Monday, August 27, 2012

Team Gifts + One- Monday Made It

Today is the first day of school. I am ready! Of course I have a long list of things to do, but I am ready.

And, I have a Monday Made it! Feeling very proud of myself today.

As new Math department head, one of my challenges this year to build unity among our team. We are 6th-8th grade teachers, 10 of us, 9 women, 1 man. Five are new to our school, three are brand new teachers.

I want to start out on the right foot this year.

So I made these to give each member for the first day of school.

I save every jar imaginable much to husbands dismay. It was handy when coming up with TEN things to put candy in. I got the sign from here, add twine & candy and another item checked off my "to-do" list.

+ One:
I saw these cute things from 4th Grade Frolics and made one for my sons new 1st grade teacher. The print outs are from 1st Grade with Miss Snowden.

And now, I am off to meet 100+ 6th graders. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Student Response Cards Updated- FREEBIE

In the midst of all my to-do lists, I finally completed my student response cards. I had posted about this earlier, but I made them better. Originally I had just ABC choices. I added yes, no, thumbs up, thumbs down and a sideways thumb as well.

I wish I had used colored card stock because they seem boring, but at this point, they are staying the way the are. I also fixed it so the A and the F are back to back. Each of my students will have one set for quick informal assessments.

Click on the picture to download them for free.

Linked with TBA's for Freebie Friday. Check out all the other freebies!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Teacher Week- Theraputic Thursday

This may be Theraputic Thursday, but I could call it Wordless Wednesday, because this one picture will say it all for me.

And because I love that pink stuff so much, I must do this!

 What helps you relax?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Teacher Week- Where I teach & Swat Game

Joining a Link party:                                 

I teach in TEXAS!!!
East of the "weird" place for those of you local. (Austin for those of you not)

I teach MIDDLE school and for an elementary teacher for 17 years, that is scary. When I meet people and they find out I teach sixth graders the response is always, "Oh wow! I could never.... " That was me.
Well, never say never people.

I am starting my second year and I am actually excited and looking forward to it.

My room is not 100%, but I have done more since I last posted pics.

I know this isn't many pictures, but click here and see more from my previous post.

Swat Game:

So how many of you have seen this on Pinterest?
I loved the idea of kids getting up and "swatting" the correct idea. I have been brainstorming ideas how to incorporate this right away.

 So, here's my generic version. Cute cutouts, laminated and I can add whatever skill I need. Our first may be prime and composite numbers.

The Vocabulary Smack is the same, but obviously for vocabulary. I teach ESL students and vocab is HUGE!!! So, I figured I can add words or definitions and we can play the game the same way. Plus I found these cute cut outs for less than a dollar at Wal-Mart and couldn't pass them up!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School and Goals MS Sunday Funday

This weeks topic: classroom pics and goals

My  room is incomplete but finally taking shape.
This is by the door and its my classroom management plan. I have posted about this here. 
This board will have responses students use instead of "I Don't Know".

This board has my problem solving "RULES" and will also have a place value chart that matches the griddables used on state assessments. 

Calendar area, notice the can on top. It was from Pinterest about making sure their name is on their paper. 

Here's my Brain Dump. I posted about this here. 
This corner houses many center type stations. The Math It Up is from Teacher on the Loose and its a free download. The posters above are ideas for what students should do when their work is complete.
This will be my word wall.
These green trays will hold papers for the week once I label them. The other shelves are storage for privacy folders, whole boards, etc...

This is my weekly post board. There will be separators and the days of the week. Below that is where I will store make up work. I am using Laura Candlers freebie from here.  Also notice the posters at the top. I have them posted everywhere. They are just little sayings and stuff I found online that
Reality, stuff is still everywhere.

Now for my goals:

START: Choice Centers/Stations Last year was my first in middle school after 17 years at the elementary level. We did some stations but not much. Because of class size we also had to do very structured and little movement with stations. This year I am planning to do more active stations and incorporate more independent and group work even if classes are large.

CONTINUE: I started Math notebooks in January of this past school year. I have learned so much more and extremely excited about making these notebooks more interactive and brain based research on this subjects.

STOP: Negative Consequences Our school is being PBIS in small steps. My plan for my classroom is to be proactive for behavior. I plan to give rewards for good behavior, homework, politeness, etc... anything I can "catch them being good". I have posted about both of these subjects here and here.
Now, off to continue working on that room in the last picture.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My project was funded on!!!

