Catching up!

Ever since I got back from vacation, blogging has taken a serious backseat. Now that it’s finally starting to actually feel like spring, I’m spending a lot more time in the evenings outdoors with my fur babies (yay!!) and other shenanigans with the hubby.¬† Here are a few pictures to give you a snippet of life over the last few weeks:

The Good:

Art ShowChecked out my beautiful sister’s senior art show! So proud of her amazing talent (which I have less than none of).

CavernsVisited a cavern with my parents and Justin. The pictures turned out pretty awful but it was beautiful in real life!

FestivalSpent the day at a local downtown festival with the love of my life. Music, food, and lots of glorious sunshine!

The bad (for my health):

Chocolate shoesToo much wine and food at the aforementioned festival = sickness. ūüė¶ But it was worth it to snag one of these beauties: a chocolate shoe lollipop!!

OreosMy youngest sister visited and brought me these. Tastes like an Oreo with Dunkaroo frosting — best combination ever?? I think YES. Unfortunately, I polished this package off way too quickly and need to log some serious hours at the gym to make up for it!

The ugly:

Granola failAn entire box of my favorite granola ruined thanks to a not-as-closed-as-I-thought container. Complete and utter lunch-packing fail.

WindshieldThank goodness for insurance! My entire windshield cracked after a stray rock hit it on our trip to Charleston. Yikes!

The Threads:

A round-up of work outfits from the last few weeks. I finally got to break out some warmer-weather stuff! Yay!

03-27 Look 03-28 Look 03-31 Look 04-01 Look 04-04 Look 04-07 Look 04-08 Look 04-09 Look 04-11 Look

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And lastly, today’s outfit! I’m totally loving this new dress from Target! And thanks to the Cartwheel app, it was 15% off. Score!

04-13 Look 1 04-13 Look 2

Dress: Target (exact here) ~ Cardigan: Target (exact here) ~ Necklace: Maurices (similar here and here) ~ Bracelet: J. Crew Factory (exact here) ~ Shoes: Nine West (exact old, similar here)

Wedding Wednesday: The Decorations, Part 2

Not gonna lie, it’s been a long day and my hubster wants to chillax on the couch and catch up on last night’s episode of “The Voice” so I’m gonna just get right down to it so I can go join him! It’s Wedding Wednesday and the decorating fun continues!!

Wedding Wednesday

Our wedding took place on my grandparent’s farm, which is now owned by my parents. My parents decided to renovate the old farmhouse in the months before the wedding, and one of the things they updated was the windows. Putting new windows in = tons of old, rustic wooden windows for me to use for DIY decorations!! YAY!

Here are some of the ways I incorporated these windows into the decor:

DIY Window Pane with blown up photo

Believe it or not, this window frame came with the¬†perfect¬†amount of aging/distressing so I didn’t have to do anything to it. All I did was clean the window with some simple wood cleaner and it was done! I printed out the photo at Costco because it was the only place I could find that would print off a near poster-size picture and didn’t charge a ridiculous amount of money for it. Score!

Engagement pictures in rustic window frame. Wedding DIY.

I used the same process as before¬†(but with smaller pictures) in the above window frame.¬†I’m sure you can find some super crafty way of attaching photos to a window on Pinterest, but I’m going to be very real about the un-crafty way I created these.

1. I cleaned the window and glass.

2. I¬†placed one¬†picture at a time behind the glass of the window and moved it until the exact part of the picture I wanted to see¬†was “framed” by the window pane.

3. Without shifting the picture, I carefully pressed it into into the glass. Making sure the picture was flat against the window glass, I used my nail to bend a crease in the picture up against the side of the window frame. This marked the outline of the part of the picture I wanted to see

4. I cut out the picture using my crease as an outline (I left a slight edge around the crease in case I needed to shift the picture. Better to have to trim it a little more than realize I came up short!)

