Saturday, March 28, 2015

Implementing & Integrating Multiple Math Concepts during MATH Stations

So, I wanted to follow up to my series on my MATH stations, but orginially planned to make the next post about division. But then I decided that instead, it would be probably more informative and beneficial to give you some more ideas on how you can incorporate them with other contents, especially as I have now moved into our unit over counting money & telling time. I still have many students working on mastering their multiplication facts, but I didn't feel that lingering in multiplication & division skills was necessary any longer. I especially felt this way as I gave our end of the unit Interview Assessment over the foundational skills and every single student reached mastery level! It was definitely time to move on (maybe even a tad overdue) and I wanted to take some time to explain how I am integrating the new unit while several students continue to work through The Multiplication Station. [if you missed any of those posts about my MATH stations, you can start here in reading them].

To quickly recap, the four MATH stations are: M- math facts, A- at your seat, T- teacher time, & H- hands-on. In my new unit, I am leaving the [A] station the same. Most students are still working through The Multiplication Station, so I have not changed that aspect. Four students have finished within in the past two weeks, so this gives me the opportunity to differentiate for them with higher-level skill practice. As students finish, it gives me an opportunity to continue differentiating based on the student and his/her skill level. It's also a great time to implement review of old skills.

[M] time in the unit is also basically the same. It's a time to continue to practice those facts, so students who demonstrated mastery and fluency on all of the facts through x12 won't lose what they've learned. It's also a time I can have them practice facts in other ways, such as through division, two- and three-by-one digit problems, and missing number equations.

[T] and [H] are the main areas I have taken and added in the new skills we are learning. Especially during [T]eacher time, can I teach concepts like time to the minute, other ways to say the time, and the ever challenging elapsed time. I am also simultaneously teaching money. I decided to move toward a "spiral" style lesson implementation (I guess we could call it that) by alternating the time and money lessons every other day. This way, I am teaching multiple skills at once, we are practicing them on alternate days, and students are staying completely engaged. For instance, on Monday I might teach a time skill while they practice money skills during [H]ands-on time. Then on Tuesday, I switch it and teach money skills while they practice the time skill they learned the day before in [H]ands-on time. Then switch again on Wednesday, Thursday, and so on. I have really liked how it has been working so far, and as I said in the first post that MATH stations are a lot of prep work, I know that my students' excitement, engagement level, and comprehension levels have been completely worth it. I also have reaalllllyyy enjoyed watching them have fun in their learning during this time, so it has been fun for me as well!

Here's some pictures and examples of what we've been up to this week, as well as interactive lessons I used in the past that could easily be integrated as I mentioned above. I am already thinking that next year I will alternate and "spiral" teach my lessons so I am not focused on "chapters" and "units" but am just teaching the overall math skills my curriculum teaches in our MATH stations format. I am excited for summer so I can sit down and really think about, and plan it all out!

Okay.. now for the fun part for real, enough of my talking... my students in action!

After a day of working with some manipulative clocks to make times and talk about the parts of a clock (just to awaken those skills) during teacher time one day, students worked on these clock flaps during [H]ands-on time. These are from Blair Turner, once again...

I love how the student above extended the clock hands and used a highlighter to show exactly where the hands are, just as I taught them :)

Above, the students who finished The Multiplication Station already (and are my higher level thinkers) worked on Math Menus from Schoolhouse Diva during [A]t your seat. I was able to choose which menu and which differentiated worksheet they used to practice money skills. They did fabulous and loved it!

 You can see some students are working on two different things at the same time.

GIANT coins from The Dollar Tree toy section make counting money way more fun! 

These students above using the worksheet are again my higher level thinkers. They worked on a more advanced workbook page (I feel obligated to use because parents paid for them, even though I really dislike our math curriculum)... so I gave them the option of using manipulatives and writing on the table to make it more engaging. 

Other students worked below to count coins with Lucky Little Learner's INB money activities.

I also added the option of them being able to make money amounts with the giant coins using cards I have from another activity I made. They are from my Fast Food Money Match in my TpT store. You could easily print some up and do the same! This student is working on this during the [H]ands-on station.

