Flexing in Fourth

flexible seating
I’m sitting here looking through my Drive files, and I ran across some pictures of my 4th grade math classroom and all of our flex seating.
gray swirl classroom rug

The front of my classroom is one of the students’ favorite spaces. We gather on the carpet for whole group discussions, number talks, and other conversations. The carpet came from Amazon through a grant on Donors Choose! Check out the rug here! The students also love to go there when they were finished with classwork to play games or complete challenges for early finishers. 

My crafty hubby built the low bookshelf underneath my ActivBoard and white board. He’s so talented! I had tried to get my hands on one for a couple of years from teachers who were retiring or transferring schools. You’d have thought those shelves were made of gold with the number of teachers who wanted them! He finally gave in and built one for me! 

Over by the bulletin board, is our wobble station. These wobble stools also came from Amazon through a grant on Donors Choose. These amazing stools can be found here!  If you’re a public school teacher and haven’t looked into this awesome program, you should really check it out! The wobble stools are placed on a foam square of exercise mat that I found online at Walmart. Here’s a link!  I tried bathmats one year, and they just didn’t hold up to the constant scrubbing of the wobble stools. I should also mention that the barrier is most definitely needed between the wobble stool and the tile, otherwise the stool leaves a nasty looking spot on the tile finish because of the dirt that gets tracked into the room. 

In the right foreground is our square coffee table I snagged at a storage unit auction for cheap! At this seating area, student sit on yoga balance cushions from Amazon.  They’re supposed to help improve posture. Here’s a link! 

wobble cushions & teacher table

This is a better view of the wobble cushion station. Also in this picture is my teacher table where we have small-group lessons during differentiated math rotations. Under the table are stools from… yep, you guessed it!… Amazon! It’s beginning to sound like I may have a little Amazon addiction! Some were through a grant and others I purchased because we love them so much! You can find them here! 

In the very back of the classroom you’ll see a pair of stools given to be by a dear friend and now retired teacher. My kids LOVE sitting there, especially when they’re doing a Flipgrid video assignment. I don’t quite know why that is such a coveted spot for recording videos… LOL!


Here you get a glimpse of a kitchen table for student seating and another teacher table. For many years I have had ESOL teachers push in, or inclusion teachers, or even student teachers… all of whom needed their own work space. This works beautifully as we can both be teaching a small group of students. With the other teacher table completely across the room, our voices aren’t in competition. I have more of those same stools from Amazon at this table. They’re so light-weight and versatile. They’re all over my classroom!

I use the black pocket charts by Scholastic to hold my math and science vocabulary cards when the focus walls are built during our lessons. I find this to be so much more convenient than trying to staple or pin word cards up! Here’s a link to the pocket charts on Amazon. 

student flex seating

Back to the front of the room for this last seating option! These are the most highly sought after seats during any point of the day. These “rubber band chairs” came from a yard sale I happened upon one bright and sunny Saturday morning. They were only $5 each! Can you believe it? They’re so cool!

All of these pictures are actually from the beginning of last school year. As the year went on, my class received more flex seating through another grant on Donors Choose. I’ll try to hunt up some pictures of the surf desks and bouncy balls and get them posted soon! 

Homework. Oh, Homework!

Homework. Oh, Homework!

My Homework Routine- 15 Minutes at Home and 10 Minutes in Class

Checking and reviewing math homework used to be the bane of my existence. OK, so maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it was definitely a headache. I didn’t want to assign practice without giving my kids feedback, but I also didn’t have time in class to review every single item.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Read on to learn more about a homework routine that works!

 My Classroom Homework Routine-

On Monday, each student gets a hole-punched copy of the math homework for the week. I ask that they keep the homework in their notebooks/binders. They are expected to show their work on the actual homework paper or a separate sheet if there’s not room.

As a bell ringer, I like to display the answer key on my interactive whiteboard and have students self-correct. I have a student-helper check homework completion for me so that I can hold students accountable for actually doing the work and not just copying answers. This helper walks around the classroom and awards points on Class Dojo for homework. (Since implementing this routine, I have had very few students who miss out on earning points for homework.) Once I’m finished with administrative tasks (attendance, messages, etc.), we discuss the problems students want to review in whole-group, especially those that may have been challenging.

On Friday morning, after discussing the previous night’s homework, students are set to take the weekly quiz. It has been paper/pencil in the past, but I’ve been transitioning over to Google Forms. (I used Google forms for other assessments over the past couple of years, and have absolutely loved it!)

I do not take a grade on the weekly homework… It’s checked for completion. The real accountability piece that I grade is the Quiz. It is directly aligned to the skills practiced on the homework. The quiz grade goes in the grade book.

