Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Break

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas holiday. I had a great time with my family. I'm now busy working on remodeling my house (ok, hubby is doing most of it but I'm great moral support). I'm busy catching up on school stuff to and I just started my dossier (ah!! it's crazy!)

I'm, of course, thinking about the first days back in January, and one of the first things I am going to revisit is my SMART goal packet.

We start NWEA testing a couple weeks into January, and I use this packet for student goal setting. We talk about where they need to be by the end of the year, where they should be now, and test taking strategies to help them do well.

I talk more about how I use the other forms in this post, Goal Settting. Check it out at TpT!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

I have been having so much fun the last couple of days. I introduced my class to Random of Acts of Kindness, thanks to a post on Farley's blog Oh Boy Fourth Grade. I changed mine slightly from her because I didn't want to have Christmas in there for the non-believers. On Wednesday, my class wrote notes to the principal and assistant principal. Today, the assistant principal thanked "the secret writers" over the announcements and my class was so excited. We are not telling anyone it is us and my class is having so much fun being sneaky.

Today we gave pencils and cards to another class. The kiddos were so cute sneaking down the hall, not talking and placing their cards on each students'  desk. I heard the teacher talking about the surprise and I had to try so hard with my poker face! She said she's passing it on tomorrow to another class. I hope it goes all over the school!

Anyone else showing holiday cheer by being kind? I would love to hear your stories!

Download for FREE {here}!

Holiday Games

I don't know about you, but as we get farther into December, it takes even more to capture the attention of my third graders! They have sugar plums in their eyes or something. I love getting them excited about Christmas and winter.

Although it hasn't snowed yet, we are all wishing for some. I made these games with a winter theme to give us a little glimpse of snow!

So... if you want to avoid eyes glazing over, and teach grammar in a fun way, you might like these! They are great for my ESL kiddos to build vocabulary! I hope you like them!

Click {here} to buy them on TpT.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Almost December!?!?!

Can you believe it is almost December? I don't know about you, but I'm shocked we got here so fast! I know this time will fly by!

One thing I know for sure is how crazy behavior gets during this month! Kiddos are so excited for the holidays and we are all in need of a break!

One thing I do in my room to encourage positive behavior is Fun Friday. I know many of you do this, so I'm not reinventing anything, but this really works for me!

Each day students earn points for positive behavior. I use Class Dojo {click to read my post about Dojo} to give my students points all day long. I can give them points when we are on the go by using the Dojo app. All I have to say to my class is "I'm looking for someone... "and they all start doing what they are supposed to!

On Friday, the students are able to do self-selected activities for the last 15 minutes of the day. The student with the most points has first choice of activities.

 I printed these out, laminated them and hot glued them to ribbon. I pin a clip with the students name to the card of the activity they are going to. They chose their activity from the top point earner to the least.

Students fill out a form to show their parents their points for the week and I check off their behavior that week. I am able to show the parents what their child needs to work on as well, by circling the behavior area they need to work on.

My Fun Friday Freebie packet, with signs for Fun Friday and parent behavior forms are available for FREE in my TpT store. I hope it works for you!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cyber Monday!

Thank you Ashley for the cutest latte drinking snowman ever!

I have been busy making last minute changes to a few products I have been waiting to post! My most recent product is Multiplication Sundaes. Considering I'm starting multiplication on Monday I thought it would be a good time to finish it!

This has everything you need to use sundaes as a reward for timed multiplication tests. The quizzes are included as well as the sundae cut-outs, end of year certificates, teacher grid, class graph and flash cards! They are all super cute and decorated with sundae. Talk about a constant reminder of the goal!

I hope all of you will enjoy the Cyber Monday sale!

You can browse my store here!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey in the Oven... Time to Have a Sale

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I'm still stuffed from having Thanksgiving at my parents house and I am currently cooking for my in-laws to come over. So since the turkey's in the oven, I can talk about the TpT sale!
Ad courtesy of Mercedes at Surfing to Success

So I hope you enjoy placing stuff in your wishlist as you recover from the turkey coma or are waiting in the cold for Black Friday!

I've added a couple new items in my store over the break! Check out the good on sale at my store!

Check out other stores on sale at Surfing to Success.

Happy Shopping and Happy Eating!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goal Setting

We are now in that time of year where the really big push before state testing begins. I know the students well and I'm ready to tackle the heavy duty stuff.

One of those things is goal setting. I think it is so important that students are aware of what they are striving for and how they are going to get there. The way I show them is by them setting goals and action steps for reaching their goals. I think the students are much more invested in their education when they understand the importance of the next milestone and how they will get there.

