An Interactive Duo-Tang? Part 1

Interactive notebooks have been taking the teaching world by storm!
 I'm already on the bandwagon because I LOVE interactive notebooks. I use them with most of my units. I find that my students retain the information more because of this! They are one of my favourite things. 

That being said, I invented another tool that I have now fallen in love with. 
Allow me to introduce:

An Interactive Duo-Tang
The Little Red Writing Book
The Big Bad Writing Book

The Inspiration
I created the Little Red Writing Book because I have a few students that need a lot of writing support. I wanted to create something fun and interactive just for them. Well, this concept worked so well that a large portion of my school will be adopting the idea into their classrooms. Don't you just love when that happens? It's a magical moment when you get a pat on the back for sharing an idea. 

Anyway, back to the duo tang. 

The Creation
So, originally when I was thinking of this idea I thought to myself 'how can I turn my students' writing duo tangs into a book that is more of a tool rather than just a place of frustration during writing. I knew I wanted fold out pages. So, I started playing. I grabbed my ATG (Adhesive transfer gun) and some page protectors and started inventing. 

 First thing I did was open up my duo tang and add some adhesive to the page protector. More specifically, I added it to the part that normally goes into the binder. I adhered it to the edge of the duo tang on the inside front cover so that it could fold over and into the duo tang to be out of the way. 
I did the same thing to the back cover. 

Then I thought, why not add another one to the front cover for an extra reference point. The interactive duo tang is meant to fold out to create a place for students to easily access their information. This is the key part of the duo tang. 

Here is what it looks like when the page protectors are folded inside the book. 

Fold out the attached page protected sheet this way

This is the way the page  folds out. 

Long and Short Vowel Reference Chart

When the front page is folded out, it leaves room for a sheet to be attached on the inside. This page is not laminated or in any page protector. These are pages like word walls etc. that I wanted my students to be able to write in easily. 

I have created a Little Red Writing Book and a Big Bad Writing Book. This is so that your girls and boys can both have a unique book just for them. 

The great thing about creating this duo tang is that once you set it up, it will last a long time. Once your students outgrow the information, you simply take out the page that is inserted, and add a new one. 

Here is a quick look at some of the pages I have created for this package! It isn't up for sale yet, but will be later on in the week! Stay tuned. 

Part 2 of this series will consist of how I use this book and how it has helped my classroom. 


5 Tips to Organize and Play Math Games

 The series where I share a math game, math worksheets or tips to help make your math time run as smooth as possible!

Today I will be focusing on Math tips for busy teachers!

Today I was working on some of my math games when a fellow teacher walked into my room. We were talking about how I manage my math games in the classroom because she was having a hard time keeping her students from being bonkers when playing math games.

So I would like to share 5 tips for managing and playing math games in your classroom! 

The best thing you can do with your students to ensure that they understand the rules and expectation of any game play in your classroom, is to sit them down and explain the rules of math game time. 

After you explain your rules, post the rules in your classroom. That way if you need to stop and re-teach/remind your class of what they should be doing, you have something to reference. 

Here are a set of free printable posters that you may use in your classroom! 
Click on the picture to get these posters!

I have seen several posts about teachers who use small containers to hold their dice for student use. I do not do this. I find that this creates an opportunity for students to shake shake shake their sillies out. Shaking sillies out with dice is both noisy for me and my math group when it is time to concentrate on what we are working on, and for the students that I have working on independent work. 

I use math plates. They are quiet, and if they roll off the plate, students miss their turn. No one likes missing a turn. This makes students much more likely to roll the dice on the plate and to quietly play their game. 

All you need to make this is a plastic plate from Dollar Tree or any other store that has plastic plates, and a shelf liner roll. 
1. Trace the circle from the inside of your plate onto your roll of liner. 
2. Trace that circle onto the rest of the shelf liner roll
3. Cut it out
4. Place it onto the plate
5. Voila!

Card boxes are my nemesis. I have not used card boxes for a while now because I despise how they tear. My students have a hard time putting the cards neatly away in these so it turns into a big mess. That's the moment where I pull out my hair. 

Instead of using the cardboard box that cards come in, I went to a dollar tree store (the closest one to me is 6 hours away!) and I found these little tupperwear containers.
These are a lifesaver. They cost me $1.25 for 3. They are easy to open and close and fit cards in them perfectly! 

If you can't find these exact containers by chance, you can also use a portable soap container like these ones:

I have used both, and they work really well but I do prefer the snap closing ones more. 


I use math envelopes for my math games. On each envelope, I have a cover of the game so that my students can identify the difference between each one. On the back, I have the rules, how many players AND the materials that they will need. 

This has saved me hours of insanity with my kids. They can now go and find their game, look at the instructions and find the materials that they need INDEPENDENTLY! 

When playing math games with my students, we talk about the skill we are practicing. Like I stated above, I allow my class to play math games.

 Every once in a while, I like to switch things up by having them invent a new game that focuses on the skill we have been working on. Some of the games they have come up with have been so fun and wonderful that it is added into our math game cupboard for students to play. 

What I do for this is I have a folder with game boards that are blank. I have printed off game boards from Kimberly Geswin's Build A Game Font. It has so many different templates for you to use, and it is free to download if you are using it for personal use. 

I hope that you find these tips helpful! I'd love to hear about any other math tips that you have in the comment section below. 

Have a wonderful day, 


Fort McMurray Fire Relief

As many of you know, Fort McMurray has been a big topic on the news as of lately. On May 1, 2016, a fire started just outside of Fort McMurray. In just 2 days, the fire swept through the city of Fort McMurray, destroying over 2500 homes, businesses, and buildings, and sending over 80 000 people fleeing from their homes in a city-wide evacuation.

Many of you may have heard stories about the people who lost everything in Fort McMurray. I have one more story that I would like to share.

Growing up, I had the pleasure of living in a small town. Everyone knew everyone when it came to school and who your peers were. One of the boys in my school, who is a few years younger than me, was also affected by fires. His name is Brendon. Brendon was always a shy kid growing up. We didn't hang out with the same people, but when you live in a small town, you are acquaintances with everyone.

A few years ago, his younger brother passed away in a tragic accident on the night of his graduation. This upset our whole community. Brendon was still a young man himself and had to pick himself up from that horrible situation. Fast forward to a few years later -- Brendon now has lost everything he had owned in the fires of Fort McMurray. He is literally piecing his life back together from the ground up right now.

On May 16th, a group of teacher sellers on Teachers Pay Teachers are donating All proceeds from their store toward helping the families. Most of the teachers that are involved will be donating to the Canadian Red Cross because they are matching donations above and beyond everything they are already providing. I know that TpT’ers and TpT fans are generous and supportive and I hope to have a big donation to help this cause. 

Click on my logo to be taken to my store to see the SALE going on!

Above and beyond what I donate to the Canadian Red Cross (all sales from Monday, May 16th) I will match it with my own money and donate toward Brendon's Go Fund Me account. Together we can make a difference!

Here is a list of all the stores that are involved in the sale. Check them out and help support this cause. Thanks so much in advance for your support.

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