Friday, June 29, 2012

Fabulous Find Friday

Frame from the 3AM Teacher
Elizabeth from Fun in Room 4B has decide to do her first Link. I absolutely love her linky idea and to think she is nervous about it. She has nothing to be nervous about this will catch on like wildfire! One thing that I have recently come to realize that I cannot live without is . . . 

Product Image

My MacBook Pro. . . NO WAY NO HOW. Before blogging and teaching I could live without it easy ~ not so much anymore.  I learn on this thing, I am encouraged from what I read, I am inspired from it, I create on it, and I use it EVERY single day! I take it to work and use it for LPs and report cards etc. Now of course I jazz it up and keep it in this hard shell case: 

BUT it is hot pink! OBVIOUSLY

ANd it gets carried around this: 

I can't live without my laptop. It goes everywhere with me!

PS I was planning on posting about Guided Math ch 5 today but my back had other plans. Translation heavy drugs, MRI, no sleep :( so I still have a couple pages left to read and process. Stay tuned for it!

Now go and think about what you can't live without and tell us about it and don't forget to link up with Elizabeth from Fun in Room 4B!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

GIVEAWAY and Summer Shopping Linky!

For those of you who are commenting on my post I am LOVING it! I'm trying to get the reply button to work before replying so it is simpler to communicate. So PLEASE bear with me. 

I also logged on and realized I have 200 followers. . . pretty humbling. I had no idea where this blogging would take me. I enjoy it immensely. So thank you faithful followers. Of course this means it's time for a GIVEAWAY! I am going to do TWO $25 TPT Gift Certificates. That means there will be TWO winners! Use the rafflecopter at the bottom to enter!

I love Linky parties! It is so much seeing what everyone is buying for their classrooms! It gives some ideas I never thought of. So I;m sharing what I've purchased so far!

A-Z Learning Resources
Reading - Your Reading Resource Center
See it HERE

Creative Teaching Press:

Lakeshore Learning:
I haven't purchased these items yet BUT I am going to the store (yes I am super excited because there isn;t one around me) and purchasing these items and maybe some more :)
Look What I Made! Art Frames
What a GREAT way to display student work! I can't wait to create my student work display with these!

Turn & Learn Mobile Chart Stand
I have LIMITED wall space and a small classroom. I've come to love my small room but Love the idea of this space saving chart holder. I'm thinking pocket charts and chart paper. 
Alphabet Collage Beads
Add some fun to WORD WORK and spelling words!

Making Inferences Teaching Center
Main Idea Teaching Center
Who, What, When, Where, Why & How?
I just discovered these and look forward to using them! I also homeschool  so some of these resources will get double useage!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Guided Math Chapter 4 Jots and Thoughts FREEBIES Link Up


Hello fellow Mathematicians (you’ll get the reference later)! I’ve broken the book up into sections and given some thoughts on them. At the end you’ll find some questions to ponder. I would love for you to answer them, all of them, some of them, etc. Hope you enjoy. At the very end there are some math freebies!
“While whole-class instruction may not be the most effective approach for all lessons, it can be used quite effectively for some instructional purposes.” 
Advantages of Whole-Class Instruction
  • easy way to present information to all students 
  • it is streamlined (less prep work for teacher)
  • great for “hooking” students into a new math unit/topic/chapter
  • it can help build a sense of community with your class

Challenges of Whole-Class Instruction
  • the teacher student ratio is large in a whole group setting, while small-group instruction diminishes the teacher student ratio
  • it is difficult to provide specific feedback to each student in a whole group setting, in a small group setting it is easier to recognize what feedback to give a student
  • the author also discusses the use of students evaluating their own work through the use of rubrics and other assessment tools - I believe this allows students to take even more ownership of their learning which was discussed earlier in the book
  • in this section along the lines of assessment, an idea used in science class came up: in science class you are often evaluated using paper-and-pencil AS WELL AS a lab component, the teacher observes you using your science in action . . . wouldn’t it be wonderful to incorporate a math “lab” component to your unit/topic/chapter assessments? I will definitely be incorporating this into my math assessment!