5. I used masking tape to attach the picture to the side of the window glass.

6. I repeated all those steps for the remaining three window panes!

Like I said, you’ll probably find a more conventional, “crafty” way to do this using fancier tools and a more exact method¬†on different blogs or DIY websites; however, this is what worked for me because it was quick and easy! I loved the result and no one saw the back of the windows anyways so the whole tacky-masking-tape-thing can stay our little secret, right?

Engagement photos in old window frame, stacked crates, DIY wedding decor

While I liked the first two window frames (which¬†were placed by the “welcome table” that I talked about in last week’s post), this last one was probably my favorite. I loved the double window; it was so unique! I¬†propped it up against this display of new and old crates found in my parents’ attic near the walkway where people went from the ceremony to the reception.¬†The yard at the farmhouse was very big and thus, difficult to decorate, so this display was a simple way of adding some cool decorations without spending a lot of time or effort or going overboard. I found the J & S letters at TJ Maxx and the wooden hearts were handcrafted by a dear family friend. The wine bottles were part of a whole ‘nother DIY project that I’ll discuss in a later post. I was really happy with how this display turned out!

In the spirit of window crafting, I’ll share one more thing! Our seating arrangement was created using an old storm door found in the attic of the old farmhouse.

Old door used to display seating chart. Wedding DIY

I alternated seating arrangement cards with engagement photos on the windows of the door and absolutely loved the way it turned out! For this, I used clear reusable tabs on the back of the photos and seating cards to attach them to the glass. My dad created a simple arch and used swinging screws to attach the door to the arch to put it at eye level with our guests.

seating arrangement on window pane

If you look closely, you’ll see I used the same tree design on the seating cards that we had on our invitations and programs. It was the perfect way to tie everything together!

All photographs are copyright of the fantastic Rothwell Photography.

And that concludes another Wedding Wednesday! Have a good evening!

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I am slowly inching my way into a spring wardrobe — here’s hoping the cold winter is finally gone!

Teacher outfit blog: pink and brown, bow belt, flower necklace

Sweater cardigan: Maurices (similar¬†here)~ Cami: Express¬†(exact old)~¬†Khaki pants: Maurices (similar¬†here) ~ Flats: Target (exact¬†here)¬†~ Belt: Via Plato‚Äôs Closet ~¬†Necklace: Lia Sophia ‚ÄúFlower Pot‚ÄĚ (no longer available; similar¬†here)

March Madness!

One of my favorite times of the year (in the sporting world, that is) is finally heeeeeeeere! First day of SPRING and it’s March Madness!

Now, I would never classify myself as a huge college basketball fan. I really don’t watch much during the regular season, though I am a huge Ohio State fan in all sports so I will occasionally watch a game of theirs. All that being said, I just LOVE the March Madness tournament!

Every year, I fill out two brackets. One is what I call my “coin flip bracket,” where every decision is based on the flip of a quarter (heads = top team wins, tails = bottom team wins). It’s so fun to see how things work out when it’s left purely to chance! I also fill out a “date night” bracket; Justin and I each fill out a bracket and exchange them. At the end of the tournament, whoever had the better bracket gets taken out to dinner by the loser. It’s a fun excuse to go out to eat and have some fun. ūüôā **Sidenote: Justin has beaten me the last two years but I have a good feeling about this year! Time to win a date!!

I have so much fun filling out my bracket that I thought I should incorporate it into my classroom too. Here’s what I did during my planning period today: Using March Madness in the classroomMy students all got really excited when they saw the bracket! I knew it would be a fun thing for them to see and keep track of the tournament with, but then I thought about trying to make this a learning experience too. Turns out, there are a lot of ways to make the bracket fun and educational! Here are a few ideas I came up with:

Making March Madness Work in the Classroom

1. Probability For this one, you have to take rankings out of the equation. I’d phrase a question like: “If all teams had identical records, what is the probability that . . .”

  • “. . . a team from the West wins the tournament?”
  • “. . . a team that begins with an ‘A’ or ‘C’ wins the tournament?”
  • “. . . Ohio State will win the tournament?”
  • “. . . the final match-up will be between Villanova and Arizona?”

