Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's Coming!!

One of my favorite BTS things.... The BIG TPT sale!!  You don't want to miss it!  My store AND my cart are getting ready!!

Back to School is coming...

I have mixed feelings.  On one hand I am excited to get back in to the classroom and put into practice all the great things I have been reading up on and studying .....   On the other hand I sure like not hearing that alarm to get up!

Well to make BTS a little more fun hop on over to Educents and take advantage of some great deals brought back for a LIMITED time!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ch. 9 ... Putting it Into Practice

Well we have come to the end of our little book study.  I am sad!  This has been such a blessing to me!  I have been forced to really reflect on my reading (to SLOW down... I am a fast reader!) as well as get the insight from some great teachers.  In case you did not get the comparison by now I hope you start to think of Math the same as Reading.  "Students need to be encouraged to use the same strategies as they construct mathematical meaning." pg. 247  I hope that you are able to have a community of other teachers that are just as passionate to transform their math block.  At the end of the day the point is our students.
I feel that I start the "process" last year and now I am going into this year with a clear system:  Mini lesson then math group; mini lesson math group.  I just finished reading Daily 5 the second edition and the outline they give for the Daily 5 structure will fit in with Guided Math also!  I will be able to "know where I am going" this year after having completed a year in 2nd so I know that will help.  I am going to go into each lesson with a specific lesson (know the answer to this question):  What is the student expected to do?

I am defiantly going to be in contact with our district math specialist and I hope that this great group will check back in from time to time.  And if you are a new reader PLEASE share your journey!!  I am making a commitment to do a blog post every month (or more if needed) on my journey.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday Made it... BTS

I am so excited to be able to team up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made it!  I have wanted to but have not had anything to make... Crazy I know!  Well now I do and I can not believe I never thought of this before!!  Ok so if I could get in my classroom I would take a pic of all the pocket charts I have due to my endless quest for THE perfect pocket chart.  They are too long, too short, too wide, not wide enough, the pockets were to short/tall....  You get the picture It's cra-cray y'all!!  The one day last week I can't even remember how/what I was reading some teacher was looking for a pocket chart and another chimed in that she makes them.  I though cool!!  I need to go find her Etsy store.  Then as I really started thinking I was like I CAN DO THAT!!!    I started thinking about it and sketching out what I have really been wanting and I DID IT!!  LOOK!
I mostly have done baby blankets and curtains in the past... Easy to hide my bad sewing skills.  I honestly ripped and redid more stitches on this than any other project in the past.  But I love how it turn out!  The Perfect Pocket!!   I tried to capture the steps as I went.

Not bad for a first try if I do say so myself!  I already have ideas to improve and I am thinking of making and selling them.  What do you think?  Would you have an intrest?

Also, right now I got spiral notebooks at Walmart for .17 cents!!  I create month long homework menus and have the students do the work in them.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

BTS Deals, ideas, and ....

I am going to be posting any back to school deals and great finds that I come across (sad I know ;)..  Have you seen this deal from Educents?  I would SO have to get this if I was still in Kinder.

Also, I have really been wanting one of these lamps for my classroom.  

However, I did not want to pay more than $10 dollars.  So imagine my happiness when Target has put them on sale this week for $13!!  Why is that great you say well because I have been saving some Target gift cards from my students and the drop/kid iPad proof cover I have been saving them for I got for $26 via nomorerack a 70% savings! So I was able to use my gift cards for the lamp!

I have lots of other items, find, tips to share so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guided Math... Ch 8 Assessments in Guided Math

Many times; according to Laney Sammons, assessment and evaluation have been synonymous.  However, in education they are really two separate things that are complementary to each other.  Assessment-large amounts of information from a small number of students.  This processes is for learning rather than of the learning. 
Evaluation- is reviewing the evidence to decide if the students learned the the knowledge/skill taught and how well they apply it.

We should have ongoing assessments for learning during G.M.  Not just at the end or beginning.
Something that really stood out:  "Students who most often struggle... also have trouble knowing the expectations."  I don't think I ever consciously thought about this but it is so true!  Do I post 'I Can.." statement?  Yes.  But I am not sure that I ALWAYS am very explicit in our goal.  That is something on my "To Do Better Next Year" list.

She also talks about the idea of using a rubric to establish a criteria for success.  I LOVE this!!  I am going to think more on this and probably do a post!  This goes right into my idea of having my students be more involved/accountable for their learning next year.  This will fit in great with their personal assessment/goal binders.  The rubric gives "precise" levels of quality for each criteria.  And if it is a uniform rubric not only will they be able to better assess their learning but also be able to give valuable feedback to each other!

