Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Finding My Groove

It feels like it has taken me forever to really get into my groove this year.  It may be due to our late start and already having 2 inclement weather days (after the tornado we experienced last year, we're probably a little over cautious about weather).  I also tend to forget what the beginning of the year is like.  After spending a couple weeks on rituals and routines and modeling various math tasks, I finally got to start my math work stations yesterday, and it was WONDERFUL!  Everyone was on task and, for the most part, knew exactly what to do.  I'm not going to meet with groups for a couple of weeks during this time, so that I can walk around and work out any potential problems.

 Of course the ipads were a huge hit.  I cannot believe my secret hidden stack of papers to file made it to my blog.  I hide it under my computer paper to make me at least look organized:)

One of my favorite activities is my place value scavenger hunt.  In this task students choose a card that asks them to find a number with a particular digit in a particular place (ex:  7 in the thousands place).  Then, students have to skim through the World Almanac to find any number that has that characteristic.  They absolutely love Almanacs and really have no clue that they're developing math and non fiction reading skills during this task.



I was shocked to discover that my students had the most trouble with filling out hundreds cards.  I thought it was just going to be a easy little task that I could use until I had modeled more elaborate activities-I was wrong!


In the activity, students have to fill in the missing squares on a 100s chart.  I think that it helps students develop number sense skills and mental math.  I quickly learned that many of my students really struggled with 10 more and 10 less, and some even struggled with 1 more and 1 less.  It really opened my eyes to some conceptual gaps with my students.  You can click on the picture for a few sample 100s charts, and I have added 24 charts to TpT if you're looking for a larger set of cards.

I have so many more activities that I can wait to try out.  I love having a new project to keep things fresh and exciting.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New Math App

After a late start to the school year and completely unexpected days off due to weather, I'm finally ready to begin implementing math work stations.  I'm really excited about the way my math work station board has turned out.  I have almost no extra wall space in my classroom, so I created an alternative way to display my work stations by using my SMARTboard rather than a pocket chart or bulletin board.  I've made 16 different themed management  boards, and I'll add my students' pictures to the empty squares today.  You can click on the link if you're interested in the boards.
Work Station Management


I'm also really excited about a math app that I found last week.  This is the description from the app store "Splash Math is a fun and innovative way to practice math. With 16 chapters covering over 200 math concepts and an endless supply of problems it is by far the most comprehensive math workbook in the app store. All of the included problems are aligned with state standards for 3rd grade".

I've found this to be the most comprehensive math app by far, and I love that I can control what topics my students work on and that there are different levels of difficulty for each skill.  It is 9.00, which is a little more than I like to pay, but it may end up being the app I use the most.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Multiplication & Division

I just posted my first official Common Core Standards unit.  I've created an all-inclusive unit for teaching the 3rd grade multiplication and division standards.  This is by far my largest unit-there are over 150 pages (and that doesn't include the answer keys).
There is a pre and post test that covers all of the standards.  I included 11 lessons and activities that can be used to develop a conceptual understanding of multiplication and division.  These are engaging lessons that would be great for math workshop, and these are fun, hands-on activities.
I also included 11 worksheets that can used to develop basic multiplication and division skills.  There is a broad range from representing multiplication, to multiplying larger numbers, to a long division layout.  There are also 10 word problem worksheets, and the majority of these are more than 1 page long.  These range from multiplication or division only, to a combination of the two, to 2-step problems using all operations.
There are 3 games in the unit:  I Have Who Has, Multiplication War, and Division Concentration.  I have also included timed multiplication and division tests that can be used to help students master their basic math facts.

If you're interested, you can check out the preview at the link below.
Preview


Friday, September 2, 2011

Short & Sweet

Now that school has finally started back, I feel like I've been a bad blogger.  This time of the year is always so hectic and tiring for me as I get back into the groove.  Now that I'm finished easing into our rules and procedures and doing a little community building and pretesting, I'm going to really get going with the curriculum on Tuesday.  So far my students have been amazing, and I hope it continues when the real work begins.

My first science unit of the year is a seemingly endless unit on Georgia habitats (mountain, piedmont, marsh/swamp, coast, and Atlantic Ocean).  I had a request for some habitat posters, so I thought I'd share them on my blog too.  I'll soon add details and pictures of my habitat menus that can be used to study ANY habitat.

Click on the picture to get your copy of the posters.