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A Go Figure Debut for a Home-School Teacher/Mom Who Is New!

Erin taught at the elementary level in a public school in the suburbs of Chicago for about ten years. Currently she is homeschooling her three children (ages 3, 4, and 6). She says it is a wonderful blessing to be doing what she loves most with her own kids! She also teaches a few classes once a week at the homeschool co-op that she is a part of. She claims that teaching is in her blood, and she cannot imagine her life without teaching in some capacity.

Whether at school or homeschooling, Erin’s classroom is student-centered and child-friendly. She always displays student work, has materials easily accessible to the kids, exhibits bulletin boards and posters that are meaningful and helpful, and creates an atmosphere where children are comfortable to take risks and make mistakes.

As you can tell, Erin loves working with children! She enjoys seeing the light bulb go off when children learn, grasp and apply a concept. Struggling learners have always tugged at her heart, and when she was a classroom teacher, she was always thrilled to see their names on her class list. She also likes all things that are teacher related such as planning, creating, organizing and decorating. She has always enjoyed creating educational resources, but since she started selling on Teachers Pay Teachers, this has become her number one hobby!

Her TPT store is called Erin Guge. (What Else?) It currently contains 36 products although she is constantly adding new ones! Her resources focus on PreK–5th grades with the spotlight primarily on PreK-3rd. Three of her resources are free, and one of those is called Poem of the Week Routine.

Free Resource
When she was getting ready to teach her daughter kindergarten, Erin knew she wanted to incorporate a Poem of the Week to practice beginning reading skills; however, she didn’t want the skill focus to be haphazard or hit-or-miss. Since she wanted a comprehensive plan, she created a Poem of the Week Routine

It is an easy-to-use one-page reference. Specific concepts and prompts are listed under each day of the week to ensure the time spent on your Poem of the Week is maximized and efficient.  Each day contains a different focus (print concepts, phonemic awareness and phonics, word focus, comprehension, and fluency). Whether you display your poem on a Smartboard, under the doc camera, on a chart, or in individual poetry notebooks, and whether you do this as a whole group, with a small group, or one-on-one, use this product to guide discussion as well as to direct student interaction with the poem (circle certain words, underline others, point to this, put a start by that). The options are endless! Since it is free, all you have to do is download it! 

One of her paid resources is called Reading Comprehension Strategies and Skills Posters and Cards. The goal for this resource is to present the strategies and skills in a way that is simple and brief; yet clear and meaningful even to young students. These 27 posters are a wonderful reference for introducing and practicing reading comprehension strategies and skills. They contain a brief definition and a helpful picture. Small cards are also included (identical to the posters), which can be used during guided reading, one-on-one and independent reading. The posters are one full page each, and the cards are small (9 per page).
Additionally, Erin has created other reading poster/card sets (genres, nonfiction text features, word attack strategies and figurative language/poetic elements). So if you are looking for quality and reasonably priced reading materials and activities, I suggest you check out Erin's store and her various resources. I know you will be pleased!

Making Gifts - Not Something I Normally Do

At this time of year, we have many friends retiring or celebrating those "up-in-years" birthdays. Many of the invitations read, "No Gifts, Please." I understand at this point in our lives, we have more than we need, but it is always nice to bring something to show your friend that you care. We just attended a 70th birthday party for someone we have known for years. Not only is he our friend, but he is someone both my husband and I have taught with. I looked on Pinterest (where else?) and found several ideas that I combined. Here is what I came up with - a large birthday card that was editable!!


Here is what I purchased to complete the giant card.

  1. A large folding poster (You need heavy poster board to hold all of the candy!)
  2. A Nestle's Symphony Bar
  3. A Snickers Bar
  4. Nestle Crunch
  5. One package of EXTRA chewing gum
  6. 100 Grand Candy Bar
  7. Butterfinger
  8. Skor Candy Bar
  9. Mr. Goodbar
  10. Package of Milk Duds
  11. Package of Whoppers
I hot glued each of the candy bars or packages of candy onto the poster. I then used rubber cement to attach the phrases. I created my own phrases that sort of matched the candy, but if you are making a card, get creative and make up your own. You might even find some better candy bars or items to put on the card.

I have to say this birthday card was a real "hit" and even became a center piece of the party. Also, the party goers thought it was extremely yummy!


Math Vocabulary Practice

I have discovered teaching the language of math is significant to teaching math concepts and procedures. Students need to use correct mathematics terminology as vocabulary knowledge provides students with a mathematics foundation they can apply and build on whether they are in or out of the classroom. It really is all about the word, the right words! Since mathematical language is used and understood around the world, conventional mathematics vocabulary gives our students the means of communicating those concepts universally.

With that said, I have discovered that my college students hate learning, reviewing or even practicing math vocabulary. I always begin the semester with a Mathematical Language Activity (see below) in which the students write two paragraphs about how they feel about the math language. You'd be surprised at how much I learn!


Even though my students have vocabulary assignments, and we play vocabulary games, especially before a test, many times they do it begrudgingly. Knowing that most of them like word puzzles, I created several math vocabulary crosswords to use in my classroom. The purpose of these puzzles is to have my students practice, review, recognize and use correct geometric vocabulary. I've made all of the crosswords free-form puzzles with the clues written in the form of definitions. 

Often, I create two different puzzles for the same math vocabulary. The first puzzle is easier as it contains a word bank while the second puzzle does not. Since both puzzles are laid out differently, I can use one as a review and the second one as a homework assignment or maybe even as a quiz.

Only $1.50
My newest one is on circles. Both puzzles feature 18 terms associated with circles. The words showcased in both puzzles are arc, area, chord, circle, circumference, degrees, diameter, equidistant, perimeter, pi, radii, radius, secant, semicircle, tangent and two. 

Also available are crosswords on polygons (includes 16 geometric shapes with an emphasis on quadrilaterals and triangles), plain geometry (features 25 different geometry terms with an emphasis on points, lines, and angles), and solid geometry (emphasizes polyhedrons, circles, and formulas for area, surface area, and volume).

To keep my old gray matter working, I do the paper crossword every Sunday. To many of our students, math is like a puzzle, but maybe they can learn to love figuring out the puzzle by doing these crosswords. Why not give one a try in your classroom?