Monday, June 25, 2012

Math Workshop

Somehow, and I have no idea how, I've become known at my school as a math person.  All of my administrators and teacher friends all seem to think that I'm one of those people who just LOVE math.  This is so funny to me, because as a student I HATED math.  It wasn't that I wasn't good at it, but rather that I thought it was the most boring thing in the entire world!  I'll also confess that my first couple of years teaching, I'd have been happy to skip math altogether.

Fast forward several years later, and I absolutely love teaching math-all parts of it!  My teaching style has slowly evolved into using the workshop model to teach math, which I plan to post much more about over the next several weeks.  I won't lie-it wasn't a painless process for me, because I more or less taught myself and learned as I went.  There was plenty of trial and error-probably much more error than I care to admit.  However, I was very fortunate to teach in a district that strongly supported and encouraged the implementation of math workshop, and I've been able to attend various conferences and have different professional develop opportunities.  I also tried to read everything I could get my hands on to aid in my own professional development.  My absolute favorites were:

It took a while but I finally feel very comfortable with math workshop, and I actually couldn't imagine teaching any other way!  I enjoy working with other teachers to help them implement math workshop in their own classrooms, and I hope to help make the transition much easier for others.

One thing that I really focus on during math workshop is requiring my students to show their work using multiple representations.   The representations that we primarily focus on are using a number sentence, making a table, making a graph, explain in words, and draw a picture.  I don't require my students to model their work using all the representations, but I do like for them to be very familiar with each type of representation and to be able to at least show their work using a couple of different representations.  I've recently made a poster for each of the representations that you can download below.

You print each one as a full size piece of paper or print all of the slides on one piece of paper to make a quick reference for your students' math notebooks! I like to have my students glue them down to the top of a page in their interactive notebook for a new entry!

I've made a version for younger students that only uses addition problems and a version for older students that uses multiplication.  Just click on the links below for your copy!
I like to use the smaller sized pictures for my students' interactive notebooks.  I have them cut out and glue the representation at the top of the page and then model how to solve a word problem using that representation.

Younger Students
Older Students

I've recently listed The Math Workshop Guide to my TpT store, and it includes more than 80 pages that describe and give directions for effectively implementing math workshop in a 1st-5th grade classroom.  It includes parts of math workshop, math workshop must haves, organizing manipulatives, math groups, math work stations, self-assessments, journal prompts, manipulative labels, and common core standards checklists for math!

Here area a few pictures of what's inside!

I've added lots of descriptions about math workshop. I explained each of the parts and gave several different scenarios or examples of mini lessons, work time, and closing. I've included a Word version for any page that you may want to edit or use as a classroom form. There are several rubrics, and lesson plan formats that should be very useful.

I also included LOTS of pictures! I know that sometimes I need to see an example, so I tried to add as many pictures as possible. There are several pages of book lists organized by topic that suggest literature that can be used to teach math, which is great for a mini lesson!  There is an entire section devoted to math workstations, which I absolutely love!
 If you have this file and still have questions, please don't hesitate to send me an email! I know there's a lot to math instruction, and I want to help as much as possible!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Common Core Standards 5th Grade

Where has June gone?  Really?  We've been so busy lately, I don't even feel like summer has truly started and now it's almost July.  I still have tons on things I want to do and tons of things I need to do, so I'd better stay put for a little while!  One project that I was able to finish  was the Common Core Standards Posters for 5th grade.  I had a ton of requests to make them during the school year, but that's one of those big projects I need a large block of time for.  I used the Common Core Standards for math, reading, writing, language arts, listening and speaking.  Since there are no CCS for social studies and science at this time, I used our GA standards for those subjects, and let me just say wow!!!  I knew since it was 5th grade the standards would be tough, but I was shocked when I started working on the social studies.  I don't know how you teach all of it in a year!

Here are pictures of my 3rd and 4th grade posters, and the 5th grade posters are exactly the same (except they say 5th grade).   There are 5 different looks/themes to choose from and all of the standards are written with "I can.." statements.

You can click on the picture below or on this link to see them in my TpT Store.

I also thought I'd share a little math freebie for you, I've made a Common Core Standards math checklist for all of the math standards and you can download your copy anytime!

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Here!

Every summer I wait on that special email from Vista Print where brochures are FREE, and there's FREE shipping on orders over $25.  I finally got that email today.  The offer is only good for 48 hours, so I've been busting to get on my computer and get to work.  However, I'm staying at a place where there is almost no Internet connection, so it's been a slow process.  Fortunately I've lots of things over the past several years, and it's all in my portfolio, so I haven't had to recreate the wheel on most of my goodies.  I won't bore you with everything, but I'll share some of my favorites.

