Made 4 Math Monday! Project #3


Map out your future – but do it in pencil. The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip. Jon Bon Jovi


Yep.  That’s my starting point today!  Growing up I collected pencils – I wish I had taken the time to run by my mom & dad’s and dig out my BOX of pencils.  I had chocolate flavored ones, shaped like hearts the length of the barrel.  From many places –  field trips, vacations, stores, events…they were cheap and small…perfect souvenirs (sp?).

On twitter last week was a discussion of how to identify your pencils – so students would return when they borrowed them.  One person suggested duct tape – great idea!  But I recalled seeing a friend at church with an ink pen and a bright yellow Flower attached to the top.  It looked like so much fun when she was writing!  I did a search to find some ideas – also ran across this post about artsy pencils and plumed pencils.  Check it out!

I know.  Some of you are against letting kids borrow supplies.  I’ve been there and done that.  I could send them to the locker,  send them to office after 3-strikes, you’re out, but the truth is – my time is limited and I need them in my room as much as possible.  Don’t tell me you’ve never shown up in a meeting without something to write with…  Besides, have you actually tried to figure out why they show up without a pencil?

1.  They simply may not have a pencil. (Slip them some plain pencils on the side if they can’t afford them, otherwise a call/email to mom & dad will ensure they start bringing them.)

2. They are lazy bums who can’t go to their locker and get one.  (When they borrow one, my rule says – they must sharpen the pencil before they return it and they must be the last person out of the room, those kids don’t like staying after class…it works, trust me.  Plus it gives you a chance for a quick brief conversation to let them know someone noticed them today!)

3.  They don’t bring a pencil because they want to get out of work (When they borrow yours, they can now work – no excuses).

Yes, I agree – if it becomes a habit, you may have an issue.  But take the time and talk with them – get to the root of the problem first.  In the meantime, enjoy the beauty of your new pencils!


Half-price bunch of flowers, package of floral tape, pencils.  I simply used a wire cutter to make the stems 2-3 inches long.  Wrap floral tape tightly around it.  When pencils become too short – remove flower and attach to another pencil.  I also purchased a pack of feathers and my 8yo really got into this (her and the cat!)  You can see she hot glued some bling & buttons, a few pipe cleaners too…just plain old fun!  Yes, someone wants to know how to you erase – my 8yo asked the same question.  I have several of the “FOR BIG MISTAKES” pink erasers on hand if needed.

            A heavy vase and a few marbles to hold my “pencil flowers” and I have an adorable arrangement for my desk.  I was leary of the marbles in the vase, that they would break the pencil tips – but just the opposite, it allows the tips to fall between the marbles.   I am actually considering (on one of those off – schedule days) – letting students craft up some pencils, storing them in a bucket in the cabinet and getting them out as needed.  This way students will always know they belong to Room 148 and can police pencil thieves for me!

Cornell Notes Bookmark

As I have been looking for better literacy strategies this summer, I ran across several mentions of C-Notes or Cornell Notes.  @druinok has a nice post here.   I was sharing the strategy with a science – who had used them in an English class before and had found them to be very successful, but mentioned you must be purposeful in requiring students to revisit, fill in left column and complete the summary, otherwise, its not useful. After a couple of days, she messaged me and had read about having students create questions from their notes.  I really. really. like this idea.  We discussed in the beginning to allow them to pull out the big idea, then next step create 3 questions.  Eventually, students would only be allowed to create one basic DOK1 question and the other 2 would require more in depth thinking to answer.  What an awesome idea!  I love having a colleague like this to bounce ideas back and forth!  Another idea someone mentioned – not sure if twitter or a comment in a post – but to only allow students a tweet for their summary – limiting the number of characters…really requires kids to develop a concise summary.

I really liked @druinok’s file for the bookmark – but I’ll be honest, I’m just feeling too lazy to cut out that many.  I’m not sure that my idea will work = it may have made my left column too wide(2 inches) – but I’m going to use it for now.  I purchased some packages of straight-edged border $ per pack.  39 inches / 4 = 9.75 inches – just long enough to 3-hole punch.  12 pieces x 4 strips each = 48 bookmarks!  My intention is to print off labels with my contact info and/or QR Code for class website for students to place on the bookmarks.  This project for all of my students cost me $3 plus labels, if you have to buy them.  It took under 10 minutes to cut and hole-punch 48 bookmarks.


Paperclip Holder

 I am forever spilling paperclips into the bottom of my bags.  Those little plastic containers never stay latched for me.  I was cleaning out my purse and just before I tossed the gum container into the trash – I thought…there’s got to be a use for this!  I flipped the top open and snapped it shut a couple of times before coming up with paper clips!  I put about 75 of the jumbo clips in here, you pop the top open, shake a few out, pop the top closed and drop it in the side pocket of your handy-dandy teacher utility tote.  (Post coming on that one next week AFTER a trip to the container store via TMC12!)


@druinok’s weekly planner

$1 frame from Mighty Dollar and a print off of @druinok ‘s file!  I think  Ican update this end of day Friday before I leave school, transferring Next Week to the to be done side…  giving me some focus for the upcoming week!  Love this idea!  Hoping it will cut down on amount of post-its I have plastered all over my desk.

Its been another great week.  Just over 3 weeks and my kiddos will be back in the classroom – so I will likely be getting some lessons/activities finalized after getting back from TMC12.  I’ve been putting several things off because of some of the great sessions planned!  Looking forward to all the Made4Math Monday Projects today!

13 responses »

  1. The bookmark idea is sheer genius! I am totally stealing that! And, even though I’m not much of a gum chewer, I might have to start just for the cute container! Is that your handwriting on the front?

  2. Thanks for sharing all of the ideas, but your thoughts about Cornell notes made me want to attempt using them again. I’ve tried them off and on over the years, but without much success–all my fault, not my students’! One of our teachers (who is an AVID presenter) keeps telling me it’s all about the summary, so I love the idea about tweeting the summary. You’ve got me thinking…

    • I need to learn about this AVID I keep reading about! Sounds like some great strategies to incorporate. I agree – the key is revisiting the notes…summary. I’ve been using them myself this summer just for practice and simple enough but helps things “stick” The key to any new strategy is to keep at it – there have been times I felt unsuccessful with implementation and kind of let it go by the way side – but then a parent / student will mention how helpful it was…start it, reflect, tweak it and see it through!!!

      • Commercial and more info about AVID: AVID is an awesome program, and our school has been part of it for at least 7 years. It is a college prep program that provides support to the kids who need support. The strategies are not specific to AVID (like AP strategies can also be used in the “regular” classroom) but they are simply great instructional practices. At my school, all AVID students take notes in all of their classes using Cornell notes, whether teachers provide that format or not, and usually their AVID elective teacher or tutor will assist them with the level 2-3 questions and/or summary. AVID summer institutes are some of the best staff development I’ve attended, and we always use and practice C-notes and interactive notebooks. (So I really don’t have any excuse to not give Cornell notes yet another try!) It’s great that you are trying them out this summer. Good luck with your class using the C-notes!

  3. How wild that we would both be inspired by the same artsy blog in the same week! Love your flowers!! Did you have feathers floating around everywhere? It was like a feather boa factory in my den last night. I love the paper clip idea too – will definitely do that!

    • last week I Speak Math and I did the same idea too! So I guess that makes you & I twinkies this week! 🙂 Yes, feathers were everywhere. My daughter has a new kitten and it kept snatching them. She had more fun with it than me!

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