Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday: 300 Follower Giveaway Winners and EXCITING NEWS!!!

So I'm linking up for Five for Friday but I really only have four things, lol!  It was a very hectic week so I feel like they count ;o)

1. First things first, let's announce the winners of my 300 Follower "Fun in the Sun" Giveaway!  There were over a thousand entries and I am again floored by how amazing y'all are!  Thanks for all the support to myself and the wonderful ladies who helped me with this giveaway.  Without further adieu here are your winners!

Day 1 Winner

Day 2 Winner

Day 3 Winner

Day 4 Winner

Congratulations ladies and be on the lookout for emails from myself and the fantastic group of bloggers who sponsored your giveaway!

2.  I got to meet up with a few of my Florida blogging buddies again today at the Cheesecake Factory and it was delicious!  In the photo are Daina from Sticky Notes and Glitter, myself, Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room, and Leigh from The Applicious Teacher!

3.  My puppy had to go to the vet today to get a regular dental cleaning but the doctor found that she had a cracked tooth that needed to be removed to stop the infection.  Homegirl was not happy, neither was her mommy with that unexpected bill, but what are going to do... Life happens!  The poor thing was drugged and bandaged up when I got her.  Needless to say she is very pitiful right now snuggling up with her dad, lol.

4.  Now for the big news!  If you have been following me, you know for the past six months we have been searching and searching and finally, last night WE GOT A HOUSE!!!!!  We're so excited!  It's in a beautiful hidden gem of a community, smack dab in the middle of both of our jobs, and next to great schools.  It feels cozy and homey but with elevated ceilings that allows it to feel larger than it is.  We just LOVE it!  I tried to post a picture but it doesn't like me for some reason.  More to come soon!

Hope y'all had a fabulous week and an even better weekend :o)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Word Nerds Chapter 3: Making Introductions

Hey y'all!  I do not have my post ready yet for Chapter 3 (ugh, I know?!) but we had some CrAzY stuff happen the last couple of days and hopefully I will be able to share the good news with you tomorrow, along with all my 300 Follower Giveaway Winners, on my Five for Friday post.  So fingers crossed!
BUT there are some wonderful ladies out there who have prepared a fabulous summary for you today!

Joy from Joy in the Journey and Kaitlyn from Smiles and Sunshine
Joy in the Journey

Head on over to both of their blogs and see how they introduce their vocabulary.  Go ahead and stalk look at the rest of their blogs because they're super cute!  I was very excited (still am) about this chapter seeing as how this is where it will all start come August!  I love to see the different ideas people use!  Don't forget to link up your post if you are joining us as well :o)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bloglovin Giveaway!!!!

Hi fabulous followers!!

You have probably heard by now that Google Reader is going away on July 1st.  Well, Google Reader may be going away, but we don't want YOU to go away, so we hope that you will consider following our blog through bloglovin!  We know that change is we thought we might sweeten it up for you a little bit!
I'm doing a giveaway for all of my fabulous followers that take the leap and switch over to bloglovin.  You may have already switched over!  In that case, this will be an easy entry!

If you have not yet switched or are not following my blog through bloglovin, then there are a few easy steps to follow.  You can go to the sidebar (that's the column on the right over there that shows my followers) and you can click the button that says Follow this Blog with bloglovin.  Or, you can go into the Rafflecopter below and click the link in the first entry, and that will take you to our blog on bloglovin.

You will need to set up an account with bloglovin so that you can follow me.  Please be sure to leave your bloglovin username in the Rafflecopter entry.

If you want to go ahead and move all of the blogs you follow from Google over, you can go to this link and it will take you through the super easy steps.  BUT, please go to my bloglovin link and make sure that you are following me through bloglovin.  To be sure, make sure that the blue button at the top of my bloglovin page has been clicked (it should be gray with the word following- if it's blue, please click it to follow!)