Get creative! We did probability with marbles and cards and the students all felt that it wasn’t relevant to their lives. Now is a good time to engage their attention (even if it isn’t truly chance since there are rankings in real life)

2. Statistics Use the records to your advantage! Have the students discuss a particular game (have info up on the board for those who didn’t watch) and figure out a particular player’s statistics. (i.e. “Player B made 5 of 9 shots last night. What was his percentage of made shots?”)

3. Writing assignment Have the students make-up a story about an unbelievable upset (they can pick the teams from the bracket to write about) and have them give specific details using whatever writing strategy you’re currently working on (i.e. using specific adjectives, adding proper nouns, etc)

4. Graphing Have a poll question written on the board (I’m going to let students actually write on the board since they love to do that but you could have them do it by raising their hands). For example, your question could be:

  • “Who do you think will win the whole tournament?”
  • “Who do you think will win the South/East/West/MidWest?”
  • “Which is your favorite team still in the tournament?”

Collect student answers (you can have one student be the recorder as other students raise their hands or you can have them write their answer on the board — perhaps in simple tally form depending on how you worded the question). Then you can work on graphing the student responses in pie charts, bar graphs, etc.

5. Summary writing. Write a ton of statistics from a game that has been played up on the board and have students take that information and write a game re-cap summary. Remind them of important things summaries need (recount highlights and include major details such as the score) and have them make up a quote from a player or coach to include as practice for writing with quotations.

I’m very excited to implement this in my classroom! I’m going to just have a fun poll question on the board each day too so it stays interactive and keeps the students engaged. I think it will be fun! Please let me know if you have any other fun strategies for involving students in March Madness and I’ll gladly add them to my list!

***

Today’s outfit didn’t exactly scream “spring” but when it’s only gonna be a high in the mid-50s, it’s hard to go too crazy.

navy and white stripes, white pants, statement necklaceShirt: TJ Maxx (exact unavailable) ~ Pants: New York & Company (similar here) ~ Flats: Target (exact here) ~ Necklace: Purple Peridot (exact here)

Outfit catch-up + Juice!

Hi y’all!

Another day off of school due to snow (I don’t know about you, but I am READY for spring to get here!) which I spent cleaning, doing laundry, and . . . napping. Not even a little bit ashamed about it either.

Morning Burst Juice

Today for breakfast Justin and I tried a new juice and we LOVED it! I am calling it my “morning burst” juice because it seriously gave me the perfect boost of energy to start my day! This is definitely going to make it into our regular rotation.

Ingredients:

-2-3 handfuls spinach

-1 banana (two if they are small)

-1 large apple

-1/4 pineapple

-1 pear

Morning Burst Juice Ingredients

So delicious! I added water to mine to make it less thick but Justin loves the thicker/frothier taste so he didn’t. We were both big fans!!

Morning Burst Juice

Outfit Catch-up

Since I’ve been horrible at blogging lately, here are my latest work outfits! Details to all available pieces can be found on the wear page. Enjoy!

teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com

Wedding Wednesday: The Suit

Okay, people. Fess up.

Elsa-FrozenWho ticked off Elsa!?

Seriously, I can’t believe it is snowing again. We have already had several inches this afternoon and school has been canceled for tomorrow. While it will be nice to have a day off, I am getting antsy for spring!! I need some warm weather and bright colors back in my life!

Wedding Wednesday

Since last week’s post was all about my dress, I thought I should spend some time this week and talk about Justin’s suit. ¬†Finding the perfect suit was (shockingly) more difficult that finding the perfect dress.

Our requirements for a suit were seemingly pretty simple. We wanted something light tan and breathable since the ceremony was outdoors. We also wanted it to be fairly casual since our wedding theme was more fun than formal.

That’s it!

You would think we would have found tons of options but we struggled. I bet Justin tried on suits from at least 10 different stores and nothing was right. Most suits looked too formal or were too dark in color. I was about to give up and have him just wear khaki pants . . . until . . .

