My students were super excited to learn that we had been accepted into the Reflex Educator Grant Program. That’s right, we get to use it for 1 whole year for FREE! I have never seen my students more motivated to practice their math facts.
How do we find the time?
The program is most beneficial if each student uses the program for up to 3 times per week for approximately 15-20 minutes. I have a technology station as one of my guided math rotations so my students are able to get their time in fairly easily. They can also access the program at home.
As my students achieve new milestones I award them Reflex Math brag tags and a bead on a ball chain necklace. I made some of the brag tags and also bought some from You Know You Wanna PICKETT on Teachers Pay Teachers.
We display our achievements on our Success Wall outside our classroom in the hallway. I take each student’s picture and attach it to a tag with benchmarks listed. I then have my students sign their name on the posters I found over at Paige in Primary. Each time they achieve a milestone I place a sticker on it on the benchmarks listed under their picture. Each student is so proud to show off their accomplishments!
You can print out our own success benchmark tag here to keep track of your student’s milestones.
I am a believer in using a developmental spelling approach in my classroom. A developmental approach is a phonics based program that helps my students learn how words work in the English language. In our classroom each week we do a word study. This allows my students to look at the words and develop a deeper understanding of how spelling works to represent sound and meaning.
What does Developmental Spelling Look Like?
Our district uses the Macmillan McGraw-Hill Treasures reading series and the spelling component that goes with it. I use a lot of word sorts on the interactive whiteboard and in our interactive journals to help my students learn sounds, patterns, and the meanings of words. My word sorts are available to me through the reading series. In addition to our word sorts, we complete a spelling practice activity per day. They have several activities to choose from.
Each week my students are given 15 spelling words. Ten follow a phonics pattern that we focus on, two words are review words from the week prior, and 3 words are high-frequency words from the story that do not follow the phonics rule of study for the week. Each day students choose 1 spelling activity out of a mesh file folder that is filled with various practice activities.
For the spelling test, I have my students spell the first 10 words. I then give them a bonus word that follows this same spelling pattern. The students must then circle the correctly spelled high-frequency word. Lastly, they must circle the incorrectly spelled review word in each sentence and write it correctly.
We have been working on building our conceptual understanding and fact fluency through games. The first game I introduced to my students is called Sums of 10. This game encourages students to explore the number combinations that make a sum of 10.
Before play: remove all the jacks, queens, kings, and jokers. (I do this prior and have the needed cards ready in a zip top bag)
Players: work in pairs, or for a quicker game work in groups of 3 or 4
deal out all cards to players
on each player’s turn lay down a card on the work mat that makes a sum of 10
if you cannot make a sum of 10 match then you lose a turn
game is over when first player gets rid of all their cards
When I introduce a new game to the class I do so by playing the game against the class under the document camera. After a brief explanation of the rules and some modeling I give the entire class the opportunity to play the game with a partner. Only after my students are well-versed in playing the game do I put it in my math rotation as a center.
I just love hearing my students discuss strategies and number relationships while they play the game. The class has been playing this game for 2 weeks so now the students will reflect on the game in their math journals about the skills they have practiced and the strategies they used while playing the game.
Types of sentences are what we always study at the beginning of the year. We begin with making a class anchor chart. It always amazes me how much my students love making anchor charts. My charts are nothing much to look at but they get the job done.
The best part about studying the four types of sentences is creating candy punctuation sentences. As you can see, it is a delicious Friday afternoon treat and it really makes learning fun.
We used Brach’s candy corn, Red Hots, Smarties, and Tic Tacs to create our punctuation marks since I have a student with a peanut allergy this school year. You can also use the licorice pull n’ peel as a question mark but I did not know for certain if they were peanut free or not so went with Tic Tacs instead.
Holy Cow folks! Where is the month of July going? I know I’m not the only one rushing around trying to accomplish all those tasks I procrastinated all school year long. I am taking a little time though to link up with Forever in 5th Grade to show & tell you about a few things that have been going on around here.
I’m Raising Ballers
We’ve been busy building and creating around the house. My husband and his buddies formed and poured concrete for our three kids’ basketball court. Now all we have to do is buy an amazing goal and paint the lines and we are set for outdoor games.
In the house I have been busy creating vinyl items with my Silhouette machine. I made this jug for my son for Little League games and I made these sunglasses for my students’ end of the year gifts. Next item I’m creating is some cute teacher tees for myslelf.
Who loves to craft? I do, I do! I mean when I have time to do it. My husband built me this fabulous craft table from 2 bookshelf and I must say he knocked it out of the park. I found my inspiration from a blog post from The Story of Five that you can read all about here.
At the end of the school year I told myself I would disconnect from all things school related and really focus on relaxing. My goal was to only turn my brain on to school after our family vacation the first week of July. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed a disconnected June and my family vacation!