So, if you follow me by bloglovin, please enter my giveaway!!  I will be picking 2 WINNERS and each winner will get their choice of 2 ITEMS FROM MY TPT STORE!  :O)

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get the InLinkz code

Monday, June 24, 2013

Must Have Mondays: Kindle

* SO SORRY! I had this scheduled for this morning and apparently it didn't go :o( *

It's Monday and that means it's Must Have time!!!  I can't believe this wasn't my first "must have" when I started this linky!  My Kindle is without a doubt my absolute most favorite thing I have ever bought right after my dog, Bailey :o) 

I have over 300 books on this bad boy and still growing.  I'm all about the feel of books in my hand but I also enjoy saving a tree every once and a while and we live in a small apartment, so this helps me with space saving issues :o)  One of the things I love about my Kindle is the Amazon support that comes with it!

After I had it for over a year or so it just froze and I couldn't fix it.  I called Amazon for help and she tried to reboot it herself and send it a signal but nothing was working and she felt awful that she couldn't fix it.  She didn't know what was wrong but knew that that was NOT supposed to happen.  She said she would send me a brand new Kindle with all my books already on it.  It arrived on my doorstep in less than 24 hours, for FREE.  Now the free part is important because at the time this sucker wasn't cheap and my warranty was up and they had the right to charge me but didn't.  They were beyond helpful and nice and I loved doing business with them.  It's been over 4 years with my second Kindle and no problems ever!  No, they didn't pay me for this post, I just really love my Kindle :o)

What is your "must have" this Monday?  Don't forget to link up and check out what other blogger's need in their lives!

Friday, June 21, 2013

300 Follower "Fun in the Sun" Giveaway Day 4!

Today is day four of my 300 Follower "Fun in the Sun" Giveaway!!!  If you have not entered the giveaway from Day 1, 2 or 3, make sure that you do!  There are a lot of wonderful prizes from some pretty awesome bloggers to be won and you can win more than one giveaway!  Click on their buttons below and check out their sensational blogs.

Jessica from Joy in the Journey is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!
Joy in the Journey
 Mandy from Mandelina's Madness is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!
Robin from The Bomb-Diggity Classroom is giving away an Independent Book Study Menu of Activities!

Ashley from Fifth Grade Features is giving away Division Scoot from her TPT store!

 Katie from I Want to be a Super Teacher is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!
I Want to be a Super Teacher
Alison from Eberopolis: Teaching Reading & Writing with Technology is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!
 Tammy from The Resourceful Apple is giving away her Reading and Spelling Practice Games!

 Corrina from Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!
 Melissa from Fashion Craze is giving away a set of Analogy Puzzles!

I am giving away TWO Winner's Choice items from my TPT store!

You can enter as many times as it will let you and as many days as you want!  Each giveaway will be up for one week from it's start date.  I will announce the winners on my blog, Facebook, and email you.  Thank you all again for your generosity!  These past four days of giveaways have really humbled me with how wonderful you all are and I know I've said it a lot but I cannot thank you enough for all the help, support, and love along this blogging journey you have given me.  Thanks again and happy Friday y'all!
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Building Mathematical Comprehension Chapter 3: Making Connections (FREEBIES!)

Today I will be one of your hosts for the fabulous Building Mathematical Comprehension Book Study!  I am really getting into this book :o)  It's only the third chapter and I already have so many ideas flowing through my head.  I had to get a journal just to write them all down so I wouldn't forget!  This chapter was all about making connections as good mathematicians.

As good readers, we always talk about text-to-self, text-to-text, or text-to-world connections.  Before, during, and after reading.  Why not the same for math???  Throughout our lessons we might hit upon some schema that the students should know, but what if they don't remember (I know... that NEVER happens, lol) or what if they didn't really understand it, or what if they remember it WRONG?!  As I started reading the chapter these are some of the quotes that really hit home and opened my eyes to the way we teach math.    Now these are not things we didn't already know but it really drove home the need to discuss their prior knowledge as a whole more before, during, and after the lesson.  I am a firm believer in that students learn so much from each other so why not have them share their background knowledge with each other?

"What students already know about the content is one of the strongest indicators of how well they will learn new information relative to the content."
"When students begin to recognize the mathematical connections not only within the discipline, but also to their lives and to other content areas, their understanding becomes deeper."

Prior knowledge can be grouped into three categories: attitudes, experiences, and knowledge.

