April 19, 2015

OPERATION EGO BOOSTER - IDEAS FOR SURVIVING TESTING

Many of you have already started, so I am behind the eight ball a bit for some folks. However, with my campus beginning the Smarter Balanced test tomorrow, I figured I would toss some ideas out just the same.  

Let me back up and give you the back story on my ideas surrounding testing. (Heaven knows I love to frontload just about everything.)  It only took one year of being a "testing" teacher to grasp the stress involved with the whole process.  I didn't sleep for a week and I will NEVER forget the moment when one of my little 2nd grader babes looked up at me with his lower lip quivering and tears welling in his eyes -- "I can't read this, Miss B." I squeezed his hand with as much love as I had in me, but I had to reply, "I'm sorry sweetie, I can't help you. Just do your best."  This dang near killed me.  Needless to say, this event was burned into my brain.  That next year admin dropped me down to first grade. Yes, I was cheering to be away from the heat of testing. However, I couldn't quite get that moment from the year before out of my mind.  So, when testing rolled around for the rest of the campus, I knew that I wanted to do everything I could to boost student and teacher moral during this tough time. That's when Adopt-A-Class was born. 

ADOPT-A-CLASS
Adopt-A-Class is a fun project where all of the non-testing classrooms adopt a testing class.  Prior to testing and throughout the week, "parent" or non-testing classes go out of their way to brighten a class full of test takers :)  It doesn't have to be anything major . . . friendly letters delivered the day before the test, a surprise snack after the first day of testing, motivational classroom murals and posters made by the little kids on campus . . . anything to show these students that they are supported.  

A campus generally needs about a week to get this one going.  However, I have put it together in less than 5 days.  You just need a teacher or small group of teachers who are willing to step up and man the process.  

With this said, I have made a packet with everything ready to go (plus lots of other fun and easy ideas for surviving testing).  I broke all the rules and made a LARGE freebie a few years back and it just received a much needed facelift. In my heart of hearts, I just couldn't charge for this then . . . and I can't charge for it now. Moral boostin' and feel-good ideas and activities should be free in my book. Also, just for the record, I do want to state that I posted this packet in it's original form in 2012 prior to the 10 page freebie rule - just sayin' :) (Can you tell I don't like to break rules??!!)

If you haven't started testing yet, you're all set with this one.  If you have, download it for next year!  What do you have to loose . . . it's free??!!  


TESTING TUNE
This fun little tune from Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes is all about doing your best on the test.  If you are running with Adopt-A-Class, and you have time, you can get you babes to learn this one and perform it for your testing class.  If you aren't, share it with your music teacher or admins.  They can play it for the testing grades :)  The best part about this one . . . it's FREE too :)  Click the image below and find the freebie called Best On the Test.  




UNDERCOVER MISSION
I am sneaking up to our campus later today to decorate (fingers crossed parents or fellow teachers don't read this before tomorrow . . . I want it to be a surprise). I have a bunch of butcher paper signs to hang in the hallways. I'm also going to decorate the sidewalks with inspirational messages in chalk. Finally, I have a collection of funny/motivational posters to hang on all of doors of those classrooms that will be testing.  I know that I won't be able to get up early enough to pull it off in the AM, so tonight it is . . . my sweet mother is helping me be all sneaky.  All I will have to do tomorrow is hang the balloons at the school entrances. (I should be able to handle one task before the kiddies show up.)

WALK OF WINNERS
This one is my favorite.  It was started years ago at our school by a wonderful teacher named Nancy Henley. When she retired, I took it over.  The walk of winners is a cheer line that takes place on the first morning of testing -- it kicks off the day.  For this stunt, the non-testing students line a hallway and all of the testing kiddos walk through it while you blast fun upbeat music.  This is a brilliant idea.  ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.  Nancy nailed this one :)

All of the notes you need to get this one going are in the freebie packet from above.  It outlines the process and contains an editable note template (as well as some sample notes).  I think I made this pretty easy on ya.  You just need access to a powerful radio or speaker system, some fun tunes loaded on your iPod or iPhone, and teachers who are willing to mess with their morning schedules for about 15 minutes.  This event ALWAYS makes me cry (I have to wear my dark sunglasses) and this year will not be any different.  It's a moment that kids (testing and non-testing) will NEVER forget.  

You see all of your old students roll through with big old grins on their faces.
It just seems to lighten the mood for everyone - students and teachers.
I am crying just writing about this experience.
I am in big trouble tomorrow! #passthetissues
 
I will be cheering my heart out for these sweeties tomorrow.
They are big 4th graders now. 

