Wednesday, February 18, 2015

MobyMax Anyone?

WOW!  Two days of blogging in a row?!  The snow days are definitely helping to free up some time for blogging.  ;)  I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time; however, like I mentioned yesterday, time hasn't been on my side.  

Have you heard of MobyMax?  It's one of my favorite research based tools I use daily in my classroom.  I use it in several ways and I will tell you more about how in just a minute.  One of the first things I do at the beginning of every school year is set up accounts on MobyMax for my students to take an online placement test.  The results of the placement test provide data to remediate and guide my instruction each year in Math.  MobyMax also provides these same services and data points in several other areas.  I took a screen shot of what is offered for you to see the awesome options you have using MobyMax in your classroom. 
This is a screenshot of options/subjects offered by MobyMax.
I've only used MobyMax for math, but plan on beginning the Language lessons/assessments when we return from the snow days.  My students will begin by taking the placement test for Language just like they did for Math.  After the placement tests are complete, they will visit MobyMax Language as a workstation rotation during our literacy block to practice grammar.  Having students visit MobyMax during our literacy block allows them exposure and practice with grammar that otherwise wouldn't get the attention it needs. It's also a clever way to incorporate the Common Core and technology daily in Reading Workshop/Daily 5.

Now back to how I use MobyMax Math in my classroom~
Like I said earlier, I use it in several ways. I've listed my "Top 5" ways I use MobyMax; however, I use it in more than 5 ways and hope to have a follow up post on more ways to use it in the classroom at a later date.  First, I use it to learn more about my student's strengths. Second, I have students visit MobyMax Math as a workstation in math workshop twice a week for 20 minutes each session.  Third, I have students practice online at home twice a week for part of their homework.  If students don't have access to the internet at home, they complete it for morning work the following day at school. Fourth, I use it for progress monitoring of students I'm concerned with and are considering for RTI paperwork and EC/Special Ed referrals.  Fifth, I use it to help my EC/Special Ed students get more practice in math in hopes of making progress towards IEP goals.  Below are some screen shots to help you visualize what I'm talking about.  

Now for the gist of this post....MobyMax is an AMAZING research based tool!  If you don't use it, you should tomorrow!  ;)  Thanks for hanging in there!  Until next time...

Measuring Student Growth

Assign Assessments

Progress Monitoring Graph

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy 2015! It's better late than never...right?!

Hey There!  It's been a LLLLOOOONNNNGGG time since I last blogged.  Needless to say life has kept me busy and there are only so many hours in the day!  Long story short, I was training for and ran my first marathon, had pneumonia, birthday parties, holiday parties, medical issues trying to expand our family, and a resignation letter for the end of the school year!  Oh my!  Those are just a few of my crazy experiences since last time.  Now, I FINALLY feel like I can get back in a groove of blogging and hope you are still hanging with me.  
Family picture after crossing the finish line of my very first marathon!  So proud of my husband for surprising me with a poster at mile 16!
Now, on a school note....Since coming back from Christmas break, the noise volume/talking out of turn behavior has been ATROCIOUS!  I did what any tech savvy teacher would do and went straight to Pinterest for answers!  Haha!!  I quickly found what I wanted to do and have loved every day after in my classroom using the BLURT chart.  You can read more about the BLURT chart by checking out the idea inspiration here.  Of course, I did have to "Seuss it up" to make it fit my classroom decor! I have a classroom economy and each hat has a monetary value/consequence.  You know what they say..."get em where it hurts...the wallet"!  My students are very competitive with earning money for our monthly classroom auction; therefore, making the BLURT chart has proven to be a very lucrative management tool.  If you have off task/chatty friends these days, I totally recommend trying out the BLURT chart! 
BLURT chart "Seuss" style!
Thanks for hanging with me!  I'm looking forward to fabulous posts on a more regular basis!  Until next time...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

CNN Student News Freebie!

Do you use CNN Student News in your classroom?!  I LOVE it!  It's one of my most favorite memories of being a 5th grader!  My teacher used to record it nightly on the VCR and play the recording for us every morning before we started our day.  When I became a 5th grade teacher 3 years ago I knew I wanted my students to have the same memory!  Obviously in 2014 it's played online and no recordings or VCRs required! ;)  Sometimes I get flack from co-workers about spending 10 minutes of my day watching the news with my class; which inspired me to create an accountability component to the news.  

Each morning students grab their clipboards and news tracker and come to and around the carpet.  I show CNN Student News (previewed by me the night before to make sure the content is appropriate...sometimes not all of the news can be watched).  Students then watch the stories and choose one story to complete the chart for.  At the end of the week I collect them for an informal Social Studies grade.  Occasionally, our Time For Kids magazine aligns with CNN Students News and then we discuss how the stories are similar/different in presenting the information using a Double Bubble Thinking Map.  You can grad your free copy of the the news tracker by clicking the picture above!  If you download it, I would appreciate feedback on how you use it in your classroom.  Until next time...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thinking Maps Idea

Hi There!
It's been a while since I've had the chance to blog.  The husband has been traveling, life with an independent toddler, back to school has kept me busy, and training for my first full marathon is consuming most of my time.  I haven't had ANY time to create freebies or products for my TPT store, but I did want to share something that worked well in my classroom this year using thinking maps and a fun book.

