First Monday Made It of the SUMMER

It seems as though last summer I was on "it" a ton more than I was this summer. Well I've been on a staycation since the end of May. I've been mostly about 4 hours from home at my parents and haven't done much of anything. I think I like it this way. On to what you came here for... I'm linking up with Tara for my first made it and hopefully not my last.

I saw a picture on instagram of a picture frame and got inspiration to make a new first day of school frame for my kinders. I'm not 100% happy with how mine turned out, but it will do. I might redo it. My niece loves it. I went down to their house to make her be my model because she did most of the painting earlier in the day. She's headed to the 4th grade and so not a kinder baby anymore. #kindergram

In all my nothingness at my parent's, I've been able to whip up a few requested products (and for myself). If you follow me anywhere, you know that most of the things are mainly for myself. I have a hard time thinking about what others may want. Is that sad? I can only think selfishly about myself. I've finished up these.

The third thing that I finished up this week is my new class decor for my room. I. AM. IN. LOVE. Last year I had chevron and birds and didn't get tired of it at all. So, I thought to stick with my chevron colors and go with Melonheadz Kids because I LOVE them SO much. LOVE. I am so excited to have my room covered in this awesomeness until May 2015. I'm heading home tomorrow and cannot wait to start printing, laminating, cutting, and doing it all over. I have a love hate relationship with the process, but it's always so much fun in the end.

That's it! By the way - I AM GOING TO VEGAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just thought I'd throw that in there. :-) Have a great week.


Guided Math Chapter 4, Giveaway Announced and new Word Family Pack

Before I start, I wanted to congratulate Lori on winning my Cowboys and Cowgirls Western Theme set. YAY! This is one of a collection of my new decor sets over 300 pages plus editables and binder covers.
I also just uploaded a new series of word family things - Anchor Charts and Posters. I've got Short A uploaded already. I have someway or another destroyed my MAC and I'm on a PC trying to make it work. *sigh* This means, it will take me a bit longer to get the other sets finished until my computer gets fixed.
This week's chapter had a focus on whole class instruction. Sammons' gave a list of scenarios where whole group is appropriate such as practice and review, read alouds for math, and setting the stage for Math Workshop. These are some of the reasons that I enjoy whole group. I am quickly able to present information to the entire class. This is also a time where we can discuss what we just saw during a math workshop, what worked, what we need to work on, and what needs to be changed. I like to let my students determine how most of our days flows. I ask their opinions and like to hear their suggestions and concerns. Whole group time makes us feel like one. I cannot imagine not meeting with my students and having the time to just talk. I love whole group, but not for my entire math instruction time.
However, whole group does NOT allow me to zone in on certain areas that certain students need. Laney gave very good descriptions of how I feel during whole group independent time. If I allow my students to work on the same thing and try to walk around the room, there is never enough time to get to each child. It's impossible. Their misconeptions of a certain skill gets stuck in their head if I am not able to meet with them.
Mini lessons represent a different component of math instruction that I would like to work on this coming year. These are quick and explicit and should be under ten minutes. The mini lesson should have a connection, teaching point, active engagement, and a link to ongoing student work. The beginning of each lesson should connect students to prior lessons or relate to a life experience. The connections makes interest in the students. The teaching point is simply going to tell and model what they will learn for the day. The teacher should then allow students to practice it quickly. This is the part that I flub on. Yes, I said flub. I have a hard time keeping the quick practice QUICK. I will let them continuously practice until I feel that we have it as a whole. I know this is something that I have to work on.
This chapter also focuses on a lot of things that are geared for upper grades. If you are an upper grade teacher and have not picked this book up, I recommend getting it. She does discuss math games which is a huge part of my math workshops. Almost 80% of my math workshops are games.



Guided Math: Chapter 3

Alright! Chapter 3 was all about math warm-ups. It started out discussing how students begin their day. This was really something to think about. Sometimes they are happy. Sometimes they are sad. Sometimes they haven't slept. It's our jobs to take note of each and every single change and PREPARE them for the rest of the day, no matter what struggles they are facing. We, as teachers, have very tough jobs in my opinion.

