Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The One with Rewards

There are still a few things left on my to do list from this summer.  

Yes  I said summer.

I fall into this trap every year.  As the beginning of school approaches things get shoved to the bottom of my priority list and never seem to come to fruition before the first day of school.  

And then they never come to be.

One of those things this year was some sort of reward system for homework.  I wanted to change the way I do homework with my sixth graders.  I had them last year as 5th graders and their homework habits... well they weren't the best.

I did make an immediate change.

Instead of sporadic homework here and there, I decided to do weekly homework.  They have quickly learned the system and there have been very few occasions this year where someone doesn't have their homework.  Every Monday they receive their weekly homework.  

It looks something like this without the answers of course.  :)



It is due on Friday.  If they happen to finish before the end of the week they can turn it in early.

Every Wednesday I take the last 10-15 minutes of class and answer any questions they have about their homework.  This motivates the majority of them to at least look at it before they come to class on Wednesday.  This is some of my favorite time with them.  We have good conversation and I feel like understanding occurs during those few minutes.  

The students seem to appreciate this consistency.  There is no question about when they have math homework or when it is due.  Several parents commented during parent teacher conferences how much they like it for the same reason.

Last week's assignment was a little heavy.  

It was time to finally come up with some type of reward system.  I felt like students who completed this assignment deserved something for their effort and perseverance.  

I mentioned in my last post about my love for task cards.  A love that is almost as big is my love for QR codes.  My students love them almost as much as I do.

All that to say I created some reward cards using QR codes and they are a HIT with my students.

I have them all in a basket.  Students reach in and grab one, scan it, and then it goes back in the basket.


My students have asked every day since when they could scan again.  I actually rewarded a student today for raising her hand when the rest of the class was shouting out.  They were all very jealous and were suddenly all raising their hands.

Prizes include a new pencil, a fun eraser, a piece of candy, pick your seat for a day, free homework pass, and sit at the the teacher's desk for a day.

Simple things that don't cost me a lot of money.

I might add some other rewards as the year goes on.

If you would like to grab a copy of the QR Code Rewards, check out my TPT store.

Hope you are having a good week.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The One with Donors Choose & Math Centers

A couple of weeks ago we received our two ipods from my Donors Choose project.  My students could not have been more excited.

(Can you tell they are identical twins?)

I knew I wanted to use them as I planned stations for last week. 

 I created some task cards to review prime factorization with my students. Because the concept of prime factorization was still fairly new to my students, I tried to create a variety of task cards - some easy and some more challenging.  This allowed students extra practice but the students who caught on right away were not bored.



Students were able to use the ipods to self check with the QR codes.  

I seriously love QR codes - maybe even more than my students.

This set of 16 task cards is now available in my TPT store.

I have been making task cards like crazy lately.  I love task cards that are self check especially as a review for an upcoming assessment.

I also created some self check task cards to help my students practice GCF and LCM.




How fun are these?  My students seem to enjoy these almost as much as using the new ipods.

These are also available in my TPT store.

We do Centers every Wednesday because I have several students out for G/T.  This allows my students to get some extra practice and my G/T students aren't missing out on new content.  This means lots of creativity on my part to come up with new centers.  I'm sure it will get old eventually but right now I'm loving.

I just created these fall themed multiplication task cards.



As you can see I still need to cut them out.  We will be using these this week.  These are also available in my TPT store.

My students also LOVED our center with Factor Football.  




This game is a FREEBIE from Dots-N-Spots.  I am so glad I found this game.  It really is a great review for students.  I can't believe it is a FREEBIE because it is such a great resource.  Jump on over there are download it for yourself.  You won't regret it.





Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The One With Data

My sixth grade classes are learning to collect data and to determine the best way to display that data.

We first looked at dot plots and bar graphs.  Students created their question to survey the sixth grade class.

They collected their data and then created a pop up bar graph.


Thank you Runde's Room for such a great product.  My students loved that their bar graphs were 3-D.

Today we we collected some more data.  We wanted to determine how accurately we could estimate 60 seconds without the use of a clock or watch.


It was the best sixty seconds of my day.  HA!

Tomorrow we will discuss stem and leaf plots as a way to organize that data.


In other news my morning math class has a hard time getting motivated to talk about math.  I often feel like I'm teaching myself because they are just staring at me.

Lumps on logs.

My math coach and I have been discussing strategies to get them awake and motivated to discuss their thinking.  One of the things we are implementing is appointment cards.


It is the same idea as clock partners, but my students like that they have this card.  It has a way of making them feel a little more grown up.

Instead of having them talk to their team (tablemates) about an idea I have them get up and go stand somewhere and talk to one of their appointments.

It seems to be working for right now.

I haven't tried gonoodle with them yet out of fear that it will give them the wrong kind of energy.

What do you do to get your students talking about the subject at hand?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The One in the Afternoon

Every afternoon my homeroom comes back to me for twenty minutes at the end of the day.  Last year I tried to get them to read or do homework.  It was a fight every day and we all ended up frustrated.  I was off to that same kind of afternoon this year.

And then it hit me.

Instead of trying to selfishly use that time to grade papers and tidy up my desk I could read a book to my students.

Have you ever had an idea like this?  You know when you think to yourself...Why have I never thought of this before?

It seemed like an especially good idea because...well...my students could benefit from some extra reading time if you know what I mean.

What students couldn't benefit really?

So I text my best friend who is a former librarian and asked for a book recommendation.  She immediately text back .


I sped drove to the county library right after school and checked it out.  We started reading it this afternoon.

That last twenty minutes of my day was perfect.  Students sat quietly and listened to the story.  They laughed at the funny parts.  Some worked on homework while they listened.

And no one was frustrated.

The only problem?

What will we read when we finish this book?


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The One With Wardrobe Wednesday: Causal Edition

 I seem to be in a pattern this year.  One day I'm very dressy and professional (meaning I wear heels) and the next day I'm as casual as I'm allowed to be.  Yesterday was a casual day.


This outfit looks even more casual in this picture, but in my defense I didn't take this picture until after teaching all day, an orthodontist appointment, and having been home for two hours.  It looked a little better when I left for work this morning.

Of course my hair was down then too.  That helps right?



My pocket tee is from Old Navy.  I bought it this summer and love it so much.  I actually own this shirt in almost every color that was available.  

My capris were purchased around three years ago at the gap outlet.

My shoes are from Payless.  I bought them this summer and love them.





So what are you wearing this week?



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The One with the Questions Posters

Over the first two days of school I asked my students three questions.

A few of their answers were a bit surprising.

1.  Our class should be _____ every day.


I was honestly a little surprised at how many students said quiet.  I was pretty impressed with their self awareness.  Several students put fun which didn't surprise me at all.  Of course with 5th and 6th graders there were a few strange answer.  One student wrote fish.  That one totally baffled me until another student suggested that maybe that one meant decor.  Our classroom should have a fish theme every day?

2.  One of my overall goals for the school year...

Students seem to have two goals...better grade or no pink slips.  I think those are pretty good goals.  A few students said they wanted to be nicer to their classmates.  That's an even better goal.


3. What kind of teacher to do you want?


The answers to this one actually broke my heart.  While several students want a fun teacher, the majority want a kind and helpful teacher.  It broke my heart in that it was a reminder that my students are people and what they need most is love.  I think some times it is easy to forget that.  I felt like this was my yearly reminder that I can't teach my students until I love my students.  Of course I already knew this, but it was nice to have this reminder.




On a separate note...what did teachers do before Pinterest?  I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this idea came from there.