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Monday, December 15, 2014

Fluency through Flexibility

If you haven't connected with Christina Tondevold, otherwise known as The Recovering Traditionalist on her blog and the creator of the Best Math Apps and Websites for K-2, you need to hook up with her now. I first came across Christina's work from her math apps page and I have to say that her recommendations were perfect for my class. However, I am even more excited about this new book. Let's talk about just a few of the things I love about this new book.

1. It's research based. Christina took a lot of educational research, walks the reader through what it says about number sense in her introduction and then applies it directly to activities that will help your students.

2. It defines number sense. I know, I know, we all have a definition of number sense in our heads already. But if yours is anything like mine, it's too vague. What do students who have number sense really know? What can they do? This book uses the four areas from John Van de Walle's work to really define what students need to be capable of doing.
  • Spatial relationships - I can look at a small collection and recognize how many there are without counting.
  • One and two more, one and two less - I know which numbers are one or two more or less than a given number.
  • Benchmarks of 5 and 10 - I understand how numbers relate to 5 and 10.
  • Part-Part-Whole - I understand that a number is made of up of two or more parts.
3. Number lines are too hard for K-1 students. Finally someone said it. They are too hard and because they are too hard students make mistakes with them based on their lack of understanding. Yet I see a lot of teachers with number lines on their student name tags and our textbooks have lessons on using them. I love her number path. I will be blogging on how I've been using number paths in the future.

4. Easy. Christina makes it so easy to plan activities that are exactly what your students needs.  This book has 15 activities for each of the number sense areas. That's 60 different activities that you can do again and again. They're all easy to prepare and can be quickly done with small groups or with individual students. All of the black line masters are on her website and when I downloaded BLM 1, the dot pattern cards, I was surprised to find even more ideas for their use on the download. You couldn't ask for easier.

5. Have you ever looked for a good number sense assessment? It's impossible to find something, so I created my own. Many of the activities I included in my assessment are also in Christina's assessment. But that's it because I only created activities. Her number assessment puts the activities into the four areas and gives possible answers the students will give, helping you to evaluate each student and decide where you should begin working. Umm...headed over to TpT to take off my assessment. This number sense assessment has everything you need.

If you teach kindergarten or first grade, you need this book. For those of you who are teaching second, you probably need this book for some of your young struggling mathematicians. But no one should feel left out because Christina isn't finished. Her Fluency through Flexibility series will soon have How to Build Build Number Sense - Numbers 11-100 and How to Build Number Sense - Fractions. I can't wait for those.  Head on over to her website, Mathematically Minded, to order your copy. It's worth it.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What's on your reading list?

This past month I have been on a bit of a book buying spree. Here's what's on my reading list:

This book came in a bundle with the newest version of Children's Mathematics. 

I really loved the first edition of this book. I haven't started the second edition, but after 30 more years of research I'm excited to read what they have to say.

I think I have a good grasp of how to teach student-centered math in the primary grades, but this is for grades 3-5. I'm just thinking ahead here.

This came highly recommended. 

This one also came in my bundle with Children's Mathematics. Since the bundled price was so much cheaper, I just had to try all three books.

I bought this book last summer and just haven't gotten to it yet. But it's the required reading for my next class in my math endorsement program. 

My school book club just started this book. This is the first book we've done that had teachers from kindergarten up to fifth grade saying they already had things they wanted to try and we've only read chapters one and two.

This book is on the top of my pile - book review coming in January. But I have to say that I tried a game from this author called Savvy Subitizing and if the book is anything like the game, I can't wait to dip into it. More to come on the game too...I just forgot to take pictures.

I know my list has gotten a little long and the pile next to my desk is a little big, but I'd love to hear what you are reading right now, please leave a comment.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

I am linking up with Laura from Where the Magic Happens for A Few of Our Favorite Things. This blog hop will be all about our favorite things and it also has a pretty awesome giveaway.  So here are a few of my favorite things:

Favorite Restaurant

My favorite restaurants are always small local restaurants. I'm not too big on chains. So if you are visiting Utah County, try Pizzeria 712 in Orem for true brick oven pizza. Everything they make is from scratch with fresh local ingredients. So yummy! Magleby's in Springville is also amazing. They have the best chocolate cake in the world and once I split a 22-ounce prime cut ribeye steak with my husband that was seriously to die for, but unfortunately left no room for the cake. Now if we are talking fast food, I am a So Cal girl at heart and I always head for In-n-Out. It was the one thing I missed most for the first 9 years we lived in Utah - luckily we have one within 20 minutes now.

Favorite Store

Definitely my favorite store is Williams and Sonoma. I could poke around in there and find all kinds of things I need (even if I didn't know I need them). This past week I couldn't help myself but I picked up the Breville pizza cooker. It made some seriously good pizza and that's a huge compliment coming from me because we have a brick pizza oven in our backyard. I didn't think it would compare but let's just say that we are calling the Breville pizza cooker our winter pizza because here in Utah it's just too cold to cook outside right now.

Favorite Holiday Activity

I love everything about the holidays. Pies, lights, presents, the Christmas tree but mostly I love seeing my girls open up something special on Christmas morning. I'm normally not a shopper and I definitely hate the crowds, but shopping for my girls is so fun. This year I did the bulk of it in October and you're going to think I'm crazy but we wrapped the presents while being interrupted by trick-or-treaters. But it's hard to find a night where both my girls are gone. I finished up the last few things on Black Friday. With my shopping done, I'm so excited for a no-stress December.

Favorite Teaching Related Items...BOOKS!

Like most of you, my classroom is full of books. As a matter of fact my home is too. But I love books. Trying to keep them organized has been a bit of a problem and I hate it when I accidentally buy the same book twice, so finding has been a lifesaver. Now when I'm standing in a book store wondering if I have a book, I just look it up online. And that is just perfect for me!

This stack has some of my favorite Christmas books. I like to wrap them individually and then have a student chose a book to unwrap for our read alouds. We will have to do 2-3 a day in order to finish before the winter break.  The kids love it. There's even a few that I have turned into reader's theaters for fluency practice.

For a chance to win a Barnes and Noble gift card as well as a lot of other great favorites, you'll want to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway of a few of our favorite things. I will be donating a $20 egift card from Barnes and Noble to help you purchase one of my favorite things...books. Scroll down to see all the great giveaways. You may also want to search TpT for #myfavoritethings2014 because each blogger will have 50% their four featured items. Happy Holidays to All!

Because we value our followers and wanted to treat you to our favorite things Oprah style, we have put together the best giveaway of the season! My bloggy friends and I welcome you to the best, biggest, most cheerful event of the season:

7 winners for 7 prize packs!

Come and enter the giveaway and check out my bloggy friends' favorite things:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pick 3 - This Month's Top Pins

Here are a few of my favorite finds for the month of December on Pinterest.

This is a great art project. I used her directions to complete this with my first graders last December and they came out so cute. We used watercolors instead of chalk, mostly just because I'm scared of chalk smearing. If you are more brave than I, go with the chalk. Great project with great directions!

I love this letter to Santa frame. I used it for interactive writing by writing out the letter frame together and then when we got to each blank, I let everyone fill in their own blanks.

Can you tell that I love arts and crafts? This next pin is my own creation. I think these elves come out so cute.

Hopefully you find lots of great holiday finds too! Happy Holidays from my classroom to yours!

Monday, December 1, 2014

iHeart Math Holiday Hop

Image Map

Important Note: The calendar is an image map and will take you to each blogger's post.  But beware each post does not go live until the day it is scheduled

iHeart Math Holiday Hop

I am really excited about this month's iHeart Math Holiday Hop. This is a great group of math fact iHeart this group. They are so full of great ideas for teaching and I have learned so much from them, but the thing I love best is that this group has teachers of all ages.  Sometimes I get stuck in my own little classroom and I think it's so important to see where my students are coming from and where they are headed. This month we are all linking up on a different day to bring you this holiday hop. Like I said, there are teachers from all ages in this group, so there will definitely be something for everyone. We'll each be bringing you some holiday tips and a free product so you'll definitely want to tune in each day.

Stocking Stuffer #1 - Giving Back

Teaching is all about giving back. Hopefully as you look back at your own education a few teachers really stand out to you. I absolutely loved my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Cringan. I still remember lots of things that happened in that class. I want my students to look back on their year with me and remember how much fun we had learning together. I want it to be a year full of progress and happy memories. So like all of you, I try to make each year the best year ever.  It may not be the biggest way to give back, but for the lives of 26 young students it's the most important thing I can do this year.

Stocking Stuffer #2 - Math Tip

We all know fact fluency is important, but how do we help our students become more fluent? As I've been reading articles and books about helping students become fluent with facts it seems most researchers are in agreement  - "Becoming fluent with basic facts is developmental. Use games infused with a focus on acquisition of strategies to help students in the early grades progress to computational fluency." (Kling, Gina & Bay-Williams, Jennifer. "Enriching Addition and Subtraction Fact Mastery Through Games." Teaching Children Mathematics: November 2014.) So pull out some games that focus on facts and the use of strategies and instead of feeling like your students are "just" playing games, think about it as fluency practice without a timer. 

Here is a no prep math center for addition and subtraction within 10. Just print and you're ready to go.  If you are at all like me, on Friday afternoon as I put the finishing touches on my plans for the next week, I love something easy to prepare for math centers. You can grab it in my TpT store.

Thanks for stopping by. You'll want to check out the calendar at the top of this post to see who will be adding on to this hop each day up until Christmas. But for tomorrow, you'll want to stop by Tara's blog, she's The Math Maniac. 

The Math Maniac
Happy Holidays from my classroom to yours!