Monday, November 17, 2014

Math on Mondays

Math Stations are an excellent part of any complete Math program.  You can use math stations in a variety of ways in the classroom.  Some teachers set aside a specific time for Math Stations, other use it for children who are early finishers of seat work.  I like to use a combination of both.  Young students are only able to focus on a short amount of seat work, and older students, of course, are able to sit still for longer amounts of time.  I currently teach Grade 2, and I use Math stations most days for the children who finish early, and I also use them to introduce a new topic, or idea, because I believe that individual, hands on activities are the best way for children to learn.
When I taught kindergarten I used Math Stations as a complete method of teaching Math.  Most of my lessons were based out of the program Math Their Way by Mary Baratta-Lorton.  Although this program was developed almost 50 years ago, the basic concepts are fantastic.  Here are some of the ideas that I gained from her program.

1- start with free exploration.  Allow the children to play with the manipulatives without limitations.  It takes a few days for the kids to move past ‘playing’ with the manipulatives, and can focus on specific activities with them.  They need to ‘get their play out’.

2- set aside a specific area to contain the math stations and label them with pictures AND words.

3- teach the children how to set up and how to clean up the math stations before you expect to start full lessons with them.

4- baby steps – introduce new manipulatives and new stations slowly.  Give the kids lots of time to explore. 

5- use real life materials – and explain to the kids where they come from to further their connection between the concepts and the real world.  Cute plastic teddy bears and brightly colored blocks are fun and can be used as well, but real-world manipulatives are the best.  Math their Way explains how to use “junk” to create collections of manipulatives.  The best part about these collections or “Junk Jobs” as I call them, Is that they are free and easy to create.  Send home notes to your parents asking for help for your collections and you will be amazed at what you will get in a short amount of time.  My collection of Junk Jobs includes about  50 keys discarded from a hardware store,  hundreds of buttons,  tons and tons of different colored Bread tags from loaves of bread, lids from dried out markers, beads, and more…

6- be consistent.  Each page has a little happy face on the top right corner of the page to help early readers realize which way is up when reading print.  This is consistent throughout the program.  Every worksheet is labeled like this.  It’s the consistencies in the little things that make Math Stations go smoothly

Overall, I think Math Stations are an excellent way to teach Math.  They are extremely flexible and can be relatively inexpensive to set up.  Although they do take a lot of time to set up, your students will learn so much more, by making connection to the real world, and by using the manipulatives by themselves because children learn the best when they get to “play” with things.   To play, after all, is what every child’s job truly is.- 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cats - A Science and Critical Thinking Unit

Here it is, my latest product.

This is a Life Science Unit which incorporates the concepts behind the Knowledge Framework.  It's an excellent way to build vocabulary and work on critical thinking skills.

to get your own copy

or scroll down for more details.

This is a Science unit about cats which is designed to build Critical Thinking skills for all learners, and to work on increasing language and vocabulary, especially with ELL learners.  This unit involves minimal prep and tons of blackline masters.  In this unit there are tons of cut and paste activities, sorting and classifying activities, tallies, full color and black and white versions for the teachers, mini books, tons of images of cats and resources for the teacher.

The unit is built on the principles of Mohan’s Knowledge Framework which is divided into six areas:

.        DESCRIPTION - In order to fully understand what you are studying the students need to know all the proper vocabulary to describe their thinking.  This set of lessons is designed to assess the students’ knowledge and ensure that they have the essential vocabulary to learn about the topic.

      SEQUENCE - When learning about sequence, the students are building their knowledge about the logical order of things.  They are also building on the vocabulary involved like the words “first, then, next after, last...”  Being able to organize information into a logical sequence is a higher level thinking skill.

CHOICE - Making a choice, or a decision is a very difficult skill for some people.  Working on
this skill is an important step in critical thinking development. 

CLASSIFICATION - Being able to sort and classify objects into categories is an important critical thinking skill. 

      PRINCIPLES - Principles are a series of steps created to achieve a goal.  In this lesson the students can follow the steps to create a drawing of a cat.  Being able to follow directions in a set order is an important higher-level thinking skill.

          EVALUATION – this is a skill for the students, not for the teacher.  This type of lesson could be used for the teacher’s assessment, but it is initially for building up the skill of evaluating for the child.  Evaluation is when the students take all the skills and knowledge that they have learned and put it all together.  This is how they synthesize their knowledge.

So that's it.
I hope you enjoy it.  I can't wait to try it out now that I've "prettied it up".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Peace is When I Look at the Sun

I just thought I'd share some Remembrance Day art from the walls at school with you today!  The bottom photo is done by a cute Kindergarten student.  Her message really resonated with me, "Peace is when I look at the sun."  I hope you can all see the sun today!


Thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, November 3, 2014

We Remember - a new unit for Veteran's Day

Here's my latest unit - perfect for Remembrance Day or Veteran's Day.
I just added a few Poppy crafts - check these out.

to get your own copy

And here's a closeup of the rest of the unit.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Currently

I got organized enough this weekend to participate in Farley's Currently linky.

CLICK HERE for the linky party.

So here's my breakdown
I'm listening to Maroon Five's latest and I love it!

I'm soooooo happy that it didn't rain on friday.  This is the first time in years that my little trick-or-treaters didn't have to cover up their costumes.

Today is a crazy, busy day.  Connor and Brad had hockey at 8am.  Brad's at a meeting until 1.  Connor has a birthday party to go to.  Teagan plays soccer, I play hockey and Teagan has a birthday party to go to.  On top of that Brad and Connor are getting the grocery shopping done.  CRAZY!

Every time I look at my carpet upstairs I die a bit inside.
It's a mess.  We moved in 4 years ago, and I hate carpet - especially light beige/ white carpet
I don't like to clean up spills and stains.
Brad redid the stairs with hardwood a few years ago, but then we ran out of money.
And we're trying to save up - but hard wood is expensive.
Maybe next year right?  For now, I live with all the stains.

I need to get my eating on track - what's new 

And reading - well, I'm re-reading the Daily 5 for more ideas.

have a great day - hopefully yours is not as crazy as mine today!

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

From the Hallways...

Here's a little peek of the artwork that I found around the hallways at my school this week.

This is such an adorable activity and apparently, super easy and quick.
I can't wait to try it out next year.  The teacher who did this activity found it on Pinterest.
She hasn't posted it up yet, but you can check out her blog Artventurous HERE.

These fantastic pumpkins were done by the kindergarten class at my school
She apparently found the lesson over at Deep Space Sparkle.

And finally here are the adorable Candy Corn people that I got from last week's Teacher-Pay-Teachers newsletter.  It's from I Love Doodle Bugs.



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins

I have a new unit for sale.  It's a great unit for learning Science while building Critical Thinking skills.  Check out the details in the image below! 

to get your own copy.

Thanks again for stopping by today.