Saturday, January 31, 2015

What February looks like in my classroom!

Okay... I am well aware that it is January 31st. Happy (almost) February! Are you excited about this month? I tend to really dislike February... it's too cold, dreary, and not too exciting. Sure, there is Valentine's Day, but that's about it! One word to describe how I feel about February: blah.

Something I do like about February is the units and subjects that I teach. I LOVE teaching geometry to the kids. They quickly understand it, and it's easy to incorporate hands-on activities. Measurement can be difficult for the kids, but there's also a lot of leeway for hands-on activities. However, teaching soil? UGH. I get so much mud and dirt in my classroom for the activities that we do!! I am a neat freak, so this is not fun for me.... but fun for the kids :-)

Here is what February in my classroom is going to look like:

Math: Measurement, geometry 
Language Arts: Writing process, literature circle, folk tales, word study, vocabulary notebooks
Social studies: Ancient China, Presidents' Day
Science: Soil


Some of my products that I will be using:
Figure Frenzy! (math center game)


What does February look like in your classroom? Do you have any units that you greatly like or dislike that you will get to use?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Storing those pesky math manipulatives

Math manipulatives. Great for hands-on learning, but a pain to store. 

Here are some ways that I cut down on bulk and clutter in my room to store math manipulatives!




I inherited this baby from a fellow teacher. You can buy your own Sterolite container like this at Walmart for about $20-30. I LOVE how little space it takes up... it is a tiny footprint for a ton of room. It is easy to label the math manipulatives and hide them away. Since I use a lot of manipulatives during our daily BUILD centers, this is perfect for setting up what I need. However, I need to change the labels.... notice the font? My classroom is a comic-sans-free room, however I don't notice the horrific font on these labels since it's tucked away in a corner. Comic-sans is not my friend. 



Sooooo whiteboards may not count as a math manipulative, but whatever. We use whiteboards mostly for our multiplication and divisoin unit, and review after that. It is so easy and great for the kids to practice these skills with a partner on whiteboards. I inherited this cart from a fellow teacher retiring. I store my Lakeshore Learning whiteboards, Expo markers, and socks in it. We use socks as erasers, I definitely recommend it! Each kid in the beginning of the year brings in a (clean) sock or two to donate to the classroom. Perfect for erasing, plus you can throw them in the wash when they get wayyy icky.

Woah, those cushions next to it look super sloppy. Usually they're organized!! Oh well.



Each of these plastic bins cost about $1.50 at Target. I bought them a couple years ago during a sale in the Sterolite section. They may be a little more normally when not on sale... I'm not quite sure. These are located under a folding school table. This area would otherwise be a total wasted space. So I love putting all the manipulatives and extra supplies under here. If a student is missing a color crayon or needs a new mechanical pencil, they can easily grab one on their own. 









How do you store math manipulatives? Do you have a system that works for you?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five For Friday...LA Style!





Hi, all! How is your Friday? I am blogging to you from Los Angeles, just arrived a few hours ago! I'm hanging at the hotel bar drinking a peach basil Moscow Mule and eating some Mexican corn until my boyfriend gets back from work and we can celebrate the town :-)


Wooooo new, beautiful location! This is the view from our hotel room. Really, how can I return back to rainy, freezing weather after this? I think we are getting some sushi tonight and going out. I laid at the pool all afternoon. I am super dark in the summer, but this winter I stopped going to tanning beds. I feel like the whitest ghost ever, I hate it. Hoping to get some color back :-)


 My boyfriend signed me up for another year of Birch Box! He is the best boyfriend ever. I found a couple products last year that I actually bought full size of that I adored. Coola Tinted Moisturizer, and Benefit They're Real. Have you used these products? The moisturizer feels like mousse and looks great on, plus it is actually sunscreen but not shiny or causes you to break out! I highly recommend. Hoping to get some new fave products with the next box that arrives!


This is the first time I have spent more than three days alone at my recently new apartment as he's away on business. I was worried that I'd be lonely, but it's quite relaxing. I go to yoga or Pilates every night, clean, watch my liberal TV shows, and relax in my bathrobe and towel turbie by the fire. Although I miss him, I must say I'm rather enjoying myself. AND I get to sleep with the blinds open and get woken up by the sun!


