Friday, June 26, 2015

Place Value Fun through Calendar and Math Centers

As a part of Hawaii's new educator evaluation system, each teacher has to write a Student Learning Objective.  We choose a standard to work on almost all year.  We pre-test to set a baseline and then predict how much progress each child will make throughout the year.  We teach, review, formatively assess, review some more, and then we give the final assessment.  The percentage of students who met the benchmark we predicted at the beginning of the year is part of how we are evaluated as successful educators.

My grade level chose place value, specifically Common Core standard 1.NBT.2, to focus on for our Student Learning Objective.  Many of my kids were confused as to how to decompose two digit numbers and are clueless about expanded form.

To help practice each day, I added some place value routines to our calendar time.

Here is our routine, all lead by the weekly calendar helper.
  1. Sing the Days of the Week song (helper gets to choose either the Addams' Family tune or She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain)
  2. Practice saying the date as the calendar helper points to it's components.  For example, on March 23rd we said "Today is Monday (helper pointed to the Monday card across the top of the calendar) March (pointed to the March month card at the top) 23rd (pointed to today's card that says 23) 2015 (points to the year card next to the month card at the top).  This helps kids practice saying the date as a complete sentence and also the grammar of saying March 23rd instead of March 23.  
  3. I then change the day's number at the top (3-23-15) so they learn how we write the date.  Now we've practiced how to say it in words and how to write it in numbers.  That's why I have a 3 card next to the month at the top of the calendar pocket chart, to correspond with the 3 in our written date.  
  4. I then have the kids tell me how many tens and how many ones are in today's date number.  I wrote this in the same format as our math curriculum, Origo's Stepping Stones.  They call that little 2-box graph an "expander".  Kids start by making expanders so they can see how 2 tens and 3 ones can be put together to make 23.  

  5. Kids bring their whiteboards, markers, and erasers with them to calendar each day.  Once we are done with all the calendar business, they then write number sentences that equal the day's number.  So for the day I took this picture, they all equaled 23.  After they have each written a few, they share out.  The calendar helper calls on 2 girls and 2 boys to share and write's then on a large whiteboard for everyone to see.  There needs to be 2 addition and 2 subtraction sentences.  When all 4 are written on the board, the help uses a pointer to lead the class in reading all 4 number sentences together.   
  6. We then move to the Hundred's Chart and the kids practice skip counting.  It's always by 5's but sometimes we start at 5 and count up and sometimes we start at 100 and count down.  Counting down was SUPER hard for then at the beginning of the year.  Now they are pros! 
  7. We then move to the place value chart and add a number to keep track of how many days we've been in school.  They add a number card and also add a place value cube.  Then there are 10 ones cubes, they trade them out for a rod.  When there are 10 rods, they trade them out for a flat. 
  8. We then sing the Doubles Rap to help us memorize the doubles facts.  We sing it every.single.day.  They even made up their own motions to the lyrics.  So stinkin' cute! 
    From First Grade Fresh
  9. Lastly, we count to ten in Hawaiian.  I use the posters from Surfin' Through Second.  I love this part of our routine because even though my school has a Hawaiian Immersion program, the regular classes don't get much Hawaiian instruction, it's up to the individual teacher.  This helps me (non-Hawaiian haole lady) connect the language to math.  
This routine takes 10-15 minutes and the kids are seriously sad if we skip it! They love knowing what comes next and the calendar helper LOVES being the leader for the day!

You can see a few of the activities incorporate place value practice.  That's how I sneak it it EVERYDAY! :)

Another thing I do pretty much every day is math centers.  I do four different centers: Math with the teacher (small group lesson), Math by Myself (Math journal work), Math with Technology (X-tra Math and then SumDog), and Math with a Buddy (math center games).


Click on the picture to check out these posters on TpT

Of course it's easy to differentiate and provide practice and instruction for place value in the teacher group, because I get to pick what the kids do that week.  That's when I would introduce skills, such as expanded form, that are not necessarily covered in our whole group math curriculum.  But it's also easy to do all that during Math with a Buddy, AKA center games.  

