Monday, February 10, 2014


I'm linking up with Jessica @ I {Heart Recess} for Mathematical Monday!  I am very excited about this post.  I've been working on it for weeks!  

My school district has wonderful helpers call, "Instructional Teachers On Assignment."  They are Teacher Coaches that help you analyze data, research effective instructional practices, and help you plan & organize lessons that meet the individual needs of you students.  Talk about differentiated instruction!  

Last month, my school's ISTOA spent 1/2 of the day helping my team dissect our Math Data, research effect instructional practice for reteaching/remediation.  Then she followed up with another 1/2 day with a "make & take" of the various TPT activities that we had purchased or downloaded for free, and a few activities that we put together ourselves to assist with differentiated math centers by Florida Benchmark/Standard.  
I have to remind you all that Florida is currently transitioning to the Common Core Standards.  In Grades 3-5 we are all working under a blended curriculum of both Florida Next Generation Sunshine State Standards and the Common Core State Standards.  This has been quite the challenge to blend both together.  

In order to make our instructional time more effective and to achieve more bang for our buck we had our students analyze their own individual data!  Once students analyzed their own data they knew which benchmarks/standards that they needed to practice. Talk about giving students a focus for their Math Workstations!  Take a look at what we did today!  

Students are working on analyzing their individual performance on a district Summative Math Assessment.

This is an example of one of my student's interactive learning side of their notebook.  I am able to print individual student reports by benchmark/standard.  Students see individual scores broken down by a specific benchmark/standard.  They are able to see if they have obtained mastery or not on a individual benchmarks/standards.  

Here is the Preview & Process side of the student interactive notebook.

 I teach both 3rd & 4th Grade this year, so we have two baskets that are color coded by benchmark/standard.  Students are to choose a benchmark/standard that they had to high-light in pink (< 60%)  from the basket to practice.  

Here is an example of a fractions/decimals activity!  

My students were just as excited as I was with this data analysis activity today.  I'll have to let you know how effective it is with actual remediation and improving test scores!  

I was hemming and hawing about how much work went into creating this lesson, but I have to be honest with you.  Today was one of the best lessons that I have ever taught during my 20 years as an educator.  Students were captivated by their own performance and goal setting.  They are determined to raise their own scores.  Talk about taking responsibility for your own learning!  

I have to warn you all! This is very exciting and contagious!  You just might get hooked!  Let me know if you are interested and I'll send you the interactive notebook directions.  

Happy Mathematical Monday!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Password to Enter Classroom!

I'm so excited to link up with Joanne @ Head Over Heels For Teaching for her Student Motivational Saturday Linky! Joanne is a very good friend of mine.  We went to high school together, have taught together, and she is my 18 year old son's favorite teacher! To tell you the truth, she is my favorite teacher too! She is the one who has motivated me to give this blog a try. I hope I'm not too embarrassing.

I have been having a difficult time motivating my fourth graders to study their multiplication facts on their own. Even with several Multiplication Incentive Programs in place students weren't making progress fast enough.  I was becoming quite discouraged and frustrated with their inability to pass their 3's & 4's times tables. Then one day, I had an idea come to me in the split second it took me to open my portable door for  a student whom was at least ten minutes tardy as usual.  As I cracked open my portable door and stuck my head out I stated, "You may only enter if you know the answer to 8 x 4." I shut the door and waited. My entire class was silent with anticipation. Within a few seconds my student knocked on the door again. I opened it and peeked my head out as he proudly exclaimed, "32!" I allowed him entry as my classroom erupted with chatter discussing this new password.  I was motivated by their reaction, so the following morning I posted a sign on my classroom door.

The password had not only motivated my students to study their times tables on their own, it is a way to incorporate daily practice/rehearsal!  My students look forward to whispering the password each morning.  If they don't know what the correct password is then they go to the end of the line where they can hear the password several times before they reach me again. I also make them repeat the entire equation three times if they don't know it.  My students enjoyed this so much that my bathroom monitors started to require students to repeat the password before entering and exiting the gang bathroom!  Even adults have to state the password before entering my portable.  It is just plain old fun!

I'm happy to report that we have progressed quite a bit over the last couple of weeks.  I've had my first student pass all of his facts through the twelves!

I'm hopeful that all students will have their ice cream cones filled up to the 12's before April 14th!  That's when we begin taking our state assessments, FCAT for reading & math.