Saturday, August 24, 2013

It feels like the very first time

So this is my 7th year teaching.....but it feels like the very first year.  In my new role I have to balance helping teachers integrate technology into their instruction, solve teachers' IT problems, update the school website, make decisions regarding the distribution and organization of school wide devices (this year we'll have 150 Chromebooks and 130 iPads to circulate around the school), and plan and prepare lessons for grades K-5 in the computer lab.  I put too much stress on myself and I want to do it all perfectly...well there just isn't enough time in the day and I'm having to learn how to say no.  Everyday has been better and I've felt more comfortable.  However, managing Kindergarten will definitely take the longest to get use to :-)

Here are some pictures of my new space.  I'm excited about some of the areas I have created and I cannot wait to have the kids enjoy it everyday.

I put my mom to work on this when she came in during a teacher workday.  I found it on Pinterest and Tracy over at Creekside Teacher Tales even has the free printable for it!

I've had Cami the camel in my class for 6 years now so I didn't understand why all the teachers were so in love with it all of a sudden.  They kept hollering "What Day Is It?"  Since I don't have cable I hadn't seen the Geico commercial so I didn't quite get it.  They have now enlightened me and even most of my students have seen the commercial so we are all loving Cami this year :-)

This is a "bulletin board" I made at the back of the class with helpful vocabulary "What's you cursor telling you?"  You can download it from my TPT store here.

In the library corner I have this magnetic board where students can change the emoticon to describe how they are feeling.  Just a fun, interactive area!  You can purchase the set on TPT.

I found these NETS standards in student friendly terms online.  Instead of just posting them in the class I am going to use this wall similarly to a Daily 5 or CAFE wall (the classroom teacher in me).  This means when students in any of the grades learn something that falls under a category either one of the students or myself will make a small sign to go under the heading.  For example, during our first and second rotation we are talking about Instagram.  Instagram allows users to share photos so we will make a label for Instagram to go under Share It.

Teaching about 800 students is going to make it near impossible to learn all the students' names.  This is why I think name tags at the computers are imperative.  This year I have to have 2 sets for each computer since the morning classes are on a 6 day rotation and the afternoon classes are on a 7 day rotation.  Confusing..right?!  They are each on a binder ring that can be flipped each day and they hang either on the wall just above the monitors or on the side of the monitors.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Write Stuff (alternate algorithms and writing in math)

At the beginning of the summer I presented at a workshop with a colleague.  I have been wanting to present at a workshop for a while but never wanted to go at it alone and needed a topic that I felt pretty confident at.  When I started at my current school I immediately linked with one of the 4th grade teachers - she is amazing - and we also have similar styles which helps in the sharing ideas.  So for this summer's conference at the local university I convinced her to present with me on writing and alternate algorithms in math.  We both use Everyday Mathematics in our classrooms and believe in the importance of students understanding and explaining the math behind an algorithm.

I pulled together our resources, several research articles, YouTube videos and more into a website to share during our session.  There are some great videos that you can share with your students (and their parents) to help review the alternate strategies and help with homework.  Take a look.... It covers addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division algorithms as well as writing in math.

Do you use alternate algorithms in your class?

What strategies do you use to get students writing in math?