I used this wooden stand and containers from Lakeshore Learning for my math centers.  The green buckets contained activities for Operations and Algebraic Thinking standards.  The blue containers had activities for Numbers in Base Ten standards.  The orange buckets are for Geometry and Measurement activities.  When at Math with a Buddy, students can choose which activity to do, but they must work with a partner and they must turn in the recording sheet for me to look at later.  This helps tell me if they got the concept, or if we need to do more practice in the Meet with the Teacher group.      



As to which activities I would put in these boxes, I would always choose skills that we were currently working on and then fill the rest of the boxes with review.  Since Place Value was the focus for my Student Learning Objective, I ALWAYS had a place value option. 

Here are a few of the activities that worked well for my class.  Just click on any of the pictures to see them on TpT! 
Great for centers and review! The comparing numbers component fit in perfectly with our curriculum at the end of the year! 

Super fun review for center games! 

The kids LOVED making their houses.  And it was a great display to show what we were learning! 

This pack is FULL of fun ideas for centers for the beginning of the year and review throughout the year! 

PERFECT for math journals and small group work for Meet With the Teacher.

My students loved these!

This FREEBIE pack of word problems and riddles was great for number of the day and bringing in place value! 


Is there one particular skill that you have to make sure to teach and review all year, too?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Teacher Transfer and Resume Tips!

After a year of being at my wonderful school on Maui, I'm transferring again! I know, I'm crazy.  My husband tells me everyday! My current school is 20 miles away from where we live and I have to drive on a curvy, and often dangerous 2 lane road to the other side of the island.  It's usually not a problem in the mornings, but the afternoons can take me over an hour to get home because of tourist and rush hour traffic.  And when it's whale season, people just stop in the middle of the road to watch spouts and breeches!

After winter break this year, we transferred my son to our local neighborhood school from a small private school he was attending in the town where I teach.  He was having a hard time adjusting to the small school and making friends in a community where we didn't live.  We decided having friends in our neighborhood was more important, so we moved him.  After making that decision, we learned so much more about our neighborhood school.  It's only 8 years old, so the buildings are new and up to date.  They have AC and properly installed technology (Hello ceiling hung projectors!).  We also learned that it is the only Arts-Integrated school in all of Hawaii and is ranked a Recognition school by the Hawaii Dept of Education.  That's a pretty high honor around here! I couldn't believe all this amazingness was in our backyard and we didn't even know it! I even went to two different arts trainings on Oahu with teachers from this school and fell in love with them - they are just like me! Dedicated, organized, creative, and fun!

Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my current school.  I have met amazing teachers and there are amazing things going on.  The principal is dedicated to student success and trusts teachers abilities.  It's really refreshing to work in this atmosphere after coming from a K-12 school where the elementary was put on the back-burner and focus was on upper grades (testing).  But the commute is killing me.  And I miss working and living in the same community.  The other day, I was walking down the path of my school after the last bell and realized I didn't know or recognize one single face in the sea of parents because I don't live here and I don't shop or hang out here.  There is a disconnect and I don't like it.  I want to make connections with parents and know them as people, not just so-and-so's mom.  So, in February, I decided I would apply for a transfer.

My neighborhood school is a pretty sought-after school on the island for teachers, so I knew the competition would be hard.  I needed to bring my "A game".  The first thing I did was search for an updated resume.  My current resume was tired and boring.  This is an Arts-Integrated school, I need to show my creativity.  So I headed to Etsy and searched for resume templates.  I fell in love with the Roberta Nowack Resume and Cover Letter template from Pappermint on Etsy.


It comes in Word, but I was easily able to transfer to PowerPoint since Word makes my eye twitch.  I really love the look of this: the splash of color on the side, the icons, the pretty font for my name.  It comes with fonts, too! SO easy!  My old resume was 2 pages, but I condensed all the info to fit on one.  I had to make some hard choices as to what I wanted to include.  In the end, this is what I came up with.  I blocked out some personal information, but you get the idea. 

I included a cover letter with my resume and application, as well.  In the cover letter, I basically told the new principal about why we moved to Maui and what we were looking for in a community.  I told her that I felt her school held the same values we did.  I told her about the disconnect I felt in the community I was currently teaching and why I want to live and teach in the same area.  I told her about myself as a teacher: my values, beliefs, and goals.  The school is arts and technology focused, so I spoke about my competencies in those areas, as well.  