Speaking of exercise classes, a new one came to my gym called Pump. I was very irritated when I showed up to Pilates and they said it was replaced....I almost walked out! Then I realized that I already made the effort to walk the block to the gym (ha.....so much effort!) so I stayed. Ohmygoodness. I loved it! I felt ridiculous in the beginning, each participant is give lime green drumsticks. Sounded totally stupid. But the drumsticks are 1/2 weights, so as you do your movements you have repetitive motions with the light and easily maneuverable weights. If you have it near you try it! It has great music and is quite the workout, you'll feel it the next day. 


So this has nothing to do with school...but look at my sisters dog with its cone of shame!! So cute yet so sad. Wishing him a safe and speedy recovery!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Renewable and nonrenewable resources

Hi friends!I am excited, I am flying out to Los Angeles tomorrow! My boyfriend took a business trip out there, and I am so lucky to get to visit him. It will be 80 degrees on Saturday... AHHH! Not trying to say that I am not enjoying this cold, icky weather here... totally am. NOT. Some people thrive in the cold weather and love it. I am not one of those people. I feel awkward in layers and big coats, yet get cold really easily. Speaking of which, I need to pack. My sad, empty pink suitcase is sitting and is hungry for clothes.

I just finished up my Natural Resource unit VA SOL 3.11 last week and started our Ancient China unit (I love social studies, so I am so excited for this). I wanted to share some of my resources that I created and used for teaching natural resources (renewable and nonrenewable natural resources).

My favorite thing about teaching science is that I can show a boatload of Bill and videos. My kids are big Bill Nye fans, so I appreciate that they love science because they enjoy him. He definitely brings the science fun in our happy, little classroom. YouTube has all the Bill Nye videos. For this unit, used used his "energy sources" and "sun" videos.

I am a big fan of graphic organizers. My whole life I used graphic organizers to categorize and systemize my thinking. I am a visual learner, and this truly makes content "click" for me. My worksheets include Frayer models, a comparison chart, and a bubble flow chart. I use these worksheets whole group. I am in love with my new document camera stand for my iPad, and these worksheets can easily be used with it. I have a discussion with the kids and together we decide what goes into each bubble or square. There's also answer keys... perfect for those days that your mind just isn't working right (even teachers have those days!).

I love colorful signs, so I created these two signs for the classroom. I work hard for a literacy-rich classroom, so I often change up my science or social studies signs. The kids love seeing the new posters and commenting on the colors of pictures. If you're curious.... the plant under renewable resources is actually a geothermal plant! 


What do you teach for this unit? I really want to find or make a cuff craft for this unit, but have not yet found one. Unusually I create my own craft, but for this one I'm stumped. If you're interested in picking up the renewable/nonrenewable resource classroom signs or natural resources worksheet packet, check out Glitter in Third's TPT store!












Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Yoga in third-grade

My boyfriend bought me a ridiculous calendar for my classroom... Yoga Kittens 2015. It consists of kittens doing poses like downward dog, mountain pose, and lotus. The pictures are hilarious. Speaking of cats (and who wouldn't want to speak about cats?), are you following Cash Cats on Instagram? If you're not, you need to start. Just trust me on this. Piles of cats on piles of dolla dolla billz. Love, love, love.

I ADORE yoga and try to get into class about four times a week. I am a member at a gym and you get unlimited classes for pilates, yoga, zumba, and body flow. There are other classes too... but I am not much of a Body Pump kind of gal! My yoga instructors always have the best, voices. They mention "falling into the Earth" and allowing "gravity to pull you down" many, many times in an hour. Who wouldn't want to peacefully fall into the Earth while doing exercise?!?! However, when I attempt to mimic their voices I sound like a creepy robot, according to my boyfriend, as opposed to a beautiful yoga goddess. Oh well... you win some, you lose some.

I stuck to simple poses, like mountain pose, tree pose, forward fold, and ragdoll. The kids were really into it, although they were rather silly at first. However after a few poses while I acted very serious, they became quite calm and seemed content with the movements.


