Sunday, February 22, 2015

Math Headbands Review Game- pin it to win it

Do you know the Headbandz game that you buy in the board game aisle?  It is the game with vocabulary cards and blue plastic headbands.  This game brings back days sitting around with my siblings and grandparents playing "Indian Poker."  For the non-player- you seem like a group of fools with cards stuck on their head- however to those playing- it is a TON of fun!

My students LOVE playing this game!  As soon as the words, "Recess" are uttered out of my mouth- my students make a mad dash to get out the game and Legos.   If you have Legos in your classroom- you have to know that you can NEVER have enough Legos.  At least the Headband game gets an equal play from the stash of toys.

After I reread my FAVORITE book by Dave Burgess- I was inspired to try to make this game more first grade educational friendly.  I started making math cards for the game a few months ago.  I tried it out with my kiddos and they did great!  Well- some still try to play it charades style and give the person a hint.  Either way- they are still learning and showing their knowledge of the vocabulary word and are BEGGING to play.  "You know- I guess that we did have a great day today- maybe we can play a for a little bit."  lol- inside I am thinking, "Yes!  More math practice!"

If you have never played this game- this is what it is all about:
1.  All game players have a plastic headband (or you can make your own!)
2.  They insert a card without looking at it into their headband and start a sand timer.
3.  They are to ask questions to try to figure out what is inserted into their headband.  The other players can only answer, "yes" or "no."  Once they get an answer correct- they take it down and insert a new card- trying to get as many correct as they can before the time is up.  

To assist students with asking questions, there are helper cards.  They can flip through the cards and ask the question at the top.  If their peers answer, "yes"- they know they can ask the questions below. The headband card will be the same color as the helper card.  This can be used to give struggling students a hint.  

Since the FREE Pay it Forward math items end tonight- .
you can get this FREE if you pin it on Pinterest until next Sunday and come back and leave a comment with the link to the pin and your email.  :)

Have a great week!  :)


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Genius area

This is a new management piece incorporated this year.  The Weekly Genius'.  This seriously has helped with managing a large class, motivated hard work weekly, and rewarded students for excellent behavior.

As you can tell it is not very high tech and it took me about 10 minutes to set up the system.  I used an old graphing pocket chart, wrote out the different chunks of our day and placed it to the left.  Then wrote out each child's name on a little piece of card stock. Seriously 10 minutes and it has REALLY changed the classroom environment.

I learned about this first from a friend with the great idea (The same one who made the video at the bottom of this post.)  I tried it out by "interviewing" students for positions and they stayed the same each week.  It really didn't have the desired effect that I was going for... Then I discovered a teacher at my school who has 1 genius but changes them weekly.  She said it worked well.  I thought- "hey why not?"

We have been using this since after winter break and it has worked so well BEYOND what I even thought would be possible.

How it works:

  • Each week I "watch" students during the work chunks and determine someone that is really good at following the directions, working hard, and problem solving issues.  I tell students that I am looking for a good leader to be the Genius for the following week.
  • Each Friday we make a GIANT production out of announcing the next weeks' Genius people. I really take the time to say, "This person is someone who I noticed...."  This way the allure of being chosen doesn't wear off.  My students get excited, cheer and congratulate their friends. 
  • I secretly keep a class list that I check off each time they have been a Genius.  I don't even mark what area they were- I just mark that they were a Genius.  This way I know to try to find a way to choose some students that haven't been a Genius much.  I still really choose students by who did well.  Some students have been a Genius 8 times, while some have only been twice.  I really do rely on these students to do their job so that I can do mine without interruptions.
  • My students know when to go to their Genius "job" without me telling them.  Their shift is anywhere between 15-30 minutes.  If students in the class have a question or need assistance- they go to the Genius.  The Genius assists them.  
  • The Genius is still responsible for doing their work as well.
  • Two weeks ago we added a "The Genius is on Break" sign.  Under it says, "Ask 3 other friends for help.  If they can't figure it out- then complete a quiet choice."  The Genius can put this up if there have been too many questions or they need to finish their work.
  • As an added bonus our Genius' have their own little office.  We share the office with some word study materials etc.  During their shift, they sit in the office.  Clipboards are hanging on the wall for their convenience.  

I HIGHLY recommend implementing this into your classroom.  It really takes little preparation for the HUGE amount of positives that come from it.  

Just a reminder as a PAY IT FORWARD- all (well I think at least 18) of my common core math items are free until tomorrow!  My entire store is also 20 percent off as well.  :)

A little off topic but wanted to share a really cool video my very talented friend made for our district: CLICK HERE.

