Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Seasonal Math Workshop

Hi all!

I'm linking up with Ms. Jivey for Workshop Wednesday! This week's topic is Seasonal Math Workshop!

I love infusing the season into my math workshop.  It really forces me to keep things fresh and updated in my classroom, especially in terms of math centers.  I recently blogged about how I used seasonal math practice around Thanksgiving (read about that here).

Right now, our focus in math is on division. Ugh, the torture of teaching long division!  For practice, my kids are using self checking division practice.  I am a huge fan of self checking practice.  Reducing the number of papers I need to grade?  Sign me up!

You can grab the self checking division practice right HERE {Free!}

Right now, division practice is a daily occurrence.  I've been pulling strategy groups for the last week to make sure everyone gets to ask their questions and gets to practice with my assistance.  Since the kids are doing so much practice, I thought it would be nice for them to have some "fun" practice to use!

Also, although it's not seasonal, I wanted to share my notebook page for long division.  My kids love the phrase "Dirty Monkeys Smell Bad" so that's what we're going with this year!  You can grab this HERE

Do you incorporate the season into your math practice?  How do you do it?  Share!

Sunday, December 1, 2013


November really flew by, didn't it?

I can't believe that there are only 3 weeks of school until Christmas break! Woohoo!
I'm linking up with Oh Boy 4th Grade for this month's currently!

Listening - my 5 year old is in love with Star Wars.  Not because he's seen the movies though...but because of Angry Birds!  So funny :-)  He hasn't been feeling well for a LONG time.  He got strep right before Halloween, then a virus, and now has an ear infection/sinus infection/pink eye combination.  And last night we found out he's allergic to the antibiotic he was on.  It made him itch like crazy.  So after a trip to the urgent care clinic, now he's on a benedryl regiment for a few days.  This poor kid.  So yeah, I'm letting him play xBox all day!

My big guy and little gal

Loving - My commute is about an hour long, and it's four hours after lunch, so I always bring a snack for the car.  I'm obsessed with Kind Bars.  I get them from Amazon using the subscribe and save option. My two favorites are the chocolate ones of course!

Thinking - Sunday is grocery day.  I can't stand the store, so my husband always does the shopping :-)  We try to make a menu each week, but we are still so stuffed from all of the celebrating over the long weekend that we couldn't come up with more than three dinners!

Needing - we need a serious toy purge around here.  Between birthdays and holidays, these kids are swimming in toys...and I no longer have a living room :-(  I definitely do not love the kinex all over my table or the princesses all over my floor!

Wanting - I started working on lessons this morning and while I'm mostly finished, I'm making myself crazy over a lesson my colleague is coming to see me do.  We are studying rocks and she will come see me teach the class about sedimentary rocks.  I just want the lesson to be perfect...but it's taking forever!

Favorite Tradition - I've been a runner for a long time now and my favorite local run is the Hot Chocolate 5k.  It's a fast course, it's cheap and it goes right behind my house!  Last year, my guy and I ran it together and after we decorated the tree with the kids.  That's the plan this year, except it's just me running.  On Friday, we will go get our tree after I get my race number. On Saturday, we will decorate after the race!

Best race picture ever!

Hope you have a fantastic Sunday!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Five for Friday: Parent Teacher Conferences, New Math Centers and a Freebie!

Hi, all!
Aren't short weeks the craziest?  I truly feel like I packed an entire week into three days!

1.) My kindergarten boy had half days for three days because of parent-teacher conferences.  THREE DAYS!  Luckily my guy still had some vacation days left, so he was able to take the week up and pick up our little guy at 11:45 each day.
On Tuesday, we went to my kiddo's parent-teacher conference.  I have to admit that it was pretty fun being on the parent side of the conference.  I truly love his teacher and I am so happy with the progress he's made this year.  She showed us his writing portfolio and it was adorable! She showed us a piece of writing from September with no finger spaces and one that he wrote last week and it was night and day!  Hats off to you kindergarten really pack in the content!
The one on the bottom is my little guy.  <3

2.)  The fifth grade held a debate competition this week, hosted by our public speaking teacher.  This is the first year we've had that position in our school.  This teacher works with my group twice a week on, well, public speaking.  The class engages in really deep conversation about interesting topics.  The debate topic for the competition was "Should animals be used in medical research?"  Each class selected two students to participate in the debate, one for the pro side and one for the con side.  Our administration and coaches were the judges.  I am so proud to tell you that it was my two students who won the individual awards for best speakers on their teams!  I wish I could take all of the credit, but they did a great job collecting and synthesizing their research :-)

3.)  This is the first time in our lifetimes that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are at the same time.  Since my husband's family is Jewish, we celebrated Hanukkah and Thanksgiving with them last night.
My daughter always insists on wearing "a hat."

4.) I took some time to myself today!  So what if it was at 7 am?  I went to my favorite exercise class in the world: Soul Cycle. 

 Every time I finish a great workout I always think of Legally Blonde: "Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people just don't shoot their husbands. They just don't."  And so, my husband gets to live another day!

5.)  I just uploaded a set of Christmas Centers.  I also bundled them with my Winter Math Centers.  Both products will be on sale until Sunday night :-)

Grab a free printable page from the centers right here:

Hope everyone is enjoying their time off!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Winter Math Centers and a Division Freebie!