Using a checklist:  these are to measure what the specific criteria in their work was met..  but they do not really measure how well the student met the criteria.  In the example checklist given there were 4 columns:  1-the criteria for _______. (this is the skill measured), 2-Met, 3-Not Met Yet; 4-Comments.
I like this because you can quickly see where the focus needs to be in the future as well as give both positive and constructive feedback for each in the comments section.

Laney Sammons also draws an analogy between feedback and coaching.  In the old days the feedback was given at the end of a unit.  You either got it or you didn't.   Times have changed (thankfully!!) and we really are Coaches.  A coach gives feedback during the training so athletes are able to make adjustments for improvement before a competition (test).

Some feedback guidelines:

  • should be "corrective" in nature
  • should be timely
  • should be specific to criterion
  • students can effectively provide feedback of their own
I will leave you with a couple of questions to reflect on.  I would love to hear your answers and thoughts :)

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Daily 5... The UPDATE

I was really trying hard not to but I just could not take it anymore and I got the Daily 5 2nd edition.  I did not want to because I REALLY did not need another PD book to read! lol  But I could not help myself.  And I LOVED it!!  The wonderful author/teachers at Freebielicious have done a link up review of the book so if you have not checked it out you can go here.

I have always felt frustrated that I could not get more than 2 (and most days 1) rotation in.  I just could not figure out how they did that???  When did they teach phonics, or the story of the week???  Well I got it with this book!!  (I am sure it said it in the first one but I just could not ever get a grasp)  I now see how to do it!  I am so excited.  So I created a new Daily 5 tracking sheet.  This one is for me to use.  You can find it here.  My previous freebie was a tracking sheet my kids used.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Guided Math Ch. 7 Conferring with Students

I think this is an area that teachers NEVER feel we do it good enough..  Or that teachers are not really sure they are doing it right..  I know I feel at times I am fumbling in the dark and other times I feel I am really being productive...  And honestly the more I research the more I find that I am not so bad!  It is also one of those skills that just gets better the more you do it.  

So how does this look in Guided Math you wonder??  I  know I did.  First off this can be done individually or in small group; just as with GR.  As with guided reading your "other" students MUST be self-sufficient.

Here are some of my tips:  
  • Make a game plan (think:  if it can go wrong it will--and what do I want to happen)
  • Have a Lost and Found
  • Have a few "Experts"
  • Define "What an Emergency is"
  • Have an "alternate activity" for those stinkers kids who are having trouble (something NOT fun but meaningful)  ex:  fill in a 120 chart, writing math facts, solving a sheet of problems...

The Conference Structure

*Research Student Understanding--find out what they are doing/intentions.  Using mathematical terminology link what they are doing to standards and remind them to do this in the future.  The goal is to help the student move from almost independent to complete independence.  The goal is to see what the student understands and can they apply it appropriatley.  What this stage is NOT:  used to determine the next step in teaching; the majority of the conference time (keep it short)
*Decide What is Needed--Decide if you need to alter or accept their current trategies/processes.  Teacher responsibilities:  First, identify strengths and give genuine/specific complements.  Second, what can be taught to move students forward.  Third, decide the most efficient and meaningful way in the few minutes to teach the points to the student to move them further. 
*Teach to Students Needs--Using a demonstration; guided practice, or explicit telling.  
*Link to the Future--Let the student know what they did as a mathematician and remind them to do this often in the future.  It can be helpful to have the student restate what they learned and how can they use it in future work. (I smell a great writing time!!)

Keeping a Record

It may seem like an "of course" moment but lets face it... We go into each new year with grand wishes, dreams, and new goals... but then they come and school life happens!!  ha can I get an amen!!? ( we are only human after all)  OK... so you have done everything else why would you not keep a record of what you have learned from your kiddos..  Just DONT forget to USE it.  You have to find what works for you.  It may take lots of trial and error.  I would suggest having at least 4-6 students each day that you already know you want to check in with when first getting started.  It will help you be accountable until it becomes second nature.  

 Here are a few suggestions: 
  • carry a clipboard with students names; you can have a skills check list
  • index cards (one for each kid) taped in a fan layout
  • sticky notes
  • notebook, binder, spiral
  • pre-made observation forms
  • or make your own!

This was a big focus for me this past year.  I tried to really get them to tell me "what" or "why" they did something.  I sometimes asked lots of "why not" questions to get them thinking.  

Gonna admit it (cause now I am accountable!)  I did not feel this was my strongest part of G.M.  Often this part got pushed due to other requirements.  I am going to be more intentional this next year.  I think part was because I was new to 2nd grade and now knowing more of "what is next" is helping me to think about how can I set myself up to really be effective for my students.   I am getting my "game plan" together.

