Saturday, July 27, 2013

Flexible Math Rotations

????? Groups in Math ?????

Do you group for Math?
How do you group for Math?
Are your groups flexible?

All good questions....and all questions that made me think...a LOT...
and then I met one of my many teacher heroes!...

 I fell in LOVE with the idea Carol Stafford shared at a recent Math in-service!  
I truly wish I could be a fly on her classroom wall for just a day or two...she's AMAZING!

Here's her take on Math groups... (from a K perspective) ... and with her permission to share.

She has a velcro sign that is color coded... and in front of the sign sit 4 color coded baskets with Math Maps for the students to follow for math rotation time...
as she teaches the whole group part of the lesson, she has the ability to add children's pictures to the velcro sign that will tell them what color map to pick up during rotation times...
each rotation, students go to different stations and complete the activity/activities that are available for that station (station areas are marked with these adorable signs that match the student maps)...
Flexible grouping based on formative assessment taking place during the actual lesson on the standard being cool is that?????
If you'd like to use Carol's system, she has graciously offered to share it {HERE}
Thanks so much, Carol!


I took her brilliant idea and "bumped it up"for my second graders :) 
(Again with her permission to share :)

Here's what it looks like in my room:

PVC pipe chart stand 
(super easy to create)
Target Dollar Spot yellow chart
(not so super easy to find...but any chart will do)
Baskets to come ...for now just laying on the table at the bottom of the chart...
(look out Dollar Tree....I'm on my way!)

My idea mirrors Carol's...
teaching whole group...formatively assessing...
...and adding pictures or name cards to the different spaces on the chart...
Here's a difference...
I'll put two names/pictures in one space to denote who their buddy is during Math with a Buddy time...until they can show me they know how to pick a good buddy partner...

So what's the code....
Green = Strategic Intervention .... or friends that are NOT getting the lesson 
and need lots of remodeling
Yellow = doing ok...but may need more time to work with manipulative as well as a little more modeling before I set them free.
Orange = my kiddos that seem to be "on top of it" and ready to roll.
Pink/Blue = my advanced kiddos that can work on a little more difficult tasks.

Each color map has a rotation schedule to follow...

If your picture/name is in the green section, you're coming to me first :)  Lucky You!
We'll spend some small group time reviewing and modeling the lesson's standard in a different way to see if we can meet your needs and help you see what in the world we're talking about in Math.

If your in the yellow section today, you get to start with the technology station.
I have iPods and iPads as well as 2 computers that are set up with pre-loaded games and skill work that you'll need to practice to get better with the skills we've been talking about in class...all are review skills and will help you become more fluent with your facts and standards!

Orange friends are ready to go with a buddy and a game.  Buddy games are set up in boxes and are usually games like Bump, Card War, Fluency Practice, etc.

While my Blue friends are together enough to start out on their own.  They'll use dominoes to practice facts for fluency, work on a worksheet to show what they know, or maybe even use Versatiles to practice skills we've been talking about in class without the paper and pencil aspect.

All of the graphics for my maps come from 

The font on the maps is called

Want to try it out for yourself??
You can download the zip file for free from my 
This zip file should have several versions of the maps and signs...
Microsoft Word
PDF formats

You "should" be able to edit the Word and Pages versions. 
Leave a comment and let me know if you think it will work for you....or if you have something that's already "da bomb"...I'm always up for new ideas :)

I'm looking forward to a great year in Second about you?! 

Thanks again to Carol (and her sister) for allowing me the opportunity to share this great idea with you!

Pencil Sharpener Winner sure to check your email for a note from Troy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Quietest Pencil Sharpener Give Away!

If you're a veteran teacher (or possibly even a new teacher), you know that having a pencil sharpener that is easy to use, quiet, and WORKS WITHOUT BREAKING is a
deal breaker in classroom supplies!
I've found the one for me!  Watch it in action...
Classroom Friendly Supplies has THE quietest and bestest pencil sharpener IMO...even sharpened those cute pencils with the fancy outside coverings that peel off with the electric sharpener and drive you crazy because then the very thing that you paid so much money to get the pencil is now all over the floor of your room :)

Hop over and purchase your own sharpener in a color of your choice (you can even use a PO from your school).