Yes, I'm still crying a little.
Hootin' and hollerin' with grins from ear to ear :)
The love and support oozes from our cheer line.
Alright, there you have it . . . just a few ideas to help your school survive a run of testing.  My FREEBIE packet contains oodles of other ideas to toss into the mix -- breakfast of champions, ready-made badges, smart snack ideas, etc. CLICK HERE to check it out.  My goal is to ease kids into the testing process and make them believe that they are control of the test.  Sure, all of our kids are not going to ace the big bad test.  AND . . . let's be honest . . . these stunts aren't really going to change many scores (if any). However, if we can keep lower lips from quivering, ward off unnecessary tears, and put a few smiles on some faces, I have done my job with this collection :)  


Thanks for visiting me today!  I hope this next week is stellar.  I will see you in the near future :)  Big hugs!


April 12, 2015

MY FAVORITE EARTH DAY IDEAS

Oh, sweet Spring Break.  It has been such fun.  (Wasn't I just writing about telling this week of freedom, "Hello??")  I'm not complaining though . . . it was a wonderful run for the Dollings.  

With school resuming tomorrow, I figured it was time to blog about something useful. Our crew will be headed into a week of baseball . . . followed by Earth Day and Ponds. As I am getting my ducks in a row for the next few weeks, I might as well toss out a few of my favorite activities for you to take a peek at and maybe incorporate into your plans.  Don't worry. I'm not going to hit you with things you HAVE TO DO this next week.  I'll hook you up with with my Earth Day thoughts to give you a little time to prep.

RECYCLED WORK
This one is easy and requires NO extra prep.  During our Earth Day studies, I like to copy as much work as possible on scrap or recycled paper.  The kids get a kick out of completing work with random assignments on the flip side.  I just dig in the copy room recycle bin or snag papers that I ran and NEVER ended up getting to in class :)

DRAW & SOLVE MINI BOOK
Speaking of running assignments on recycled paper, here's a math activity that lends itself to this idea.  We are all about working on word problems as much as possible this year.  These higher level thinking skills are essential to the CORE and we need more practice.  With this said, I created a story problem booklet for my kiddos.  I designed it to target Operations & Algebraic Thinking (OA) for both first and second grade.  Oh, and it's FREE!  I figured I might as well hook you up too :)  This freebie includes multiple pages of story problems targeting different skills.  Simply pick and choose the pages your crew is ready to tackle at this time and create a customized word problem book . . . on recycled paper. CLICK HERE to snag this freebie!



AN ADORABLE ART PROJECT
My favorite Earth Day art project comes from Across the Hall in 2nd Grade.  I have been doing this one since the packet came out. It comes with a writing piece too . . . swoon :)


CLICK HERE to check out her packet :)



UNIQUE ACTIVITIES
Sarah Cooley outdid her self in the unique activities department.  Her We Heart Our Earth packet provides numerous real world lessons that the kids absolutely adore.  From creating a Litterbug Museum and adopting trees to sorting recyclable products, this collection is the real deal!



MEANINGFUL WRITING
Earth Day offers up oodles of ways for students to produce some wonderful reflective writing.  Here's an activity that I came up with 3 years ago.  It requires a bit of prep (you have to trim the pictures), but the parents always eat this one up.  The kids always dig working with real photos too :)


This activity is part of one of my favorite packets -- EARTH DAY (Dolling comes up with such unique titles).  It contains all sorts of engaging standards-based activities for primary kiddos.  This collection even includes a sweet little Earth Day song from Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes (MP3 & lyrics embedded in the download).


Alright, there you have it . . . a post showcasing all of my favorite Earth Day goods.  It's enough to jam-pack a week or more with super awesome activities for your babes.  I hope some of this helped with your planning a bit.  On that note, I am out of here.  Gotta get the rest of my baseball stuff prepped and work on planning feel-good activities for our upcoming testing week.  (I'll be back soon to tell you all about this idea.)  Big hugs and MERRY SUNDAY!!
     

April 7, 2015

CCSS SPRING MATH GAMES

We officially made it!  Oh, how I love you, Spring Break!  I gave myself the weekend off . . . no school allowed.  I worked in the yard, caught up with an old friend (DVR), hung with family, and helped the hubby with the details of an event he is co-chairing.  However, I woke up today and decided it was time to jump back on the horse and highlight some spring math ideas.  

I've said this before and I'll say it again.  Math in the spring is my favorite. Your babes have been exposed to the majority of the standards.  They officially have a solid concept foundation (well, most of them) and it's time to take it up a notch and push them a bit.  

Love me some afternoon white board math.
Hit them with an oral word problem and let them fly.
It's the perfect math transition activity . . . but, I digress :)
With this said, here are a couple of games that I came up with this month.  All of them target a specific first grade Common Core standard and have a little springtime flavor.  I am going to share the specific steps for some of these ditties.  Yes, I have these (and many more) in a low-prep math station packet, but I wanted to showcase my style a bit and give you something to walk away with today.  

MISSING ADDEND GAME
PLANT IT - Math.1.OA.8
Many of my kiddos need extra practice with missing addend.  I wanted to create a game that kept them on their toes when it came to that missing number. Here's how you can use this card game in your own room.

  • Create a small group set of game boards.  Each board should have 4-5 spaces with a missing addend fact in each slot.  You can easily make squares with text boxes in Power Point.  Here's what mine looks like (I had to "cute" it up a little with a spring theme) . . . 
  • Place a "doctored" deck of cards face down on the table (face cards and tens removed) and place your students in groups of 3-4.
  • The first player pulls a card and determines if the number shown can complete one of the missing addend equations on their game mat.  
  • If the card creates a true equation, it is "planted" or placed over the top of this equation on the board.
  • If the card does NOT create a true equation, it is placed in the discard pile and it becomes the next player's turn. 
  • The next player repeats the steps.  However, he/she has the option of selecting the card on top of the discard pile or drawing a new card.
  
I think the cards will have them hooked into this one.  And, keeping the groups smaller will keep the game moving at a nice pace.  This game is totally "makable" and I'm sure you already have decks of cards tucked away in your math center bins.  If you have any questions, give me a shout :)


TRUE/FALSE EQUATIONS
Splashing Through Addition - Math.1.OA.6

Good thing you kept reading as I am going to give you a pre-packaged math game.  Yep . . . I am feeling nice like that today :)  This game is played with dominoes and targets true/false equations.  


This game is played with a standard set of dominoes (double six).  I will swing back around and create a double nine set next month.  My goal was to keep the equations simple this time so the kids can focus on what makes equations true and how to use that powerful equal sign.  

Splashing Through Addition Facts is pretty straight forward.  Students draw dominoes, calculate the sum of the pips, and attempt to locate a fact with the same sum on their game card.  (Okay, so that doesn't give the best picture of this game, but don't worry, I explain it much better in my write up!) If you are interested in trying out this game, CLICK HERE to snag a free copy.  

THE REST OF THE PACK
If you like the flavor of these two games, check out the remainder of my April Math Stations & More Packet.  Here are just a few of the classroom tested games in this month's collection . . . 

The kiddies loved this one and it was VERY telling.
I was able to immediately see who is still struggling with this tough concept.

I want to keep clocks in front of my crew as much as possible.
This particular game tackles graphing and time.
They were racing each other . . . it was grand!
My kids are always down with a roll, add, and cover type game.
This one upped the ante with 3 addends.
Using a triple die had them hooked immediately!
Alright, that be it from this girl.  I hope you were able to walk away with a little something to stick in your back pocket for next week.  I am off to finish doing my hair so I can get to a fun little girlfriend lunch. Thanks for taking the time to visit me today.  I'll be back soon :)


March 27, 2015

SPRING WRITING IDEAS - HOOK THEM WITH JOKES!

There's a monkey on your head!  You shoe is untied!  Knock, knock...!!! You guessed it.  April Fools day is a comin' to the primary classroom and the kids are going to be dishin' out all sorts of high quality jokes.  With this said, why not turn the tables on our little babes and play the greatest classroom joke of all? Let's slip in some quality learning without them even knowing it!  April Fools Day just so happens to lend itself perfectly to writing.   

I have been running with joke writing and silly stories during the beginning of April for quite a few years now.  The level of work you receive will absolutely blow your mind and your sweeties will be ALL smiles the whole time. That's what I call a #teachervictory.  

Here are some ideas for April Fools Day learning.  I have all packet ready to go for this, but you can easily run with these ideas on your own as well.  

