Why You Need to Make Time for Fractions

We recently completed a unit on fractions and my oldest kiddo had done really well with identifying, comparing, and writing fractions.  In fact, he told me that he was ready to move on from fractions. Well the beauty of homeschool is that we could just totally move on!  But when I thought for a minute, I suddenly thought of a way to stretch his thinking in regards to fractions a bit.  I knew that he could pretty easily identify that thirty minutes was one half of an hour and even that a quarter of an hour was fifteen minutes. But would he recognize that one-sixth of an hour was ten minutes?  Or that five-sixths was fifty minutes?  We were about to find out.  I sent him to play for a few minutes so I could print out some clocks.  (Plus, it gave his little brain a break, which is so important!)

Then we set out to do a little exploration!  He cut out the clocks, partitioned circles into equal parts, and discovered different fractions of time.  It definitely caused him to think a bit.  Could he partition the clock into six equal parts?  Twelve equal parts?

Out of this spur of the moment lesson, it made me remember a few important things!  Making connections between concepts truly strengthens learning.  By integrating time and fractions, my kiddo now has a better and deeper understanding of these concepts.  Rather than seeing these skills in isolation, he saw how they worked fluidly.  Isn't that what we want for our students?  Isn't that more realistic in terms of how we learn in life anyway?

Plus, by focusing on time and fractions, learning had become more authentic and meaningful for him. And authenticity and meaning help lead the brain to better remember information!  I don't know about you but I need to do all I can to help strengthen my little learners' neural pathways!!

One more reason that combining these math skills was a good ideas is that the idea of a challenge was very motivating for him.  Earlier he in our day he stated that he knew everything about fractions.  By stretching his cognitive abilities a bit, he was excited to continue focusing on the topic.  Presenting children with a problem or question and allowing them to explore the answer or test and retest ideas is always highly stimulating for kiddos.

So in order to allow your students to connect time and fractions, I've created a little freebie that you can grab by clicking on the picture above.  I've created it to be a guided exploration but you could certainly make it very open ended and have your students come to some conclusions on their own about fractions.  And you could extend it to discuss even smaller fractions, such as 1/20 or 1/60.  

I'd love to hear how what fun things you do to teach fraction and/or time.  Have you ever integrated these skills?  If you did, what did you do and how did you see the benefits in your students?

Earth Day Fun

Earth Day originated on April 22, 1970 as a demonstration led by Gaylord Nelson with a call to action for Americans to begin paying attention to the environment.  People around the world continue to celebrate Earth Day every year on April 22 and I'm sure that you'll be leading your students or children in some activities to help them become more environmentally aware.

As I was planning Earth Day activities for us to do in homeschool, I first reflected on why I choose to celebrate Earth Day with my kiddos.  The main reason goes back to the creation of this earth.  God created this earth as our temporary home and I want to be a good steward and care for it as best as I can.

Plus these two guys (and their little sis) LOVE to be outside!  I want to pass on to them a desire to appreciate the beauty of nature and to instill in them habits that will help them best care for our earth. I plan to build environmental awareness in developmentally appropriate ways.

During the planning process, I came across Earth Day Network.  This website shares that this year's focus for Earth Day is Environmental and Climate Literacy.  There is a free toolkit that you can download that includes integrated and web-based activities to help you teach your students about climate change.  If you click the logo below, it will take you to the toolkit.

In addition to some of the activities from the Earth Day Network Toolkit, we'll do plenty of reading about topics like the Three R's:  Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse. A great nonfiction book to read to your kids is called Let's Find Out About Recycling by Dr. Mike Goldsmith.  In addition to great content, there are lots of text features that you can use to reinforce expository text structure.

Another thing we'll do, which is super simple, but my kids will love is to plant some flowers and some veggies.  Planting flowers will give us opportunities to talk about the benefits of plants to our environment and about how they remove pollutants from the air.  We are also going to plant a few vegetables in container gardens.  They love caring for the vegetables, watching them grow, and enjoying the harvest when they time comes.

