Sunday, October 21, 2012

Boost Student Achievement on Standardized Testing

Boost Student Achievement on Standardized Testing

This is an idea you may want to file away until you need it, but it is a way to promote a positive mood during standardized testing. 

State testing is a big deal for teachers and for students.  All year long teachers prepare students with knowledge, understanding, and the ability to apply their learning to real world tasks.  As teachers, we discuss with our students how we are not only preparing them for real life, but also for the state assessments.  For many students, testing week is stressful and dreadful, and do you do your best when you are stressed and full of dread?  I know I do notJ.  Therefore, I developed a plan to involve parents and other important people in this high-stakes testing week with the students.  While parents and other parental figures cannot be present with the students during testing, I thought I would create a way to help the students know that they are being supported, “cheered on,” and loved by those who matter most in their lives. 

            Prior to testing week, I email a note to parents requesting them to write a letter of support to their own child for testing week.  I suggest an encouraging note that of support for the child during the testing week, and they can also include notes from other family members.   When the parent sends in the letter of support for their child, it is done so in a sealed envelope addressed to me.  This is a surprise for the students, and they will not see their letters until the first morning before testing begins.  As always, I have some parents that are unable to participate for various reasons.  These special students usually get two or three notes from adults in the building that play an important role with that child.  It might include the counselor, the librarian, or an administrator, but no one is left out.

            On the first morning of testing, the students are given their notes to read silently.  They are encouraged to keep these notes in a safe place to read throughout the week before the tests begin each day.  I have found that this approach to parental involvement in the testing process can greatly impact a student’s mood during the test.  Additionally, parents enjoy that they can support their own child even when they can’t be present to provide that support.   
Below is the link to the note I send to parents along with a cute sheet of stationary.  I hope you enjoy this FREE idea! 
Mrs. J

Monday, September 10, 2012

iPads and Mathematics...Task Cards

Hi Everyone,
Over the past year I have had several teachers ask me, "How can I use one iPad effectively in the classroom?" and "How can I use the iPads for more than just games?"

Since those questions seem to come up quite frequently, I have begun searching ways to use the iPads for more than just a glorified math practice sheet. How can the students use reference apps to apply mathematical knowledge to real world situations?

In my search for better app usage, I have come across four that are ideal for teaching and practicing place value concepts. This document includes 9 different tasks that students can explore in order to see how numbers exist the world around us. They will look at a population counter, baseball statistics, measurements on a map, and statistics from National Parks in the US.

The task cards in this packet focus on the following Common Core Standards:
4th Grade: 

  • [4-NBT2] Read and write multi-digit whole numbers using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form. Compare two multi-digit numbers based on meanings of the digits in each place, using >, =, and < symbols to record the results of comparisons. 
  • [4-NBT3] Use place value understanding to round multi-digit whole numbers to any place. 
  • [4-NBT4] Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm. 

5th Grade: 

  • [5-NBT3 a & b] Read, write, and compare decimals to thousandths. a.)  Read and write decimals to thousandths using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form, e.g., 347.392 = 3 x 100 + 4 x 10 + 7 x 1 + 3 x (1/10) + 9 x (1/100) + 2 x (1/1000).  b.)  Compare two decimals to thousandths based on meanings of the digits in each place, using >, =, and < symbols to record the results of comparisons. 
  • [5-NBT4] Use place value understanding to round decimals to any place. 
  • [5-NBT7] Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method, and explain the reasoning used. 

Here is the link to the document ($3.00) and to the free preview. The free preview gives you access to one task card, the app list, and the general instructions. 

Blessings! Mrs. J

Monday, September 3, 2012

Intervention Strategies for Teaching Addition

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This is a 36 page packet that includes a teaching guide and comprehensive students materials to address the following issues students have with addition: 
“My students are still using their fingers to add simple numbers with sums of 10 or less. Some even count from 1 when adding.” 
“My students use their fingers to add onto multiples of 10. They don’t understand problems like 10 + 5 = 15 or 30 + 8 = 38.”

These are activities that can be used one-on-one, with a small group, or with an entire class.