Here is hoping that it inspires voters!  :)  LOVE my district!!!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Paying it Forward: Creating Graphs and Answering Questions

We are on cold day #2 in Ohio.  The first day I was REALLY lazy and watched movies and did laundry all day. Okay.... I was REALLY excited to do the laundry!  Our AMAZING friends that are living with us as they remodel their new house bought us a BRAND NEW washer and dryer!  :)  Last week our old set finally decided to give out.  My friend went shopping with me to pick out a new set.  As I was busy filling out the warranty information- apparently my friend was secretly paying for our new machines!  I feel so bad for the salesman.  I went from almost yelling at her, "Why did Mr. LaSota give you the card?  Wait- did you pay for that???"  To sobbing and saying, "Wow- thank you- that was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me!!!!"  So I REALLY didn't mind doing laundry since I was so excited to use the nice new and shiny machines.  ;)  Hopefully my husband doesn't catch on to how to get me to love doing chores.  :)

Today I figured that I better do some work!  I am out on Monday for a district meeting and I realized my math plans were not that great.  I figured- for me... I'd be ready to fly by the seat of my pants.  However I have a substitute who has never been in the first grade classrooms before.

So lo and behold- I have spent about 7 hours making some!

Here is a peak:

Simple whole group lessons and Monday sorting activity.

These may not be the MOST attractive things but they walk the student through creating a graph.  My goal was to make this as easy for a substitute to use as possible!  The students have the graph and questions as well as the booklet out for whole group on Monday and Tuesday.

These are the Wednesday and Thursday whole group items.  The "try math" sheet is really a midweek assessment.  The talk cards are asking students to have a discussion about a current skill and a review skill.

Students only have 2 days of Math on My Own since the other two days they are working with their whole group graph.  These independent work items are differentiated.

Finally there are 2 Friday exit slips.  One focuses more on first grade graphing skills.  The second one focuses on second grade graphing skills.  The students are taught more of 2nd grade graphing during whole group for the week.  This is the second time we have visited graphing.  They REALLY understood it the first time so I decided to teach my students more of the 2nd grade standard next  week.  

Want this for FREE????  

I want to PAY IT FORWARD from the VERY nice deed given to me this week and give this away!  This and all of my other common core math items are going to be FREE on my TPT store from Feb. 20th until Feb. 22nd.

Hopefully some of these items are useful to you and it inspires you to PAY IT FORWARD as well!  Enjoy your weekend!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Common Core Whole Group Math

Since common core math has "sprung" up a few years ago, it seems that I have constantly been working on math.  I started with creating assessments, then moved to independent work, and finally have began working on whole group lessons that incorporate the common core math practices. 

My lesson plans a very simple and the whole group lesson is very simple and 10-15 minutes long.  These serve as almost a "guide" and doesn't have specific skills.

On the first day of the week, I try to incorporate a sort or some other activity to try to get students to figure out what we will be learning about this week. 

For easy to use whole group lessons- (especially if I have a substitute)- for most units I have a booklet for whole group.  Students also use hands on manipulatives as well. 

These booklets seem to make it easier for parents to understand that there are different ways to solve the type of problem.  I was just at a meeting last week where the facilitator put it rather clearly- "The social media articles about common core math seems to be that the teacher/ homework is focusing too much on the strategy rather than the standard." 
On Wednesday each week we have a midpoint assessment.  I LOVE these!  It was something new that I tried this year- and they have worked GREAT! 

It has a problem at the top highlighting this current week's skill.  The students try to answer it in the first box.  Then they get in line to show me.  If it is correct I draw a smiley face on it- they put it in their mailbox and get to play math review games until rotations start.  If they don't have it correct the first time- I quickly give them a hint and they have to go back and try to figure it out in the second box.  Finally, if they don't "get it" after 2 tries either I or a partner will sit down and help them figure it out.  This has really helped to "weed out" those students who need some extra support for the skill of the week.  It also is great communication to the parents since they can see how many tries it took them to get the problem correct. 
On Thursdays we have "math talk."  We have one card that focus' on the skill of the week and a second card which reviews a skill we have already learned.  Students work in their table groups.  I place the first card face down in the middle of the tables and students have their dry erase materials out and ready.  I tell them to turn it over- I read it and they start working.  Students are instructed to turn over and hide their answer when they are finished.  When students notify me that they are finished- I tell them to "talk."  Students then use our discussion rules and share their answers one at a time with also how they figured it out.  This is repeated with the second card.
Finally on Fridays we have a short exit ticket to assess student mastery of the skill.  Students who didn't master the skill are placed in my "second rotation" group for the following week so we can work on the skill further. 

Daily students are to choose which math group they need to follow for the day.  Since I have a large class- I DO NOT meet with the yellow students and instead I meet with remediation students.  However during independent work the students in the yellow group are allowed to work with a peer during their rotations.  Click here to download this poster for free.

In each unit I also have included differentiated math on my own worksheets.  These all work on the same skill but have different supports built in for students.  The "green group" worksheets often just have larger numbers to figure out. 

I have many math resources on TPT but here are the resources that are very similar to the materials listed above:
3 Addend Math Facts
Doubles Math Facts
Counting on Math Facts

Have a wonderful week!  Please let me know if you have any questions!