Saturday, August 8, 2015

Collaborative Teams and Productive "Math Talk"

I have blogged a lot about my collaborative teams and how effective they are in my classroom structure.  Last year my students worked productively in their teams and had really good discussions, but there was still room for improvement.  I have done a lot of reflecting over the summer and my goal for this year is to take my students' team discussions to the next level.

After a lot of Pinteresting and blog reading over the summer, I came across Talking Points on cheesemonkey wonders blog.  I am so excited.... I love this idea but I know that my students need more structure. So I have taken this idea and tweaked it so that it would be more structured and therefore more effective with my students.

The first thing I did was make a Let's Talk Math Guidelines page for their Interactive Math Notebook.  I will use this to introduce my students to "Math Talk" in their collaborative teams.

The idea of my new "Math Talk" idea is a spin on Talking Points.  Each team member will have a set of "Math Talk" cards.  Each set of "Math Talk" cards will have three cards. The three cards will consist of AGREE, DISAGREE, and UNSURE.  I am going to laminate these on bright cardstock paper.  Each set will be hole punched with a binder ring.

When prompted by the Team Mathematician, each team member will determine if they AGREE, DISAGREE, or are UNSURE.  Each team member will choose a card from their "Math Talk" cards.  When it is their turn to say whether they AGREE, DISAGREE, or are UNSURE, they will hold up their card to the team and explain their thinking.
Saying: "I _______ because __________________________".

I love this idea because I know the students will like using the "Math Talk" cards.  It will also help me see if they are having a productive "Math Talk" because I will be able to see the teams using their "Math Talk" cards. :o)

This is how I am going to start this year with my students and help them take their math discussions to the next level. 

I am including the downloads for the files that I created.  
Feel free to use, tweak, or modify my ideas. Or simply be inspired....

Download Links: 
Thanks for stopping by an checking out my blog...

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Growth Mindset Classroom Reveal (Part 2) #notreadytour

I spent another day in my classroom today and it is taking me forever to get it ready... LOL. I still have a lot left to do but I am posting (Part Two) of my classroom reveal  #notreadytour. Hoping to inspire you again and give you more ideas for your classroom.  

My Front Classroom Wall

Last summer I blogged about the Mathematical Practices posters and the Mindset of a Mathematician Posters that I made.  I still love both of these so they are staying above my front whiteboards.  

New this year is the phrase I put above the front whiteboards.
Have grit!  LEARNING is not EASY... Dig Deep and EMBRACE STRUGGLE!

My Student Information Bulletin Board
By the door I always create a student information bulletin board.  This is where I will hang their bell schedule and flyers for dances and sports.  This year I went with black and white polka-dot material for the background and a zebra print border.

My "You Are a Genius" Wall
The back wall is a huge wall with a lot of space.  This is where I usually put my Superstar Work bulletin board, my Data Wall, my Math Rockstars bulletin board, and where I hang student work.  I can't put up my bulletin boards yet because I am getting new desks and I don't know how my room arrangement will be on the back wall. But I do know that I wanted this wall to be my #youmatter wall.
So I put the phrase: YOU are a GENIUS and the WORLD needs your contribution!
This is what my back wall looks like for now.

My Growth Mindset Wall Close Up 
I was able to take better close up pictures so I decided post more pictures of my Growth Mindset wall.  In these pictures you can see the scrapbook paper and glitter scrapbook paper that I used for the posters.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking my #notreadytour of my classroom.... :o)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

My Growth Mindset Classroom Reveal (Part 1) #notreadytour

I have spent the last couple of days in my classroom... unpacking everything from the cabinets and setting up my room for this year.  It is taking me longer than I planned, but I am excited that my ideas for my Growth Mindset classroom are finally starting to come to fruition.

I previously blogged about Creating a Growth Mindset classroom Environment and included download links to all of the posters and wall hangings I made for my classroom this year.

