Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lovin' the Leibster

Over the past few days, I have been nominated three times for the wonderful Leibster Award!  Wow!  Since I've been awarded it previously, I'd like to introduce you all to the ladies who nominated me.



Please visit these ladies and support their blogs.  In the spirit of the nomination, here are my answers to Miss M's (Teaching Is A Gift) questions.  Have a great week!

The questions for my nominees are:

1. List five adjectives that describe yourself.

dedicated, innovative, compassionate, congenial, loyal

2. What are you currently reading for enjoyment?

The Christmas Jar

3. When did you decide to become a teacher, and why did you choose this field?

It came very naturally to me and I wanted to have 
an occupation that allowed me to contribute to society.

4. What do you want to be doing in five years?

Watching me oldest son graduate from college 
and my youngest son start college.  

5. If you could have only one powered appliance at home/work what would it be?


6. What is your favourite subject to teach? Why?

Math.  It was so hard for me when I was in school.  
I find it a challenge to find the right way to reach a student.

7. What is your least favourite subject, and how do you overcome your indifference toward it to teach it well? having a very good lesson plans and good support on my team. 

8. What do you think is the funniest word in our vocabulary?

This is very childish, but I can't hear the word 'fart' without giggling. 

9. What is the greatest success you have had in teaching?

It's hard to pick just one, but the recurring theme is 
making an important difference in a child's life. 

10. If someone wrote a book on your life what would you like the title to be?

My Life as a Roller Coaster.

11. What would your students say was the most important thing that they had learned after spending a year in your class?

It's okay to make mistakes if we learn from them and to never give up. 


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Three Ring

It's Share Day #2 and I'm excited to share this new resource I recently found.  It's called....

Three Ring is a website that allows teachers to easily document student's classroom work.  It allows you to take photos of any paper, drawing, or board work.  You can record presentations or discussions with audio or video.  Or, students can upload their own work from any mobile device or computer.  With its supporting iPhone/Android app, the possibilities are endless.  

I've been using it to capture and collect examples of students work.    This helps me to.....

  • Keep work samples for re-teaching.  
  • Collect documentation for RtI or parent conferences.
  • Easily file students' work rather than creating piles or running back and forth to the copier.
I recently had an experience where I was very thankful I was using Three Ring.  As I was grading an assignment, I saw that I needed to keep a copy of "Tommy's" work on Three Ring so I could review his mistakes with him.  I quickly snapped a photo with my iPhone and uploaded it. 

After I was done grading everyone's work, it went into the students'  mailboxes to go home that night. Yippee!  Marked that off my to-do list!  No piles!  No trips to the copier! 

The next day I got an email from Tommy's mom.  She wanted to know why he missed #9 and #10 on this assignment.  Thanks to Three Ring, I was able to find the assignment easily and answer her question.  And, I was able to sit down with Tommy to talk about his mistakes. 

Check it out!  It's free and it might make your life easier, too!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Math Resources for Teachers

Oh, how I love to share!  It is, honestly, one of my greatest pleasures in life!  It's also one of the reasons I'm such a Pinterest and blogging addict.  

Today I want to share a resource that I created on my school website for other teachers in my district.

I am the upper-elementary math leader in my school.  After years of attending staff developments and hearing about all kids of wonderful math resources, my bookmarks were getting out of control and I was spending too much time looking for things.  To make things easier for myself and the math teachers in my school, I decided to organize the resource links all in one place.  Today, I'd like to share the page with you.  Here it is:

Just click on the image to take you there.  I'd love to hear about any math resources that you can't live without so I can add it to my list. 

Happy sharing!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Better Late Than Never!

I'm hooking up with my friend, Kelly, at Teaching Fourth for a Fun Friday Linky Party.  Show your moxie and join us, even if it is a little late!

Have a great week!!!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Using Xtra Math to build Fact Fluency

Last year I discovered an awesome and FREE fact practice website called XtraMath.  XtraMath is a nonprofit organization dedicated to math achievement for all.  Their goal is to develop effective, efficient, adaptive, and intrinsically rewarding supplemental math activities and make them available for free.  The website has lots of information about the program and how to get started using it. I want to share how I am using it in my math classroom

I teach third grade. Theoretically, the students should know their addition and subtraction facts when they come to third grade.  Since they have been taught operations concretely, pictorially and abstractly, it is time to move towards mastery.  Therefore, I have required my students to complete XtraMath as homework five out of seven days a week.  XtraMath sends me a weekly report that tells me who completed their assignment.  Parents are also able to track their child's progress.  

Another feature I love is that, if the child's second grade teacher was using XtraMath, their account will link up to me when I add them to my class in third grade.  

In order for a child to get a mastery score of 100, students need to answer every question two out of the last three attempts cumulatively over several recent sessions.  After completing the session, the students are shown a colored dot which represents their progress.  Here is an example of the calendar snapshot that I am able to review for each child:

What do the dots mean?  Green means the student got less than 10% wrong.  Yellow means between 10% and 25% wrong.  Red means over 25% wrong. Blue dots indicate an incomplete XtraMath session.  

Above is a more detailed report that shows me how a student is progressing.  Our classroom goal is for everyone to master addition and subtraction by our holiday break.  

This is part of the weekly report I receive.  We all know that students perform at different levels and XtraMath has helped me to differentiate with each student. There are a couple of things I had to address based on this information.  First, Aidan only practiced 2 of the 5 required days.  I recorded this on the student's Weekly Conduct Report that goes home to each of my student's parents (love the accountability!).  Second, Ashley had moved on to multiplication after she mastered subtraction.  She's not ready to do this yet as we will not start our Multiplication Unit until January.  I asked her to stop for now. Avery moved to our school this year and is a very motivated, above-average student.  She had already learned her multiplication facts and her performance has proved it.  She is almost at mastery.  Note that Alison is not participating in XtraMath.   It was not the right solution for her.  Instead, her parents and I decided on an effective alternative.  

I am so pleased with my student's progress with this program.  The children like it and it only takes them about five minutes to complete.  For those who do not have internet access, they are required to complete XtraMath on our classroom computers when they first enter my class.  I have also placed a bright note on their desk to remind them.  We will begin using the multiplication portion once we complete our multiplication unit.  

I'd love to hear your experiences with XtraMath!  It's really working well for my kiddos!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Have You Heard About This Giveaway???

You've got to check out Megan's 500 Follower Giveaway at........

I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

It is HUGE!  And she has SIX separate giveaways going with SIX different Rafflecopters.  What a great idea!  I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I will win any one of the fabulous prizes.  

p.s.  Check out Giveaway #2....I'm donating a $10 TPT gift card, just in time to get some holiday goodies!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Currently for November

It's that time again!  Thanks for visiting my November Currently!  Want to get yours?  Visit Farley at Oh Boy! Fourth Grade!


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