also admits that not all of the positive effects of homework are measured by current research. It would be difficult to measure "better critical thinking" and "greater self-discipline." These are both included in his long list of the possible benefits of homework. Furthermore, the research seems to suggest that the length of time spent on homework is another salient variable that must be addressed.

I would argue that, although homework is certainly not my favorite spend-time-with-your-kids activity, it is certainly important. I have noticed many benefits for students (both from the perspective of a teacher AND that of a mom). While the list below is a short one, my hope is to provide homework haters (myself included) with another perspective. Let's remind ourselves of some of the positive outcomes of homework and ways in which take-home assignments might be altered, becoming an effective educational tool. 

Benefits of Homework

1.  Basic skill acquisition. While most of the benefits in the research were found to occur in high school, I would really like to see more research challenging this. What about learning addition facts? The multiplication tables? There is no doubt in my mind that learning the basics (in any subject or field) makes it easier to handle more complicated material later on. I'll admit that, true to the research, the effects might not be seen right away in terms of grades or test scores. But what happens to the student who does not learn, for example, basic math facts?

2. "Practice makes perfect." My band director (shout out to Mr. E) always said this right after he gave us a piece to take home and do for HOMEWORK. My children practice the violin almost every day. Why? Because if you do not practice, you will never be good at something. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes 10,000 hours of practice (i.e. homework) to become proficient at something (Gladwell, 2008). There are just not enough hours in the day to do that at school. This is the part where students put the basic skills into practice, using them to advance their knowledge in a subject (e.g., as they solve increasingly difficult math problems).

3.  Self-discipline and time management. These are both very important skills that students must learn. Both are vital to obtaining and maintaining A JOB in adulthood. Right now, in our early elementary household, we are in the "nagging" phase. Did you do your homework? Do you have homework? Did you read that book? Did you turn in that paper? Sometimes, it seems like this is all I do. But, one day in the not-so-distant future, my hope is that they will each be able to do this on their own. If students do not learn these skills, then how can they keep a job?

Tips for Meaningful, Effective Homework

1. Keep it short and sweet. My first suggestion to teachers is to keep it short and to the point. Nobody (especially parents such as myself) likes busy work. The National PTA suggests 10 minutes per grade level (see NEA on homework). That's just enough to remind students of what they did during the day, provide a little practice, and not give parents even more gray hair! 

2.  Keep the student in mind. Sorry teachers, but I absolutely believe that homework should be differentiated as much as possible. Keep in mind 3 things: 1) What skill does Johnny need to work on?  2) Can someone in his family help him?  3) Can this work easily be completed at home? 

As an aside, I think this aspect of assigning homework also addresses the socio-economic issue that concerns many homework haters. I think it's inconceivable to think of removing homework because some students don't have an enriched home life. I believe that's doing the student further injustice (a topic for another day). If Johnny doesn't have the resources at home, then you send them home with him. For example, how difficult is it to include crayons? Often, for these students, I would send home something he/she could "brag" about, such as a book he could already read (while still working on fluency) or a fun practice game to play (including some math facts he already knew or with manipulatives).

3. From a parent's perspective, can these "projects" be a little easier, please? I never realized what I was doing to parents until I became a parent and had to be the one actually DOING the projects. I'll never forget helping my daughter with her (supposedly simple) Hundredth Day poster. Poster board? We don't have one just lying around. What is the absolute easiest way we can get this done and have it still look okay? Stickers! Oh, yeah. I'll need to buy those, too. 

In conclusion, while I see the point that many homework haters are making, I don't think it means that we need to "throw the baby out with the bath water" where homework is concerned. Homework does have its advantages. We do, however, need to be mindful of providing meaningful homework in an age-appropriate amount. Most importantly, we need to have a REASON for assigning homework.  For me, the main reasons are the 3 listed above: practice with the goal of proficiency, time management and self-discipline, as well as basic skill acquisition. I don't think we need to become "homework haters" just yet. At least not until we've done more research. 

Happy homeworking!

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

K-2 Curriculum Bundle

Don't miss this resource-packed curriculum bundle that's available on Educents for a limited time! It includes over $100 worth of products for only $19.99! The resources cover reading, writing, math, science, and social studies for K-2. 

Two of my products are included in this bundle. The first one is "Sight Word Sentences Add and Read for Spring." This set of printables helps students practice sight words, addition, AND fluency. One thing I love about this resource is that students of different reading levels can play it at the same time! Note that, in the picture below, a kindergartener and a second grader can play together! 

The second product is "Addition Fun with Friends." This is a set of multipurpose task cards to help students practice addition facts. They can be used as a card game, task cards, or for a game of Scoot! 

This curriculum bundle contains 20 different resources that are just right for K-2. 
CLICK HERE to take a look! 

Happy teaching! 

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Valentine Write the Room FREEBIE!