It took a couple of years to get this routine in place, and the the one thing that helped the most was having a consistent format for my homework. I had tried using the workbook from my math series, but it lacked rigor. Enter my math homework…


This is definitely a labor of love! Much like you, I wanted my 4th graders prepared for their End of Year Assessment. Many states have some form of assessment aligned with the Common Core State Standards. In our case, it’s the Georgia Milestones (GMAS).

I found that the rigor of my homework assignments derived from my adopted Envision Math curriculum didn’t quite match up with the rigor of this high-stakes assessment my students are mandated to take. What could I do? I searched and searched and never found the perfect resource to meet my specific needs… So I set to work making one!

Each week includes 4 nights of homework, Monday – Thursday. The homework can be printed front/back, so you only need 1 sheet of paper per student! (SAVE on COPIES!) Parents will love the consistency of the assignments. Dealing with work and family commitments often leaves little time for homework help. That’s why I wanted my homework to be concise, but meaningful.

I KNOW how important spiraling is, especially with math, where it’s easy to “forget” content that we once knew. Spiral Reviews are included throughout the homework Sequence.

An assessment is included for Friday that assesses the skills and problem types addressed in that week’s homework. This assessment will also help you determine content mastery and will motivate students to complete nightly homework. The assessment is also only 1 page (front only). A digital Google Forms version of the assessment is also included.



Special Info about Google Forms Quizzes –

The Google Forms Quizzes are slightly altered versions of the weekly assessments. I love using Google Forms and Flubaroo to help me with grading. It’s a win-win-win when the teacher, students, and parents all have immediate feedback on assessments! However, in order for auto-grading to do its job, there can’t be any extended constructed responses. What I’ve done is rewritten these item types into either multiple-choice or short answer on the Google Forms version.

What you’ll actually get is a link to a page that allows you to make a copy of my original Google Form Quiz. Each Week will have a different link, so you’ll make a copy of each weekly quiz. This prevents any data sharing on our parts. You won’t have access to my student’s responses, and likewise, I won’t have access to yours. It’s a clean copy of the quiz for anyone who purchases the pack.

Need a little help getting started with Google Classroom? Check out this helpful bit of info from the Google FAQ.

Not sure how Flubaroo can help? Visit their tutorial the here

Looking for comprehensive 4th Grade Math Homework?

Why try this product?
✔ Aligned to Common Core & Georgia Standards
✔ Assessment Included – PDF and Digital
✔ Rigorous
✔ Spiral Review
✔ Compliments Envision Math

Read what other teachers have said!

What an awesome product! I've been searching for a product like this one for a few days. I was beginning to think that I'd have to create what I was looking for. So glad that I found your product! Thank you!
Val C.
Best math homework or "spiral review" packet I have found on TPT! I absolutely love that this pack is made to review skills all year long and comes with the weekly quizzes! This is exactly what I needed for my maintenance time. I can follow along with the skills being practiced each week in class so that my students are ready for the quizzes and are keeping all their learning fresh all year! Basically this packet has given me a perfect road map of the skills to review each week throughout the year! Thank you so much for the labor of love that this product must have been! I am obsessed with it!
Samantha W.
This resource is amazing for preparing students for state testing. The variety of question types are different than what you would see on regular worksheets, which keeps the students out of the repetitive computation mode, they need to stay on their toes. The Google quiz component was a time saver for me, as it allowed me to really see where my students were struggling. The resource is aligned to Envision math, which made it perfect to use during state test review and finding exactly what standard I wanted students to practice. I plan on using this resource as weekly assignments next year. Amazing resource!
Andrea G.

Word Problem Woes with Estimation

Word Problem Woes with Estimation

We’ve been so super busy since school started back! I have to say that I am in LOVE with my new group of students! We’ve gotten off to a great start!

Things had been running pretty smoothly in our math block until we came to estimating sums and differences. Sure, they could round numbers. They’re actually really good at rounding numbers. They can also add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers like nobody’s business. But when I asked these sweet students to solve a variety of addition and subtraction word problems, things came to a screeching halt. My little loves were having trouble figuring out if a given problem wanted them to find an estimate or an exact answer.

It was like after we started our lessons and practice of using estimated sums and differences to check the reasonableness of our exact answers, things got all mixed up. Suddenly they just wanted to only estimate sums and differences or either they would only calculate exact sums and difference. No middle ground.

We needed more practice! We had a short-mini lesson on estimating sums and differences and some key words that clue us in to whether a given problem wants an estimate. **I do not generally teach key words for operations. I find that students overly rely on their presence and mindlessly perform calculations without truly analyzing the given word problem’s meaning.** With that being said, there are some pretty obvious key words for estimation!

Estimation vs. Exact Math Journal Entry

This is actually my math journal from last year; My teacher math journal for this year is currently sitting on the corner of my desk in my classroom. :/

Estimating Sums and Differences Anchor Chart

This anchor chart isn't mine, but I really like it. This was is from Amy Groesbeck. I found it on Pinterest. #theamygroesbeckanchorchart

Now these kiddos still need more practice to really get the hang of this skill. I decided to expand my Resolve to Solve word problem resources to include a set of problems that ask students to determine if a given word problem wants an estimate or an exact answer. 