PS... have you heard of the book Dancing With Cats?? It is from the international bestseller book, Why Cats Paint. Thanks to Amazon, this book can be all yours. Click here... I promise it will make your day.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Figure Frenzy!

Happy MLK Day! What are you doing with your day off? 

I wanted to share with you a resource that I created during my student teaching three years ago but still use yearly in my classroom math stations....Figure Frenzy! If you're interested, here is the TPT link. 

So this game greatly evolved since I created it three years ago. At the time. I was student teaching on a third-grade team with a total of four classrooms (19 kids each). Those teachers rotated who made the lesson plans each week. I had no idea what I was doing. Looking back, I am not really sure how I got through student teaching. I was like a lost dog and didn't have much support. I wasn't aware of all the online resources for teaching, or how to use a laminator. I didn't know about TPT, or Super Teacher, or the enormous resources available for worksheets and games. However, I think the "sink or swim" approach truly made me a better teacher in the end, I figured it out fast. I made four sets of these games for each of the third-grade teachers and cut out all the pieces by hand for each of them. I remember sitting on the floor of boyfriend's (now ex-boyfriend.... thank goodness) apartment cutting away for hours when I created center games like this for the team . 

I am now an expert at multi-tasking... as well as how to print to a color printer and laminate for five minutes after dropping my kids off at lunch to make max use of time. I work my butt off during the kids' recess, lunch, and all specials because I don't like staying after school due to traffic and because I tutor neighborhood kids. I much prefer to get in a little earlier, not eat lunch, and get my business done for the day. It is hectic, but I like staying busy. Lots of people aren't morning people, but it's when I notice that I am at my best. When do you woke best?

I printed this game off on a color printer, laminated, cut up the pieces, and hot-glued the title to a Ziploc slider bag. I adore those slider bags.... for some reason my kids cannot figure out regular Ziplock bags. Have your kids mastered this skill? Half-zipped baggies are my enemy, so I just choose to use these fail proof ones. I used to do the Manila envelope for center games and activities, but the envelope got icky so quick, I think I prefer the Ziplock bags now. Plus I have a lifetime supply...every year the kids bring in so many! I'll write a post later about the easy and efficient way I realized to store them without those giant, bulky boxes. 

Figure Frenzy! is pretty fun. The kids can work in pairs, threes, fours, whatever. They take turns drawing a card and doing whatever the card says. For example, "name a real-life example of a cone," "draw a right angle," or "make an obtuse angle with your arms." There are no winners or losers, but the kids love how fast-paced it is. This game is great because it can be used when your third-graders learn about geometry, or any time afterward as a math center review game. Once they learn how to play, you can always have it on board as a center or station activity for any day. I make a few of these so that more than one group can play at a time. I also have used it during guided math at my small table with the kids as review... hand each kid a whiteboard and you can quickly assess their knowledge on a topic. 


What kind of games or math centers do you use for geometry?



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Word study

Hi, all! Hope you're having a happy, fun, and relaxing weekend!

Do you do word study at your school? My third-grade teams alternates it with morphology every week and the Interactive Vocabulary Notebook that I created. 

 My team changed the format of word study this year. We used to change classrooms for each of our differentiated groups... well, no more. It always was a big waste of time, and I dreaded doing it every other Monday. By the time the kids got to their differentiated classroom and settled in, it was an extra ten to fifteen minutes wasted. Not efficiency at its finest.

We still differentiate for word study. Now, each of my teammates is responsible for two of the color groups. I am in charge of photocopying and making the quizzes for the pink and yellow groups. I photocopy these onto yellow or pink paper, and give out however many needed to each of my teammates. They give me the colors they photocopy as well, and I organize by putting each sort into the specific color folder.

Sidenote...I DETEST photocopying out of books (does anyone have this aversion? Or am I just weird??). Thankfully I have a fantastic copy mom who comes in once a week to help me out with my copying.



I meet with each of my four groups on the rug with the easel. Together, we sort their words into the correct categories on the easel, and they copy it down on their word study sort paper shown below. The pink and yellow groups mainly work with prefixes and suffixes... so there's not much to this. The purple and blue do mostly word sounds, so their sorts can be more frustrating. We sort the words, and the kids copy them down into their Word Study Sort sheet, fold it, and glue into their Word Study Notebook.



