Saturday, August 26, 2017

First 3 Weeks of School

Man...this school year got off to one fast but AMAZING start. To only have been in school for 3 weeks I feel like it has been 3 months. My kids in both classes have almost developed our daily routine. One is a little different due to the friends I have in that class but it's going pretty well. The one word I have to describe these few few weeks is fast! It has been fast, but let's get started.
Week 1 got off to a far better start than I expected. This year my team decided to team teach meaning the student switch classes once during the day. Needless to say we were all a bit nervous about making this transition. I have to say it went smooth. There are two teams so we decided to stagger transition times. My team switches classes 5 minutes earlier than the other team. This was to help elimate the crowding in our tiny hallway. 
The first day of school was one to remember. Knowing that I had inclusion, which meant I'd potentially have non-readers, I decided the easiest way to get my students in class, working quietly while I stood in hall for that dreaded 15 minute hallway duty, I decided to make that time useful. Instead of having a bunch of words on the board I knew those students wouldn't be able to read I passed out the cover of their Math Data Notebooks for them to color. I mean who doesn't want to color on the first day of school? Besides, that was one less thing for me to do another day. First activity of the year was putting together Data Notebooks. Odd I know, but it made a smooth morning routine which hadn't been established yet. After that we established a few rules and routines and then completed our getting to each other activity. A FIRST DAY scavenger hunt I found on TPT. After that we had a class discussion on kindness and using kind words during groups and collaborative conversations. Then it was time to switch and I repeated the process with my second class. (This Math Data Notebook is available in my TPT store)

The rest of the week went just as smooth. We established our rules and routines and literally practiced them EVERYDAY. In that we did a few fun activities. I introduced the class to Google Classroom and got a few beginning of the year pre assessments in. 

Here you can see my kids taking a pretest on Google Classroom. I must say, I'm already enjoying not having to grade papers this year! I must admit getting students signed in initially was a pain in the butt, however, it was well worth it. At this point, half my class understands how to successfully log on without my help :). 

Each year I take the time to teach my students how to behave during workstations. We practice them with nothing to do and practice them with fun things to do.

Here you can see a group of students playing Place Value War. The first week it was tough getting them to work in their centers with quiet voices, but I think they've got the hang of it now. Class Dojo launched their toolkit during the first week of school so I immediately burst out this noise meter and I have to say, it helped my students understand how to use our whisper voices while in groups. 

The second of school we started getting down in dirty in Place Value. We still practiced Rules and Routines daily but it was time to start throwing in a little instruction. Since I've ditched textbooks and worksheets, I have done a ton of hands on, lots of movement activities. 

First up is Groving and Moving. Here I had the students create a 3-digit number and a 4-digit number. They then placed the numbers in a circle around the classroom. Using whiteboards, they walked along the circle until the music stopped. Students had to grab the number closest to them and perform whatever I asked. (Expanded form, word form, give me the value of a certain digit, grab 2 numbers and compare, grab 3 numbers and order them least to greatest or greatest to least) I would then say "lemme see it" and they achieved me their board so I could do a quick check. We then repeated this. Fun right?

Next up is ordering numbers activity. Students were given necklaces with a 3 or 4 digit number. Randomly throughout the day I yelled number order and how. Students had to quickly and quietly order themselves in that order. They switched necklaces and waited for the next time. (Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture of my kids without showing a face or two)

Here is a picture I managed to get during workstations of a group engaged in our Fidget Spinner Activity. Students use the spinner as a timer and had to complete the place Value questions before the timer stops. (This activity is also available in my TPT shop)

Third week of school was pretty much test prep. We spent 2 days reviewing for our Place Value test as well as taking some district level pre-assessments. To review we played a few Smart Board Games and even did a Kahoot. Picture of these activities below. 

I hope you all had an amazing back to school and I did. Thanks for coming by!

