Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Word Walls in Interactive Notebooks

I have gone back and forth on having a word wall in my room. I use it a few times during the year. Last year I only ever put 4 words up. I referred to those 4 words a lot, but never went past that. 

There are a lot of different reasons why it doesn't get updated. I have a plan to keep it up better this year, but in the meantime I am doing this. 

At the beginning of each unit we do, I have the students set up a word wall in their notebook. As we learn new vocabulary, they get a colored sheet of paper to create their word wall card. 

I like the color. You could use post its or you could just have students write on this page. But this divides up the words and ideas. 

We only do a few words at a time, sometimes only one. But students know when we add it to the word wall, it is important. 

I'll continue to take pictures as we update each word wall. 

Monday, September 28, 2015


My campus is a CHAMPS campus.  It is a classroom management system which includes many ideas for managing a classroom.

My favorite part of CHAMPS is having teachers prevent problems before they start. Putting procedures and expectations in place that prevent the most common classroom problems before they even start. If you are struggling for classroom management (which I would say the area I always have to work hard at), I would suggest looking into the CHAMPS Positive Behavior Support.

I have this poster hanging in my room and the students have a copy in their interactive notebook. It tells students what they are expected to do during each type of activity they will do in math class. I have seen this displayed in different ways, but this was the least amount of work for me.

If you would like to use this, you can get it here in Google Drive. Save it as a Copy and then you will be able to edit as you wish.

Mostly at the beginning of the year, I go over this with students every day before every activity. It is one of those beginning of the school year things that gets tedious, but necessary.
Math Review=Warm up
Guided Math=Small Group/Station Time

My campus also uses Voice Levels that are consistent everywhere. Voice Level 0 is no talking, Voice Level 1 is Whisper, Voice Level 2 is conversation, Voice Level 3 is Presentation and Voice Level 4 is outside. Students need to be taught and shown what voice level is appropriate for each type of activity and what is expected of them.

When we were being trained on CHAMPS, we watched videos from the creator Randy Sprick. He shares an experience with a first year teacher. While observing her in an unruly class, she told her students to stay in their seats and work independently. However, if students needed help, some talked to their neighbor which she allowed, some got up and asked her questions, which she sometimes allowed and sometimes told them to raise their hand and she would come to them. Basically, her expectations changed from one minute to the next and the students did not know what was expected of them.

CHAMPS gives teachers a way to decide on expectations they want to have and share them with the students.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Read For a Better Life

My district does a week long celebration called "Read for a Better Life." The superintendent kicks the week off by reading a book at a school board meeting. The next day on our campus, we have guest readers come to our campus and read a book to our students. The 6th graders love it (partly because it means when a guest reader comes in, they don't have to work???) But I doubt many of students have their parents read to them consistently. Especially as 11 and 12 year olds. 

Guest readers are community members, other principals, parents, and central office staff. 

Next year I hope to incorporate more reading into my math class on that day.Readin is an essential part of life!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Shopping Spree-Multiplying Decimals

I used newspaper ads the to have students practice multiplying decimals.

Their instructions were to find at least 5 items from the ad to purchase. They had to purchase more than 2 of each item. Then use multiplication to find out their total cost.

For the next time I do this project, I will give students an amount of item to buy. For example, I will ask them to purchase 4 of one item, 15 of another item and so on. So they get practice multiplying with a variety of numbers.

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