29 October 2014

Rounding Up to the Millions Place Value

Rounding Up to the Millions Place Value packet is up on my TPT store! While teaching 3rd grade (8-9 year olds), we would always start our math curriculum with estimating and place value.  It's a skill I know they learned in the previous grade and they know how to apply the skills.  However, for some reason they always struggle with it!  (Nearly every student it seems.)  As the year would proceed and we would move on to the new chapters, we would move pass this skill.  Once we revisit this skill a while later, they have a better grasp of it and didn't understand why they thought it was so difficult.

This packet includes:
* 2 different cover pages for your mini book
* 30 pages of practice from 10s to 1,000,000s, 2 examples on each page (60 total)
* 7 blank sheets to create your own practice numbers (rom 10s to 1,000,000s)

You can either copy and staple as a packet, or cut the sheets in half and create a mini practice book!

Best for grades 1st - 4th!  You can customize your packet to meet the needs of your students, especially for struggling students and those who would like enrichment practice.

Rounding & Place Value Daily Practice

Last year, I decided to do a daily number to practice rounding to each place value, naming all the place values, reviewing some vocabulary, and so on.  I found regular practice made my students more comfortable and confident in rounding.

My students enjoyed this that they even wanted to try numbers up to trillion place value!  They really enjoyed trying to say these obnoxiously large numbers.

What have you done to improve your students' skills in rounding & place value?

25 October 2014

Word of the Day

Word of the Day was something I tried for the first time last year with my 3rd graders (8-9 year olds).  Our new curriculum had a book of challenging words to accompany enrichment reading.  I found these words were great for my class overall since I had majority of high learners.  

Using with Writing Journals

We used mini sheets and the students filled out the information I provided on the front board (word, parts of speech, definition, and my sentence example).  Then the student would write their own sentence using a form of the word and try to think of a synonym, antonym, and the word using a prefix or suffix.  After completing this, the students would glue the sheets in their writing journals and work on grammar sentences.

We did a lot of modeling and discussing of each parts at the beginning of the year.  We would discuss that the students were to copy the word, part of speech, and definition, but were not allowed to use my sentence.  A lot of my students would get stuck on writing sentences, so I gave my example but would discuss that they can only use it as a guide to create their own

With synonyms, antonyms, and prefixes/suffixes, we discussed that not all words would have these and you may not be able to fill out all parts.  After our morning announcements, I would review the word with them and let a few students share their examples, and fill out the remaining as a class.  I also allowed time to complete the sheet after discussion to fill out the final boxes and finish up their own sentences.  

Why It Helped

My students may not have been able to memorize all or some these words, and that wasn't the goal.  I did notice that my struggling students were able to read stories and come up with similar definitions just from how the story used them and could identify parts of speech, synonyms, and antonyms.

We would read in whole group and small groups, and all my students would came across words with prefixes and/or suffixes and were able to point them out on their own.  When I would ask them to evaluate the word, they could tell me the base word, its definition using the prefix/suffix, the definitions of the base word and prefix/suffix separately.

Want More?

I'm working on building on this packet.  This is currently a free download at my TPT store, but I hope to add another packet with these sheets and a listing of 4 sets of 45 words.  This way the words and information are provided for you.  Keep a look out for that in the future!

Have you used something similar to Word of the Day?
Share your thoughts!

19 October 2014

I'm Done! Activities

This packet includes activities for students to do independently when they have finished their work early.  There are 6 sheets of activities: 3 sheets for Reading/Lang. Arts activities (1 cover card, 17 activity cards) and 3 sheets for Math activities (1 cover card, 17 activity cards). This packet includes both color cards and black and white. I've also included blank cards for you to create your own.

How I Used I'm Done! Activities

I used to use the typical "read a book" or "take an A.R. test" when my students were done with their work early.  This is still a rule I use when my students are currently working on their A.R. goals.  However, I've had students who had completed their goals and wanted to work on something else.  These were a big hit with my students last year!  Some of my students would even come up with ideas to add to our cards, which is why I made blank cards.

Reading/Lang. Arts Activities

These activities focus on reading skills and expanding their knowledge through writing.  My students really enjoy writing and creating their own stories, then sharing them with their classmates.

Some activities require some materials to have on hand or pre-made: 8-page paper booklet, white boards, paper (lined and blank), Writing Journal, letter tiles, and spelling & vocabulary words of the week.