I really liked how she discussed math stretches as a way to get kids thinking about mathematics and to have their brains working on it. These would be quick and independent. I don't currently have a math question for data daily, but  I've done one in the past. She suggests having a question daily to formulate data to get everyone thinking and analyzing the data.

My students begin their day with their morning work. It switches between math and reading everyday. i have their morning work already in a binder. They have a name writing sheet to write their name. This is in a page protector and they write their name with a dry erase marker. They have the date, how many days we've been in school, number of the day and then either a math or language sheet of skills to work on. I could definitely add in a data question for them to do as soon as they get unpacked. This would be something that would take time to get them independently working and wouldn't be used without me until they are ready.

Relating math with a self connection is crucial. Even for myself as a student in school, I've questioned why we have to learn certain things. "How will this help me in the real world?" For example, money is something that can be EASILY related to their real lives. They have to learn how to use money and how to identify it to get through life. In my class, I don't really connect every single thing to their life. When we learn things such as measurement, I make sure to let them measure their body parts. It's important to know how to take the correct measurement. When we learn to weigh things, it's important to know how much something weighs. This will be important when they're older and they become little cooks. Math for the little kiddos doesn't seem like it's super important to them, but we have to make them understand that all of the little things that we are teaching them and working on how a much greater importance later on and greater impact on their life.

I can make the life connection stronger by adding in real life situation in their math workshops. This can be done by simply adding in things that they would have in their house. This will take extra work on my part to think of ways to incorporate a connection between math at school and math in the real world. How do you connect the two? I'd like to know below. Thanks.

Be sure to check out the giveaway this week and read the other awesome bloggers that discussed chapter 3 of Guided Math.


Diggin' Into Next Year: Math Workshops

Organization of Math Workshops

This year was the first year that I tried math centers/stations/workshops as BUILD. I saw a blogspot sometime ago before school started and wanted to try that out with the new school year. So I did. LOVE. I absolutely love it. It keeps me organized. It keeps the kids organized. Here's what I had at the beginning of the year.

I had each letter posted and a pocket below. Each child had a namestick (popsicle stick with their name) and would place it turned the correct way (so I could see every name) in the pocket of choice.  If you've never heard of the B.U.I.L.D. system, this is where I first heard of it. Learning Adventures with Mrs. Gerlach. She has a wonderful explanation with tons of pictures.

B = Buddy Games

U = Using Manipulatives

I = Independent Work

L = Learning About Numbers

D = Doing Math

For B, I usually put games that were either a bit more difficult and partner games here. These were also games that I thought they would be okay doing alone.

U = Any new manipulative that was introduced was placed here first. Games that included the use of manipulatives were  usually here as well.

I = I used the I basked as journals. I placed half sheet math pages in the basket with glue, crayons, and pencils. They had to complete the sheet. Turn it sideways and glue it in their math journals with the date at the top of the page. This made it super easy for me to check who actually completed math journals and who didn't. I also was able to see who could work independently on certain skills.

L = At the beginning of the year, I used L as the place for all of our making numbers games/sheets. If we were learning about the number fifteen, the focus in L was the number 15. Later in the year, this housed decomposing games.

D= This was really my free for all basket. If there was something that I really wanted my kids to work on that was either a duplicate skill or themed for a holiday, I placed it here.

What I like most about this system is that it kept me very organized and allowed for a range of activities. My school is an AMSTI school. I was trained in AMSTI the summers of 2008 and 2009 in math and science. We currently use Investigations which I'm not a fan of. This system also allows me to use some of those games if I want and not use them if I don't need to.

This is what each bucket looks like. Sorry! I took this at the very end of school. They aren't usually stacked into each other. Each has a letter so the kids know which to pick up.

This was one of our last games in April that they LOVED. All of the contents fit inside. I like these because they are big enough to hold any thing that we need to work with. This was a make ten game.

I will not be using my cabinets to house the letters and the pockets. This did not work for my kids in the beginning of the year. I kept the baskets the same throughout the entire year. I do like the way that BUILD is setup. I am going to have a pocket chart or either something that they can clip to, to put their names so I'll know where everyone is. There is also a sheet floating around Pinterest or somewhere  or a table that you can color/shade in to keep track of where your children are going daily/weekly. I'm debating using that. 

