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maclellan.lindsay07@gmail.com

Morning Meetings Made Easy

This year, I started a year with a class that was unkind and disrespectful to one another. I heard about something called Morning Meetings while doing some research and knew it was something I wanted to implement in my classroom. I found a way that made it easy on me and fun for the kids. It has been one of the best things I have done in years!

How to Have a 10 Minute Morning Meeting

My morning meeting has six steps. We start right after the announcements come on over the intercom each morning. The kids know that by the time the announcements are over, they need to be seated at the carpet in a circle so we can begin immediately.

Class Leader

Before I go over the steps, I’ll explain what my class leader is. I have a classroom leader that leads the morning meeting the entire week. They help lead the whole morning meeting while I do last minute things. For example,  like taking attendance and talking to any students that just walked in the door late. I sit with the class for morning meetings every Monday to make sure our new weekly leader has everything under control. Then Tuesdays-Fridays, it is all on them! I have a jar that my kids can write their name on a sticky note and drop it in. I then pick a sticky note out each week for a new leader!

Step 1: Class Rules

I use whole brain teaching in my classroom so the first thing we do is recite the rules of our classroom. This helps remind anyone who might not be over at the carpet to hop on over there and is a great reinforcement of my expectations on a daily basis.

The copy of my rules came from here. It’s a freebie on TPT from Shine Bright and Teach.

Step 2: Greeting

The leader pulls a greeting out of the jar. The We use a ball and pass the ball around the circle to greet each other. My morning leader will say “Good morning, (name), how are you this morning?” while following the directions on the greeting card. Sometimes they have to say hello in another language, wink at each other, say it in a silly voice, or something different. I just made up some silly greetings and printed them out. Once the leader asks the first person the question, the person has to reply and then ask the question back. The ball is passed around the circle with that same question being asked of each person. They know this step shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes. I really emphasize that the only person who should be talking is the one with the ball and to address each other by NAME.

I use “hands, ears, and eyes” in my classroom which means the students have to have their hands in their lap, their ears open to the speaker, and their eyes on the speaker.

Step 3: Question

At this point, the class knows they all have to stand up. The class leader pulls a question out of our jar (I use the questions from 3rd Grade Thoughts Morning Meeting product). These are questions that should tell the class a little more about that student. The kids know only the person with the ball can talk and your answer shouldn’t last more than a few seconds. This step shouldn’t take more than about 4 minutes total. 

The class leader starts with the ball and throws it to the first person. They ask the person the question and also use their name (example: Sally, what is your favorite sport?). The class leader then sits down in the circle. The person is supposed to respond using the class leader’s name (Bob, my favorite sport is soccer.) They then throw the ball to another person and repeat the same (John, what is your favorite sport). Then it continues around the circle. They can choose to throw the ball to whoever they want. We have also had to have mini-lessons on appropriate ways to throw the ball! Having them USE EACH OTHER’S NAMES and USE SENTENCE STARTERS has really opened up the communication in my classroom. I’ve realized many third graders don’t know how to talk to each other. We have to teach them how to ask and respond to one another.

By the time this section is over, every child should be seated on the carpet. I can also tell how many people we have left depending on how many people are still standing.

Step 4: News

This is the time where my class leader turns to me and asks if there’s any news that day. This is when I tell the class if anything important is coming up that day/week. I may mention picture day, if field trip forms are due soon, or if our schedule will be any different. It’s a great way for me to tell the whole class something without repeating myself 392039 times when each child enters the classroom that morning.  This lasts no more than 30 seconds.

Step 5: So Long, Farewell

My class leader than does a “so long, farewell” (basically, it’s our goodbye and ending to morning meeting). I found a list of silly ways to say goodbye to each other, typed them up, and put them in our goodbye jar. The class leader pulls one out and tells everyone if we will say goodbye with a fist bump, hug, or high five goodbye. The kids then turn to the person on their left and the person on their right and say the goodbye (example: better swish, jellyfish!) and then do the gesture the leader assigned. The silly goodbye ALWAYS puts a smile on everyone’s face and gets everyone’s day off to a great start. This should take about a minute.

Step 6: Start Our Day

At this point, the kids know to get up and start their day. We switch for science and social studies with another class right after morning meeting. So, they know they are to report back to their seats, get out their stuff, and line up at the door.

-The picture above shows:

-where they sit in yellow. where I keep my jars in pink

-our morning meeting schedule for my leader to look at in blue

-the class rules on the wall in blue

Having those things on the wall has been really helpful to classroom leaders! 🙂

 

I also bought and read the book called Morning Meeting by 3rd Grade Thoughts. This gave me some great ideas of how to keep my morning meeting under control. It’s a great resource and I highly recommend it 🙂

Let me know if you have any tricks for morning meeting! The first week, it took us about 15 minutes.  But by the end of the second week, we were doing this routine in under 10 minutes every day. The key is to train your class leader every Monday so they follow your high expectations the rest of the week and you can do what you need to do while they run the meeting for you! My class leaders also know that if they don’t run the meeting as I expect, they will lose their privilege and I will take over. None of them want that so do a great job making sure everyone’s being quiet, on task, and respectful to the speakers.  Let me know in the comments if this helped you at all! And make sure you keep in mind that morning  meetings in everyone’s classroom looks DIFFERENT and that’s okay! 🙂 Do what works for you and your students!

Uncategorized

Multiplication

I’m starting to teach multiplication strategies this week! It is one of my favorite units of the year. I use four strategies to teach multiplication when we first start our unit: equal groups, drawing arrays, repeated addition, and skip counting.

 

First, I always start with equal groups.

Second, we learn how to draw an array.

Third, we talk about how multiplication is the same as repeated addition.

Last, I teach my class how to skip count.

Skip counting is the method I like them to use ALL year long. The other three methods are great for the beginning, but in the months to come, skip counting is what helps them get the most quick and accurate answers. It also helps them transition and memorize their multiplication facts quicker!

During each unit, I teach my mini-lesson and whole group lesson on Monday. This means we glue each of the strategies into our interactive notebooks on Mondays. We also do some independent practice that day. This helps me decide who will be in each of my groups during math centers the rest of the week (Tuesday through Friday). For the rest of the week, they get to play games and enjoy math centers that help practice the skills we learned on Monday.

Third Grade September Math Centers

I also include some of my Third Grade September Math Centers in my rotations to help spiral review the skills we learned earlier in the year.

Additional Math Centers

I also use these multiplication math centers that practice all of the strategies we have learned. They are easy to understand and great for extra practice.

Skip Counting Posters

I also put up skip counting posters on the wall during the first two months of our multiplication unit as something the kids can refer to as a reference. This helps them start to learn the skip counting sequences by heart.

Other Games

I also want to mention two games that are perfect for teaching multiplication strategies! The first one is called Back to School Problems: Multiplication Strategies. Students have to collect school supplies each time they solve a multiplication equation.

The second game is called Introduction to Multiplication Strategies Sort. The students sort the cards of equal groups, arrays, picture forms, and repeated addition equations to match the correct multiplication equations.

Multiplication Quizzes

After we’ve been practicing these methods for several weeks, I also introduce them to our multiplication fact quizzes because these quizzes help show me who is starting to learn their facts and who needs more practice. I also have an ice cream party with my class at the end of the year for anyone who passes all of their multiplication facts (passing their division facts earns them extra toppings too!).

Finally, here are links to all of the products I talked about above!

How I Teach Multiplication Using Equal Groups

How I Teach Multiplication Using Arrays

How I Teach Multiplication Using Repeated Addition

How I Teach Multiplication Using Skip Counting

Multiplication Strategies BUNDLE!

Third Grade September Math Centers

Multiplication (3.OA.1) Centers

Skip Counting Posters

Multiplication Quizzes

Back to School: School Supply Problems Multiplication Strategies Game 

Intro to Multiplication Strategies Math Sort

 

 

How do you teach multiplication each year because I’d love to hear about it!

Math, Uncategorized

End of the Year A-Z Countdown

I have been doing an A-Z Countdown in my classroom every year for a few years now. It’s my FAVORITE way to end the year!

What is an A-Z Countdown?

In the last 26 days of the school year, you celebrate a different letter of the alphabet by doing something special. I love using it in my third grade classroom because it’s the first time my students will have end of the year testing and it’s a stressful time of year! The A-Z Countdown lets them have something to look forward to each day in between all the test prep and allows a little extra fun in our room. I have seen a lot of people do an A to Z countdown over the years but I’ve tailored my A to Z countdown to be the most exciting it can be for my class and now yours too!