AMIMAL JOKES
This is a classic center writing station.  I picked up this idea a few years back from a Pat (an awesome Kindergarten teacher in my wing).  Brainstorm various animals and list them on the board.  Talk about things these animals can do and one very outlandish thing they can't do.  If you teach first or second, you may choose to break out some non-fiction animal books and turn this into a fact finding ditty too.  Once they have their animal selected and a few facts in mind, set up the following outline on the board . . . 

A ________ can __________.
A ________ can __________.
A ________ can __________.
But, a __________ cannot __________!

Then . . . let 'em fly.  Just wait until you see what what oozes out of your little darlings.  Be sure to take a moment to host an author's chair.  This is one of my favorite share outs of the year :)

This one was about a dog.
He can run fast.
He can chase cats.
He can do a hand stand.
(She explained . . .  when I hold his paws).
But, he can't cross his eyes and stick out his tongue.
#classickid
Even your shy guys will get up and knock your socks off.
He was all about his crazy monkey.
Man, I miss this kid.
  
GROUCHO-STYLE CENTER
Get yo-self to the dollar store and pick up a small group set of the Groucho Marx glasses this weekend.  I promise that the few dollars spent will come back in spades!  Pin spelling words, vocab, sight words, parts of speech, math facts, fact families around the room.  Explain it like any other hunt and record activity. Then, bring out those glasses.  I have been doing this one for years and the class always erupts when they catch that first glimpse of these silly things.  I know what you're thinking . . . a few reservations, perhaps??!!  It may have crossed your mind . . . they aren't going to work with those things on . . . they are just going to dink around during the hunt.  Ironically, it's just the opposite.  They WANT to wear those glasses . . . it makes it novel for them.  If you frontload this one before they get going, you will have them working harder than ever on the center hunt.  No joke :)

They always get so serious during the hunt.
I can't help but quietly giggle from my teacher table.

I have a ready-made parts of speech hunt in my packet.  However, if this doesn't float your boat, I made it EDITABLE.  We aim to please around here :)

KNOCK-KNOCK
The ever classic Knock-Knock jokes will be in full swing by Wednesday.  (If I had a dollar for every time I heard the "Boo-Who" one, I'd be RICH.)  With this said, let's embrace the all-mighty Knock-Knock and have some fun with it.  I like to send a little slip home asking parents to help their child come up with a Knock-Knock joke to tell in class.  This is perfect for listening and speaking and it gets that school-to-home connection going. 

The share out is EPIC.
The kids giggle for days.

But, I don't stop here.  I like to set up a writing center station once they get their feet wet in the joke department.  Copy a bunch of Knock-Knock jokes and stock your rotation. The kids will spend FOREVER reading these and they won't even think twice. Before the center ends, have your babes select their favorite joke and copy it onto a writing template.  In the afternoon, we make the perfect house to display our silliness . . . 





These look oh so amazing up on the wall and the kids are all about it.  We take a moment to share these too.  They cruise the room and find reading partners right before we go home.  The laughter is contagious and the kids are so proud of their work . . . jokes are the best.  This craft template and a bunch of print and go Knock-Knock jokes are in my packet.  



All of these templates and more are available in my Joke Mini Packet.  I made this collection ΓΌber generic so you can roll with it at any time . . . not just around April Fools Day. In addition, most of the templates are editable. Just drop in a text box and make the activity fit your EXACT needs.  


Alright, I am out of here.  I have BIG things cooking today.  Can't wait to see as they unfold . . . I'll be sure to share as soon as they play out.  Huge hugs and merry almost weekend my friends.  Oh, and by the way . . . THERE'S A MONKEY ON YOUR HEAD :)



March 15, 2015

THE PERFECT TRANSITIONAL THEME AFTER ST. PAT'S DAY - IDEAS & FREEBIES

The kids have been reminding me to wear green for the past week.  I think it is safe to say that Tuesday is going to be oozing in the excitement department. With this said, how in the world are you supposed to come back on Wednesday and ease 'em back down into the learning process?  I have just the quickie theme for you . . . BASKETBALL!!!  

With the BIG tournament games kicking off on Thursday, it just seems natural to swoop up this fun subject.  This will be the second year that I have leveraged the tourney's power for learning.  Last year was so much fun and it proved to be just the transition out of the chaos known as St. Patrick's Day.  

Here are some fun ideas for you to roll with.  Yeah, sure . . . I have packets with all the goods pre-made as well as follow up activities.  However, these can be easily made on your own if you have the time :)

HOOP IT UP - PLACE VALUE TOURNEY
This game can be used for ANY math sort.  You can have your babes sort fact families, sums, differences, etc.  I always like to run with place value, but that's just me.  

