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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Has Sprung - A Blog Hop, Freebie and Giveaway

 I am so glad for spring to be here and I don't even live in one of the areas that had extreme winter weather this year. We actually had a milder winter here in Utah, so I didn't shovel near as much as usual. With spring comes that "Oh my goodness, have I gotten enough taught already?" feeling I get every year. With some students I can see nothing but the amazing growth they have made, but with others I still have this huge worry that they will be leaving first grade academically behind their peers. Then, of course, I try to make myself feel better by remembering that everyone progresses at their own pace and I remind myself to look at overall growth. This is where I just worry, worry, worry. But it's also a great time in the year to throw in some extra practice of basic skills and what better way to practice addition and subtraction than with a game that makes it fun.
Click image to go to TpT for this free download.

We have been playing this game in our math centers all week. Students just use their pencil and a paper clip to spin. Then they have to find a math problem that goes with the answer on the spinner. My students played in pairs, but you could play with a group of 3 or 4.  No prep, easy to teach and more practice with addition and subtraction up to 20. You can grab this free game on my TpT store.

Now for some more fun. I am giving away any item of your choice from my TpT store. You can follow my blog by email or Blog Lovin' or just like The Research Based Classroom Facebook fan page to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop on over for some more fun at the next stop on the Spring has Sprung & Games are Fun Blog Hop.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"I didn't get the answer, but I learned something."

Can I just reiterate how much I love to watch my young students problem solve? Seeing those wheels spin is so fun. So today I posed the following question: "How many dozen eggs do I need to buy for everyone in the class to dye 5 eggs? Will there be any leftover eggs?" Here is a look at what my students started doing. I'm not sure why the 120 Chart was the math tool of choice today, but everyone was using it.

I love the way this student realized that he could draw a line down the middle and have 5 on each side. He is trying to count each set of five in the margins so he knows when he has 5 eggs for all 26 students.

This student is drawing a line after 26 because he wants to stop his counting after the 26th student. He is drawing 5 dots in each box to represent 5 eggs per student. He is counting up by ones as he draws them.

Watching his neighbor has given this student an idea on how to solve this problem. I love to see and hear this kind of  collaboration between students.

She is drawing a box around each set of 5 eggs. Notice at the top of her chart she wrote 26 to remind herself that we have 26 students.

When this student got to the bottom of the 120 Chart she realized she needed more numbers. She looked at how her neighbor had added a second chart and decided to just add her own numbers at the bottom instead. She missed the number 121, but we fixed that together.

Notice that he added another chart on and renumbered it. He knew we would need 130 eggs, but he's now trying to figure out how many dozen that would be. I loved when he looked up at me and said, "Can I just write on the table?" He didn't want to stop for a paper and pencil and he didn't want to forget 130. Look at the lines he is putting after 24, 36, 48 and 60. He is marking off each dozen. With just a little more time this student would have been the first to solve it. Unfortunately we can't hold up the lunch line by being late.
Does it matter that no one got the complete answer before lunch? I don't think so. I think the process matters more than the correct answer. Watching them try and then try again, or talk with a friend to figure out a way to solve it is far more rewarding than seeing everyone with an answer. Math is more about process and these students are learning to problem solve. And problem solving is a lifelong skill worth a great deal. To quote one student, "I didn't get the answer, but I really learned something." I'm glad he learned something and if I buy 11 dozen we will have 2 eggs leftover.

(If you are looking for problems such as this to use with your students in grades 1 and 2, you might want to check out my Math Journaling and Problem Solving product at TpT or TN.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Currently March

Just linking up with Farley at:

I am definitely blocking out the world when I hit play. Sometimes I just wish I could wear them in the classroom!

Can't even remember the last time I shoveled snow. Rain is my friend!

With this amazing weather, it's time for spring cleaning a little earlier than usual in those flowerbeds. I want to get that pre-emergent weed killer out before those babies start growing because I really, really hate weeding.

I really can't wait for a little more growing up to happen. I finally know why they are sent here as one would ever try to get a teenager.

Yes, I need to clean up those counters. Today a student reached for a pencil and set off an entire booby trap of stuff on the counter. Oops...that was my fault.

The answer is aspartame.  The question is "What is the only allergy that could make me give up diet Pepsi from the fountain?" The only good side is that it turns out I can still teach without my diet Pepsi. Who knew?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Opinion Writing

CCSS W.1.1 - Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure. that's the goal. I am using the new first grade Units of Study series by Lucy Calkins as my starting point.

At first I thought I would change up the suggested introduction to writing persuasive reviews. The whole idea of everyone bringing in a box with a collection in it seemed overwhelming. I just kept thinking of all the toys. At the last minute I changed my mind and sent home a note about bringing in collections. It was so successful and engaging that I was glad I did it. Everyone judged their collection, made blue ribbons and presented their writing in about 4-5 days total. When we moved to reviews, it took a few small mini-talks to convince everyone that we were no longer having "contests." But it was a fairly smooth transition.

Really the process was the same -- we state our opinion, give reasons for our opinion and have an ending.  Keeping the process the same made it easy for even the most emerging writers. Everyone is now going full speed on writing reviews.  I set the goal of 6 reviews by this Friday for each student.  That gave them 8 days to write 6 reviews. On Friday I plan to have everyone pick their favorite review and we will publish a collection of reviews. This has been a very popular unit with my little ones. Students who struggle to write a personal narrative are thriving in this unit. Kids enter the classroom in the morning asking if we get to write more reviews. I've had reviews about books, movies, hotels, restaurants, math games....but this is my favorite. This little guy decided to write a review of me. Can I count this for my official evaluation?
Translation: Are you looking for a teacher? Mrs. Wayment is so nice. She let's you play on iPads and do games. She is a great reader and she is a first grade teacher. You should do her.
I think this little guy has got it all covered. How is that for a sense of closure?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

More Problem Solving Practice with Task Cards

I know I've mentioned my little love affair with Cognitively Guided Instruction, but I just love seeing my students learn to solve problems. Using the problem models from C.G.I. has been really beneficial for me. No more writing the same types of problems over and over because I didn't realize how many other types of problems I could be using. Now I take the time to make sure that my students are getting lots of chances to solve all of the different problem types. I've just created task cards using all 14 types of problems for independent practice or partner work. I started with my March themed questions and created a set with problems up to 20 and another set with problems up to 100. You can give them a try for free from my TpT store. Both sets come with a student sheet for recording answers and an answer key.
Click here for the task cards up to 100

Click here for task cards up to 20

If you like these, watch my store for more task cards coming soon with different themes. This post is linked up at: