Thursday, 18 August 2016

Math Mystery Phrases…Find a Classmate Edition

I’ve raved on and on and on about my love for Math Mystery Phrases. They engage students and make basic facts practice fun, especially for students who struggle with pen and paper tasks. As I’ve been gearing up to go back to school, I was racking my brain trying to think of how to combine the fun of mystery phrases with a getting to know you activity for students. Enter my latest math mystery phrases pack, Addition & Subtraction Math Mystery Phrases - Find a Classmate Edition.

**Before I continue, can we take a minute to just stare in awe at that horrible iPhone picture above. Like, really? I thought the iPhone camera was so advanced that it wouldn't let me take something that is so rough on the eyes. Is it the middle of winter? Why is the light so cool? I think it's time to put down the camera and retire from photography.**

This pack contains six “Find a classmate who …” question sheets and corresponding answer sheets. Similar to my other math mystery phrases, students must complete the math questions first. If done correctly, they then use the answers and letters to fill in the mystery phrases on the corresponding answer sheet. But wait, the work is not done. Each answer sheet contains three mystery descriptions. When completed, students must find three classmates, one to fit each description.

I’ve tried to make the mystery descriptions fairly general, so hopefully they will fit most classes. Some examples: Find a classmate who…has never been on an airplane, plays on a sports team, has more than one sibling, etc.

The idea behind this pack is to get students interacting with their new classmates in a new & fun way. Plus, starting off the year with some addition & subtraction practice never hurts! I’ve differentiated the printables, so you can accommodate various ability levels and still have students working on the same activity.

If you're interested in the pack click {HERE} to find out more.

Excuse me while I go soak up some more sun before back to school reality sets in

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Never Let Your Students Pick Their Own Partners

Some things just have a way of sticking with you. When I was getting my B. Ed., I had a fantastic behaviour management prof. A lot of what she said has stuck with me, but the thing I remember the most is when she said she NEVER lets her students pick their own partners. Not in university, not in elementary school. As she explained her reasoning, I was probably nodding my head without realizing it because it made so much sense. To paraphrase her...

Isn't that the truth? As soon as you talk about working in partners, you've got a class full of this...

with a whole lot of this mixed in…

Either way, it is very likely that most of your students are no longer paying attention. That's why, from the beginning of the year, I set the tone with this rule…

Image via Snapshots by Amy

This alleviates the worry and stress that most students face when asked to work in partners.

So, if your students can't pick their partners, how should you manage it? There are lots of great ideas from drawing popsicle sticks to using an electronic random name generator. Another great option is to use "Find Your Partner" cards.

To use, just choose a set of cards that best suits your students, shuffle them, and hand them out to students. Students are then responsible to find their partner based on how the cards are meant to be organized.

Each card set is labeled and color-coordinated to help keep them organized.

But wait…what about making groups? Don't worry, I've got you covered by including "Find Your Group" cards, too.

Truthfully, I've found that as soon as you start making choosing partners and groups random, students jump on board. These cards help you take the stress out of it, and allow you and students to focus on learning. Plus, once you've got a set (or few) of these cards printed and laminated, they are ready for repeated use, making your job that much easier!

If you're interested, you can check the cards out by clicking {HERE} or the picture below.

Monday, 1 August 2016

5 Back to School Tips...

Photo via Snapshots by Amy

Let me dust off this poor, neglected blog because back to school time is just around the corner. I’m back after a long hiatus to share 5 back to school tips…that you probably already know!

1) Create a classroom contract
Via Mrs. Mack's Batch of Third Graders

Have your students collaborate on creating (& signing) a classroom contract so they are invested in how their classroom is run.

2) Create a welcoming classroom

The tone is set by you. Be kind, welcoming and make sure your students know they are in a safe place. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have some cute classroom d├ęcor. Grab my free welcoming sign {HERE} or click the picture above.

3) Do a collaborative art project

Via The Craft Crow

This is one of my favourite back to school activities. For me, having the students work together to create a mural or bulletin board represents the teamwork and cooperation that I will expect all year. The Kandinsky inspired mural above is one of my personal favourites.

4) Let your students play

Bring out the board games, LEGO, and decks of cards and let your students get to know each other in a relaxing setting. This is a great time to join in on the fun and make some connections with your students.

5) Use some formative assessments

Taking a bit of time to informally assess your students during the first week will save you tons of planning time later on. I created my Back to School Ready packs for the explicit purpose of assessing your new students. Provide one language and one math printable to your students each day and you will have a good idea of the level at which each student is working. If you're interested in checking them out, click {HERE} or the picture below.

These packs (and the rest of my store) will be on sale for another day during TpT's Best Year Ever Sale. Make sure to use the promo code "BESTYEAR" to save up to 28% off!

My TpT Store

Let's make this school year the best one yet!