I will continue with BUILD this year and the baskets. This summer, my goal is to have all of my math workshops planned out and organized for every week or two weeks. Some of the skills usually need more than a week. I will be placing all of the materials inside zip baggies and putting a full page cover sheet in the front to easily identify it. That's the goal. Let's hope I can get it done. EEEEK!!!! What are some of your goals for this year? Leave me a comment below. It may be something that I need to work on.

Be sure to check out Laura over at Where the Magic Happens to see the rest of the people that linked up this week.

If you made it down this FAR!!!! I am giving away my newest set. Next up will either be Farm OR... hmmm I'm not really sure. Maybe Kids themed.

Over 300 pages of goodness! I'll leave this rafflecopter up all week! Any theme decor set you'd like to see made?


Five for Friday

Linking up with Doodle Bugs and I'm on time!!!!

I'm pumped because this week I started a 10 day green smoothie cleanse. I also started walking... let's hope I can keep it up. I never get up early in the summer, but this hasn't been too bad.

I finally got to meet the super sweet, super nice Mrs. Todd who I met on IG!!! Love her.

I hit 500 products sold on TPT!!! Yay. I am also almost at 400 followers. Do you follow me? Um, you totally should!

I am still obsessed with Jamberry and treated my niece this week who is a chronic nail biter. She likes them so much that my sister is trying her first jams. Find me HERE.


I hope I get to see this at least ONCE next week.

Guided Math: Chapter 2

I am back with Chapter 2 of Guided Math. This chapter had A LOT covered. If you haven't read this book, it is a must read. Most of the information/topics covered in chapter 2, I felt like I already knew. However, I'm going on my 7th year in teaching and have been around some really great teachers who taught me what I know now. If you are a new teacher or fairly new, I recommend that you read this book. 90% of this book, I did not know or did not do my first couple of years.

I really liked the Foundational Principles that she laid out. The most important one for me is: Modeling and think-alouds, combined with ample opportunities for guided and then independent problem solving and purposeful conversations, create a learning environment in which students' mathematical understanding grows. This is so important because every single word is so true. Teachers have to remember to model, model, model and when you think you've done enough, model some more. This is especially important in kindergarten. I know that sometimes I get bored with modeling the same things, but I tend to forget that they are just 5 year olds. The beginning of the year is always the hardest because I am still remembering what my kiddos could do in May and here we are in August with brain new little bodies in my classroom. It's hard to start all over again, yet it's something we do every single year.

Think-alouds are another important aspect of math. Students do not realize that we, as teachers, do a lot of thinking in our heads. We have to think where they can hear us so they can begin to mimic what we do as readers, mathematicians, scientists, and as learners in general. Next, the word ample stands out to me in the principal. We have to give our students more than one opportunity to catch on to a skill. Conversations are one of my favorite parts of any lesson. I love to hear what they think. When they chat with a neighbor or partner, it is always interesting to hear how they put out their thoughts. I am then, able to work on their thinking and how they portray their thoughts. I love this principle because it involves every aspects of a math loving environment.

I do feel that my students are members of a mathematical learning community. I believe it comes easily for them because I like my classroom to feel like a family home. We are there so many hours throughout the week that we essentially are a second family to each other. However, I do feel that I can make it ten times better than it already is. This past school year, my students were very fussy during math workshop. My goal for the upcoming year is to find a way to teach them how to get along while they are working together. The odd thing is that during Daily 5, I had little to no arguments or disagreements. I allowed my students to be a lot more talkative and wasn't as strict on who went to what math workshop and that could have been part of the issue.

Our math learning community was very good in the beginning of the year. We would have a quick whole group, break into math workshops, and then come back to discuss what we learned. Our discussions even stemmed to what we needed to work on to make the next math workshop session better. As the year went on, we would be crunched for time and a lot of the discussions did not happen. This is a part of the learning community that I need to work on - being consistent. 

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