Thursday, July 2, 2015

Reading Comprehension with Bloom Balls

During the school year we read Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher.  As a way to culminates the novel and review skills for our state assessment we created Bloom Balls.


A Bloom Ball is a 3D project that challenges students to use all of the levels of Bloom's taxonomy.  My Smarties L-O-V-E-D this project!  They had so much fun making each section and talking to each other about favorite parts, character traits, and themes.

The Bloom Ball is a series of 12 circles.  Students create the ball by writing 12 different activities based on the novel.  The questions ask students to discuss the setting, character traits, symbolism, theme, make connections between the book and other text, draw pictures, and look critically at vocabulary. You can make the sections whatever you need them to be, and on what ever topic your students are studying.  They can be fiction or nonfiction, author study, biography, you name it.  This project is so versatile.  Take a look at the pictures below of my student projects, and consider adding this to your "TO-DO LIST" for the next year.



I'm sure students could create amazing projects based on summer reflections or as an All About Me project for Back to School!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Back to School Math Task Cards and Ways to Get Your Students Talking About Math

I'm back today with a few more goodies that I'm sharing for Two for Tuesday at 50% off!
Both of these products I love to introduce at the beginning of the year to get my students thinking and talking MATH again.


Product #1:  Multiple Choice Task Cards for Whole Numbers.

I like to use this product a few times throughout the year.  When we go back to school I use these as one of my first math centers.  Each task card contains a word problem using whole numbers.  These skills should be a review for Grades 5 & 6 students, so it is a great way to give a quick formative assessment and see what your students know or do not know.  You can use these task cards in a center or project them onto your white board and use them in whole group.  Usually I do a few of these problems with my class as a whole, and then they can use them as a math center independently. When I have to pull students to review basic skills, I print multiple cards to a page and have them put them in their interactive notebooks.  I do a few problems with them, then have them complete a few independently so I can take a formative assessment.
You can see examples of how I use task cards in my Interactive Notebook {HERE}

The reason I start out in whole group is so that I can get my students having a Math Conversation. Since the questions are multiple choice students can discuss answers.  This is one way that I introduce my Conversation Cards.

You can pick up this Freebie {HERE}.  Students learn to talk about wrong answers, and hello.. I begin to teach error analysis the first few days of school!  I give prompts and ask my students why some students may chose B for example, and then we dialogue about how a student may have come up with that specific answer.  I also bring the cards back out again when we review for state assessments.  I mix them in with other multiple choice style task cards that I have created to review Algebra, Ratios and Rates, and Integers.

Product #2 Hundreds Chart Hop

I also introduce this product very early in the year, first as a whole group warm up or 5 minute filler activity, and then as a center.  Students use a hundreds chart and follow a series of 4-5 steps to find the correct number on the board.  There are a series of 3 levels of cards each getting progressively more difficult.  I love to use these cards to get into operations vocabulary.  They start thinking and discussing shortcuts for using a hundreds board.  By the end of the year, most of my students can do these puzzles using mental math.  I love them! I mean teaching your students to follow 4-5 step directions quickly, and do mental math?  Winners in my book!
In the picture above students are using a hundreds chart on my Smartboard to work through the directions cards.  They also have a hundreds chart in their interactive notebooks so they can use the Task cards at their seats as well.

I do have several different sets of Hundreds Chart Hops each with different sets of problems.  I pull them out and use them as centers, or as quick Friday Fun Day games.  The original set is on sale today, but you can also check out the other sets.  (Free FALL-IN Round the Hundreds Board, Jingle Jangle Round the Hundreds Board, and Mardi Gras Marching Round the Hundreds Board)

Thank you to Chalk One Up for the Teacher for hosting the linky!  Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#TpTSellersChallenge-- Dare to Dream

I was so excited to see the challenge this week from the lovely group behind the #tptsellerschallenge.  It took me a few moments to really reflect on what being a TpT seller means to me. Take a look below for a little of my reflection.