Mini Lessons
  • can be used to begin a lesson or to wrap up a lesson
  • “Mini lessons are primarily teacher directed and are valuable, but should be brief, yet explicit-no more than ten minutes.” I found this interesting because I always feel like when I decide that I am doing a mini lesson it never is “mini,” especially just ten minutes. I’ve read 10-15 minutes is a good length for them but always struggled meeting tat time frame. So I LOVED that she broke down the parts of a mini lesson and gave an example lesson. The following are all aspects of a mini lesson:

  • this is the hook, how are you going to get your students interested and involved in the lesson?
teaching point
  • state what the students are going to learn today, “Today I am going to teach you. . .”
  • what I found most interesting in this section was the emphasis on the teacher ”thinking aloud” we are always told do that during reading instruction, but how smart during math instruction!
active engagement
  • let students have a try at the concept
  • the author gave some great ideas for this that are more than paper-and-pencil such as: “turn and talk” teaching the point to a partner, tell how they would apply the concept in “real” life, use a whiteboard to solve the problem
  • I always thought this time had to be long and I had to check every student
  • I learned that it can be a quick informal assessment where I can inventory what students get it and which ones I need to focus on
link to ongoing work
  • help student find a connection with past math learning to the present new concept being taught
sample mini lesson
  • all I have to say is I am calling my students Mathematicians during any math instruction - what a great way to give them ownership of their learning in math

Tips for Effective Mini lessons
the following are ways to increase the effectiveness of the mini lesson
  • limit student talk
  • keep the connection brief
  • state the teaching point simply and reiterate it
  • demonstrate the mathematics teaching point
  • use a familiar context for problem solving
  • match the active engagement to the mathematics teaching point

Activating Strategies
  • one idea mentioned was previewing key vocabulary that students will need for the concept
  • earlier in the book teaching vocabulary was discussed - a numeracy rich environment - I LOVE the Frayer model for math (at the bottom of this post is a link to several freebies for math vocabulary)
KWL Charts
  • a KWL chart is a great visual for an informal inventory of what students think they know, what they want to know, and what they learned
  • I also believe if this a molding object in the classroom that is not done once and put away, but is interactive throughout the whole topic it is a great way for students to take ownership of their learning (at the bottom of this post is a link to several freebies for a math KWL chart)
Anticipation guides
  • these reminded me of the reading survey/inventory teachers have their students take at the beginning of the year
  • I think these would be great to have for every topic/chapter/unit - they are simple ten questions that can be answered true/false 
  • they allow students to have a little commercial of what’s coming up in math
  • if they don’t know an answer they are encouraged to do the best they can
  • Then you can tally up students answer in an anonymous fashion and even create student driven graphs. I believe this would be a great visual to put up in the class and refer to when doing the anticipation guide at the end of the topic. What a great review session. Allow your students to redo the anticipation guide and create a new student driven graph. I am SO excited to implement this next year with my students! 
Word Splashes
  •  this is where you get a big piece of paper and place vocabulary relevant to the topic and introduce the meanings - I’m not sure how I feel about this. . . 

Reading Math-Related Children’s Literature
  • I LOVE literature! I invested in some Stuart J. Murphy math books and am always on the lookout for math literature. 
“Stories make ordinary situations come alive for students.”
  • It is important, just like any read loud, for the teacher to think aloud noticing the math connections and making math-to-self connections and then to give this process over to your students eventually.
Setting the Stage for Math Workshop
  • One important thing here is to establish routines and procedures and not rush this process (it doesn’t work when you rush the process)
Math Huddle
  • this is a time for students to share the current math in their life, the teacher acts as facilitator
  • I find this to appear to work better with upper grades. . . 
Practice and Review Sessions
  • I love the game review concept (when I get around to it I plan on making some reusable pocket chart friendly jeopardy cards) I'll post them as a freebie)

 I created some freebies in different themes to go along with this chapter. I will be using the candy themed ones in my classroom this year!
Grab it HERE for FREE

Grab it HERE for FREE

Grab it HERE for FREE

Grab it HERE for FREE

Grab it HERE for FREE

Grab it HERE for FREE

Grab it HERE for FREE

Don't forget that I am co-hosting this chapter with Once Upon a Teaching Blog

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chapter 3 Review and Reflect