Why Do It?

It’s FUN for everybody involved! My students and I both love doing this. It also makes the last 26 days of the school year so special for us and lets me treasure the time we have together a little bit more.

How to Get Started

I have a FREEBIE in my TPT store to help you get started! Download it for free to see what I use for my A-Z Countdown and then change it to what you need in your own room!

Want Details on Each Day?

There is a detailed guide on what I do for each A-Z Countdown Day in my own classroom here!

Every day of the countdown you get:
-A poster to display what day it is
-parent reminders to send home each day
-a page that shows how I’ve implemented that countdown day in my own classroom! This includes tips and pictures to make the most out of each day!

The A to Z countdown has been used in my classroom four years in a row. This packet gives you the tips to make each day the best it can be!

I hope you have a happy end of the school year!!

Uncategorized

April Math Centers

These are the centers that I am putting out for the month of April. These April Math Centers are spiraling what my students are working on as we get closer to state testing. We are working on measuring with rulers and making line plots with fractional amounts.

April Math Centers Whole Group Lesson:

On Mondays, I do a whole group lesson on whatever school we are learning. To practice measurement, we glued this interactive lesson into our math notebooks during our whole group time.

At Teacher Time:

When students come see me at the back table, they are working on basic, on grade-level work. This week, they were given a packet of measuring worksheets to help them practice measuring to the nearest quarter inch. It’s difficult to use real rulers to practice this skill since a real ruler goes up to 1/16 of an inch. This packet I made perfectly aligns with what third graders need to know. You can find this packet HERE. 🙂 

At Free Choice:

When students go to their Free Choice April Math Centers station, they get to choose what they’d like to work on. All of the centers shown in the picture above are what we have on our Choice Chart this month. Each time they complete a center, they X it out. My students get to go to Free Choice for one of their three centers each day.

I am a big fan of puzzles so I’ve put my Spring Math Puzzles for Third Grade as the first six centers on my kids’ choice chart .

Next, to help them practice with rulers, I have them practicing measuring sand castles to the nearest inch. You can find this here. 

I’m also a big fan of brain teasers! There a lot of great ones on TPT. Here’s the one I have in my math centers for April. Emojis are great!

Each month, I also put a math sort in my free choice centers. These are great cut and paste activities that I require my students do each month. Their easy to use as a quick check and my kids really enjoy them too! This month, my students are doing the one that has them practice finding the measurement to the nearest inch, half inch, and quarter inch.

I am literally OBSESSED with these color by number pages! There are SO many to choose from on TPT but these are my favorite (from Inspiration 4 Education) for three reasons. First, they are reasonably priced. Second, you can’t see what the picture is until it’s colored in. Third, the questions and answers are all on the same page which means less copies for me and easier to follow directions for my kiddos! The picture above is from the Easter set I have!

Next up, I put my fractions as whole numbers game in my centers. Students glue each fraction next to the correct picture. It’s an easy way to practice this tricky skill for third graders. A lot of my students still mix up the difference between 4/4 and 4/1 at this point in the year. This is a great spiral review for them. Find it here. 

Teacher Choice Centers:

Teacher Choice centers are the centers I choose for my students to do each day. These are all of my Teacher Choice centers for April Math Centers.

 

I have a couple of Hungry for Peeps games out this week. My students have to sort the peeps into the correct mouth! It’s great for the month of April and is adorably cute:) The Hungry for Peep games I have out right now are identifying fractions, equivalent fractions, and division facts but I have over 30 of them in my TPT store. 

My students are also making Bunny Line Plots using this fun game from my April Monthly Math Centers pack. They have to practice making a line plot based on how tall each bunny is as a fraction.

This April Fool’s Game is also at my Teacher Choice centers this week. It helps students practice finding the area of rectilinear shapes and plays along with the April Fool’s Day theme.

My students can also ALWAYS use more practice with telling time. This game called Grab It! is perfect for practicing that skill. You can find it here.  It’s perfect for April Math Centers.

In addition to the games above, I have an Earth Day game out right now too where students learn about recycling and also practice measuring to the nearest quarter inch. I have a lot of these in my store. Here’s the link to the measuring to the nearest quarter inch and here’s the link to all of them. 