 Here is their word study schedule for the week. The students' Monday night homework is to cut, sort, and glue words into notebook. On Tuesday and Wednesday they complete one menu choice. Thursday they study words. Finally, Friday is the word study quiz.




 The word study notebooks are a spiral notebook instead of a composition book this year.  We decided to do it this way this year because it's much easier for the kids to turn their word study homework into our classroom outbox. It used to be such a pain to walk around and look at their composition books. To be honest, I frequently forgot to check these. My kids from last year and the year before realized this, and many stopped even doing the homework assignment, hence ultimately suffering on their word memorization and practice and getting lower grades on their quizzes. Now the students rip out their menu choice every day and turn it into the Outbox. Apparently it was a pretty steep learning curve for me to figure that out!

Fridays are the word study testing days. Testing isn't too much of a time waster either. An IA pulls the two highest groups (which have the least amount of kids in them) to test for about ten minutes in the hallway, and I test the other two groups on the rug. I prefer not to have the highest and lowest group in the same room during testing, since the words are very different from each other (such as magician compared to fir). Students in the past have gotten very into figuring out who is the "smart and dumb group," so I think separating the groups helps the kids not care as much which group they think is which.

How do you do word study? I know the way we do it probably isn't the best, but over the last three years, it truly is what works best for us.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

iPad Document Camera



WOOHOO, SNOW DAY! Although when I looked out my window this morning... there was literally no snow. It's a huge county, perhaps another area in the county got snow?? It is rather foggy out. So I will just pretend it's a fog day. Look at the picture out my  window, you can barely even see the Capitol it's so foggy. Whatever, I am not complaining. I have felt a little under the weather the past two days, so this is just what I need. It has been a relaxing day of watching the Daily Show, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the Daily Show, and CNN. I'll go to yoga at 6 pm, and it shall officially be a successful day! Oh, I also did laundry. You know, to be productive.


Do you have an iPad? This is my first year having one for purely educational purposes. I am on the iPad Committee at my school this year, and have gotten to pilot incorporating an iPad into classroom lessons. I know a lot of you out there get a whole class set, grade set, and/or station set.... please ignore me as I try my utmost to contain my jealousy. It is tough letting a class of 28 kids share ONE IPAD, so I tend to find uses that are most effective whole group. Unfortunately, letting one kid use an iPad during math or reading is too tough and causes too many problems. Hopefully I can get better at this... if you have any good tips, let me know! Until then, I will use my iPad for whole-group games, activities, demonstrations, videos, and as a doc cam.

We have SmartBoards at my school, but I think that using doc cams are a terrific resource. I used doc cams during my student teaching, and there are many uses for it. Two years ago, my teammates and I received document cameras with some extra money from our school. Each cost about $120. Well, let me tell you, there is an enormous range of document camera qualities. We thought we got an awesome deal, since some go all the way up to $1,000. NOPE. The lag time was horrible, to the point where I did not ever use it. I always felt guilty about my sad, terrible document camera hanging out in my classroom armoire, but it simply wasn't worth taking it out only to struggle for ten minutes with it.

One teacher at my school discovered the absolutely fantastic resource that an iPad can be as a document camera. Amazon sells iPad document camera stands online. All you do is buy a stand, connect your iPad to the projector, go to video, and BAM! Document camera fun. I also purchased a 20 foot projector cord... I used to awkwardly stand in front of their screen where my podium and projector was to give a lesson. TOTALLY AWKWARD AND MY HEAD WAS ALWAYS IN SOMEONE'S WAY. Now I stand to the side and don't block any views with my big hair full of secrets.

I have been using this doc cam like crazy. I have not used it for math or language arts (since I almost always teach those either half class at my easel or in small groups of five kids), but this thing is beast for social studies and science. Now we can fill out charts, Frayer models, and flow charts together. It is much easier than me attempting to draw a lopsided and wonky chart on the board. It saves both the students and I so much time to fill in handouts or graphic organizers together.