I've got a few more projects planned for Earth Day that I'll share with you later but I want to leave you with a freebie that you can use with your own students.  Yay!!   My We Heart Earth Day Freebies pack includes a short reading selection (Lexile 700) that focuses on the 3 R's.  There is an accompanying worksheet that has students identify the definitions of three vocabulary words and two comprehension questions to check for understanding.  This would be a great morning work activity or just a supplement to any of your Earth Day learning.  In addition to the comprehension selection, there is a poster that you can print for your kiddos to complete where they can illustrate and write about ways they plan to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

If you'd like to have this freebie, just click on the picture below to grab it from my TPT store.

How are you planning to celebrate Earth Day?  What resources will you use with your kiddos?  I'd love to hear from you!

TPT Seller Challenge {Makeover Madness}

Hey y'all!  I was so super excited when the fabulous ladies over at Third in Hollywood, Teach Create Motivate, Sparkling in Second, and Peppy Zesty Teacherista came up with this amazing idea for a TPT Seller Challenge.  It is just exactly what I needed to get myself motivated to improve my products and store!

Week 1 was all about making over some products!  I have lots I want to work on but only got one accomplished this week.  I updated the fonts, added new clip art, and just went for a cleaner look!  Go check out this product in my store-it's 50% off ALL WEEKEND LONG!

Also, I updated the cover of one of my favorites a few weeks ago and I've decided to put it half off this weekend too!  Go check it out! =)

Can't wait to get started on some more makeovers as well as learn more about next week's challenge!  Have a blessed weekend!

Quick Tip to Get Ready for the New School Year and Some Amazing Giveaways

Hi y'all, if you are already on summer break like we are, I hope you're relaxing and soaking up the sun!  If you are still in school, I hope that the days pass quickly for you!  Regardless of which category you fall into, I bet the new school year is the last thing on your mind.  But I'm here to tell you that one of the best things you can do to start a successful new school year is prep a little in advance.  All of my colleagues thought I was a crazy lady but I would always spend my very last workday of the year prepping things like my Crayon Box Craftivity and Back to School Blacklines  for the first week of school.  Then I'd put it in my closet and enjoy my summer, knowing that I had one less thing to worry about on those hectic workdays at the beginning of the new year.
                                           Crayon Box Craftivity:  A Team Building Activity (Back to

I also wanted to let you guys know that I am taking part in a few amazing giveaways right now and I hope you'll go enter!  You can win some fabulous products...and get them ready now or later...your choice! =)

First up, Ashley from Teaching in the Net is celebrating her birthday all month long with a giveaway each week!
                                                          Teaching In The Net

You can win my Be the Teacher pack, great for the end of year or file it away for next year!  Just click the picture below to head to the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Then Kristin over at the Therapeutic Teacher is having a giveaway each day this week!  

                                  PNG Image

If you want to see what's included in each giveaway, click on the image below or simply enter using the Rafflecopters below (I'm Wendy Smith)!

You can win an awesome ELA bundle (including my own Questioning Resource Pack) by entering here
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or you can enter the Math bundle (which has my Place Value Rock Stars Pack)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, you can enter to win some fabulous back to school packs (which has my Back to School Blacklines!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Five for Friday

Happy Friday y'all!  I hope you've had a great week!  I'm sure you're ready for some rest and relaxation. We have a super busy weekend so there won't be much resting but lots of fun plans, so we're excited!

So to wind up the week, I thought I'd give you a peek into our week.  I'm linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly Five for Friday linky!

We started this week learning about seeds!  We read the traditional story, Jack and the Beanstalk.  We made these cute little finger puppets from Scholastic and my oldest gave an oral retelling of the story.

After the oral retelling, he completed this graphic organizer to summarize the story.

It's an oldie but goodie and it's totally FREE in my TPT store!  Just click on the picture below:

Sticking with the seed theme, we did a simple investigation of a lima bean (doesn't take much to get him excited...he loves anything science related!) and we labeled the parts.

A few days later, we put a lima bean and damp paper towel in a baggie.  We attached the baggie to these super adorable houses made by The Chalkboard Garden!

We also worked on telling time this week and we are learning to tell time to the hour and half hour.  We got outside one sunny day (hence the quality of the pic and squinty eyes) and made a hula hoop clock to practice with.

In preparation for next week and telling time to the quarter hour, I made this little task card set.  They can easily be used as task cards, as a center, as a Scoot game, or as a write the room type activity.  If you're interested in it, click on the picture to go to my TPT store.

