Saturday, July 26, 2014

Math Journal Prompt Notebooks

Today I am getting all my journals ready for my kiddos that are coming to me in two weeks!?!?!  I found this pretty impressive product for 4th grade math prompts last year and never ended up using it.  Well this year I'm going to give it a shot!

It's pretty great!  This product comes with 90 different math prompts that cover the different standards for the Common Core, a table of contents so you know which standard is covered in which standard, a rubric, ideas for ways to incorporate these into your class and much more!  Totally worth $9.95!  And no, I was in no way paid or asked to review this product, I'm just that excited about it ;o)
Thanks to my hubby who cut these composition notebooks in half with his table saw, I was able to get these perfect sized notebooks to use!  This product comes with two different rubrics and both rubrics are given in a one page format (to put in a journal) and large enough to put as posters on your wall.  Neither really worked for my half composition notebooks so I just retyped it into a smaller format.

I printed both the rubric and the journal cover that I created on a Post-It Full Label Sheet.  You can easily print this on normal paper and have your students, or yourself, tape it into the journal.  The truth is, I ran out of Scotch tape and have loads of the full label sheets, lol.  They are pretty cheap at our local office supplies store with my teacher discount.  All I have to do is cut, peel, and stick and they are ready for my students!

I placed the rubric on the inside cover so that students can always go back and refer to everything they need to get the best possible score.


Finally, place the covers on and TA-DA!  All done!  Once I meet with my team and we discuss lesson plans, I will print out the prompts/labels based on which standards we are teaching.

One of the things I am most looking forward to with these journals is that not only do my students get a chance to show how THEY like to solve the problem but they also have to EXPLAIN how they solved the problem.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Problem Solving Strategies Winners!!!

Well my husband had the honor of picking ten random numbers out of everyone who commented  on the giveaway for my Problem Solving Strategies Flip Chart!  I made him hide in another room and call out numbers so he couldn't see who he was picking (that's as fair and legit as we get in this house, lol).  Here are the winners and you can expect an email with your goodies today!  If you would like your own copy you can click on the photo above and find it in my TPT store :o)
  1. Katie (the very first comment)
  2. Amanda Yoshida
  3. Overachiever
  4. Ursula
  5. Kellard
  6. Katie (signs her name Kat)
  7. Mandy
  8. Monica R.
  9. Jill Hatcher
  10. Rachel Yates
I will be sending these through email, so if you are a non-reply comment blogger, please change it!!!  If you see your name here and still have not received your Flip Chart by tomorrow that is because you are a non-reply blogger.  Email me through the blog so I can send it your way!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Guided Math Conferences Chapter 4: Types of GMC

This is my second Guided Math book study (two summers in a row) and I am L.O.V.I.N.G. them!  This year's book study is all about Guided Math Conferences.  I can't begin to tell you what an impact guided math groups had on my kids last year.  Now to be fair, it was my first year teaching math so I have nothing to compare it to but... 93% of my math kids made gains on "the big test."  That's huge!!!  And to be honest, I think the way I formed my math block had a lot to do with it.  So I knew when this book study came along to enhance my guided math groups, I had to jump on it!

Today's chapter is all about the different types of conferences!  Now, be fair warned: it is a long post but there might or might not be some goodies for you if you hang in there ;o).  The whole point of having conferences with your kiddos is that through these conversations you are helping build your student's confidence while also getting the information you need to help get them to the next step.  Here is the definition of each type of conference along with some of the things I thought were important from the chapter!