Below is the picture with the iPad in it (the iPad cover is on too, the stand is adjustable and takes like one millisecond to stick the iPad into), and below is the stand without the iPad in it. Please ignore how messy the area looks. Embarrassing. I hate when cords stick out like that bottom picture, usually I tuck them behind the speakers. 



I purchased the Copernicus Dewey stand, which I love and would highly recommend. But there are lots of options on Amazon, this one was more on the pricy side. However, it is expensive because it's stable and not tippy. I have seen ones in other classrooms that are tippy, which makes me nervous. I have 28 students in one classroom, accidents happen. I would hate for someone to run into the document camera if they are lining up and to knock it over! This is absolutely not a concern with this document camera stand. If you're interested in the Copernicus Dewey iPad Document Camera Stand that I purchased, here is the link.

Do you have an iPad but no document camera stand? Try getting one, I promise that you will love the ease and efficiency of it. Have a great day, stay warm :-)


 Linking up for Wow Me Wednesday!

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Have... Who Has... With Multiplication Facts!

Firstly.... I AM IN LOVE WITH MY NEW BLOG DESIGN! Pink and green... I am ecstatic. What do you think? It is one million times better than that eyesore I had before. Yay!!!! There's also an ultra handy index at top. "My Subjects" is especially wonderful because I break down all posts by subject. You can find a post by language arts, math, social studies, science, classroom management, organization, or decor.


Secondly, I created these the other day. They are excellent for your game in morning meeting, closing circle, or as a warm-up before math class. Facts are without a doubt the most frustrating and challenging thing for my kids. It makes everything else so much harder... long division, fractions, word problems. Memorizing facts are NOT fun. Anything to help this process is greatly appreciated in my classroom!


Have you played "I have... who has" in class before?? As long as you have the cards made, this is a great game to play over and over with your students for a review of a subject. It is a wrap-around game. You give each student a card. One student starts. They say "I have 50. Who has 8x4?". The student that has the words "I have 32" on their card responds. They say "I have 32, who has 5x6?" The student with 30 goes next.

I printed out the set, laminated, and then cut it up. Well... during Quiet Time a few of my lovely girls saw me about to cut and begged to do it. It's too funny how much those third-graders love to help! I couldn't say no, especially since Quiet Time is fifteen minutes of no academics. I had to take them up on the offer :-)

My kids LOVED playing this game! They enjoyed the fun clipart, and were excited when they heard their math fact being called. I am hoping that consistently playing this will help "stick" the facts in their mind. AKA 8x6, 4x8, and 7x8... my kids NEVER remember those x8 facts!


 Interested in getting this game? I have a winter themed game seen below and a Valentine's Day game in my store. I love my seasonal items! Keeps learning fun and interesting. Also... how darn, stinking cute are the little cupids and the penguins????

 



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Class Rules, Morning Meeting, and Class Motto




Hi all, and happy Sunday! Did you have a good weekend? Mine was busy but fun. Yesterday I spent time with my boyfriend's friends at a winery (a winery which served lasagna... isn't that strange? I have never been to a winery with lasagna before), attended a work party, watched the Panthers vs. Seahawks game at a bar with a few of my coworkers, and went out with my friends to a club for a going away party. Today has not been so productive however... I have not left my couch and television. I did, however, eat an entire Domino's Pizza. Don't even worry though, it was thin crust. AND it had olives and banana peppers on it. #nutrition

I wanted to share these sweet classroom management posters I put together in the beginning of the year. I love how they turned out, they fit into my jungle classroom well. Aren't the backgrounds adorable? They are glittery animal print, too cute. 

CLASS RULES: The class came up with these rules together. On the back of the rules (before I laminated it), each child signed his or her name. There are only four rules, and the rules are generic. Basically any good behavior can be put into one of those categories. Keep hands to yourself? Falls under kind, respectful, and safe. Walk in classroom? Shows being safe and responsible. Don't pick up your teacher's iPhone and start texting all my friends? I'm going to place that in the respectful category. 
We came up with these rules in the second week of school. The kiddos brainstormed rules they thought they should have in class. However, they had to put a positive spin on each rule. For example, instead of "don't run," they had to rephrase it to "walk." Or instead of "don't hit," they would say "keep hands to self." Afterwards we grouped the rules into bigger categories, hence getting kind, respectful, safe, and responsible! When kids break our rules and are pushing, hitting, or teasing, I will remind them "Is that showing an example of our classroom rules?"