As a transfer applicant in Hawaii, they were required to interview me, which I knew was the case.  But I still wanted to wow them with my resume and cover letter.  This helps them form an opinion of me before they meet me.  To prepare for my interview, I created a portfolio to bring with.  I used a clear-covered 3-prong folder and some plastic sleeves.  I created a cover that matched everything, placed my cover letter and resume, 4 pages of pictures from my classroom, a copy of my teaching license, and two letters of recommendation from my previous principal on Lanai and my current Academic Coach.  Here is what the cover and classroom photo pages looked like:





You can see I designed all the pages to match.  I knew they used the Daily 5 and CAFE, which I love! So I made sure to showcase those aspects.  The cute arrows are from Pretty Grafik Design on Etsy.  At the end of my interview when they asked if I had questions, that's when I showed them my porfolio.  I then left it with the principal as I left.  

Later that day, I was thrilled to receive a call that they chose me for a 5th grade position! It will be a big stretch for me, moving from 1st to 5th, but I'm up for the challenge! My commute will go from 21 miles to 1.  And my kids and I will all be at the same school, since my youngest will be starting kindergarten.  I couldn't be happier! I think it will help us get to know more of our neighbors with kids and help us feel more settled in our new home and community.  I can't wait.  Until then, I'll be packing boxes and crying about leaving my new friends at my current school.  

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  Ain't that the truth, Semisonic? 

Are you switching grades, transferring, or applying for new teaching jobs this year? Tell me all about it! 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

New Planner for 2015!

If you are like me, you are starting to plan for 2015.  What better way to get started than to get your actual planner ready!


I have used planners from A Modern Teacher for 2 years now and I won't go back to the cheap-o store bought ones.  Customization is the way to go!

My first year using April's planners, I got the chevron planner.  I had the Rainbow Chalkboard classroom theme from Schoolgirl Style.  I loved the colors and all the editable organization.

This year I used the Happy Day planner.  I switched up my theme this year and went for the Eric Carle-esque Bugs theme, but I still loved the rainbow and happy colors of Happy Day.  It's so me! 

I have a big surprise (that I've already shared on my FB page!) - I'm moving to 5th grade next year! And I'm moving to our neighborhood school where my kids go.  I'm so excited for a shorter commute and for the kids and I to be together.  But that's all a different blog post! :)

My new school is an arts-integrated school so I was thinking about what theme I could use that would still be bright and fun, a little more grown up, and also artistic.  I found these folders at the Target Dollar Spot (woot woot! Maui has a Target now!) and I loved the colors and watercolor technique.

So imagine my giddy delight when Melanie came out with a watercolor classroom theme and April came out with a matching teacher planner! Next year I plan to use the new Flamingo Watercolor theme.  While I pack my classroom and get ready to move this summer, I can't really do much in terms of room decor yet.  But I can start getting my planner ready! 

I decided to print out the pages that I know for sure I will want.  I put them in page protectors for now and hope to get them coil bound at OfficeMax closer to the start of the year.  But, I may just keep them in the protectors and write with Vis-a-vis markers on them.  We'll see! 

Hawaii's new evaluation system has a section where teachers need to provide evidence of professional development.  The sheet on the left with come in super handy while filling that all out.  And I loved the sheet on the right for keeping track of classroom purchases for tax purposes.  And as documentation for me to know when enough is enough! 

I keep my gradebook pages on a clipboard so they are easy to cart around with me.  At the end of the quarter, I staple them together and file them for safe keeping.  I do need to turn in my gradebook at the end of the year, so I'll hole punch the sheets and put them in a 3-pronged folder.  Super simple. 

And of course, I needed 5th grade standards! Which reminds me, I gotta go study these! Ahhh! 

I loved this sheet about internet usernames and passwords for the teacher and for the students.  I have so many programs that I need to keep login info for: email, attendance system, subfinder, our DOE intranet, etc.  I also love this sheet for the kids.  I keep the student passwords on my computer and made cards for the kids.  But they lose those cards, then I have to look it up on my computer.  This sheet will make it easy to look up in a flash. 

I'm also loving this post-it note landing spot.  How many times have you written a post-it note full of important information, just to misplace it? It's happened to me more times than I can count! Now they have a spot.  I'm so excited!

April has 26 different planners in her shop! There's sure to be one that fits your classroom theme and your personal style!

It's your lucky day - April has given you a chance to win a planner! Just enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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