Monday, September 29, 2014

Rounding to the Nearest 10 & 100 {interactive math journal freebie}

Hi Everyone, Krystal here from "Good Enough Teacher"... So I have officially been a third grade teacher for a month, and I can officially say that I LOVE IT! I can't even begin to tell you how much anxiety I had when I made this decision.... I second guessed myself multiple times, and wondered if I could really handle it or not... But I truly love it! I never would've believed that 28 students would feel more manageable than the 22 I had last year, but we have gotten off to a great start and I am so happy with the change.

Color-coding a hundreds chart to teach rounding!
The hardest part for me is the "flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" feeling that comes with switching grades. After 8 years in second grade, the curriculum was really second nature to me, and I had all the resources I needed for every lesson. This year, I can barely stay two steps ahead... And since I've never taught the lessons before, I don't know what the kids will grasp right away and what they will struggle with. I quickly discovered that rounding does NOT come naturally for third graders. My team had warned me, so I bought a packet on TPT and thought I was good to go. HA!! Two weeks of rounding practice and my kids STILL didn't get it. I had tried everything. I was out of ideas. Then I saw a picture on facebook of kids coloring a hundreds chart and light bulb went off in my head!! I ran to my computer and started making a hundreds chart that the kids could color-code to assist with rounding. The next day at school, we pulled out our crayons and started coloring away!!  Because I am just barely staying afloat right now, I haven’t had time to make a cutesy TPT packet for rounding (though I totally have a few ideas to add to my never-ending to-do list!) so I thought I would share the pages with you as a little freebie.  I have included a variety of hundreds charts for you to choose from, as well as a full-color sample for your reference (or to display on your projector as you work through this with your class).  The basic concept is that the ten or hundred that each number rounds to is circled, then every number that rounds to that ten or hundred is colored the same color.  Just like my light bulb went off when I saw the idea online, all of the little light bulbs in my students’ heads started going off too!  Each day as we worked on rounding and estimating, my kids would pull out their math journals and refer back to this little chart and they were good to go. Here are a few pictures of my kids working on this in class earlier this month: 

Using one crayon at a time, we color-coded our hundreds chart as we rounded to the nearest 10

I displayed a blank copy of the hundreds chart (with only the tens circled) and colored it along with my students using the iPad app "doceri" -- if you have an iPad but no smartboard, doceri is a great alternative!

when it was time to round to the nearest hundred, we started by coloring 0 one color, and 100 another color. We then used the same color for 100 to color the number 50, which I tell my students is "the magic number" -- they write this on their assignments now when it asks to explain why they rounded a certain way... it's so cute!

another example of a hundreds chart while color-coding

this is one of the blank charts included in the download -- I explained to my class that if it rounds DOWN to zero, that means it rounds to the current hundred we are already in. If it rounds UP to 100, then we add 100 to whatever hundred we are working with... there is also a  blank chart if you want your students to write the numbers for a specific range that they are struggling with.
 In addition to the rounding pages, there are also a few pages for "compatible numbers" since Go Math (which is what I teach with) uses.... because, you know, rounding isn't already confusing enough to 8 year olds! LOL!! I hope this is helpful as you teach your students how to round.  Click {HERE} to download the pages. Also make sure you're following me on facebook, instagram, and TPT for all the latest happenings in 3rd grade this year. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Painless Spelling Homework for all

Hi everyone! It's Gina from Third Grade Tidbits Teaching With a Touch of Pixie Dust. Yep... I got a new grade and so I decided to go with a less grade specific blog name. And with it came a new design that you MUST see... but AFTER you finish up here at our grapevine!

Today I want to share with you how we do spelling homework in our class. Spelling is one of those things that we don't have a ton of time for every day but I still want students working with the words. On Mondays we take a pretest and receive differentiated lists (I will blog about this another time. It is absolutely amazing!). Then we learn the skill/spelling pattern. Tues and Wednesday we do a sort or some other activity with the words, but only for about 10 min each (which is why it takes two days). Thursdays we play a review game and then Friday we do a post test. It doesn't leave much time to practice.

Of course I want the kids doing spelling homework. But 3x each, sentences, blah blah is so boring. And the kids get sick of it. I wanted to spice it up a little... as much as you can spice up some spelling homework. So with that, here is what we do...