Justin

We found the perfect one!!

Justin’s suit was from Express, which was very fitting since that has long been one of my favorite stores. It was the best combination of everything we were looking for — breathable, the perfect mix of formal and casual, and the exact shade of khaki I was envisioning! Plus, we used one of those excellent Express coupons to get a sa-weet discount. Success!!

Originally J was planning on wearing the full three-piece suit, but once the day came, he just felt that the right thing was to ditch the jacket, roll up his sleeves, and keep it casual. I actually love that he did that — it was perfect! And did you see those¬†shoes!? He found navy and yellow boat shoes to match our colors online and convinced me that he should wear them. They are perfectly, ridiculously¬†him¬†and I’m glad he found them. He definitely stayed true to himself!

SJW0302

See what I mean? He’s ridiculous. And awesome.

Justin also wore a navy and green striped tie (all the guys wore variations or blue and green patterned ties but that’s another post) to complete the look. I¬†loved¬†the entire outfit, and he looked SO handsome. Mmmmm. ūüėČ

SJW0314 SJW0327

And there ya have it! My hubby on our wedding day. Lookin’ snazzy and keepin’ it real.

Have a great “hump” day!! If you are getting snow like me, be safe out there!

***

Today’s outfit was inspired by the Style Me Feb prompt “shades of sea and sky.” And yesterday’s was inspired by my desire for SPRING. Details on Wear page!

02-12 Outfit

Shirt: Express

Pants: Old Navy

Flats: Target

Necklace: Purple Peridot

Bracelet Set: Ruche

02-11 Outfit

Sweater: Old Navy

Blouse: Express

Pants: Kohls

Pumps: Maurices

Necklace: Lia Sophia

Clutch: Coach

Style Me Feb

Hi there!

I had a bit of a sleepy morning today and it took me a long time to wake up! i always get less sleep on Monday nights than other days of the week because Justin and I watch “The Bachelor” (yes, he watches on his own free will!!) and then I somehow always get sucked into “Castle” even though I’m already super sleepy. Both shows captivate me . . . for very different reasons. ūüôā

Style Me Feb

On sleepy mornings like this, waking up and selecting an outfit seem to be extra hard. My brain doesn’t want to function yet and it’s far more interested in finding a way to sneak back under the covers than color-coordinating and figuring out an outfit.¬† Lucky for me, I recently discovered “Style Me February” on Instagram and it has made getting dressed SO much easier!

Style Me FebStyle Me February was put together by Hilary (check out her adorable blog here) and so far I am loving it! It is a fun challenge (and sometimes very difficult–try wearing Broncos colors to a Super Bowl party while also incorporating animal print!) and helps give me ideas in the morning. Even though I had little brain power this morning, having a “theme” was a helpful way to kick-start an outfit!

This is also a great challenge for me to not shop and try to find ways to achieve the daily theme without buying new things. It’s inspiring me to get creative and look for new ways to utilize the stuff already in my closet. Win-win!

I encourage you to join me in this month-long challenge — even if you don’t want to attempt the whole thing but want some inspiration for a day’s look, check out the #StyleMeFeb hashtag on Instagram. It’s really neat to see how others style according to the day’s theme!

Happy Tuesday!

***

Today’s Outfit: “The Chicness of Black and White.” As always, links to outfit pieces can be found on the “wear” page.

02-04 Look

Jacket: Maurices

Tank: Express

Pants: New York & Company

Flats: Maurices

Necklace: Purple Peridot

Bracelets: Express

Super Bust + Treadmill Workout

Hey there!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are refreshed for another week! Some of Justin’s college friends come into town on Friday night and we had a great time hanging out with them and catching up. We also spent a lot of time playing games, which was awesome! Justin and I are huge gamers so we love when other couples come and are up for a little friendly competition. ūüôā

DominosLast night we went over to our friend’s house to watch the Super Bust (oops…I mean Super Bowl). Nearly everyone there had wanted the Broncos to win, so we were all really depressed most of the night. When the game got out of hand we ended up switching back and forth to the Puppy Bowl which was way more entertaining in my mind.