Hi, everyone! I have a NEW freebie for you! My write the room freebies have been quite popular, so I thought you could use a set for Valentine's Day, too! Plus, I just love it when students are up and moving around WITH A PURPOSE! 

This set makes a super easy writing center. Just print a copy, laminate, and add a dry erase marker! Or . . . print the small blackline copy and cut it in two. These make wonderful little sheets for students to write on and take home. 

As I was making this set, my husband said, "But honey, there aren't many words that begin with V." True. So, if you don't have a word in your room that starts with V, you can just have students fill in the lines with any word. This would be a great way to differentiate the activity by having your high flyers search for words that begin with each letter. 

To grab your FREE set, please click on the picture below. The link will take you to Google Docs where you can download a copy for your classroom. Since this is a FREE resource, feel free to share it with others!

Happy teaching! 

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

FREE Bump Addition Games for All Year! K-3

I love it when students are engaged, learning, AND having fun! Bump games are a great way for students to practice math facts. They work well in math centers, for early finishers, as small group practice, or as a take home activity. Here are a few that I have gathered in one spot for your convenience. Download a few and have bump games available for your students throughout the year! 

** If your freebie is featured here, you can download a "Featured Freebie" blog button for your blog. You can find it HERE! **

Back to School
Welcome Back Bump from Sunny Days
     This set includes addition, multiplication, AND blank versions! 

Back to School Bump from Differentiation Station Creations
     This set includes a printable page with the game. 

     What a great addition to a fall unit on apples! 

Halloween Bump from Games 4 Learning
     Two game boards are included in this set: addition and subtraction. 

Boo Bump from Teacher Tam
     This set includes games for addition, subtraction, and multiplication.

Grandma Thanksgiving Roll and Cover from Mary Lirette
     I use one of the games from this set as a bump game, too. It's fun to put a copy of the "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie" book (Alison Jackson) in a bag with this game and send it home. Students love it! 
Fall Addition Bump from Covered in Glitter and Glue
    Here's another fun, fall-themed version of bump! 

100th Day Bump from Susan Montague
     Here's another fun activity to add to your 100th Day celebration! 

Groundhog Bump from Kathy Law
     A cute resource for Groundhog Day is always a plus! 

Valentine Bump from Easy Peasy Primary Resources
     Your students are sure to "love" this version! 
You Stole My Heart Game from Hilary Lewis
     There are addition and multiplication games in this set. 

Polar Pals Bump Games from Sandy's Learning Reef
     This set has games for addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Isn't this one cute?! 

Winter Sports Bump from Sweet Integrations
     This set includes a blank board, too!

Gingerbread Bump by Teacher Tam

     Here's another one of my bump games. It has boards for adding 2 numbers and 3 numbers. There are also boards in Spanish! 

Snowman Bump from Kathy Law
     This game covers addition doubles facts.

     How cute are these little guys?!

Christmas Bump from Primary Packrat
     This set would be great to use at home over the break! 
Holly Jolly Bump from Carla Hoff
     This set has several bump games. It includes both full color and blackline versions.


Bump in the Garden from Miss Galvin Learns
    Let's hop to some addition practice with this eye-catching game!

St. Patrick's Day Game Set (including bump) from Sweet Integrations
  This set includes a game of bump, a board game, and a roll and cover game.

Easter Bump from Sheree Peterson
     This set includes 4 different version of bump. 

Springtime Bump from Tracy Smith
     Bump games like this one work well as math centers, for early finishers, as a home activity, or for small group practice. 

Butterfly Bump from Linda's Learning Loot
     This would make a fun addition to a science unit on butterflies! 

Fiesta Fun Bump for Cinco de Mayo from Alicia Coletti
     I love finding colorful resources like this one! What a fun way to celebrate!

Summer Bump Game from Teaching Trove
     Things that remind me of the beach are my favorite! This game is sure to be a favorite with your student(s), too! 

Lemonade Bump from Kim Mueller EdD
     My own kids LOVE lemonade, so I just had to include this version! 

Summer Math and Literacy Freebie--and a Bump Game--from Teacher Tam
     This set includes an ice cream themed bump game! 

Great for any time of the year!

Bubblegum Bump from Mrs. Nelson is Missing
     Here's some colorful addition practice for your students! 

Super Bump from Paiges of Learning
   Your students will think this version of bump is just "super!"

Bow Wow Bump from That's So Second Grade
     For the first game, students will add 2 numbers and subtract the sum from 20. The second game is multiplication bump. 

Ninja Bump from Sunny Days
     I had to include this in honor of my youngest son--the ninja! 

Space Bump from Kindergarten Couture
    This game is perfect to include in a unit about space! 

Birthday Bump from Kathy Law
     Here's another bump game for doubles facts.

I hope you found a few practice games that your students will love!
Happy teaching!

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