I still have a lot to do in my classroom but I am posting (Part One) of my classroom reveal #notreadytour.  Maybe you will be inspired for your classroom. :o)

My Growth Mindset Wall
This is the wall above the bookshelf that holds my students' Interactive Math Notebook Folders, iMath Folders, and Team Folders.  I have to say this has to be my best wall design yet.  I love how it turned out.  I really hope that it helps the students with their Growth Mindsets, because I plan on referring to it regularly.  :o)

My Corner Window
I always have the blinds on this window open because I love the light coming in from outside.  This year I wanted to do something different with the window.  The phrase above the window is inspired from one of my favorite quotes:  "When you steal a student's struggle, you steal their learning". Last year, I always told my students "If you are not struggling... Then you are not learning"....

I love how the corner window turned out.   Next to the window is my Rainbow Motivational Posters.

My Classroom Door
I wanted to create something catchy that students would see every day when they were leaving my room.  So I went with the DFTBA phrase above my door.  Next to the door is my motivational wall hanging I made from last year.  :o)

My Student Supply Center
This is where all of the student supplies and materials will be when I finish setting up my room.  The wall above the Student Supply Center is tricky to design because of the lack of actual wall space.  I decided to make this wall area dedicated to Mistakes.  The Mistake Posters that I made this summer are on this wall.

My Teacher Desk Area
I decided to change my Teacher Desk Area a little this year. I spend more time in my classroom then I do at home during the school year.  I love the space I created for my Teacher Desk Area.

My New Teacher Wall Hanging 
Next to my desk is my new I Teach wall hanging that I made this summer to coordinate with my new updated Teacher Desk Area.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Growth Mindset Classroom Reveal #notreadytour. :o)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

My New Idea: Collaborative Team Daily Reflections

For the last two years I have taught 8th Grade Math and 8th Grade Math Support.  Both of these classes have been two totally separate periods and had their own beginning of class and end of class routines.

8th Grade Math
8th Grade Math students worked collaboratively in teams.  In their teams they completed a daily warm-up "Solve It, PROVE It".  The periods were only 50 minutes and there was never time to spare.  I had the students working until 2 minutes before the bell.  The Resource Monitor had just enough time to get the team's homework and return all of the team's supplies before the bell rang.

Math Support
Math Support students worked independently and used 1:1 iPads.  When they came into class they got their assigned iPad, signed into Showbie and completed a daily warm-up "A Blast From the Past". Because all of the students had to return their iPads at the end of class, I had the students complete a "Ticket Out the Door" Writing Reflection every day.  This would ensure that the students would all be returning their iPads at different times, depending on how long it took them to type their written response.

Blocked Math Periods
This year we are going to blocked math periods, which is essentially two periods altogether. This is awesome because time has always been my enemy.   I know that my classroom structure in Math 8 worked, so other than some new ideas and a few tweaks I want to continue doing the same thing I did last year.  I also know that what I did in Math Support was super effective.  So I am basically going to merge the two periods together into one blocked math period.

It is super important to me that this blocked math period to runs seamlessly. Think of it like Part One of my blocked period which will be my Math 8 structure (teams), and Part Two of my blocked math period which will be my Math Support structure (independent). Both parts of my blocked period this year will have a name.  I will refer to these names in class and when I blog.  Part One of my blocked math will simply be Math 8, and Part Two of my blocked math will now be called iMath (independent Math). I love it because it is a play on the fact that students use iPads, and this is the more independent part of their mathematics learning.

I have a lot of new ideas that I will be trying out and incorporating this year in my Math 8 and in my iMath sections of my blocked math period.  I needed to think of a way to seamlessly transition from Math 8 to iMath.  So I came up with this new idea; My Team Daily Reflection.

At the end of Math 8 (Part One of the block), each team will complete a "Team Reflection".  The Resource Monitor-Recorder/Reporter for the day will be responsible for facilitating this "Team Reflection".  After the team has completed their "Team Reflection", they will get their assigned iPads and start with iMath (Part Two of the block).

This is a new idea, and I know I will tweak it throughout the year, and come up with new ideas for prompts. This is just the start of my new idea. I am hoping my idea will be of use to you in your classroom or inspire an idea for your classroom.