These students below are using my Problem Solving Math Mats to practice problem solving skills related to multiplication and division during the [H]ands-on station. I loved her stance - she had her hand on her brow, thinking really hard!

Here's another look at activities in The Multiplication Station. A deck of cards (without the face cards) makes for a fun game to practice facts!

This one dug out an old school file folder game I made to practice division facts. Carson-Dellosa provided this one, and so did my sweet Crayola skills!

The above and below images show an example of [M]ath fact practice. I used blank INB flaps (again from Blair Turner) and challenged my to students to practice "tough" facts. You can read below that this learner copied in my directions exactly from the example I made.... she rocks! :)

 Another old school fact practice.....Tupperware flashcards!

(sorry for the blurriness!)
 These fact family houses are from the beginning of the year, when we review addition & subtraction skills. If you want to implement MATH stations in other unit studies or grade levels, multiplication & division could easily be replaced by addition & subtraction. These lessons from Lucky Little Learners could easily be used during the [M] or [H] stations.

These are from our Geometry unit we worked through before starting MATH stations. I am thinking that next year, I would introduce the vocabulary flaps you see here and the shape attribute flaps below (all from Blair Turner) would be taught during [T]eacher time. I would then have the [H]ands-on station activities and [A]t your seat work relate to our study also, while they practice either addition, subtraction, multiplication or division facts at the [M]ath fact station.

We also took a Multiplication Scoot early in the week during [M]ath fact time that I turned into an assessment grade for multiplying larger numbers. Here's a preview of it:

My class (of 13 girls & only 2 boys) SQUEALED when they saw we were doing another scoot. The LOVE them! I just posted it in my TpT store if you could use one too!

Again, most of these pictures were taken during the past week when I began teaching the new unit. There is a lot going on during our hour (or so) of MATH groups... and I absolutely love it!

I hope all of this inspires you with some more ideas of how you can implement and integrate MATH stations with your kiddos across multiple units of study! Share some below if you already do this, or if it got your wheels turning! I'd love other input and ideas!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Blogger Match-Up!

Welll.... over the weekend my team lost! :( BUMMMERRRR!!

BUT - that means that YOU actually WIN! One of the conditions of my losing is that I have to host a giveaway of a product! SOOOO..... enter my rafflecopter below to WIN my 4 of a Kind Math Test Prep Task Cards!! They are perfect for 3rd or the grades for review... and are MUCH MORE than just Common Core :)

The giveaway will be open through the weekend, so be sure to get in on it! I wish you better luck than I had in the tournament! ha! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 20, 2015

If You Host It....

Have you ever been to a teacher/blogger meet-up?? The joys and wonders of social media have made it SO easy for passionate educators to connect with one another! I love reading about the adventures of other crazy teachers who, like me, pour themselves COMPLETELY into their profession! They lay their hearts fully down for their students and then take time from their busy lives to share their shenanigans with the world... and I just LOVE the chance to be around the energy of these amazing people! Facebook, Instagram, the blogging world, and TpT have given me the FABULOUS opportunity to come into contact with these amazing people.. and what's more, even have the chance to MEET them in person! Yes, we all have colleagues, and many of them may be some of our best friends. But this social media world is a like a more fun version of professional development! I don't think you can ever have surround yourself with too many like-minded, positive people! So WHY NOT!?!

This year, I hosted a second annual meetup in northeast Ohio! You can read about last year's meet up here.

It was SO wonderful! 18 girls met up in Warren, OH for dinner, and I was once again in AWE! We ate, we laughed, we played a game, and just spent time as women and as teachers discussing anything and everything!

I got to see my dear, sweet friend Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd once again... she is just wonderful. I'll be getting to see her again in Vegas this summer too, and I can't wait!

My new BFF Rebekah (on the far right) is also my colleague and go-to buddy at school! I was so glad she was able to come and that I could share this amazing world with her! She became fast friends with these girls :)

I FINALLY got to meet my *super* sweet friend
Kristina from Owl-ways Learning! She couldn't
come to the meet up last year, so I was THRILLED
to be able to meet her after feeling as though I have
known her for YEARS! I am hoping she will be
joining us in Vegas this summer, too! :)

My sweet friend Kristi, @trendyteacher on Instagram, has become a real-life friend 
so quickly! We met last year after months of chatting on IG and met for brunch a
 few weeks ago, too. Her energy is contagious, and her fashion sense is superb!
We're the "tall girls" ;) haha

 Check out everyone who attended!