CLASS MOTTO: I always remind my kids to believe in themselves and to always try their best. It sounds cheesy, but constantly saying this and reinforcing it has them take it more seriously. I tell them that the only thing they cannot do in our room is give up. I love overhearing them when they collaborate in math that they HAVE to try their best. So much positive support at a young age, it is a nice thing to see.
MORNING MEETING RULES: The class and I created these rules together. We talked about what meetings are, and how both kids and adults have meetings that although can be fun, need to be taken seriously. Together we positively brainstormed ideas. Together the class came up with listening respectfully to others, look at the speaker, and offer thoughtful & respectful comments. If a child interrupts a classmate, I ask them to remind us of the morning meeting rules and show us what that looks like.


If you're interested in these rules and would like to hang them in your own classroom , you can pick them up at my TPT store, Glitter In Third.

Have a great night! I am off to get a manicure... I peeled off all my Shellac polish last night after getting it to stay fresh, shiny, and perfect for three weeks. Well, minus the thumbs. Those suckers always start peeling by week 2. Happy Sunday night!


Friday, January 9, 2015

Extra storage and seating at small tables

That picture above is hideous and makes my beautiful classroom looks ugly... but it gets the point across about these storage ottomans that I absolutely love! I love these ottomans, and I want you to love them too. Did you catch the movie reference?!? Brian's Song?? That movie makes me cry... not sure if people actually watch it though...

Our PTA has a fundraiser every year. There are various incentives for the classroom to raise money (like raising $200 is homework passes, $400 extra recess, $2500 is in-school field trip). This fundraiser provides money for playground equipment, easels, rugs, books, and more. One of the incentives was giving each classroom $200 toward any classroom purchase of their choice.

Originally, my kids wanted a classroom pet. Um, no thank you. Miss PC is not going to be feeding and cleaning the cage of a smelly guinea pig. The book fair was coming up, so then my kids wanted to use the money on books. I have a fairly extensive classroom library, and I am a children's book snob. I am not a fan of those Wimpy Kid or Big Nate books that all the kids love. I work hard to stock my classroom library with quality literature. If the majority of the classroom library is quality literature, the children are more likely to pick it up. No "trashy children literature" in my classroom. I was hesitant to have them pick out $200 in low-quality books.

I have a large class this year... 28 students. During my small groups in reading and math, the kids would always have to find chairs somewhere in the room and drag them to the table. It was tight, squished, and a waste of time. I realized how deeply in need of seating we were, so I convinced the kids into wanting to spend the money on new seating. I told them how soft, squishy, and FUN having little ottomans would be! I don't think seating can ever be fun... but whatever. They happily agreed and were ecstatic when these little cubes came!

I bought them from Walmart for $16.60 each. Here's the link if you're interested. Free shipping and they arrived at my school. Thankfully my terrific kiddos happily carried them into my classroom from the office. Such troopers.

The BEST thing about these ottomans? THEY HAVE STORAGE INSIDE. All those hideous extra tissue boxes, hand sanitizer containers, Clorox Wipes, and notebook paper have a home. I hate looking at them, so these items were previously squished into a cabinet so they would not be aesthetically unpleasing. Speaking of hand sanitizer, several kids in my class call it "hanitizer." Cracks me up. "Miss PC, where is the hanitzer?"

Happy Friday! I am off to eat some raw cookie dough in my fridge and then head off to happy hour for an hour (or two) of extra happiness.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Using BUILD in math



Have you heard of BUILD? I started doing this structure this year for my stations and have been very happy with it. I have seen many blog posts for BUILD, and everyone does it a little differently. I have seen BUILD used as a Daily 5 setup (with kids choosing which math station they want to go to), or as rotations (which is what I do). I have a large chunk of time open for math, generally we do about an hour and a half of math a day. I start with a quick mini-lesson on a concept, then do BUILD and reinforce the new learning with each of my small groups.