These Easter egg puzzles are a great racing game for up to four students. The kids each take a different colored egg and race to put all of their egg pieces back together again. Whoever does it the quickest wins! Find it here.  Great game for the month of April!

This QR code game is also a big hit in my classroom. Each time they solve a card, they scan the QR code and find the letter that matches it. They are able to solve the Mystery Phrase using the cards provided. You can find it here and this one practices identifying fractions.  These April Math Centers are perfect for Teacher Choice.

I love to use this game with four students in my classroom at a time. Each team gets a different set of cards that line up in a different order. This month, the cards practice breaking up equations using the distributive property. Find Line Them Up here!

This game is called Easter Egg Collector! Students have to sort the eggs into the correct basket based on the answers they provide. I have my students playing the Comparing Fractions version but you can find over 30 versions of it right here. 

Another skill my students always need more help with is creating and answering questions about bar graphs and pictographs. I put out this game this week that has students create questions about silly bar graphs and they had a blast with it! When a graph is silly, the kids are so much more engaged while learning at the same time! Here it is. 

Last but not least, my students are also practicing measurement with flamingos, unicorns, and dinosaurs! Sorry the pictures above are a little blurry. I quickly took some snapshots of them when they were already in their bags ready to go! I have my students start with the flamingos (measure to the nearest inch), then do the unicorns (measure to the nearest half inch), and then to the nearest quarter inch (dinosaurs). Find it here. 

That’s a wrap! These are all of the centers I am using in the first two weeks of April! I’ll be back in a few weeks to tell you what centers I’m putting out next! The picture above is is the homework I’ll be sending home to go along with measurement.

Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to blog about!

Math

Math Center Tips and Tricks

Here are ten math center tips and tricks that will help math centers flow more smoothly in your classroom!

#1:  Choose games that are easy to repeat. 

Anytime you choose games that you can repeat each week (but with a different skill), you spend less time talking about rules every time you put out new centers.

Some of my favorites include:

-Math Mysteries

-Color by Number

-Line Them Up

-Holiday Themed Games

-Puzzles

 #2: Take advantage of parent volunteers!

If you have parents that are willing to help out in your classroom, have them come in for math centers! I have a few that are a HUGE help to my students and do a great job making sure my lower ability students get the practice they need and my higher students understand the enrichment activities that I assign.

#3: Assign student helpers to assist you 

I use something called Teacher Clips in my classroom and they are a HUGE life saver!! I give a “teacher clip” to the four friends who I think would be the best teacher helpers during math that day. Anytime a student has a question about something during math centers, they have to go ask at least two of my teacher helpers before coming to interrupt me with my group at the back table. My kids and I both LOVE this concept. I typically choose my teacher helpers based on which kids were the most on-task the day before during centers or the kids that do a good job in the morning during morning work before we start math centers.

#4: Laminate EVERYTHING!

Anytime I can laminate something to reuse again the next year, I do! Now that I’ve been doing this a few years, I just have to pull out the centers that I used in previous years and am ready to roll!

 #5: Make math center time with your small group longer when necessary.

I always meet with my low group FIRST. That way, these students can get a little extra time with me if I need to extend their center time. These students benefit from the extra time with me while my high group won’t miss those few extra minutes.

#6: Circle the room while working with high kids.

When students come to the back table to work with me, I  assign each of my groups the same center work. To learn more about why I do this, click here. My high kids typically pick up our independent work much easier than my lower group. My high group is normally able to complete their Teacher Time activity with very few directions from me. During the time that my high group is with me, I take an opportunity to circle the room and also check in with my lower students while they’re working on their other math centers.

#7: Use photo boxes from Amazon or Michaels to organize your games and task cards! 

These amazing little boxes are great for keeping you organized when you have to change out your centers. I have tried manilla folders, paper bags, and plastic bags but the photo boxes are the BEST investment I have ever made!

#8: Have clear expectations how to clean up each math center.

I have my students complete math centers for about 18 minutes at each station. They also get about 2 minutes to clean up their center and move onto the next one. They know exactly where the centers need to go back and how to clean it up properly. We have a lot of discussions at the beginning of the year about how to NOT throw all of the pieces back into the box, how to make sure you have cleaned up all of your pieces, and to make sure you put the box back where you found it. A  lot of reminders and practice drills at the beginning of the year talking about this helps them stay on track the rest of the year.

