Visit My Shop


Math Supplements

Raise the Bar!

This summer I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Diane McKee, 2016 Florida Teacher of the Year! We had gotten to know each other through a platform she created for all Florida District Teachers of the Year. At the State Roundtable, she shared with us how she "raises the bar" with her students!

Each year she hangs this red bar in her classroom. As her students enter they tap it to remind themselves that their dreams are within their reach. She shared with us how this bar became a symbol of motivation for her students. She watched them set down a pencil in frustration, glance at the bar, and find it within themselves to pick that pencil up and dig deep.

This red bar helped Diane create a culture of perseverance. Students came to believe that they were capable of doing rigorous work to success. This growth mindset, combined with an incredible amount of love and dedication, led her students to achieve top scores in the District and State.

When Diane won Florida Teacher of the Year, her father told her he would help her make as many red bars as she needed. {Parents are so generous in those proud moments} When it came time to give her final speech to the next group of District TOY's, that's just what he did. Diane gifted us with both this incredible story and a red bar to hang in our classrooms to help us inspire our students to reach far enough to do their best work each day!

I was so inspired by this story and I truly wanted thank the faculty at my school for first giving me the opportunity to represent our sweet school and go on to become Teacher of the Year for the entire District. I also wanted to find a way to share this incredible experience with them. When I returned to Jacksonville, my parents volunteered to help me create the same gift for my faculty. We spent the last few weeks of the summer cutting, drilling, sanding, painting, and stringing red bars for every classroom in my school.

Students tap the bar walking into class each morning.
Since sharing Diane's story with the teachers at my school I've watched this idea grow and touch teachers in other schools and other districts. It's incredible to see such an inspiring idea motivate teachers and children beyond your own personal reach!

Thank you Diane, for inspiring us all to "Raise the Bar!"

Poster created by a kindergarten teacher to explain the purpose of the bar!

Students tap the bar walking into Media each day!

STEM-tember: Tinker Tubs

Welcome to day four of STEM-tember! Today we're going to talk about how to incorporate STEM activities into your daily routines!

With STEM/STEAM/STREAM taking off in primary classrooms across the country, Tinkering Trays, STEM boxes (bins, sticks, and bags), Makerspaces and the like are growing in popularity as teachers ask themselves "How can I integrate STEM into my classroom?"

Minute to STEM it Tinker Tubs were born out of a desire to give my students more access to STEM materials and activities. For the past 3 years I've been collecting resources through Donors Choose projects, Hall Malls/Free Table in the Teacher Lounge, and finding ways to use common classroom materials to challenge my students. Last year I stored these challenges in plastic shoe bins and used them in a STEM Writing center. Recently, I got a very generous donation of pencil boxes and decided to create Tinker Tubs for daily use!

When my students finish packing up each day they choose a Tinker Tub and use the materials inside to complete the challenge cards that are in the tub. Tinker Tubs are great for indoor recess, early finishers, behavior incentives, STEM writing centers, science centers, morning work, Fun Friday, and just about any other way you could think to incorporate them!

In this pack you will find box labels, challenge cards, reflection questions, and a STEM recording page that will help walk your students through the Engineering Design Process. I'd recommend storing materials and challenge cards in plastic shoe boxes, pencil boxes, Ziploc bags, or baskets.

Available at the Dollar Tree!
Laminate these printables for long-term, repeated use! I print the challenges and reflection double-sided, then laminate and place them in boxes or bins with appropriate materials. I also print and laminate the recording page. We use this page for Minute to STEM it challenges and STEM Book Companion challenges so students are very familiar with it.

A basket full of apples!
You will find most of these materials in your own classroom. However, I have included some examples of great STEM materials that are worth investing in! 

STEM-tember: Minute to STEM it!

Welcome to our fourth day celebrating STEM-tember this week!

Yesterday we talked about book companions which are great for an extended study but sometimes you just need a quick challenge to fill time on a short day or Fun Friday. I've created a line of quick challenges to fill this need!

Each Minute to STEM it challenge offers an activity that is low cost, low prep, and highly engaging! These are easy to implement and use common, affordable materials.

In each pack you will find a combination of the following:  challenge poster, challenge rules, teacher directions, guiding and discussion questions, student instructions, recording sheets (appropriate for K-2) a STEM journal (for upper grades), and printable materials (as necessary).

This FREE Bobbing for Apples STEM challenge is the perfect way to kick off STEM at the beginning of the year!

Be on the look out for more Minute to STEM it challenges to be added over the next few months!

Minute to STEM it: Floats

Minute to STEM it: Hats

MInute to STEM it: Bridges

Minute to STEM it: Ferris Wheel

Minute to STEM it: Carnival Ride

STEM-tember: Book Companions & Challenges

A little over a year ago, I started feeling confident enough about my work with STEM in a primary classroom, to venture into creating resources. Right around that time I met a wonderful character named Rosie.


You might know her as Rosie Revere Engineer written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. This book set me on the road to creating STEM (actually STREAM) book companions. Andrea Beaty's message in Rosie Revere is so poignant (in fact, I loved it so much I quoted it in my Teacher of the Year essay) and I wanted to create a resource that helped students dig into the text to pull out this message and then apply it as they participated in a STEM challenge.

Rosie introduced me to her classmate Iggy Peck Architect....

....and most recently I was able to make the acquaintance of another classmate, Ada Twist Scientist!

This summer I was inspired to create several other companions for stories with equally as impactful meanings. I opt for stories with a meaningful message over shallow, gimmicky storybooks. Even if you don't purchase or use the STEM companions I've created for these storybooks, I'd suggest adding any or all of them to your classroom library because they are simply lovely!

Have you heard of Going Places by Peter and Paul Reyonlds? Anything Peter Reynolds is bound to be a hit in the world of primary and this book is for your dreamers! I use this one to discuss thinking outside of the boxes and looking for ideas in the world around you.

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet is the perfect STEM challenge for the Thanksgiving holidays. This is the true story of Tony Sarg, the puppeteer responsible for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love that this story presents the idea of improving upon successes to make them even better. I also love that it's not your typical Thanksgiving holiday activity!

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel is the captivating, fact-filled storybook by Kathryn Gibbs Davis. This story illustrates an engineers motivation, dedication, and drive to make his vision a reality!

Click here to see it on Amazon! (April Jones Prince)

Twenty-One Elephants is the story of P.T. Barnum marching his elephants across the Brooklyn Bridge shortly after it was built to prove it's stability to doubtful New Yorkers.

Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau is another lovely story by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. In this challenge students will design and create a birthday hat for Madame Chapeau! Can you tell I'm a little obsessed with Andrea Beaty and David Roberts?!

Over the next year I plan to complete STEM book companions and challenges for:

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis:

Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis:

Papa's Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming:

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin by Margaret McNamara:

Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen:

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires: