Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Multiplication Fact Fluency

Best.post.ever about multiplication fact fluency.  Check it out!

http://shutthedoorandteach.blogspot.com/2013/10/working-on-automaticity-of-math-facts.html?showComment=1383183594836#c683275896216905356

There's an AH-MA-ZING freebie too!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

ISN: Word problems

I am linking up with I'm Lovin Lit! for her monthly linky party about interactive learning. 


Today we started tacking word problems, which is a HATED topic in 6th grade for several reasons. 
1) you have to be able to read the actual words on the page.  For struggling readers, this is a challenge, which makes word problems even more difficult.
2) word problems are like a big ol' mystery.  You have to be a detective to figure out what in the world you are supposed to do.
3)  its time consuming.

So, today, in my interventions classes we made flippables that went into our ISN.  This was a two page entry because the flips were so big so they would write underneath of it.  You can see below how it all turned out.  I was SOOOO please with how it turned out!

 
For my slowest classes, I just printed the four slides from the powerpoint with the words as a single handout in PPT.  It made them nice and compact so they fit underneath of the tabs in their ISN.
 
If you are interested in these flips, along with the words my students wrote underneath, you can get them HERE for free!
 
Be sure to like this blog on BlogLovin!
 
 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently...September

I totally missed out on August's Currently because it was major back-to-school mode.  This month, I will not miss out!  I am sacrificing my sleep to link up...which is a MAJOR ordeal!

 
Listening---LOVE LOVE LOVE FGLine with Nelly!!!!!  I get pumped every day with it on my way to school.  As if this weekend couldn't get any better with having a 3 day weekend, they were on the Today Show this morning!!!  YAY!  And after the VMA's last week, Katy Perry's new song "Roar" is my new fav!
 
Loving--Had some time to chill out this weekend with my family.  Thankful to have some time to just relax and recharge.  Midterms are this week (ahhhh!)...definitely needed a breather!
 
Thinking--Today I opted for a few more snuggles and cuddles and puzzles, and chose not to do some of the chores I needed to do around the house or a few things I needed to do for school.  Oh well...all that stuff will wait for me, snuggles will not.
 
Wanting--I hate to sweat.  I hate to feel like I'm wearing  blanket outside.  I will not exercise outside if it is hot and humid (there really isn't a gym I could go to anywhere around, either).  I need days without killer humidity, sweltering heat, and monsoons so that I can start to exercise.
 
Needing--I L.O.V.E to eat.  This is evident in the fact that I have gained weight lately...like about 30 pounds in a year :(  I need some self-control so that I don't just gorge out on every single piece of food in my house and the will power to get up and move.
 
Me--I need to stay away from fried foods (i.e., fast food), drink more water, and walk this month.  Today was mile #1 of the month.  Considering I walked 0 miles purposefully last month, this is a big improvement.  Today's mile consisted of walking a loop around my front yard while my 4 year olds played.  I decided today no more excuses...whatever it takes.
 
Be sure to link up with Farley!

Long division...blech!

When I say "long division" in class, a look of fear and disgust comes across my students' face.  I HATE teaching log division, and it is probably because students coming to 6th grade do not have their multiplication facts memorized.  So in an intervention class, I cross both bridges.  We've worked on x2, x5, x10, x9 (magic 9s), and x6 (with our fingers).  So, that's what we're dividing by.  We're learning it all simultaneously, and kids are starting to realize that "Division is just backwards multiplication, Mrs. Brummett."  WHAT?!?!?!  Amazing that they are coming up with that on their own :)

Here's a look at my foldable/flipbook that we made to put into our interactive notebook.
The front
 
All of the info inside


 
 
The coolest part is that as we are practicing in class, the students are asking "Is it okay if I use me flipbook?"  UM, YES!!!!  PLEASE!  This is probably one of the most useful foldables that we've ever made.  After we made it, we glued it into our ISN.
 
I'm linking up with 4mulaFun.com for this AMAZING Interactive Notebook Linky.  Be sure to check it out!
 
Interactive Notebook Linky Party
 
Happy Labor Day!
 



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Calendar Time Routine

Each class, I start with directions on the board, like this screen shot.
When I am ready and I think they've had ample amounts of time to get ready, I start passing out Brummett Bucks to the first four or five people who have read and followed the directions.  I can tell by how their desk looks. 
 
Then, I say "Oh, Class?"  to which they response "Oh, yes?" while spinning in their seats to find me.  We jump into calendar time.  We have practiced and practiced their responses because I want them in unison, not someone rushing to beat everyone else.  Q/A: Class, What month is it?  What day is it?  What day was yesterday? What day is tomorrow?  What is today's date?  And, how many days have we been in school?
 
For my interventions class, we grab our hundreds chart from our working folder and fill in that day's number.  Then, while doing my PD on Pinterest this summer, I came across this
The kids  then fill out that day's box.  For the 2nd day of school, they write a 2 on their hundreds chart.  (They use the same sheet the whole year.)  Then, they write the decimal.  We have practiced a million times how to say a decimal.  It was ROUGH at first, but OMG they are getting it!!!!!  It is not zero-point-oh-two, but FINALLY it is zero-and-two-hundredths.  AWESOME!!!!  Brummett Bucks are passed out here, too: ) Then on to the fraction, which as to be simplified every other day at least.  What joys :(  But, the reason kids struggle is because of lack of experience.  So what better way to get that experience than doing it almost every.single.day.
This is hard to do, especially if you don't know if a number is even or odd, or know multiplication facts, so we've been working on that.  You can read about that HERE.
 
The kids simplify their fractions on the same sheet of notebook paper and then write their final fraction on their chart.  We've talked about prime/composite, divisibility rules of 2 and 5 already, evens/odds, reviewed numerator/denominator, parts of wholes, and obviously, what does simplify mean?  Adding this routine has been AMAZING for this kids so far, and we've only been in school 7 days :) 
 
From here, we launch into our lesson.  Building the procedures and routines has been critical for our calendar time.  Without the procedures in place, this would be a TOTAL TRAINWRECK!.
 
If this is something that you are interested in, you can grab my hundreds chart freebie HERE.  It is in PowerPoint, so you can manipulate it.  I run a hundreds chart on the front, and a hundreds chart on the back.  And, we use the same one all year.  So far, 7 days in school, we haven't lost one yet....yet being the operative word :)
 
 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Craziness & Freebie

I have been in school 7 days and I finally feel like I am starting to feel like a normal person again!  Back to School is exciting, but exhausting at the exact same time.  Shew! 

I am teaching two types of classes: special education/pull-out math classes, as well as intervention classes for regular education students who are behind on benchmarks.  Teaching these classes are HARD work, but soooooo incredibly rewarding :)  Here's a peek at what's been going on in Room 118 lately:
We've been working on using our base-10 mats to build numbers and continue developing our number sense.  We were even able to get into adding with and without regrouping.  What a breeze since we had our tens-frame drawn right on our mat.  I read about Tens-frames at Math Coach's Corner.  If you are a math teacher K-6, you MUST check out this blog.  It is AH-MA-ZING!!!  I learned so much this summer.

I also had made my kids matching cards.  They had to match the word form, number form, and base-10 picture form of numbers. 

We worked on evens and odds in my intervention classes.  We started the week with taking a specified number of blocks and sorting into two groups.  If they could be split into equal groups (not even groups), they were even.  Developing this understanding was sooo important.  Once again...I read about this at Math Coaches Corner :)  In this pic, students have a large number (3 and 4 digits) to sort into even/odd.  We started building our ISNs this week, too.

Because we now know about evens and odds, we started working on multiplication.  We started with x2.  One of our big focus was that multiplication means "groups of".  This worksheet had the students solve the problem (not hard), but also draw the groups.  You can pick up this freebie HERE.  If the problem was 2 x 4, they read that as "two groups of 4."  They drew two circles/groups with 4 X's in each one.  Lots of Aha! moments with multiplication this week. 
 
