Sunday, May 8, 2016

GREAT Idea for motivating students in high-stakes testing


I came across this product created by "No More Monkey Business" that I love.  For just $1.50, you can buy the formatted letter and a blank frame to send home so parents can write an encouraging letter to their student.  Whether you choose to print the letter, send home a blank frame to parents, or both, this is an easy, inexpensive way to let your students know that you believe in them and want them to succeed.  Just print and put on student's desk on the morning of testing.  Just click below: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/State-Testing-Motivational-Letter-1175252 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

My FAVORITE 38 desktop math computer games!!!!




Each time our elementary students take a benchmark assessment, 
they do a graph that shows their strengths and weaknesses by specific 
learning standards.  Once students know their weaknesses, they can 
access resources to improve their understanding.  Here are 38 online 
computer games that students can use to practice skills to remediate 
weaknesses. I’ve put a thumbnail for each game so students and see if
it’s something they might be interested in.

The compilation of sites on this link, are some of my favorites.  I come
across games every day, so how do the games I view make my “faves” list?  
They have to be:
  • aligned with specific learning standards or reinforce skills that support standard(s)
  • so engaging that students will want to play them at home 
  • easy enough to use that students can access them on their own with little assistance and support
  • primarily used for remediation and reinforcement


      The link to this site is:  Games to Play on a Desktop Computer







Students can access these at home, when they have a few extra minutes in class, or even as a reward.   Thanks for letting me share.  What are some of your favorite sites for your student who need extra practice?  Please leave a comment.  I’d love to read about the games that work in your classroom!!!



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Big Sale at TpT


What's better than a sale?  A sale at Teacher's Pay Teacher's.  That's what!!!!  There's one starting tomorrow!!!




Thank you for the heads up Bunting Books and Bright Ideas and for the awesome graphic!


No matter how busy you are, there's always time to do some shopping at Teacher's Pay Teacher's!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Sunday Scoop


The Sunday Scoop is a linky party hosted by Teaching Trio (see button and link below).  Here's my Sunday Scoop:


If you want to join the linky party, go to:



A Day in the Life of a Math Interventionist


Thursday, January 14, 2016

My day starts at 7:15am when I arrive at school.  I am the Math Interventionist for grades 2-5.  I meet with my counterpart, the Reading Interventionist.  We’re working on a data analysis from our latest benchmark, charting growth (or no growth) of our students; so we share information and tasks that still need to be completed.  We also have a Student Support TEAM meeting to prepare for so we share tasks for that too. 

At 8:00am I attend a 4th grade Professional Learning Committee Meeting – We’re discussing what each content area is doing and how we can coordinate our efforts to collectively prepare students to be successful in all areas. 

At 9:00 am, I have 4 back to back 30-minute intervention lessons for 4th graders and 3rd graders.  Our students recently took a Fall benchmark assessment on all of the math content they’ve learned this year.  The students have created a SWAG report (graph of the questions they answered correctly (green) and the ones they missed (red) by each  Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills "TEKs".  The graph gives them a visual of which TEKS they know and which TEKS are weak.  They each have a notebook that has their SWAG report, a blank benchmark, and their original benchmark.  We’re reworking all of the test questions using our campus-wide problem-solving strategies QFSA and RIJ:  


We are primarily focusing on interpreting and understanding what the question is asking us to find.  We read the question.  We try to see a movie in our mind as we listen to the story problem situation.  We draw a picture if we can.  I’m discovering when students have a full and complete understanding of what the question is asking, they can complete the rest of the problem-solving steps independently.

At 11:00am I pick up my 2nd graders.  We are learning about double-digit addition. My students think it’s a game to model the addends with unifix cubes by connecting the groups of 10 then counting the tens and ones to find the sum.  



It’s not quite as easy to move from the concrete unifix cubes to the abstract algorithm.  I begin showing them the addition frame and we talk about how it’s similar and different to the unifix cubes grouping that we’ve made.

While my students and I are building, counting, using math terms to talk through what we’re doing and I am asking strategic questions to lead my students to discover regrouping, I’m being evaluated!  What?!  And, our campus has a new principal and she wants to observe the evaluation process so she’s observing as well.  NO PRESSURE!!

At the end of our session, I return my sweet friends to their classroom and swing by the cafeteria for a lunch salad.  Some of my 4th grade students have asked to eat lunch with me so they can practice their math facts.  They use flash cards or play a game with a deck of cards (take out Kings, Queens, Jacks, and Jokers, first) where each player turns over a card simultaneously and both try to be the first to solve the multiplication of the numbers on the overturned cards.

When lunch is over, I send them out to recess and join an adorable first grader in his math class.   He Is working independently adding and subtracting 1-digit numbers so I help anyone in the vicinity that needs help by strategic questioning.  Then I bite my tongue and wait as long as I can – reminding myself that students learn when they talk and do. 

At 1:00, I head back to my classroom for 2 30-minute back-to-back 5th grade intervention lessons to solve our latest benchmark math assessment questions.   

At 2:00, I go to the TAP room for professional development. Our campus is focusing on helping students improve their writing across content areas.  Today we are learning about the DIG (Define-Identify-Give examples that show a personal connection).  process of brainstorming before writing an expository personal narrative.

3:00 – 3:15. Bus Duty

3:15 – 4:15 Math Facts Club – students struggling with automatic recall of math facts practice using games – card games, board games, computer games. 

