Saturday, January 19, 2013

Classroom Rules Poster

I recently just found this great website

Teachers are given a free account to create and design posters, banners, signs, etc..  You then can either buy the product or download a digital copy for free.  I finally created a new classroom rules poster for my classroom.  I love the way it came out and it looks so great in my classroom. It looks like one of those wood signs everyone is buying.  To download a copy click on the link below.

Friday, January 18, 2013

In my 6th grade math class this week we spent most of the week working on percent of a number.  I love the new Common Core Curriculum. We are able to spend more time on each topic and really develop concepts.  While I was teaching this week I was amazed at how many of my students chose to change the percent to a fraction out of 100 and multiply instead of changing the percent to a decimal.  Usually it's the other way around.  We concentrated on real life problems involving percents and discounts.  Students brought in ads and coupons from newspapers, circulars, and the internet to share. Next week we start ratios and rates.

I created this Benchmark Fraction, Decimal, Percent table for students to include in their notes.

 To download and print click on link below

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Who Said, "You Can't Study For Math"?

     When I first started teaching I had parents and students tell me "you can't study for math, you either know it or you don't".  I couldn't believe that was what some people thought or possibly told their children.  So I introduced math study guides in my class.  I gave my students a list of the topics and vocabulary that would be on their next test and asked them each to make a study guide before the test.  The study guide was due the day of the test and handed in for bonus points.  The students were not sure how to make this study guide, so I suggested a foldable or booklet.  The first set of study guides came in and they were construction paper booklets, index cards, and a few foldables.  They included written notes, steps, examples, and vocabulary.  This pattern continued for the next few tests until one of the girls in my class asked me if she could make a lady bug and write her notes on it instead, and I said yes.  
     It was the day of the test and my students came to class with their study guides ready.  Then she walked in with the lady bug.  All of my students oohed and aah-ed when they saw her lady bug.  It was made of construction paper with wings that moved and just adorable.  Most students were upset because they didn't know they could make animals as study guides ( I didn't know they could either).  So I explained that this student made the suggestion and that I didn't realize they might want to be more creative.  So I gave them the topics and vocabulary for the next test and told them they could make anything they want as long as it was appropriate for school and that all the math was there.  I was amazed the day of the test what creative and beautiful study guides came through my door.  The students were so excited to share their designs and ideas.  They were excited about math and studying! 
     I loved this new twist and have continued the tradition now for 14 years.  I originally called them creative study guides, then "Our Ticket To Success", and then changed the name after attending a workshop with Judy Dodge about 7 years ago to "Tickets To The Test".  Over the years I have been blown away by all of the creative tickets my students have made. They have been studying for math in a fun and interesting way.  I have seen:  hearts, trees, turkeys, wreaths, snowmen, Santa  cookies, a huge school, Ipad, cartoons, comic strips, tiny library books, birthday cakes, sports, Justin Beibers hair, giant m&m's, etc.  
     So many of my former students come back to visit and usually always say they wish they were still making tickets.  My response is, "why did you stop".  New students entering my class always ask, "when do we start making tickets".  They have seen my students walking proudly through the halls with their fantastic study guides or have seen them displayed in our school.  
     One of the best things I ever did as a teacher was challenge the thought that you can't study for math and say yes to a lady bug.

Tickets from November

This turkey is so cute, notes and examples on each feather (hard to see)

December Ticket--Math Stockings

Student wrote notes on the back of each stocking.

Love this Tangled ticket. Notes hanging down from her hair.

Birthday Cake Ticket

So creative--Hot chocolate (each blue and black rectangle represents a package of Swiss Miss mix. They were all in the box