 
While looking for a different video, I came across THIS video that shows an elementary class using Whole Brain Teaching in math.  I knew nothing about it, and still don't know much, but after watching 2-3 minutes, I know I had to incorporate something in my classroom.  This week, after lots of practice with "Oh Class?" and "What is multiplication?" with lots of handsignals, we were rocking and rolling.  Below is a student's written response to some of the items we learned this week :)
 


I have SOOOOO much more to blog about, but I've gotta run...  Be sure to like this blog on BlogLovin' by clicking the button at the top of the page :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back to School READY!!!

All summer long I've gone in once every two weeks or so and unpacked my room and worked on various projects.  Open House is tomorrow night, so today was THE day to finish.  I worked like a crazy person at home yesterday with a massive to-do list in preparation for today.  Here's how it all turned out :)

From my door
 
Usually, I just write the CW/HW/Target on the board...
but, I'm really excited about how my signs turned out :)
 
 
Jobs with 6th graders...not sure about this.  Gonna try it out.  Some jobs are specific for 1st period only (lunch count, Channel One manager) or for specific periods (calendar manager), and finally all period (supplies, paper).  I put it right next to the dry erase board so I could just write the student's name on the board...and as I write this, I've thought of a problem.  Like for all periods, how am I going to have six different names...hmmmmm, gotta think about this one some more.
 
 
I've literally never had a calendar in my classroom.  I've always thought that it is such an elementary thing.  But, with the needs of my students, I feel like I am teaching elementary...and after reading TONS of blogs, I'm feeling pretty good about that.  At my own house, I have a calendar on my fridge that I mark off each day to keep track of where we are at, and it helps my 4 year olds follow along...now, along those lines I needed something to help my students follow along with the calendar instead of just seeing a bunch of numbers.  So, I decided I would paperclip a star to whatever day we are on.  Hopefully that will be a visual cue as to which day we are on.  I'm not big on counting straws, nor do I want to manage that (especially with so many different classes).  So, I saw on pinterest somewhere the number rings to flip.  Going to see how that goes.  I'm going to use the calendar and days in school to go along with our calendar math.
 
 
This is my newest addition to my class.  Super excited about my bright tubs which came from Big Lots, and are super durable.  I'm really going to focus this year on visual cues/reminders for students, hence the sign on the wall.  All of the composition notebooks have a sticker of varying colors to help me check quickly that the notebooks are in the right tub.  Example:  All of the ISN for 1st period has an orange sticker on the spine with packaging tape over it to ensure it stays :)   the little plastic boxes were $0.99 from Walmart and have my manipulatives for each table group.
 
I'm starting to implement Brummett Bucks this year as a reward system to hopefully motivate my students.  I teach special education and intervention classes, and in all honestly, these kiddos can be hard to motivate.  Hopefully this will help :)  I am using the rewards cards that I picked up in a Flash Freebie from Mandy Lopez over at www.the4thgradejourney.blogspot.com   My BFF is the EBD teacher at my school.  She questioned me hard "How do they earn them?"  I felt I needed to have two categories: definite ways to earn a buck, and get caught to earn a buck.  We'll see how this goes...I've never tried anything like this before.
 
 
And, finally, two things here:  1) half a sheet of felt to use as erasers this year instead of using all.my.paper.towels.  I HATE that, so I vowed to come up with something else.  Luckily, the people on Pinterest are waaaay smarter than me.  That lovely idea came from Pinterest.  2) My boards were nasty (so I cleaned them) and were difficult to erase (which compounding the nastiness).  I read on, of all places, Pinterest to spray some WD-40 on each one and rub in.  It repairs the boards...we'll see how it works.  It seemed to do make erasing easier when I tried it.  My BFF's board is AW-FUL!!!  I told her about it, and we figured no harm, no foul.
 
Excited to start putting some faces with the names I've been reading this summer :)
 
 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to School Goals

Back to school...today is my last full day at home before I have to be on the go this week(finish up classroom, school shopping, doctors appointments).   Next Monday starts official work days..cannot believe it is already here.  I'm excited about going back and being in a routine, but I LOOOOOOVE being able to go to the bathroom when I need to go.

Anyways, today's post is linked up with I {heart} Recess for the Back to School Goals edition :)

 
 
Personal:  I am a much happier and patient person when I have ample sleep...like 8+ hours.  Functioning on 6 hours = a tired and cranky teacher, which doesn't help my kids at all.  I need lots of sleep and lots of patience with three resource math classes and three math intervention classes.
 
Organization:  I am a data nerd!  I love data.  I love to analyze data.  I love to help my kids analyze data so they can improve.  I teach special ed, so data is critical.  I teach interventions, so data is critical.  I am notorious, however, for letting my IEP data back up a couple of weeks, and having to play catch up.  It takes FOREVER to play catch-up, and will take even longer this year with 30 IEPs to manage.
 
Planning:  I know what I am teaching all year, with specific learning targets for each day.  I am a HUGE planner....except when it comes to the nitty gritty of the next day.  I wait until the night before to plan my math lessons.  With three preps this year, that might prove to be a daunting task.  My kids are always engaged and definitely learn, but I just have such a hard time pre-planning.  I can't wrap my brain around a lesson that is three days out when I have today's lesson to teach. Must.do.better.
 
Professional: Kentucky is rolling out a new teacher evaluation system based on The Framework for Teaching by Charlotte Danielson.  Find out more HERE.  It truly is an exciting time to be an educator in Kentucky.  Talking about teacher effectiveness makes me SOOOOO excited because it is critical for student learning.  I was selected as a Hope Street Group KY State Teacher Fellow and am a part of giving teachers a voice in regards to the Professional Growth Effectiveness System (PGES).  HSG is a national organization that I am super pumped to be a part of...learn more HERE.  In order to help teachers understand PGES and get their feedback, I've got to know it like I know the back of my hand. 
 
Students: Teachers sometimes forget that these little people sitting in their seats are just that, little people.  They have brain farts (especially middle schoolers) and act goofy or forget a pencil.  I'm going to remember that my kids are 11, not 25.
 
Motto: Since I teacher special education and interventions, it is critical that students develop a concrete understanding of mathematical concepts.  So, one of my favorite movies is "Field of Dreams." So, my motto is an adaptation from the move quote, "If you build it, they will come."  Every day in every lesson I'm going to try to remember my adaptation: "If they make it, they will learn."
 
Now, on to tackling my FINAL to-do list of the summer...
 
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It

I am in under the wire.  It is still Monday.  So here goes...

I don't have any great pictures of my Monday Made It project because its not really that pretty to look at, but is SUPER important to me as a busy mom and teacher during the school year.  It's my recipe book.  Doesn't sound very impressive, but it is critical so that I can make sure I don't cook the same thing every week.

Here's how it goes:  Start with a binder...like this one from Office Depot.
 
And add page protectors like these from Office Depot
 
 
Then, I put all of my recipes for meals in one binder, and then a separate binder for side items, desserts, etc.  My recipes are a wreck...basically just written on a piece of copy paper as I find them on the internet or when a friend talks about what they made for dinner last night.  I have twin 4 year olds to feed and a husband, and while they aren't picky eaters at all, they don't want to eat the same thing all the time (nor do I). 
 
So, I've had my binder for a while, and it is on my counter within easy reach...I use it at least 3 or 4 days per week.  It is also my MUST HAVE for the week. 
 
But the problem that has driven me C-R-A-Z-Y  for a while is the disorganization.  My recipes are just in the binder all mixed up.  So this week, the last week of my summer va-cay, I separated them by meat: Chicken, Beef, CrockPot, Other.  And that's where the Monday Made It comes in.
 
My old and improved recipe binder:
This is definitely not the best picture ever :(  And the sad thing is I really had to work to get this picture.  This is definitely my Must Have for Monday!  And with school starting back, its time to dust it off and get it back into use.
 
