Great Improvement in Math Facts

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Wow… from what I have seen in class with our test and challenge today, students have really improved with speed and accuracy. Students took a timed test today and it looks like more than half the class is showing mastery with multiply and dividing is getting better, too.

Here’s a look at our improved practice from today.

Playing ‘Factor Field’

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Today we played an activity called ‘Factor Field.’ We are finishing up our study of Math Fluency and practicing to get faster at multiplying and dividing with basic facts. The activity we did today allowed students to rehearse their facts, practice our new strategies, and see if they are getting better and faster.

Here’s a look at what ‘Factor Field’ looked like.

How ‘We’ Learn the Times Tables

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One of the great things I like about our new math series that we started using last year is the way that students learn to become leaders in the classroom through group activities and exercises. Students this year will learn to teach each other as we go through lessons and concepts. In fact, the more the students act like teachers the better they will do.

This past week we began studying the Times Tables for patterns instead of attempting to memorize the facts. Students worked with partners in their own “Math Talks” as they teach each other before any class instruction. It is amazing to see what they learned even before the teacher began teaching the patterns.

The following are some clips of what our class has been doing this week in math. I hope you see how much the students are doing instead of the teacher! The students re still getting used to being the teachers and in charge of the learning. There is still plenty to learn and rehearse, but I think you will find this interesting.

First Days of School

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The first few days of school are unlike any others. There is a different feel coming to school knowing how excited, and nervous everyone will be. That includes the teachers!

Our focus these first two days has been to simply learn the process of doing school again. We have been setting up our school supplies and learning how to be a part of fifth grade.

I have been so pleased with how easily this group of students has fallen back into the routine at school. We have been working in groups and talking about how to “Be a Part of Our Crayon Box.” Students have been getting to know one another as well as their teachers.

Routines, procedures, rules and responsibilities that we begin now will have such a huge impact on our year. I am so happy with great start.

Back to School Preparation

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For the past week, I have been cleaning, and preparing the ITEC classroom for the next school year. Things are starting to look ready and tonight is our big Back to School event. As I type parents are entering the building excited to meet new teachers and say hello to old friends. Myself, I just heard Mrs. Elliott announce the homeroom rolls are ready and it is time to get the list of students that will be in my class for the next school year.

This is my eleventh year teaching and the start of school never gets dull. Gettings ready to teach after the summer break, and meeting new students that I will teach for the next nine months is exciting.

Wow…. We’ll here we go school year 2010 – 2011!

Georgia Aquarium Visit Sparks Idea

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In Atlanta visiting, and decided to take the Boys to the Atlanta Aquarium. It was a great experience. The big hit was getting a chance to see the only Whale Sharks in an aquarium in the US.

Heading out for the trip I decided to check for an iPad App for the Aquarium, since I was taking our new iPad for the trip downtown. Lots of museums are starting to create tours as Apps to enhance the visit for people. I did not find an App for the aquarium but did find a podcast that I downloaded. The podcasts was organized in different episodes for the different areas of the aquarium. Being the tech person I am I liked enhancing the tour with my own audio of details about what I was looking at.

I know lots of other museums have created podcasts such as this, and that gave me an idea for this year in my classroom. Since I teach in a one to one computing classroom students can research, write and record their own 2-3 minute pieces as part of a classroom “virtual” aquarium. Part of the fifth grade science standards that I teach require student to learn about different ecosystems. What I’m thinking of doing will be a different approach to a research project with the goal of creating a podcast for “pretend” aquarium using information from researching.

Earlier I blogged about using the summer to gather fresh ideas for teaching. Teachers are always looking for new approaches to instruction, and sometimes a family trip turns out to be more than just a trip.

Audio Post

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Late Summer Update

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Been having a great summer, and the new school year is coming up quickly. Since our trip to Disney, I have continued to enjoy a break from school. Without a doubt, summer break is one of the best parts of being a teacher. Being with my family and especially my two sons is priceless.

I have been to the beach several times, been to a wedding in Ohio, been fishing many times, and visited with friends and family.

However, my summer break has not been just time off! A misconception about teachers and summer break is that it is just vacation time. It is a vacation, but for most teachers there is a fair bit of work going on too. This summer I have worked with a week long Health Committee developing curriculum, worked with other math teachers learning how to use technology components in the classroom, developed new ideas and projects using Twitter, WordPress, and Skype for the upcoming year.

The new school is coming, and I am glad to get back to school. I have plenty of fresh ideas and plans to take back to my classroom