Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hands on Standards - The BEST Way to Teach Math Giveaway

If you have ever worked at more than one school, you know what it is like to leave a must have teaching resource behind because it was purchased by the school.  That is exactly what happened to me.  My previous school had ordered ETA's Hands-on standards books for 7th and 8th grade math as well as algebra.  Well, let me tell you that book became practically my Bible for hands on math lessons.  I learned math in the dark ages - many years ago, when lecturing at students and forcing them to memorize the formulas was the norm in math instruction. Needless to say, I had no idea how to use the manipulatives that we had available at our school.  Once I got my hands on this book, I became a hands on enthusiast and dare I say expert?

Enter this year, I have moved down to third grade and no longer had my book to rely on.  I managed to fumble along ok so far, but, then the math Gods intervened, and I was contacted by ETA to review a product.  They even let me choose!  YES!  I knew exactly what I wanted - the 3rd grade edition of my coveted book! 

My husband's ear drums were not prepared for the squeals of excitement when the book arrived in the mail.  And he was not the only one subjected to who got to share in my happy news. I brought the book into our weekly PLC and shared with my team.  We were fortunate enough to have some extra money in our budget, so we ordered a few more of the books plus a few more manipulatives to be able to implement the amazing ideas.

One thing that I love is that there are pictures!  I am a visual learner, and if I don't see the manipulatives in action, I sometimes don't get it.  This book tells you what to say, what questions to ask, how to let the students explore, how to assess.  Everything for each and every math standard.  I could even leave this for a sub and wouldn't have to worry that they couldn't teach the math the way that I want it to be taught.  YEAH! No more boring review worksheets!

You can check out sample pages for the third grade book here.

And now, the best news - I get to giveaway one of these books to one of my lucky readers!  Woo Hoo!  Trust me - you NEED this book!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I was extremely honored to be named one of the top 50 Elementary Teachers on Twitter!  I couldn't believe I was in the top 5!  Twitter has been my go to source for so many things - it is like my in home PLN.  I have learned so much and gotten so many great resources and ideas from the people I follow on Twitter.

Are you on Twitter?  Who are some of your must follow people?  I love to build my Twitter network, so if you are on Twitter follow me @kellys3ps and I will follow you back!

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Monday, February 18, 2013

It's Science Fair Time!

Our school science fair is coming up in a little more than a week, and my kiddos have been working hard to get ready.  We have been conducting research about science projects that are similar to the ones the students are doing in order to make hypothesis and design changes.  This week we will work on rough drafts of our reports.

Here are some pictures from one of the projects: What is the effect of pollution on plants?  Unfortunately, the plants haven't grown at all - but a mold started to grow on all of the plant cases except for the one where we added vinegar.  Unintended discoveries- isn't that the beauty of science?

We have been using my Let's Enter The Science Fair graphic organizers to guide our research and writing.

You can get them at Teachers Pay Teachers or Teachers Notebook.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Third Grade Common Core

I had been super jealous hearing about and reading about the first and second grade common core state standards workbooks that were available.  But, luckily for me and third grade teachers everywhere, I no longer have to have common core envy because the third grade book is finally available!  YEAH! 
The book features over 840 pages full of worksheets, activities, centers, and posters with just about everything you need to teach both Math and English aligned to the Third Grade Common Core Standards.

The activities are all full color, ready to print, laminate and use.  Perfect for the busy teacher, because really we could all use anything that saves us time

You can download a small (81 pages!!!) sample to see if it will work for you in your classroom.  The book retails for $39.99 for a single use, but their are additional pricing options as well.

Multiplication Musical Chairs

I have a very energetic class this year, so anytime I can think of a way to get them up and moving while we are learning they love it! This week we played multiplication musical chairs and it was a big hit!

First, I had them each bring their chair to line up to play musical chairs.  Nobody was left out the first round.

Then I gave them each a marker and an index card and asked them to write down a multiplication problem that they could solve themselves, but they thought might be tricky for other students. 