Thursday is Open House...yikes!  Must.finish.my.classroom.   The goal is to work from home tomorrow and then go to school on Wednesday and put the final touches on it :)
 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fav Fonts

At some point, I saved THIS in my favorites on my computer.  While having some free time this evening, I found it in my list of favorites.  It is a linky for favorite fonts!!!!  And, if you are like me, you are OBSESSED to the max!!  I've even turned my BFF to fonts this summer :)  I count that as a success!  Check out some of these blogs that have linked up.  I've found more than 20 new fonts that I want to get...and I'm nowhere near finished through all of the link-ups.  The linky is from 2011, so bummer that we can't join in :(

And since my summer is wrapping up (much quicker than I had hoped), here's three pics from here lately.
My first veggies out of my garden.  I didn't get it out until the middle of June, so I'm excited that it is FINALLY producing :)  Might have a tomato next week...just in time for school to start.

Date Night!

My two girlies trying not to give me a really good picture
 

Monday, July 22, 2013

IXL Cards & IEP At a Glance: Manic Monday

Today, I'm linking up with Classroom Freebies' Manic Monday!  Love seeing what other teachers have in their classrooms :)

I am really fortunate that my school has bit the bullet and purchased a license for all 330 6th graders for next year.  This is our second year using IXL.  With struggling learners, the number one thing that I've learned is that they need many many more repetitions than average learners.  IXL is a great tool to use in a resource class and intervention class because I can find SOOOO many skills on a variety of levels and can individualize the practice for students.  We've had Study Island in the past and it drove me CRAZY that I couldn't back it down grade levels for struggling learners because we only had the 6th grade license.  With IXL, you have access to the entire website!  This is great for gifted students to work on more advance skills, as well as great for students with severe disabilities because they can work on basic math skills.  Cannot say enough great things about this website!

Here's the downfall:  Each student has their own unique log in.  Most logins are just the first letter of the student's first name (not what they go by) with their last name.  Add into that they may not go by their first name, or there may be two students as "jsmith."  It just gets confusing, and my 6th graders are not the best at remembering their IXL log-ins. 

Problem Solved: I decided to make cutesy little cards for them to reference.  I am going to write their log-in on it and then tape them into the front cover of their ISN.



For you:  Click HERE to download your freebie.  Paper from Ashley Hughes on TPT.  Font is Hello Recess which you can see here

And, to help myself be more focused with managing my students' IEPs, I made this At-A-Glance to record my students' information that I am ALWAYS looking up in their IEPs.  So, HERE is my At-A-Glance that I whipped up tonight.  Gotta start reading some IEPs this week....only have 30 to get familiar with :)


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
 
 
I only have two more Saturdays left of summer break...sniff, sniff :(
 


Monday Made It





Today, I am linking up with Monday Made It...so excited to show off my biggest project in my classroom!  Last year, I was graced with an 8 foot long white table in my classroom.  Have no idea how I got that lucky, but I'm not complaining :)  I gave me a TONS of storage underneath, which I was thankful for.  The down-side: looking at it all.  It bugged me all.year.long :( This summer, I vowed to do something about it.

Here is the before:
 



So, I went to Hobby Lobby and searched and searched for fabric that would fit in my classroom.  My decoration is just bright and colorful...no certain colors or theme.  Just colors.  But, I had found these great tubs at Big Lots to store my Math ISNs in, so I needed something to coordinate.
 
After scouring the racks at HobLob, I found a green fabric to match.  Thirty dollars later (which was a hard pill to swallow), I walked out of the store...wish I had known about teacher discount :(

I do not know how to sew.  I own a sewing machine.  It was a gift from my grandmother.  It has been sitting in my floor for a year.  It has never been out of the box.  I decided this was not the time to learn how to sew.  SOOOO, I resorted to using stitch witchery :)

I "sewed" all of the edges of the fabric to have a nice looking edge.  Took quite awhile because I am MAJOR OCD!
 
But, here is the final product:
 
Oh yeah!  Just walking into my room makes me breathe a little easier...until I realize I only have two weeks (14 days) until school starts back :(