#9: Give your students CHOICE in what they want to do!

When you give your students some choice in what math centers they can go to, they are more invested in their own learning. I use something called Choice Charts that allows my students some choice in what they’d like to practice. You can read more about them here and download them for FREE here.

#10: Do what works for you!

Math centers are not going to look identical in every classroom! Do what works for you! If you want to do three math centers a day, do it! If only two math centers a day is good for you, that’s okay! Some teachers like to have 20 centers to rotate between each cycle and some only have five. No matter what you choose, don’t overwhelm yourself. Choose what works best for you and your students will also appreciate it!

I hope these math center tips and tricks helped you prepare to start math centers in your own classroom! Let me know if there’s something else you’d like me to blog about relating to math centers!

Want to learn MORE about math centers? Check out these blog posts!

Part 1: Making Math Centers Work in Your Classroom

Part 2: Math Center Organization

Part 3: Math Centers Tips and Tricks (this post!)

 

Math, Uncategorized

Math Center Organization and Set Up

I set up my math centers in the same way each week. Math center organization can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan.  Since I started using math centers in my classroom four years ago, I have tried a lot of different ways to set it up and make it run smoothly. The way below is the best way I have found.

Step 1: Choose how long your math centers will last.

I have tried setting up math centers on a weekly basis, a monthly basis, a biweekly basis, and on a daily basis. The way that causes me the least amount of stress is on a biweekly basis. When I did them daily, I felt like I had to explain new things each day and I took too much time going over directions. On a weekly basis, I was constantly changing out my math centers every weekend. On a monthly basis, I would run out of centers for kids to do or have to prepare 40-50 centers to last the whole month. It was too overwhelming.

On a biweekly basis, I change my centers every two weeks. I only have to worry about changing out all of the math center boxes every two weeks and it gives me a break every other week. By the time two weeks have passed, I am excited about new math centers and so are my kids. It’s the perfect amount of time for each rotation to last in my classroom.

Step 2: Write down all of your math centers. 

 

I keep a list of what math centers I’m going to put out each time I change my rotations. I write my centers down in my plan book so I can’t lose the list either! I decide which stations are going to be my Teacher Choice Centers and which are going to be my Free Choice Centers. To learn more about Teacher Choice vs. Free Choice, click here.

Step 3: Put Out All of Your Centers

My Free Choice Centers are always Centers 1-10. I store them in a ten-drawer cart I got from Amazon. It’s easy to load and unload each time I need to change the centers. It’s also easy for my students to identify and put back things appropriately.

Students know which centers they want to go to during their Free Choice station by looking at their choice chart! My students are given a blank choice chart each time we start a new round of centers every two weeks. I tell them what is in each drawer of their Free Choice Stations and they write it down on their Choice Chart. Having them write it down ensures that they are paying attention while I am explaining the centers. It also helps with math center organization because the kids know my clear expectations. The box at the bottom shows the kids how many dojos they can earn by completing each center too! Each center is worth a certain amount of dojo points to encourage students to complete their centers and challenge themselves to be the best mathematicians they can be! You can find a FREE copy of my Math Choice Charts on TeachersPayTeachers HERE!

All of my Teacher Choice centers are put into Sterilite bins. These are the centers that I choose for my kids to complete each day.

Step 4: Decide Which Centers Your Students Complete

I use all of the items below to help me stay focused and keep my math centers organized.

I use three items when I’m deciding which centers each child will go to. Each day, I pull out my list of all my math centers (shown below),

,

 

A blank sheet of paper with all my students’ names on it (shown below). I use this to keep track of which centers my kids have been to every day. Every day, I write down the Teacher Choice Center I choose for each of my students. That way, I know which centers each kid has been to and where I still need to send them within each two week period. It’s a great way to track each kid’s progress. I don’t keep up with which Free Choice centers they have been to on their choice chart. Just the Teacher Choice centers.

and a whiteboard that I write their centers on daily (shown below). I put the whiteboard under my document camera and project it on the Smartboard so they can quickly write down their centers without me having to call out which centers each child will go to each day. You can see in the picture below that where it says “me” is when each student will come to the back table to work with me, the number shows which Teacher Choice center they were assigned, and the blank spot is when they get to choose which Free Choice center they’d like to do that day.