And I'd love to give a copy of it away!!  Simply click below to follow me on Instagram and follow the directions there!

                                                Image result for instagram

Have an AMAZING weekend! =)

A Giveaway!!! (Updated Directions on How to Enter)

Well friends, I was so excited about March Madness and participating in the March Blogger Match Up!
Unfortunately for me, Gonzaga lost to Duke!  Fortunately for you though, that means I am going to host a giveaway!!  I am going to giveaway your choice of any two items from my TPT Store (Wendy Smith). Just go follow me on Instagram (One Happy Teacher) and follow the directions for the giveaway there.

 Good luck!!!

March Blogger Match Up

Y'all, I am sooo excited to team up with some amazing bloggers for a March Madness style Blogger Match Up!
Ashlyn over at The Creative Classroom had this fun idea to help us cheer on our favorite teams and teacher bloggers at the same time!  There are 64 competitors and I can't wait to see who wins!! 

Each time a team loses that blogger will be giving away a product on his/her blog!  Be sure to follow the blogs below so that you can have a chance to win!!!

Learning with Mrs. Langley cheering on Belmont
Second Grade Stories cheering on Indiana
The Neat and Tidy Classroom cheering on UC Irvine
Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten cheering on Coastal Car.
Miss Johnston's Journey cheering on Maryland
The Creative Classroom cheering on San Diego State
Fifth in the Middle cheering on Wichita State
Lessons with Coffee cheering on Arkansas
The Kinder Garden cheering on Notre Dame
Exploring Elementary cheering on NC State
Inspired Owl's Corner cheering on Oregon
Frampton's Fundamentals cheering on New Mexico State
Learning in the Little Apple cheering on Michigan State
NC Teacher Chick cheering on Utah State
A Tall Drink of Water cheering on Baylor
Sara J Creations cheering on Oklahoma
ELA Everyday cheering on Duke
The Blessed Teacher cheering on Lafayette
Mrs. 3rd Grade cheering on VCU
Rock & Teach cheering on Albany
Create Teach Share cheering on North Dakota State
One Happy Teacher cheering on Gonzaga
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas! cheering on Iowa State
First Grade Roars! cheering on SF Austin
The Learning Chambers cheering on Hampton
Teaching is Sweet cheering on Eastern Washington
Sounds Like Fun cheering on Louisville
Confessions of a Teaching Junkie cheering on Cincinnati
Year2tastic cheering on Kansas
Sparkling in Second cheering on Wyoming
Making Meaning with Melissa cheering on Purdue
One Sassy Teacher cheering on Villanova
Brittany Kiser cheering on Texas
Coach and Teach 24/7 cheering on St. John's
Hardcore Teacher Resources cheering on LSU
The Whole Wheat Class cheering on Oklahoma
Mixing It Up In The Middle! cheering on Mississippi
Teaching Maddeness cheering on UAB
Its Elementary My Dear cheering on Ohio State
Live Love Serve Teach cheering on Providence
 Education Kingdom cheering on North Carolina
A Dab of Glue Will Do cheering on Dayton
Learning to be Awesome cheering on Kentucky
Technology Timeout cheering on Harvard
Kovescence on the Mind cheering on Butler
Blossoms of Blue in 2 cheering on North Eastern
Mrs. D's Corner cheering on Robert Morris
Where the Wild Things Learn cheering on Buffalo
Bright Concepts 4 Teachers cheering on North Iowa (UNI)
A Trendy Teacher cheering on Valparasio
Lucky to Be In First cheering on Wisconsin
O-H So Blessed! cheering on Virginia
Tales of Teaching with Tech cheering on Woffard
Very Perry Classroom cheering on Arizona
A Kindergarten Life for Me cheering on Georgia
First Grade Buddies cheering on Iowa
Miss Case's Classroom cheering on Georgetown
A Grace-Filled Classroom cheering on West Virginia
Third Grade Cupcakes cheering on SMU
The Class Couple cheering on Xavier
More Time 2 Teach cheering on Georgia State
Owl-ways Learning cheering on UCLA

I'm rooting for Gonzaga (and side note, I mistakenly said Gorgonzola last night to my husband and he was in stitches, lol) and they play tonight!  Check back tomorrow to see if I'm still in the running or not!

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