Monday, July 28, 2014

Fun on the Farm

Who doesn't love a little summer fun on the farm?!?!  With all of the fuss of school starting back up again, baby number 3 on the way, realizing that after next week I will only be seeing my boys in the evenings after school, I thought it would be fun to take a step back and post about my kids.  Meet Jonah and Eli.  Jonah is 3 and Eli will be 2 in August.  These two boys are the craziest, funniest, most mischievous boys you will ever meet.  Having said that they are also the sweetest and most loving boys a Momma could ask for.  This picture was taken the other day at my mom and dad's.  They recently made two additions to their slew of farm animals. A baby horse and its mommy.  (I am not a horse person, so, I do not know the correct terminology for what their official names are!)  The picture above shows my boys playing with the new baby horse on the farm.  They LOVED her!! she was very sweet with my boys! I love looking at pictures of my boys, it puts an instant smile on my face.  Any time I am stressed or worried all I do is look at them and I feel better.  Love them! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapter 9

After reading this book, I am totally motivated to re-construct my entire math block to make it go along with the Guided Math Framework.  However, due to time constraints, scheduling conflicts, and all the other unknowns of teaching, changing my math 100%.  I am going to start incorporating small aspects of the framework a little at a time and work my way up from there.  I also don't feel like I can do it all at one time and be able to give it 100%.  I want to master each of the little steps that I take that way as I build upon adding the framework to my classroom it will be more beneficial for the students and myself.  

Communication is going to be the most important aspect in creating a professional learning community as I use mathematics in my classroom.  As I am able to properly communicate with my students and their parents what is expected, the amount of learning that is possible is limitless.  Communication will make sure that all of us are on the same page and taking the necessary steps to promote as much comprehension and understanding as possible.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapter 8

Assessments are an essential part of any classroom whether you have created a Guided Math structure for your classroom or not.  However, in a Guided Math classroom, assessments do not play the typical role as they do in other areas of curriculum. Using the Guided Math Framework, assessments are used for students for guide and enhance their learning.  When I first though of assessing my students, I automatically thought of giving a test at the end of a skill and use the results to determine how well my students comprehended the skill that I taught.  Although that is partly true, I learned that assessments are more than just knowing how my students did on a specific skill.  They are used to show me, the teacher, what areas I need to improve on while I am teaching.  Assessments also show what parts of the skill need to be re-taught.  I also like that according the Guided Math Framework, students are also involved in their own assessments.  They are directed in exactly what they are supposed to learn and they help to assess themselves on how well they mastered the skill and what they, as the student, need to do to help improve their learning.   

In my own classroom, I feel that I use a wide variety of assessments. throughout the course of the school year, I use Formative and Summative assessments when teaching skills. We are also required to give multiple benchmark assessments, usually every 9 weeks. I surely cannot forget our state mandated assessments that are given each spring. Needless to say, sometimes I feel like I have assessments coming out of my ears!! It seems that I am always assessing for someone.  Someone is always in need of data, whether it be myself, other teachers, administrators, superintendents, or the state.  Due to this, I can honestly say that even though I have plenty of assessing and evaluating going on in my classroom, I don't always know what to do with all of the data that I receive.  Sometimes, I have so much data that it all gets muddled together and then half of it gets wasted! ugh!! It is a tough balance trying to find the right amount of assessing and evaluating my students in order to make their learning as productive as possible.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Christmas in July $1 Sale!!

Check out the Christmas in July Sale!!! Sale begins July 16th at 12:00 AM and ends on July 17th at 12:00 AM!! 

Check out the sale BELOW!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapter 7

Discovering students' thinking is not a new concept in the world of education.  The ways of discovering it however, are continuously changing.  In the past, a student's thinking was discovered by grading their homework or test and the grade that was received or the work that was shown on that assessment determines that student's thinking for that particular skill.  Although the previous is still used to determine what a student was thinking, as a teacher, the discovering has changed significantly. I notice in my own classroom that I am sometimes able to predict how my students will do on a test based on what I have previously discovered about their thinking.  How does this happen?  Usually informally.  I will simply talk with a student or "pick" their brain about what they are doing and how they get their answers.  Doing so I am able to see what they understand about a topic and what they are struggling with. I still do paper and pencil discoveries, but I use that info a lot for RTI groups.  I like to "catch" my students in the act of learning so that I am able to adjust my teaching before any grading takes place. 

How frequently do I confer with my students? Not enough.  I find it difficult to meet with my students when I am one person spread out among 25 kids.  I try to confer with as many students as possible in a given day, but I only have so much time. I try to narrow my conferring with those who need me the most given the skill we are working on.  I never work with the same kids day in and day out.  I try to divide my time up by skill.  My thinking on this is that not every student will excel 100% at every skill that I teach, therefore I am most likely going to see every kid at some point or another. 

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Guided Math Chapter 6

Math Workshop can be very beneficial to have in the classroom.  I would love to incorporate it into my own class but I am having trouble finding a time slot to do it in.  However, I am going to do my best to get some aspects of Math Workshop during my math.  To organize this will take a lot of planning. I would like to create “stations” throughout the classroom and depending on what skill the students are working on they will be assigned to that station.  I can’t decide if I would like to have a permanent spot for each station or have all stations at a central location and then have students take them to designated areas.  I guess I will have to try them both out and see which one will work best.  I like the picture that was shown in the book this chapter with the plastic bins.  Each bin was assigned a particular skill and all materials needed were in the bin for easy access for students. 

As teachers, I feel that we have many goals for our students. One of them is for our students to become confident and independent problem solvers who are not afraid or unable to approach and solve problems in the world around them.  Math Workshop can help a teacher achieve this goal.  Laney Sammons wrote that one of the great things about Math Workshop is it flexibility.  That aspect of Math Workshop, for me, makes it a winner from the get go.  Any time a teacher is able to have flexibility in their schedule allows them to create problems, activities, and lessons based on specific needs of their students.  In using Math Workshop a teacher is able to let students who are ready to be independent work in their own way on specific skills. Those students who are not ready are able to work in small groups or more closely with their teacher.  Every child works at a different pace and Math Workshop allows teachers to differentiate their lessons to best suit each students’ needs in order to help them become the independent and confident problem solvers that every teacher wants to help form.

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