#1: Financial Security:
This is really important to me. I started selling on TpT because I wanted to be Debt Free. I wanted to pay for my daughter's softball fees, and my son's music activities without feeling like I couldn't buy a cup of coffee or eat out at the end of the week. TpT helps me do this. I'm still working hard to pay off my debts.  I have a long way to go, but I'm working hard, and that's important to me.

#2: Teacher Consultant:
This would be my dream job. I would love to spend time developing and providing professional development to teachers.  I need to gain a little more self confidence in my abilities in this area.  Sometimes my introvert personality gets the best of me and I doubt myself.  Creating products for TpT and getting feedback helps me with this. I always try to provide positive feedback when I rate a product. If I spot an error I always contact the seller instead of leaving a poor rating. We are all human, and we need to remember that and be kind to each other.


#3: Family Fun
My last dream is using my TpT earnings for family fun. I would like to travel more, but also enjoy a little more of the everyday things like taking my daughter on a shoe shopping spree or having season tickets to a sporting event.  TpT allows me to dabble in this a little, and I know as soon as I'm debt free we can do this even more.
Thank you to Third in Hollywood and the other lovely ladies who set up this challenge!! 


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

50% Off Two for Tuesday: Math and Word Work Activities

Today I'm linking up with Chalk One Up for the Teacher and offering two of my products at 50% off.

The first is my Common Core Math Standards Pack.  This includes three different products for sixth grade math standards. 1) Set of standards posters to use on an I Can Objective wall in your classroom
2) printable lables for your planbook  or interactive noteboook with all of the standards.. This made my life so much easier! I use an electronic planbook, but I use these labels in my interactive notebook to keep track of the standards within the lesson.  It really helped me focus in on what I needed to be teaching.
3) Printable list of standards as I can statements.  I print these for my class to put in their interactive notebooks. They keep track of the standards we have covered and their grades on each standard.  It really helped to give them power over their data, and it drove instruction when they had center choice.  Many students would look back at their summative scores and see where they needed a little work.  They would pull the center activities that were related to that standard and/or get a little more practice with me.  Great learning tool!



The second product I'm offering is my Greek and Latin Root Word Work Packet.  My smarties LOVED using this.  It was a great addition to our spelling program, and they really got into the nitty gritty of the roots with a lot of fun interaction using the Who Has game.  One of the things I love about this set is that I made two versions.  When we start out playing I give them the cards that contain the root and it's definition.  As they become more familar with the words, I give them the second version which does not contain the definition.  "Up the anty" so to speak!

Stop by my TpT store and take advantage of these two 50% off deals today!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fractions in Action Product Makeover!

I'm participating with a ton of fellow bloggers in the #TpTSellersChallenge this summer.  This challenge is the serious kick in the butt motivation that I need to keep myself productive!
I decided to makeover two of my fraction products.  I use the foldables and games all the time in my classroom, and they are one of my students favorites when we get to the unit, but my friends, boy were they UGLY!  I revamped the ENTIRE thing from fonts to clipart.
Take a look at my before and after covers:

These were some of my very first products when clearly I had no idea what I was doing.  I'm so happy this challenge got me going to make changes!
The Fractions in Action now has 4 foldables:  Fraction Vocabulary, Adding/Subtracting Fractions, Multiplying Fractions and Dividing Fractions.  
It contains a matching/concentration game to build voabulary skills, and the Fraction Action Game.  In this game, students use a cube to determine the problem operation, then they spin a spinner and place the numbers to form two fractions.  Using the operation from the cube, they solve the problem. I love using this game the first week as my teacher center.  

I teach my Smarties how to play, and I have the ability to differentiate depending on the groups.  My higher students get into amazing mathematical conversations about the best place to put their numbers, and realize this may also depend on the operation they are given!  Hello!!! Mathematical Problem Solving in Progress!

You can check out the Fractions in Action {HERE}
You can check out the Fraction in Action GAME {Here}
Both items are on sale through Saturday!

Thank you to Peppy Zesty Teacherista and friends for starting this challenge!

Monday, June 15, 2015

What I'm Reading Monday

Happy Monday friends! I've been busy being a taxi cab driver these past two weeks shuffling my softball girl all over the South East to play at tournaments.  That means I've gotten in some serious reading! I'm linking up for It's Monday What are You Reading to share what I've managed to finish in the past few weeks.

