LaborLESS Blog Hop

Hello everyone!

Main Graphic Laborless

It is Finally here!

Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!
All of us have been thinking about  good ways in which to treat our readers and followers.   We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that  we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!
I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time to ourselves and our families.

So here I go!


Do you use centers in your classroom?  In my last few years in the classroom, math workshop was becoming popular and we were required by our district to use it in our classrooms.  I played around with many different formats before I finally found one that worked for me (you can read about that HERE) but I ended up with one that had 6 rotations/centers each week.  That can be A LOT of new games and activities to plan and prep for every week.  So here is my tip...don't!  Yep, that's right.  Don't prep and plan all new centers each week.  Reuse centers to make your job easier.  This is a great way to spiral your curriculum and continue working on skills that your students need more practice on.  It saves you in so many ways:
1. Extra time for practice built into your schedule
2. Less to plan and prep each week
3. Fewer centers to teach each week - some centers that your students are already comfortable with

The problem I ran into was how do I organize these different games and activities so I could pull them out again throughout the year.  My filing cabinet was organized by subject and it was packed with just the teaching materials I needed with no space for the games and activities.  The organizer in me would love to have different plastic bins that have cute labels for each topic (money, time, addition, place value, etc.) but the problem becomes storage.  Those cute bins would have to be up on a shelf.  So every time I wanted to reuse a game, I would have to go find the tub, stand on a counter or table to reach it and then find the game.  This is not saving me time!!!  Instead, I went super basic with crates and hanging file folders that I hid under my desk.  Each time we would play a new game, I would create a folder and put the pieces in a ziploc bag inside the folder.  Each time I would add a new one, it would go behind the others so that they were still generally sorted by topic and in chronological order.  It wasn't cute or pretty but it was functional and so easy to just reach under my desk, grab the game I needed and put it right into the correct center.  Time saver!!!!!!

Another way to build on this is to have centers that you use throughout the year where the format is the same, but the specifics might change.  For example, my students had a number book.  The book went from 1-100 with a page for each number.  For each number, they had to write it in multiple ways - base ten, tally marks, number sentence, in words, in expanded form, etc.  When I would put their number books out as a center, they knew exactly what to do.  I just told them what numbers they need to work on that day but they already knew how to complete the work.  A year long center - easy peasy!
Unwinding at home after a long day can be hard.  Not because teacher's don't know how to unwind but because we don't often make the time for it.  We come home and keep working on stuff for our classroom.  Or we come home and jump right into taking care of the house and our families.  One of my favorite ways to unwind is to watch something mindless on tv.  During the year, we have a few shows that we like to tape and I'll spend some time clearing out our DVR (especially on a Friday night or during the weekend).  I also like using Netflix so I can binge watch.  And because I can't just sit and unwind, I am usually multi tasking while I'm watching tv.  On the nights I just watch tv or a movie, I often fall asleep on the couch before it is over.  I can't even tell you how many movies or shows we've watched where my husband has seen the whole thing and I've only seen the beginning.  I usually like to watch something light and easy to follow, especially since I am doing other things so I am often just listening and not watching.  If you are looking for a new series to watch, here are a few I've liked:

Scandal - I got totally hooked on this after my second daughter was born.  I would often stay up after I'd fed her in the middle of the night  so I could finish an episode.  That will tell you how good this show is - when an exhausted new mommy forgoes sleep to watch!!  It is all about a woman who is a crisis manager in Washington DC but it is filled with romance, suspense and SCANDAL of course.

Gilmore Girls - I loved loved loved this show when it was on the air, bought the dvds after it ended, yet still binge watch it on Netflix.  It is about a mother and daughter and their relationship but it is set in a picturesque small town with quirky townspeople.  The dialogue is so quick and witty and filled with tons of cultural references.

Friday Night Lights - I didn't think I would like this one because football does nothing for me and it is the focus of the show (or so I thought).  While it is about a high school football team, it is more about the relationships between the players, the coach, his wife, the town, etc.  It is definitely a feel good show and makes you want to move to a small southern town.

Hart of Dixie - my current addiction.  Yet another show that just proves to me how fun life in a small southern town would be (a fantasy I've always had).  This one is all about a big city doctor who moves to a small town to work in a medical practice she inherited.  Then it follows her relationships and again has a quirky cast of characters that make it funny.

I could go on and on about other shows and movies that I love to watch to unwind, but those are my top picks for binge watching some mindless, uplifting (for the most part) shows.
As I mentioned above,  a great way to make math centers run smoothly throughout the year and save you time, is to have a year long center.  My graphing center is just that.  Let me show you how it works.
This center has three parts - estimating, sorting and graphing.  I would do this as a three week cycle.  So the first week the students take objects I put in the center and estimate them as a small group.

Then the following week, they take those same objects (now broken into smaller amounts so each student in the group has a bag to work with) and sort them three different ways.
The third week, they pick one of the ways that they sorted, use their tally chart and create a graph.  It could be a bar graph or a pictograph depending on what you are studying.

Here is the best part of this...once they learn the format of estimate, sort, graph they just repeat it all year long.  All you have to change is the objects in the center.  I liked to put seasonal objects in whenever possible (think candy, Christmas ornaments, hearts, fake flowers, etc.) and I would increase the number throughout the year to make it more challenging.  All the recording sheets stay the same.  You can have them all copied ahead of time. Students know what is expected of them.   Minimal work for you, yet an ever changing math center that practices a variety of skills.  Win, win!

Top all these great tips and ideas  with these top-notch prizes!

A $100 gift card to Amazon

A $50 gift card to TpT


2 $25 gift cards to TpT

1 $10 gift card to TpT

Thank you for reading! And now don't be silly and get your hands all over this awesome giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway