Saturday, June 30, 2012

Top 10 Linky Party

Teaching My 3
Teaching My 3

Heather at Teaching My 3 is hosting a Linky Party to list your top 10. It could be your 10 favorite school supplies. Or, your 10 favorite tech tools. I have chosen to list my top 10 websites. It was difficult narrowing it down to 10, but I did.

My Top 10 All-Time Favorite Websites

1.  Pinterest - Great place to find creative teaching ideas

2.  Twitter - Collaborate and connect with educators 
{don't forget to join daily chats - Cybrary Man has created a calendar}  

3.  North Carolina Common Core Support Tools - We are getting our feet wet this upcoming school year and this website unpacks the standards -- YES!!!

4.  Facebook - Addicted!!!

5.  On The Road To Success - My blog. Keep checking because it is about to get a make-over...

6.  Khan Academy - Videos correlated to Common Core -- SCORE!!
{Beware: videos are streamed with You Tube and may not play if your school blocks website}

7.  Show Me - Another website that has videos on any subject.
{You Tube blocked school friendly}

8.  You Convert It - Video converter

9.  Grant Wrangler - Find grants for library, STEM, technology, and much more  

10.  Classroom Freebies - They do all the looking and all I have to do is scan their site :)

I hope you find these websites useful. Click on any website title to gain access. 

Thanks for visiting and make sure to link up.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Guided Math Chapter 5

Teachers spend more time planning for whole group instruction than for small group instruction. Yes, I fit into that statement. The ideas presented in this chapter will help me plan effectively.

In the past, I gave a pretest at the beginning of the year and created groups using results. The same students would stay in that group for almost half a year. Then, I would move some students around because personality clashes occurred. That was me being lazy -- "Ugh, do I really have to make another test and use more copies?" 

I'm glad this component has been addressed. I don't always have to give pretests to create groups. Observations of student work, simple math conversations, and performance tasks are options I now have to form small groups.

So, how do I plan for small groups?
  • Identify the big idea of the unit of study
  • Decide what the criteria of success will be in mastering the standards
  • Form groups based on formal and informal assessments
  • Select teaching points
  • Prepare differentiated lessons
  • Gather and organize materials
Ok, ready to what?

  • Introduce lesson - this must be brief. Teachers can demonstrate how to use manipulatives, discuss vocabulary, connect concept to their own lives, or reflect on concepts already learned
  • Present task
  • Encourage use of multiple strategies - WOW! This was an eye-opener! Word problems appear at the end f a worksheet and students just plug in whatever procedure was used for the rest of the page. No real problem solving has occurred with this word problem. I need to release control and allow the students to choose their own strategy. 
  • Scaffold learning
  • Mathematical discourse - reflect on what they are doing and communicate it to others. 
  • Feedback
I hope you are enjoying this book as much as I am! 
Love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Time To Party

Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Patti and I am from Louisiana. I currently teach 4th grade Math, Science, and Social Studies.

During the school year, I use my blog as a communication tool for parents. They can see what their children are learning and stay current on school events. I also post videos/games for the students to use. Starting this summer, I have made the decision to not let it sit unused. I have been using the blog to link up with other bloggers and gain valuable information. 

I would love to have more blogger friends so make sure to follow my blog.

I've recently created a Facebook page so "Like" that as well to be automatically alerted to new posts.

My speciality is technology. For a freebie, I have made all my board games free. They were $3.00. I use these games during centers on the Promethean board. Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store to download these fun games! If you like those check back because I will be posting more soon. They will be available to download for free until midnight tonight. Get them quick!

Thanks for stopping by!

Guided Math Chapter 4

In my thoughts on Chapter 1, I wondered if the mini lessons I use in place of whole group instruction was effective. My question was answered in this chapter on "Using Guided Math with the Whole Class." The answer is yes and no....LOL   I know - what kind of answer is that!? Let me explain.

All the points made in the "Architecture of a Mathematics Mini Lesson" (page 112) are used during mini lessons.

  • Real-life experiences are connected to what they are about to learn
  • Teaching point is expressed in the form of an "I can" statement and anchor chart that is used as a reference during centers
  • Practice is completed during active engagement
  • Their work is either linked to a previous day's lesson or a lesson they will learn later in the week
Thank you, Laney Sammons, for the sample mini lesson. It is always helpful to hear/read what it should  look like.

Tips for Effective Mini Lessons
Here is where I run into some things I need to change. Mini lessons should be no more than 10 minutes. I usually spend 15 to 20 minutes. The reason why -- I engage in conversations with my students. The first two recommendations for effective mini lessons are to limit student talk and keep the connection brief. When I make a real-life connection the students are so eager to share more ideas. So, we discuss them. I also find myself trying to fix problems during guided practice. This takes a big amount of time. From now on I should keep a clip board with me to list the students who need additional, intensive instruction. That way I can use this info to pull students during centers. These changes are doable and should cut the mini lesson to 10 minutes.

Activating Strategies
I have to be honest here. I am not a fan of KWL charts. I am worried that once the "K" is filled in, all misconceptions that are listed may be believed. I understand that these misconceptions can be addressed during the "Things I Learned," but it may be difficult for some to do away with the incorrect content once it has been sitting there all day. 

I have never used anticipation guides before and they seem beneficial. It sounds similar to KWL charts in what do you believe now and what do you believe after. However, my students will view this as a "let me see how many I can get right." Then if they do answer something incorrectly, they immediately see what was wrong. To extend on this activity I will have them correct the incorrect statements.

Reading Math-Related Children's Literature
I need advice. Reading a book is suggested for the beginning of class. I have a center with math-related books. Should I read the book in the beginning of class and place in center for students to read again? Or, not read the book but still have it available? 

Math Huddle
I would love to incorporate this as a closing activity. Just wish there were examples on what it should look like.

Games and Music
Each week I create a new game to be played on the Promethean board. They love competing with each other! If you are interested in seeing the game, I have them at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Only 4 are listed and as soon as I can I will be posting more. Click on the picture to check them out.

I purchased a multiplication rap CD at a DI conference a few years back and the students love it! It is from Hip Hop Edutainment. If you introduce your students to these songs don't lose the CD! I misplaced it once and you would have thought I took recess away from the students. They sulked until I found it. Since that incident, I have made additional copies and downloaded it to my iTunes account. I use it as a time filler. I choose a song, let's say it covers the 4 times table, and play it. As it is playing, the students compete to see who can write the 4 times table the most before the end of the song.

I DO NOT know what I would do without the Promethean board. I am absolutely spoiled!! In addition to the board, I have all the cool gadgets that come with it -- Activotes (what the book calls clickers), wand, tablet, etc. The Activotes are a valuable asset because I can pose a question and see every students' response once they have "clicked." The program will also create a graph of the results.

Thanks for reading and I would love your feedback.

Our hosts for Chapter 4 are Brittany at Sweet Seconds and Katie at Once Upon a Teaching Blog. Make sure to link up :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guided Math Chapter 3


These were my reactions as I read great idea after great idea after great idea after great idea. I think you get the picture.

So much information is packed into this 36 page chapter! To save time and my fingers from cramping, I want to share my thoughts on the components that interest me. 

Data Collection and Analysis Math Stretch - Thinking of posing a question on Monday, having students respond to/ graph, then Tuesday - Friday student-generated questions using data.

Number of the Day Math Stretch - This will be included in one of my centers. I like how it is a quick, easy task.

______ Makes Me Think Of.....Math Stretch - Another idea to be included in a center. I will leave the chart up for the entire unit allowing students to change answers if needed. I may also, or instead of, have a chart with 3 columns: Math to Self, Math to World, Math to Math. Student would make connections in each column. 

Mathematical Current Events - Such an easy way to make the students aware of their world and how math is a part of it. 

Mathematics-Related Classroom Responsibilities - Now why haven't I thought of this before? Oh yeah, because I'm a control freak :)  Might have to relinquish some control and assign jobs that are math related. I'm really interested in creating booklets to graph their progress of math-fact fluency. This will also give them ownership and make them responsible for their learning.

Calendar Board - As of now, I will continue using Mountain Math instead of the Calendar Board. I see lots of similarities.  However, there are some components that caught my attention. 
  • Decimal number line representing the number of days in school
  • Using place value to show days left and days used (page 99)

My classroom will definitely scream MATH IS LEARNED HERE!

I am learning so much from this book study. It's not too late to join in and share your thoughts. Here are the links for our previous hosts.

            Chapter 1                                                                          Chapter 2

Chapter 3 from an elementary                           Chapter 3 from a middle school
          perspective                                                         perspective


Have You Linked Up?

My partner teacher is hosting her first Linky Party. Head over to her blog and share how your class makes memories.

Want to see what my class created to remember their school year? Click on the picture below.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Guided Math Chapter 2

Chapter 2 discussed creating a classroom environment of numeracy. I have always been jealous of language art classrooms. Shelves packed with books, cozy corners to read these books, centers to express yourself through writing or to relax while listening to an audio book. Don't get me wrong; I love teaching Math! But, it seemed difficult to create an environment that was as equally engaging as literacy. Now I see that it's not as difficult as I once thought.

A classroom of numeracy contains much more than workstations. First and foremost, the kids must be willing to take risks and know it is ok to make mistakes. 

I have this poster hanging in my room. When one student is not engaged in their activity because they don't understand, I hear another student reminding them of this poster. I LOVE IT!

Ok, back to creating our environment. My classroom arrangement allows for student independence by having designated work areas and labeled, organized manipulatives. Having 34 students in an average-sized classroom does not allow for a separate large- or small- group meeting area. I wish it did. I meet with my groups at empty student desks. Not an ideal area, but it works. 