I am going to explain this in place value terms for the simplicity sake (I'll write all over the place on ya if I don't have a focus).  Print and laminate a set of place value cards that meet your kiddos' needs (I suggest making 8-10 sets of cards.  Each set contains a number card, expanded notation card, number word card, and a base ten card).  Place 8-10 hula hoops at the far end of the course. Put one of the number cards (number card only) in each hula hoop.  

To begin play, place your students into teams of 4-5 provide each kiddo with a place value card (expanded notation, number name, and/or base ten picture). On your signal, the first kid in each team will run the course and place his/her place value card in the corresponding number hoop (example: 20+2 would be placed in the hoop with the 22 number card).


Once the card has been sorted, the child runs back to his/her line and tags the hand of the next player in his/her line.  The steps are then repeated by this new player.  Play continues until all of the cards have been sorted into the hoops. This one knocked my kids' socks off last year.  We had to play it multiple times throughout the week.  The second time through I scattered the cards in the grass 1/2 way down the corse . . . they had to snag one on the run and sort it.  

TRASH IT - EVEN/ODD & MORE
I love this game . . . all you need is a couple of trash cans and some scratch paper.  This is another ACTIVE sorting activity and the kids eat this one up!

Decide what you want your babes to sort and label your trash cans accordingly (same sums, same differences, fact families, place value, etc).  I like to run with even and odd, but again, that's just me.  

Mark a "free throw" line on your floor. (I used a SitSpot, but you can use tape or chalk.)  Choose a team of about 8 kids to line up behind the mark and hand them a piece of scratch paper marked with the number/fact you want them to sort.  On your signal . . . I blow a whistle as it just seems fitting . . . the first shooter quickly calls out the number/fact on their card and the answer (examples:  "6+2 is 8" or "9 . . . it's ODD"). The player then crumples the paper and shoots it toward the corresponding trash can.  If he/she makes it, the rest of your class (the crowd) goes wild.  If the player misses it . . . no prob . . . teach them to rebound their shot and let them SLAM DUNK IT!  


This is the perfect transition activity in the afternoon.  We added a timer to spice things up.  We would time each "team" and see which group could complete the sort the fastest.  You can bet that we played NUMEROUS times throughout the week.  The teamwork is absolutely contagious . . . #teacherwin.

As I said, these games can be easily constructed without me.  However, if you like the flavor of these games and want more basketball themed games for your crew . . . I've got 'em.  Check out my EDITABLE  Get Into the Game Packet.  It will surely keep your babes busy and engaged after all the St. Patrick's Day fun!
  


But, I couldn't stop there.  I like to be all "matchy-matchy" when it comes to my themes, so I put together a CCSS aligned math printable packet too (appropriate for 1st - 2nd grades).  It even has a cute math craftivity tossed into the mix. CLICK HERE to check out this collection. 


But, wait . . . there's more.  I made a whole class math freebie game too. What can I say?  I think all of my own NCAA excitement went to my head. Puttin' Up the Points is always an instant hit with my crews and you can modify it to encompass just about any math standard that you wish to review. CLICK HERE to score your free copy.  


Alright, I am out of here.  Thanks so much for taking the time to visit me.  I will keep these packets on sale just in case you decide to pop these into the plans before the BIG TOURNEY starts this week.  I'll be rooting for Oregon, but when they lose, I'm Kentucky all the way (just for you Katie King).  Merry Sunday to you my friends.    



March 12, 2015

BRAIN BREAKS MY WAY - CREATING QUESTION SETS IN GONOODLE

First off, are you still standing?  OMWORD people, the time change dang near imploded the primary educational system on our campus this week and it's only Thursday.  On Monday we had oodles of tears, heads on the desks, whining, fighting, tattling . . . and this was just the morning reading block.  I know we have a crew who thrives on systems, but I was ready to pull my hair out at 11. By the time the afternoon rolled around and we couldn't seem to sit through a lesson of any kind, I suddenly remembered my friends at GoNoodle and the question set I had created to use within their games.  Well, let's just say that the FREEZE IT GAME saved our day . . . more on how in a moment :)


I know you have heard me gush about GoNoodle before, but as my recent conference presentations have proven, there are still tons of people who don't know about this amazing free brain break site.  It's mind blowing and my kids eat it up.  Our current fave is Pop-See-Ko . . . the kids always loose it when the hot dog crashes through the house.  If you haven't checked this out it is SO worth your time.  Try it.  I guarantee your kids will love this site!

