Thursday, July 31, 2014

Differentiated math centers- numbers

I have always tried to differentiate math centers and have students make goals.

In my district we were given the opportunity to observe teachers.  Of course I jumped on that opportunity!  I learned so much and stole many ideas.

One of the ideas comes from one of the most nurturing and sweet people that I have ever met.  If I had a child going into kindergarten-  I would beg for them to have her as their teacher.  

She has purchased dollar store tubs (I purchased Big Lots since they are more sturdy) to organize her centers.  Each tub only holds 1 center.  The child brings the entire tub back to his/ her spot.  This way things stay more tidy and way less little pieces come up missing.  :-)

I've decided to completely revamp my centers/ make new and organize it just like her!

Here is my first installment of centers:
Red= beginning level
Yellow= on level
Green= above level

These tubs are being created for each skill that we teach.  I'm almost finished with place value and measurent as well.  

Each of these is self checking

There are 3 different puzzles in here.

I really wanted a very beginning skill other than numbering a clock.  

A student clock will also be added.  

I also have one place value center finished:

I still have the more "hands on" centers but wanted to make sure that I had self checking examples for math goals as well.

I will be posting these in quarterly bundles on TPT.  
Q1- time, numbers, place value, measurement
Q2- graphing, addition, addition word problems
Q3- subtraction, subtraction word problems, fractions, shapes

Good luck for those of you setting up your rooms!  My hubby volunteered to come in and do the hanging/ putting together of things on Monday!  I'm delighted!  I hope to be finished Monday evening so I can have 6 days off before we start!  

Enjoy your week!  


Friday, July 25, 2014

I have learned the art of bartering!

Imagine walking into a color coordinated room, not a scrap of paper on the floor, nothing shoved inside a desk (that you can see), 25 first graders absolutely silent at 8 am, paper lanterns in the corner, mood lighting feet by a variety of colorful lamps, a reading cave with colorful pillows and flashlights, teacher desk with file folders, no "put this away later" baskets, jack Johnson playing soothing music and a slight air freshner scent traveling through the room.

That is the absolute opposite of my room!
(But not for long!!!)

I've learned over time that teachers often can be sorted into two different categories:
1.  Cutesy/ organizational genius/ room arrangement 
2.  Differentiation/ data/ scheduling/ computers/ technology
3.  Then sometimes there are those teachers that are both!!!!  I want to be them.   (My husband-  even though not a teacher definitely falls into this category.)

I totally fall in the second type of teacher category.  I feel like I'm in a world of my own because my type typically seems to be teachers in older grades.  I however teach delightful first grade students.  

I've worked at two different schools.  The same thing has happened at both-  I look to the left and to the right and see adorable hallway decorations.  As I sneak into their rooms I notice student work hanging, everything is color coordinated and has a place.  

Then I go back to my room.  I have what I. Consider "adorable" data tracking sheets, anchor charts, inspirational quotes.  Some organization but definitely not the "cute" factor like all of my colleagues.  :-(

Believe me-  I have tried for 8 years.  I can imagine it in my head-  but I hardly ever can make it happen.  Most times it takes me days to make something that will take those type 1 teachers an hour.

I always try to remember this when I teach students.  I always share my story too.  I love art-  but it doesn't come easy and I have to work really hard to be able to do it.  Then I tell them about two of my siblings that can free draw about anything!  

Back to my "aha" point of teacher bartering.  

So-  many of my friends are the total opposite of me.  So-  I started teacher bartering this summer.  :-)

Make daily 5 signs, customized word wall labels in exchange for a friend painting me inspirational paintings to hang in my classroom.  

Make differentiated kindergarten centers in exchange for them organizing my room!  

Make word work centers in exchange for an awesome Pinterest chevron cork board.  (Okay-  my teamy is just that nice that she did it out of the goodness of her heart!  How I love her!)

I feel like all of my bartering friends got the "short end of the stick."  I feel like I have won the lottery!  

Here are the unfinished centers for the K friend.  Everything was purchased at the dollar tree.  I had so much fun going up and down the aisles turning on my Dave Burgess brain and thinking- "How can I use this for independent centers?"

24 centers!  (More are from my chunk center and math centers that I have posted yet.). They need recording sheets yet and a few other items.  (Like tape that I happen to have ran out of at home!)

