Thursday, September 15, 2011

IPad Apps


Does anyone have any great educational app suggestions for IPads? (K-6) We just got our mobile lab in and we have money to spend on apps. I have NO IDEA what's good...for school, that is. :) Anyone have suggestions?

September 15th

One year ago today, I got a phone call that would change my life forever. I will never forget I know the exact stop light I was at. My dad was in the hospital...and in excruciating pain. My heart broke like I've never felt before. Within a week he had to have his kidney removed and we got the devastating news that it was cancer.

I guess they say time heals all wombs...I prefer to say God does. But, if anything this experience has taught me to cherish my family more than ever. I love them sooo much it hurts.

Fast forward to three days ago. It's back. I think this time hurts even more than the first call. So much I can't even think about it at the moment. I love my dad so much and I don't ever want him to be in a situation where he's scared, or hurt, or in any pain. I wish I could make it GO AWAY...forever! And to make matters worse, I live 283.5 miles away.

I write this today because I know people read it, and if you're reading this right now, please just say a little prayer for my dad.

Oh, and in case you didn't know...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh, How Pinteresting

Oh my gosh.
I feel like it's been FOREVER since I've blogged. 

Forgive me, I've had a lot going on in my little world. Hopefully soon I can get back in the swing of things. :) 

My first pin of the day is very fitting for my mood lately. 
 ...and what's getting me through it
 I thought this was fun, but my sister already shot the idea down :(
 I love this room...
 Maybe my mom can let me do this to her piano...
 77 more days...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Math Workshop

UPDATED: You can now buy this start up kit at my TPT store. Follow this link to purchase my set. 

This summer, I came across a few blogs that talked about Math Workshops in their Math classes and loved the idea. You can read about them on Beth Newingham's blog or The Clutter Free Classroom. These two blogs were such an inspiration to me and I knew I wanted to try it out. I teach 5th grade, and I think the blogs I read were geared for more of the younger grades, but it works great for my kiddos! Anyways...I wanted to share my version of Math Workshop to you.

Here is my board...
Which was inspired by {and looks A LOT alike} my inspiration board from The Clutter Free Classroom...
This half of the board has the rotation map. I {strategically} assign 4 different groups of kids and they follow the schedule displayed. The far left says 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th rotation down the side. Where their group number and rotation number meet is where they need to be for that rotation. 
 This half of the board is where I display their choices at each station. I saw that sentence strip charts were great to use for this, but since my 5th grade classroom isn't overflowing with sentence strip charts...I used the next best thing. Poster board and clear desk, name plate cover things. It works great and I can just slip the assignment in.

So that is the setup. 
Now on to how it works in my classroom...

I loved the idea that the Clutter Free Classroom used by using the word MATH as my stations. Math facts, At your desk, Teachers choice and Hands on. My math classes are 75 minutes a piece, so I spend about 10 minutes explaining the stations and then I let them start. Each rotation is 15 minutes long. 

The prep work was a little more strenuous the first time around, but I think it will get easier in time. I print cards for the slits so they will know what their choices are. Another reason I love this is because I can hit all the different levels of my kids at one time through different assignments. #winning!
And just because I'm crazy organized, I came up with a system to make it run smoother. I put all my copies/ materials for the weeks workshop in my little rubbermaid bins. Then in the crate, I have a color-coded system so the kids know where to go to get instructions or work that they need to complete. 

The rotations went REALLY well, even better than expected actually! Here is the run down on what I did at each station.

Math facts...
At this station I combine anything that can reinforce what the objective is I'm teaching as well as give them more practice at those basic facts. I use dice, decks of cards, number puzzles, computer games...anything I can find that will go along with what I'm teaching. 

At your desk...
This is pretty much where they do their independent work. It may be a worksheet, a journal entry, an assignment from their math book. They are sitting at their desks for this station.

Teachers choice...
This is when I use my small group time. I pull the group down to the floor and we work at the whiteboard. Speaking of whiteboards...LOVE THEM! Hello, best way to engage a 5th grader. Give them a whiteboard and Expo Marker. They're in heaven! Oh my is SO much easier focusing on a group of 4 or 5 rather than a group of 20. The kids really open up and ask questions, where as in a big group they stay quiet. It's a great opportunity as a teacher to see exactly where my kids are struggling. 
Hands on...
This station is usually a game or activity that ties into what were doing. There always some kind of manipulative for them to use and discover with. 

Honestly, I haven't completely decided how often this will be going down in room 207. I know some teachers do Math Workshop's just how their Math class is structured. I, on the other hand, do not have it in me to teach the same lesson 16 times in one day. {SIXTEEN} Sorry if that makes me lose teacher of the year, but y'all thats a beating!!! I was thinking I will try it twice a week and see how it goes. We'll see...

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my version of Math Workshop and a big THANK YOU to the blogs who inspired me to take it up a notch. I owe you guys BIG TIME! :)