5 Best Practices for Teaching Math

March 11th, 2014 by Staci Schutte-Guest Blogger

5 Best Practices for Teaching Math-TCR Collage

Hello again, it’s Staci from Let’s Teach Something!  I’m so excited to be back with Teacher Created Resources again.  I’m here this time to give you a little insight on some math practices that have best worked in my classroom. Here are my top 5 best practices for teaching math: In & Out Tickets, Scavenger Hunts, Daily Warm-Ups, Anchor Charts, and Whiteboards.

In & Out Tickets

IN OUT CARDS-TEACHER CREATED RESOURCES

I have little cards (about 1/2 the size of index cards) that I use in my classroom as tickets.  I laminated mine so I can reuse them.  The students write on them with a dry-erase marker.  You could also just use a scrap piece of paper and recycle them when they are used.  I use them 2 different ways…

1)  I pass out the tickets at the end of a math lesson and the students have to answer an “exit question or equation” on their ticket.  As the students leave my room, they have to give me their ticket.  If the answer is correct, they get to move on to the next class.  If the answer is wrong, they have to sit back down and try again.  If, after the 2nd attempt, they still get it wrong, I make a note and work with the student one on one either before or after school (or during work time in class.)  At the door, I keep a clipboard and make note of how the students are doing on their in & out tickets.  If a student consistently has to go back for a second chance, this alerts me that it is becoming a trend and it’s time for me to do a little intervention work with them.

2)  I’ve also used the ticket system on homework.  I give them a ticket and tell them it’s their ticket into the class.  Same procedure applies if they get it wrong as with the ticket out.  They get two chances before I work with them individually before or after school or during quiet class work time.

Scavenger Hunts:

Scavenger Hunt -Teacher Created Resouces

It’s easy to get the students up and moving during math.  Send them  on a scavenger hunt!  If you are doing a subtraction lesson, give  them subtraction problems where the answers lead them to a room  number where the next clue would be located.  If you are doing a  shapes lesson, show them shapes and they have to find something in  real life that is that same shape and they have to take a picture of it  or draw a picture of it.  If you are teaching about time, place clocks  all around the school (or your classroom) and each clock has a new  time under it where they have to find that next matching clock! Math can be very interactive, just get creative! :)

Daily Warm-Ups:

Daily Warm-Ups-Teacher Created Resources

Giving my students a quick warm-up each morning when we start math helps get them in the math mood and helps to reinforce what has already been taught.  The old saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” comes to mind when I give them the quick warm-ups.  If I teach my students about telling time and then never ask them to practice, they will lose it.  This quick warm-up gives them that quick practice without having to spend a lot of time doing it.  A little each day goes a long way!

 

 

 

 

Anchor Charts:  

Anchor Charts-Teacher Created Resources

Anchor charts have been around forever..and it’s because they work!  I allow students to help me create them. My philosophy: students who actively participate in the creation of classroom resources retain the information better.

In this photo, my Kindergarten students helped create anchor charts for 3D objects.  We discussed their attributes and I added them as they discovered them.  Then they each got a sticky note and were able to draw their own 3D object at the bottom of the anchor chart.  Sure, it’s easy to create my own anchor charts before or after school, but using class time to create them WITH my students creates a lasting foundation for my instruction.

Whiteboards:  

Whiteboards-Teacher Created Resources

I LOVE whiteboards (or chalkboards if you have those in your classroom).  If I could, I would have a whiteboard installed on all 4 walls of my classroom.  Students love writing on them and I can tell, at a glance, the thought process of my students as they work on the boards.  I especially love using them in math class.  It’s so easy to line the students up and rattle off math problems.  The students write the problem on their part of the board and you, the teacher, can stand back and watch all of your class and can address questions immediately.

If someone adds wrong, you can simply stand behind them and watch their thought process and correct immediately instead of having to wait to “grade” their work after school.  If you do not have a large board space in your classroom, you can also use this technique with individual white boards.  It gets a little trickier with keeping an eye on all of your students, but it’s still more effective in allowing me to give feedback more immediately.

I hope these math practices help you in your classroom and your students enjoy them as much as mine do! Be sure to stop by my blog for more from my classroom!

 

Shamrock Potato Print Stamps

March 4th, 2014 by Portia Stewart

Shamroc kPotato Print Stamps-Teacher Created Resources

Kids will need a teacher or parent to assist them in creating this charming St. Patrick’s Day craft.

Materials

  • Potato
  • Shamrock cookie cutter
  • Knife
  • Pencil or Pen
  • Green Paint
  • Styrofoam or thick paper plate
  • White construction paper

Shamrock Potato Print Stamps-Teacher Created Resources

Let’s Do it!

  1. Teachers or parents help the kids cut the potato in half.
  2. Use a shamrock shaped cookie cutter to create the shamrock shape. If you don’t have a shamrock cookie cutter, draw an outline of a shamrock on the cut surface of one half of the potato.
  3. Teachers or parents, carve away some of the potato around the outside of the shamrock outline. Be sure the shamrock shape clearly sticks out from the rest of the potato.
  4. Pour some green paint onto a Styrofoam plate.
  5. Dip the potato into the paint and stamp onto the white construction paper to make a shamrock design.