Kathleen from Middle Grades Maven
Chynell from The Pinspired Teacher
Jennifer from Everything Just So
Diane from One Giggle
Kristina from Owl-ways Learning

Several bloggers got sick or had some conflicts arrive, and couldn't attend last minute... but hopefully we will see them again next time!

I know through IG I have talked with many other teacher-bloggers who have said they wish there was a meet-up in their area. I felt the same way last year, so I thought I would encourage you to HOST YOUR OWN!

Here's a few tips and suggested I've compiled while wading through this on my own. They may not be earth-shattering or mind-blowing...  they are meant to encourage others out there who, like me, want to attend a meet-up! So, please, don't make fun of me!
Here are some thoughts after two successful gatherings...

Tip 1:

It seems obvious, but it can be oh. so. easy. to psyche yourself out and into thinking that you are a nobody, and that nobody will want to attend your meet up. I remember thinking about putting feelers out for one last year and thinking to myself, "I don't want to look stupid. What if there is already a meet up in our area and I don't even know about it?" and "What if no one wants to come?" and "Who am I to host a meet up? I barely have any followers!"  TRUST ME. All of those thoughts are ridiculous! If there was a meet up in your area, you probably would have seen something from someone at some point along the way, unless you don't follow any one on any social media anywhere... and then you probably wouldn't be aware these happen anyhow. Second, we are all uber-passionate teachers.. we WANT to do things like this! I'll borrow a line from one of my favorite movies... "If you HOST IT.. they WILL COME!"

Tip 2:

Again, it seems obvious, but don't rely on just one site. I would have had ZERO interest if I only used my blog. I would have had ZERO interest using only my Facebook, but INSTAGRAM? I had 45 emails within two days of posting this year. Teachers are visual. Don't have an IG? I highly recommend getting one. It's easy, free, and TONS of fun! When I hosted last year's, for the first time, I probably had half as many followers as I currently do and over 20 girls joined us! I used ONLY Instagram (and email) to organize last year's meet up (and mostly did the same for this year as well) and it all came together beautifully!  You can also use fun hashtags so everyone can link up! If you're on IG check out the tags #NEOTeacherMeetUp & #NEOBloggerMeetUp to see our fun pics from the last two years!

Tip 3:

When I first put out the interest photo on IG this year, I had an idea in mind of when I wanted to host the meet up. Thinking about my schedule, the schedule of busy teacher-bloggers like me, and what school schedules are *mostly* like, I knew spring would be best. We live in northeast Ohio, so winter is out. Weather and driving conditions are rough, to say the least. There are also holidays to consider. December & January are crazy-busy for EVERYONE, not just teachers. February is still too winter-y, and anything past April brings testing, Spring Breaks, and end of the year busy-ness. Fall is back to school time, and teachers are getting settled into their new year, and summer is SUMMER! You might get some interest, but it's also time for people to take a break, go on vacation, and etc.
So, do the same. Think through your area, think through the weather, and go with your gut on the time of year. If it works okay for you, it probably works okay for a majority of the others interested.

Tip 4:

Don't be afraid to ask for help. You'll be surprised to find how many people are willing to pitch in to help you organize an awesome meet up! The first way I asked for help? I asked for dates people were available so I had a general idea of a date to select, and asked for venue ideas in the region. With SO much initial interest this year, I knew a regular restaurant would be out. So, I reached out and asked for ideas! Ideas came rolling in, and suggestions sparked a variety of ideas. I also started having trouble getting prizes. I mentioned that in one of my emails about the meet up details and before I knew it, people pitched in and we have enough for EVERYONE to win something this year! It was fantastic.