The first thing I start with is myself. I know I have to be strategic about what I teach and how. I have so little time, and I need to do the important things. I have a learning target poster that helps me stay focused on my mission that week or day.

 I made this into a poster and laminated it for my board.

The next thing I do is complete graphing of each students score with them. They color and label their graph. My school does NWEA Literacy and Math and DRA as our main points of data. The students graph their scores as well as their goal before and after a testing session.

 In addition to graphing data and goals, I am also having students complete weekly reflection sheets on their goals for the week as well as their action steps for completing each item.

On Monday they will make goals and action steps and Friday they will reflect on how their week went. I think this is an excellent way to keep students accountable.

I made up a packet for TpT that hopefully more than just me will be able to use!

It includes:
* graphing pages for DRA and NWEA as well as a blank template
*weekly goal setting sheets with and without cute pics for the older grades!
*Classroom posters of SMART goals and learning targets
*Bulletin board activity with goal t-shirts and conversation bubbles. Super cute! Trust me!
* I reached my goal class poster for weekly use
* End of year learning reflection
*Goal sheet specifically for testing with action steps for writing down all those good skills like rereading and showing work.
Click here to purchase {Student Goal Setting Packet}.

Do you use goal setting in your classroom? What has been successful for you?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teacher Tip

I'm linking up with Miss. Kindergarten for her Teaching Tip Linky. I'm sure I'm not reinventing the wheel or anything with this one, but this has really helped me with group work. When students are working in groups each one of them has an assigned role.

Person 1 is the Materials Manager and is in charge of getting the materials for the group. This alleviates everyone running for the lined paper at once! I give this to the student that is not normally wandering the room.

Person 2 is the Recorder and is supposed to record the answers for the group. This job goes to the one with the prettiest handwriting.

Person 3 is the Leader/Volume Control and is in charge of keeping the group on track and quiet. This is the assignment you give to the student that has the most difficulty staying on track and having a classroom voice! :)

Person 4 is the Journalist. They are the ONLY one allowed to ask me a question. This alleviates the crowding around the teacher problem! I give this assignment to the student that is shy and usually doesn't ask questions.

My class absolutely adores this and will even assign each other roles when I don't!
Great to use for groups!  Assigning "jobs" with job descriptions on a necklace!
Pic of Amy Lemon's badges from her blog post.

I also saw on pinterest a teacher gave each role a name badge on string. I think this would work great for younger grades. As I followed the pinterest link it was the famous Amy Lemons. Read about how she uses the roles {here}

Read more teaching tips on the linky!

Happy Veteran's Day everyone! Special shout out to my cousin who is currently serving in the Navy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Teachers Help Teachers

My heart goes out to all of the people on the east coast affected by Hurricane Sandy. I'm praying for all of you!

Laurah at the ESOL Odyssey is gathering resources for teachers affected by the hurricane. I can't even imagine losing all the materials that we all work so hard to create. I've donated my bucket filling packet because during hard times, I think it will be good for the children to find the good things in each other.

If you are a TpT or TN seller consider donating to the cause! Follow the link to find out more!
Click here to join in!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Conferences: DONE!

I finished up conferences yesterday. Woo hoo! I felt like I was explaining advanced calculus during some parts. Explaining Common Core philosophies and the new report card was not fun! Anyone else doing standards based report cards? It is so difficult to give a student that is proficient in what I taught a 1 because I haven't taught the whole standard. Frustrating! Anyways, I was happy that most of the parents were happy and understood Common Core by the time I was finished.

I'm going to enjoy my long weekend very much. Drinking lots of these:
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Pumpkin Spice Latte!!!! Photo from Starbucks website, don't get me copyright police, it's a free ad!
 I'll be glad to be back to a normal week not filled with conferences, but it does have Halloween. Anyone else dread Halloween on a school day like I do? Or even worse, the day after?  If you are looking for Halloween items, check out my Halloween Literacy Packet and Halloween Addition, Subtraction or Multiplication Game.

Maybe these games and centers will help the Halloween blahs!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Top 8 Tech Sites for Test Prep~ Math Magician

It's been awhile, but I am back at sharing some of the resources I use for my students on the computer.

#4- Math Magician
Math Magician is an interesting way to practice boring math facts! I have my students start with addition and go on through subtraction and multiplication. Level One gives 50 facts in 2 and a half minutes, and Level Two is 100 problems in 5 minutes. The format is pretty simple and easy to use.
 This site used to allow you to chose which fact to practice, such as multiplying by 2, but as far as I can see this is no longer an option. Another downfall of this program is if your computer runs really slow the timer seems to take longer than the set amount of time.