Speaking of puppies, how cute was the Budweiser commercial with the puppy and horse!? I died. SO adorable!!

Super Bowl CommercialTreadmill Workout

I have had a lot of knee injuries over the years and lately, running on a treadmill has become more painful on my joints (I know, I sound more like I’m in my mid-eighties rather than mid-twenties). Wintertime is the worst for me to stay motivated to keep my cardio routine up because I can’t run outside and I get bored on the elliptical every day. I recently tried mixing up my routine with some incline walking/light jogging and it has made a huge difference! I still get my heart rate up and feel like I got a good workout but I switch things up enough so that my knee doesn’t bother me by the end of it!

I wanted to share my routine with y’all in case anyone else could benefit from a change in workout. **Please note: I am not a personal trainer. This is just a workout that I have found to be beneficial to me. It may not be right for you, so please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current workout routine.

Treadmill Incline WorkoutThe thing I like about this workout (besides the fact that I can do it without causing pain to my knee) is that it keeps me from getting bored on the treadmill. Having to switch gears every two minutes keeps my mind occupied and my body from getting bored. I hope it works for you!

Have a wonderful Monday!

***

Here’s today’s outfit of the day, plus some catch-up outfits from the weekend. As always, links to available pieces can be found on my “wear” page.

Sweater: Forever 21

Jeans: Maurices

Boots: Forever 21

Scarf: TJ Maxx

Family of . . . FOUR!

Hi there!

I¬†finally¬†went back to work today after six days off of school due to weather. It was nice to be back — I was really starting to run out of things to do around the house and I was ready to get back to my students! It’s already snowing again though so we’ll see how long this lasts . . .

New Family Member

I am so excited to announce that my little family is growing!

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Before this gets out of hand, I should clarify that Macie’s new little sibling is furry and has four paws. (Gotcha, didn’t I? ;))

Justin and I have been talking about getting a second dog for probably a month now. We adore Macie so much and love having her in our family. She has been the perfect dog for us! However, we hate having to leave her at home by herself all day long. Justin is able to come home during lunch for now, but once he starts his medical school rotations, that will no longer be the case. She is such an active dog that we hate for her to sit around bored all day. We wanted a playmate for her!

simplifythechaos.com

Meet Macie’s new little brother, Scout!

Scout was rescued by good friends of ours last week. He was dumped off in the snow near their house and wandered up to their door in subzero temperatures (can you believe the cruelty of some people?! It makes me sick to think of how someone could do that to a puppy, or any pet for that matter) and was skin and bones. They immediately took him in. After calls to the local pound, no one had claimed him within the week and he wasn’t wearing a collar so we knew he had been abandoned and hadn’t just run away from his owners. My friend already had two dogs and so we decided to give him a home!

We are so in love with Scout already. He is such a sweetheart!

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Can you tell Justin is super excited to have another dude around? Macie is clearly a mommy’s girl so he is hoping that Scout is a daddy’s boy. ūüôā

We took him to the vet on Monday and other than some worms, a bit of frostbite on his tail (again, how can people dump a puppy off in freezing temps!?), and being very small due to lack of appropriate nutrition, she said he was actually in pretty good shape! He’s receiving worm meds, an antibiotic, ointment, and lots and lots of LOVE now so he is on the mend!

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Our vet’s best guess is that Scout is a cocker spaniel/hound mix and he is probably around 12 weeks old, though he looks much younger due to his size. We were so impressed with how well Macie took to him! She didn’t bark or growl when he went for her food bowl (although now they each have their own) and they love to play together! She does exhibit a bit of jealousy around me because she is used to getting all my attention, but overall she is very kind to him and they get along well!

They also like to snuggle and nap together ūüôā

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Aren’t they adorable?

We are so happy to have Scout join our family. My heart is FULL!