Hi all!

Just popping on to share my newest set of math centers: Winter Math Centers!

This set of centers is on sale for $3 until Sunday night!

Also, be sure to check out this FREE self checking division practice!
Enjoy!  And have a great week!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving!

A few years ago, I had a writing calendar for my students to use for homework.  One day in October, most of the class didn't complete an assignment because they didn't know what a Jack-o-lantern was.  In fifth grade.  I was floored.  Of course, I had ass-umed that upper elementary kids would know what a Jack-o-lantern was and of course, once I showed them a picture, they immediately recognized it.  Now I know better than to assume anything about my students and I make it a point to infuse the season into my classroom, just like my lower elementary colleagues do so well.

Another positive aspect of using seasonal practice is that it keeps the activities feeling fresh.  I am definitely guilty of allowing my centers to linger a little too long when they aren't seasonal.  As soon as Halloween was over, I knew I needed to begin refreshing all of the centers.

With our new literacy program, I find it a lot easier to celebrate the season during math than I do during our morning block.  {In literacy, we are currently reading nonfiction with a focus on ecosystems.  Certainly we can tie in turkeys into that discussion, but our book is about the rain forest!}  Check out what we are doing in math to celebrate Thanksgiving!

Self checking multiplication practice - putting two parts of the turkey together.  This is actually differentiated practice. You can't tell by glancing, but the two girls above are working on two different levels of multiplication practice.  One girl is working on the fourth grade standard, while the other girl is working on the fifth grade standard.  I also included the third grade standards for students who need remediation and for my third grade friends!

Mixed Review Poke - My students love this one :-) Makes me so happy to have spent so much time punching holes!

 Not specifically Thanksgiving, but fun fall practice nonetheless!
 We just started these centers last week.  We aren't ready for multiplying decimals just yet, so we are focused on reviewing addition and subtraction!

In art, we will work on disguising turkeys and then write a bit.  BTW, art is quickly becoming my favorite period of the week!  My class is SO creative!

Take a look at this multiplication table from my student's notebook.  She found one error and I found another.  Can you spot the error?  The first two people who leave a comment with the error and their email addresses will get a copy of the Fall Themed Math Centers emailed to them!

Tell me: how do you celebrate the season in your classroom?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Student Led Strategy Groups

Our class has been working hard on learning how to quote from text when answering text based questions. I've really focused on this skill with my struggling readers.  I have a group of 8 kiddos who really need intensive support in order to be successful this year.  Together, we are reading Because of WInn Dixie (love!) and answering text based questions using Lovin Lit's Citing Text Evidence Notebooking Lesson.

Here you can see some of the work my kiddos did with this notebook (although, I had to tweak the lesson because I didn't get all of the copies I needed from the office in time!):
Here you can see how the student applied the same strategy in his independent response during our literacy program:

After several sessions of practice, I gave this group of kids the chance to show off what they know to their classmates by running strategy groups!  I wrote the names of each "expert" on the SMARTboard and the rest of the students write their names under the expert they wanted to work with!

The experts used their notebooks as the model and taught each one of their "apprentices" how to cite text in their responses. They did an amazing job!

This was Halloween.  Just in case you were wondering about the fashion sense in the classroom.

By working with their peers, my students had the opportunity to see a model up close and ask questions in a completely risk free atmosphere.  And my experts (who usually need the most help) got to show off all they know!

Tell me: do you creating opportunities for student led experiences in your room?  What do you do?  (Feel free to link to any blog posts you have!)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Peek At My Week Linky

Hey all.  It's Sunday night.  All my plans are written.  Copies are made. Laminating is {mostly} done.  And I'm ready to share my week with you all!

 We are nearing the end of our unit of ecosystems!  I found a cute book called What if there were no sea otters? that I'm going to read to begin a conversation about cause and effect and conservation.  The students will have an option to create either a food web, food chain or energy pyramid with the information they gather from the book!

Photo Credit: Amazon
 On Tuesday, we will begin the writing portion of our first performance based assessment.  We've spend the last few weeks learning about characters and their responses and reactions and writers' techniques for crafting interesting stories.  This week, students will craft their own narratives!

 I've been working with one group of kiddos on Lovin' Lit's Citing Text Evidence lesson.  On Wednesday, those students will become the experts and they will teach some other students what they've learned!  My experts are really my lowest level readers, so I'm excited to give them the opportunity to show off what they've learned.

 Halloween!  We invited parent to the classroom for morning literacy on Halloween.  We are going to ready Creepy Carrots (so cute) and work on Runde's Room Plot Pumpkins.
Photo Credit: Amazon

Our admin invites everyone to dress as a storybook character, so I'm going to be the bee from Thank you, Mr. Falker.  (A stretch, I realize).  But I've always love the line "Honey is sweet and so is knowledge, but knowledge is like the bee that made the honey.  It must be chased through the pages of a book."  So I suppose I'm really dressing as a simile!
On Friday, we'll be making some crafty ocean animals.  I spent a good chunk of time procrastinating researching.  You can check out my pinterest board if you are looking for some crafts.

And after school, I'll hop on a train and pick up my packet for the NYC Marathon on Friday.  OMGoodness.  I can't believe it's almost here!!!

Be sure to check out Mrs. Laffin's Laughings!
I hope everyone has a great week!