Building Mathematical Comprehension - Chapter #7

Hi Lovely Friends!

I cannot even believe that it is A. Almost August and B. time for chapter 7 in our book chat!  Time is a flying!!

This week we are here talking about determining importance in math.  This is a skill all kids need to learn early!  This will only help them as they get older.  This chapter told of college age kids using a highlighter and highlighting everything!! LOL!  

Readers need to learn how to determine importance at the word level, sentence level and at the idea level (what is the BIG idea??).  This of course comes with scaffolding and support from teachers like us!!

Some ideas to try with your students:

-  Overviewing - Skimming the text before reading to locate important words, stenches, and ideas.  This gives students an idea about what they are going to be reading and what they need to be paying close attention to.

-  Highlighting - too much highlighting of course is not a good thing - but in moderation can help locate key ideas.  One suggestion for short passages is to make notes on a sticky about why the chunk was highlighted!

-  Read A Little, Think A Little -  Students can use naturally occurring breaks in the passage (Sentence or paragraph) to pause and think about what they just read and what was the important just of what I just read.  

These were just a few of the great ideas presented in the chapter.  Read on to find out what some other folks had to say!

My Talent

I can totally remember complaining to my mom as a little kid that I wasn't good at anything.  I guess it wasn't so much that I was BAD at a lot of things, but that I wasn't especially great at anything.  I danced - I was ok.  I did fine in school.  I was not athletic.  I was just average.  

I also remember my mom telling me that she was just like me as a kid and it wasn't until she was a grown up until she realized some things that she was great at.  To me that sounded like it was eons away, but now as an adult I can tell you that she was correct - I am pretty good at some things (things I never would have thought I would be) - it just took awhile to figure it all out!!

A few summers ago my sister-in-law suggested we take a cake decorating class - I love crafty things, so I said sure, but to be honest I couldn't get into it...

This was my final cake...

A few months later we decided to take class #2 and we met and amazing teacher (Marzi) and she taught me so much!

Since then I have been having fun making cakes for friends and family.  

Here are a few I have made...

Many people have suggested that I sell my cakes - not that I have tons of extra time, but I did start a Facebook page for my "venture".  At the very least it's a place where I can save all of the pictures of my cakes!  And who knows maybe some day I will have an paid order! ;)

What are some of your talents?  What are you good at?  Have you been great at it since you were little or did you find your talents as you got older??  I am dying to know!!

Monday Made-it Baby Style

Good Morning Sweet Friends!  Can you believe that this is the last week of July already?  Time is flying, but also moving so slowly - Four weeks until baby!

I made these monthly onesies for my sweet childhood bestie a few years ago and I LOVED them!  I was super excited to be able to make some for my little bundle too!

Since this little one is a boy, I found some ties on Pinterest - check out the direct link HERE.

All I had to do was download and print onto T-shirt transfers.  Note:  figure out how to flip your images before printing!  I printed twice!!

I ordered some onesies on Amazon - 3 0-3month, 3 4-6 month, 3 6-9 month, and 3 9-12 month.  I got all white, but you could choose!

Then I ironed, cooled and peeled - and voila!

I know, I know, it sounds too easy, but it really was - and much more affordable than some sets that are selling for $150+.

Next week, I will be back sharing some back-to-school craftiness!

Dear Future Teacher... Behavior Management

I’m back this week to talk a little bit about behavior management.  I know that you will probably see a lot of people talking about the color charts (and to be honest I used them for a LONG time and LOVED them), but our school uses a different approach and we cannot use the color charts.  It has some pieces that are GREAT and certainly some places to grow, but that’s what it’s all about right??

We use Responsive Classroom, which could be implemented on a teacher by teacher basis, but works best when the entire school has been trained.  We are a Responsive School.  We all went to a week long training over the summer to get us ready – Some people have even be able to attend the second and third trainings!  I was a skeptic when we started – how can a whole school response to behavior actually work?  But for the VAST majority of kids it does and a lot of the components are really FUN!  Find out more at their site HERE!

There are many components to a successful RC Classroom – more than you would want me to go into today, but there are a few that without any RC training you could implement in your classroom.  Some you are probably doing already.

1.     The First Six Weeks of School
Routines, routines, routines!!  The RC program wants you to spend 6 weeks working on routines, using guided discoveries to explore classroom materials, and building a community.  I will be honest my school DOES NOT use all 6 weeks before teaching content.  However, we spend A LOT of time teaching kids about the classroom.  My first week is filled with FUN, creative activities that also teach kids my rules for using pencils, markers, crayons and glue sticks.  This is time well spent at the beginning of the year because it saves you time in the long run – They know what your expectations are. 

2.     Rules In School
Some teachers use the same rules year after year (I was one of them!!), but RC teaches that kids need to be a part of the rule making process.  First we ask kids to share one thing they hope to learn this year (I make this into an art project too).  Then once everyone has a hope/dream for the year, we make a list of some “rules” or things we will need to do to make sure we reach those hopes and dreams.  From that list kids can sort the rules and whittle them down to 3 or 4 – NO MORE!  Usually they will all fall into 3 categories:  respect to others, respect to materials, respect to yourself.

3.     Morning Meeting
Morning meeting is a community building time at the beginning of the day that has some academic components, but is more focused on the social needs of students.  Students start in a circle on the carpet and greet each other (not just with a Hello, but in MANY creative ways – we do a new one each week!).  Then, some students have a chance to share (no toys!), but instead share something they did or something going on in their lives and students can ask 3 questions or comments about the share.  Then students read a message from me about the day.  I often sneak some learning in here, but leaving out letters or words for them to spell.  Finally, students have an activity where they need to work together or just an activator, to get them ready for the day. 

There are of course some kids who need MORE than what this structure can provide.  They need those sticker charts that list their two rules (hands to yourself and quiet voice) and where they can earn a break or trade in once they have earned all of those stickers.  This is not a replacement for that at all.  Instead I find RC to be a way to create a classroom community that believes in respect and caring. 

There are of course some pieces that I would like to work on RC talks about a Closing Circle.  This is a time to reflect on the day, share things that went well or not so well, and to problem solve.  It also could be a time to preview the next day.  I will be honest, some days we are working until the last possible pack up minute and it’s hard to make time.  I find it especially hard when we get documents (like I did last week) that have specific number of minutes that need to be spent teaching each subject and time for closing circle or even an end-of-day book is not accounted for.  I hope to make it a goal for next year to spend some time working on my closing circles. I can only imagine that my classroom community (and even my student’s discourse skills) will benefit from that time. 

Since we use SO much of the RC programs, I haven’t made any behavior management products up to this point.  However, I DO use a product from one of my favorite sellers, Cupcake for the Teacher.  It’s not very RC, but can be a great motivator for my students.  Here is her Star Jar in my room:

I LOVE how as a teacher you can choose what they are earning stars for.  For example, last year my class had a hard time during specials, so they could earn a star for good listening and positive behavior during a special.  This year, I had a group of chatterboxes.  They earned a star for making transitions without turning on their voices. 

Find her star jar HERE and read more about the Star Jar in my room HERE. 

Thanks for joining me on this reflection journey – Read more about what is working and not working in some of my bloggy friends’ rooms!  There is always more to learn!