Now we get into the heart of a numeracy-rich environment.
  • Student calendars or agendas - Our school provides agendas and I would be willing to incorporate this into my lesson. However, I have little experience with the use of math calendars. I wish this chapter would have given more details. Ideas would be appreciated. :)
  • Manipulatives - They are organized, labeled, and easily accessible.
  • Problems of the Day and Problems of the Week - I include a problem of the week in my Math Reading and Writing station. 
  • Word Wall and Vocabulary Displays - Elizabeth at Fun in 4B shared a resource created by another teacher and I am so thankful! Now I can display vocab in style. Ginger at Ginger Snaps has 4th grade Common Core vocab cards that I will be purchasing very soon.
  • Math Journals - I have been looking into Interactive Student Notebooks to use in Science and Social Studies. Might as well use them in Math as well. I believe, in conjunction with foldables, this will be an effective part of next year.
  • Graphic Organizers - Again, using foldables.
  • Class-Made Charts - This will be hard for me. I know charts should be made with the class, but I like to have them pre-made with math processes so the children have a reference during centers. As I mentioned in Chapter 1's thoughts, my lessons consist of a mini-lesson then straight to centers. Maybe someone can help me with my control issues. :)
  • Tools for Measuring - Have the tools but so guilty of only using them when that skill is taught. Have to correct this problem.
  • Math-Related Children's Literature - My Math Reading and Writing center address this component. I will have to tweak it this upcoming year. While it is great that I have math literature available, the fact remains that not all of my students are reading on-level. Playing with a few ideas on how to use my listening center for this purpose.
  • Math Books by Student Authors - Already addressed foldables. :)
I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Want to join in the fun?
Our host for Chapter 1 

And Chapter 2's host 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Guided Math Book Study Chapter 1

I began my blog this past school year with the purpose of keeping parents informed of class events. I am a little disappointed in myself for not posting more frequently. So, my goal for next school year is to post every week!

This school year has come to an end and my blog will go untouched for the next few months...NOT!! 

During my stalking of blogs I came across a book study hosted by Primary Inspired. It started June 8th, better late than never, and each chapter will be discussed by other teacher bloggers. In preperation of my new goal for next year, I will be participating and not allowing my blog to go untouched during the summer. :)


Here are my thoughts...

Guided Math is a framework of 7 instructional components.
  1. A Classroom Environment of Numeracy - Children think that if they don't understand Math they never will. By creating an environment that supports numeracy, they will see how problem solving and numbers affect their everyday lives and become more meaningful. 
  2. Morning Math Warm-ups - Questions or mathematical tasks are completed by students the minute they are at their desks. I currently use Mountain Math as my warm-up. I won't find out until Chapter 3 what this entails in Guided Math. Hopefully it will be similar to Mountain Math because it will have to blow me away for me to eliminate using Mountain Math. There are so many skills to be learned in Math and it can be difficult to review in January what was learned the previous 4 months. I am so hooked on my warm-up because every week the students quickly review key concepts. They are also introduced to concepts that may not be learned for 2 months, but when the time comes they are already familiar because of the weekly review.
  3. Whole-Class Instruction - In January, I began the Daily 5 in Math. I cannot wait until they come out with a book on that model!!! Anyway, my whole-class instruction has been in the form of mini-lessons. I'm interested to learn if I am using this method effectively.
  4. Guided Math Instruction with Small Groups of Students - Who doesn't love working with small groups??? This is my favorite part of the day. I get to differentiate my instruction, provide immediate, corrective feedback, and really get to know my students. I am curious as to how other educators group their students. The book briefly discusses grouping by ability. My groups have always been heterogeneous. I like the idea of having a student with a greater understanding of math in a group with someone who may not. I fear homogeneous grouping for the simple fact of how can they help each other if no one understands? I would greatly appreciate feedback from other teachers on my dilemma :) Again, another chapter that I can't wait to dive into.
  5. Math Workshop - Great suggestions are made in the book for use in math workshops: math-center activities, math games, Math journal writing, problem of the week. My workshops consist of Math Reading and Writing, Math with Technology, Partner Math, Math by Myself, and Math with IWB. 
  6. Individual Conferences - Excited that this chapter will provide a structure for conferencing and methods for recording anecdotal notes!
  7. An Ongoing System of Assessment - "In mathematics instruction, a student's level of proficiency can vary drastically from concept to concept." Oh, how so very true! Some students catch on quickly and I don't want to waste valuable time teaching what they already know. On the other hand, I don't want to teach at such a fast pace that the ones struggling are left behind. A balanced system of assessment will give a better picture of each student's understanding. 
I have a great deal of information that I am about to learn. I CAN'T WAIT!! Very thankful that I ran across this book study. If I hadn't, I would be skipping around the book and missed out on useful information. More importantly, I would have missed out on valuable insights from other educators.

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