Mondays, when students get their lists, they glue them into their spelling notebooks on the next blank page.

They use Lisa's Spelling Contracts for homework. (They keep a copy in their homework folder for the whole month.) First of all- they LOVE this. My kids have to do 20 points by Friday.

Here is an example of one assignment one student did...
My students have a few favorites and one of them is this one above. Another is to test their parent/grandparent etc and grade the paper. PLENTY of fun spelling practice each week. And the best part is if they WANT to, they can do the same activities each week or change it up. Completely up to them!

All of their homework gets put in their notebook. Unless it is something that has to be typed or drawn on another sheet. They just staple those in there. Some things require parent signature. For this I told my class to just write the title of the assignment and have their parents sign it.

On Friday they turn their spelling notebooks into the basket below.

I gather up the basket and throughout the day check homework. Some weeks, I just check for completion. Woohoo, you did it all 20/20 points. Some weeks, I check for accuracy. I know it sounds crazy that I am not checking accuracy every week. But just being real- time is of the essence. And this keeps them on their toes. They never know what weeks I am looking for accuracy. (I never told them that I am NOT looking for it... but just in case they figure it out.)

Anyways... so I open their books, check their homework. Stick a little stamp and a score on it. And wah-lah. ONE time collecting homework for spelling. ONE time grading it. ONE time passing out the sheet (unless someone loses it) for the month. And the kids LOVE their spelling homework (as much as a 4th grader can love some homework).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

ClassDojo: A Behavior Management Tool

Hey y'all! It's Sara from Miss V's Busy Bees again!
I'm back to talk to y'all about a classroom management tool that has been working WONDERS in my classroom this year!

Being only 5 weeks in, we're still working on routines, what's expected of us, and how to act during lessons, in the hall, at specials, and so on. 

Well, one of the tools I use to help us manage these expectations, routines, and rules is ClassDojo.
What ClassDojo is is an interactive classroom management tool. Not only can you take away points, but you can award points! There is a distinct sound that plays when you award points, and an even MORE distinct sound that plays when you remove points for negative behavior. My students know that when I'm awarding good points, it's because they've done something correctly and they quiet IMMEDIATELY because they never know if it's them that's getting a point or not!

The dashboard looks like this when you pull it up on your iPod, iPad, iPhone, computer… wherever! So, all students are shown at all times. I like that there's an attendance feature where you can put in that a student was absent so that you aren't awarding Johnny points for being on green or working quietly when Johnny isn't even there!
After a week, my students are supposed to have 15+ points in order to participate in Fun Friday activities. They have until 2:00 PM on Friday to earn their points.

As you can see, most of my students earned those points this past week. They are made aware of their points 3 or more times a day: first thing in the morning, before lunch, and at the end of the day. Sometimes, I'll keep it up there on my computer which is connected to my SMARTBoard and I'll award points from my iPad. It's instantaneous when you award points - if I add it on my iPad, it reflects immediately on the SMARTBoard and the kiddos love it. I can add points from ANYWHERE!!
These are some examples of positive points that my students can earn throughout the day. I can add behaviors whenever I see fit, but right now, these are the behaviors we are working on strongly, especially that 100% on AR, bringing in homework, working hard, and working together.
They know that if they are doing any of the above, they get points! I added our behavior chart indicators into the points, too, so that they are awarded points based on what their color on our chart was. So, for example, if they end the day on green, they get 1 point. If they end on blue, they get 2 points, and if purple, then 3 points. Clearly, purple is our highest!

But, on the flip side, there's also negative points. I hate hate hate to distribute the negative points, but it lets the student know what they need to do differently. I think the MOST negative points I give is for talking… I have one C-H-A-T-T-Y class this year… they could talk all day long about nothing! But, they see it and they make the positive change that's requested because they simply just don't want to lose any more points!
But like I said, I'm awarding points and taking points all day long… small group time, center work, independent work, walking down the hallway, at lunchtime, at recess, etc. They LOVE it!!