We’re going to work in small groups this week to really sharpen our problem solving skills. These sets are differentiated into 5 different levels denoted by shape.

Level 1 – Circle (Low-Average Learner)- Determine if the problem asks for an estimate or exact answer. Numbers included. Do not solve.

Level 2 – Triangle (Average Learner) – Determine if the problem asks for an estimate or exact answer. Write the equation needed to solve. Do not solve.

Level 3 – Square (High Learner) – Determine if the problem asks for an estimate or exact answer. Write the equation and solve.

Levels 4 & 5 – Remediate/Accelerate – Star – Determine if the problem asks for an estimate or exact answer. No numbers included. Two versions included. The directions are different for these sets.

  • (Low/Struggling Learner) Use to remediate comprehension without the distraction of numbers.
  • (Advanced/Gifted Learner) Use to extend/acceleration problem solving skills by having students to insert their own numbers to solve.

I want to make the most of our small group time, so the directions for the circle, triangle, and low star ask that students do not solve the problem. That’s right, no computation at all. I want us to focus on the meaning of the problem itself. For the square and advanced star, students are asked to go ahead with computation.

You can get the full set now in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

The pack is on sale this week only for 50% off! I also have sets for students to determine the operation of a given word problem. The sets are differentiated the exact same way and ask that students determine the operation needed. These sets are also on sale this week only!

I have plans to make more differentiated word problem sets soon. My plans include:

  • Mixed Operations (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, & Division)
  • Addition & Subtraction within 100
  • Addition & Subtraction within 1,000
  • Basic Multiplication & Division
  • Basic Addition & Subtraction 


If there’s something else you’d like to see a Resolve to Solve differentiated word problem set for, please comment below or message me through one of my social media channels!

The Toilet Paper Game

The Toilet Paper Game

First day back with students. Check. 

Had a ton of fun with my new kids. Check. 

Exhausted. Ding! Ding! Ding! 

Boy, am I tired. It’s been a LOOOONNNNGGG week for me. 

Well, I guess it actually started last weekend. My oldest daughter moved away to college. (Can you hear my sobs?) 

That was hard. WAAAYYYY harder than I thought it would be. I’m generally not overly emotional about stuff so I didn’t anticipate the feels that I would catch when I told my baby girl it was time for her daddy and I to head back home. It took us over seven and a half hours to make a four hour ride back home. I guess neither of us were very eager to return to our home without our precious girl. Don’t get me wrong here. We have two other precious children. This was something else. This… this was like I’d abandoned my child… like I left her defenseless in a den of wolves. The university she’s at is amazing. She’s in a good program of study and she’s already making tons of new friends. At that moment though, when i left her on her own, that moment left a big piece of my heart right there. 

I digress…. but it’s definitely been on my mind all week making the days seem long. 

So, I’ve buried myself in my classroom to keep my mind off of missing my college girl. 


While searching and planning for first day activities, I ran across the idea of the toilet paper game. A Facebook fan of Teaching with a Mountain View shared this awesome icebreaker for big kids. 

I tweaked it just a little bit. To save time, since I’m departmentalized and don’t have them all day, I asked the kids to join into groups of either 2 or 3 students. This way everyone had a voice and the opportunity to share in our limited amount of time. 

I enjoyed listening to their conversations and learning new things about my students. 

Now, this was the perfect follow up activity to one of my absolute favorite back to school read-alouds of all time. This sassy funny bunny shows a mix of emotions as he addresses the readers long awaited appearance.

I don’t always get to read to my fourth graders like I want to so I took advantage of the freedom the first day of school brings. We had a blast! 

This book gave me a good lead in for the Toilet Paper Game becuase the Bunny talks about it being so annoying to have to ait on the reader to arrive… as annoying as having toilet paper stuck to your shoe. (Yuck!)

After the Toilet Paper Game, I wanted to know even more about my students’ like and dislikes, favorites and fears. I ran across this FREE get to know you activity by Notes From the Portable. Follow  her blog to get the download for yourself. I found it to be very helpful in gaining a deeper insight into what makes my new sweeties tick. 

We, of course, went over expectations, rules, and procedures, too. But that’s not nearly as fun as the Bunny fussing with us about being so late and learning about friends using squares of toilet paper! 

What did you do, or are you planning to do, on your first day back with students? I’d LOVE to hear your ideas! 


See more to school shenanigans in the pictures below!

TPT Back to School Sale 2018

Have you heard the news?

Teachers Pay Teachers is celebrating Back to School season with a HUMONGOUS SALE! 

You should ready your shopping cart tonight because the sale starts tomorrow! 

