Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Turkey Math

I just posted these math games in my store for $2.00.  There are four different math games to help students with fractions and decimals with a cute turkey theme to keep kids motivated during this active time of year! Gobble it up on teachers pay teachers or teachers notebook.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Making Economics Come Alive

Economics is such a hard concept for kids.  With the election this year, they are hearing this term on every commercial break!  Based on some of the ideas of the amazing, Beth Newingham, we use a classroom economy structure.  Students earn money for their classroom job each day.  On Fridays, we open the bank and have pay day.  About four times a year, we open our Seussville shops. This is when the magic happens!  Students had the opportunity to be real “consumers” and purchase “goods” at our classroom store.  This is such a busy activity, so we needed a few extra hands to make this work. First, we divided the students into four different groups where each with a different activity to complete in 15 minutes before we rotated to the next group.
One group spent time on the computer completing economics simulations.  Here are the sites we used:
One group met with me on the floor to learn important economics concepts.  We discussed vocabulary terms and questions from our standards.  With a small group, we were able to really help kids understand their role in our classroom economy and their parent’s role in our larger economy.

One group spent time shopping.  This was, of course, the most exciting rotation.  Kids brought their money to the store and collected items.  The shop owner (a wonderful parent volunteer) had the kids do their own math by totaling up their items purchased before she would give them a hand-written receipt to take to the bank.  From there, the kids paid for the purchases at our bank with another volunteer.  The funniest part was when the kids refused to spend all of their money because they were worried about taxes!  Can you get anymore real-life than this?

Our last group observed the shopping.  This was such a powerful rotation because the students were looking for items that were in high demand or low demand and even items that were scarce.  When all groups had completed all the rotations, we regrouped as a class and discussed their observations.  I was able to help the students understand that shop owners want to know which items were in high demand so they could raise prices.  The students really understood! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


We use rubrics for EVERYTHING!  In our classroom, parents don't even see traditional grades like an A,B,C etc. We believe that they are much better informed about a student's progress when we use a standards-based rubric.  Parents and students love it too!

We make some of our rubrics using the tool rubistar.  Although, often we find it is even easier to just create the rubrics using the standards. Here's an example of a rubric we just created for our opinion writing unit.

For more ideas on how to use rubrics in your classroom, check out some great blog posts by clicking below.
Rubric Linky

Math Vocabulary

It seems like there’s a million math vocabulary words! When teaching math, we want kids to be engaged in “doing” math and not just writing down math words, but we know they are so important to build math comprehension and skills. This is why I created the math vocabulary mega pack for third and fourth graders. Students can learn these important words through their math dictionary and word wall words as we introduce each new concept and then as part of a math rotation for our 21st century math groups, our students can play math exciting vocabulary games. We printed this resource and had a parent volunteer cut them out and get them all ready for the kids to use. The kids love them! If you are interested in winning this resource, please follow our blog and enter a comment below with either a link to your blog or your email address so I can easily contact you. Winners will be announced October 29th.

This resource is also available for purchase at Teachers Notebook or Teachers Pay Teachers.

Good Luck!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Writing Workshop Groups

Whether you call it workshop groups, revision round-up, or buddy editing...we all work hard to help encourage our students to improve their writing through student feedback. In our classroom, we use workshop groups and help students improve their writing through these groups. Before beginning these groups, there were several mini-lessons we had to teach including:

1. What are types of feedback?
2. What is positive feedback?
3. What is feedback to improve?
4. What does it mean to write to an audience?
5. What does it mean to revise?
6. How do we work in groups?
7. How do we share our writing so others can see and hear?
8. How do we listen to writing actively?

There are so many other writing lessons that must be in place for our students to manage these groups as writing and the first time takes a lot of modeling! Here is the poster we use to teach our students the steps to workshop groups.

After reviewing the routines, we modeled with other teachers (we used each other and available specialists) to show students how even adults can share their writing, listen to feedback, and make the writing better. We got the students into writing groups to share one of the pieces. Their feedback was amazing and the kids loved sharing with an authentic audience!

This is one small part of our writing workshop for the 21st century management structure. We believe collaboration and communication are crucial for any developing (and for the matter accomplished writer) so we try to include this routine weekly. Hope this small post helps you with some ways to include these important skills into writing workshop!