Interactive Math Journals!

A few weeks ago, I came across Jen's fabulous Interactive Math Journal Resource:

 Let me tell you first hand~it is the number one seller on TPT for two weeks in a row for good reason.

At the end of each unit of study, I am going to have my students reflect on their learning.  Jen spells out everything in her resource.  It is very thorough and I can't say enough about it.  You should also visit her blog, Runde's Room, if you aren't already a fan.  She is full of ideas of how to activity engage learners.  I love "stealing" ideas from her.  And, I do often.

We just finished our unit on place value.  Most curriculum starts the year with place value, but we pushed it back a few weeks for a few reasons:

1) We wanted to spend about 2 weeks reviewing basic multiplication facts.
2) Place value is a H.A.R.D. concept for many (very abstract) and we needed to take a few weeks to warm up to the idea of thinking deeper.

I have my students keep all work (including many interactive foldables) in what we call their "personal math notebook" because it is the notebook with their personal numbers on the front. 

However, for this culmination activity, I am having my students work in a "Math Journal".  It's actually the back 1/2 of a composition notebook.  The first 1/2 of the notebook is used for their Calendar Math activities (Again, that's something I "borrowed" from Stephanie in Teaching in Room 6~I promise to share more on that soon.)

We organized the math journal just like we did our personal math notebooks with a Table of Contents.

I had my students complete their first entry on Friday.  I am SOOOO excited about how they turned out.

The journal uses the same principle of the whole "right side/left side philosophy" that I used with my interactive social studies notebooks last year.

Take a look:

The right side is full of "teachery" objectives, an interactive tool and some notes. 

I started by having them list the Common Core standard specific to the unit (in this case on place value):

Complete with Common Core numbers and all, folks.  Stick with me on this....

Next the foldable and some notes:

Now for the best part...the left side:

On the top, they list the learning goal again.  BUT, this time, it is in their words.  Kid-language. I want them to be able to take the Common Core "gobble-dy gook" as I refer to it with them to words that make sense to them.
Here's an example:
After their learning goal, the students then write what they learned. 

Then, Jen says that they need "Proof".  I LOVE this...the proof can be a drawing, a paragraph, more examples, etc. 
This student's proof was a drawing of the place value chart.  Another student (oops, can't find a picture) was a pyramid with the value of each place value...brilliant!  (I'll add a picture later.)

Finally, students must write/draw a reflection.  For me, I told my students that in their reflection I wanted for them to think of how place value is important.  How/Why do we need to know about place value in our lives??

Check out this cutie:


So, there you have it...a great way to end our unit on place value.  Thanks, Jen for such a FANTASTIC resource.  If you haven't purchased this number one seller, you need {here} to check it out.  So.Worth.It.

Do you use this resource?  I'd love to hear how you are making it work in your room.  Leave me a comment below :)

Just A Quick Sale...

Hey everyone...just a quick post to tell you that I'm joining in the sale:

I'm running my sale through Tuesday since I'm a little late to the party....

Off to finish finding some of my own deals....

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This...



Look closely. 

No, not at the pedi (thank goodness I just had one)...

Yep, those are two different colored shoes.

That's how I went to school today.


Here's the best part....I didn't even realize it until my co-worker came up to me and said, "Elizabeth, did you realize you have on two different colored shoes?"

We were in the middle of switching classes.

I busted out laughing so loud the entire pod echoed.

This was at about 9:30.  We start school at 7:30.  I went THAT long without anyone noticing (including myself).

Funny, huh?

This just goes to show you how crazy my year has been so far.  'Nuf said.  How about you? Is your year off to a crazy start?

Don't you just love that I felt the need to put "Fun in Room 4B" on the picture?  Like you'd pin it or something.

I crack myself up.

Have a great night, y'all.

Subtraction Poem Freebie

My students are struggling with subtracting with regrouping.   I found this poem on Pinterest (are you surprised) and I'm not sure where the poem itself originated.  But, I knew I needed to create a sheet for my students interactive notebooks for them to use it as a reference.

Although originally intended for lower levels, I think, this poem sure did help out my 4th graders. Especially those that were struggling with "when" to regroup.

I ran 4 to a sheet and the students glued the poem into their notebooks.  When working independently, I've seen them flip back to their reference sheet for a reminder.  Yay!

I can also see them saying, "More on the floor? Go next door...and get 10 more!!"  It's a great reminder for them.

We've also been working on rounding this week.  I found this video on Patti's blog: A Series of Third Grade Events:

We created movements to this, too.  I'd show you, but I'm a little leery of videoing myself.  Maybe on day.  Maybe.

If you'd like the Subtraction Poem, head on over to my TPT store to download {here}.  I'd love to hear about how you help your students with subtraction.  Leave me a comment below :)


What has blogging done for you?

For me, it has opened so many different worlds. I've grown as a teacher.  I've grown as a person.

There were times over the last year where I wondered if I had a voice in the blogging community.  Did people read?  Did people care what I had to say?  Was I obsessed with how many followers I had? (Ummmm....yes). 