I use this for my Homeworkopoly Board.  I write the questions on the back of the card.

 This is the inside of a brochure I made for our open house.

I place these inside my treasure chest and write various rewards on them (sit by a friend for the day, use a pen, chew gum for a day, etc.)  They're all in sealed envelopes, so the prize is a surprise.  

I love, love using these for my students' make-up work when they're absent.
This is my documentation notebook that I write in all year long. 

This is what I give to students who have an especially clean desk.  The Clean Desk Fairy sprinkles a little glitter on the desk and leaves behind her calling card.  This makes the student's day!
I'm sure I'll be back for more, but I've got all my essentials taken care of.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Getting to Know You

Hopefully, many of you grabbed an End of the Year Memory Book from a post last month.  That was the first time I had ever done a memory book with my class, so I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed reading my students' responses.  They were so thoughtful and original, and I felt that even though I had already been with my students for almost 180 days, I was still able to get to know them on a deeper level.  I started thinking about how useful that information could have been at the beginning of the year rather than at the end, so fast forward a few weeks later and now I have a Back to School Book for my students to complete.
The look of it is just like the memory books, and there are a couple pages with the same questions (all about me, my favorites, school subjects, and accomplishments).  The majority of the pages ask different questions that are better suited for the first days of school (what makes a great teacher, what are your study skills like, what are your first impressions, etc.)

I plan to use the books as morning work for my students on the first full week of school.  It takes me a little while to teach the procedures in how to do all of our morning work activities (more on the coming soon:), so this will be the perfect stand-in while I'll still working on routines and procedures.  I've added it to my TpT store if you're interested.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Content Area Reading

I think an extremely important part of students' reading instruction comes through content area reading.  As students reach third grade, they make the transition of learning to read to reading to learn, and there is a large emphasis on nonfiction reading in the common core standards.  I've seen several of my own students excel during my language arts block but have trouble when it came to content area reading.  I've improved my own nonfiction reading instruction by teaching my students how to read nonfiction texts (see past blog post here).  I've also tried to build a substantial content area library for my students to give them greater access to nonfiction texts that relate to our social studies and science standards.  I frequently use these books as part of my social studies and science lessons, and my students often use the books for research projects, group activities, and independent reading.

This is my content area bookshelf, and my baskets are organized by unit (math, earth science, physical science, life science, American heroes, Ancient Greece, and social studies).

It's funny to me that at the beginning of the year, my students act as if they have no interest in these books, but by the end of the year they're always my students' favorites.
Here is a very small list of some of my favorites:

  • Times Tables the Fun Way
  • Grandfather Tang's Journey
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs for all
  • How Big is a Foot?
  • Full House
Social Studies
  • Any Magic Tree House
  • The Mythology Handbook (my students' number 1 favorite EVERY year)
  • Any Eyewitness Book
  • We the People
  • Any Time for Kids
  • Rookie Biographies are great for struggling readers
  •  Eye Wonder Books
  • National Geographic Books
  • Basher Science Books
  • Magic School Bus Books
  • Anything by Seymour Simon

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting Organized

I'm thrilled to say that I  only have 1 more day!!!!  I cannot be more excited and ready to start my summer vacation!  However, knowing that I'll be out for about 8 weeks next year, I've felt the need to get everything as organized as possible.  I've spent the past few days cleaning up my work station notebooks.  I've used these notebooks all year, and they've really helped me stay organized, but like everything else, at the end of the school year they needed a few touch-ups.

I originally organized my work station activities into two different binders, but as I added more and more activities, I've reorganized everything by 9-weeks.  I've also added spine inserts to all of my binders, which has already made locating the correct binder so much easier.  I would normally look through five or six different binders until I found the one I needed.

I keep everything in the pockets of heavy duty page dividers.   I make sure to include the station's directions, task cards or other supplies, and the student recording sheet in each divider.  I've double checked all of the activities and made sure there weren't any missing forms or pieces.

My next step is to realign the order and sequencing of my work station activities to follow our new curriculum map.  We're following a new curriculum map, so I want to adjust my plans accordingly.  I'm also going to have 5 more students next year than in previous years (budget cuts), so I'll need to add two new activities for each week as well.  I'll share as soon as I get it ready!