Monday, July 31, 2017

File Folder Icons Makeover

Get rid of your MacBook blue file folders on your desktop! Upgrade to super cute file folder icons! Not a mathy post, but it will make your math files happy! It is so simple, I wish I had known about this long ago. Maybe you did! But if not, here are the steps to dressing up your desktop! If you would rather watch, scroll to the bottom for a video tutorial!

I use PowerPoint for all of my publishing. Back in the day I used Publisher but MacBook doesn't support it so I had to switch. They are very similar so use whichever one you have. Create an icon making sure it fills the entire page.

Make sure all of the images and text boxes are grouped together. To group, make sure all the images/boxes are selected or highlighted. Right click and copy the entire image directly from PowerPoint.

Then right-click the file folder you want to edit. Select "Get Info."

Click on the small folder icon first and then hit paste. Watch that plain blue folder change to your design!

No more ugly blue file folders! The fonts I used are Amatic from and Better Together from I am a font-addict!

Speaking of being a font addict...another trick that has saved me hours time when trying to find the perfect font! You can go to and it will display your text in every font that is installed on your computer! I know! Take a minute! Hope this folder makeover will bring your back to school desktop some happiness!

I have noticed that sometimes the images are blurry. I created a tutorial that has a fix for this! Hope it helps!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Teacher's Guide to Interactive Student Notebooks

I was asked to present Interactive Student Notebooks at our Gulf Regional Innovative Teaching Conference. I have used them in my classroom for 4 years and was super happy to share all of the things I have stolen from other teachers! I only had 50 minutes to talk about something I could talk for days about! What better way to teach teachers about interactive notebooks than to have them create their own! This is also my love letter to Math Equals Love for putting her amazing ideas out into the math world. I actually do have some of my own ideas but I am sure they originate from hers!

I put all the handouts together, in order, for each participant so I would not have to use precious time passing things out. I think this saved time. That and me talking super fast! I wanted them to leave with a product and something tangible they could refer to. My classroom model notebook that I keep through the year is helpful for me the next year to look back on.

It was important to me that they experience the "interactive" notebook like students do. A couple of the staple activities used in my classroom were easily adapted. There are not enough adjectives to describe how happy using Math Equals Love's Unit Dividers make me! You can see the green one in the notebook above. If you do interactive notebooks, you need these in your life!

The next thing was to show how important color with meaning is to the interactive notebook. I first saw the idea of a coloring page from Math Equals Love for translating expressions. For the conference, teachers color coded "Why Should My Classes Use ISNs?" into three categories.

These are all of the reasons I love using interactive notebooks with my students. My students answered a survey at the end of the year about them and the overwhelming theme of their answers were that the notebooks were fun and made it easy to keep up with their stuff. Students take ownership of their notebooks and are proud of them.

Pockets or envelopes are a staple of interactive notebooks. They are great for holding flash cards, task cards, any kind of cards you have! For the teacher's notebook, I put cards of all the supplies they would need.

Card sorts and matching are two activities that you can use for everything. This matching activity had the teachers match the word with things they needed to think about in setting up their notebooks for their classes. A shutter foldable had them talk about the administrative things when using notebooks.

My favorite page was the mini foldables! They turned out super cute! But it also gave teachers practice in folding and taping as well as ideas of what foldable to use for which notes.

How could I not show them POOF books? They are one of my students' favorite foldable. I first saw these at Math Equals Love where she had made it for exponent rules. Inside, teachers found advice about using interactive notebooks.

To show how to layer pages and how the tape makes hinges, the last page had a couple of pages of resources for them. Bloggers that do interactive notebooks and things to ask Google, especially MTBoS, were on the pages along with a place for them to write notes.

It only took two trips to haul the supplies into the building! I think I won for most stuff required for a presentation! Teachers seemed excited to take interactive notebooks back to their classrooms and that makes me excited!

Find all the things here!

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