Monday, July 28, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapters: 7 & 8

I am continuing linking up with
The Math Maniac
for a book study of
Chapter 7-Building Mathematical Proficiency in Guided Math Groups
Dr. Newton talks about the importance of making connections with students as to why they need to learn math.  When students don't understand, they tend to act up as all teachers know.  If they know why they need to learn something, they may be more motivated to learn it.  She also talks about how beliefs are very important.

Chapter 8-What Are the Other Kids Doing?
My first few years of teaching math, all students were doing the same thing at the same time.  This led to little engagement.  Since I started using guided math many years ago, math is one of their favorite parts of the day from what I can tell. I love using math centers!

There are many factors which make math centers run smoothly:
-math anchor charts
-organized centers with everything that students need (she provides many examples of how to store math materials)
-math centers that have been taught and practiced so that students can be using them independently 
-centers should be differentiated so that they are not too hard or too easy for any student
-you should have a mixture of centers: individual, partner, and small group
Above is how I store math workbooks and math folders with each group having their own drawer
 I store the current unit's math centers in these bins.  There are a few games that are too big, so I store those on the top.  When I taught the split, 1st grade materials were in bin 1, and 2nd grade were in bin 2.

When it comes to grouping students, it depends on the day and what you are doing.  If the students are working on a class project, they can be in a heterogeneous group.  You may also want to sometimes pick a day to also mix students this way. 

Dr. Newton suggested having various types of centers.  The way that I have done it in previous years, is to have 5 centers each week, and by the end of the week, students (unless they were absent) should have completed all 5 by the end of the week.  Depending on the centers, some would remain for two weeks, and others would be replaced but students would see them again.  After reading this book, I think that I will start to do centers by unit instead.  So students will have a list of many activities that they need to complete by the end of the unit.

Some of the center ideas she provides include:
-fact practice center
-hot topics (any "big skills" such as money that need a lot of work)
-word problems (I made 1st grade ones)
-math poems & books (could be reading or writing)
-math journal
-math vocabulary

I must admit that I have never had a math vocabulary center, but I plan on adding that to my list!

Monday, July 21, 2014

1,000th Facebook Follower Celebration Sale and Giveaway!

I can't believe that I finally have 1,000 followers on Facebook! I am so thankful for all of my fans and am so happy to have been able to help out so many teachers!
 I am marking 10 of my favorite TPT store items 50% OFF including some bundles.  They will be on sale for the duration of the rafflecopter.  You can check out my TPT store by clicking on the picture above.  Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $25 credit towards my TPT store.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapters 5 & 6

I am continuing linking up with
The Math Maniac
for a book study of

Chapter 5-Balanced Assessment: The Key to Grouping Students in Math
Like all subject areas, balanced assessment is so important.  I can especially understand this based on my high school math experience.  I developed math anxiety when it came to math tests.   I would do fine with the other assessments, but when it came to tests, I would freeze up. 

Dr. Newton talks about a variety of pre-assessments teachers can use so that they have balanced assessment when it comes to math.  Some examples are: surveys, checklists, quizzes, interviews, and running records.   Using a variety of assessments really help to plan who is in which group.  I really need to do more pre-assessment in my classroom.

Ongoing assessments to change groups are important too.  You can use your guided lesson/observation notes, and math journal prompts to assess throughout units too.  In addition, math conferences and math exit slips are important too.

One thing that I really liked and that I think some people forget to do sometime is error analysis.  As teachers, we need to know where our students are making mistakes, but also why they are making them so that we can correct their misunderstanding.  I also like how she included that she has students reflect on their math tests, and including an action plan for students.  She mentioned using this site for sample performance assessments:

Chapter 6-A Framework for Guided Math Lessons
Dr. Newton talks about the importance of teaching at the instructional level of the children, and how you should teach various skills in multiple ways to reach various types of learners.   You can also differentiate their math homework.

The math lesson should include: a hook/connection, student practice, and share time.  During share time, a student should share what the focus of the lesson was in summary.  Teachers should also ask if anyone is confused about anything, or if they have any comments.  She includes a full lesson to really help the reader to understand what it would look like in the classroom.

Next week, we will cover chapters 7 & 8.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapters 3 & 4

I am continuing linking up with
The Math Maniac
for a book study of
Before I start sharing my thoughts about this chapter, I want to make sure that you have seen a hilarious video that my district's math specialist showed us:)

I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I do!

Now, onto the book study...

Chapter 3-Managing the Math Workshop
I have been using math workshop (or some form of it) for about 7 years now and I will never go back to regular teaching!  You can see a recent post on how I already do it in my classroom here (with photos).

I completely agree with Dr. Newton saying to start immediately!   I start math workshop the first week of school.  I do not start the actual lessons then, but rather practicing math workshop.  We focus on what it looks, sounds, and feels like.  I make sure to choose games/activities that everyone can play and use.  I also teach students where to get things they may need such as rulers, and how to put them away as well.  I find that taking this time to "practice math workshop" makes the rest of the year run smoothly!

One thing that I have found to be very beneficial is having "math captains" for each group. I have my groups on a board and I move the push pin down each day (you get skipped if you are absent).  So math captains in this example would be: Group 1-A, Group 2-F, Group 3-K, and Group 4-P.  These students are responsible for making sure that the centers are cleaned up before switching, but they also get to choose their game/activity first (the person below them chooses next and so on which has REALLY helped to limit "it's my turn"), and they are responsible for getting math materials for my table when their group is there.  In addition, they get to sit it my teacher chair for math on the computer.  I also use this for my reading groups and it has made my life sooo much easier:)

Chapter 4-Forming Guided Math Groups
It is soooo important to have these leveled yet FLEXIBLE groups.  It has made my teaching so much easier so that I can adjust the needs of lessons to fit the needs of various groups.  There are several ways to form groups mentioned in the book. The bottom line is, you need to do what works for you and for your students (and this may chance depending on your class).

