Sunday, April 28, 2013

What do you do when they just don't get it?

I just had a very disheartening moment when I was grading papers from this past week. We have been working on single step word problems for a week and a half. I have taught them the logic behind knowing how to solve the problems and key words. When I graded my papers the highest grade was a 73. The other 23 students failed. We have been over and over the strategies for solving the problems. We have worked more problems than I can count. Now I am just at a loss for what to do next. Why is it that our kids have such trouble with word problems? Is it that the logic skills are not there yet? Is it that they are not expected to think critically in every day life? Surely they know that if they are buying a candy bar for $1.35 and they have $5.00 to spend they will hand the clerk the $5 bill and he or she will give them change. She will calculate their change by subtracting the amount of the item from the money they gave her. I really just don't understand why it does not click in their heads. Is it just my class or my school or do all of you have this problem too? Do you have any suggestions for what I should try next? I really need advice from you guys on how to help my kiddos out. Discouraged but not giving up!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I am super excited to announce that I am the spotlight teacher in this week's post for the center based classroom. Head over to her blog to read it and to see all the other amazing stuff she has going on!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review Day

With testing and Field Day this past week we really didn't get a whole lot accomplished. Yesterday I decided that we would spend some time in centers. Every center I put out was for review to see what my kiddos had retained and what I need to go back over these last 4 weeks of school. I decided to have them do 2 of the centers I made. I was pleasantly surprised when they loved them! They couldn't believe that I had made them either. The contraction center proved easy for most of the students, which made me glad that they all remembered contractions. The other game that I made and had them play was the multiplication match from my week long multiplication unit. It was a little harder for them, but we are just finishing multiplication so I expected it. It was interesting to see the various ways that each group chose to play the game. Overall I would say it was a great day full of review and fun center games!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What a week!

We have had quite the week! Our state's standardized test (CRCT) was administered to grades 3-5 Monday and Tuesday so we were confined to the room for most of those days. Yesterday we spent much of the day writing. I told my students that they were all going to write a letter to our principal asking her to change something they don't like about our school. I was so pleased that many of my students remembered that they needed to give reasons to persuade her to change what they wanted changed. Some of them were really good like No more dress code, Lower the price of ice cream to 75 cents and PE every day. Other were funny such as Give Mrs. Gifford a raise (I could not agree more ;)), Let us have recess all day long and fire Ms. X (a substitute we have who is very strict). At the end of the day I was impressed with most of their writing, but I realize that some of them still are not ready for 3rd grade yet. Today was our Field Day. My kiddos and I had the best time! I had a couple of awesome moms who helped me wrangle the kids, cheer us on and develop strategy to win. It is always nice when parents come to help with any aspect of the day. I am really looking forward to tomorrow because I will be using my multiplication unit's center to assess students and allow them to have some multiplication practice. I will post pictures this weekend and let you all know how it goes. Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Teachable moments

This past Friday God gave me yet another teachable moment. When I got to school a tree had fallen on the powerlines and the building had no power. All the students had to gather in the cafeteria while administration determined what to do. We soon discovered that some classrooms had lights so students gathered in those rooms. Within 45 minutes of school opening we had power restored and were able to carry on normally. I decided to seize the moment and have the students write about the experience. They wrote a descriptive piece about the day we had no power. We focused on using synonyms. Overall they did a wonderful job capturing how they felt when they got to school and discovered that we had no power. I was so proud of my little kiddos for using words like frightened, dim, and enjoyable. Just as with the cause and effect lesson we did a few weeks ago, the students understood better because they had a real life experience to help them. In my opinion, these are the types of lessons that students will never forget.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Flash Sale!!!!!

First off, Isn't the new blog design absolutely adorable!?! Big thanks to Megan at A Bird in the Hand Blog Designs! Secondly, to celebrate my awesome new design all items $2.00 or more are on sale for 10% off. This is a flash sale, so it ends Tuesday the 9th. Thank you for your continued support! Susan


This week we began learning multiplication.  I introduced it by explaining arrays and repeated addition.  As I progressed throughout the week reviewing these two strategies with my students I learned something new myself.  I realized that I was teaching them in a way I never had before.  In repeated addition the multiplication fact 4x3 is written as 4+4+4.  I found myself telling students "You just write 4 three times.  That is why we say 4x3.  I guess I have always know this, but I have not always thought to explain it this way.  I think that far more children understood it when I explained it this way.  We also started on our 0, 1, and 2 facts this week.  I noticed many of my students using the repeated addition and arrays to help them with the facts they didn't know.  Do any of you have tricks of the trade that I can use?