Overall, this is an interesting and engaging way to practice math facts! Anyone else use this program or have another way to practice facts on the computer?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Subtraction with Singapore Methods

I'm 8 weeks into school now and I feel like I'm drowning! Report cards are due next week and I'm thinking of all the things I was supposed to cover but didn't. This year with the implementation of Common Core, my district has come up with units of study. While they are a great tool to use, I'm used to going at the pace my class needs! I still did that, but now I feel kind of guilty!

I worked for a long time on number sense. Adding and subtracting took FOREVER!!! I was supposed to do that, perimeter, area, time and elapsed time, and multiplication arrays. Anyone else think that was a lot? Well, I got through addition and subtraction and time, and area is next week.

To teach subtraction, I came up with some activity sheets that teach subtraction in a non-traditional way. Many of my students came in knowing how to borrow, but they struggled to do it correctly and didn't know why they were supposed to do all the steps. Some of the sheets used Singapore methods, while others used number lines or hundreds charts. Either way, I think my students truly understand what subtraction is and not just the rote process for subtraction.
This sheet was great because students were still struggling with how to use a hundred chart. This helped show them patterns in numbers. This is also part of the Common Core standard.
I also did subtraction with doubles and near doubles which again built number sense. The near doubles was hard for them and definitely something I need to revisit. After this sheet, they completed a subtract 10 and 100 sheet. They needed to see the pattern where they would only have to change the tens or hundreds digit. Finally, I had them complete a subtraction sheet with Singapore methods where you decompose the number instead of borrowing.

There are several other sheets that go with this unit and all of them are available at my TpT store.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Classroom Management-Class Dojo

In addition to bucket filling, another behavior system I use in my classroom is Class Dojo. Class Dojo is an interactive way to give points for good behavior. I keep this projected all day, and will sometimes allow students to award themselves points using the SMART board.

In this screen shot you see my class "monsters." When I see good behavior I award points to that student. When you click on a student, a window appears and you are able to award the point for the positive behavior the student is demonstrating.

 You are able to change the wording of the awards and the icons. So you will see I have bucket filling as one of my positive awards.

You can also give points on the go, which I do using the iphone app. My students are the best line walkers when I'm happily awarding points for their good behavior.

The app interface is pretty similar. You just chose the students to award points to and click the behavior they demonstrated. The web based version will update at the same time, so I can be in the back of the room and the point will come up on the screen.

I also will take away points for off task behavior. At the end of the week the students have Fun Friday {I got the idea here from Teeny Tiny Teacher}. The student who has the most points gets to chose their Fun Friday activity first.

The students are able to log in to class dojo and change their monster as well. Teacher reports are available to show parents and students. Class Dojo is free to use and my kiddos love it so much!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Singapore Math Strategies

My mind is swimming with thoughts of Common Core! I had a meeting about common core for math today and I am exhausted! Don't you think teacher meetings are more exhausting than actual teaching?

I've been trying to wrap my mind around some of the Singapore math strategies. I was fortunate to receive a training 2 weeks ago about numbers sense and Singapore math strategies. A lot of what was talked about was building number sense and ability to play with numbers by students. I have noticed that when I ask students what makes ten, they are able to tell me, but they are unable to decompose and compose numbers.
I started by having them use two ten frames. They were able to make the numbers using place value disks and see how many until they got to the next ten. They would exchange the ones for a ten so they could add simple two digit numbers, like 8+6.
They used the place value disks to do the worksheets that I had created to break apart numbers in order to add them. The hope is that they will learn mental math strategies and will be able to add in their head instead of using their fingers!

To answer this gap in their learning I have created a few worksheets. These have number bonds and decomposing numbers for addition. I am working on 3.NBT.2 right now, and these are the first step towards getting them to add and subtract to the thousands place.
 When students are able to add by breaking apart the number, my next step will be addition using expanded form. So if the problem is 22+17, they would add 20 and 10 and then 7 and 2. So they would get 30+9=39.

In addition to these pages, I also have these same pages but harder, as well as some addition pages with scaffolding for carrying.
Anyone else use Singapore methods for math instruction? What great resources have you found? I am in need of resources. I have found a couple books, Math Practice, Grade 3 (Singapore Math)Mental Math, Grade 3/Level 2: Strategies and Process Skills to Develop Mental Calculation (Singapore Math) and 70 Must-Know Word Problems, Grade 3 (Singapore Math) which were really helpful.

All of these sheets and more (13 worksheets!) are available on my TpT store.