Tinker ~ Create ~ Innovate

I first learned about the Maker Space Movement in 2010.  I  read some articles about it over my summer break that year.  I knew that these ideas were going to become not just a part of my district, but of classrooms everywhere.  As the Next Generation Science Standards were introduced and we started a stem lab in my school I spent more time reading and researching ways to implement it in my own classroom.

In my district we started with a STEM lab, which was later renamed the STEAM lab, which is now called STEAM with robotics.  Some districts call this STREAM.  If you teach long enough you already know that each political administration likes to rename things and you have seen many different names or acronyms in your career :)  I wanted to create something in my room that was going to be easy for the kids to remember, somewhere they would be excited to work in and something that could fit with any standards.  This is how I came up Tinker ~ Create ~ Innovate. 

Over the past few years I began to create stations and lesson ideas to use during science and math.  A few years ago I even made science one of my rotations during guided math which I called STEAM.  Here is a picture of my rotation board and other rotation boards in my TpT store.

Since the start I watched and listened to the kids excitement for their weekly visit to the steam lab and their enthusiasm when they were able to use the steam stations in our classroom.  I wanted to see that same excitement and enthusiasm everyday so this year I created a Maker Space in my classroom.  I am so excited about how it came out and my kids are too!

I created 100 supply labels and posters for the bulletin board.  The posters on the bulletin board are on rings by topic since there is not enough room to hang everything.  I just flip to what I need or open the ring and separate them for the lesson.  I even created a STEAM team and gave them names to help the kids make connections to each discipline.

This year I will be sharing my new space and all the exciting lessons and activities we do there.  With more and more standards and testing requirements than in the past I love to integrate lessons for science, math and reading.  There is never enough time for everything unless we make these cross-curricular connections. 

I hope you come back to Tinker ~ Create ~ Innovate with us!!

Classroom Pictures Posted

Today was school day 15, gotta love the year round schedule! I finally posted pictures of my classroom, click on Meet Ashley at the top of the page. The beginning of the year is so exhausting, now off to bed. 

Math Toolbox

I just finished organizing my new student math toolboxes and I'm so excited to share them with you!

One of my goals this summer was to organize my math resources. I also wanted to find a way to save on copying paper for math.  I know that many of you are in the same position of having your copying numbers being cut or limited, especially color copies. 

After looking on pinterest I found some toolboxes which inspired me to create my own.  The best part was that I already had the resources in my classroom to create the toolboxes.  I just needed to make some changes in how I was going to store and utilize the tools with my class.

I decided to take all of the tools I was already using and copy things smaller. When printing I would print two slides to a page.   Next I would flip the paper and print a different slide on the back so everything was double sided.  I also decided to laminate everything so I can use the tools again in future years. (SAVING PAPER & TIME)  All of the of the resources were copied on colored cardstock. 

Here are pictures of what I included in each toolbox:

-The toolboxes are standard size pencil boxes which can be purchased anywhere.  I wait for them to go on sale for $.50 each.


-20 two-color counters (The small containers I put them in are from Dollar Tree.  You will find them in the arts and craft section.  They are sold in packs of 6.  Be careful there are also smaller containers sold in 8 packs which are too small.)

-mathlink cubes (2 colors - 10 of each color)

-dry erase marker and erase pad (I purchase facial pads from the Dollar Tree which work great for erasing.  They come 3 in a pack and will last all year.)

-number chart 1-100 on side one and 101-200 on side two

 -days of the week and months of the year on side one and seasons on side two

 -number words on side one and odd/even numbers on side two

-count by 5's on side one and count by 10's on side two

-number line 0-10 on side one and number line 0-20 on side two

-2D shapes on side one and 3D shapes on side two

-1, 10 & 100 on side one and place value chart on side two

-circle number bond on side one and whole, part, part number bond on side two

You can find the covers for the math toolboxes in my TpT store.  They include 3 different cover choices with and without numbers on them.  I originally created the cover to fit on the Iris storage boxes shown below so they fit perfectly on them.  However, after deciding what resources and tools I wanted to include they were too small to hold everything.

If you like the math tools I created for my class you can find them in my interactive calendar unit in my TpT store. 

My class will use the toolboxes for whole group and small group guided math lessons.  They can even use them when working independently at math centers.  I look forward to sharing more ideas with you once school begins!

Lightbox Give Away

Hello everyone!  If you are just joining us for the first time WELCOME to Sisters to the Core.  We are so excited to finally have our own blog and meet new friends that we wanted to kick off the new school year with a giveaway.

We have both recently purchased new light boxes for the new school year.  There are so many ideas for these lightboxes and we can't wait to share on our blog how we are using them in our classrooms.  With all the buzz on blogs and facebook we know that so many of you are just as excited as we are so drum roll please....

