Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Well it is Tuesday and that can mean only one thing. Time to link up with the amazing Holly for her Tried it Tuesday linky party. Be sure to head over to her blog to check out all the great ideas being shared.
I was reading this post on Holly's blog (yes the hostess of this here linky) and she mentioned how she was going to be using Laura Candler's Classroom Book Clubs and how much she liked it. Then I received an email asking if I would like a free copy of Laura's Multiplication and Division Math book to review. So I obviously jumped at the chance.
Here is what I like so far:
*each activity clearly outlines the materials you need at the top, very easy to prep for
*there is similar activities/pages for the same concept so that I can use some this year and save some for next year
*there is an assessment page so that you can see what your students already know about multiplication and identify any misconceptions or gaps in their understanding
*there are tips called you got it "Laura's Tips" that have helpful information
*each lesson lists the Common Core Standards listed - even though I don't teach the CC, I can easily look them up and see what the lesson is addressing
*the lessons are sequential and build upon each other in a natural way
Here is what I love:
*she clearly states the importance of understanding multiplication and division - what they are, how to represent them BEFORE moving on to learning all the facts. This was a huge, HUGE area of debate in my math network this year, when do you move from the concept to just learning the facts. This program is set up so that students will have a strong foundation in understanding what multiplication is, how to represent it and a number of strategies to solve problems
*it is not all drill based, which a lot of multiplication books are - there are whole group lessons, games, problem solving activities etc
*I love how much my students are enjoying it. It is the end of the year and often we start to loose enthusiasm for actual work! I thought this would be the perfect program to use at the end of the year, hoping to catch a few kids and improve their multiplication knowledge before the summer break. But all of my students are engaged in the activities and are working hard!
Here they are doing the opening Hula Hoop activity and the follow-up Chocolate Chip game.
I am looking forward to using this program to keep us going since we are still in school next week!!!!
Sunday, 16 June 2013
I am very excited to be linking up with the amazing ladies at Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text linky because it is my first time linking up a science book. I've found a lot of great books from this linky but I've also realized I do not use nearly enough picture books in my science program. I've struggled to think of books to share and I will really, really, really need to work on this next year!
But I do have a book to share today that you could use as a mentor text in science.
You may wonder why a teacher in Canada would be teaching about alligators (not a whole lot of gators running around here) but our school mascot is a gator so......Also it fits with our Grade 4 Habitat and Animal Adaptations unit. One more reason is it is a good non-fiction text.
Here is why I like this book:
*it emphasizes the importance of the alligator to the ecosystem (keystone animal)- how other animals depend on the alligator
*it talks about animals at risk of extinction, how people worked to save the alligator and how the Chinese alligator is still at risk - it poses the question how might the Chinese alligator be saved too
*it includes a quick little activity to show the importance of an alligator hole
*it has many features of a non-fiction text but it is illustrated - this is often confusing to students, they see illustrations and they think it is fiction. I find that my students often confuse "cartoon-like" drawings as a super important indicator and ignore other features. This book does a great job of showing that the other features (characters, setting, problem or facts) are way more important.
Here are a few pics of the book:
Another way I used this book:
*we had a class gator mascot that would go home with students for a week and the students would write journal entries about their adventures with Skippy. As part of the at home package were books on gators (fiction and non-fiction). They read the books, picked a fiction and non-fiction book and did a little reading response page for each.
On a totally unrelated note, I would also like to link up with Molly at Lucky to be in First for her Fabulous Freebies on the Fifteenth. I wanted to quickly link up before it got to far away from the 15th. We are in countdown mode and last week we had "Marshmallow Day" and I made a few little activities I would like to share with you. If you can't tell, I needed to quickly review patterning : )
Click here to pick up the freebie. There are two patterning pages and 3 pages using a chart to find the pattern.
Saturday, 15 June 2013
Happy Saturday! I have been so excited for this weekend, not because we have big plans, but because we have no plans and I have nothing that I have to get done. Report cards done, check. Dance recitals done, check. Castle built and brought to school, check. Castle report done, check. House cleaned.........
