Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to Organize and Manage Math Workshop with Guided Math Instruction

Oh my goodness! I dedicated some time today to get caught up on emails, feedback and Q and As and could not have been more touched, flattered, thrilled and proud when I read the above. Much thanks to Elyse for her kind words as well as the over 1,000 teachers who have rated this a 4.0 product!

I have personally loved about how this approach transformed my own teaching of math, but it brings me so much joy to know that other teachers and students are benefiting from it as well.

In honor of this amazingly thoughtful feedback I am sharing my original post from when this product debuted a year ago and am offering the Guide to Organizing and Managing Math Workshop with Guided Math Instruction at a discounted price for a limited time. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Original Post~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you know what my absolute favorite time of the school day is? Math Workshop! In fact, thanks to the Common Core, I'm a bit math obsessed lately. Which is funny to me because, as a student, I personally hated math all through school.  Loathed it in fact.  And if I am being honest, math was also my very least subject to teach for many years. The whole class format of math instruction posed many problems.  It was a struggle to get them engaged and keep their attention. 

Their understanding fell on a spectrum. They ranged from "I'm bored because I already know this yet I have to listen to it anyway" to "I don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about, but if I sit quietly enough you may not notice because Johnny and Susie are using the pattern blocks inappropriately and you're distracted by trying to redirect them."

And then it happened.

I started teaching math the same way I had been teaching language arts and it absolutely changed everything. Kids became engaged and on task at all times. I felt like I really understood each student as an individual mathematician. The classroom was filled with the sound of students having meaningful conversations about math, discussing strategies and learning from each other. Those who needed extra support were receiving it and those who needed a challenge were enriched. Best of all, after a few weeks, the room ran itself.

When I implemented the workshop I developed an acronym using the word "MATH" to set up my rotations. One of my top-selling products is the Math Rotation Board that goes with this acronym. I have long been promising to create an additional resource to detail how to organize and prepare your classroom for math workshop, get the workshop up and running each year, form ability-based and flexible small groups, manage math station rotations, use math tubs on days you are not holding a workshop, lesson plan and more.

I certainly didn't expect the process would take so long, but after about 100 hours of writing, typing, photographing, creating and editing I am incredibly proud to finally present...

Click to Access and Download: CFC's Guided to Organizing and Managing a Math Workshop with Guided Math Instruction
  
Click any of the photos below to view a larger image of everything included in this giant packet.


 

 

 

Please note:
This product is debuting at a discounted rate. I know a lot of you are headed back to school soon and want to get your "ducks in a row" so for a limited time, the Guide to Organizing and Managing Math Workshop with Guided Math Instruction is being offered at 33% off the normal price...a better than even the best sale on TPT.




Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Classroom Job Chart Makeover and Management Tips {Classroom Design Photos, Set Up Pictures & Ideas, Organization & Management}

When I made over my classroom for the new school year a few weeks ago I made some big changes but I also made some very subtle alterations. Today I am going to share one of the smaller ones, however I am so over the moon happy with how this system for managing jobs in the classroom has worked for me that I am reposting the original blog post from when I implemented it last year for you below. 
{Click to access and download the printables to make this chart}

With all we need to organize and manage in the classroom as teachers, classroom jobs should not be the cause of stress or chaos. After using this new chart for an entire school year I couldn't be more thrilled with how successful it was in helping the classroom run itself.

As far as the classroom makeover goes the changes were simple. Last year my room consisted of lots of bright colors (aqua, orange, lime, pink, purple, etc) with accents of black. This year I focused more on aqua chevron, black and white polka dots and yellow accents

I created a brand new line of color scheme and classroom theme bundles this year and each of those 33-product bundles includes coordinating classroom job cards that can be used for this purpose. Initially I was going to makeover the chart using components from the Mix and Match Color Scheme Bundles, but ultimately decided that by simply replacing the pink components on

The Guide to Decorating Your Classroom includes many tips for using creating a beautiful learning space on a tight budget using inexpensive supplies. Yesterday I blogged about a simple project using spray paint. Another one of my favorite things to use is ribbon to make the classroom look even more cohesive. It's a great decorative tool because it is so cheap and because it is available in countless patterns and colors.

To alter the existing chart I simply changed out the pink ribbon for a black and white option and swapped the pink card stock behind the title on the job chart for aqua.

Below is a photo of my original chart along with the text of the blog post I had written when it debuted. I am confident that you'll find the tips shared below will help to make classroom jobs a great experience for you and your students...



{Click to Access and Download: Classroom Job Chart-Blackline Design}

Jobs in my classroom have evolved over time. I started with an elaborate system involving a rotating sunflower which took me an absurd number of hours to create. The system involved students receiving new jobs each day because I was told that the responsibility and sense of community were important.


It is.

But so is your sanity.

I'll skip all the middle stages and tell you about where I am now.

In my classroom everyone has a job. However, they are gainfully employed in that position for a very long time. I no longer rotate the jobs so that each student does every job at some point. Instead students are matched with jobs that they express interest in and I feel is a good fit for them. This allows me to take the time to really teach them how to do the job well and it becomes a routine for them.

Which means your classroom will run very smoothly. 

When I rotated jobs too often my friends would forget to do their job or else wouldn't know exactly what the role involved. The consistency of keeping the same job means that everyone has a special part in helping our room to function. They are ALL responsible for cleaning up the classroom at the end of the day when we play Find It / Fix It (best game ever for ending the day with a spotless classroom). I also have a "helper of the day" and that person does everything else for the day (help with odd jobs, erase the white board, etc).

When I do change jobs (maybe 3 times a year), each student is responsible for training their replacement. I couldn't be more happy about this system.

I do still have a job chart. It just doesn't change very often.

I recently remade my chart for the new school year using library pockets. I used to do an annual classroom theme, but switched to a color-scheme a few years ago. My classroom is currently a mix of Bright and Colorful with lots of Black and White elements. The new chart merges the two together.

{Click to Access and Download: Classroom Job Chart}

You’ll notice that it is a bit different than the typical job charts that list positions such as door holder, caboose, line leader, etc. I really want the classroom jobs to be a way to promote teamwork and responsibility so the title reads, “We are responsible for. . . “ and I listed the jobs as nouns and actions instead of titles or positions. 

It’s just a subtle change, but to me it feels more collaborative. 

TIPS FOR CREATING AND MANAGING CLASSROOM JOBS


# 1 Keep it simple. Classroom jobs should improve the function of your classroom and provide children with a sense of being helpful. If you create a system that is too complicated or changes too often you run the risk of the jobs actually creating more work for you along with unwanted chaos. 



#2 Select classroom jobs that will be useful to your specific classroom needs. 

#3 Think about safety and school policy. Having an “electrician” in charge of plugging in an overhead or a “table washer” using cleaning products with chemicals might not be allowed in some schools. Always use caution. If you include tasks like this you may want to consider drafting a parent permission slip before assigning the job.

#4 Don’t start classroom jobs until you get to know your students each year. It’s very helpful to match students with jobs that best suit them as individuals.

#5 Think about ways a job may benefit a child. Encouraging your shy student to be responsible for being the classroom greeter or answering the phone may help to bring her out of her shell. Having your spirited little guy be your messanger would be a great way to work in some movement breaks throughout the day.

#6 Think about ways a job may benefit you. If you have a student that needs monitoring more than others make her the line leader. This will keep her close by and limit off task behavior in the hallways. 

#7 Don’t let your job chart consume too much prime wall real estate. Students don’t need to be able to see it all the time. In fact it can be a distraction as kids love knowing what others are doing and reading their peers names. Find an out of the way location that students can access when they need to.

#8 Match students with jobs that are appropriate. A job requiring increased responsibility and organization should be completed by a student possessing those skills (i.e. managing the classroom library). Students who struggle in that area would be better suited for a job that is completed without remembering (i.e. turning off the lights when you are going to use the Smartboard).

#9 Be aware of confidentiality. Although it may seem like a good idea to have students put stickers on corrected assignments or check in homework, it exposes them to other childrens’ work and progress.

#10 Take the time to write out a thorough job description that makes your expectations clear. Much like having a procedures and routines manual, this will be a valuable document in ensuring that everything gets done as intended. It will also be an asset to a substitute teacher filling in for you.


Materials:
  • a package of library pockets (these come in so many colors and patterns)
  • colored card stock
  • glue gun/glue sticks
  • framed corkboard
  • fabric 
  • ribbon
  • printables

I had painted the wooden frame on the corkboard black a couple years ago. I  added fabric for the background and a ribbon border. {I love using ribbon to define edges because it is cheap and narrower than traditional border and it comes in so many colors and patterns}.

I printed out the job titles and attached them to the library pockets.


Although the pockets were self-adhesive, I have always found that they don’t really hold in the long term so I knew I would need to reinforce them. Prior to “committing” them to a location on the board with hot glue, I used a single staple to hold them in place. When I was happy with the alignment of the pockets, I glued them all down and removed the staples. Finally I added the title at the top.

To use the chart I will simply slide cards with the students names or numbers into the pockets. 