For those of you that know about this site, they just added a super NEW FEATURE.  You can create your OWN question sets in GoNoodle Plus now.  Let me say that again, your OWN question sets. Now I want to pause for just a moment here to let you know that this awesome tool is on the GoNoodle Plus side.  This part of the site costs a small annual fee, but it's worth it's weight in gold. You can run with just about anything . . . YOUR WAY.  

There is a new MY QUESTIONS tab across the top of the home page.
Simply click New Set.

You can add questions of any kind (click New Question).
This thing is a no-brainer.  A nice and easy process.
I chose to make Story Problems (more on how I used them in a sec).

There is a true/false option or multiple choice.
I ran with multiple choice!

The coolest thing is that you can SHARE the question sets that you make.
I shipped the link to a bunch of my teacher friends who have GoNoodle Plus!

These questions can be used in three different games.  I love that the GoNoodle team gave us more than one option!  We ran with the Freeze It game as it seemed to lend itself nicely to what I wanted to see unfold.


These three games have a My Questions option now. 

See that little Q in the bottom left corner?
You use this to access your question sets!


For those of you who don't know, I teach first grade.  This time of year we are really hitting the story problems.  When I saw the My Questions come out on GoNoodle, it hit me . . . I could incorporate word problems into active movement breaks.  I quickly made a Story Problems #1 question set for my crew.  This set directly aligns to the CCSS standards and sample problems that kiddos should be able to solve before they exit the first grade.  

My post has now come FULL CIRCLE (I take awhile to tell a story sometimes -just ask my husband).  Anyway, I remembered that I had made this set and after enduring a morning of the first day back in the saddle after Daylight Savings Time, I abandoned the math lesson and tossed it into the mix. 

I asked the kids to get out their mini white boards.  I pushed PLAY and they boogied until the FREEZE screen popped up.  I'd yell, "sit" and they would grab their pens and get ready for business.  I would then read the story problem out loud to them.  

They danced around like wild animals.  It was perfect.
My little cowboy asked to wear his hat while he danced.
ME: "Um, will it help you work harder?"
COWBOY: "You bet, Mrs. Dolling!"
ME:  "GO for it, buddy."
The kids were to draw it out first . . . then write the corresponding equation. Many kids also decided to give me a number bond . . . SWOON!  Those fast finishers were asked to support their neighbors if need be.  It was a magical teamwork experience and they actually LOVED solving the problems.  I'd select a volunteer to come up and click the correct multiple choice answer (they were all dying to be the mighty "clicker").  The music would come back up and the crew would start boogying again -- except the few that were mesmerized by the video and just stared at the screen.  

video

Number Bonds . . . and I didn't even ask??!!
#teachervictory
We didn't go through the whole question set . . . just 3-4 problems.  It was perfect.  A few days later, we jumped back into the game and picked up where we left off.  The kids are just eating this up and I plan to make OODLES of additional sets of word problems to use with the other games.  

Are you a GoNoodle Plus user?  Want to try this set with your crew (it would work well for both 1st and 2nd graders)??!!  CLICK HERE to have access to my word problem questions.

Alright, there you have it . . . the latest GoNoodle feature.  It's {insert mind-blowing adjective here}!!!!  This feature definitely picked us up off of the floor and we were able to finish out Monday strong.  Daylight Savings ain't no match for GoNoodle :)

One final note today.  Remember, most of GoNoodle is FREE.  If you don't want to pay for a Plus subscription, jump in on the regular side.  There are NO strings attached and it offers SO much.  We used the FREE version daily.  A 3rd grade teacher heard us through the walls during her lunch break on Tuesday (I share a wall with the teacher's room . . . whoops).  The next morning she asked to join us later that afternoon.  Um, YES!  We showed the BIG KIDS how to Pop-See-Ko and we just had to follow up with a Secret Hand Shake video.  It was EPIC!  She signed up for the free version that afternoon!


On that final story, I am out of here.  Thanks so much for visiting me.  I'll be back later this weekend.  Until then . . . good luck the rest of today and tomorrow.  Keep clawing your way through this one . . . we can do it!!!