You can save as much as 25% on everything you buy! It all depends on if the TPT author puts his or her store on sale and what percentage discount they offer.  


Me, you ask? I'm discounting the whole kit and kaboodle!

That’s right! 

25% off for YOU! 

25% off for your friend! 

25% off for every teacher you know!


Make sure you enter the code BTSFRESH at checkout to receive the FULL 25% DISCOUNT!



Need some help getting started?

Spoons is HANDS DOWN my students favorite game of all time! This fast paced game sets the tone for developing reading fluency with all primary phonics skills! 

How about this classroom decor set? These owls are adorable! This set includes a clip chart, student of the week bulletin board set, alphabet posters, number posters, calendar cards, word wall, and classroom rules. It’s packed with over 300 pages! 

Owls not your thing? I’ve got you covered! I have classroom decor BUNDLES that include:

Just click BUNDLES to see them all!

I’ve also got task cards! There are sets for Place Value, Patterns, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Multiplicative Comparison, Factors, & Multiples. New sets are added quite often! 

Just click TASK CARDS to see them all!

That’s just a small sample of what I have to offer to make your teacher life easier! Check out my TPT store to see all 360 items I have for you!

Don't forget!

August 1st & 2nd
25% OFF

Enter code BTSFRESH

Instagram Back to School GIVEAWAY

Join me on Instagram for a

Back to School Giveaway!


or in app @teachermood

Choice must be posted on Instagram in

 comments. Winner will be chosen 

tonight at 8pm EST.    7-31-18

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 for an extra chance to win! 

FREE Stuff Page

FREE Stuff Page

My FREE Stuff page is now live. Check it frequently for some of my favorite freebies!

Click the FREE STUFF page tab in the upper right hand corner of this site to grab some pretty awesome free stuff!

Back to School Mood


It’s that time of year. Teachers, students, and families are busy preparing for the start of the new school year. Some are excited (#parents). Some are anxious (#students). While others are reluctant to give up the free time they’ve enjoyed all summer (#teachers).    

I, myself, am ready to go back to school. I want routine and structure in my day. I’m eager to see the fresh faces of students filling my classroom. These will be the peeps I spend the next 10 months with. I’m determined to build a vibrant classroom community while fostering a growth mindset in my kiddos.

Going back to mindset and mood — Lots of students are nervous about that first day back. New teacher, new classroom, new friends… Ugh, change is hard! We teachers aren’t immune to the first day jitters. Nerves are always a part of it. Even now, after teaching 7 years, I am nervous about the first day back with students.

Students in my district go back on August 10, but already there are questions plaguing me.

  • Will the students like me?
  • Will I like them? (Now I know how that sounds, but certain classes resonate more with you than others.)
  • What challenges will we face?
  • Will students believe in themselves in the same way that I will believe in them?
  • What can I improve in myself to ensure students learn?
  • Will I be the teacher they need this year?

I am excited, yet anxious. I am ready to get started. I am ready to teach my fourth graders some math!

What’s your back to school mood?

Leave a comment with a 1 or 2 and an emoji that best describes your mood!

Back to School Giveaway at the Coop!

TeacherMood has partnered with the Chicks at the Coop! Visit The Learning Coop tomorrow from 1-4 pm for a chance to win a classroom decor bundle from my TPT store! The Chicks’ Back to School event is jam packed with goodies and giveaways! You don’t want to miss it! Find  The Learning Coop on Facebook for more details.

Don’t live around here? Follow me on Instagram for another chance to win! The winner will be chosen from my followers tomorrow evening.

Sharing the Love (and the School Supplies!)

Every July, teachers from South Georgia eagerly await the #KickOff event hosted by Teacher’s Harvest. Teacher’s Harvest is a subsidiary program of Second Harvest of South Georgia, Inc.

Businesses and foundations donate various school supplies and equipment to the Teacher’s Harvest store. Teachers can then shop for free school supplies. You heard me right – FREE SCHOOL SUPPLIES!

There’s no catch. Educators from their region need only provide proof that they are a teacher, counselor, or media specialist in a public school to be able to shop.

Since their inception, Teacher’s Harvest has served thousands of teachers with almost $4 million in school supplies. (I can’t help but see Dr. Evil saying $4 million dollars. Ha!) Seriously though, that’s a ton of pencils, paper, staples, scissors, and book bags.

Teacher’s Harvest isn’t limited to just those supplies. I’ve personally gotten two very nice 31 tote bags, a giant dry erase board, sticky notes, chapter books, glue sticks, pocket folders, markers, and colored pencils – just to name a few items! The Yoobi classroom boxes are the best!

If you want to know more, check out their Teachers’ Harvest web page or find them on Facebook @SecondHarvestSGA. 


*Some images used from Yoobi and @SecondHarvestSGA. No copyright infringement is intended.