Tip 5:

Our first year, we met at The Cheesecake Factory at a big, long table in the middle of the restaurant. The food was delicious and everyone had a great time, but mingling? Forget it! I barely talked to the ladies at the other end! It also made playing the game a tad difficult. I had to stand by the table in the middle of a busy restaurant, mind you, and help everyone hear what everyone else said, as well as pass tickets back and forth for everyone. After a few hours, though our group shrank, we were offered free cheesecake from the manager to leave!! I guess we overstayed our welcome! hahaha
This year, I knew we needed a separate room, especially after interest from over 40 people! So, ask around and look for a place that will accommodate your large group in your own room. I wanted us to all have separate checks, so people could order what they wanted (but did have to select a limited menu). No one was obligated to spend a lot, or anything at all.
Next year? It may just have to be more buffet style and a flat fee to attend.... we shall see! But for now, my hubby wanted me to keep it simple, so I did. It also made it nice that if someone couldn't attend last minute, they weren't out any money and neither was I!

Tip 6:

Make some, buy some, whatever you have to do.. just make sure everyone has a name tag. It makes it super easy to identify one another without too many awkward introductions. After last year, when everyone was following everyone else on IG, I made my own and put everyone's IG photo on for easy identification! Here's how they looked:

I also made sure everyone got a brochure with everyone's information, so we could all make sure we are following one another on IG, TpT, and our blogs to stay connected after the meet up!

Tip 7:

It's a lot easier to design and organize everything with a "theme." This year, when I made the interest graphic, I put a pencil on it. Everything there after was the basic colors of a pencil! Yellow, black, pink, and a hint of silver. I kept it streamlined and classy, and it looked pulled together, even though I didn't feel like it did! ha 
Last year, we met just after St. Patty's Day, so rainbows & gold was the "theme." I got everyone a gold pencil that said NE Ohio Blogger Meet Up 2014 from Oriental Trading, gold paper clips, gold coin chocolates, and other gold items (I can't currently remember) in little rainbow pails. Creative Teaching Press gave us some shamrock goodies and it was fabulous. I'm already thinking about next year.... :)

Tip 8:

A game is a great way to get people talking and laughing! Last year, we played a version of "Never Have I Ever." Everyone was given ten "tickets." We went around the table and each person shared something they had never done (keeping in mind the audience of the group). If someone HAD done it, they had to give that person a ticket. Some people were out of tickets pretty quickly! Others had oodles by the time we were done! So, keeping in mind that we were all women, saying that I had never dyed my hair or never got my ears pierced won me a BUNCH of tickets! Then, everyone wrote their name on all of their tickets, I threw them in a bucket, and used them to draw for prizes!
This year, we played a version of "Find Someone Who." Most teachers are pretty familiar. I gave everyone a heads-up on their brochure to think of their favorite of things (many teacher related).. they included the following (in case you need an idea!)
favorite candy bar
favorite color
favorite social media site
favorite subject to teach
favorite type of pen
favorite place to shop
least favorite household chore
favorite television show

Everyone was assigned 10 "points" (because I forgot my tickets at school!) I would call out a category, and everyone had to find someone with the same answer as them. Together, they continued to find everyone with the same answer. After a few seconds, I called "time" and each group shared their answer. If two groups had the same answer (but didn't find each other) they lost a point. We really didn't care about the points, but just had fun mingling, sharing our answers, and learning about one another. It was an excellent ice breaker and got everyone moving around! If I had actually remembered the tickets, I would have had everyone write their name of the tickets they had when the game ended and used them to draw for prizes. But that was a bust. I used the Random Number Generator on my phone to do it instead. Everyone got a number and I randomly called out numbers to pick a prize throughout the evening. It worked out well, but I WILL remember the tickets next year!

Tip 9:

Who doesn't love taking a little something from a party or gathering?? These may come out of your pocket, but they add just a little touch of love to the meet up! This year, a 4th grader at my school (yes, you read that right!) made me cupcakes. I wanted to match my THEME! and look like pencils. So, she made them yellow with pink frosting. I added silver sprinkles and a black tag with No. 2 on it for the finishing touches. Everyone raved about them. I helped a student's business, and they were delicious. Worth. Every. Cent. My hubby & students enjoyed the extras too!:)

Tip 10:

......DUH! Who wouldn't want to capture those memories?

I hope these "tips" or recommendations I have discovered in hosting my little meet ups inspire and encourage you to host your own! DON'T BE AFRAID!! I promise you.. it is TOTALLY worth it!