   


March 8, 2015

INTERACTIVE GRAPHS - LET'S MAKE GRAPHING MEANINGFUL

Alright, so I'm just going to jump right into the mix of it today.  Our kids have been struggling with graphing, hence this new collection.  Funny thing is that this idea has been in the works for more than two months.  I just couldn't seem to finish it up until now.  But, hey, I'm chalking it up as a win in the packet department . . . better late than never, right??!!  

Here's my thought process on Interactive Graphs.  I can be all over the place (my brain gets ahead of me at times), so I am going to pin it down right off the bat.  I wanted to create a collection of "out of the box" graphs that really get the kids involved and engaged in the graphing process.  Sure, the regular old graphing experience is great and still highly valuable.  However, I want to hook my babes into analyzing the data on a deeper level.  What better what better way to get their attention than hittin' them with a new method. 



I am going to be honest here . . . you can run with any of these graphing experiences on your own (keep reading to learn specifics).  It ain't all that hard to doctor a sheet of grid paper.  However, if you want it in a neat and pretty cute ready to go package, I have that option available.  


14 Total Different Graphing Experiences
In my packet, I offered multiple graphing experiences in different sections - On Me Graphs, Classroom Graphs, School Graphs, and Homework Graphs.  In addition, each graph comes with a set of differentiated data questions that can be asked orally or completed as a partner/independent follow-up.  

I have already tried many of these graphs with my crew and they received a "thumbs up" rating.  As you will see soon, they can be used as a stand alone activity or shrunk down to fit into interactive math notebooks (the kids really dig this . . . mine freaked out).


  
Let me tell you about two graphing exercises that proved to be absolutely dynamite during our LONG afternoon math block.  

POCKET GRAPH
Now, I heard Everyday Math has a pocket graph (I was bummed).  However, mine takes a new spin on graphing pockets -- we graph everyday for a week! This graph has been a classroom favorite for years and this crew wasn't any different.  Students count and graph the number of pockets they have on their bodies ever day (shirts, pants, etc).  You may even have them grab their jacket or sweatshirt!  I always love to watch them spin around and stick out their bums as they try and count their pockets.  It's the little things in the classroom.  

By Friday the kids will be wearing clothes with as MANY pockets as possible. I guarantee it!! This year one babe walked in all proud of himself on Tuesday (we completed our first pocket graph on Monday).  He had this big old hunting jacket on and was grinnin' from ear to ear.  It took me a minute to register, but when he kept opening the pockets, it finally dawned on me what he was trying to get across to me.  I immediately said, "Nice jacket, buddy." He quickly replied in a hushed voice, "Don't tell Mrs. Dolling . . . it has 10 pockets." Now that's what I call a graphing win. 



On Friday, we followed it up with a question sheet that helped us examine the data we collected throughout the week.  I offer two differentiated options for every graph in my packet.  


This is such a fun graph for the kids, but you don't have to take my word for it. CLICK HERE to snag this graphing experience for FREE!  


DESK INVESTIGATION
I don't know about you, but we struggle to keep our space clean this year.  In addition, if new supplies go out in the communal bins, they vanish within a matter of minutes.  On that note, I thought it would be fun to kill to birds with one stone . . . clean desks while gaining some valuable graphing experience. As an added bonus, you find out who those hoarders are too . . . hehehehehe! You can also attach clean desk awards to this activity . . . numbers can be analyzed together and little treats can be awarded.  


The first time you do this is absolutely priceless.  Kids don't realize what you are doing.  They pull out all of their junk and you start to graph it.  Some savvy kiddo will realize that he/she has an ungodly number of pencils and will try and sneak over and put them away.  I make the rule that you cannot get up and put things away until I check your graph.  

The kids loved this and our desks have been cleaner (we've done this twice now as you can bring it back with EVERY desk clean).  We followed it up with one of the question sheets and they worked together to analyze their data.  

Now, I know what you are thinking . . . Kelley, those questions are going to get old.  Well, I thought of that problem.  EVERY SINGLE question sheet (and graph for that matter) is EDITABLE.  Yup, that's right . . . the packet it 100% editable. What can I say??  I'm on your side my friends!

This packet is by far one of my favorite things I have put together.  It includes a bit of everything.  It even offers school to home activities -- 4 different homework graphs and parent notes.  If you want to check out this collection a bit more, CLICK HERE.  

Alright, I am out of here.  I have plants calling my name.  It's 80 degrees in sunny NorCal today and I must dig in the dirt.  I will see you all a bit later this week with some GoNoodle fun.  Big hugs y'all . . . Merry Sunday to you :)


 

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