First I finished The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith

This story continues the saga of Henry Sturgis after the death of Abraham Lincoln.  It has some great twists and turns, and I liked the combination of vampire fantasy and history.  It was a fun quick read at the ball park! 

I also finished The Young Elites. by Marie Lu.  I was really looking forward to reading this series because I thought the Legend trilogy was a great teen read, but I wasn't as impressed with this book.  I kept waiting for it to go somewhere, and it didn't quite get there for me.  I'll read the next in the series when it comes out and judge then if I will continue.


 

Next on my list is The Jazz Player.  This looked like another interesting piece of historical fiction.
Finally, I'm going to get started on a Professional Development book:

I don't use textbooks very much.. so I'm interested to learn a few new tricks of the trade.
It's Monday, What are you reading?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Minerals Galore! Reading, Interactive Notebooks, Labs and Studyblocks

School finished up for me Tuesday with a Professional Work Day.  I'm so glad to finally be able to be on my own schedule.  My own kids have had school this week, which has left me with Free Time!  I had originally planned on enjoying a few hours at the beach, but it has really been raining here, so instead I used the time to start looking at organizing my science units for next year.
This was the first year I've had to teach science in a very, very, long time.  So it was like being a brand new teacher.  I had to learn the material. I had to wade through the numerous amounts of folders, and plan and prepare.  I was traveling through my science time by the skin of my teeth.  THAT was NOT going to be happening again this year.

I spent some time putting my minerals unit together.  Take a look at what it has to offer:

We all know that there has been a huge push to teach reading skills in the content area, so I incorporated some Close Reading passages into my unit.  I'll have students cold read these and make connections, complete vocabulary picture notes after discussion, and then do a foldable for our interactive notebook.  One thing I love about these foldables is that they aren't all vocabulary based, but my students have to DO something with them.. hello!  and in INTERACT with the interactive notebook foldable!
For example, the first passage we will read is What is a Mineral?  Throughout this passage my students will learn the four characteristics used to classify something as a mineral.  When we have finished discussion and answering quick check questions they will put this foldable into their notebooks:

Inside I have them write down justification for each item.  The inside looks like this:
Last, we color code the items.  In this case we did green for mineral and red for non-mineral.  It was more than just an enter in your vocabulary kind of thing.
We also have a Project Based Lab to complete.  I think PBL is such an amazing tool, and I can't wait to have more opportunities in my classroom for this.  All of the instructions for the lab are included in the unit.  You just have to supply the minerals.  Most schools that have minerals in their curriculum supply minerals and rocks, but if you happen to not have them try contacting your high school or a local university.  I found both very helpful at loaning me items when I was looking for them this year.  You can also buy rocks and minerals kits fairly inexpensively online.  Try www.rocksandminerals.com  It might make a great Donors Choose project.

I also included a studyblocks review sheet and a unit assessment.  The fabulous, amazing, creative, teacher that I worked with at my former school taught me about studyblocks almost 15 years ago.  I love them because they can also be an amazing data tool for you to see what stuck with your students.
Basically, you give students boxes with topic headings.  Independently or with a partner, students fill in the most important information in each heading.  The key is not to use complete sentences, or have information overload.  The key is just a phrase or code word(s) that will help you remember the important concepts.  My students really loved these this year.  It helped them learn what was REALLY an important part of the unit.  I always make these AFTER I make up my assessment, so students know that what is on the studyblocks is ON THE TEST.  After all, my job in not to trick them into studying a whole lot of trivia.  My job is to teach them how to pull out and retain pertinent information.  After my students create their own studyblocks I have them use a different color pen or pencil and I show them my blocks.  They write down any further information that they may have missed and then use the studyblocks as a tool to prepare for the assessment.
Here is an example of the studyblocks for minerals.
If Minerals is on your list of subjects to teach next year, consider checking out my unit.  It will give you a chance to enjoy a little more of your summer vacation!  My Rocks unit is up next in the queue!

Pin It button on image hover