This post is part of the...
{Click to view other posts in the series}

Improve your classroom organization, management and teaching with: 


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.
Clutter - Free Classroom Decor Color Scheme Printables Design Decorations Set-Up Patterns Organized Organization Bulletin Boards Back to School Name tags Desk plates Editable polka dots chevron red orange yellow green blue purple hot pink aqua lime black grey gray white stripes theme supply labels behavior clip chart schedule cards numbers calendar clock helper teacher binder lesson plans alphabet ten frames word wall basket labels table team work dismissal chart cards where are we specialists welcome pennant clip art math resources book Classroom Organization Management Decor Design Photos Pictures Math Workshop Guided Math Workstations hall passes  school day tracker math focus wall colors days of the week tooth tally binder cover newsletter teaching strategies 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Painted Trash Cans {Classroom Design Photos, Set Up Pictures & Ideas, Organization & Management}

In a post last week I shared how simply sliding a colorful, patterned piece of paper into the literature sorter we use to organize and manage the "work in progress" in my third grade classroom made a big difference in visually enhancing the space. It's those little pops of color and attention to detail that help transform a classroom.

The Guide to Decorating Your Classroom includes many tips for using creating a beautiful learning space on a tight budget using inexpensive supplies. One of my favorite things to use is spray paint and today I want to share a very simple idea you can use to make your classroom look even more cohesive.



While I don't have a before picture, but if you imagine dingy, dirty, boring beige cans then you have an idea of what I started with. Since my classroom color scheme this year is aqua chevron with black and white polka dots and accents of yellow I chose to use those three colors to paint the trash cans. 


If you're feeling extra fancy, you can upstyle them even more by getting crafty with painter's tape. I suggest starting with painting the cans white. After they dry, use the tape to make stripes, dots, chevron, etc. Make sure it is stuck down well and then spray over it with the color of your choice. Once it is dry simply peel off the tape and you'll have a customized trash can that adds detail to your classroom.

If you do plan to spray paint anything I highly recommend using a spray paint nozzle. They easily slide on and off the cans and can be used over and over. It certainly makes the task easier and you don't end up with colorful fingertips.

You may also be interested in reading a blog post from last summer that shows how to ditch those oversized green recycling bins for something that better fits your space and style: Recycling Bins for the Classroom.




This post is part of the...
{Click to view other posts in the series}

Improve your classroom organization, management and teaching with: 


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.
Clutter - Free Classroom Decor Color Scheme Printables Design Decorations Set-Up Patterns Organized Organization Bulletin Boards Back to School Name tags Desk plates Editable polka dots chevron red orange yellow green blue purple hot pink aqua lime black grey gray white stripes theme supply labels behavior clip chart schedule cards numbers calendar clock helper teacher binder lesson plans alphabet ten frames word wall basket labels table team work dismissal chart cards where are we specialists welcome pennant clip art math resources book Classroom Organization Management Decor Design Photos Pictures Math Workshop Guided Math Workstations hall passes  school day tracker math focus wall colors days of the week tooth tally binder cover newsletter teaching strategies 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Calling All New England Teachers & Bloggers...Let's Meet-Up!




I'm thrilled to announce that I am hosting a get together for New England Teacher Bloggers (and of course for any New England teachers who don’t have blogs, but would love to get together too). 

The event will be held at the Boston Museum of Science on Saturday, September 27, 2014.  

In selecting a venue, it was important that the location be as central to everyone as possible and provide the opportunity for mixing and mingling and chatting with everyone. 

The Museum is an easy drive (it is immediately off rte 93 so no need to actually drive in the city), but is also accessible via the commuter rail and the T. They offer free admission for teachers (be sure to take advantage of this even if you are not planning to attend the Get Together because it is such an amazing deal) so there is no cost to enter the museum.  

I also thought this was a great location choice for anyone who would be traveling to Boston with their significant others/kids because it would give them lots and lots to do while we meet and greet! Not only are there many things to enjoy in the MOS, but the Boston Duck Tours leave from there as well.

Are you interested in joining us? Send me an email at CFClassroom@gmail.com and I’ll add you to the group! I’m really looking forward to getting to know you all.

Also...if you are a New England Teacher or Teacher Blogger please share this info on your blogs, Facebook, instagram, etc. to spread the word. The more the merrier.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Managing Student's Work in Progress {Classroom Design Photos, Set Up Pictures & Ideas, Organization & Management}


I often mention how the little details are the ones that typically add the most impact when setting up and decorating your classroom. As I made over my classroom for the new school year I kept this in mind and looked for even more little details that I could add.

