Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Few Things That Work

I've been asked many many times to share some of the things that I do in my classroom over the years. BUT, I'm not a cutesy Teachers Pay Teachers/Pinterest kind of teacher with cute downloadable resources. (I sometimes wish I had the talent to make cutsified units.) There is nothing here that is especially creative or Pin worthy. I'm just sharing a few things that work.

 I assign partners for the day- mostly for math. Even though I teach 5th grade, a lot of my teaching is from the carpet area. Kids sit on the floor next to their partner. They decide who is Partner A and who is Partner B. The math problems on the board are a short spiral review. I have all of the kids' names on a half of a 3x5 card on a ring. One year my class named them the "Cards of Death" and the name stuck. It puts everyone on notice that they'll be responsible to answer a question. I let the partners discuss how to solve a problem. Then, I let a kiddo "cut the deck" and I call on a person to go to the board to teach the class how to solve the problem. They can't say that they don't know. They can get some coaching from their partner. (I spend a lot of time teaching kids how to coach each other.)

If there's a chance to teach some vocabulary/spelling during math, I always jump at the chance.

 Whenever there's an opportunity to use a picture book for teaching a math concept (especially for introductions) I use them. There are many books available now that do an excellent job of teaching math through a story. It helps the kids make connections. And...I also use the stories to help teach reading/writing skills.

This particular lesson that introduces division is found here

Schools everywhere are building Makerspaces. My school is not to that point. I certainly can't fund building a Makerspace. I'm starting small.

The cupboards are deceiving. It looks like I have a ton of storage, but in reality I have none. The counter is barely as wide as a piece of paper. I could go on but...

My makerspace items are tucked away in the bench, the stools, and the wicker chest. There are little items in the boxes on the counter. I have a file cabinet to store a few more supplies. I was able to get some grants. With that money, I purchased some MakeyMakey kits and Sphero balls. It's not much, but the whole point is to give kids a chance to create, right? Paper, markers, cardboard, and glue goes a long way.

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