Next week, we will be discussing chapters 5 & 6:)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapters 1 & 2

I am participating in a book study of:
The Math Maniac
I love guided math so I am always excited to be learning more about it, and how others do it in their classrooms!

Chapter 1- Guided Math: An Introduction
Most of this chapter was very familiar to me.  I really love how guided math allows me to meet students where they currently are, so that some students are not bored because they already know it, while others are baffled because they don't have the prior knowledge that they need.  One thing that I did learn more about was a "share period" at the end of each math period.  I have never done this before.  My only concern would be a lack of time.  I already have so much to fit into each school day.  But, I am thinking that if we can gather on the carpet area for a few minutes while students eat snack, then it would work.

Chapter 2- Guided Math in a Numerate Environment
I really love her emphasis on students proving their thinking!  So many students just want to say the answer, but do not know the true math behind it.  Most of the elements of math workshop I already do.  Being a split grade teacher for the past few years, I rarely did a whole class mini-lesson.  Instead, I would just integrate it into my "math with the teacher" group.  But now that I will be teaching a straight 2nd grade, I think that this may save me some time.

I do really like her "Number of the Day" as being part of calendar and would like to add that to my calendar time.
Ex. 100
Half of 200
10 tens 

I am looking forward to discussing chapters 3 & 4 next week!

Completely non-related, but I spent a great deal of time organizing and adding covers to my Pinterest account yesterday.  If you are not already following me, click on the picture below!  :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July Blog Hop

I can't believe that it is already the 4th of July!  Summer is flying by...I am taking time to relax, read, and travel.  But, I am already thinking about next year:)

First, as being part of the
I want to take the time to thank those who help to keep us free, as our founders meant us to be.  I also want to thank those who are sometimes forgotten...military dogs.  Being a dog lover, I feel that it is so important to recognize them too, as they are so loyal. 
Now...onto the blog hop!  I chose to take some sample pages from one of my best sellers:
This product can be used either as a unit, or to teach a little bit at a time throughout the year.  You can download it by clicking on the picture below.
You can also participate in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win the full product!  This is going to be running only through the blog hop, so make sure that you do it by midnight on the 6th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And as an added bonus, all of the participating bloggers have 'pooled their cash' to purchase 4 $25 TpT gift certificates and 1 $10 Target gift card!
The first four selected will receive the TpT gift certificates and the 5th winner will receive the Target gift card!

Enter here, or on any of the participating blogs:
Now, I know that you will find another great product at the next stop!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Diggin' into Literacy Blocks

teach during my literacy block
I will be teaching a straight 2nd grade as of right now.  I have taught a 1/2 split for 4 out of the last 5 years, so in theory...I will not have to differentiate quite as much :)  Other than that, I will be keeping this mostly the same.
I use a modified form of "The Daily 5" in my room.  In my room, students rotate to all of the stations every day.  While they do not chose where they go next, they have many choices at each area so they still have choice.  I tried the "choice way" but felt like I was losing a lot of learning time coming to the carpet, and waiting for everyone to make their choices.  This way, students clean up and are at the next center in about 30 seconds (at most). 

Read with the teacher: I use guided reading every day in my classroom.  Depending on the needs of my students, I may also be assessing while a group is silently reading or working on a reading comprehension assignment while at my table.

Read to self: Students have 8 "seat sack" books that they keep for the week.  Seven of the books are at their "just right" level, and their 8th book can be too hard or too easy (I do not allow chapter books though to those who are not ready).  I find that especially with lower readers, having that 8th book really keeps them engaged the entire time.  A group of students chooses their books each morning and shows them to me (ex. #1-5 choose their books on Mondays), so that I can make sure that they are "just right" for them.

Read to someone: I wrote a bit about this last week so see here for more about that.  Students may read their seat sack books, poetry books (weekly classroom shared reading poems), or complete a fluency/comprehension activity.  I change these up throughout the year.

Write about reading: I wrote about this a bit last week too.  My students have other times during the day to do free choice writing so they are responsible for writing about their books at this station.

Work with words: I use an individualized spelling program in my classroom that I designed many years ago.  Students are responsible for their personal spelling words each week.  They receive their words on Monday, and practice them throughout the week.  I also use "making words" activities, word families each week, and a weekly phonics skill sheet as well.  I have many different ways for students to practice their words to help them to prepare for their spelling test at the end of the week.

Listen to books/computer time: I have students go on Scootpad every day!  This is an individualized E.L.A. program that teaches the child at their current level.  I love it!!!!  They use it for math too.  They have a set number of questions, so when they are done with that, I have many different websites to listen to books.  Some of my favorites are: (early reader) (early reader)

This is what I created to implement an individualized spelling program for my students.
Individualized Spelling Instruction for the K-2nd Grade Classroom
This is the program modified for 3rd-5th graders
Individualized Spelling Instruction for the 3rd-5th Grade
This is the two programs bundled together. 

Individualized Spelling Instruction for the K-5 Classroom
I am marking down the bundle to 50% off until I go to bed on Friday for
Now, I hope that you can go and check out the other wonderful posts about how other teachers teach during their literacy block!   Click on the link below to see them.