March Blogger Match-Up!

I am STOKED to be a part of the March Blogger Match-Up featuring 64 bloggers, hosted by my fabulous teacher-twin Ashlyn from The Creative Classroom!

Here's how it works:
Each participant has been randomly paired with a 2015 NCAA bracket team. We cheer on our teams and hope they win each round! If our team loses, we share a product from our TpT with the blogger we competed against. Here's how YOU benefit though! When we lose, we also have to run a giveaway on our blog of our product!! SO, make sure you are following all of us involved so you can enter ALL of the awesome giveaways!

Watch for this image on our blogs and Instagram so you can enter!

Here's who to follow:
Learning with Mrs. Langley cheering on Belmont
Second Grade Stories cheering on Indiana
The Neat and Tidy Classroom cheering on UC Irvine
Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten cheering on Coastal Car.
Miss Johnston's Journey cheering on Maryland
The Creative Classroom cheering on San Diego State
Fifth in the Middle cheering on Wichita State
Lessons with Coffee cheering on Arkansas
The Kinder Garden cheering on Notre Dame
Exploring Elementary cheering on NC State
Inspired Owl's Corner cheering on Oregon
Frampton's Fundamentals cheering on New Mexico State
Learning in the Little Apple cheering on Michigan State
NC Teacher Chick cheering on Utah State
A Tall Drink of Water cheering on Baylor
Sara J Creations cheering on Oklahoma
ELA Everyday cheering on Duke
The Blessed Teacher cheering on Lafayette
Mrs. 3rd Grade cheering on VCU
Rock & Teach cheering on Albany
Create Teach Share cheering on North Dakota State
One Happy Teacher cheering on Gonzaga
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas! cheering on Iowa State
First Grade Roars! cheering on SF Austin
The Learning Chambers cheering on Hampton
Teaching is Sweet cheering on Eastern Washington
Sounds Like Fun cheering on Louisville
Confessions of a Teaching Junkie cheering on Cincinatti
Year2tastic cheering on Kansas
Sparkling in Second cheering on Wyoming
Making Meaning with Melissa cheering on Purdue
One Sassy Teacher cheering on Villanova
Brittay Kiser cheering on Texas
Coach and Teach 24/7 cheering on St. John's
The Whole Wheat Class cheering on Oklahoma
Mixing It Up in the Middle! cheering on Mississippi
Teaching Maddeness cheering on UAB
Its Elementary My Dear cheering on Ohio State
Live Love Serve Teach cheering on Providence
Education Kingdom cheering on North Carolina
A Dab of Glue Will Do cheering on Dayton
Learning to be Awesome cheering on Kentucky
Technology Timeout cheering on Harvard
Kovescence on the Mind cheering on Butler
Blossoms of Blue in 2 cheering on North Eastern
Mrs. D's Corner cheering on Robert Morris
Where the Wild Things Learn cheering on Buffalo
Bright Concepts 4 Teachers cheering on North Iowa (UNI)
A Trendy Teacher cheering on Valparasio
Lucky to Be in First cheering on Wisconsin
Tales of Teaching with Tech cheering on Woffard
Very Perry Classroom cheering on Arizona
A Kindergarten Life for Me cheering on Georgia
First Grade Buddies cheering on Iowa
Miss Case's Classroom cheering on Georgetown
A Grace-Filled Classroom cheering on West Virginia
 Third Grade Cupcakes cheering on SMU
The Class Couple cheering on Xavier
More Time 2 Teach cheering on Georgia State
Owl-ways Learning cheering on UCLA

We're cheering on Virginia (seeded #2!) so let's cheer on those Cavaliers!! They are playing Belmont as I type AND WINNING!! woo woo!!
[HEY! I'm from NE Ohio - my Cleveland team is the Cavs! Maybe that will bring us some luck! :)]

I'll be giving away a chance to win my 4 of a Kind Math Test Prep Task Cards - over 130 cards to practice a variety of 3rd grade math skills - Common Core aligned... and MORE!

 FULL COLOR student response sheets are included, as well as an answer key!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Currently!

I really ought to go to bed now... it's after my bedtime! But before I do, here's my March Currently with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade!

Sweet Dreams!