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February 19, 2017

Valentine's Day Math Centers

Did you all survive Valentine's Day? 

How do you celebrate in your classroom? 

My 5th graders do so many activities and special programs throughout the year that my grade partner and I decide to keep it very low key.

I gave each of my students a gel pen as their gift. 
I added these cute tags from The Creative Classroom, and we were good to go!

As you know, we are doing Math Workshop this year. Currently we are working on fractions and mixed numbers. Valentine's week we were starting Subtracting Mixed Numbers. I knew that if I taught this lesson as a whole group I would have so many confused students. I did not want to set ourselves up for failure, so I restructured our class time.

This week I would be teaching each small group how to subtract mixed numbers. Typically during the meet with teacher time I am working with my students who need the most help. This week I reversed that and met with my advanced group first.

The remainder of the groups were working on review activities.

All of my centers this week were made a little extra fun by sticking with the holiday theme!

Meet With Teacher:

Students worked through a few problems with me after explicit instruction. I created this activity for us to complete before working independently in our workbooks. You can grab it here.

At Your Seat:

Now since students did not receive whole group instruction, they did not have problems to complete from their book. For this center, the students were working on task cards as a small group. They were all mixed operations and served as great review. I provided the answer sheet for them to check their work.  


During this time my students were working on review activities. After the students met with me they would be doing more with subtracting mixed numbers. I like using the computers because it provides instant feedback for my student. In addition, it allows them to analyze their mistakes before moving on.


My math series comes with some great math games that I have been using during this center. (A big pitch for my implementing math workshop was that I would be incorporating more components of the series.) Before I had students complete the math game they would be making fractions using candy hearts. I used a freebie from Jennifer Findley, and my students loved it! This is definitely always the favorite center of the week. See - math can be fun!

I have to tell you, I swear by using Math Workshop! My students are engaged and always working. Typically we work in the library because I do not have enough devices in my classroom for the technology center. However, obviously the library is not for my only use and we can't get in there. This happened on Friday so we readjusted. It was a crazy week, so before my students went to their centers I had them complete this fun review color by code worksheet. Practice can be fun for 5th graders too!

Next week we will do a little review and then they will take their assessment. I have a very good feeling about this one!

February 7, 2017

Rewarding Student Behavior

If you have been following me you know I took down my behavior clip chart in my kindergarten classroom. It was....liberating! But you can read more about that here.

So knowing that, you can imagine my "joy" to discover that my new school utilizes a behavior chart. Wahh! But okay - get over it because that is just what works for them. Well we are more than half way through the year and unfortunately my disposition on the clip chart has not changed. Yes I use it, but typically forget to move clips up and only move clips down when I am "fed up". To me that is not effective.

So - here comes an incentive!

I have a few students that are are so focused, driven and hard working. They are all around good kids. They are consistently doing what is expected of them. So, I wanted to reward them with something that would actually make them feel good. Yes - moving your clip up is nice but I wanted to actually reward them.

Hence the V.I.P. table was born!

My dear friend Erica uses a V.I.P. caddy in her kindergarten classroom and my stubborn self never really listened to the awesomeness that it offered. What a great way to make a kid feel good! You can read about her caddy here

I decided to up the game a little bit for my 5th graders and give them an entire table. My students love any reason to get out of their seats. I purchased these awesome chairs from Walmart for only $10!

Friday before I left for the weekend I rearranged my personal desk so that I could use this table that had my computer. I ran to Big Lots, Walmart and Target to get little goodies to decorate the table and purchase supplies. The final touch were the badges and sign from Create Teach Motivate that you can find here

My students walked in on Monday so inquisitive and excited! They were so pumped when I explained what the table was and how you get there. I did have some students who thought it was only for the smart kids. That broke my heart. Because in my opinion that's what they are perceiving is important. But that is certainly NOT the criteria for this table.

I picked my two students from each class and they were so excited! I let them each pick a buddy to sit with them at the table. This table was theirs for the week!

The best part? My grade partner thinks we should expand it to the lunch room. We would have a VIP from each grade and they could bring a friend to sit at a special table. LOVE THIS! I am so excited for how this will motivate my students.