Starting on Friday, July 8, 2016 we will be hosting a giveaway for 1 Heidi Swapp Lightbox, 1 set of large letters, 1 set of small letters, 1 divider bar and 1 word strip set Bright/Best.  A winner will be randomly chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here on Monday July 18, 2016.

To register for a chance to win you can follow our blog Sisters to the Core, follow us on our new facebook page and leave a comment after this post about how you will use your new lightbox.  We can't wait to read your ideas :)

Good Luck to everyone!!

       a Rafflecopter giveaway


Writing Center ~ Part 1

My Work on Writing Centers are perfect for any primary classroom!

Due to limited wall space I do not have a word wall displayed for all the students to see.  My writing binders are a great spelling resource for individual and small group work.  If wall space is not an issue for you, I will list several suggestions of how to display the vocabulary cards, tasks cards and printables included for your writing center.

Your students will use these picture cards to learn vocabulary, grammar and spelling.  The colorful pictures will help motivate your students to express their feelings, thoughts, ideas, and dreams when writing independently.

Each month includes:
-picture cards

Writing Task Cards Included:
-Genre Task Cards and Printables
-How-To Task Cards and Printables
-Write a Letter Task Cards and Printables
-Make a List Task Cards and Printables
-Story Prompt Task Cards and Printables

Writing Printables Included:
-graphic organizers
-look and label (b & w and color)
-picture prompt writing paper
-scrambled sentences
-sentence spinners and printables
-writing resources (ABC order, writer's checklist for students to remind children what to focus on while writing, writing paper)

Story Elements Included:
-Character Task Cards and Printables
-Problem Task Cards and Printables
-Setting Task Cards and Printables


Target Peg Board Kits

I am so excited about the peg board kits I found at Target's dollar section this week.  I'm going to use them for my writing and word work centers. 

Here is a picture of how I will display my task cards on them.  I plan to write a blog post later all about how I use them!!

HP Printers and the HP Instant Ink Program

For the past few weeks I have been researching printers.  I currently have an HP printer which has been great but it is about 5 years old, it is very slow, and does not qualify for the HP Instant Ink Program which I really want to sign up for.  After researching online, reading reviews from a variety of stores and asking many other teachers online I narrowed it down to the HP 5741 and the HP 8710.  After driving myself crazy I finally decided to buy the......

I am so excited to share that today I purchased a new HP OfficeJet 8710 printer.  It was on sale at Best Buy for $104.99 and included 3 months free for the HP Instant Ink if you sign up for the program during your printer set up.


It was very easy to set up.  It only took me about 15 minutes.  I have already printed a few things for fun and they look great.  I also tried a few photos which look amazing.  The picture below doesn't do it justice.

The two printers I finally narrowed down to were very similar and both had excellent reviews.  The HP 5741 is much smaller than the HP 8710.  I finally decided on the HP 8710 because of the speed and amount you can print.  The only difference I saw in the reviews was scanning.  Buyers said that they felt the HP 8710 scanning was clearer.

If you are going to sign up for the HP Instant Ink Program you can get a an extra month free with the refer a friend program.  Just go to http://try.hpinstantink.com/fwppz to sign up and we will each receive a free month.  Or you can add the code fwppz into the promo code box at the end of your purchase to receive a free month. Now some of you still may be asking: 

What is the HP Instant Ink Program?

HP Instant Ink is an ink cartridge replacement service. To participate, enroll your HP Instant Ink eligible printer in an Instant Ink plan. The plan charges a fee based on the number of pages you print each month. The printer sends ink level information to HP, and when the printer runs low on ink, replacement ink cartridges are shipped to you. You do not need to purchase replacement ink cartridges from retail stores when you are enrolled in HP Instant Ink.

How do I enroll?

To enroll in HP Instant Ink, you need an eligible printer, an Internet connection, an email address, and a credit or debit card.

How much are the monthly fees?

HP Instant Ink offers multiple plans to choose from with monthly fees to fit any budget. Go to HP Instant Ink Ink to see which plans are available. Your monthly fee pays for ink, shipping, and recycling. The billing cycle begins on the day you insert your first HP Instant Ink cartridges in your enrolled printer. Your credit or debit card is billed 30 days after you insert your first HP Instant Ink cartridges. For example, if you insert HP Instant Ink cartridges on February 5, the billing cycle begins on February 5 and ends on March 4. The first credit or debit card charge is applied on March 5. The billing date cannot be changed, and the monthly fee is charged on the same day each month while you are enrolled.

You can pick a monthly plan that works for you and then start printing.  I personally picked the high plan of 300 pages for $9.99 a month because of the amount of printing I do for my classroom and with my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  The great thing is that the pages roll over if you don’t use them.  You can also change your plan from month to month since there are months which we all tend to print more!