Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Products

Just a quick update before my classroom reveal tomorrow *squeals of excitement*

I put together a set of I Can statements and vocabulary words to use for a Math Focus Wall or Word Wall. They can both be found in my TPT store.

I Can statements with Learning Targets 

I Can Statements without Learning Targets

I Can statements directly align with my Data Trackers. There is a set with and without the Learning Target numbers. Vocabulary is color coded by unit to match the I Can statements as well. I'm excited to get these laminated and added to my wall :)

I also put together a chart for my kids to keep track of whether they have mastered something at a glance. This will go in the front of their data notebooks in class.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It--Classroom Signs

Skipping out on Made 4 Math Monday since these aren't necessarily "math" related and instead joining 4th Grade Frolics for my first

I wanted to do these all last year, but never got around to it with all of the other craziness of switching jobs mid-year. Without further adeiu....

SWAG signs. I got SWAG from Pinterest, but I cannot for the life of me find the post. I used it all last year. It stands for Sit up straight Watch the speaker Ask questions and Give snaps. All are self explanatory except G. We give snaps whenever someone makes a positive contribution to class--not just for right answers! It helps keep us participating and motivated. I painted some canvas, printed out the bubble letters then traced and cut out of sparkly chevron scrap book paper that I found at Hobby Lobby and just could not say no to.

These will hang on my wall in my classroom. The W was still wet, so it isn't finished here. I wanted to get this posted.

My school uses the acronym "LEAD" as well. Each morning on the announcements the principal says "Remember each day we want you to LEAD. You never know you can LEAD until you try!" Lead stands for Listen to others, Engage yourself, Accept responsibility, and Do your best.

I ran out of space on the A and the L is all crooked, so it's not as pretty as I would have liked, but not much I can do sadly. They were out of E's but will get a truck tomorrow, so I will hopefully be able to finish then. These will also go on the wall in my classroom. I covered the canvases with scrap book paper then hot glued a painted wooden letter on.

In my absence, I have gained some hippy-type qualities. I've gone vegan, I oil pull, I try to use natural EVERYTHING in my home, I'm going to do oil diffusing in my's gone a little far. It all kind of started last summer when I took Hot Yoga on Long Island, and when I got hit with a few rough patches between August and the present, I've looked at what I learned there to get me through it. Mainly, I've used mantras. 

Around testing time last year, I had the idea of getting my kids to write mantras to keep them calm and motivated during the test. Unfortunately, the schedule was too crazy to get this done as I hardly saw my kids for the last two week prior to testing. About a month ago I was at a 7 Habits committee meeting at school and suggested we have the kids write mantras for that. I knew I wanted one in my classroom as a generality as well, but hadn't really started trying to write one or looking. Wouldn't you know it, while I was browsing through my Blogger subscriptions I saw A Sea of Math posted one. It's perfect. So I painted another canvas and wrote it on there. Naturally, I didn't give myself enough space to fit it. It wouldn't be me if I planned ahead. Sigh.

I started out by drawing 1x1 grids then diagonals through each to create a chevron pattern. I then used painters tape to block them off. In retrospect, I should have painted the whole thing white THEN done the grid, but hind sight is 20/20.

I then painted over the entire thing white so the colors would have a good base. Again, next time I will paint white THEN grid and tape.

I peeled back the paint and had pretty zig-zagged chevron :) I could still see the lines, and there were a few spots where the tape wasn't quite even so I painted over it with white in those spots.

(Terrible picture quality) I used a sharpie paint pen to write the words from the Mantra. The light is bad, so it's hard to see in the picture, but it's not bad in real life. 

I will be working in my classroom tomorrow and Thursday, so I will post pictures of these hanging beautifully in my room :)

Completely unrelated--I want to do a data wall. I tried the poster board thing last year and it was ok, but not what I want. How do you do data walls in your classroom? It's so hard to find good examples for middle school math!
Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Things :)


I'm feeling very motivated right now, so I finally went ahead and made my own banner and logo. They aren't the best because I haven't dabbled in Illustrator since I was in high school, but I'm pleased :)

I also started a Facebook page! You can find it here. Go like me and check out my TPT store :) 
Thursday, July 24, 2014

#MyFavFriday Data Tracking 2.0

Ok, I'm going to give this another whirl. Maybe I can keep up with it this time.

I was home bound last week due to an unknown plague, so naturally I decided to take it easy by getting ready for next year. I'll be back in 8th grade teaching traditional math--no Math I HOORAY!!!! Even better? My best friend will also be teaching 8th grade math right next door, so I really couldn't be happier :)

I posted last summer about data tracking. The system worked well until I switched schools and positions and wasn't able to keep up since it was mid-year. It worked well for the kids and for me, but I needed to do some tweaking. I wanted to really narrow down the learning targets so they were specific and I needed a better way for myself to keep track. So here we have Data Tracking 2.0!

I started by mapping out the curriculum in the way I want to teach it. We use the Big Ideas book at my new school, and their sequencing just makes no sense to me. After I decided what order to teach things in, I isolated the standards and wrote I Can statements for each. The units are big and will more than likely have multiple tests and quizzes per unit, but I am ok with that.

First...The student edition.

This is the same format as last year, but with the new skills and sequencing. Students will rate and date at the beginning of the unit. 4 is they can do it without ever making a mistake and could teach someone else, 3 is they aren't perfect but they usually don't make a mistake, 2 is they know how to get started but get stuck sometimes, and 1 is they don't know how to start at all. They use the far right chunk to graph as a bar graph. Each time we test or quiz they rate date and graph in a different color. The goal of course is growth. This helps the students, their parents, and me see exactly where they need assistance. It's great for parent conferences and has reduced the number of kids who come to me saying "I need help." "With what?" "All of it." *blank stare from Miss A*

The new part (which I love love love!!) is the teacher half of the data tracking. 

This is printed as a two-sheet spread that goes into a three ring notebook. Student names across the top, learning targets down the left, and their score from 1-4 goes in the box. Since this is SBG, the grades change based on performance, so be sure to use pencil! Since they rate and date in their folders, I am still able to look back if necessary for parents/admin/students/myself to see how they have progressed, but I just have their current level of proficiency/understanding in my grade book. I think this will make things much easier!

This is available as a bundle in my TPT store here