I hope this helped you learn more about math center organization! To read more details about how centers run in my classroom, click HERE 🙂

Want to learn MORE about math centers? Check out these blog posts!

Part 1: Making Math Centers Work in Your Classroom

Part 2: Math Center Organization

Part 3: Math Centers Tips and Tricks (this post!)

Classroom Organization, Math, Uncategorized

Making Math Centers Work in Your Classroom!

Math centers are, by far, my students ‘FAVORITE part of the day! I look forward to it just as much as they do! If you’re interested in trying math centers out in your classroom, please keep reading!

How My Weekly Schedule Runs:

I do math centers every week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Let’s first talk about what I do at the beginning of each week.

   

On Mondays, I like to introduce the new skill I am teaching that week in a whole group setting. I am a big fan of interactive notebooks. My students get out their math notebook, record the new skill in their table of contents, and we glue the lessons into our notebook step by step. Students can then use this notebook as a reference during math centers and at home while completing homework. After we finish our notebook lesson, I have students complete a worksheet independently. This allows me to see who’s getting it and who’s not. I’m also able to plan who’s going to be in my high group, on grade level group, and below grade level group that week.

Tuesday: My math centers switch every two weeks. So every other Tuesday, I take about twenty minutes to explain the new math centers to my class. I try to explain the centers before our math block on these Tuesday mornings so students don’t lose any center time.

Wednesday: Students complete three math centers.

Thursday: Students complete three math centers.

Friday: Students complete two math centers and take a math quiz on the objective taught that week.

What Does Center Time Look Like?

My students complete math centers for an hour each day. I have my students complete 3 centers in that time frame. I typically set a timer for 18 minutes for each rotation(I leave a 2 minute transition time for changing to the next center/center clean-up). I always meet with my lowest group first, my on-grade level group second, and my highest students last. I do this because my lowest group normally takes the longest amount of time. Though I aim for eighteen minutes with each group, this isn’t always ideal. My low group needs my time and attention the most. So, having them meet with me first allows us to go over our time together if necessary. I can easily take a few minutes away from high group because they will finish their work much quicker as well.

What Are Students Doing During Math Centers?

All of my students have the “same” three centers every Tuesday-Friday. All of my students complete Teacher Time, Teacher Choice, and Free Choice each day.

Teacher Time

All of my students come to the back table to work with me during one of their three centers. They all do this every day. My students complete their on-grade level work during this time with me. I don’t differentiate this work. This is to see if they understand what the objective of the week is asking them to do. Sometimes we play a game. Sometimes we do partner work. Most of the time, my students spend this time completing a paper and pencil packet. My students don’t ever complete worksheets during their other two centers. Doing their packets during this time is a great way for them to get that daily practice in, have some small group/individual time with me, and I can clearly identify what their strengths and weaknesses are. My students look forward to coming to me just as much as their other centers! It’s a small group environment where they feel safe to ask questions and gain confidence in their abilities as mathematicians!

You may wonder why I don’t differentiate the work I provide to students during this time. I provide all of my students with the same work because it’s what works best for me. I differentiate my Teacher Choice center (more to come on that) so that my students are getting the enrichment/remediation they need during that time. Trying to keep up with three different packets, who’s done with what, which students are working on what, and how three different groups are reacting to different material is exhausting. I found myself getting extremely stressed out when I tried to differentiate the time I spent with kids at the back table. I had to prepare three different lessons for each day of the week and it just didn’t work for me. It makes my life easier and I’m a better teacher because of the way my students complete their work. So don’t try to do differentiated activities during your Teacher Time AND your math center time if it feels like too much! It’s okay to give your entire class the same activity! Just make sure you provide opportunities for differentiation in whatever way works for YOU! 🙂

Teacher Choice

Teacher Choice is a center I specifically choose for each student to complete. My students know that they won’t go to every Teacher Choice center, but only to the ones that I know they need practice with. Students complete these centers in partners normally but I do have some games for up to four people I like to use as well. During this center, students are completing a remediation activity, enrichment activity, or a spiral review game of some sort to help them practice a certain skill.