So anyway, I thought I would take a minute to link up with Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B and Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files for their Optimum Organization Linky.
The small print says to share tips that may help out a new teacher and I hope that these tips help save someone a little time.
Here is my first tip.
Now you might be thinking, that is a really obvious tip, but sometimes I am amazed by how long it takes to figure something so obvious out, or see it on a blog or pinterest and be in shock that I didn't think of it. Case in point. Right next to my lovely numbered hooks are baskets for the students. These are to store their hats, gloves, shoes (I know there is a pair of shoes not in a basket in the pic above!). Each year I LABEL the baskets with the students names. I was just looking at them thinking about tidying up for the end of the year and I thought "Why don't I number the baskets too!" So that is what I will be doing this summer. Making number labels for my baskets. (Note the poorly peeled off label in the pic below!)
Labels: classroom organization
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
Happy Tuesday! I am linking up with some amazing bloggers today to share some ideas for planning for substitute teachers.
First up is Holly and her Tried it Tuesday linky.
I am away from school tomorrow. I saved one of my personal days for the whole year so I could go on my daughter's grade 4 field trip. Am I crazy or what. Instead of spending the day with my own grade 4's I will be on a bus for 1.5 hours each way with 26 other grade 4's!!
Anyway, getting to the tried it part. I am trying Erin at I'm Lovin Lit's "A Zoo Day". It is a complete unit that will last one school day. I am using the math, language and science activities. There are also instructions for making a lapbook but we are just going to make a folder. I love how clear the instructions are, I love that it is a complete day of work and that my students will be super engaged by the activities. I love that it made my day super easy to plan. This unit is perfect for this time of year and if I wasn't going to be away I might have just used it myself for an easy day of planning.
This is a the link to this product in her TpT store if you want to check it out.
Next I am linking up with Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files and Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B for their Optimum Organization linky.
I got this idea from a blog (can't remember which one, so sorry) and I loved it and thought I would share it for this linky. It is a handy dandy sub tub.
Seller's Toolkit Bundle)
Inside the tub go any class sets of worksheets that I photocopied but did not get to use. I paper clip them together, label the subject and the time.
This tub is for emergencies, days when I am late due to weather or traffic accidents (I have a 45 minute drive and stuff happens), days when I can't get plans in (hasn't happened yet, fingers crossed) or when I am teaching things I don't want to leave for the supply and need stand alone activities. It also works out great because then I don't feel bad about wasting paper by having made copies that I didn't use.
While reading Kristen's post on getting rid of resources I was inspired to go through some of my resources and get rid of ones that I never even look at anymore. Only I came across a few, that while I don't use them are perfect for generic emergency activities. So I kept a few of those resources and threw them in the tub as well (only a few honest, I recycled tons more!).
Be sure to check out both of these linky parties for some amazing ideas.
Monday, 10 June 2013
I am very excited to be linking with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her super inspiring linky.
Remember I am still in school (14 more days!) so keep your expectations reasonable : )
I made a gumball machine. My daughter came home from a crafting birthday party with one last year and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make one. This year I bought Bubble Gum Trouble from Krista Wallden and used it to make a little probability unit. I made the gumball machine to use in my lessons. I hope to use it next year as a class incentive tool - fill up the gumball machine earn a prize.
It goes with this little unit I made.
I made these for my daughters. Okay so I printed them and framed them. I got the print from the super talented Megan @ I Teach, What's Your Superpower. I love the message and I am working very hard to try and ensure that my girls have a positive self-image, a strong sense of self and confidence.
To try and help with that I put this word art up in the bathroom so they could read the message every day. Not great picture quality - the walls are actually blue! It says "Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful" and it has a little bling in the middle of the flower - it came with more but I went easy on the bling, my husband uses the washroom too!
Last but not least I made these numbers for my Made it Monday posts using a frame from the aforementioned talented Megan. I made three numbers to keep me motivated but I just ran out of time this week! Hopefully next time number three will be a little better!
Sunday, 9 June 2013
I am linking with Amanda and Stacia's Mentor Text Linky. Be sure to check out all the great book ideas being linked up at their amazing blog, Collaboration Cuties.
