Math Solutions

I wanted to delay my usual Tuesday post this week so that I could share about a workshop I attended. This year our school district contracted with Math Solutions to provide professional development. Math Solutions is a company founded by Marilyn Burns. Quoting from their website, "Math Solutions is dedicated to improving students’ learning of mathematics by providing educators with the highest-quality professional development services and resources."

Tuesday was the first of three all - day workshops we will have this year. This first one focused on the Standards for Mathematical Practices. We spent a lot of time talking about talking! It was a pretty good supplement to a training I attended a couple weeks before school started on CC math.

My biggest takeaways were some new ideas to get kids thinking mathematically and explaining their reasoning. Here is the list of Talk Moves that we discussed:

  • Revoicing (teacher repeating or restating what a student says)
  • Repeating (having students repeat what another student says)
  • Reasoning (what do you think about that?)
  • Adding on (is there a different way to solve?)
  • Waiting (giving think time - something a lot of us struggle with!)
I had been thinking recently that I started the year fairly well in this area but have slacked off. This workshop encouraged me to get intentional about this again.

We also received a free book. I'm looking forward to checking it out for some new ideas.

Have you done any training with Math Solutions? I hope you will leave a comment with your thoughts about them.

Five For Friday

This is a first for me! I'm linking with Doodlebugs Teaching this week with my five random things.

Monday was our first quarter teacher workday. One of my projects was to go from 3 student tables, each seating 6 students, to 4 tables seating 4 students with one extra table for my other two students. The kids seemed to really like the new arrangement Tuesday morning.

My area of focus for my evaluation this year is "tracking student progress." This is the data wall that I'm trying out. My kids each have a number that they put on the wall (magnetic) to indicate their progress toward mastery of the math standards. 

This past weekend I worked on a couple of my quilting projects. I finished this wall hanging just in time! I actually thought it would end up being for next Halloween, so I was excited to get it done.

These cute little rubber duckies are from a fundraising project that one of our 5th grade classes is doing. Kids are loving them at only $1 each. I keep getting them for my grandkids, who are also loving them. These are the Halloween ones I got this week.

Happy birthday to my dear husband today! It's one of those big numbers -- 60! I can't believe I'm married to a guy who's that old :) We'll be celebrating later with a family dinner at Outback.


Falling For Multiplication

Here is the next set of multiplication matching cards. This set covers the 4s and 6s.

My kids have been working with the first set of 2s and 3s, and as I hoped they are feeling more confident about those facts. I plan to give them this set in early November.


Techie Tuesday

I've been trying to find time lately to write about a couple of programs we are using in the classroom this year for math! This week I want to share some information about Education Galaxy.

 Education Galaxy

(click to go to website)

I first discovered the mobile app for Education Galaxy. At just $2.99 in the iTunes app store, I decided to give it a try. I only have one iPad, but I passed it around and let my students try it out. They loved it, and wanted to be the one to get to use the iPad every day! I found it a quick way to get data on their mastery of specific standards. They complete 10 questions each time, with their goal to score 80% or above.

The problem was that I could only register 25 students in school mode, and I teach two classes with a total of 36 students. If I just had this app I'd probably use it for the lower students as a quick way to gauge their progress. I tried this out, and would have them use the app after I had worked with them in small groups. They record their scores in their data folders and I can see who is "getting it" and who needs more help.

As I used the app, I began to have some problems with it. When I contacted the company I got a very quick response. Jeremy, the founder and CEO, responded personally and worked with me to gather information about what was happening so they could work on the issue. How often does that happen?! I did get the problem resolved, and Jeremy also offered me a classroom subscription for one year to the online site. This has been amazing! My students are doing so well with their individual study plans. As they complete sections they are recording data on their own and tracking their progress. 


You can sign up for a free account which gives you 10 student accounts. If you have not seen this site, I highly recommend trying it out. I gave information about it to our math coach so she can check it out. I'm hoping she will advocate for a school license next year!


Going Batty!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

We are working with multiplication right now in third grade. First with understanding multiplication, and now beginning to explore strategies for the facts. With fluency a goal for the end of third grade, I wanted to create a game for my students to practice the beginning facts. So far I have two matching games -- for the 2s and the 3s -- that they can work with in the coming week.

(click the picture to download)

Starting out with matching games using just the 2s facts and just the 3s facts will help them build confidence hopefully! After some practice with these, we'll move on to the 4s and 6s so we can apply the strategy of doubling (hopefully).

Halloween being the major topic right now, I decided to go with a bat theme; I'll be posting the next set of cards in a few days with a post - Halloween theme. Enjoy! 