I've been given the opportunity to give one lucky teacher the ability to win one of these beauties on The Swamp!
You can enter the giveaway below.
Best of Luck!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Math Task Craftivity

I love starting the year with the book 
Giraffes Can't Dance 
(I also love being able to purchase the used books on Amazon!...72 cents....well there is shipping
but still an amazing price !)

I started linking literature to math tasks last year .... and then my mom helped me start creating 
crafts that went with the activity of the math problems to become

Students create a craft to manipulate and model math task solutions
then write about their solutions!

Talk about more bang for your buck...
...putting the FUN back into my math time :)

I can do a "read - a - loud" and discuss a comprehension strategy...
work on a small muscle, listening to and following directions craft...
manipulate pieces for the craft to help my students SEE the possible solutions to a task
(you know...what we 'used to call' word problems)
work on writing skills as the kids write about what they did to solve the problems and how they know they are right in their solution!

Thanks, MOM!
Check out our first attempt last year HERE
and then take a gander at our revision of the math task for this year!

You can download the Gerald Math Task from my 

YouTube has a great reading of Giraffes Can't Dance...
Scan this QR code to watch it :)
Oh yeah, there will be more about how I use these cool little things with my listening station 
'coming to a post near you' ... soon... :)

And one more thing....I'll be holding a give away this weekend for one of those 
fabulous pencil sharpeners that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!
So be sure to check back and see how you can enter!
psstt...if you're attending the SCS Second Grade Math Curriculum Guide Training on Friday, July 19th
I 'MAY' have one of these wonderful pencil sharpers to give away then too :)

if you're an avid 'Facebooker', you might want to check out  
I try to share some of the wonderful things others are blogging about here as well as any freebies that might be out in blogland at the moment... not to mention I figured out how to upload freebies on this HOP over and check it out.

Have a GREAT day!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Math Fact Fluency Book Study, Chapter 7

K-2 Math Fact Fluency Book Study Ch. 7

Chapter seven was all about using tens to help solve number equations.

In other words…getting the kids to see how the numbers in the equation can be manipulated to make a 10 and some more…which are much quicker equations to be solved J

I like how the author talks about using ten frames and the two colored chips…pick a number equation card…build the first number in one ten frame with one color of the chip and then the second number with the other color of the chip…then the kids can see how easy it is to manipulate the chips to make a ten and some more…(page 117)

I do have the egg cartons with 2 cut off for the kids to use as they manipulate counters, but I saw ice cube trays at the Dollar tree the other day and they only had 10 spots in them….thinking J  (Page 120)

My new favorite game in this chapter is “Condition” (page 122)
I think I’d probably have the kids use a regular deck of cards…pull two and add them together.  Then pull a condition card to see if the sum matches the condition…I like how the condition cards are already to go on the CD that comes with the book J

On pg. 123, there is a “blurb” about a Family Math Fact Night…wonder if anyone already does this…I’ve heard of a Fluency Night…but never a Math Fact Night…hmmmm….there’s some more thought that needs to go into this J

I like the concept behind the “Take Away” game on Pg. 126.  But….I think I might just make a number line or use a border with the differences written on spots.  Kids could put cubes or markers on each number.  As they subtract the number equation, they could take away a marker from their number line.  If there’s no marker to take away, you lose your turn.  First one to remove all the markers from their numberline wins the game J

I REALLY like the idea behind the Mystery Word Problem on page 126 too…I think I may put the cards at the “Work on Writing” station and let the kids integrate reading and math to create word problems…

I’m getting so many great ideas from this book and I’ve learned so much about helping the kids learn fluency in their math facts!

Only one more chapter to go before the book is done! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Math Task Journals

They're Done!
I've finished the Math Task Journals and prompts to go with the Reading Street stories from the 2008 series for First Grade...

You can read about my Math Journal Idea  {HERE}

You can download your copies at the First Grade CCSSM Resource Blog..