I keep all of my Teacher Choice centers in Sterilite containers in a corner of my room. I keep these separate from their Free Choice centers so students have no chance of confusing the two. Students grab the box they are assigned and get to work. I know that every student is getting exactly what they need during this center as well. I normally put out about 10-15 Teacher Choice Centers during each biweekly period. This allows me to have some choice on where to send each student. My high kids will complete the enrichment, critical thinking centers (things like project-based learning assignments, brain teasers, above grade level work, error analysis, critical thinking). My on grade level group normally completes centers that spiral review skills we’ve learned in previous weeks so they don’t forget those skills. My low ability learners complete the centers that reteach or remediate the skills I want them to improve upon.

Also, I always have a few Teacher Choice centers that all of my kids would benefit from no matter what ability level they are so that I can match up high and low level ability partners too! Collaboration is a huge part of my classroom and I never want any of my kids to feel like they don’t get a chance to work with everyone in the classroom. The high group isn’t always matched with the high group and the low group isn’t always matched with the low group. My students know that they are valuable and all have something important to contribute to our classroom. 🙂

Free Choice

Every student also gets to complete a Free Choice Center that THEY get to choose! All of my students get a choice chart every two weeks each time we start new centers. I load up the cart shown below with the centers they may choose from. We write the centers on our chart so that they know what each center is and can cross out each center as they complete it. You can get my Choice Chart for FREE here!

The number of Choice Chart centers in my classroom varies each biweekly period. Sometimes, there are ten Free Choice centers and sometimes I provide even more. When I provide more, it’s typically something like a project-based learning activity, a SmartBoard Game, or something interactive I have set up around the classroom like a race, a scavenger hunt, or a math challenge of some sort.

My Free Choice centers range from easy to hard. We spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year talking about making wise choices when choosing your Free Choice Center each day. If I see students dilly-dallying and not choosing a center immediately, they know that there are consequences for their actions. We also discuss choosing appropriate centers for yourself. I love that my students have the option to challenge themselves on a daily basis if they wish to do so by choosing some of the most difficult Free Choice Centers! Students who you don’t think would typically think outside the box or go above and beyond can surprise you. I love the opportunity this provides for them to shine. However, with that being said, working on a center that you truly don’t understand isn’t helping you grow your math skills. My students know this because we communicate and talk about it on a weekly basis. They know that they need to choose the center that is going to benefit them the most. For the most part, students do a great job of proactively choosing the centers that are appropriate for them. I also have rewards and consequences put into place to encourage these behaviors. It has worked well in my classroom!

Another thing I include on my students choice chart each week is a “Must Do” section. At the top of the choice chart, students have to write down which centers they MUST DO during that two week period. They can choose to do them right away or wait till the end of the two weeks but I expect those centers to be DONE by the time we start our next round of brand new centers. This teaches my students time management and they also know that there are consequences for not completing their work as asked (their center time is taken away!).

How to Start Centers in Your Classroom!

I have MANY math centers that are ready-to-go in my TeachersPayTeachers Store. I have recently started to create Monthly Math Centers that are great for third graders too! Check them out here. I also have some other GREAT blog posts you may want to check out if you are interested in learning more about math centers!

Want to learn MORE about math centers? Check out these blog posts!

Part 1: Making Math Centers Work in Your Classroom

Part 2: Math Center Organization

Part 3: Math Centers Tips and Tricks (this post!)

 

Math, Uncategorized

Tires in the Classroom

Instagram is my newest obsession lately. There are so many inspiring ideas on the site! I found the idea of painting tires for my classroom on @cootiesandcuties Instagram page. Using the tires in the classroom has been a big hit!  I posted about how my tires came out and lots of people had questions about how to do it.  Here’s my step by step guide.

How to Paint Tires to Use in the Classroom:

Step 1: Lay a tarp in the back of your car. You don’t want grease from the tires in your car!

Step 2: Call car repair shops and ask if they’ll donate old tires to your classroom. When I called a local one, they said they had over 100 to choose from each week and I could have the pick of the lot! It was awesome!

Step 3: I took them to the local car wash and put in $5 to get 10 minutes worth of suds. I hosed them down till all the grease and grime was gone.

Step 4: Let them dry out for 24 hours.

Step 5: Buy your spray paint. I got the brand shown in the picture above. It worked fine on the pink, yellow, green, and blue tires. The purple tire was a little off. More on that later.

Step 6: Put your tires up on a piece of wood or a brick so their not flat on the ground. Make sure you spray in the yard and not on concrete! I spray painted the top at about 1:00 in the afternoon and flipped them over at 4:00 pm to do the bottoms. I let them dry in the yard for 24 hours. It only took one can of paint for each tire. I bought two for each tire and got to return half of the spray paint to Home Depot!

