Tuesday, September 3

{Math Rotations}

*** This product and post have been updated here! ***

Math is not my favorite subject.


I don't think I am allowed to say that.

But there is it, and when you don't love to teach something, your students are not going to love learning it. So this is what prompted my need to make a change in the way I taught math. I went and searched the web for a cure to my math woes and yet again, I found inspiration in Beth Newingham.

We use the EverydayMath program, but I believe this way of teaching math can be applied to every curriculum out there.

So during my 75-minute math instruction, I have a mini-lesson time of 10-15 minutes followed by 3 rotations of 15-20 minutes, lastly I have a 10 minute checking time to check any work necessary as a class. Here is an explanation of my mini-lesson and 3 rotation times:

Mini-lesson – a quick overview of our lesson, usually consist of explanation and modeling
Teacher Time – re-teaching to my below level students and practicing the skill taught that day together with all groups
Seat Work – independent work that reviews previously learned skills and/or skills taught in that days lesson
Game Time – games that review previously learned skills
Fact Practice – games or computer programs that practice previously mastered facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), this station is visited only if students finish seat work early

I have a smartboard lesson in which I write the assignments for that day. It looks something like this:

We came up with the expectations together and then I typed them into the Smartboard file.

So as you can see I divide my class into 3 groups. These groups are based on skill level in this lesson or unit. I use a pre-test to determine who belongs in each group. I try to make my lowest group very small so they can have as much one-on-one time as possible. I have our rotation schedule and who is in each group posted in our room so my students can reference it as we are rotating. It looks something like this.

The names are printed on sticky notes so I can switch up groups quickly and easily as often as I would like. Here is the link to download the above printables: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-Rotation-Guide-and-Board-869440

Please let me know if you have any questions about how you could implement this in your own classroom or if you already use this model and would like to share something new! I hope this can help differentiate in your classroom and make math meaningful and enjoyable for your kiddos!

Teach on!
Mrs. Horn

Monday, September 2

{3rd Grade Spelling Lists}

So Beth Newingham has been a long time hero of mine. If you have not checked out her site you have to. She is A-MAZ-ING!


She has inspired me in so many ways, but more recently has been the way she teaches and assesses her spelling and word work. Here is a link to her explanation of her word work program: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top_teaching/2010/10/my-november-top-ten-list-word-study-in-action. I have always been discouraged by just handing students a list on Monday for them to memorize for a test on Friday. Does this show they have mastered the spelling pattern? Can they apply the rule in their own writing? Something needed to change. This new "method" I have adopted pleases those parents who love to see that weekly spelling list and allows me to truly assess whether or not they can use the rule. I have created a 40 word list for each of the spelling list in our curriculum, Reading Street. The first 10 words is for a Pre-Test, the next 10 are for a "regular list", the next 10 are for a "challenge list" and finally the last 10 are words that use the pattern but my students will not see these words until the day of the test. These final words are how they will truly show me they understand the pattern.

So here is how I use these lists in my classroom.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.    <!--[endif]-->On Monday, I give a pre-test. I use the first 10 “pre-test words” for this test. If students get 9 or 10 correct they receive the “challenge” list (which I call Star list because the list I give them has a star at the top) to study for the week. If they miss 8 or more they receive the regular list.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.   <!--[endif]-->Throughout the week we study and practice the list through word sorts and various games. They are also responsible for studying the list they received on Monday.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->3.   <!--[endif]-->On Friday, I call out the first 10 words on each list. (ie. Number 1 – happen, Did you happen to see the game on TV last night?, happen Star list number 1 – collar, The collar on my shirt feels tight around my neck., collar, etc.) Then, I call out the “new pattern words” to the whole class. These are words they have not studied, but follow the pattern we have practiced all week. This will show me if they truly understand and can apply the pattern to their own writing.

I have created a product for the first 6 spelling lists in the Reading Street series. Here is a link to where they can be purchased in my TPT store. 

I'm Back!

So after a long hiatus... It is time to return to my blog! A few things have changed in my life. Here they are:

1. I got married! I am now blessed to be Mrs. Horn instead of Miss Sullard!
2. I now teach in Oklahoma... huge pay cut, but I get to use Common Core (which I would not have in Texas)!

3. I also moved up in the world and teach 3rd instead of 2nd! ;)

I have also opened up a TPT store. At this point I just have my free Brain Break Activity Sticks from my previous post. Please go grab them! But be sure to come back, because I will soon have my 3rd Grade Reading Street Spelling List aligned to Common Core up!

 - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Teach On!
Mrs. Horn

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