Math Sub Plans

A little while ago I received a message from a TPT customer who had purchased my August / September sub pack for Math. She asked if I was going to post one for October. Now, that had been my plan all along. However, like many of my fellow bloggers the start of school has a tendency to derail the best laid blogging plans!

I'm thankful that the little push from the customer plus knowing I'm going to have a day out of my classroom at the end of the month finally got me moving on the product. So, announcing my newest TPT product -- Math Sub Plans for October and November! Click the link to see it in my store.



This pack focuses on multiplication, since that is where my classes are right now. It's also a good review for 4th grade students.


Math Lit: Using any text for data

We just wrapped up our Data chapter and I wanted to share one of the lessons we did. The best thing about this activity is that you could use any book from your classroom library. This makes it a great lesson to leave for a substitute, also.

This lesson was modeled last year by our fabulous math coach and I really like the book she used:

Susan Meddaugh

I liked it so much that I picked up a copy of the book over the summer. My students really enjoyed the book when I used it for a read aloud prior to doing the activity. I could have easily used any other text, including something from the basal reader, so don't feel you must use this one.

After reading, we did a sequencing activity, using sentence strips.

These could be sentences you write to summarize the story, or sentences right out of the text. After sequencing, distribute the sentence strips to small groups of students. Have students make a tally table for the letters -- either student created or one pre-made by the teacher -- and show them how to start with the first letter of the sentence and record a tally for each letter. They can then make a frequency table for their data also.

It's fun to combine everyone's data and use the new frequency table to find out which letters are used the most. Need practice with bar graphs? Have students create a bar graph of the vowels!


What's Going On With Vocabulary?

I have found that my third graders are struggling with math vocabulary this year. I have never seen a group who had so much trouble with the vocabulary; they act like they were never even exposed to second grade vocabulary!

Even my best math students seem to get almost every vocabulary question wrong on the mid-chapter tests! While there may not be an actual standard addressing vocabulary, we all know that students must know the academic vocabulary to be successful. This weekend I decided we needed to make vocabulary games a regular feature, in the hope that some of these word will stick! :)

The first thing I have done is create an I Have, Who Has game that incorporates words from our first chapter plus additional words that they should have already known.

There are 18 cards, since we have 18 students in 3rd grade here in FL. I prettied them up with some cute seasonal clip art, 'cause I know my kiddos like that, but they are also available plain for those who can't do color copies. I'm sharing them, because I might not be the only teacher whose kids are having a problem here! Clicking the cover page will take you to the free download.


October Currently!

I was feeling bad about not having my usual Thursday post finished, and suddenly realized that it was time for the October Currently! Linking up with Farley once again (and thanks so much for a reprieve; I'll try to get my post finished by the weekend!)

Listening: my Red Sox don't play until Friday, so I'm rooting for the Indians tonight!

Loving: I am SO ready for cooler temps! I love fall and spring here in central Florida.

Thinking: report cards are right around the corner (Oct 21 is our work day) and I have a lot of assessment to do to be accurate about which math standards have been mastered.

Wanting: I've been battling a sore throat all week; some mornings I just have no voice. Trying to make it through the whole week, though, and so far so good. Could be worse -- the hubs has bronchitis.

Needing: Either I wake up because the throat hurts and have to get drinks / lozenges or I wake up because I've bee getting drinks!

TREAT: leave a comment on this post and I will randomly choose someone to get any item from my TPT store free on Saturday.


Random Things

Since school started I have tried really hard to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sometimes my school life just seems to overwhelm everything though. Last week was like that, so when we got to the weekend I really didn't have a lot of ideas. Hence, a somewhat random post!

First up, the winner of the pink pencil sharpener. Congratulations to: Kimberly B.! An email is on its way to you.
Precious Pink
Your pencil sharpener will be shipped directly from the company. Enjoy!

Next, a little peek at a project we did for Constitution Day.

This is an easy one that could be used for any patriotic holiday I gave students a large sheet of white construction paper and half a sheet of red construction paper. They cut strips of red and glued them to the white, then a square from blue for the corner. Using a white or yellow crayon they added some stars to the blue. Finally, they glued on facts about the Constitution which I got from Laura Candler's file cabinet.

I've read that many of the bloggers I follow are feeling overwhelmed this year, and I admit I am too. It seems as if more and more work has been piled on, keeping us from actually spending time on actual teaching. Our evaluation has changed, again making more work for us. We have a number of new assessment to administer to our kiddos, all of them taking instructional time. I'm hearing more teachers this year saying they don't know if they want to continue in this profession. I still want to teach, but I find myself wondering if there's something else I should do! How about you?

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