Solve & Turn FREEBIE!

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new games to engage my students and practice various skills.  Several months ago, I had a last minute schedule change and needed a random little time filler.  My best ideas come to me when I am not planning ahead and am flying by the seat of my pants.  Anyone else feel the same?  Well, on this random day, I made up a game that my kids LOVED!  Earlier this week, one of my kids asked why we hadn’t played that game in a while.  To be honest, I had really forgotten about it.  So, I whipped up something a little more formal to practice our current skill of solving multiplication and division equations.

So here’s how this game works.  I divide my students up into teams.  I usually do four groups of five because I have twenty students; however, you could use whatever number works best for your classroom.  One person from each team comes up to stand facing the board.  I display a problem for them to solve.  Now let me tell ya, the first time I did this activity, I didn’t have a pretty PowerPoint to display.  I used my Educreations app and my Apple TV to make up and display my own problems on the fly.  This time, I was a little more prepared!

Each team has one person representing them on the carpet.  They stand facing the board while they answer the question that I give.  After they have an answer, they turn around and wait for the other players to finish up.  Each person who solves the problem correctly earns one point.  Then, another team member comes to the carpet and is given another question.  And so on.  We repeat throughout multiple rounds until we run out of questions or time, whichever comes first!

Here is what I LOVE about this game.  All of the students MUST complete each problem at their seat.  Randomly, problems will be selected for additional team points.  Meaning that if every team member has that problem correct, I add a point to their score.  If even one team member doesn’t have the problem correct or isn’t working along with the group, they miss the opportunity for an additional point.  This creates a purpose for working with the group and following along.  These additional team points are typically the difference between the winning team and loosing team.

After the game is completed, I put up a few problems for the students to complete independently.  Depending on the skill and the level of responses I am getting from my students, I often take a grade on a few short problems.  If it is a difficult skill or something that I am still planning to work on, I may use these four questions to guide groupings on the following day or discussions and mini lessons that we have later in the day.

If you’re interested in this game for your classroom, click the image below to grab the freebie!  ๐Ÿ™‚


4 Easy Word Work Centers that Your Students will LOVE

Ohhh, phonics skills!  As a special education teacher, I have seen the phonics struggles!!!  I created this a series of products to help with tricky phonics skills.  I originally designed this product to be used in my resource room so the variety in activities and ability to differentiate in both a resource room or a general education classroom is perfect.  Here’s a peak at what’s inside!

When students are ready to begin working, a designated student lays out these five clip boards and center cards.  I created my own little system for differentiating using what I call “Bubble Pages“.  On these leveled pages, students are tasked with completing multiple tasks over the course of the week.  Although there are five clip boards laid out, students only complete two to three items based on the assigned tasks from their bubble pages.

The lowest level activity is the Stretch the Word center.  In this set of cards, students practice stretching out tricky long vowel sounds by using colored dots.  Each letter or letters have a dot representing the sound that the letter or letters make.  Students can visit this center as a student led activity that supports very basics of vowel combinations.  The recording sheet is extremely simple and allows students to quickly and easily record each sound in the word.  I love seeing kids begin to understand how vowel teams work by participating in this center.  They begin to see that it is perfectly fine for two letters to go into one box or above one colored dot.

After working on stretching words, students move on to matching words to picture cards.  Although this is fairly simple, it is fantastic practice for students who need to remediate and practice basic decoding skills.  For students who are slightly higher, I remove the cards and have them only use the picture cards and recording sheet to attempt to stretch out their words correctly.

Moving from stretching out words and being able to write it correctly, students begin to sort words based on the vowel team being used in each word.  Students are able to see that there are multiple ways to create the same sound in various words.

And last, but certainly not least, is a student favorite, Write the Room!  I hide a set of cards around the room as with any write the room activity.  However, I have three different recording sheets requiring students to do various activities with the words that they find.  The lowest level recording sheet asks students to write the word and circle the letter or letter combinations that make up the long vowel sound.  The second recording sheet requires students to record their words by sorting them by vowel team.  Any my favorite recording sheet requires students to write the words that they find on a page says, “If I can spell….” {insert word from the room} “then I can spell…”  Students then use their vowel sound knowledge to create a real or nonsense word that would use the same vowel team and word family.  This is a TOUGH skill but is a great way to challenge students who are beyond simply sorting words into columns.

I recently updated this product to include both color and black and white version of each center.  In my previous school district, we had color printers readily available.  I never realized how much some people were paying for printing in color until I changed schools and had to do it myself.  Therefore, I created black and white pages of each set of cards.

You can grab this set of IGH centers for FREE by clicking on the image above!!! 

Favorite Surveys {FREEBIE}

This week, we concluded our unit on graphing and I wanted to do a quick, yet fun way to review the parts of a graph, translating data gathered into charts, as well as reading their data in various ways.  To do this, I created a fun freebie to share with you!

My kids started this activity by creating their own survey.  I gave them four topics to choose from {favorite subject, treat, season, or animal}.  From there, they were able to pick four options for their classmates to choose from.  After their choices were made, I had all of my students lay their frequency tables out on their desk and we responded to each survey in a similar fashion to scoot.

Since I have twenty students in my class, this number worked out PERFECTLY!  In the other fifth grade classroom, which I also teach math to, there are only seventeen kids.  My cadet teachers and I participated in order to keep twenty participants.

 Once the students returned to their own desk, we started to chart our data.  They first used a line plot and answered a simple question about their data.

 Next, they used the same data to create a bar graph.  My students often take short cuts and I wanted them to really focus on writing intervals that fit their data, using labels, and giving their chart a title.

