Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Techie Tuesday

Conquering the open number line and other math strategies

We have been busy using the open number line to solve our math problems.  The kids are getting the hang of it!  It's amazing to see the depth of their number sense when they apply different addition and subtraction strategies, but it can be tricky, and sometimes confusing for the parents.  

That's why I love Explain Everything!  This app lets your parents see what their kids are learning with one simple click.  In no time at all you can make a quick tutorial to help your students and their parents!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Teacher Nerd Bookshelf

What I'm Reading Right Now

Like any true teacher nerd, I have spent some time looking over Hattie's ranking, and my current obsession, formative assessment, is ranked number 4.  That means that on my nightstand next to my highlighter and my post-it flags, you will find these books.

Here's a highlight:
"Probably the most accurate marker of classrooms where learning targets and criteria are shared effectively is that students can explain, when asked, what it is that they are supposed to do, and why"

High-engagement classroom environments appear to have a significant impact on student achievement...so when teachers allow students to choose whether to participate or not - for example, by allowing them to raise their hands to show they have an answer - the are actually making the achievement gap worse, because those who are participating are getting smarter, while those avoiding the engagement are forgoing the opportunities to increase their ability.  That is why many teachers now employ a rule of 'no hands up except to ask a question' in their classrooms."

Another way the author suggests to increase engagement is using all-student response systems.  My school is a BYOT school, and when I was in 5th grade, we used 

 on our devices.  With my little guys, I don't have as many devices, so we go old school.  A few years ago I had a shower board cut into 5x6 mini whiteboards, and viola,
Instant feedback!


Let's just say the Home Depot guy may or may not have been super excited about my student response system for formative assessment...


Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Flurry of STEM!

Things are really busy over here!  We have been having tons of fun with our matter unit.  

We observed all three states of matter when we watched the life cycle of our snowman. I saw this great idea over at The Frugal Teacher, and it was  a huge hit!  The kids were so excited when they met our special visitor.  

We made observations, measured, and collected our data all day.

You know how the story ends.  It is not a happy ending, until...my super scientist came to the conclusion that our new friend will always be floating among us - as a gas!  

After observing the three states of matter, we investigated how matter changes with a snow lab.  We talked about physical changes and chemical changes, and then we did some exploring with instasnow

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