Monthly Archives: July 2012
If you have not visited The Lesson Cloud yet, well, you should be ashamed! Just kidding, of course! But seriously, The Lesson Cloud is an awesome collaborative blog (I happen to be a contributor) for all grade levels and subject areas. It is a virtual “cloud” if you will, of lesson ideas and activities that are created by teachers for teachers. Some are both freebies and priced resources. Regardless, whatever you are looking for (as far as lessons go) you’ll find it there!
So, with Back-to-School just around the corner, it’s “Dollar Days” over at The Lesson Cloud. Many teacher-bloggers have linked up their favorite $1 and $2 resources and lots of others are also having sales to celebrate the event! I have linked up some of my faves and other items in my store are on sale!
There’s also a HUGE giveaway on too – a $75 gift certificate to Really Good Stuff will be awarded to a lucky teacher!
Be sure to head over, stock up on goodies for your classroom and enter the giveaway! The event runs July 29th -30th. Don’t miss out!
Guided Math, by Laney Sammons, was the second professional resource that I added to my reading list for this summer. It was quite a quick read and I’m ready to share with you what I have taken from the book. I’m not going to completely review the book and give away all of the good stuff inside, as I don’t believe that the author would appreciate that. However, I’ll share with you my three “take-aways” that I’ll hopefully be able to incorporate into my room this year.
1) Use more small group instruction for math.
This one is VERY important to me, but I’m already overwhelmed with how much work this is going to be. Of course, there are heaps of research supporting using small groups for instruction and I am looking forward to trying to modify my main teaching style, which is definitely heavier on the whole class instruction side. The book did a great job of explaining how different small groupings may work and I related a lot to the idea of feeling like I’m failing by not being able to challenge everyone at their level, neglecting those at the top and those just floating by, while trying to get the whole curriculum “covered”. It’s overwhelming to think about how I may possibly get to everyone more effectively, because their levels vary so much. That being said, I know that I am ready to try to spend more time working in small groups with my students. I know that it’ll be a learning experience, because of the class management systems that must be in place to not be interrupted and so on – but I know it’ll be worth it!
2) Start the day with a Math activity.
Well, the last literacy book I read suggested starting the day off with independent reading! I can’t do both…or can I? I’ve decided to flip-flop independent reading and morning math activities. Three days of the cycle they’ll start the day with reading and the other three days, I’ll have a quick math activity for them to do. Actually, I’m QUITE excited about this! Every year, I get students who still struggle with basic facts (I teach grade 7). It’s hard to find time to practice math facts, since the expectation is that they have their facts by now. You know what? They don’t. Some of them just haven’t gotten them yet – for whatever reason, and this makes learning the grade seven concepts more of a struggle. Providing morning math activities that target basic skills and problem solving two or three times a week, will be super-helpful and might just give students the boost that they need!
3) Give choice.
In Math? This one, really got me! I give lots of different options in Language Arts and Social Studies for projects, topics, book reports, posters – whenever I can. But Math? I have NOT been giving choice in Math. I’ve given projects, played math games and created stations. However, I have NOT said – you can complete this activity OR this activity. Why? Not really sure, to be honest. However, this totally fits in with my goal (from a previous post) of using Bloom’s taxonomy more effectively AND working menus into my classes. I’d like to try to use menus for math – giving choice to my students and building in differentiation. It can be done. I’m sure of it! Even though I’ll inevitably fall on my face, trying to get it all done – I’m excited to try!
Guided Math is a great resource – especially for elementary grades. I focused in on just three things, so as to not be totally overwhelmed by all of the ideas that it offered. I think that I’m going to start with the morning math activities and then the math menus. Finally, I’m going to try to do more small group instruction, but I think that this one is something that I’ll be working toward all year – and not just in math! I’d like to spend more time with small groups in the other subjects that I teach as well.
There was a book study on Guided Math this summer, that I’d mentioned in a past post. If this book sounds like something you may be interested in, you may want to check out some of the conversations and comments that teachers made with this book study. Here’s the original post for the Guided Math Book Study.
So, over to you: Those of you who are already using small group instruction or guided math effectively…. How are you doing it? Class management issues? How time intensive do you find it, preparing the different tasks for the different groups, versus one activity that you modify for the class? What tips for time management could you offer?
Please share your thoughts and questions!!!
The Internet is such a wonderful thing! I put a call out to teachers to post their favorite “Middle School” freebies. Of course they did not let me down.
So, this collection is for you – in the hopes of saving you some time. Thanks to all of the awesome teachers who’ve submitted their freebies already (and also to those who will add in the future).
Just click on the Inlinkz tool, click on the links that you would like and then download! Easy! If you have a freebie that you think would be suitable for the collection – by all means, please add it! I’ll be refreshing this collection every month or so. I’ll also add the collection to my “Freebies Tab” so make sure to check back from time to time to score new freebies!
Thanks so much to all of you for your thoughtful comments on yesterday’s blog post. It seems like many of us feel the same way about differentiation. We are doing it, we would like to do it more – because it really is the only way to teach, but it’s the time necessary to plan for the differentiated instruction that’s the challenge. It’s a HUGE challenge – especially when you throw in a couple of discipline issues, report cards being due, PLC meetings, soccer practice, a new course, family obligations and then actually teaching, of course!
Thanks to all of you for the titles you mentioned, links shared and participation!
Now, on to the business at hand!
The winner of the flash giveaway from yesterday is…
Congratulations Sue! You have your choice of these two prizes:
Thanks for participating everyone! I look forward to reading your future comments in the “Must Reads” tab of Lessons From The Middle!
I love to share when I find great giveaways and I’ve found an amazing one!
Kleinspiration has an incredible giveaway on the go RIGHT NOW! The items that she has rounded up are too numerous for me to even list here. She has LOTS of TeachersPayTeachers items from various teacher-authors, autographed books and even software packages. Many teachers have helped Erin out with this giveaway (myself included) and YOU could be one of her lucky winners.
Go on over to Kleinspiration now, check out her blog and enter this fantastic giveaway. Good luck:)