Monday, August 13, 2018

Science and Science Tools

I changed positions last year and became a science instructional coach. I am now starting my second year in the position and almost feel like I got my stuff together. At least this week. 

I have wanted to be an instructional coach for a several years--every since I learned that was a thing in education. I enjoy working with other teachers and collaborating on lessons and strategies. I like learning about new things in education and sharing it and helping others make it work for their classroom. 

So, I have a year down and I am excited to start my second year. I've moved from math to science to math and now back to science. I am sure I'll move to math again someday. You'll see a mix of math and science good stuff on this blog still. 

In honor of my new (year old) position, here is a free science tools brochure. You can download it here Science Tools Brochure .

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Dividing Whole Numbers BINGO--FREE

Are there concepts in math that you just don't like practicing? I have two: long division and adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators. They are just not fun for me. But I love solving equations and proportions, which I am sure someone else despises.

I know I am not alone in hating long division. I don't think I have met a students who begs me for more long division problems. It is the process where I see the most mistakes because there are so many steps to remember and they may make computation errors. Although most of our students may wish it, division isn't going anywhere.

I don't like doing countless pages of practice to combat mistakes in long division. Why? Because its boring. If someone handed me a page of long division problems to do by hand...I can already feel my anxiety rising just thinking about it.

Practice is still needed, but not in the form of a worksheet.

When I need lots of practice for a concept, there are two things I do: scavenger hunt around the room or BINGO.

Today, I am sharing a dividing whole numbers BINGO. To set this up,  you need to print BINGO page for every student, the BINGO cards, and every student needs a dry erase marker.

If you are doing this in whole group, have students randomly place the numbers (which are the answers) in the BINGO board. Have them cross off answers as they place them in the boxes.

Randomly pull problem cards and display them for students to see. Students will work the problems with the dry erase marker either directly on their desk (my favorite way) or on dry erase boards. As they work, they should be able to talk to each other and work through their mistakes. You should also walk around the room looking for any issues. Even if all students are not finished with a problem, I display 2-3 problems at a time for students who work more quickly.

If the students don't have their answer on the card, they know they made a mistake somewhere.

Are there any concepts that you just dread teaching or practicing?

Dividing Whole Numbers BINGO

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Classroom Procedures You Should Teach at the Beginning of the School Year

If there is one thing I have to say I focus on the first week of school, it is teaching classroom procedures. It is the most important thing I do that helps my classroom run (mostly) smooth the entire year and cuts down on classroom disruptions from a lack of communication.

When I first started teaching, I made a list of all the procedures I wanted to have. I would suggest all teachers do the same thing. Then, write out exactly what you want to happen in your classroom. I literally typed it up. I wanted to know exactly what I expected from the students and when I was going to teach it to them.

Here is a list of procedures you should be teaching in your classroom:

Entering the Classroom
Putting up Backpack/Supplies
Broken/Missing Pencil
Getting Out and Putting Up Technology
How to Glue Paper
Getting the Class' Attention
Working in Small Groups
Transition Stations
Getting Out Supplies
Exchanging Papers
Turning in Assignments
Classroom Visitor
Getting a Kleenex
Watching a Video
Classroom Phone Rings
Collecting Papers
Passing Out Papers
Grading Papers
Writing in a Planner
Restroom Breaks
Lining Up
Going to Lunch/Recess/Specials
Transitions in the Classroom
Substitute Procedures
Finishing Work Early
Exit Tickets
End of the Day Procedures

Not all of these will apply to your classroom. I DO NOT teach these all the first day/week of school. I teach them as they come up and then MODEL MODEL MODEL and PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. And then we do it again the next day. The first two weeks of school are redundant (and repetitive) but necessary. If you think you are over teaching it, you're not!

Teaching you classroom expectations will cut down on behavior problems and class disruptions. A student may genuinely think it is perfectly acceptable to shout "My pencil broke! I need a new one!" in the middle of class and will be offended if you suggest that is not acceptable behavior. Prevent those from happening by teaching your expectations first.