The only problem we have run into with Scout is with crate training. He HATES going into the kennel. I’m not sure if maybe he had a traumatic kennel experience prior to being dumped off. We’d really like to crate train him for potty training purposes, ¬†but I don’t want to make it a negative experience for him. I would love to hear any advice from other pet owners who may have experienced this!

Side note: If you are unable to care for your pet, please please PLEASE take the time to drop him or her off in a shelter or find someone to take him or her in. No pet should have to be kicked out into the cold and left alone.  And a huge thank you to those who are willing to open their homes to strays and rescues!

***

Today’s outfit of the day. Feels good to get to dress up again and not just lounge around in sweats.

Cardigan: Old Navy

Dress: Maurices

Belt: Maurices

Tights: Express

Pumps: Maurices

A “Grand” Christmas Vacation

Hello 2014!

I have been on Christmas break for the past two weeks and it has been WONDERFUL! At first, I set out with the intention to blog at least once or twice, but once our travels started I got way too involved with our family and friend time and decided to unplug entirely. It was so nice to just soak up every minute with loved ones!

Step one of our break was to go visit my family in Ohio. Since they live about 7 hours away from us, I don’t get to see them often. This was the first time I had been home in six months! It was SO nice to be back for a few days.

When we were home, Macie was introduced to my sister’s cat, Simba. After a rather timid greeting, they both got along well for the time we were home. I was very impressed!

simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.comChristmas morning, Justin and I woke up SUPER early . . . to go to the airport. Not exactly your typical Christmas but we were excited nonetheless! And at least it was a white Christmas!

simplifythechaos.comWe flew out to Phoenix, AZ for my college roommate’s wedding. The wedding wasn’t until Saturday, but we wanted to go out early to get the chance to explore the area. From the airport, we got a rental car and drove up to Flagstaff. By the time we had arrived, it was dark; however, we were able to drive around and see some beautiful Christmas lights!

simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.comWe also hit up a Sonic because it was literally the only thing open. Justin had never been to one before (!!!) so he was excited. How’s that for our first married Christmas together?

simplifythechaos.comThe next morning we woke up super early and headed out to the Grand Canyon. I really wanted to catch the sunrise! It was SO worth the loss of sleep!

simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.comSTUNNING! Pictures simply do not do it justice.

We traveled back to Flagstaff for lunch and hit up a place called NiMarco’s Pizza. It was recommended to us from a friend who has lived in Flagstaff and it did not disappoint! Definitely a must try if you are in Flagstaff!

simplifythechaos.comI wish we would have had more time to explore Flagstaff but we needed to head back into Phoenix for the bachelor/bachelorette party so we got on the road after lunch. The drive was so scenic — I loved every minute!

simplifythechaos.comAfter a super fun lingerie party for the bride-to-be, we headed out into Phoenix for a joint bachelor & bachelorette party. We hopped around to a few different bars and restaurants before ending up at a place called The Duce. Honestly, I had some reservations when we walked up to what seemed like a huge warehouse but inside it was like no place I’ve ever seen before! A combination bar/karaoke lounge, it has ping pong, hula hoops, a clothing store, milkshake/sweet shoppe stand, and tons of other random and fun things to do. It was absolutely amazing! We loved it.

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After my friend Kelsey and I rounded out the night with a crowd-pleasing rendition of “It’s Gonna be Me” by N’Sync (crowd-pleasing in that they liked the song choice…not necessarily our singing!) we called it a night. So fun!

Justin and I were able to do a lot of sightseeing and some hiking in the days before the wedding. Our favorite was a morning hike that overlooked all of the Phoenix area. It was breathtaking!

simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.comThe wedding took place at a winery about an hour outside of Phoenix. It was such a beautiful setting and the weather was perfect!

