Sunday, October 6, 2013

Problem Solving Mat

My math teaching coach sent me this link about having problem solving mats for students to work on. I am planning on trying this as some of my students have difficulty staying organized.
They can keep their extra items off of the mat and only use the items needed to solve the problem on the mat.
I'm always looking for new engagement and assessment ideas and this this one is easy to put together and will be very helpful for my students.
Here is a picture example from the article.
Problem Solving Kit 1

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate and Math Rotations

I haven't blogged in about a  year.  There have been so  many changes the past year in my district and live. We moved to a new place, had a new evaluation system at school along with a new principal, and I had 28 students most of the year with a few days of 29 and 1 day of a parapro helper.

I love this cartoon. It's so true for some students who don't spend time reading over the summer.  I saw it on Third Grade Thinker's blog. I think the kids would think it's funny too.

I've been reading the Teach Like a Pirate Book by Dave Burgess and I've enjoyed following the book studies and information that other bloggers have been writing as they have read the book. I highly recommend it because it has given me renewed ideas for teaching.  There are many questions that I can ask my self through thinking of the hooks in the book to help the students learn the information that I am teaching them and to retain it longer.
 I ordered it and read it on my Kindle because I like it that it was instant to receive and I could highlight the important parts right away and bring up those parts on my phone, ipad, or Kindle.

On of my favorite quotes from the book is, "Much of your success as an educator has to do with your attitude toward teaching and toward kids. The rest of your success is based on your willingness to relentlessly search for what engages students in the classroom and then having the guts to do it." This past year I had a student who loved making origami things. He asked if he could make enough origami airplanes for the whole class. I said I would consider it and let him know. In the last week of school we were reviewing measurement to the nearest quarter inch and then it popped into my mind. This boy's request could become a learning tool. I gave each student one sheet of paper and they could all make a paper airplane. They practiced flying them when directed. Then we went outside to actually measure the distance that their paper airplanes flew. They LOVED it. They practiced their measurement skills, encouraged each other, and had fun too. It was so cool too because one of the boys who was not as academically successful was in the top three for airplanes that flew the furthest and the other students were so happy for him. In the book, Burgess says that we should think of how to help the learning happen outside of the classroom, and that definitely was perfect for the measurement lesson. Every student wanted to how far his or her plan flew to the nearest quarter inch.

This year, I'm thinking about trying the math rotations or as I call them (math reading groups in my mind) to help the students at all levels be more successful in math.  Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts has a whole explanations that I'm being mentored through as I adventure into this new idea. I'm really excited about using this in the coming school year.