Saturday, July 27, 2013

Why Twitter is my new best friend

When Twitter first rolled out on the scene, I thought it was just media's latest attempt at extreme voyeurism; I don't really care that much about the personal lives of celebrities and I definitely don't want to spend my precious free time dishing out gossip about those latest details. 

So I've stayed away from Twitter for years...until last week. After talking to some friends I realized that I should connect with Twitter to hopefully get more connected with the digitally competent teaching world. And oh my goodness creating my @kidsmathtalk handle has completely changed my world!

Twitter has amazing discussions
I have had so many wonderfully insightful discussions with the teaching world at large and have already in less than a week made over 40 connections.  I am now constantly thinking about tweets to send out to get even more discourse started amongst people who truly share the same interests. Furthermore, everyone I have encountered is so extra nice. Every time I get on I truly feel like I belong to an inviting community. Even more amazing is that these people are from all over the world-no limits for your networking possibilities!  

Twitter is organized
I had always heard media and ads talking about hashtags, but who ever knew that the number sign could connect you to so many possibilities! Everytime you add that cute little hashtag, your tweet is connected and in a way filed with every other tweet that was sent on the same topic. After only a few hours of Twitter usage, I stopped seeing random tweets about celebrities altogether. It's only the tweets that are from my connections. While I know that some people who are using Twitter at the exact same time as me are on for non-professional reasons (which is perfectly okay btw) I don't have to be in that mix, which is lovely for me. Twitter is genius!

Twitter is always there for you
I can open up Twitter at 6 in the morning or 11 at night and be able to have contact with someone in the teaching world. If I am stuck on something that I am creating or just need some advice, I can just fly over to Twitter and send out a lovely tweet for fellow educators to answer when they have the time. It's awesome that Twitter has the component of email in that you do not have to be live in order to make and keep connections. But then Twitter also has the abilities of chat rooms if you would like to have a live discussion with others. I have participated in a few of these chats already and come away feeling energized and motivated. I love it!  Always available to talk, just like a true friend. :)  

Here are a few of my favorite hashtags:
1. #teaching
What are some of your favorites?

How are you using Twitter in eduation? Leave a comment to get the discussion started! And you can follow me on twitter @Kidsmathtalk

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Official Welcome to Kid's Math Talk

Book Connection for the Beginning of the School Year

I am really trying to build my collection of trade books that have a math connection.  One of my new favorites is Stuart J. Murphy's Tally O'Malley.  It is short, simple, and has cool ideas for family involvement with math!
The book basically follows a family, The O'Malley's, while on a family road trip. To help pass the time, they play the tally game. LOVE IT! I remember playing something similiar with my family...I Spy! This just has the symbolic representation of numbers added to the game. Brillant!  At the end of the book, the author has a few suggestions for home and school connections. What really caught my attention though was the very last picture pages:
I'm thinking that I can spin this idea for my classroom-
  "My Summer Vacation"------------> "My 3rd day in 3rd grade"
                        - Family Pics-------------> students, teachers, other staff (drawn)
I will have 1 or 2 "getting to know you" questions that they are going to tally for the third day of school. Students can then choose which one they would like to add to this poster (i.e. How many sisters/brothers/pets, What kind of pizza toppings,etc.). 

I am planning on:
1. Creating an enlarged chart ahead of time to help organize this information. 

2. Giving each student a post it note to write their name on to help organize and tally information at the end of the activity.

-In the book the mother sets a time limit of 20 minutes...I have 3rd graders so I'm thinking of an activity that would involve post it notes and last for 10 minutes max.

Any suggestions for other items to tally? 
What are your plans for the "nth" day in your grade?

Monday, July 22, 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching {Linky Party}

I'm joining Miss Kindergarten and many other bloggers in this Linky Party on the 10 Things I've learned from Teaching!

1. College does not prepare you for the 1st day of school!
Student 1:"Ms. Harrison, where do I put my tissue boxes and crayons?"
Student 2: "Ms. Harrison, I don't see my name where do I sit?"
Student 3: "Ms. Harrison, what do I do now?"
These questions for sure were not on the final college exams! My official first day of teaching in my own classroom (oh so many years ago!) was overwhelming at the beginning of the 1st day and exhausting by the end. Definitely recommend reading SEVERAL books about the 1st day of school and talking to colleagues beforehand.

2.Create a few sets of sub plans (with copies) when you are not actually sick.
At the beginning of each trimester, I look through my objectives and standards, and then I create two full day lesson plans, complete with copies, in preparation for me being out unexpectedly. I never plan on using them, because I hope to never get sick, but life happens. It is so much better to work on plans when you feel well and actually have a few extra minutes. Trust me, you will thank yourself when you actually do get sick or have some other emergency.

3.Teachers really do make reading magical.
My students are mesmorized everytime I read a book to them on the carpet. It is so wonderful to see.

