Teaching Examples

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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...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fraction of the Day Freebie!

Happy Tuesday!  I only happen to know what day it is because of my gym schedule.  Don't you just love the summer?!  Anyway, I'm back again with another freebie as I occasionally think about school.  This year the only changes I plan to make are to my math instruction.  I started Guided Math late last year and it wasn't as effective as it could've been. I will continue Guided Math from the very beginning this new year.  After reviewing my state test results for math from this past school year, I decided I needed to refine my craft and try to do better.  A team member of mine does a daily math problem with team points.  This was the jumping off point for my Fraction Problem of the Day idea.  Also, in North Carolina, a majority of the state testing focuses on fractions; therefore, the two things combined helped inspire my newest product!  I don't believe in teaching "the test", but clearly there are things I needed do better this year.  :) 

I'm planning to use the Fraction Problem of the Day as part of the morning work.  Students will come in, get settled in the morning routine (completing morning seat work, getting homework out, writing in planner, etc), and then individually come to the front of the room to solve on a scrap piece of paper the problem of the day.  This freebie begins with 4th grade problems and will progressively get more challenging as the days go on.  I will have 180 fraction problems (a problem a day for the entire year)!  My hope is that the children will become fraction experts and will be able to apply their knowledge to ANY fraction problem.  The problems will be mixed operation calculations and problem solving.  I'm looking forward to seeing if this new addition to my daily math exposure for students will make a difference.  Ok, back to the table points.  Basically, each student will answer the problem and place the answer in their table group pile, container, or however you want to organize it.  My team member uses the magnetic pen containers you put on white boards (at Dollar General) and has one for each table group. Anyway, to begin her math lesson, she has the class help her solve the problem of the day.  Then, she quickly checks each groups answers submitted.  She gives a point for each correct answer submitted to the table groups. I think this is fabulous because there are no consequences for incorrect answers and only positive rewards for correct answers.  The problem of the day can go in a clear plastic frame or in a page protector on a small pocket chart table stand (how I plan to display them).  I hope you can use this product however it fits the needs of your class!  You can grab your copy of the freebie by clicking the picture above.  The remaining weeks will be available at my TPT store in the near future (by September 1st).  Thanks for hanging in there with me to explain the how and why behind my newest product.  I would love to hear what you think if you choose to download it!  Have a great week!