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

2017-2018 Classroom Reveal

Welcome to Room 204! #room204learningmore

Every year I have a classroom theme. Last year I changed from a Sports theme to a BRIGHT theme. We were One BRIGHT Bunch. One BRIGHT as in-busy working, rigor learning, information seeking, goal crushing, high achieving, tackling tasks bunch. This year I decided to keep the bright colors but transformed a bit into a motivational room. I knew I knew I was going to have a couple of low students in my class this year so I wanted to post encouraging messages/daily reminders around my classroom. My kids and I love it! 
As you can see I have zero chairs in my classroom. Last year I also transformed my room into 21st century classroom. I ditched my chairs, textbooks, and worksheets and incorporated flexible seating, more technology, less paper, and student-led lessons with a lot of collaborative conversations. It changed me as whole. I learned myself as an individual as well as a teacher last year. This year I've decided to take it a step further and go completely paperless. The only paper you will see in my classroom is scratch paper and construction paper. We are on the move in room 204. Watch us grow!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Favorite Websites for Math Instruction

Hey Y'all, it is the 21st Century. && What does that mean??? That means it is time to be out with the old (textbooks/worksheets) and in with the new (technology, collaborative group work). Here are my Favorite Websites used to increase student achievement during math instruction. By the way, these are not ranked in any order nor have I paid to use any of these websites. A few of them do offer paid versions, however I do not pay to use them in my classroom.

1. ClassKick

Class Kick is a website that allows teachers to assign paperless work and provide feedback in real-time. Classkick can be used on a computer as well as an iPad. In my classroom, I used Classkick as a fun way to quickly assess my students' understanding of concepts in math. I mean...who doesn't enjoy working on a iPad versus a sheet of paper?

 In this picture you see me working with a group of students on Telling Time. As this student writes on the iPad, I can see his/her thinking and provide instant feedback during the process. I established a general code with my students. If I circled a problem it was wrong, if I put a check mark the problem was correct, if I put a question mark I can't read your writing, or if I had a comment or needed an explanation I put a text box to the side for students to explain their thinking. My students thought this was the best thing ever. Classkick allows students to privately ask for help by alerting the teacher with a hand signal. Which worked great for those students who know they need help but are afraid to ask during class. Students can also go in and provide feedback to each other and work together from their own individual screen. Classkick is fun way for everyone to learn together.

2. Prodigy

Prodigy is exactly what the picture says, one of the most engaging math platforms in the world. When I say my kids loved it...THEY LOVED IT. Whenever I allowed time for Prodigy in class you could literally hear a pen drop, and I mean literally. The best way for me to describe Prodigy is that it is a game. Students travel to different worlds battling other players and collecting items along the way. While battling, students are asked to answer math problems in order to cast spells or attack their opponent. When they answer the question correctly, the move is performed. Here you can see the students' view. 

But that is not even the best part. My favorite part about it is the teacher view. Prodigy is aligned to the Common Core Math Standards. Prodigy allows you to assign topics to students (with pre-generated questions) and gives you a detailed report on how your students did. The reports are broken down by Student Usage, Weekly Activity, Student Progress, Curriculum Coverage, and Topic Coverage.

Here you can see a copy of the Weekly Activity Report for a random week at the end of the school year. Here you can see each topic on the right. The red number represents the number of students who scored 60% or below. The yellow number represents the number of students who scored between 60-79%. The green number represents the number of students who scored 80% and above. Even better, when you click on the topic it shows you an example of the questions asked in that section and your students' names are listed under the color where they fall. When you highlight the names it shows you their score.
When students first log into Prodigy they are given a placement test. When students are not assigned a topic by their teacher Prodigy automatically assigns them problems to work on at their level. Prodigy is a free program but you can purchase an account. I have not purchased an account and it has worked out just fine in my class. I am however considering making the purchase this upcoming school year given the response from my previous class.

3. MobyMax

MobyMax is another Common Core aligned resource to use in your classroom. MobyMax does not focus on math, they have several Reading and Language Arts components available. Yes I have used them but that is not the topic of this post. I used MobyMax in my classroom everyday. MobyMax is what I required my students to get on during their computer center as well as for 30 minutes of their time in the Computer Lab. 
When students first sign into MobyMax they are given a placement test. After that, each time students log in they are working on their individual level. MobyMax takes the time to teach students. Each standard has a mini lesson with visual demonstrations explaining how to master that standard. After the lesson students are given practice questions. MobyMax even assesses students before moving them on the next standard. While on MobyMax students can earn time for games. (This feature can be turned by the teacher.) Teachers can also go in "hide" all the content they do not want their students to have access to. 