When you go to each Quarter's Page, you'll find the 
Do the Dew Math tasks as you scroll down the page.

Hop over and check out the resources for Math ...

I'm working on a resource blog for second grade too...

It's still in the planning stages....but you can find it at 

If you have some suggestions for resources and want to share,
please email me!  I'd love to include you in the blogs!


Monday, July 8, 2013

K2 Math Facts Book Study Chapter 6

"Mastering the Basic Math Facts
in Addition and Subtraction"
by Susan O'Connell

I'm really enjoying all the literature connections with this book as well as the quick simple and easy practice ideas...Here's some thoughts from Chapter Six...and some resources I've found to use with "Making Ten".

Chapter Six Resources
Making Ten

I LOVE the story for this chapter "Ten Apples Up on Top"
Have you checked out the school tube video 

Making Learning has a great resource page for the story too {HERE}

And there's some pretty cool ideas for using the story {HERE} as well.

I think it would be cute to take a picture of each student and then let them add red, yellow, or green apples made from construction paper to their picture ....they could choose 2 colors of apples to show ten on top.  Then use a number equation to tell more about their picture.

On page 99, the bead counters are a lot like Rekeneks...
and I LOVE Rekeneks !  
Have you seen the resources available on K-5 Mathematics Teaching Resources?
I've made some of the suggested Rekeneks and the kids really had a great time using them to help solve problems!
You can download the flashcards to use for number talks and recognition too...

On page 101, the authors talk about the importance of building automaticity...
"Automaticity with math facts requires practice....Many teachers insert quick fact reviews into their lesson on a regular basis.  Even a five-minute activity provides repeated exposure to the targeted skills and promotes fluency."

Here's a worksheet to use with the domino searches the authors suggest for practices
You can download it {HERE}

I also like the equation sort for sums of 10 on page could use any flashcards to have the kids do the sort and write the equations on a paper or on a dry erase board...

You can check out more resources on the Swamp Frog Page for the book study resources!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Reading and Writing Journal Idea

I plan to try a different approach to my Reading & Writing Journal this year...
So...I've got some cute graphics for the cover
And I'm adding a Personal Word wall page to the front cover as well as the back cover 
Then I can have them add words that are personally appealing or needed for review
I think I'll try an "oldddddd" trick that I used way back when for when the kiddos need help with spelling a word and are too caught up in the word to continue writing ...
They would try the word first and then I could help them on the second try...BUT
they could only come to me X times during a writing time help cut down on the up-down movement in the room... 

You can download a copy of the Personal Word Wall pages {HERE}.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pencil Sharpener Heaven!

I am in pencil sharpener HEAVEN!!!!
The Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener is
THE best pencil sharpener
I have come across in many years of teaching!

Sharpening pencils seemed to be a horrible feat this year for my firsties!
The sharpener would sharpen them sooooo pointy that they'd break right away...
The kids would sharpen the pencil only to have the point fall out when they took the pencil out of the sharpener.....or...
The sharpener would sharpen ONE side of the pencil MORE than the other side so that the lead didn't last more than a couple of sentences...
So...I bought the REALLY expensive electric sharpener...only to have a pencil get jammed and break the unit within 3 weeks of purchase :(

I don't think I'll have any worries this year with this baby on board!
(It even gets the approval of Mamaw...who was helping me sharpen new pencils for the year!)
If you haven't had the opportunity to see this sharpener in action....take a gander ...

Don'tcha think a new teacher would appreciate this as a
 "Welcome to the Profession" gift?
I LOVE that we can use purchase orders to buy the sharpeners!
Why not ban together with some team mates and get more for less?

I'm off to see if Owner and Teacher Troy Decoff will consider letting me
"give away" one of these closer to the beginning of school!
Be sure to check back or follow my blog to see if he agrees!
You could be a winner!

Follow Me with...
Follow on Bloglovin

  Follow me on Feedly


Email Subscription

But if you're like me and don't like to wait...
Hop over to Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener 
and order your own....
so you're prepped and ready to go for the first day of school!