Math Activities

These focus on various math skills to help practice and build knowledge.  I made this for 3rd grade and focus on a lot of the skills taught at that level.  However, some students would ask how to do a certain card with a skill that wasn't previously taught (either in our class or previous years) and I would recommend not doing those until we taught the skills in class.

Some materials needed for these activities include: number cards (like playing cards), fraction cards, whiteboards, math facts worksheets already printed, various dice, flash cards telling time, rulers or anything to measure length, and geoboards with rubberbands.

Plus, some games you may need to learn about are Top It (link downloads Word Document with directions) with Addition, which can easily be changed to Multiplication, subtraction, and fractions (only pick up 1 card at a time). More Top It games explained at Primary Chalkboard!

What activities do you like to have available
for your students when they finish early?

16 October 2014

The Scientific Method - Lab Sheet

After learning about The Scientific Method, you can use this lab sheet as part of your Science Notebook/Lab Work.

Fill out each bubble based on the experiment you are conducting using the labels and questions as guides.  (Your students can write quick notes or 1-2 sentences in each bubble.)

This includes 2 lab sheets:
* Lab Sheet with directions to draw the experiment and write a summary on the back.
* Lab Sheet without picture and summary.

14 October 2014

Virtual Dice

I've used dice with so many games & activities in the classroom, not just for math.  However, I had an abundance of 6-sided dice and limited multi-sided dice.  I came across Virtual Dice and it's been a great way to get some dice customized for your class.  I definitely used this with whole group games.

You have the choice of 6, 8, 10, and 12 sided dice.  You can also customize the faces of your dice with up to 5 characters.  (Great for my class with differentiate instruction when some of my students mastered basic multiplication facts easily.)

This is great for reading as well!  I used the 8 sided dice with story elements and used it in small groups.  We focused on: characters - protagonist, characters - antagonist, setting - time, setting - place, plot, problem, solution, and What If...  During What If... I would ask questions from the story that to students would answer if we changed something.

Some more Virtual Dice Websites:

Do you use dice in your class?  Share your ideas!

13 October 2014

Behavior Chart (Freebie)

I have a fish/under the sea theme in my classroom and came across this behavior chart, which I purchased for my class and have been using it for 4 years now.  The positive reinforcement really made a difference in my classroom management.

The Chart

This chart includes 9 pages total, with 7 chart sheets.  The idea is to start all students on "Ready to Learn!" and explained that any page here and above are considered good classroom behavior.  All pages below this are considered inappropriate classroom behavior with consequences.  In the download the pages are in order from highest to lowest.

How it Worked for Me

This was a great tool in my classroom management.  I found that my students responded to positive reinforcement and always want to go the extra step to move up on the chart.  We spent time to discuss what are the expectations for "Ready to Learn!" and what allows the students can move up.  I discuss with them that this is when they are a model student and do something/go above and beyond what is expected.  For example, helping another student without being asked, helping out in the classroom without being told, and so on.  It really did create a helping and positive classroom environment.

I would always give 1 verbal warning to the students if they aren't showing appropriate classroom behavior.  If they don't change their behavior, then they will have to move down the chart.  (The only time I have a student move down without a verbal warning is when they do something they know is inappropriate, harmful, or unsafe.)  

Let me know if you download this and use it in your class!  I'd love to hear how it worked out for you!

12 October 2014

Utilizing a Class Website

One thing that has changed tremendously since I was in school is the use of technology!  I was part of the generation that was introduced to computers and got to spend time once a week in the computer lab with limited educational games. Not the case these days!

Click to visit my Class Website!

My previous school was undergoing a transition to incorporate more technology in the classroom.  We got smart boards, projectors, media stations, an additional computer lab, and another student computer in each classroom.  With more computers being available, and WiFi available for my class devices, I decided to create a class website to utilize in the classroom.

My Vision

My goal was to create a website for the students to use in class and at home.  I wanted them to have interactive games and activities to reinforce skills taught in class.  The students would use computer cards they got from our Treasure Box when they finished their work early and get the chance to play these games in class.  I encouraged them to use the website at home, especially when they didn't feel comfortable with specific skills.

10 October 2014

Why I Became a Teacher

As a child there would two things I'd always pretend to be, a pediatric doctor or a teacher.  Eventually I found myself setting up my stuffed animals, or conning my little brother, to play teacher.  I would make math worksheets and grade their work with red pen and stickers. I've gotten a few "Perfect Attendance" acknowledgements over the years and honestly enjoyed going to school.