1. Think about how your students begin their day in your classroom. Is there a mathematical connection? Does it involve more than a worksheet?
At the beginning of the school year I had my students complete a math review sheet every just about every morning. Later on in the day  we would complete our calendar sheet together as a class. I used Cara Carroll’s Calendar Companion Sheet. Near the end of the year my students seemed more than capable of completing the calendar sheet on their own. That was the most mathematical thinking I had them do in the morning. 
Our math curriculum comes with a problem of the day and I plan on implementing that at least once a week. To make a more than “worksheet” exercise I will allow them to have free access to any math manipulatives that will help them solve the problem. This chapter gave me so many simple ways to incorporate “real world” mathematical thinking into my classroom. I can’t wait for the first day of school to create an anchor chart “Everyday Math.” The purpose will be for the class to brainstorm where math is in our everyday life. What will be great is we can add to it as we make math-to-self and math-to-world connections. 
2. Why is it important to help students recognize the links between math and their own lives? What are you doing in your classroom to help students make this connection? How can you make the link even stronger?
Wow! Such a loaded question. LOL. When students make connections between their lives and learning it opens a door for them. How many times in school I would wonder what in the world does that have to do with my life? Or,  When am I ever going to use this skill again? This is a fine question for a student to ask IF, and ONLY if, it is given a true answer. Math is used everyday in the “Real” world. Even when we don’t notice it. As a teacher it is my job to help nurture this awareness in my students. My “Everyday Math” anchor chart will be an excellent start to this! I believe creating situations that parallel “real” life experiences with math during lessons and stations will be a wonderful thing to implement next year. Some ways that are popping in my head are simple connections:
measuring - cooking skills, building skills, 
money - buying and selling goods, seeing how it effects our life and world
addition/subtraction - how much you need of something if you are going to have x amount of people etc. 
fractions - sharing things
place value - writing money values for checks etc.

Thanks to Chapter 3 Hosts ~ Go and Check out what everyone is saying!
Making It As A Middle School Teacher
My Second Sense
Please if you have any thoughts or math-to-self connections I would love to read about them!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TPT SALE for My Bday

Well this is a quick post. Today is my birthday and I'm enjoying spending it with family and friends. I put my TPT store on SALE for 20% off till Thursday. I know no cute graphic display (I'm sorry) past couple days have been nuts. I'll be back with some more Guided Math posts! Plus I'm co-hosting chapter 4 on June 24th!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Guided Math Review and Reflect Chapter 2!

All I can say is I am LOVING this book. I've decided to do two separate posts on chapter 2. This way I don't overload you all. Today's will be focusing on the Review and Reflect questions at the end of the chapter. Tomorrow's (aka my bday) will be Jots and Thoughts. Jots and Thoughts will be a recap of my thoughts while reading certain oarts and what I jotted down on the margin. 

Without further ado, Review and Reflect Chapter 2. . . 

1. Look back at the Foundational Principles of Guided Math (page 37). Which do you think are the two most important of these principles? Why? How does your classroom reflect those principles?
First off the Foundational Principles of Guided Math are: 
  • All students can learn mathematics
  • A numeracy rich environment promotes mathematical learning by students
  • learning at its best is a social process
  • learning mathematics is a constructive process
  • an organized classroom environment supports the learning process
  • modeling and think-alouds, combined with ample opportunities for guided and then independent problem solving and purposeful conversations, create a learning environment in which students’ mathematical understanding grows
  • Ultimately, students are responsible for their learning
Now before I tell you the two I choose to be the “most important” I want to say they all are (I know a cop out) but that is not to say that two do stand out to me as very important. 
All students can learn mathematics
Ultimately, students are responsible for their learning
Choosing these two foundational principles may appear to some as, I, the teacher not taking responsibility for teaching. Quite on the contrary, saying that all students can learn mathematics to me means I MUST set HIGH expectations on my students. Students will meet your high expectations! As a student I met them when teachers set the expectations high and made it known to me. Those were some of the most rewarding learning experiences. As a teacher, it is important to encourage students in their learning, give them all the tools you can to help them meet the high expectations I set. And guess what? Setting high expectations implies ALL students can learn math. 

     Here’s another little secret I discovered this past year. . . When students realize the high expectations put on them in a NURTURING and LOVING classroom community environment they also realize they must contribute to that environment. In my classroom that means emphasizing the importance of them! It is their responsibility to learn. All I can do is give them the tools the best I possibly can. They must DO the learning. I know can you believe I have the nerve to say that ;) Gee some days I truly think the students and/or their parents think that they just need to show up and thats it. You want to know what else is sad about that? Some teachers let that occur. I pray that won’t be me. So the two most foundational principles in my classroom are 
All students can learn mathematics
Ultimately, students are responsible for their learning
My classroom reflects the importance of these two principles in what I say. . .
“I need you to do the best you can do.” “Is this your best work?” “How could you do this better?” etc. . . Also, I believe it is important not to give my students the answers to work, i.e, they are responsible for their learning. I try and guide them to the answer or use the scaffolding technique (got to love that)!
I can’t wait to hear which ones you think are the two most important and WHY? You MUST tell me why! lol You know we always ask our students explain their answers so we should be doing the same . . . You know since we are suppose to be modeling and all :)

2. DO you think your students feel that they are members of a mathematical learning community? If so, how did you establish that feeling of community? If not, what can you do to create it?