Have a class discussion at the beginning of the school year about math: your student's thoughts and feelings on the subject.  What have they liked and disliked about the subject?  What would they like to see added to their math block?  Most students have a fear or anxiety about math and this would be a great way to alleviate that.
Have you ever seen that Disney movie Donald in Mathematician Land?  My students watch it every year and they are always so surprised by how math can connect to everyday life!  I think the biggest "aha moment" for them is when Donald shows them how they can play pool like a professional just by knowing angles, lol.  Have students look for math outside of just their math block.  Use a Math Log (similar to a reading log) to see what they can find at home or help your parents get involved with a Math Newsletter.  I've attached an editable PowerPoint of a sample math newsletter that you can send home to help parents have a better understanding of what is being asked of their kids.  (Print it as a PDF and "Scale to Fit" to get rid of the white sides)

Like I said before, kids are going to have different experiences but why not let them learn from each other?  Let them make the actual connection from the new concept or procedure they are learning about to the things they already know.  "If student's have nothing on which to hook new information, it is very difficult for them to construct new meaning."

Kinds of Mathematical Connections:  Look familiar???

Math-to-Self: Even though you know that your students have a wealth of knowledge in their brain, especially about math, they might not understand how to pull it out and use it to their advantage all the time.  As the teacher, you will need to explicitly teach and model to students how to make the math to self connection.  Whether it be with numbers (7 is my age, how much I get a week for allowance, 7-11, etc.) or skills (percentages: coupons, sales, interest rates, tracking my data, etc.)  The more this is done, you will gradually release the responsibility of this strategy onto your students and soon they will independently be doing it on their own!

Math-to-Math: When students create links between their present and past math learning, they are enhancing their ability to solve problems and construct new mathematical understanding.  Just think about it.  Without know multiplication, you wouldn't be able to do division as easily.  Then think of all the different ways students divide.  No more just long division!  They are using all of their mathematical background knowledge to figure out what works best for them: long division, adding and adding and adding some more (I hate that one!), groupings, arrays, the list could go on.  And you didn't necessarily teach them all of those ways but they created that link on their own.

Math-to-World: The more students are exposed to math, the deeper their understanding.  In a previous post I discussed a newsletter with parents, but you can also challenge them by asking them to do a Math Hunt: find math in everyday life.  The weather, movies, elections, sports, newspaper, etc.  Math is not only found in math.  Math is found in Science, Reading, Social Studies, Art, Music, P.E..  When making your lessons, try and think of ways to incorporate the "math angle" so your students can see that math is everywhere!

Have y'all ever heard of DynaMath?  I LOVE it!  It's a Scholastic Magazine they publish each month or so and it is all about math in the real world.  They talk about movies, current events, books, tie it into science and social studies, etc.!  Each article is geared towards a specific math topic and there are problem solving questions at the end of each article that require you to practice said skill and have read the article to get your answers correctly!  Have I mentioned that I love it???  We use it for one of our math stations as enrichment but if you find a specific article that is gear toward what you are teaching you could always photocopy it and do it whole group :o)  There are also extra practice sheets and quizzes online for teachers to reproduce if you wish.  It is a GREAT way to tie in math and real world connections.  Click on the image below to check it out.  You can even look at a digital issue (the whole magazine) for free online.  If your schools doesn't have the funds to get a class set then this is another option.

*No, Scholastic did not pay or bribe me to say all of that, I, and my kiddos, just REALLY enjoy this magazine*
Now the question is, how to do all this?  When you are planning your math lesson it can be difficult to just "wing it" when coming up with connections on the spot.  As you are deciding on your think-aloud, make sure you can come up with connections that are authentic and ones that you'll be able to use sentence stems with that your students can become familiar with and use when they are independently making connections.
  1. You want to make sure your students know what schema is and how to build it!  I love the schema roller technique.  Choose a math topic and write down all your schema based on that topic.  Tear apart everything you wrote down and lay it on a desk.  Take a sticky lint roller (that's your brain) and roll it over the desk.  This shows the kids that everything you've ever learned is now stuck in your brain, you just have to find it :o)
  2. Daily math stretches - these should be brief and each student will be complete one discrete part of the stretch, and then the class will meet together to discuss the task.  The students should be the primary contributors to the discussion, you facilitate.  I know, I know it's difficult, but we have to let go y'all :o)  Another good idea was the "How did my family use math last night."  This really gets them thinking about their math-to-world connections!
  3. Use anchor charts that they can refer back to!
  4. Current events (discussed above) and children's literature can be an essential tool to making connections!  In every chapter so far they have mentioned how important children's literature is and I cannot agree more!  I like that for this chapter though it was not necessarily math picture books that they discussed.  Any book that you read you can find math connections in it!
  5. My final point that I found very important was that this is a strategy... NOT THE LESSON.  Although this strategy is important and will be very helpful, do not spend a lot of time on it.  It is not your main lesson (usually).
I hope y'all are enjoying the book as much as I am and I can't wait to see what everyone else thinks!  Don't forget to head over to Brenda (Primary Inspired) and Beth's (Thinking of Teaching) blogs and link up what you thought of this week's chapter!

