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Sunday, February 12, 2012

World's Easiest Token System

World's Easiest Token System

I believe I will be setting this system up in my classroom to reward good behavior! It will take the place of assigning regular jobs on a weekly basis or having to keep up reward charts, hole punch cards, "cashing in" tickets or other collectibles to the "class store", etc. Have you seen this?? You basically put chips with numbers on them. When you want to reward someone, they put a chip (token) with their number on it in a bag. You draw from the bag to choose someone for a job, treat, etc. The more chips they get to put in the bag, the more times they are drawn.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thinking Maps

Thinking Maps: do you use them? Have you been trained in them? I love them because they were designed with brain research in mind. I was trained as a trainer (that sounds funny) but got away from them for a while in favor of the more traditional graphic organizers. What I do now is show my students the "old" way and then the Thinking Maps way that involves the same process skill. For example, we use the tree map now to organize our paragraphs for writing but we still also use story maps and webs, etc. Any time you do sorting and classifying, a tree map is a great way to show that! Some examples: types of triangles, typles of lines (can you tell we are doing a geometry unit?) We still do Venn Diagrams but we now also do double bubble for compare/contrast. Friday we did a double bubble map comparing two different 3-dimensional solids. The students have become very good at using these maps. A circle map is a great way to introduce a new story or a new skill or unit to find out what the students' background knowledge is. The Brace Map shows whole to part relationships. Have you ever considered using that for expanded notation in math? The whole number 235, for example, can be broken into parts: 200+30+5.

I am going to start taking photographs of what my students do with Thinking Maps and post them here and on Pinterest. I would love to see what your students are doing with Thinking Maps!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Teach Like a Rock Star

I love it when teachers do it like a rock star! If you seem to enjoy what you do, then they'll enjoy it a lot more. I act like a goofball and get very animated when I teach. I do unexpected things, and the kids love it! Kudos to Mr. Hoffman of Ellendale, ND who tackles a difficult topic, Chemistry, in high school.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Daily Problem Solving Practice

What does your school or class do for problem solving? We are currently doing daily practice using a program called Target the Question by Lone Star Learning, which uses one set of information, story, etc. and has a different question to work out each day of the week using that story. You can see it here: There is a demonstration video on that page. I love it, and so do my kids!

We are also using the TEKSas Target Practice, which you can see here:
My students always get very high standardized test scores in spite of entering my class sometimes very behind in math. They make huge gains in their skills and concept understanding. Each link has a demonstration video. If you are in Texas, do you use this program (either one, and they are both by Lone Star Learning). Unfortunately, this product (the target practice) is not available outside of Texas, but I am betting each state has its own version. So...I am curious, are their any certain programs out there that you use and recommend?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Valentine Mad Libs

Remember Mad Libs? Every time the Book Fair rolled around when I was in elementary school, this is the one thing I consistently purchased every time. I remember my mom saying, "But wouldn't you rather buy a book???" My response was, "But this has words!" Now when my students purchase items from the Book Fair, I just remind myself that no matter what it is they buy, it's for a good cause. My students love Mad Libs! I was very happy to stumble across some for Valentine's Day. There is some cute stuff at this site! Click here to download: Valentine Mad Libs | Classroom Jr.

Corkboard Connections: Your Students Can Be Published Authors!

Corkboard Connections: Your Students Can Be Published Authors!: Did you know your students can create a book together that can be published for FREE? Take a look at this book over at Laura Candler's blog. She has a great site here!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Classroom Freebies: Fraction Strips!

I found this little gem at Classroom Freebies. Have you been to Classroom Freebies? If not, then you are missing out! Charity Preston founded this network of educational blogs where teachers from all over contribute free resources to help teachers from K-12 and homeschool parents.

The fraction strips were made by Nyla of Nyla's Crafty Teaching blog. Head over to her site for directions and the file download. Click on the link above or click on the first photo to get there. I look forward to making these soon since we have a fractions unit coming up. I just love teaching fractions! One thing students have trouble with is comparing the sizes of different fractions and finding equivalencies. These strips are the perfect tool to use for this purpose.