But, I think my all time favorite feature of the program is that you can chart the behaviors that are most experienced in your classroom, both positive and negative. Each week, a donut graph appears on your reports page.
This donut chart lets me know the most awarded points (positive and negative) and reflects our positive percentage as a WHOLE class. I think this graph is important to show to my students weekly because it lets them know that we are a true team… we ALL contribute to this graph, not just one student. It lets them know where they need to improve as a class and where they need to continue as a class.

But again, there's another AMAZING feature - the donut can be broken down by STUDENT! For the protection of my kiddos, I've removed the names from the student break down pages.
 So above is the student's specific donut. We can see that this week, he worked HARD, he was on green, on task, brought in his homework, etc. But he had instances where he'd talk out of turn (which is when someone else is speaking) or talked just in general. So, he was made aware of this when I put in negative points.
The other awesome thing is you can see EXACTLY the points that you award each student and at what times (and date). This is important because if someone comes after you and says you didn't award them for an AR test, you can pull this screen up and show them the date, time, etc. This helps hold ME accountable as the teacher. But beyond that, this feature is AWESOME for my parents.
I can allow my parents to see their students' points if I invite them. As you can see from the little graph above, almost ALL of my parents are connected. The students can even connect themselves so that they can change their avatar, check their report for the week, and then communicate it with Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, etc.

I absolutely LOVE that I can connect my parents because it gives them the opportunity to be proactive in their students' behavior management. They can see all the points that were rewarded and when, and all the points that were taken and when. This part has honestly helped the class a LOT because behaviors change instantly the next day since parents question, talk about it, and so on.

Another great feature is that through ClassDojo itself, I can communicate with parents!
This was me having a conversation with a parent to better explain what ClassDojo is and how to read the different reports. At other times, I communicate with parents about things that are NOT in relation to ClassDojo! It just gives me a new way to connect to my parents besides through e-mail, phone, or in-person meetings.

I absolutely LOVE ClassDojo for my class. I have seen an improvement in the amount of side-chatter since Day 1 and the students love that they can personalize their monster to reflect them. They love hearing the chime of positivity and hate hearing the sound of negativity. They love that I can award them points at any time and they try SO much harder to end the day on Green, Blue, or Purple so they can get those extra points in!

This week, my friend saved the class by reminding me to add in the homework points for the day. That pushed a few over the edge to 15 or more so that they, too, could participate in Fun Friday. It's a GREAT positive reinforcement tool and I am so happy I am using it this year.

Are you using something similar in your classroom? Are you using ClassDojo? What do you think about ClassDojo? Talk to me in the comments below!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Must See APP...Stick Pick!

Hey guys!! It's Nicole from All Things Apple in 2nd here to share a must use, or at least see, app!! :) You may have heard about this app before, but a couple of my friends just asked me about it. So I thought if they just heard about it, there had to be others that hadn't heard about it yet.

Stick Pick 

As our To-Do lists keep growing with new things we have to cover, we have to find ways to complete our to-do list with our sanity in tact! hah :) Among these requirements is the skill of questioning! How many of you know what I'm talking about?!? Well, questioning is one of our areas we're working on right now. I have oh about 10 different Bloom's Taxonomy organizers around my room, but in the middle of a lesson, it's not very time efficient to grab it, figure out what level I want to ask or they need to come up with, etc. 

Stepping in... Stick Pick!

Stick Pick is an app that let's you customize questions for each individual student. 
As you can see in the picture above, when you add a student, you pick which "question stem" you would like to use for that individual student. The ESL has the 5 levels, and the Bloom's has all the levels as well. You can also choose to simply use it as you would popsicle sticks in your room.
When you pick a student (you can "peek" and pick specific students or randomly), the question stems will be listed below. This way you are individualizing instruction for each student and challenging all of them at their own levels! This has to hit every corner of that evaluation rubric right?? hah Aside from evaluations, this app simply makes our lives easier. I even think that once you get used to the question stems, you'll start using them without the app even around. 

This app also has options on how to pick sticks: shake the device or tap the device. You can set up one class or several that would work for small groups. I think this could even be used for kids to generate questions. So bottom line, there are tons of ways to use this app! :)

If you liked learning about this app, check out my post over at my blog, iPad Organization 101 +APPS!
You can also check out how I use TECHNOLOGY in Daily 5 HERE!!!

Thanks so much for stopping by!!! Happy APPing!! :)