WHAT IS IT?

Here are my explanations for the BUILD acronym:
B: By Yourself Work (independent worksheets)
U: Using Manipulatives (any hands-on game or activity)
I: IXL (computer program)
L: Learning about numbers/problem-solving (flashcards, challenge math packet, or Challenge 24 game)
D: Do math with Miss PC (my table)

I think traditionally the L stands for literacy, and gives students the option of reading math-related books. I teach gifted third-graders and we have an accelerated math program (they cover both third and fourth-grade math), so it is math intensive in our classroom.

I have always done math using guided math and stations. I have a wide range of abilities in my classroom, although all the students are labeled as gifted. Some are verbally gifted and struggle in math, while others have an innate mathematical ability (I wish I had that!). What I LOVE about BUILD is that setting it up everyday is simple. Putting it together everyday almost seems brainless... just plug in an activity or handout for each station. I know that the B station is always some kind of double-sided worksheet. U is something hands-on (it can be new or review). I is IXL, which is a computer program that our school pays for. IXL is worth every penny. It has every single standard on it, and the kids have their own username. The program checks their progress and gives reports to teachers, hence there is accountability. L I will use the Challenge 24 game, a Continental Math sheet, or Great Expectations handout. Finally, D is where I meet with students in back at my horseshoe table.

Technically, U should be the hardest station to create everyday. It is at first difficult to think of hands-on math material that will engage the kids. However, once you have a stock of different games or activities, these can be easily rotated out. If you're learning about measurement, it is perfectly fine to put in a hands-on activity about decimals. Constant spiraling of material ensures success in a mathematical concept, these kids need constant review to keep it fresh in their minds!

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Each station lasts approximately fifteen minutes. I need to meet with each group every single day. Although I have math groups that are needier than others, I do not feel right not monitoring the progress of some of my students, even those that I know will excel at any mathematical concept I throw their way.

As you can see at the picture at the top of the page, I use magnets and animal group names. One of my classroom jobs is "Math Center Manager." This student is responsible for changing the magnets every fifteen minutes when the timer goes off. When the other students hear the timer, they look at the board and move to their next station. We practiced this a lot in the beginning of the year so they understood the expectations and routine of rotating, turning in work, and cleaning up their areas.


Do you use BUILD? How is your math block structured?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cooking up fractions with fraction pizza!


Want some fraction za? Does anyone call it za still? I never heard that term until college when an ex-boyfriend refused to call it anything but. 

I adored this activity today, and so did the kids. Since we do two years of math in our gifted third-grade classroom, our math unfortunately steers away from being fun. It is hard being fun when you have an enormous curriculum to cover. I was excited to bring a little fun and craftiness back into our classroom (FUN?!? WHERE ARE YOU, FUN?). Oh look, I found it. It was hiding in the za. 

Our county decided not to give us a snow day today. Ohmygoodness. I don't think I have ever driven in snow before today. I tend to stay home when the weather is bad, and our county rocks at deciding to give us the day off or a delay. I couldn't stop my car as it rolled down the hill from my condo complex! The main roads were absolutely terrible as well. Ten of my kiddos did not even show up today! I felt bad for the ones who came… not only did they brave the chilly snow, but mostly all we did today was our DRA testing. Not fun for them… thankfully I had this fun za activity up my sleeve to lighten the mood. 

I printed the pepperoni slices on red paper, green pepper on green paper, and the olives/crust on tan paper. Each student picked up each of the papers. They "cooked" their pizza however they wanted, and filled out the little chart at the end saying the fraction of each of their toppings. I wasn't sure if this activity would be too basic or hold their attention, so I was pleasantly surprised! During Closing Circle, the majority of the kids said that their favorite thing all day was "making fraction pizza"… yay! If you're interested in this activity, I put it up on TPT. $3 for a simple, no-prep activity. 

Ooh another pro of the day: I got to wear my duck boots! I love those things, I am thrilled that they are so in this year. With a tight pair of skinny jeans and a sweater, they are not only utilitarian but so cute.