More Ideas:

Make Shamrock People & Stories
Bring your shamrock potato print stamps to life by making  “shamrock people”. Add googly eyes and draw on a nose, mouth, arms, and legs.  Have students use the stamp 4 or 5 times on white construction paper, draw on faces and tell or write a story about the shamrock people.  Kids will love adding silly faces and using their imagination to come up with creative stories about the shamrock people.

Experiment with Different Materials
Experiment with stamping the potato prints onto different types of paper, such as thin, thick, and porous. You might also wish to experiment with stamping different types of materials, such as fabric, wood, and plastic.

Use a Sponge
Alternatively, you can create shamrock potato print stamps using a sponge. Simply outline a shamrock shape and cut.

For more St. Patrick’s Day projects and crafts, see Art for All Seasons

The Cat in the Hat: Classroom Discussion Topics & Free Activity

February 26th, 2014 by TC Bear

The Cat in the Hat Classroom Discussion Topics & Free Activity

Read Across America Day is March 3 and many teachers and students will be celebrating by reading and having classroom discussions about Dr. Seuss’ classic story, The Cat in the Hat. This book is about a girl named Sally and her brother who don’t know what to do on a rainy day. Suddenly, in comes the Cat in a Hat, and that’s when the trouble begins! The pet fish reminds the children that the Cat should not be in the house because their mother is not home. However, the Cat insists on staying and entertaining the children with a variety of tricks. When Mother finally gets home she asks the children what they did while she was out. The kids cannot decide what to tell her. The Cat in the Hat ends by encouraging the readers to decide what they would tell their mothers in that situation.

There are a variety of fun classroom activities and discussion topics based around this story. Here are a few discussion topics:

  1. Discuss rainy day activities and create a Rainy Day Bulletin Board. Cut raindrops out of blue paper and have the students write down some rainy day activities on the raindrops to post on the bulletin board.
  2. Consider using The Cat in the Hat to introduce your social studies unit about safety or stranger awareness.
  3. Collect real hats and/or pictures of hats that can be displayed around the classroom to promote interest. Each day you teach the unit put on a hat (or show a picture of a hat) to signal to students that it is reading time. Encourage students to figure out who would wear such a hat.
  4. Have the students wear a hat when it is their turn to read a page out of the book. Discuss the feel and look of the hat and who would typically wear it.
  5. Set the stage and build background by discussing the following:
  • Have you ever been left home alone?
  • What activities are you allowed/not allowed to do when you are alone?
  • Talk about a time when it took courage to tell something to your parents
  • What would you do if a stranger came to your door while you were home alone?
  • Discuss and do(or review from the Rainy Day Bulletin Board) any fun rainy day activities

Need more Cat in the Hat activities? Download the free Pocket Chart Sequence Sentence Strips.

540 Cat in the Hat TCRPocket Chart Sequence Strips 2Use the Cat in the Hat sequence sentence strips to create a pocket chart activity. Teach and practice sequencing skills, reproduce, cut out and laminate the sequence sentence strips below. Have the students put them in the correct order and display them on a pocket chart. Students may also work in groups to create a book by cutting the strips, pasting them on drawing paper, and illustrating their sentences. Staple the strips in the correct order and read them to the class.

For more Cat in the Hat activities, discussion topics, and lessons see A Guide for Using The Cat in the Hat in the Classroom

Writing Effective Report Card Comments on Behavior

February 14th, 2014 by TC Bear

Writing Effective Report Card Comments on Behavior

When it comes to writing report card comments and progress reports, it can be challenging to find effective words to communicate the details of each student’s progress. When writing report card comments, remember to focus on the positive first. Comments on both academic and personal behaviors should be assessed and written in a report card so that students and parents can see their strengths and areas of improvement in order to create a progressive, effective outcome. We have included some thoughtful, constructive, and easily-customizable report card comments designed to address behavior issues and strengthen parent-teacher communication and improve student behavior.

Proficient

  • ______ is a good citizen. He/she is dependable, responsible,
    and respectful.
  • ______ shares and listens. He/she works well with others.
  • _______is a pleasant, respectful, and well-behaved student.
  • Making Progress

  • Since our last conference, _______’s behavior has been improving.
    He/she is showing interest in his/her schoolwork and seems eager to learn.
  • _______ is showing increased desire to demonstrate appropriate attitude and acceptable behavior in the classroom.
  • _______ is learning to anticipate the consequences of his/her actions. This is improving his/her behavior because he/she is taking time to think before acting.
  • There has been noticeable improvement in _______’s behavior. He/she has made an effort to cooperate with his/her peers and practice self-control. Thank you for your support.
  • Lately, _______ has been working to correct his/her behavior, and I am very proud of him/her. I hope he/she continues to maintain improvement.
  • Needs Improvement

  • _______ can be very aggressive towards his classmates. Perhaps we should have him/her meet with the school counselor.
  • Please encourage _______ to use socially appropriate language at all time.
  • Socializing seems to be more important to ­_______ than classwork. He/she has great potential, but will not realize it until he/she pays better attention in class and focuses more in his/her work.
  • _______can be disruptive and disorderly. Please encourage him/her to be more responsible in his/her behavior, and call me to schedule a conference.
  • The above comments open the door to communication between the teacher and parents. It demonstrates reporting behavior progress in a clear, concise, and constructive manner. A teacher’s well written report card comments will be effective and can have the power to encourage and impact students and their parents positively.

    For more tips on report card comments in all subjects see, Writing Effective Report Card Comments.