If a students does deviate from the classroom expectation, a simple conversation could help them get on track. Ask them what the procedure is and ask them to please follow it. If the student continues to not follow the procedure, then use your classroom behavior plan to help the student get on track.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Math Notebook Quote

I have talked about Mathematical Mindsets several times on this blog, but it has impacted my teaching this year. After reading the book, I wanted my students to see math as a social experiences. Honestly, students never have problems being social in class, but they needed to be doing math together. 

One quote in Mathematical Mindsets that stood out to me was 
"Always give help when needed; always ask for help when you need it." 

School can be so unlike the real world sometimes. If I need help in my job, I can ask for it. If someone asks me for help, I can help them. Yet, in school, we teach kids that they have to complete tasks by themselves and aren't allowed to ask for help--the only time that is the case in my class is during a test. I encourage students to mostly talk to each other about the math they are doing and rely on each other for help. 

I started the year going over this quote, I made it into a poster, I printed it to fit inside their math notebooks. After 6 years of school, it is hard to break them of the habit of not asking their classmates for help. I still have students who are rude to each other, are afraid to ask their peers for help, etc. But this is a mindset that they need to change and it will take time. 

The other poster are 3 things I want my students to do every day in math. I also made it into a poster and printed it to fit into their math notebooks. 

You can download the poster here to use for your own classroom.

Do you have a quote that you love to share with your class?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Which One Doesn't Belong?

I am attempting to make homework look different this year after reading Mathematical Mindsets.

This past week I used the Mtbos resource of Which One Doesn't Belong?

I feel like this a a low floor, high ceiling task that forces students to explain their reasoning--which I need to find more ways for students to practice.

Before giving the students the homework, I gave them the following list--7, 21, 27, 42 and we practiced finding which number didn't belong. I randomly wrote those numbers down, and I am lucky it worked out really well. The students were able to come about with about 10 different ways to explain a number that didn't belong.

The homework they got is below.

I asked them to think outside the box--yes 16 is the only even number, but I wanted them to dig deeper than that.

I plan on sharing their various responses with the class hoping that all students can be more creative the next time I give them homework like this. 

If you would like to use this, you can download the pdf here

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hiatus--A New BABY!

 I have been horrible about blogging since LAST APRIL.


Because I was PREGNANT and had felt so sick and tired all the time. It took a lot of energy to do anything.

And I realize now that I am not pregnant, how tired I felt the entire time I was pregnant. Even though the longest stretch of sleep I have had in 2 months is 4 hours (only 2 times), I am not as tired now as I was then.

So, those are my excuses. So let's see a picture or two!

This little boy is a bit more temperamental than his older sister and is not sleeping through the night like she did at 2 months, but he is still freaking adorable. 

I have 5 weeks of maternity leave left. I am trying to cherish every moment I have with him. So when I spend the whole day on the couch because he wants to be held and my house is a mess, I remind myself that in 15 years, he isn't going to want to cuddle with me! 

That's what is up with me! I am making a commitment to blog at least once a week. I did a lot of awesome things in my classroom since I got pregnant that I need to share (all my energy went to teaching and my toddler). 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Blog Post I Love--Part 8

An Alternative to "Add the Opposite" from Nathan Kraft.

We started working on adding integers this week and will move into subtracting integers next week. The past two years, I have introduced it with algebra tiles and taught it as adding the opposite and the students still struggle with what to do when subtracting a negative. His alternative focuses on using number lines. My students have used number lines for adding and subtracting integers, but it has been more of an after thought than a deliberate lesson.

Combining Like Terms from Show Your Thinking

Show Your Thinking shared this MadTv video to introduce students to combining like terms. I like the hook and controversy that it can cause fro students.

Solving Two Step Equations from Jon Orr

I want to revisit this post closer to when I introduce two step equations. A double number line is used to help students determine the value of x.

Flipping Bottles also from Jon Orr

I saw some talk on Twitter about making the flipping bottles fad a math activity and Jon Orr did just that. My students definitely flip bottles more than I would like and this activity would be fun for them.
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