We are only two chapters away from being done!!  I have really enjoyed being able to dig deeper and re-reflect on this book.  I feel I have a much better understanding.  I hope you have gained some great insight as well and are ready to try something new!  I would love to hear from you so keep checkin in!   And don't forget to visit the other great bloggers and enter to win a fabulous prize!!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Havin a Hoppin' Good Time

Have you heard?!?!  Blog Hoppin is having THE funnest (is that a word?!?!  doubt it) scavenger hunt  contest to win a Canon Rebel camera!  Say What?!!   I am so IN IT TO WIN IT!!  I have been going crazy finding the items on the list.  My daughter has even gotten into the mix.  When you get 105 points your entered into the drawing...

Nothin personal bloggy friends but your going down!!  Ha

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ch. 6 Supporting Guided Math with Math Workshop

This chapter is all about what "they are doing when I have a small group."  There are SO many options out there of how to set up Math Workshop (or Math Stations as I call them).  But do not forget to give this the SAME quality and attention at the start of the year as you did with your Guided Reading time.  Know your expectations and discuss, list, and model both correct and incorrect ways to do things.  If you do Daily 5 you can use the same T chart format as well!  I highly recommend Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations book... It goes into EXACTLY the details that you need if you are just getting started!

Types of activities:
  • review of previous skills
  • computer/ipad games 
  • math fact fluency
  • Math Journals
  • math partner games
  • practice problem solving
  • investigation of mathematical concepts
These are the rotation groups I have in my classroom:  Teacher, Math Journal, Seat Work, Computer, Math Tubs, Partner games (I used this when I did not want to be tied to a group)  *this is not perfect yet but I do like it!!  I just need to tweak it a bit.

I had 4 in each group.  I always want the work to be engaging, and meaningful--NOT busy work.

Math Journal group:  If you have not used the math journal activities from Reagan Tunstall I HIGHLY recommend them!!  Once she started creating them they are what I used for Math Journal work.

Seat work:  I might use something from our adoption, a worksheet we might not have gotten to in the past,  Katie King's Busy teacher packs are great for this!

Partner games:  I would use this instead of Teacher when I needed some flexibility.  Also, if the kids in Math Tubs finished but had time they could choose from here.  I have LOTS of great teacher created games (mostly free!) that I put in there as well as our math adoption has math games as one of the consumables so I kept 2 form each pk and laminated them and added them to the collection.  A great resource also are activities from The Math Coach's Corner.

Computer/ipad:  They have to do XtraMath first.  This is FREE so SIGN YOUR CLASS UP!!  Then they could chose from several choices (I would post a sheet)  One great website is Johnnies Math Page.   It might be the only one you need! lol  Some great apps I use:  fraction circles, geoboard, thinking blocks, 2nd grade Teach Me, money, Number pieces, Math pocket charts--fractions, shape match, ixl math, bugs and buttons apps, and Mc Graw Hill apps (they run them free every so often).  Some of these are free and some are paid that I got them for free.  Sign up at and on Facebook-Appymall*thanks to this I have a bit of an app problem on my iPad!  I need to get them organized/cleaned up.  I have a lot from Kinder that are not appropriate for 2nd.  Also look for apps by L'Escapadou there are some great ones.  Number Pieces Basic by Math learning Center is a fun one!

Math Tubs:  This is one where I have not gotten it exactly the way I want it.  I have not found a happy medium with free choice or assigning a tub....  Still thinking on this as to how I want to do it.

Teacher:  I may use this to work on our current skill, assess, or introduce a new skill.

I have become OBSESSED with anything in a circle!  I made icons to match my math stations.  You can find them here.

I feel that I am able to really focus more on each student where they are and what their strengths and weakness are in the topic we are covering.  Also, as with Guided Reading the students are in charge of their learning.  The student is becoming responsible, accountable,  and independent with their learning.

**I have no idea why I can't add the link up links and see them in the post... Sorry!!  I have tried and now I give  :)  You can go to The Primary Girl to get the hook ups.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July.... Currently

WHAT!!!  I have posted twice this week already!!  OMG!  ha crazy!  I hope I can keep it up when school starts... That is my goal (one of MANY next year btw..)

Well it is July (When did that happen???)  And I am linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade again.  These are so fun!

This covers listening, needing, and wanting!... I have been awake since 4ish....GRRR....  I don't know why but I would much rather be asleep!!   Oh well at least I won't be late to the pool!

I just LOVE Summer!!  NO schedules!!

Thinking:  My classroom is small and I hate where my computer has to go!!  I just can't seem to find a good arrangement for everything.  I found a great website:   This is a really cool tool.  I laid out the basics--stuff I can't move and printed it.  I am going to put it in a pg. protector so I can doodle where to put stuff.

The 4th we to to the FIL and my hubby cooks.  The kids can do fireworks later.  Then Sunday we take the kids to camp.  They are going much earlier than usual due to my daughter will be starting drill team practices on the 21st.  

Well that's all I got for now... Howdy a like that?!?!   Happy Tuesday.