Saturday, February 11, 2017

Math Speed Drills: The Guided Math Tool You Need

Are you looking for a great way to get your students started on math as soon as they sit down at your guided math group? These speed drills are for you. These are such an easy differentiation and assessment piece. Check out my video for more information. 

With speed drills, students read a drill as quickly and accurately as possible. They will not be writing on the drill so you can reuse them many times. I place mine in clear plastic sheets and store them in a binder.

You can also use these math speed drill as a center. Upload the PDFs to your Dropbox or Google Drive account and add them to Explain Everything.

 Choose the place where your file is stored and find the file.

Once you see your file, click on Choose (top right) to add it to your Explain Everything screen.

Check out the video below to see how to use Explain Everything with the Speed Drills. 

 Once your project is finished, you can save it as a video, pdf, image, or project. You can save it to any of the places below or even more places. I like to add mine to Seesaw.
Click to view on TPT.

Hope these help your math block move smoothly and keep students engaged!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Do You Have Active Learners? Try Bouncy Bands.

As a teacher, I'm sure you have your share of active learners. You know, those students who can't sit still, are always playing drums on their desk, and need constant stimulation. If you have these types of students (who doesn't), then Bouncy Bands are for you.

What are Bouncy Bands? Check out this video to see for yourself.

After using Bouncy Bands with my students, I've noticed a difference in their ability to stay on task. They can kick the bands or bounce around and the bands really don't disturb anyone.

Check out this data from students who have tried out Bouncy Bands. The students themselves have noticed a major difference in their focus.

I used both of the Bouncy Bands below since I have some students who sit at desks and some that sit at tables. I personally love the desk version more because the kids can kick out further but the table ones work just as well.

Do you think you need Bouncy Bands in your classroom? Lots of teachers are using DonorsChoose or AdoptaClassroom to fund them. Check out some tips on getting funded in the video below.

I love DonorsChoose so I highly recommend using that site you teach in a public school. I've had great success getting my projects funded through them. Check out this site if you are interested in funding. There are some sample funding requests and videos to help you get the word out about what you need.

Disclaimer: I was sent a free sample of Bouncy Bands to try with my students. Opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February Fun - Black History Month

It's February The shortest month with the most fun content to teach. Here are some ideas for your for your February plans for Black History Month. There are so many amazing African Americans to introduce to your students that I think it would be okay to extend these lessons past February.

I like using mini lessons to introduce content to my students. There are so many great books that introduce important people. I've put together a pack of some of my favorite books for Black History month.

 Click on the image above to view on TPT.

I've created a free sample from the pack just for my blog readers. You can download it for free by clicking on the link below.

Epic has an amazing selection of books that you can read to your class. I counted 35 books with some videos and articles.

Click on the image above to head over to Epic.

My students loved this Nearpod lesson on Martin Luther King, Jr. It provides greats facts and would be easily accessible to younger students with the guidance of the teacher.
Click on the picture to view.

This is a great freebie from the 24/7 Teacher. She provides passages on 4 different levels. 

 My students loved this Nearpod lesson on Martin Luther King, Jr. It provides greats facts and would be easily accessible to younger students with the guidance of the teacher.

Click on the image to head to TPT.

Hope you can use some of these ideas! Share your great ideas in the comments.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Yesterday, I Felt Like a Good Teacher

Yesterday, I felt like a good teacher. Have you ever had a day where you felt like your lessons were right on target and you really taught your students something? That happened to me this week. I was teaching a math lesson on three digit subtraction with regrouping. Not the most exciting topic and one that can be extremely difficult for second graders.

I was showing my students a quick little video on subtracting across zeros. After the video was over, I decided to show my students a little trick that I use when I subtract across zeros. I take one away from both numbers and then subtract, no regrouping required. (Example: 300-251 becomes 299-250.) We tested it out on several different problems, solving them both ways. The differences were always the same. "Amazing," they said. "It's magical math," I said. Then, my students started clapping and I took a little bow. It was funny and a moment that I will remember.

Now, you say, that sounds like a tiny moment in your day. It was. I think it will stick with me because these moments are few and far between these days.

I feel like I am teaching from a script and constantly cramming my day to get all the content in. It's tough and it makes the days long. I don't know about you but much of my initial passion for teaching is gone. It's sad really because I was once so enthusiastic. I wanted every moment to be special and amazing. Well, that's not real life. There are days were nothing goes right. And isn't that usually a day when you get observed? The moments when things go exactly right stick out.

It concerns me that these moments have become so abnormal. I think much of it goes back to our country's educational situation. Teachers are constantly blamed for everything. Why is that? Where are the news reports about the good things in education? I wish everyone could see teachers teaching while students have meltdowns, giving food to students who didn't eat the night before, or buying a Thanksgiving meal for a student's family. There are more of these moments that deserve recognition and teachers should be praised for all the good that we put out into the world.

We are conditioned as teachers to feel like what we do is never good enough. It's never going to be enough. Well, I wanted you to know, you are a good teacher. You love your students. You worry about them when you aren't at school. You want the best for them. You are an amazing teacher. 

Yesterday, I felt like a good teacher. I am a good teacher. I know you are too. Believe it.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thin Stix Review (and Giveaway)

I was contacted recently by the Pencil Grip Inc. to try out their brand new product, Thin Stix. I have used their Kwik Stix before and loved them. I was excited to try out the new arrival. We have had so much inside recess lately so I thought using the Thin Stix would be a fun new activity. My students were so excited to paint and I was excited about no having the usual painting mess.

All the kids wanted a turn with the Thin Stix and the Kwik Stix. I decided to use both to see the difference between the two products. The Thin Stix were great for the kids to use for small areas in their work and for writing. 

The Kwik Stix are great for heavier coverage and making larger shapes. Best of all, the students can paint thick lines or use heavy coverage and the paint dries almost instantly. No mess at all. They were immediately able to put the papers in their mailbox to take home for the day.

I love not having to get out drying racks or lay papers all over the room. Also, we just used scrap computer paper and the paint does not soak through the page.

The Thin Stix were a huge hit with my kiddos. They want to use them at every inside recess now. I took a picture so you can compare the size of the Kwik Stix and the Thin Stix. The Kwik Stix are more like the shape of a glue stick and open just the same. You just roll it up and paint. The Thin Stix are great for little hands. The caps are larger and it rolls up from the bottom.
 The Thin Stix come in a set of twelve colors. Best of all, you can grab this product on Amazon. I buy pretty much everything on Amazon so I love that these are available there. You will love using these with your own children or students. All of the Kwik Stix products are mess free and quick drying.  If you are interested, click on the picture above or below to view these on Amazon.

Best of all, I am giving away one pack of 12 Thin Stix to a lucky blog follower. Leave a comment below with your email address and I'll pick a winner on Sunday evening. (Giveaway open to US residents only.)

Happy painting!