I opened my email this morning to a super surprise!

This is me right now!

Less than a month ago, Laura Candler posted about and how she actually funds projects. I had heard about it brielfy but never did anything.

So I followed the directions, applied and holy moly, ONE donor funded my entire project!!!

I am seriously overjoyed and wanting to share it the news with everyone. I can't wait to get on my school email.

You have to check it out. Honestly, it is work, but so worth it. Plus, they walk you through the process step by step. Follow the guidelines and the pay off is huge.

I feel like its Christmas morning. Now I am off to create another grant!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Brain Dump

 I am officially back to work. I finally spent some time in my classroom last night while my son had soccer and football practice. My room is a mess, but I feel I was productive.

Today I will meet many new faces. I will also hold my first department meeting as the leader. I am a bit nervous.

Since I was able to get in my room, I was able to start some bulletin boards. Let me take this time and discuss the Brain Dump I talked about early this week.

This is a Brain Dump

I was introduced to this last year by the other 6th grade teacher at my school.

This is the bulletin board in my classroom.

 Last year it started out blank and as we learned a concept, I added to it. This year, I put the finished product up first. I haven't decided if I am going to cover them and uncover as we go or leave it like it is. If you have an opinion about that please leave me a comment. I am open to anything.

The name:The idea is we fill our students brain with so much knowledge and this is the stuff we want them to "dump" out before test and the stuff that won't be on their resource charts given to them by the state. Maybe I could add a "brain" picture up there by the name.

How I use it:
These are strategies that some teachers came up with a few years ago, both which are no longer here.  They felt students needed to remember certain steps for testing purposes and this is how they organized it. Last year it became my bible. I referenced it daily in class, multiple times. Students copied it 3 times a week for memorization. Students took a quiz every two weeks on it near testing time. Before common assessments students were required to create this on their test. (we added a blank sheet for them) They were only responsible for as much as was introduced early on. They didn't do all 14 until later in the year. The idea was for them to know this backwards and forwards and before their state test, write it out and use it while testing.

The benefits:Do I think our students benefited from it? Heck yes! We incorporated this into a daily routines, whether students wrote it on test day or not, I don't know. But, they were learning the strategies. They were recalling info that we didn't use daily. They may have hated the drill and kill, but I do know they knew where to find answers when I asked questions. My goal was for them to "visualize" this brain dump when they couldn't actually see the brain dump. Even our Sped kids could  do this. They may have had a fill in the blank version, but they knew the importance of the brain dump.

I do plan to make it more "fun" this year. Hopefully incorporate some games and possibly interactive white board things to keep it less dull. Also, I have a new team and we may see that we want to change up what is on it. That's will all be discussed in one of our first team planning meetings.  

And if you have any ideas or suggestions, please leave me a comment. I am open to anything.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Math Notebooks- Redeaux

After posting all about my math notebooks, I found some amazing bloggers who are way beyond me in this field.

At first I felt like I was doing it all wrong and just needed to scrap the whole thing.

Then, I took a deep breath.What I did last year, worked. It was good for my students,  I know that.
I am not scrapping everything, but I am revamping and adding.

Left Side/Right Side
Megan Hayes-Golding has so much to say about this and it is awesome.

The left side of the notebook will be used for student output. The right side of the notebook will be used for teacher input. When I give notes, foldables, etc...

Which leads me to the new table of contents.

Get a copy here. This picture stinks, but you can still get the point.

I have decided to keep my beginning resources the same, I know my students need these.

I also found Middle School Math is Awesome and this chick is passionate. I love it! You have to read her stuff about Interactive Notebooks, it is mind blowing (in a good way).

I was also led me to an actual planning page and I love love love it. I am the kind of person that needs to be thoroughly planned out and even have it drawn out. Just who I am!

Get planning pages here. I am already using it and LOVE it! Thanks to Sarah at Math = Love.

Math Notebooks have so much potential. They help make math fun and my middle school don't think it is, so I am thrilled at the possibilities!

Remember I am also adding all the math notebook posts and collections on a page at the top for easy access.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Multiple Choice Options

Making this my Monday Made It! I feel like I did a lot after getting back from Vegas late Wednesday, but not much is 100%. I need to get up to school and "finish" things up. That will happen this week. I have been working a lot on my math interactive notebook stuff, so I have been busy.