1. Compliment Conferences: teachers use these conferences to motivate young mathematicians or to lift the spirits of discouraged learners.
  • beneficial in the beginning of the year
  • focus your attention on what they are doing well to reinforce their strengths as mathematicians
  • build relationships, confidence, and trust
  • lift their spirits and increase engagement
  • we usually focus on what students are doing wrong in the problem and try to fix it - SWAP IT! Focus on what they are doing right!
  • motivate students to make mathematical connections and use previously mastered skills to help with current learning
2. Comprehension Conferences: the focus of these conferences is on assessing and then extending the degree of student comprehension of mathematical concepts.
  • can be used to verify learners' understanding of new or previously taught math concepts
  • serve as a formative assessment to shape upcoming instruction
  • lead students to think more deeply and critically about the math they are working on
3. Skill Conferences: the aim of these conferences is assessing and then extending the skills of students, including both process and computation skills.
  • similar to comprehension conferences but these check what the student can do, not what they are learning about (may overlap though)
  • used to assess prerequisite skills
  • good formative assessment
4. Problem-Solving Conferences: these conferences are used to explore the problem-solving strategies being applied by students and then to strengthen their toolbox of strategies, if needed.
  • Problem-Solving Process
    • Understanding the Problem
    • Devising a Plan
    • Carrying Out the Plan
    • Looking Back
  • Problem-Solving Strategies:
    • Guess, Check, Revise
    • Create an Organized List
    • Create a Table or a Chart
    • Draw a picture, use manipulatives, or act it out
    • Look for a Pattern
    • Simplify the Problem
    • Write an equation
    • Work backward
  • This website has "math stories" for most of the strategies to show kids examples on how to use each strategy!
5. Student Self-Assessment and Goal Setting Conferences: together, students and teachers review progress toward meeting learning targets and establish learning goals.
  • LOVED this quote!: "Students who set goals, make flexible plans to meet them, and monitor their progress tend to learn more and do better in school than students who do not."  This part always seems like such a time suckage but it really is SO important!  The kids actually understand what they are work towards and are now working smarter not harder.
  • encourage students to review and clarify learning goals, their progress, and set their "next steps"
  • students are essentially answering these three questions
    • "Where am I going?"
    • "Where am I now?"
    • "How can I close the gap?"
  • students set specific learning goals!  The goal should be difficult but achievable with effort.
    • identify the goal
    • include a plan of action
    • time frame (how long till they accomplish their goal)
    • evidence of accomplishment (how can they prove that they've accomplished their goal?)
6. Recheck Conferences: Teachers use these conferences when they want to see if students are using what they learned during earlier conferences.
  • follow-up on progress
  • can be through a variety of methods: observations, written assessments, etc.
  • an effective and comprehensive way of verifying students' mathematical progress
Whew!  You made it!  That really wasn't sooo bad, was it?  As I was reading this chapter I kept thinking to myself how I do some of this anyway, just maybe not in a formal conference setting (and it doesn't always have to be that way), but I also realized I need to make a point to do more of these conferences in general, especially the student self-assessments.

I loved how throughout the chapter the example teacher kept referring to their anchor chart of problem solving strategies to use.  Well I do not have one of those in my room (shame on me!) but I wanted every students to be able to access it quickly and have one of their own to take home as well.  So what does a teacher do when she can't find what she wants or needs... She creates it!  I have made my own Problem Solving Strategies Flip Chart to create with the students.

Inside you will find steps on how to solve a problem for that particular strategy and an example word problem along with space to solve!  Now I fair warn you, I teach intermediate and so the problems and wording might be a little more than your kiddos can handle.  That's okay though!!!  Want to know why???  Because I made it editable!  The steps and word problem areas are both editable for you to fit it with your own class.  Even if you teach intermediate, you might want them to write the steps themselves.  Go hog wild!?  All I ask is that if you do edit it in any way and/or post on it later, please give credit where credit is due.

You can win your own copy of this flip chart if you pin it and leave the pin address where I can find it in the comments section, along with a nice little note!  I love to read notes :o)  The giveaway will only last until tonight, July 20, 2014, at 10:00 PM EST (that's when I turn into a pumpkin and have to go to bed).  After that it will be for sale in my TPT store!  I will be picking multiple amounts of people to win!  I'm thinking 10... but let's see how many comments there are.  If there way more than I expect then I will pick even more winners!  Yea it'll be like Oprah, "You get a flip chart, you get a flip, you all get a flip chart!!!!!!"  Well maybe not all, but who knows!?  You'll have to wait and find out ;o)

Check out all the other fabulous blog posts about this chapter as well!  Happy Sunday y'all!