Here is an example of a student's report with the free version of Moby Max. The report is broken down into Overall Statistics, Grade Level Progress, Sessions,Lesson Topics for Last 30 Days, Upcoming Lessons, Graph of Grade Level Increase Per Month, Graph for Overall Grade Level Progress, Graph for Standards Passed Each Month, and a Graph of the Weekly Average of Skills Done. These reports are an excellent resource for you to take to Data Meetings, SST Meetings, or even IEP Meetings. 
One thing I did in my classroom to increase student motivation was by giving them goals. I told my students that at the end of the school year I would celebrate all of those who increased their grade level by .05 at the end of the year. It's crazy how motivating that was. I had students asking daily if they had shown any growth yet. At the end of the year all of my students but 2 met their goal. This school year I am planning on increasing on that goal. 

MobyMax is free, however, they do offer a paid version for $99 a year. This version gives you more detailed reports as well as a few other things. Once again, my classroom functioned just fine with the free version. (I spent all my money on other things for my classroom, maybe I will share it with you all one day)

4. Xtra Math

XtraMath is an excellent FREE program for learning basic math facts. If you're a math teacher you know how much easier it is when students know their basic math facts. Students take a placement test for each operation (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division). Each time they log in after that students spend a total of 10 minutes on the computer practicing their facts. They are flashed problems and given 3 seconds to answer them. This is an excellent resource for morning work. Every time a student masters an operation, they are given a certificate. I would print these off and then hand them to my Principal. She would then come to my class and shower that student with love and prizes for mastering their facts. That motivated my students to take XtraMath seriously every morning. I had students asking their parents to make sure they were on time so that they had the opportunity to complete their XtraMath lol.

Here you can see a report from one of my students. He mastered his Addition and Subtraction facts and was working on his Multiplication facts. You can see where he scored a 47 on his placement test and is currently at 90% mastery. The graph at the bottom shows you what facts he has mastered and what facts he still needs a little work on.
Setting this up as a morning routine was simple. One of my classroom jobs was "computer monitor" this person was in charge of setting up my computers on XtraMath first thing in the morning. Once set up, Xtramath displays children's names. The computer monitor would quietly go tap on each person to let them know to get started. Once that person is done, another name would automatically pop up. They would simply go tap the next person and so on. I had 6 computers in my class and 22 students. It took my class a total of 30 minutes to complete this. During this time they were also assigned other tasks to complete as well.  

Those are my favorite websites to use. Here are other websites I would use in classroom periodically. Some of them are math, and some just help with the flow of my classroom.
This summer I have spent A LOT of time researching and creating resources to use in Google Classroom. I am sooooooooo excited to use them next year. I have heard so much about Google Classroom, but I only recently learned that my district has set it up for teachers and students to use. Once I get down and dirty with GC I will be sure to update you all on how I use it in my classroom. I am going 100% paperless this year so this shall be a lot of fun.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this post.

xoxo Ashley 

Monday, July 17, 2017

All About Me!

Hey Y'all!! My name is Ashley, a 20-something year old teacher in Georgia who has recently discovered just how creative my little brain works. I have always had some big (sometimes crazy) ideas but never wanted to act on them...UNTIL NOW! I have fully blossomed into this extra sassy but creative person better known as Ms. Manning. I love that I am finally opening myself up to share all of my ideas with you. Are you excited...I know I am!!! I have completed all of my years teaching in a Title 1 classroom and was voted Teacher of the Year at my school the first year I was eligible to win. When I am not working you can find me in somebody's gym, somebody's store, or reading a good book. I am not yet married nor am I a mother, but I do have two sweet little dogs named Charlie and Chester who keep me plenty of company. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, I hope you ENJOY!!!

xoxo Ashley