Because I use tables instead of desks I needed a way to manage students "work in progress." By that I mean the assignments that they have started, but not yet completed. Initially I used different color folders for different subjects, but didn't like that system for a couple reasons. Many students developmentally could not keep track of their work and their folders and it wasn't convenient for me to keep on top of who was done and who was not. 
For that reason I came up with a system using a wooden literature sorter (one of the best classroom investments you can me by the way) that works perfectly for managing student work in progress, keeping our classroom neat, helping students feel successful and allowing me to know at a glance who is struggling to manage their time in regards to completing assignments.

I use a Must Do/May Do Board for helping the students stay focused and become independent with their work expectations. That, in conjunction with the unfinished work boxes and turn-in bins on the work shelf really make it easy to stay on top of their status.

I had already upgraded the unfinished work boxes when I did a classroom makeover two years ago by painting them black (they were a "wood color" prior to that). This year I added pops of color by simply inserting a pieced of colored/patterned card stock into each section of the sorter so that when the boxes are empty they add a little "extra something" to the space. So simple, super low cost and oh-so-easy! 

This post is part of the...
{Click to view other posts in the series}

Improve your classroom organization, management and teaching with: 


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.
Clutter - Free Classroom Decor Color Scheme Printables Design Decorations Set-Up Patterns Organized Organization Bulletin Boards Back to School Name tags Desk plates Editable polka dots chevron red orange yellow green blue purple hot pink aqua lime black grey gray white stripes theme supply labels behavior clip chart schedule cards numbers calendar clock helper teacher binder lesson plans alphabet ten frames word wall basket labels table team work dismissal chart cards where are we specialists welcome pennant clip art math resources book Classroom Organization Management Decor Design Photos Pictures Math Workshop Guided Math Workstations hall passes  school day tracker math focus wall colors days of the week tooth tally binder cover newsletter teaching strategies 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stay Organized With a Back to School Binder {Teacher Organization Tool, Lesson Planning, Back to School Binder Ideas}








Back to School.

Three little words that elicit some pretty strong reactions. When kids hear them they groan. When parents hear them they cheer wildly. And when teachers hear them their heads spin, their heartbeat increases and they often break out in a cold sweat. Because let’s be honest...there is so much to remember, do, create, gather, prepare, etc.

Some teachers choose to bury their heads (and toes...literally) in the sand and turn away singing, “la la la I can’t see you” as they walk by the school supply displays overtaking the stores until the last minute. Others spend the entire summer planning for the new year.  Either way the first day of school will come and we all need to be ready.  

To avoid reinventing the wheel each year and scrambling to find your resources, printables and ideas, it is a great idea to create a “Back to School Binder” to house everything you need in one central location.  While I am often an advocate for “going digital” and using paperless files on the computer, this is one area that seems to work best with hard copies.



Your Back to School Binder should serve as a working document and an archive. It’s a place to store past creations, packets, hand outs and photos and also a tool for making your lists and storing printables that need to be copied or prepped.

Tips for Creating and Using a Back to School Organization Binder:


As you come across ideas you may want to use, jot them down in the binder. 

Use the binder to make lists of things you need to do to prepare for the new year.

Attach sticky notes onto printables that need to be copied with copy instructions.

Revisit your lists after school begins to add anything you may have overlooked that will be helpful next year. 

Use the front pocket to store things that will change annually such as a list of student names, student teacher contact info, etc.

Keep extra notebook paper in the binder for additional lists and ideas.

Take photos of your room and creations as you set up for the new year. Either save them on an included flash drive or print hardcopies and put them into the binder.

Remember there is no right or wrong way to use this. It should become a useful tool to you.  Find ways to make it work to meet your need! Have fun and best wishes for a successful school year!


The printables shown above {as well as page dividers and themed note paper} are available in my Back to School Organization Binder. You can them here.



{Click to Access and Download: Back to School Organization Binder}

You may also find these products helpful when putting together your Back to School Binder:

{Click to access and download the 6 Product Bundle}
This product is part of the Teacher Planner Collection. You can get all 6 products at a 50% savings by purchasing the Teacher Planner 6 Product Bundle or you can buy any of the items individually by clicking any of the images below.

Improve your classroom organization, management and teaching with: 


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.
Clutter - Free Classroom Decor Color Scheme Printables Design Decorations Set-Up Patterns Organized Organization Bulletin Boards Back to School Name tags Desk plates Editable polka dots chevron red orange yellow green blue purple hot pink aqua lime black grey gray white stripes theme supply labels behavior clip chart schedule cards numbers calendar clock helper teacher binder lesson plans alphabet ten frames word wall basket labels table team work dismissal chart cards where are we specialists welcome pennant clip art math resources book Classroom Organization Management Decor Design Photos Pictures Math Workshop Guided Math Workstations hall passes  school day tracker math focus wall colors days of the week tooth tally binder cover newsletter teaching strategies 

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