Mrs. J

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Calendar Patterns to Teach Math Concepts

This post is about calendar patterns to teach Math concepts.  As part of the grant I am working with, the teachers are doing daily routines with the students to help build a better understanding of numbers.  One of the strategies we are using is Calendar Patterns, where each pieces of the daily calendar is part of a larger pattern.  The students love trying to figure out the patterns each day, and seeing if their predictions are accurate.  You can let the students predict orally, or using a white board.  Since some of the graphics in the patterns are too complex to draw, the students can use descriptive words to explain their prediction.  Every calendar pattern is created with 31 days, so even though it may be listed as the "October Pattern" you could use it with another month if you so choose.  While I checked these patterns a HUNDRED time, they are difficult to create.  If you see a mistake, please let me know and I will correct/repost ASAP.  The first one is free :)

I hope you enjoy these!!
Mrs. J
FREE...August or September (Back to School) Pattern:



November Pattern:

December Pattern:

January Pattern:

February Pattern:

March Pattern:

April Pattern:

Monday, June 25, 2012

More About QR Codes

A few months ago I blogged about using QR codes and posted the following circles activity: 
Parts of a Circle

Over the past few months I have seen activities developed by more and more teachers using these great little squares :)  I recently presented on this topic (Presentation PowerPoint Link) and wanted to share with you some great activities and projects out there waiting for you to utilize in your classroom.  Many of them are referenced in the PowerPoint file located above, but I will list a few more below. 

In addition to the activities, the Power Point also gives information on how to create your own codes and activities.  Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Also, if you have any QR Code activities you would like to share, please feel free to link us to them in the comments on this page :)

Mrs. J

Free QR Code Activities on TpT:

QR Code Pinterest Board (not mine):

50 Ways to Use QR Codes:

Monday, June 18, 2012

iLearn Math with iPads

Well, it has been a while since I last posted.  So....I thought I would share with all of you some of the things I have presented on this summer.  I will try to post them all this week.  
Tonight, I am posting handouts for a short one-hour presentation I will make tomorrow on using iPads to help students learn math.  These apps go beyond playing games to learn basic facts or practice computation.  These will provide students with a real life connection to math.
The first page is a list of the apps, some paid and some free.  The next few pages are a sample of activities you could use with some of the apps.  I didn't include activities for all of the apps, but I think you can easily see how they could be incorporated into a lesson.  The apps are for geometry, measurement, and data/probability.
Here is the TpT Link:

Mrs. J

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I am blogging two nights in a row...miracles can happen :)
I wanted to post two writing activities I created and years ago.  I posted one a few months back called "Our Teacher is Missing," and it was a big hit.   The other two are very similar in nature.  All three are meant to help students form three paragraph narratives using a creative writing prompt. Each activity provides a prompt sheet, as well as a graphic organizer for brainstorming and planning.  It also gives the students a creative project to complete when the writing is finished.  I created these when I taught 5th grade language arts to leave with sub plans after I had taught narrative writing.  They are great activities for that purpose, but they are also great for providing writing practice in general.  They can also be used in lower grades as well.  I hope you enjoy all three of them :)

Mrs. J  

Our Teacher is Missing FREE
The Famous Visitor $1.00
The Mysterious Door $1.00

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Divisibility Rules

Divisibility Rules  FREE  :)
It has been a while since I have posted, but for some reason I have more viewers now than ever before viewing my old posts.  So...I don't want to disappoint :)
Here is a inquiry lesson plan, PowerPoint, and set of activity sheets to use when teaching divisibility rules.

Lesson Plan and Activity Sheets:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Teaching Least Common Multiples...
Here is a lesson I put together for teaching students how to find the Least Common Multiple of numbers..

Mrs. J

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Parts of a Circle Activity

Today I came across a blog about using QR know those little squares you have seen in different places that look something like this...
 qr-code to message playback, save/scan this image or copy link above

Go get your smart phone, iPad, or iPod and scan this with a bar code scanner.  You will hear a voice telling you "Math is so cool!"  You can create these to say anything you want them to say (under 150 characters) or you can make one to go to a website or send a text message.  It is really a neat tool!  All you need is a bar code app, which is  free if you don't already have one. By the way, those are also really handy when you go shopping to make sure you are getting the best get a bar code app!!  I like the ScanLife app the best for this purpose, because is scans so quickly.

By the way, the blog I am referring to is...

This blog  made my head start spinning about how can I use this in the classroom, so I developed an independent math lesson for students to do using these QR codes.  The idea behind this math lesson is to introduce an easy skill that doesn't need much guidance then place the activity in a small group station as a rotation for Guided Math time.  It took me about 15 minutes to create using the QR code websites.
So take a look at the Parts of a Circle Activity.  I hope you enjoy!!

QR Code Websites:
Text or Website:

Parts of a Circle Activity on TpT:

Please leave feedback on how this worked for you or questions :)

Mrs. J