Then I went around to each student and asked them to show me their card and tell me the answer.

Then it was time to play!  I had the students stand up and put their problem on their chair.  Then I played music while they went around the chairs just like musical chairs. When I stopped the music they had to sit in the closest chair to them.  Since I didn't take any chair out, every student found a seat.  Then I went around and asked them to solve the problems on the chair they were at.  If they missed the question they were out and removed their chair and handed me the problem.  Play continued and I swapped out cards occasionally to make it more challenging.  I gave prizes to the top three winners.  A super fun way to practice our multiplication facts!

This game could be easily adapted to review anything from math facts, to vocabulary, to history.  What ideas do you have for it?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Presidential Research Reports

This week we have been hard at work on our Presidential Research Reports.  For this unit our third graders are working on an all school write project of a research paper.  Because Presidents' Day is coming up, I decided to have my kiddos research a president of their choice.  They have really loved working on this, and yesterday was one of those great days when all of the students were happily engaged learning about research techniques.  For most of our morning I really didn't have to do much of anything except help quide some internet searches, "Try looking up quotes by _____ (insert President name) for your quote." and listen to the interesting facts they found, "Mrs. Malloy did you know Barack Obama was born on the same day as me?"  "Mrs. Malloy, did you know that Abraham Lincoln was born in the same state that I was?"

The students used both books and the internet to guide their searches.  One of the students found a list of all the presidents and their pictures in the back of our dictionaries.

The only problem with that is when they tried to find out what number President Obama was they decided that our dictionaries were a little old.  Or rather a lot old!  I think these were the dictionaries I used as a third grader!

Definitely time to upgrade some of our resources! 

This week we will be completing our research using graphic organizers I have included in this packet.

Next week we will write the actual essays.

You can find my Presidential Research Reports Product on Teachers Pay Teachers here or Teachers Notebook here.

What are you doing to celebrate Presidents' Day?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Testing Craziness

My poor kiddos have been subject to a crazy amount of tests in the past two weeks.  Last week we had MAPS testing as well as our common assessment pre-tests.  Our district has common assessments that we use before and after teaching a unit.  Our upcoming unit is on fractions. 

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get the craziest of answers from my kiddos!  Here are a few of the highlights:

I have no idea where this student got the idea of ice cream from the given question, but she sure knows how to write her own problem when she doesn't know the answer!

Food was a common theme - as they all wanted to add food to the number line problem.  This student was into pizza.

This kiddo decided, when in doubt, just copy the question - that has to be worth at least 1/2 a point right? LOL!

At least I figured out where the pizza came from!

I am usually really good at figuring out what to do with student errors and misconceptions, but in this case I am almost at a loss.  I know this is just a pre-test, but almost all of my students didn't even read the problem (or couldn't understand what it was asking).

Any suggestions for reading test questions and following directions?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Currently

Yep, it's that time of the month again - time for another one of Farley's Currentlies!  It seems like it was just yesterday when I completed January!

I have been a Dallas Cowboys fan since I was in first grade - well, specifically a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader fan! I love watching the behind the scenes view.

I am so glad that taxes are done! Prior to teaching I worked for a CPA firm doing taxes, so I usually am really good about gettting them done early - you would be surprised how many people wait until the last minute. We are getting a refund, but it will be delayed due to the new tax laws - grrr!

Our family will be rooting for the Niners this year because we are big Kappernick fans.  We are big Wolf Pack Fans (my alma mater) and were able to see him play when he was here. My boys also got to work with him during football camp and he is a great person!  Right after he signed with San Francisco a local store had a fan signing, and even though it was only scheduled for two hours he stayed until every fan had an autograph!

I ALWAYs want Starbucks  - major addiction :D

It seems like I always need to do something for the classroom.

And... last but certainly not least - my pet peeve - I hate whining!  I want to scream - Just fix the problem or move on, stop whining about it! GRRR!

Be sure to link up your own Currently here.
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