300 Follower "Fun in the Sun" Giveaway Day 3!

Today is day three of my wonderful giveaway!!!  If you have not entered the giveaway from Day 1 or 2, make sure that you do!  There are a lot of wonderful prizes from some pretty awesome bloggers to be won and you can win more than one time!  Click on their buttons below and check out their amazing blogs.

On the third day of the giveaway all these bloggers gave to me... (haha)
Sara from Miss V's Busy Bees is giving away TWO Winner's Choice products from her TPT store!
Miss V's Busy Bees
Kelly from Koonce's Korner is giving away a $10 TPT gift card!

 Em from Curious Firsties is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!
Rose from Rosie's Rambles is giving away her Adjective Wall Cards!

Daina from Sticky Notes and Glitter is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!
Foreman Teaches is giving away a Winner's Choice item (no bundles) from her TPT store!
Gina from Third Grade Tidbits is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!
Kelly from First Grade Fairytales is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!

I am giving away TWO Winner's Choice items from my TPT store!

You can enter as many times as it will let you and as many days as you want!  Remember to check back each day until Friday for a whole new batch of goodies :o)  Each giveaway will be up for one week from it's start date.  I will announce the winners on my blog, Facebook, and email you.  Thank you all again for your generosity!

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Word Nerds Chapter 2: Classrooms that Foster Word Confidence

A little housekeeping before we get into our book study...  I know everyone has seen the news about GFC going away and the switch to Bloglovin'.  Well I'm doing it!  I'm taking the plunge!  I would appreciate if you already follow me (or you want to!) to please begin following me on Bloglovin' :o)  Okay, now that that is out of the way, onto our book study!

Our Word Nerds Book Study continues with Chapter 2: Classrooms that Foster Word Confidence!  The chapter takes you through both a primary and intermediate classroom and shows you how two different teacher foster word confidence in their daily routines.

Our two lovely hosts for this book study today are...
Raye from The Caffeinated Teacher and Misty from Think, Wonder, & Teach.  Click on their button below to check out their posts.

The Caffeinated Teacher
Think, Wonder, & Teach
I'm going to give you just a brief run down of my thoughts on this chapter but will leave the bulk of the information to the wonderful ladies above!
Thoughts and feelings!
  • I was definitely intrigued by the idea of having kids practice getting excited and then immediately stopping to come back to the lesson.  I never thought about that approach because my first couple of years my kids had no trouble with that area whereas last year's students could not come back quickly after getting excited or going off for an activity.  Definitely be doing this next year!
  • Loved the concept of a teacher-convenient classroom vs. student-convenient classroom.  After reading the descriptions I really thought about my classroom and, thankfully, realized it was student-convenient!
  • The choosing vocabulary words went right along with my other book study on building mathematical comprehension!  Use words from the content you choose, words from your standards, and words that the students will see in other subject areas but need to know to be able to decode questions and what not later (Tier 2 words).  LOVED the metaphor of "Goldilocks" vocabulary words - just right for the students in front of us.  Don't we all know how that changes from year to year!
  • I'm totally going to start calling it a Vocabulary Cycle as opposed to a unit!  It's so true!  With a unit, it ends and the student's never retain it, but a cycle continually repeats itself and the students will need to recall the words throughout the year and their life!
  • Whenever I introduce vocabulary I always like to use a Prezi presentation with a kid friendly definition and a visual, but I really like their idea of the Vocabulary Planner to help me sort out all the information I need.  I would also like to go to some sort of Vocabulary Notebook.  Does anyone do this in their classroom?  Thoughts?  Ideas?  Problems?
There you go folks, the writing in the margins so to speak!  You should see my book, lol.  It's all sorts of highlighted and written on with doodles and notes.  I'm thinking of bringing into the classroom to show my kids how I text code as I read and they can too!  Don't forget to check out Raye and Misty for their amazing insight to this wonderful book!  Head on back later today for Day 3 of my 300 Follower "Fun in the Sun" Giveaway!  If you haven't entered for Day 1 or 2 yet... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?  There are so many wonderful goodies from some extraordinary bloggers :o)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