4:15 – 5:30 Analyzing recent benchmark data for my students.  Have they grown since their last assessment?  As I discover weak TEKS, I drill down to specific questions that were missed.  Why did they miss?  Do I need to reteach a concept?  Or did students know the math concept but misunderstand the wording?  Did they only do one step of a 2-step problem?  Did they perform an actual calculation when a problem required an estimate?  Did they struggle to retrieve data from a table, chart or graph to perform a calculation?  I drill down in detail so I can more fully understand the needs of my students.  My intervention time is short, so I have to be intentional. 

5:30pm I go home, and like most teachers, I’m reflecting over the day's events -  what went right? what went wrong?  How can I modify to better meet the needs of my students?

What's your day like?  I'd love to know!  
    
Interested in #MTBoS?  Click here.
                                                                                           


Friday, January 8, 2016

Explore MTBoS January 2016 Blogging Initiative

In 2015, with almost no training or knowledge, I jumped in the middle of blogging with both feet.  I thought the skills necessary to be successful were innate, native, intuitive.  They aren't!  At least, not for me!  This year, there will some exciting changes for my blog as I seek to master everything there is to know about blogging.  While I won't learn everything,  I will apply everything I do learn to the Inspired Interventionist ..

To get started:


I, Betsy Bucy at the Inspired Interventionist, resolve to blog in 2016 in order to open my classroom up and share my thoughts with other teachers. I hope to accomplish this goal by participating in the      January 2016 Blogging Initiative hosted by Explore MTBoS.  
You, too, can still join in on this exciting adventure!  All you have to do is dust off your blog and get ready for the first prompt to arrive January 10th!
I hope you'll stay tuned for the posts to follow - I'll be sharing my favorite apps, games, activities, and processes.  There will be a lot of resources, free to use, in the hopes that they will be useful to you.  Thanks for letting me share!

                                                                                    

Sunday, January 3, 2016

CURRENTLY it's 2016!!!!!


Thank you Erin for sponsoring CURRENTLY this month!


                                                             Happy 2016 everyone!!!!

I'm:


  • LISTENING to: “I’m so Excited!  By the Pointer Sisters”.  I’m very excited to be going back to work tomorrow.  Tomorrow is our district’s first day back at work after our 2-week holiday break.  What can I say?  I LOVE my job.  I’m nerdy like that!  
  • LOVING:   Our new Principal gave us the whole day tomorrow to work in our rooms!!!! Yippee!  I really like having a day back at work to do what I need to do before the kids come back! 
  • THINKING: that the Spring semester will fly as quickly as the Fall semester did!
  • WANTING: An Apple TV connection so that I can mirror student Ipad screens to my projector screen!
  • NEEDING: to clear the clutter that has accumulated through the school year!  Is it too early to start spring cleaning?
  • ONE LITTLE WORD: Intentional – My goal is to be intentional in my teaching and in the way I spend my time!  



Straight Talk on Rounding





When I teach or spiral for rounding, I begin by asking students,
“What do you already know?” 

The most common answer is something along the lines of:
“5 or more, up the score, 4 or less, let it rest.” 



Or, they show me their fist as they mime grasping the string of a balloon.  The number stays the same, they explain, for 1,2,3, or 4 fingers but by opening the 5th finger that leads to an open fist, the balloon flies free.  The balloon rises up as does the number.  (In the past, I’ve taught these two strategies and more along the same lines.) 

Even though students can often chant the rhyme or explain the balloon analogy, when it comes to applying this to whether 0.86 should round to 0.8 or 0.9, students struggle.  Some circle the number to be rounded and underline the digit to its right.  Others underline the number to be rounded and circle the digit to its right or draw an arrow to the digit to its right.  Why the number to the right, you ask them?  They often cannot say.   Why indeed?  We know it’s because of the base 10 number system within the construct of the place value chart but students often don’t know the underlying context.

Math is among other things, a language of patterns and connections.  I’ve taught rhymes to help students remember yet I see now that rhymes, albeit useful in the short term, give students a disconnected, isolated view of math concepts, instead of capitalizing on connections.   As a result, when students don’t remember the rhyme perfectly, they can’t reason their way through to a solution as they might if they had deeper conceptual knowledge of the process.     

I now teach rounding using a number line and knowledge of place value.  

While I enjoy creating my own videos and materials to teach concepts, there are just so many valuable tools and resources already created and available.  One of those great resources that I like to use is called LearnZilliona resource developed for Common Core.  (Our district does not have a Common Core curriculum but the resources on this site can be used interchangeably with other curriculum):
Go to LearnZillion to access math resources
Learn Zillion



If you’d like to see videos about rounding, click on the hyperlinks below:


After showing an instructional video, I model rounding for students.  As they follow along, copying modeled problems on their white boards, I encourage them to draw a number line with 10 ticks.  They use this number line consistently by renumbering the ticks according to the problem. 

I ask questions like:
What digit should we round?
If we round to (tens, tenths, etc.) What should our upper limit be?  What should our lower limit be?   Is our number to be rounded closer to our upper limit? or lower limit?  How do you know?

When we’ve labeled our tick marks, we plot our point. 
Together we choose the limit our point is closer to.
If students are not sure, we count the spaces (the intervals not the tickmarks!) between our plotted point and the upper limit and lower limit.

I give students practice problems for independent practice to solve on their whiteboards.  I encourage students to work together collaboratively and communicate while practicing.  I question as they work, "How do you know?" or ask another student, "Do you agree?" "Why or why not?"  

To close the lesson, I give students an exit ticket I make on post it notes – click here for the template:  Rounding Exit Tickets.pdf

I hope these resources are useful.  I would love to know your thoughts on rounding, teaching conceptually, or anything!  Please feel free to leave a comment!  Thank you for letting me share.