I am not quite into a full year of blogging, but this is why I continue to blog:

#1~I think about how and what I teach in a different way.  Sounds simple enough, right?  If it's not blog-worthy, should I plan it?  ;)
#2~I love to share.  I've always been "that parent" who sent in treats to teachers and kids when my own kids were small.  Almost to the point of hearing at home, "I bet those cookies aren't for us."  I love to share my ideas almost to a fault.  But, really, is there any fault in sharing?  Probably not.
and finally...
#3~I have "met" so many wonderful friends in this community.  Yes, I truly consider my blog buddies my friends.  They listen.  They hear about my ups and downs. I had a ball with Amber and Elisabeth on Friday when they came to stay with me.  I had a great time at the blogger meet up in Columbia.  My buddies Kristen and Tara might be a million miles away, but they are there for me in a skinny minute.  Tara~thanks for listening to me today when I needed it. 

So, do you ever have doubts about blogging?  Stick with it if you do.  There may be ups and downs to blogging and feeling like you aren't being heard.  But, the friends you make online will make it worth it. 

I know it has for me.

Math Workshop Success and a Blogger Meet Up!

Hi everyone!
I'm happy to report that, all in all, today was a huge success. 

I have three classes of math. 
All three classes were an overall success!  I only had to send one group back to their seats during the "Hands On" time of rotations.  That's only one out of twelve.  Pretty good.

I'd like to tell you a little about it (and this is for YOU, Tara). 

I'm basically going to explain one of my classes.  Essentially, I "do" the same thing with all three classes.

7:50~ Students enter my room and get out their homework and their "Math 4 Today". 

Have you heard of Math 4 Today?  If not, here is the blurb from Amazon:
"A comprehensive, yet easy-to-use supplement to any second- through fourth-grade math curriculum. Twenty-four essential skills are reviewed during a four-day period and evaluated. Great practice for standardized tests!"

I like that it spirals.  I can introduce skills early in the year that I might not cover until the spring.  It takes very little time.  The students complete four questions a day.

8:00~We go over Math 4 Today. 
Today, I took a few minutes reminding the students about where they needed to go when during Math Workshop.  Take a look at how I had the students write their "schedule" onto the back page of their math notebooks:
So, using the math rotations board, seen below, this student is in group 4 and her rotation is
1. Hands On
2. Math Facts/Calendar Math
3. Teacher Time
4. At Your Seat
(By the way, if you haven't checked out Tara's board at TpT, you need to do so!  It's so bright and cheerful. 

8:00-9:00 ~15 minute rotations~
I usually have students bring their homework to my small group table with them when they come.  As they are checking their homework (with a pen), I am walking around the room making sure that every student is doing what they are needing to do. 

Once I know that everyone is in his or her correct location, I return to the small group table and begin my lesson.  My lessons are always a day ahead of what they are doing during "At Your Seat" independent work. 
For example, using the textbook, I taught lesson 2-5 in small groups today (subtracting with regrouping...argh, they had such a hard time...which makes me SOOO glad I taught it in small group so that I could help them more!!!).  But, they completed 2-4 as independent practice or "At Your Seat" work and they also completed 2-4 for homework tonight. 

Essentially, I teach a day ahead, and their "work" is a day behind.  Make sense?

I've also changed what they are doing during each rotation from last year a little.

So, if you have read my other posts about Math Rotations, which I now call Math Workshop either {here} or {here}, you will see below how I've tweaked it a bit more to fit my needs this year.

I am still using the acronym "M.A.T.H."

M~Math Facts- Instead of working on Math 4 Today during this time (because we've already completed it before rotations begin), we are now doing Calendar Math.  Calendar Math???  Yes!!  I absolutely fell in love with Stephanie's posts about Calendar Math at Teaching in Room 6.  If you haven't read up on those, you need to check her out.  She can explain it a whole lot better than me.  I will share more on how I use it later...but for now "M" stands for "Math Facts/Calendar Math".
A~At Your Seat- Again, this is the independent practice from the instruction in small group the day before
T~Teacher Time- Small Group! Yay!
H~Hands On

During "Hands On" time, students work with manipulatives, games, etc.  I change these out weekly.  Here is the tub for one of my groups.  I have two tubs per group.  The boys take one tub and go to the front of the room (floor), and the girls take the other tub and head to the back of the room (floor).

And inside the tub:
(Those calculator things are actually electronic flashcards!!)

The noise level is LOW considering only 6-7 students are at "Hands On" at once.  And, these are the only students talking.  The others are essentially completing work at their seats or working with me. 

I LOVE it!  Like Super LOVE.  I can't believe it has taken me this long in my career to discover small group instruction in math.  I'm so glad that I did!

Do you do Math Workshop or a variation of it?  Do you have any advice?  I'd love to hear how you use Math Workshop in your classroom.  

But, before I go....

I can't wait to meet up with some fabulous bloggy friends on Saturday.  Click the picture above to head on over to Hope's Blog, 2nd Grade Shenanigans to learn more.

Math Workshop Begins Tomorrow!

This is the fourth week of school for me.
It's time to start Math Workshop and I'm so ready.
The kids are ready.