We read Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun to discuss student individuality and how to embrace different ways of thinking and being.  My 5th graders enjoy listening to picture books read aloud!  I will tell you this makes my heart melt since it's one of the things I miss most about being a lower grades teacher I like 5th grade, but wish I could be in 1st or 2nd grade.  

Back to Thinking Maps...Our school/county is obsessed  huge with Thinking Maps, so any opportunity you can use a map you should they would argue you can use a Thinking Map for anything, #sorrynotsorry!  We read the book and then created a Circle Map on a paper plate defining ourselves.  Thinking Maps suggest using lots of color with the maps, but most importantly to frame the map with what people/students take away from the data.  I actually sat in on a super long, could've been a few hours workshop during the teacher work days before the new year started. The focus was on making the frame of the map rigorous and relevant.  We used plates and large construction paper for our maps because of the title and events in the story.  The reading and Thinking Map was one class session and the framing information/decorating was an additional class session.  Thinking Maps are awesome and I'm hoping they make a difference with the state testing scores/growth this school year.  I have one other Thinking Map to share with you later this weekend or early next week.  I would love any thoughts/comments on my posts.  Happy Weekend until next time!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2nd Quarter (another 9 weeks of fractions) Now Available at my TPT store!

Happy Tuesday Night!

My first blog hop was a success.  I'm looking forward to future hops/linky parties this school year. I was so inspired by the response of the blog hop that I FINALLY completed the 2nd volume of my newest TPT product "Fraction of the Day"!  Honestly, I had no idea creating fraction problems would be such a time consuming task!  I'm super proud of the product I'm creating and hope it's something you can use as well.  If you missed grabbing your freebie version of this monster, you can grab it by clicking here.  If you like what you see, consider purchasing the first two quarters by clicking the picture below.  Thanks so much for all of the support!  I'm beginning the 3rd quarter pack later this week.  Stay tuned...

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to School Blog Hop (and a Freebie)

Happy Friday Everyone!

I’m so excited to participate in my first ever Blog Hop!  I'm joining other fabulous 5th grade teachers to offer this Back to School Blog Hop!

I remember my first day of teaching 5th grade, I was unsure and intimidated! I was a K-2 teacher previously so jumping to the "big kids" at a new school was a beyond nerve-racking experience!! The kids were so big and I was the "new teacher" in the building.  I felt like they could smell my fear.  I knew pretended like I knew I was the one in charge so I began teaching procedures like I've done every other year with K-2 students.  Well...I learned in the first hour, on the first day of school that modeling the "don'ts" of chair behavior/raising hands is unnecessary in 5th grade. BEFORE I learned this humiliating  valuable lesson, I demonstrated for the class what NOT to do (jump/climb out of your chair trying to get my attention).  I demonstrated this using my rolling chair not the brightest idea on my part.  I landed in the chair wrong and fell out of the chair and into a book shelf.  I was completely humiliated wanted to crawl in a corner and die, but quickly recovered, playing it off as if I meant to fall and injure myself.  The positive in all of this was, I never had students trying to climb out their seats that year. :)  The long and short of it is, 5th graders need routines taught in those first few days; just pick and choose the "bigger" routines to teach because it's not their first back to school "rodeo" like the smaller kids.  It also helps to remember 5th graders are just as nervous as you are; however, you're in charge and it's not always going to go as planned. Typically, nothing is ever perfect on the first day, just don't let them see you meant to do "that".  In hopes of getting your year off to a great start, grab my freebie by clicking the picture below.

You can see more great Back to School tips by visiting Kate over at Kate's Classroom Cafe. Our group of bloggers has a great pack of goodies to send to one lucky winner to help your year get off with a bang!

Enter below for a chance at this awesomeness: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

State Testing Vocabulary Idea {Freebie}

Happy Wednesday!

We've been slowly unpacking from our family beach vacation and I figured I needed to share something that worked very well for me last school year.  It's called Word Rock and it's from Lady Bug's Teacher Files.  I found it on her site and printed out the complete file.  Below are the steps I took to implement her clever idea in my own classroom.

Binder available for student use any time

A completed Word Rock form 

A list of direction vocabulary found on our state tests.
  1. I used the colored boom box sheet and placed it inside a binder for student access.  
  2. I copied several sheets of the black and white boom box for the binder.  
  3. I downloaded several Kidz Bop versions of popular songs I knew my students would like (i.e. party rock anthem, what does the fox say, moves like jagger, etc).  
  4. I filled in the information on the black/white boom box sheets using state testing vocabulary words often found in directions.
  5. On a Monday, I introduce one of the words to my class by playing a Kidz Bop song for about 10 seconds. 
  6. I slowly turn down the music on my SMART board and introduce the track of the day.  On Day 1 I read the information in a fun upbeat way while displaying it from my document camera.  Days 2-3 I call on students to give me the information in their own words (without displaying the information on the sheet).  I introduce and practice 2 words a week.  Once I get to 5 words I do a review of each of the words (1 a day before introducing any new words).
  7. When we've practiced the new "track" for the 3 days, I put it in the binder (referenced in step 1) for the children to access whenever they would like.  
It's been a blessing and a fun/quick way to cover important "direction vocabulary" students will encounter on the state tests.  I hope you can find a use for the free resource as well!  Until next time...