Today I am sharing a Mentor Text Linky success story! When I teach probability I usually use this book
and this book
but then I was reading through the awesome Mentor Text links and I found this book
This book is awesome. Here is the description from Amazon:
Ethan wakes up one morning with a talking cat on his head. The cat refuses to budge until Ethan wins a game of probability. Without looking, Ethan must pick out a dime from his coin collection or two matching socks from his dresser, or do something else improbable. A very improbable story about a challenging math concept.
I love this book because it breaks down each situation and discusses the actual probability of being able to complete the challenge. There is loads of opportunities for using probability language, using numbers to describe probability and extending the book - like having the students create their own challenges with varying degrees of probability.
I used this book as part of my Bubblegum Probability unit. Here is a sample activity for you. Just click on either of the pictures to download a copy.
Thanks Amanda and Stacia, without the two of you and this awesome linky I would not have found this book!
I am also linking this up with Classroom Freebies! Only 3 more Mondays for me!!!
Saturday, 8 June 2013
Hello bloggy friends. I don't know if you noticed but I have been M.I.A. this week. This is my first post since last Saturday (gasp). So before I get to the actual post I am going to take a minute to vent/whine. Here is why I have not been around much:
It is dance week for my girls - if you are a dance mom/dad you know what this means. It means 3 nights of rehearsals and 3 days of recitals. Rehearsals for my oldest daughter started at 4:15 - full hair and makeup, I get out of school at 3 and have a 45 minute drive home, do the math, it isn't pretty. We get home around 9:30 and end up with some tired, cranky kittens. My report cards are due on Monday. My BFF and I do our school yearbook, needs to be done on Tuesday, order forms were do this week so I need to collate and count money. One daughter had a bake sale this week - we baked some cupcakes and sent licorice - compromise!! The other daughter had a field trip to the pond - needed shoes to wear in the pond and 2 outfits to change into it and a no garbage lunch!!! My parents came up for opening night so I wanted my house to not look like a disaster. I had a day long field trip to a lovely Medieval Festival, that was cold, wet and muddy (and okay, fun too!) and our tickets didn't show up before the trip so my husband had to pick them up and.........
Okay, enough, I know everyone knows that this is just what it is like at the end of the school year, but somehow I manage to forget just how crazy it is!
But I really wanted to get back to blogging so I am back to link up with my bloggy friend Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for
This week I just want to share a few of the ways we motivate our students at our school through school wide competitions. I know not everyone agrees with competition but I think that these examples are good ways of using competition to motivate students to but forth their best effort and are a way to reward a variety of students. We have these competitions each year so students have multiple chances to win, they are well aware of what it takes to win and often the students who win are not the same students who make the sports teams or join other clubs.
We have a yearbook cover competition. My BFF and I select 10 covers, she puts up a bulletin board, everyone in the school votes (right down to Kindergarten). We take the winner from grades 1-4 and grades 5-8 and we make it into the front cover and back cover of our yearbook.
We have a "Win a Page" in the yearbook competition. One of my students won this competition this year. She had to write why she loves our school and on her page in the yearbook we include her writing and pictures of her and her friends and her family (brothers and cousins at our school!). Here is a piece of her writing.
We have a Christmas Card competition. Each year students design a Christmas card, two are chosen and are used by our Principal to send out to community partners, other schools, board staff etc. Plus the students family is given a set of cards with a personalised message inside from their family. I have had 2 students win in the last 2 years - one in Grade 3 and one in Grade 4 - this motivates my class like nothing else, since they know they have a chance.
You may not be able to do Christmas/Holiday cards at your school but this could also work with Thank You cards.
We had an Anti-bullying Flag competition. The winning submission was made into a flag we fly during Anti-bullying week, Pink Tshirt Day, Education Week and the first week of school. Students from each class were recognised with certificates and another student had his submission turned into a plaque for our hallways.
I am so happy that I managed to get a blog post in today. I need to get ready cause I am a backstage volunteer today, what was I thinking? Here's a pic of my girls though - I guess it is all worth it after all!