It was so good to see all of my best friends from college and celebrate my friend’s wedding! Justin and I both agreed we have to come back to Phoenix sometime. We loved everything about it and had such a great time there!

simplifythechaos.comAfter a super-early flight back, my family picked us up at the airport on Sunday for a quick lunch and reunion with Macie (she was VERY excited to see us!)

simplifythechaos.comAfter lunch, we hit the road to Virginia to celebrate Christmas with Justin’s family.We had a great time visiting with them! I especially loved playing with our little nephew, who absolutely loved playing with my phone and taking pictures of himself.

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Overall, Christmas was a HUGE success and we loved every minute! Now it’s back to work and starting out a new year!

Happy 2014! May your year be blessed!

***

Today’s outfit was almost entirely composed of Christmas presents. What a fun way to start the new year!

01-02 Outfit

Sweater: Old Navy

Blouse: New York & Company

Pants: New York & Company

Pumps: Maurices

Bib Necklace: Forever 21

Here’s one for the alliteration lovers

*Nerd alert*

I’m a sucker for some good alliteration. So when I was thinking about what to post today, the idea of a “Teacher Tuesday” popped into my head and just wouldn’t go away. I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to posting a teaching activity¬†every¬†Tuesday, but the idea sure sounds good at least for today!

As a special education teacher in a middle school, I do a¬†lot¬†of remediation. It’s so heartbreaking for me to see the gaps that some students have in their foundational knowledge. I’m currently working with a group of sixth graders who have somehow made it to middle school without knowing their times tables. Since sixth graders in Virginia cannot use calculators on the statewide assessments, it’s essential that my students commit the facts to long-term memory; however, many of them have a disability that hinders their ability to do this without a lot of repetition. Because of this, I am taking the last 15 minutes of my co-taught math class everyday to practice, practice, P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E!

While repetition is good, it can also be pretty darn boring to just repeat facts over and over again. Flash cards are great but over and over again, every single day? Snooze.

One way I keep my students interested is to let them practice multiplication facts on their desk. As in, I let them write on their desks. Like, ON their desks.

Multiplication Practice-Write facts on desk with expo marker!-001All you need is an expo marker, a clean desk, some dry erase board cleaner spray, and a paper towel. Before introducing this to your students though, I would TEST a tiny area to make sure it will wipe off. It has worked on every “wooden” desk I’ve tried but if you have a white-top desk, you may want to proceed with extreme caution.

Ways I use this activity include:

1- Giving students a fact family and having them write all facts 0-12 on their ¬†desks (above I had them write all the “3’s”).

2- Clear 12 desks and number them all 1-12. Each desk is a fact family and the student needs to travel the room and write one (or two) fact for each family on that desk.

3- Call out products and have them write the problem that would go along with that product on their desk. For example, I might call out “21” and the student would write ‘7 x 3 = 21’ on his or her desk. It’s also a good way for them to think about products with many factors (i.e. “24” can be ‘2 x 12,’ ‘3 x 8,’ ‘4 x 6’ so challenge students to come up with all three problems on their own). They should write small enough to have space for several problems and then you can check them over or go over them as a class.

4- Roll dice and write a multiplication problem on the desk with the numbers rolled. (More to come on that in next week’s Teacher Tuesday!)

I occasionally have students walk around and check another student’s desk. They love being able to “grade” and give their peers 100% or stars. (I don’t do this until every student is nearing mastery of the particular fact family).

My students LOVE this activity because it is something different. They never get to write on their desks and, in fact, normally get in trouble for it. Getting to “break the rules” and write on their desks is fun and motivates them to practice. I actually had one student who¬†hates¬†completing worksheets tell me how much fun he was having writing his times tables. Did you catch that?¬†Fun. Writing his times tables. I don’t know about you, but I consider that to be a major success!

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Today’s outfit was bright and colorful–it was our first “snow” (more like a dusting) and the weather was pretty dreary so I needed to brighten it up with my wardrobe!

11-12 Outfit 3

Sweater: Target

White button down: Express

Khaki pants: Maurices

Shoes: Kohls

Necklace: Bluetique

Bangle set: Ruche (shopruche.com)