My New Team Daily Reflections
After each example of my Team Daily Reflections I am including a link to the PDF and Word Files.   Feel free to download and use or modify to fit your classroom needs.  :o)

Here are examples of my new idea my Team Daily Reflections (Version One):
Download Links: One Word Team Reflection - PDF File ~ Word File

Download Links: Math Practices Team Reflection -  PDF File ~ Word File

Download Links:  Show What You Know Team Reflection - PDF File ~ Word File

Download Links:  Tweet This Team Reflection - PDF File ~ Word File

Download Links: Team Work Team Reflection - PDF File ~ Word File

Here is a zip file with all of the fonts I used.  You should download this if you are using any of the word files... :o)

Download Link:  Fonts I Used Zip File

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hopefully my ideas gave you inspiration for your classroom.  :o)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Creating a Growth Mindset Classroom Environment

Last summer I started designing and creating a Growth Mindset classroom.  It is important to me that my classroom is a place where the students want to be and want to learn.  I spent more time this summer thinking of ideas and creating new resources for this year. I spent a lot of time Googling and Pinteresting ideas for quotes. :o)

Don't ask how many trips to three different crafts stores it took or how much laminating I had to cut out. LOL.  I am excited with my final products because everything turned out really good. So it was all worth it. I can't wait to put everything in my classroom.

I have not been to my classroom yet this summer, so right now all I have to share is the pictures of the final products on my table at home.  I figured I would blog about it now because maybe my ideas will give you inspiration for your classroom.  I will blog more later with my classroom reveal.

I am so excited. Everything turned out really good.  Most of my ideas are made with plain white copies, scrapbook paper and construction paper.  I am attaching download links after each set of pictures.  Feel free be inspired, to use my ideas or to modify my ideas.

My New "I Teach" Wall Hanging
Last summer I created an "I Teach" wall hanging which I loved.  I am changing my desk area a little and so I made a new "I Teach" wall hanging that will go with my new teaching area.  This will hang by my desk... :o)
Download Links:  My I Teach Poster - PDF File   ~  Word File  

My Team Hanging Stars
Last year we lost our class size reduction and after four years, went from a class size of 21 students to a class size of 24 students.  So for the last five years I have only had 6 "Teams".  This year we are going up to a class size of 28 students, so now I will have more "Teams".  I used to use the 6 colors of the rainbow for my "Team" colors. I needed to add two more colors, so I chose black and pink.

These are the new "Team" stars that will hang above each "Team".
Download Links:  My Hanging Team Stars - PDF File  ~  Word File

My Awesome Poster
This is going to go above my classroom door so as the students leave my classroom, this is the last thing they will see.  I wanted to leave them with a positive thought to carry with them throughout the day. :o)
Download Links:  My Be Awesome Poster - PDF File  ~ Word File

My YET Poster
This is going to hang above one of the windows in my classroom.  I love this phrase and I am hoping that this will help the students learn the importance of YET.  :o)
Download Links:  My YET Poster - PDF File ~  Word File

My Rainbow Motivational Posters
These are some more of my favorite quotes.  I made these to hang by the window in a space I can never figure out what to do with.
Download Links:  My Motivational Rainbow Posters - PDF File   ~ Word File

My Mistakes Posters
This year I have a entire section on one of my walls dedicated to mistakes.  In middle school students are so afraid to make mistakes.  This year my goal is to change that.  I mean seriously with the amount of mistakes I make regularly, you would think the students would realize that its no big deal.... LOL

These posters are going on a wall with the phrase: Mistakes are the stepping stones to learning.
Download Links:  My Mistakes Posters - PDF File  ~ Word File

My Growth Mindset Posters
I wanted to create these posters last year but I ran out of time.  So this summer I made my own set of "Change Your Words - Change Your Mindset" posters.  I tweaked some of the phrases and decided to use words that I know my students say.  I love how they turned out.  I can't wait to reinforce these posters every day with my students.
Download Links:  My Growth Mindset Posters - PDF File  ~ Word File

Here is a zip file with all of the fonts I used in all of the posters I made.
You should download this if you are using any of the word files... :o)

Download Link:  Fonts I Used Zip File

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hopefully my ideas gave you inspiration for your classroom.  :o)