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!