I think that I will be focusing a lot on creating a mathematical community in my classroom this coming year. Truly the thought never crossed my mind. Creating a classroom environment where there is a pronounced “community” between the students and the teacher was all I had considered. That was evident in my classroom but as far as the math I can’t wait to make that happen next year. My mind is spinning with ideas. More on that in my Thoughts and Jots post tomorrow. 

There was a math bulletin board last year in my room which had math station rules, math vocabulary, and some anchor charts. As good as that sounds it wasn’t updated enough. I think one of the things I will be doing on the FIRST day of school this coming year is creating a “Everyday Math” anchor chart with the students emphasizing the math we use everyday. I think it will be quite eye opening for the students. It will help them make math to self and math to world connections!

3. Look at your classroom through the eyes of a new student. Walking into your class, what would he or she see that would indicate the importance of mathematics?

At the moment they would see quite a bit of boxes and tarps . . . hehe ;) Couldn’t resist it. If a new student was walking in my classroom last year they would have seen the picture below showing an area of the room dedicated to math. There is also a calendar wall on the east front wall. I do have some rearranging planned in my head for this coming year but I like to have dedicated ares for anchor charts and subject specific things in the room. 

The Math bulletin board is bordered in the yellow. I don't have a ton of wall space so things are what they are. I have a "math talk" speech bubble to showcase the math vocabulary words. The math workstation rules are also posted.

This is my math organization for "current" in use math materials. I LOVE this! It has worked out so well. It also takes a significant space that draws students attention to all the "math."

I would love to read which TWO Foundational Principals of Guided Math you would choose as most important! The only catch is you must explain why you chose those! I think it would be great to read each others thoughts on that!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Quickie! Candy/Sweets Theme

I created a short a, short i mini word work packet to use next year. I wanted to post about it so I could offer the first 3 people who follow my blog and leave a comment with their email address will get it for free!

Check it out HERE!

I am also creating a candy/sweet themed classroom packet to use in my classroom next year. I had that theme last year but didn't have everything I would like. I use Poppin' Patterns' accents for bulletin board borders, calendar, etc. There isn't that much quality cute stuff out there for that theme. I simply love the theme and am not willing to change. So I'm pretty focused at the moment on that. I don't want to forget anything (LOL). I like to be prepared! I need to get it done so I can print it off and get it laminated at my school! I would rather it all be done and ready to use before we go back to school for teacher work week/days.

Is there anything particular that you look for when using a classroom theme packet? I'm trying to make sure I have EVERYTHING I need. I got the basics down: job lists, labels, binder covers/spines, table numbers, cubby numbers, class schedule, library bin labels, to do list for students, student binder/folder home communication tool, . . . At the moment that is all I can think of. If you can think of anything else let me know!

Psss! I would love to hear what theme you have in your won classroom.

I'm off to be creative! I love it :) Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guided Math Ch.1 Review and Reflect

My thoughts on chapter 1 using the Review and Reflect questions at the end of the chapter! Please feel free to comment on your own reflections! 

This is how I organize and label my math manipulatives and math stuff in case you needed a visual. I'm all about the visuals!

I am loving this book! Oh so good! I also want to read all of Debbie Diller's Math Stations book and merge the information of the two!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Florida Blogger Meet Up June 2012

Florida Blogger Meet Up June 2012 was a B.L.A.S.T!!!
Putting names to faces was the just the icing on the cake. It was so much fun to see everyone’s “blog” personality come to life! All THANKS must go to Jen, Mor, and Tara. What a S.I.M.P.L.Y. wonderful job these ladies did.

Mor, Jen, and Tara

Baby B was eyeing the sign ;)

 Every last detail was thought of. Fun table prizes [of which I scored baby B’s awesome prize :) ], fun photo props (neon 80’s ish sunglasses, cute blogger meet up “official” sign, and of course all the lovely ladies and one very brave man (Denise’s husband). I also must insert here that Jen’s baby B is so adorable, easy going, and happy. For most of the time she was the quietest person in the room! Thanks Jen for letting me enjoy your little girl! It’s funny that you can just go for lunch with a group of people you never me tin person and feel like your old friends being reacquainted. I cannot wait for the next one. There shall certainly be more. Below are some pictures I have of the event :)
Below the pictures is a link to Penny’s blog where there is a list of all the bloggers and their blogs. We were also graced with a few flowers! What fun! :)

Such a wonderful fun group pf ladies :) Oh and man ;) lol
SILLY picture times ~ Of course this was Jen's idea ~ apparently just Jen and I heard it :)

Tara, her daughter aka THE photographer, Jen, Baby B, and Me!

Prop pictures . . . Props courtesy of The Teacher's Cauldron creativity department :) 

All of the ladies on the beach! YES we love the beach . . . sunny South Florida has its Perks :)