BMC Chapter 2: Recognizing and Understanding Mathematical Vocabulary

Just as it states in the blog post, chapter 2 is all about vocabulary!  I was very excited to read this chapter since my other book study is on becoming a "word nerd."  Even though I am reading Word Nerds and it has great ideas I have never taught math (I will be next year though) so some of the ideas from this chapter were really enlightening and I plan on using them in my classroom.

When the author wrote that every student is a Mathematical Language Learner I could not have agreed more!  Just thinking about all the different activities and accommodations I make for my ELL kiddos, that's exactly what I should do for my math group!  They need multiple exposures, visual representations, etc.  Math is like a whole new language if you think about it!  Add on that some of our math vocabulary has multiple meanings, but if the kids try to use their prior knowledge to decode the words they will get so confused.  Two examples: feet and yard.  When kids hear those words they think of a body part or their "front/back yard," not twelve inches and 36 inches.  So what can we do to help them learn this "new language" you might ask?

The first thing you need to do is compile a list of your math vocabulary.  Now I'm not just talking about what the chapter tells you in bold words.  Look at your state standards or the Common Core practices, look at the word problems and find words that kids will need to know to become successful mathematicians.  The textbook can be very helpful but it is not the end all be all and you want to make sure you're words align with your standards.  This would be great to do with your team during a PLC (does anyone else have those???).

Once you have your list of vocabulary words there are many different ways the author gives you to help promote their vocabulary fluency inside and outside of the classroom!

1. Letter to parents asking for their support at home with the new words.  I really like this idea because as much as we might complain about parent involvement sometimes, most of them really do want to be helpful they just don't know how or what we are learning about.  By sending a letter home for every unit and telling them the words and how they can incorporate it at home can be huge to our student's learning!  You can even include a challenge (Math Hunt) and have them find these words/examples in the real world and bring them in for extra credit on the test or make a big collage for your classroom.

2. Math Word Wall - I love this idea but I think I would want it to look a little different from our regular word wall.  This one would have pictures and examples, etc. but I just can't think of how I would want it to look, especially with the limited space...  Anyone else do this?  What does your Math Word Wall look like?


3. Graphic Organizers - the same ones you use for your reading vocabulary except now you will use number representations.
Frayer Diagram
Venn Diagram
"These Are.../These Are Not..." Chart
Matrix or Semantic Features
Analysis Grid
Concept Map
4. Games and Other Learning Activities - these are what really motivate my kids!  This is also where I see the biggest growth in correct vocabulary use.  Through these activities my kids are showing me that they can use the words correctly (Speaking and Language) and that they can explain or justify their answer by writing in their journals using their new found vocabulary (Writing).  Again, I can only speak from the reading stand point, but if it worked in my reading class why not in my math class?

Vocabulary Charades
Make My Day (Students have answer cards and you call out "If you have 7 + 9, make my day."  The person with 16 will come up and bring you their card.  Continue this until all cards are gone.)
I Have, Who Has
Math Hunt (explain above)
Talk a Mile a Minute (like Taboo or Pyramid but with math terms)

5. Literature Links - you all know how I feel about children's literature in mini-lessons... LOVE!  If you head on back to my post on chapter 1 there is a great link that will take you to a website that has different picture books for each math unit!  One thing I really like about using children's literature in my lessons is that not only can it give the kids a real world application but it gives them a common experience.  Very rarely do they all have the exact same background experiences, but with a read aloud they will and you now can go back and reference the book in small groups and what not.

Whew that was long!  Thanks for sticking with me through that lengthy post :o)  I hope you got some good ideas that will help you embed your math vocabulary into your lessons.  Check back on Friday as I will be hosting Chapter 3 of the Building Mathematical Comprehension Book Study.  It's all about Making Mathematical Connections!