4.Always have a plan for your early finishers.
There will always be one or two students who finish before you think they will...have something for them to do whether it is an extension activity or something around the room.

5.Vitamins, exercise, water, and sleep.
All three are a teacher's best friend. You need to take care of yourself! It might seem like there is no time to fit working out into your schedule, but it is essential and once you start doing it, you will have more energy!

6.Pick one day during the week to take work home.
You can pretend that you will grade that huge bag of papers every night, but let's be real...most of the time that bag stays comfortably in the back seat untouched until you lug it back the next day. Just pick one day when you know you have a little extra time to devote to grading. And with that, only bring home a number of papers that you truly think you will finish looking over.

7.You can never be too organized.
Oh my goodness... Label everything and watch your days get less frustrating.

8.Early parent communication is crucial.
Even if you have to stop your lesson and call a parent in the middle of the day, it is worth it to have excellent parent communication.  Sending out a newsletter and email praises (letting individual parents know how their child did that day) is needed in order to have a truly successful year.

9.Repetition is key.
Even when you think your students have mastered a procedure or concept, practice one more time. 

10. Texting is changing the English language.
What is happening to conventional spelling? Lowercase "i"s, omg, lol, and so on...smh.

What would you add to the list?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Social Media Frenzy!

The.Elementary.Math.Teacher is now connected with the social media world!

Here's how you can stay involved...

 We are on a FB liking mission!  This will be a super fast way of connecting with elementary math ideas while on the go!  Visit My Facebook Page to like!

**Something super exciting will happen at my teacherspayteachers store and teacher's notebook store once we reach 50 likes! Spread the word and tell your friends!**

Twitter is also awesome for us teachers on the go!
Follow me: @kidsmathtalk

Thursday, July 18, 2013

3 Easy Steps to Math Practice Success

 Teachers in many states have Common Core State Standards to think about and now also these 8 math practices?  What exactly are the 8 practices you ask?  Last year, I found myself asking that same question over and over again, which made me think, "hmmm...if I'm having trouble remembering some of these, what about my students?"  That's when I decided to go on a three step plan for implementation:

Step 1: Create Classroom Visual Aides 
Creating informative (and adorable!) posters have helped everyone in my classroom remember what the 8 mathematical practices are about. I really began to learn each of the practices through thinking about and creating each poster and having these around the classroom encourages students to use this mathematical language.

The questions version of the posters especially help when assessing students as they are an excellent gauge for the level of student understanding for each practice. Students who are able to ask and answer these questions freely understand how to use the practice!

Check out all of the posters here!
I also created mini versions of each poster to add to  interactive much exposure as possible to encourage retention of the practices and mathematical language! 

Step 2: Simplify math lessons

I created the page below to help keep track of when I am explicitly teaching and having my students practice each standard. This comes in handy and even has suggestions of activities for each practice!

These practices are not a "what" to teach, but rather a "how-to" for teaching the math standards.  My goal by the end of the school year is to have all students practicing and familiar with each of the 8 practices, but we have to start off with small steps! 

The 8 math practices can get a little overwhelming when thinking about them all at once!  One fact I keep telling myself is that no one can do it all in every lesson!  Some lessons and concepts will lend themselves more easily to one or two of the practices. When thinking about and looking at your own math lesson plans with this new frame of reference, you might find that one lesson should be divided into two or three, or that two lessons should some how be combined in order to focus on a particular practice. 

Step 3: Practice makes permanent!
I recently reread some of the articles published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and came across an intriguing article about the Common Core Mathematical Standards of Practice.  Among the many questions that got my brain really crunching was, "What will the Standards for Practice look like in your classroom?"  Of course! If I truly want my students to use and internalize these practices, I have to model and students have to....practice! This revelation actually helped me to revise Step 2 in that I now have specific lessons devoted to practicing each of the practices (with review concepts) before embedding the standards into lessons that involve new math concepts.  The goal is to effectively and accurately use each of the practices! We want students to move on to the next grade level with successful strategies.

~Check back often for more posts about implementing each of the practices into your classroom~

Join in the discussion - What are your tips for success with the 8 Mathematical Practices?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Pin it to 50 by 8.17.13!

Hi Everyone!
My latest goal is to get my store to 50 pins via Pinterest.  If we make it by 8.17.13, I will have EVERYTHING 1/2 off on August 18, 2013!  Spread the word and pin away!

visit my store by clicking on the, picture, button at the top of the page, or by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Is it really July already?

Happy July everyone!

This is the "Saturday" of the summer and I hope you are enjoying!  I am hard at work every day creating new products to make the life of a teacher that much easier during the school year.  Keep checking back for freebies on the site and information about new tpt products from The.Elementary.Math.Teacher.

- Happy 4th everyone and remember to smile in the sun :)

Welcome to Kid's Math Talk, LLC!

Welcome to Kid's Math Talk, LLC!
My name is Desiree and I am super passionate about math education and best practices for students and their teachers. Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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