Saturday, August 24, 2019

Creating a Social Contract

A few summers ago I attended a training for a program called Capturing Kids' Hearts!

Let me tell you it was hands down the absolute best professional development I have ever had.

I am such a believer in what they are doing and promoting. 

It is all about building relationships and capturing kids' hearts as the name suggest.

There are many different pieces to it and I couldn't possibly share all of them.  

It really is something you need to attend their training to receive the full benefits.

But I do want to share one aspect with you today.

It's something I would venture to guess you are probably doing or have seen on Pinterest.

Let's talk Social Contracts.

This is very similar to Classroom Norms or Expectations.

I start by asking my students to think about and respond to four questions.

1.  How do you want to be treated by me (the teacher)?

2. How do you want to be treated by each other?

3. How do you think I (the teacher) want to be treated by you?

4. How do you want to treat each other when there is conflict?

After students have plenty of individual think time, I then put them in groups of four giving each student a role.

The Manager keeps the group on task.
The Recorder records a final answer/list for the group.
The Speaker will share the group's final answer with the class.
And my favorite role - The Encourager.  I love hearing my students cheer their classmates on for sharing their answers.

After group time, we begin sharing and discussing as an entire class.

During this time I have a student volunteer to be the Class Recorder.  

Their job is to record the answers as we discuss them.

If an answer comes up multiple times, the Class Record will put a check mark by that word every time it comes up.

Everything is student led.  I am simply facilitating the conversation.  I do manipulate the conversation in order to add No Put Downs on our social contract.

Once the class discussion is over, students are given the opportunity to sign the contract before you display it in the classroom.

I chose to create WordArt with the list this year.

Each class was done in a different color.

This is 2nd period's Social Contract.

We are in the process of having everyone sign it and then I will hang it at the front of the room.

I will remind students of what they agreed to, but more so I will teach students to remind each other.

Do you do anything like this in your classroom?

Monday, August 19, 2019

Five of My Favorite Integer Activities

Teaching integers is one of my favorite topics.


Because in the beginning students act as if they will NEVER understand Integers.

Working with negative numbers is sooo hard and confusing.

And then they get it!!

Plus there are so many real life examples and activities that can be done with Integers.

I love that in most pacing guides out there, at least the ones I've come in contact with, integers is taught at the beginning of the year.  It is such a great way to build that math confidence early on.

Don't get me wrong, integers can be confusing and some students really struggle with the concept.  I just think there are so many great visuals and activities out there to help those struggling students.


Enough of my ranting.

I have FIVE integer activities I want to share with you.

This Ordering Integers cut and paste activity is great for making a simple concept more hands-on.  What is it about cutting and pasting that just makes it more fun?  And when you print it on your favorite astrobright might as well be throwing a party!

Students get six sets of numbers that they must put in order from least to greatest.

And if cutting and pasting isn't your thing then you might appreciate the digital version of this activity.

Learning to add integers on a number line can be a bit tricky.  This digital activity is great practice and helps catch some common mistakes.  It comes with 20 different problems but you can easily cut that down if you feel like that is more than your students need or can handle.

As you can probably tell, I'm all about making simple activities more hands-on and interactive for my students.  This sort activity is a fun way to practice those adding and subtracting rules for integers.  I love to have my students do this with a partner because it produces some great math conversations among students.

If you follow me on Instagram you know how much I am loving my Integers Number Line.  I have been using this number line for a few years but this year I am using it in so many different ways.  It is individual pieces which allows you to create a horizontal or vertical number line.  In my experience students see horizontal number lines all the time, but they are not as familiar with vertical number lines.  This year I decided to hang mine up on my whiteboard with magnets so that I can create both a horizontal and vertical number line.

Then I decided I wanted to be able to use it to practice other types of problems so I created a math symbols set.

And then I thought we needed some fractions and decimals to throw in the mix so a new set was born.

I am looking forward to using these three sets all year long with my students.

And last but certainly not least, my newest activity that I am so stinkin' excited about it.

Students can practice all four operations with this digital color by number activity.  As they correctly answer questions parts of the picture began to appear.  Students will have fun guessing what they think the picture might be.

 Mario has me feeling a bit nostalgic

So there you have it!  Five of my favorite Integer Activities.  I have so many activities that I enjoy doing with Integers.  I could easily do a part two to this post if you are interested.