Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cursive Word Wall Letters

Over the past several years, cursive writing has gone by the wayside in many classroom. Alabama has created new cursive writing legislating to ensure our students our receiving cursive writing instruction. I created a set of cursive letters which may be used as an alphabet or as word wall letters. Click here to get your FREE set of cursive letters!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Multiplication Practice Your Students Will Love!

I want to share my latest classroom tool. When I found dry erase tape, I instantly knew how I could use it in my classroom. For years, I have used t-charts, simple in/out tables, to help them skip count while solving multiplication and division problems.

Set-up: I cut two 10 inch strips of dry erase tape, and then placed them parallel to each other on each student desk. I left a gap about a half a centimeter wide between each strip of tape. I place a third piece of tape perpendicular to the other two, also with a small gap. Using a Sharpie, I drew a “T” in the gap between the pieces of tape.

Having dry erase t-charts available on the student desks, will make it easy and quick to use. These charts help students build multiplication fluency. I encourage my students to begin with a combination they know and skip count from there. For example, a student trying to solve 8x8 may begin with 8x5=40, and then skip count on the t-chart to 8x8.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Fun Way to Quickly Group Students

Like most of you, my classroom has a WIDE range of diverse learners.

Some Possible Diversity in the Classroom:
  • Academic ability levels such as reading level
  •  Exceptional Ed, Regular Ed, and Gifted students
  • ELL English Language Learners
  • Medical Conditions affecting attendance and/or attention in class
  • Home life and Parent expectations

Since my school has a high population of ELL, I have been studying over the last several years how to best help these learners. In my research, I found ELL students need opportunities to talk to their peers frequently throughout the day.

In the past, I mainly using turn and talk, where students turn to the person sitting next to them and discuss what they are thinking. While I still use this method, I have found it does not provide enough interactions for my ELL students.

A few years ago, I began using random, heterogeneous, grouping whenever possible. I use random grouping for: centers, lessons, project-based-learning, partner work, you name it. What I discovered is all my students benefit for this type of grouping including my ELL students! Students with lower reading levels or limited language benefit from hearing the vocabulary of students on a higher level. Students on a higher level benefit from looking at the task from an alternative perspective.

One quick way to group students is to use Equity Chips. They are simple to create. First, assign each student a classroom number. Then, number a set of chips. I used my 2-sided chips red and yellow chips. Next, place the chip in a small plastic cup with a lid. Your Equity Chips are now ready to use.

Shake the cup, pull out 3 chips, and then call out the numbers. The three students with those numbers will be partners for the duration of the assignment. My math tasks may last 1 day or 1 week depending on the assignment.

Matching Cards is another fun way to group students. I have a set of Partner Picking cards containing 15 sets of matching noses. First, pass out one card to each student.  Next, Students will find the other person with the exact same nose as them. Students with matching cards will be partners for the activity or task. Click here to get your FREE Partner Picking Cards.

How do you use grouping in your classroom? I would love to read about it in the comments below.