I spent about 30 minutes today explaining all of the procedures about how we rotate.  We did a mini-simulation of the rotation, too.  Everything went off without a hitch.  I'm hopeful that tomorrow will be a smooth transition into Math Workshop.

Be careful what you wish for...I know, I know.

The time spent today preparing, I hope, is going to be the precursor to the success. 

I spent time discussing the board that has been posted in my room all year.  Light bulbs went off!  Some students were like, "Oh, now I get it." 

See, I've been telling them and leaving little hints about rotating all year, but now with the explanation and the trial run, they feel as if they are truly ready.

I know they are ready.

I'll be back tomorrow to tell you how it went.

Wish me luck!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway that is ending Friday.  You can win either a car magnet, banner or sign.

Click {HERE} to go to the giveaway.

Fabulous Finds and a Fantastic Giveaway

Too bad "Giveaway" didn't start with an "F".  I'd be thrilled with my alliteration...

I told you earlier this week that I'd be back with a giveaway for you.

I'm back with the giveaway and a monthly version of "Fabulous Finds".  What do you think?  I can manage once a month, can you?  I'd love for you to link up below...and enter the giveaway, too.

On to my fabulous find(s):

I was contacted by Signs on the Cheap over the summer to review some products.  I was happy to do so because I knew exactly what I needed for my classroom.  Now, let me tell you, the name "On the Cheap" only means cheap in cost.  These are some quality products, people.
Cheap Signs
Bandit Signs
I am a strong believer in the "Cubes" method for solving math word problems.  I've blogged about it {here}. 

Basically, students follow these guidelines to help them tackle a math word problem:

Click on the picture to see it closer, but basically:
C-Circle any key numbers
U-Underline the question
B-Box any action words
E-Evaluate how you will solve the problem
S-Solve the problem (and check).

I made the above "poster" for my students last year and wanted to make it larger for my room.  I was toying with taking the image to Wal-something or maybe Costco when along came Signs on the Cheap.

I was able to create a H.U.G.E banner of my "poster" and it is now hanging proudly on my window...I thought I had a better picture, but you can just make it out in the picture of my week 1 mess:

Bad picture...I will try to update tomorrow.
This 2 x 3 foot banner only costs about $12 and it's customized to what my needs are in my classroom.  Score!

I also enlarged my "R.E.L.A.X" poster for testing:

R-Read the question carefully
E-Examine every answer choice
L-Label your answer in the passage or problem
A-Always check your work
X-X-out answers that cannot possibly be correct.

I love them both :)

You, too, can have banners in your classroom.

Or maybe you want to utilize the company's Magnets on the Cheap:

For less than ten bucks, you can have a 9 x 12 car magnet made to your liking.

I knew I wanted to have pictures of supplies as a magnet.  This way, I could throw the magnet on the board of the supplies the kids needed out as they entered my room.  (Remember I'm teaching 3 classes of math.) I used the Back to School Supplies graphics from Michelle (The 3AM teacher) and inserted them into the template for the car magnet and created this:

Plus I threw in a copy of the math book and labeled one as a workbook.

That's a magnetic sheet that I then cut apart (gasp!) and now, when students enter the room, they look on the board to see which magnets are posted and they can get out the necessary materials.  Hello, easy peasy :)

Yes, I know.  I think outside the box every now and again.
So, do you think these are some fabulous finds?  I sure do... I know it's Thursday, but I'm posting now so that you know I'm doing this Fabulous Find First Friday and you can link up :)
Do you want to have a banner, sign or magnet of your own? Enter below to receive the product of your choice:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Currently...and a Giveaway Soon ;)

I'm beginning to wonder where the time is going?  I thought I just did one of these?  Well, it's time again for Farley's Currently...

I wish I were also linking up with my bud, Tara for a Monday Made It, but I've got nothin'.

Instead, I spent the weekend living it up with my high school BFFs.  We were there to celebrate their 40th birthdays.  Yes, plural.  My besties from high school are twins.  This is not the best picture, but here we are:

 I'm the short one, of course. Ignore the evil eyes. I was really being nice that night.  Swear.

On to the Currently:

My needing:
Every year when I head back to school I fight the back to school crud.  I know I'm not alone.  For me, here's the issue.  I'm allergic to dust and mold.  Ahem...a school building is made of those two things.  Right? Once the nose starts a-going and the post-nasaly stuff gets going...well, it usually turns to Bronchitis.  I'm hoping it doesn't manifest itself that way right now. 

I have Open House tomorrow!

We are combining 4th and 5th grade presentations to explain to parents how we are departmentalizing this year.  I've been elected the speaker (thanks, Brandee). 

Fingers crossed that I talk tomorrow.

Hence the "Not Making It Monday" for me...I'm off to curl up in bed and rest.

Maybe I'll make it tomorrow with item number 3 of my favorite things.

Go link up with Farley and remember the rule of 3.  

Wondering about the giveaway part of my title? I've got a great new "Fabulous Find" that I'm going to be giving away later this week.  Want a hint?  Look down on the bottom right side bar under "Products I Love"....stay tuned....