As we all know, we stalk, I mean look at blogs and scour Pinterest and find so many great ideas. For someone like me, I see it and adapt it to fit my needs. I don't ever want to take credit for being original if I am not.

I saw these sticks early in the summer. I like them, but I didn't get them made. I will keep that on the "I saw it on Pinterest and I'm gonna make it one day list".

Then I saw these multiple choice cards. They are cute, I like them. But, I teach middle school kids and cute is okay, but I needed to make them "less cute". Plus, multiple choice for my age doesn't just mean ABCD.

I made them 4 on a page because I just want to make two cuts after laminating. I also printed them back to back so my students wouldn't have as many choices to "flip" through. When I get them laminated and cut, they will go on a silver ring. Sorry, that part is not complete. Again, time to get back to school.

Click on the picture above to download the cards.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Math Notebooks- MS Math Sunday Funday

If you are reading this on Saturday, I hope you take advantage of the Back 2 School Cyber Search going on. There are some very generous bloggers sharing great resources for FREE!!!!!

Now on to Math Notebooks...

Last year I didn't start Math Notebooks until January. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. I wish I had started them sooner, but so glad that this year, I will be starting them from DAY 1. I will use two different notebooks for the fall and spring semester.

A few rules I have for my notebooks:
1. All notebooks remain in my classroom
2. I complete a notebook for each class period I teach
3. Students must get their notebooks EVERYDAY when they enter class. It is ALWAYS on their desk.

Where I get inspiration:There are so many awesome places to get ideas and resources from. The ones I  have used most are Runde's Room and Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes.  Click the link, she revisited math notebooks very recently.
And of course, this post is part of MS Sunday Funday, so I am thrilled to get more ideas.

I will spend a great deal of time setting notebooks up. I truly use it as a resource and I want it right for the students. Since there are schedule changes and new students that come in, I do several examples to use for those situations.

I require it to be the hard covered composition notebooks. They are sturdy and last. This summer I bought a ton for fifty cents each. I want to be sure everyone has the correct type.

I do let my students decorate a cover.

This year I am also going to include a latch. I am hoping this helps with things falling out. I have invested in gold brads and twine for this. I will use an ice pick to poke the holes for each student.

Getting Started:
These are the first several pages of my notebook. We will spend an entire class period the first week getting this together. It is that important to me and my students success.

The very first page will be the Math Notebook expectations. You can get it here. Students will sign the bottom.

We use 3 pages for the Table of Contents.

I wasn't that great with the Table of Contents last year, but this year it is one of my goals.

Page 1:

My students should know their facts, but since some don't, we add this. I do not add it during the second semester.

Page 2 & 3 Buddies

This is new for me.
 My plan is to have appointments and "Phone a Friend" partners. I found the appointments on Pinterest and can't find the link now. Sorry. Here's another version of the clock.
I saw the phone on Pinterest, but made my own. You can get it here. I also found this phone, I like even better than the one I made. So many options these days.

Page 4
We will make an accordion fold for our RULES strategies. Our 7th and 8th grades use UPS Check, so I may be changing to that. Just not sure yet.


Page 5 is what we call Brain Dump. This is such a big part of my teaching, I will be posting separately about it soon. In a nut shell: It's what we use as a "cheat sheet" Students learn lots of strategies and we organize it on this. Students will memorize it and when testing time comes along, the idea is for them to "recreate" this before they begin the test. We use it everyday! I also have a HUGE bulletin board in my room of it.

Page 6 and 7

These are our state Conversion and Formulas chart they will receive for testing. I want them to have experience using them and finding where the formulas and conversions are  that they don't have to memorize. Again, we use these a lot during class.

For each unit, we made a pocket that kept all our paper work. Much of this fell out, which is why I am incorporating the brads this year. I am also thinking of doing my pocket differently. Just trial and error.

We also made tabs which were incredibly helpful.

These were harder to take a picture of than I thought. We label both sides and they are cut from card stock.

I saw where Janaye from Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes does her vocabulary in the back here. I tried this and liked it. It is just different and helps the students have one central place for vocabulary.
I have used note taking format and also the Frayer method.
I incorporate this with my word wall a lot and use it DAILY.


For me, the two most important things are being organized and modeling expectations.