Now, I am in full blown school-mode since my return from vacation. I even completed my classroom decor theme for this year. I can’t wait for an “Out of this World” school year!
It’s a flat box with a side of plastic and an electric light that provides an evenly lighted flat surface or even illumination.
It took me a year but I finally bought a Light Box to use in my classroom! I found mine at Big Lots. It was only $8! It’s a mini that measures 8″x 6″ and has two inserts and runs on 4 AA batteries. I’m going to hang it in my classroom library with a couple of 3M hooks.
I’ve read a lot of different blog posts about others creating their own Light Box inserts using transparencies. So I got to thinking…hmmm…I wonder if I could just print them on multipurpose copy paper?
Guess what? You can! So now you know if you don’t have any transparencies handy you can just use computer copy paper. I think it looks great too!
How will I use it?
I plan on putting cute inspirational messages, growth mindset posters, and insert fun holiday posters into it. Emily from The Literacy Nest had an awesome idea to make phonogram templates to place in her Heidi Swapp Light Box. You can read her post about it here.
I can even use the light during my Guided Math, Guided Reading, and Writing Conference times too. It will be a great visual tool for my students. If the light is on it will indicate that I’m busy working with a group; if the light is off then I’m free to help answer questions.
Is is your mind racing with ideas like mine is now? Then you should run out and buy your own at Big Lots and download my mini insert freebies below and let your light shine.
Show and Tell Tuesday is here again and I am linking up with Forever in 5th Grade to show you 4 pictures of things that are going on in my life and classroom and tell you about them.
Illinois Reading Conference
Recently I attended the Illinois Reading Conference with a few other educators from my district where I collaborated with other professionals and heard author’s read aloud from their own books. A colleague and I were both recognized by the Illinois Reading Council for receiving the Pamela J. Farris Rural Library Grant at a luncheon while at the conference. During the luncheon we got to hear the author Joan Bauer speak. She was such a dynamic speaker with words of inspiration and motivation for all.
Jacob Gets a Vehicle
In a few short months my oldest child will turn 16! It is truly a mixture of emotions. I’m grateful that he is a happy and healthy person, happy that he will be able to help me with my “Mom Taxi” responsibilities, full of pride that I am raising a responsible and respectful young man, and sad that he is growing up so quickly that I just want to slow down time a bit.
Dollar Tree Temptations
The Dollar Tree Store it awesome! Items for STEM activities can be found for cheap there so I snatched up these for the Help Save Fred STEM activity. I also found plastic round eye balls that I am going to write numbers on and use in my math centers to practice even/odd numbers and create addition/subtraction problems to solve. The owl is a dry board eraser that was just too cute to pass up.
We Are Family
I love to refer to our class as a family. We work together, we help each other, we build each other up, and pick each other up when we fall down. Our class proudly hangs our family thumbprint tree on our classroom door to remind us of this.
Teaching math vocabulary with can be challenging at times. Need some ideas? Check out these four activities below!
Vocabulary Word Search Sheets
You can create word search sheets by going to Google and searching for “Word Search Generator”. You will find lots of free options to create your own word search for personal use in your classroom.
Vocabulary Memory Game
You can make your own math Memory game by writing out vocabulary words and definitions (or words and sample problems ) on separate note cards. You can also type out your information in Microsoft Word, cut out, and glue them on the note cards. Laminate the note cards for durability and yearly use.
Vocabulary Pictionary Game
You can create your own math Pictionary game by writing vocabulary words on note cards. Turn the deck face down. Students take one card from the deck and illustrate a picture of the vocabulary word. My students use dry erase boards; but students could also draw on paper. Pictionary can be played in whole group as well as in a small group station.
Vocabulary Match Up Sheets
You can create vocabulary match up sheets in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Type all the words on the left side and all the definitions on the right side. Students match up the words to the definitions.
If you have the McGraw-Hill, My Math, Grade 2 series then you will want to check out my pre-made activities below.
Wow, It has been a while since my last post. I will admit, it is a bit crazy at back to school time and it causes me not to be able to keep up so well with my blog posts. That’s okay though, I promise to make it up to you. How about a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or a $40 TPT gift card? You can enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below.
I’ve been doing some thinking and I believe that teachers fall into one of two categories.
Teachers that have been shopping, printing, laminating, and cutting all summer. Mentally decorating their classroom and chomping at the bit to get into the school doors to start getting their classrooms student ready.
Teachers that just need a summer do-over. A do-over to continue on the path of peacefulness that only a summer break can provide.
We all know the new school year is coming. Therefore, I have put together some links to a few of my classroom created forms. The best news of all is that they are FREE! If there is one thing teachers can all agree on it is that FREE resources make us happy!