Why not?  They are in color!  Add sheet protectors and binders or folders.  :-)

Search and find bottles.  Need to add rice.  The words will be sorted into three different bottles.  If they are green, yellow, or red sight words.

These will be leveled.  Just have to add the sheets.  Red level will be choosing stickers and writing the initial or ending sound.  Yellow will write a story with stickers.  Green will write the name of the sticker.

Complete with a picture answer key:
I love this!  Action figures from comics/ movies.  Students have to copy the name down/ draw a picture.

I want to got glue the eyeballs on a Popsicle stick.  
This would be awesome to use with a bingo ball spinner!  Unfortunately I am fresh out of those!  
Just add flashcards!
Self explanatory.

That is it!  (Well out of items completed today!)

So my friends-  lesson learned:
1.  Barter away and take advantage of your friends' skills!  What is easy to you-  may not be for everyone!  Please remember that if you ever meet me and ask me to draw something like a dog.  I've been told my dogs, cats, cows, and horses all look exactly the same!  :-(

Have a great weekend!  :-)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

New math implementations- pin it to win it!

It never fails-  once July starts- my teacher brain wheels start turning!

I'm working on things across the board.  Today I thought that I would post about math.  :-)

I teach math using a guided math format.  You can download free charts and read more about it here.

I have been working on differentiated skill based centers and still need a couple of weeks to finish for these.

I also am finishing my numbers and measurement unit to complete the units used for teaching math during the first quarter.

I have finished my take on an interactive notebook.  

My reasoning for making a different notebook when there are already AWESOME notebooks out there is so that students can use their notebooks to practice their skills during independent work or with a volunteer.  Most of the things involve tape so you can use a dry erase marker or pockets to sort cards.  If you click here, you can download the preview to see the sample.  

 Each skill has an "I Can" statement, a Monday sort, and a self reflection rubric.
 I also start out each week with a blind sort.  The students have to work together to figure out how to sort the cards.  The cards will lead to the topic that we will be learning for the week. Students have to reflect daily on how well they followed rules and how much they learned each day.  At the end of math we have a "reflection" time where students share what they are proud of (sometimes I tell them what to bring as a quick spontaneous check) and they also discuss how they did on goals and reflect on their chart.

 Each skill has a vocabulary page.
 Students will draw or write a way for them to remember the vocabulary word and this sheet gets glued right into their notebook.   I always use these vocabulary words as I teach but always had a tough time keeping up with a math word wall- so this is my hopefully simple solution!  

Each skill has an "interactive" component.
For this particular skill, students cut out and glue the number chart into their notebook.  Then they cut out and keep the small pieces in a pocket in the notebook. This way they can complete the puzzle multiple times.  The second sheet is covered with packing tape or a small piece of page protector is taped over it so that students can use a dry erase marker to trace over it.

The next item that I finished is by far my favorite!

The thing that I am the most excited about comes from an inspiration from the AMAZING Dave Burgess- author of Teach like a Pirate.  (If you haven't read his book-  seriously stop what you are doing right now and go read it!!!). You can read about my obsession with this blog post.

Well I have been thinking- "how do I make math more engaging?  What can we do to make math exciting enough that my students want to come to school even if they are sick?"

Then I had an AHA moment as I was doing charity work-  lol-  okay I was being lazy and watching Lifetime.  I thought about creating math challenges using the skills that they are learning.

I have been making every other week mystery math challenges.  

It all starts with a plain box and wrapping it up to make it look cute (I did my best- I'm sure ALL of you can make it look even better!)

Then I filled the box with some left over confetti like bag filler.  The weekly challenge (which is determined by skills that have already been introduced) is "hidden" in the box.

I press "play" on this fantastic song:

Then DRAMATICALLY have the students do stretches/ exercises to "warm-up" and finally pull out the challenge from the box.  (The warm-up cards are in the purple below.)

Then we discuss the challenge, determine if it should be individual, partners or a group challenge and they all have to fill out the "planning sheet."
  Then we discuss the challenge, determine if it should be individual, partners, or groups.  I have included "idea" sheets for each challenge but I want to get the input from the students so that they are directly involved in the planning to make the challenge.

If you want a jumping off point- you can download my quarter 1 challenges here

If you like either of these things- pin the TPT links- put the link below in the comments with your email- and I will send you a free copy.  You can also tweet about it too.  :)  (I am SLOWLY learning how to treat and I LOVE IT!)

This is good until the end of July.  :)

Have a great week!  :)