 And last but not least, is the circle graph!  Now, if you are reading this post closely, you noticed that I had them collect twenty pieces of data for a reason.  This was EXTREMELY helpful and I planned it in that way for this particular chart.  My kids were having a difficult time understanding how percentages and fractions were relating to the circle graph.  By using simple numbers, they weren’t focused on difficult fractions and percents, but rather making sure that their data was represented as accurately as possible.

 And last but not least, they created a cover to allow us to assemble our pages and create a book displaying all of our data.


Create-a-Graph Scavenger Hunt Freebie!

By the fifth grade, I’ve noticed that although they have worked on graphing for many years in prior grades, they still need help and plenty of practice with answering questions correctly about data as well as vocabulary associated with graphing.

Today, my students and I created our own scavenger hunt by each making our own double-bar graphs.  We discussed giving your graph a title, labeling each axis, and creating reasonable intervals.  I allowed them to choose a topic for their graph based on their own interests.  I am not really sure who loved this activity more….them or me!  Their creativity and topics they decided on were fabulous!

After creating their double-bar graphs, they were required to write one question about their graph.  We discussed the types questions that were in our math video from the previous night so they had something fresh in their mind when creating.  I told them it could be as simple or as complex as they wanted.  As any fifth grader would do, they created the most complex question possible in order to appear smarter to their friends!  It played right into my hand!  ๐Ÿ™‚

After creating their graphs and fabulous questions, we hid them around the room in random order.  The students moved throughout the room and “hunted” for the questions.  As they found each graph, they worked hard to complete the question quickly yet accurately.  The first student to fill their entire page CORRECTLY wins!

My kids always love scavenger hunts.  What I love about doing scavenger hunts is that the students can’t talk!  The rule is that you cannot share answers or the locations of hidden questions.  They know not to talk or share because it could help their friend beat them!

I’m linking up with The Teacher Studio for her monthly, Loved That Linky Party!  Since I loved this lesson so much, I’d love to share it with you.  Click the image below to grab the printables for this activity in both bar graphs and double-bar graphs!  ๐Ÿ™‚


Using KidBlog for Math Journals!

Hey there!  I’m excited to say that I have successful made it through two, EXHAUSTING days back to school after winter break.  I hope you are back and ready to knock out the next five to six months.  Tonight, I want to share about something new that I am doing in my classroom thanks to Aimee at Taking on Second!  We teach in the same building and chat about blogging every now and then….ok, often and probably way too much.  When I heard about KidBlog, I thought it sounded really great but it took me a while to come up with a good way to implement it in my classroom.  Then one day it hit me…..DUH….use the blog rather than notebooks and pencils for Math Journals.  I’ll be honest, I am still in the early stages of implementing this however my kids are enjoying it and so am I.  So naturally, it needed to be blogged about.  Right?
Each day, I post a Math Journal topic that relates directly to the topic that was covered in my student’s math videos.  The above picture was today’s prompt.  We are just beginning a unit on graphing and today’s post involved line plots and frequency tables.  As long as students watch their math video each evening, they will be prepared to respond to the prompt for that particular day.  When I write these journal prompts, I am striving for students to go from “doing” math to “explaining” math.  I want them to provide a list of directions, explain something in their own words, relate one skill or topic to another, or provide examples of real life situations.  
When writing my prompts in a post {which is VERY simple btw….}, I can choose to publish my posts immediately or I can schedule them out in advance by adjusting the dates and times.  I have all of my posts scheduled for 8:00 AM each day so that whenever we have time available, they are posted and ready to go.  This can be easily modified if interruptions or schedule changes occur.  It also helps to keep me on track and able to prep in advance.
From there, students create their own post on their own blog answering the prompt that I have posed.  And let me tell you, they are proud of them and work hard at them.  I have a few rules which they MUST follow just to keep things organized.  I require them to use the same title in their post that I did in mine.  They are also required to copy and paste (or type themselves) the exact prompt from my post.  I want them to do this in order to ensure they can restate the question or prompt as well as answer the ENTIRE prompt not just what they remember from one quick reading.  I am still training my students to get to this point but I don’t want the lack of organization now to cause confusion later as they refer back to these posts.  I don’t want them to be unsure of what topic or skill they were intending to write about.  
When anyone, whether that be someone in a student or teach role logs in, they will see a list of all of the posts submitted.  In the control panel section, you can select whether you want posts to be visible by everyone or only the teacher.  Since I take these for a grade, I currently have this blog set so that only the author and I can see their posts.  I could see this working extremely well where students brain storm ideas, share strategies, and pose questions to one another as well.  
When I read their posts, I can leave them feedback in a quicker and more complete fashion that I could EVER do in a notebook thanks to copy and paste!  Since I am still training my students, I made a copy and paste list of things that I wanted my kids to be sure they were including in their posts.  If a student did restate the question or use complete sentences, I could quickly delete that bullet and move on to the next student.  
There is also the option to set up multiple classes.  Since my grade level is departmentalized, I have two math classes.  I have a blog for each of them and can access both of them through the control panel.  I am still experimenting with different options here but thus far, I am in LOVE!
And last but not least, is the option for students to view only THEIR blog.  Above is a list of my two blog posts for this week.  If this were a student’s blog, they would be able to scroll through and review or reference various posts to help jog their memory or read their own directions for various skills.  I can’t wait to see my students be able to utilize their own materials anytime and anywhere.  
I am using my Math Journals {which are perfect without the use of KidBlog…in my opinion :)} to supply my prompts for KidBlog each day.  By clicking the image above, you can find all of my Math Journals in the skills listed.  By clicking {here}, you can find an older post about my Math Journals which outlines more of what they include and how I use them in an interactive notebook.  I also have a Math Journal Club which gives you access to all of the editions above plus ALL FUTURE UPDATES!  The price continues to grow as I add editions so your best bet is to purchase it sooner rather than later.
I’d love to hear how you use KidBlog (or something similar) in the comments section below! 
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