Step 7: After the first 24 hours, I let them dry for a week on my screen-in-porch. I wanted to make absolutely sure that those tires were not going to get paint on my kiddos’ clothes but it was hard to wait to bring those tires in the classroom!

Step 8: A week later, the tires were ready to go! The tires in the classroom look FANTASTIC! The only issue I had was bringing in the purple one. It was flaky and the paint was peeling off though I hadn’t done anything different to it. I had my kids take it out to recess one day this week and shake it, throw it, and pummel it a bit to make sure all of the excess paint was off of it. Though the bottom of the purple tire’s uncolored now, it’s been doing fine since we did that. I’m guessing the purple tire was different because it’s a larger tire and probably a different brand than the others. The paint reacted different on it and didn’t bond quite as well.

Overall, the project only cost me about $35 total! Both my students and I LOVE the new additions to our classroom! They make great alternative seating when we are working around the room and are very popular when we are doing independent reading.  I think that it doesn’t matter what kind of paint you get at the store too! I did a lot of reading online before tackling this project and all sorts of brands work. Painting tires seems to be a kind of guess and check system to see if the tires you get will work with the paint you buy. If you decide to take this on, best of luck to you!! 🙂

Follow me on Instagram for more teacher tips and ideas! @TheLifetimeLearner

Classroom Organization, Reading, Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day Math

Valentine’s Day is almost here! I have a lot of Valentine’s Day math packets, puzzles, games, and centers in my TPT store now that I’ve been on TeachersPayTeachers for about a year and a half.

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I LOVE math centers and use them on a a weekly basis in my classroom. To make my life a little easier, I’ve started to create Third Grade Monthly Math Centers for each month of the year. Click here for the February Math Centers. 

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Last year, I created some Valentine’s Day puzzles that my class cannot get enough of. They are so stinkin’ cute!

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The cool part about the Valentine’s Day math puzzles is you can print them on colored paper and go, have students color them first, or have students create their own Valentine’s Day puzzle!

These links will take you to each set of puzzles:

Valentine’s Day Multiplication Puzzles

Valentine’s Day Division Puzzles

Valentine’s Day Addition Puzzles

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I also created a spiral review packet for both third grade and kindergarten students for Valentine’s Day. Each page contains a fun fact about Valentine’s Day too! Here they are in action!

You can get part of each of these for FREE too!

Kindergarten Valentine’s Day Math Packet FREEBIE!

Third Grade Valentine’s Day Math Packet FREEBIE!

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The last Valentine’s Day item I have in my teacherspayteachers store is a game called “Let’s Decorate Valentines!” and it’s a LOT of fun! Each time a child gets a question correct, they get to add decorations to their Valentine. The first student to get ten decorations on their card wins the game!

The best part about this game is you can reuse with any set of task cards you have!

I have this game available in my store for over 30 skills!

Click this link to check them all out 🙂

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Are you doing anything special with your class to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? My class has been tracked-out (on vacation!) for the last three weeks so our first day back will be February 13th. I am super excited to put these games out as math centers next week!

I hope you and your class have  a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with love and laughter!

 

 

 

Math

Third Grade Math Standards

Today, I’m talking about how I teach the third grade Common Core Math Standards each year. This is my fourth year teaching third grade and I feel like I have finally structured the Third Grade Math Standards the way that makes the most sense logically. I’ve also created a math unit  and games for each math standard that I’ll be sharing!

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Click the hyper-linked pink words to take you to each math unit!

Week 1: Place Value + Addition and Subtraction w/No Regrouping (3.NBT.2)
Week 2: Add and Subtract with Regrouping (3.NBT.2)
Week 3: Rounding to the Nearest Ten and Hundred(3.NBT.1)
Week 4: Geometry (3.G.1)
Week 5: Geometry (3.G.1)
Week 6: Multiplication Strategies: Arrays, Repeated Addition, Equal Groupings, and Skip Counting (3.OA.1)
Week 7: Division Strategies: Repeated Subtraction, Equal Groupings, Skip Counting, and Fact Families (3.OA.2 + 3.OA.6)
Week 8: Fact Families and Unknown Factors (3.OA.4 + 3.OA.6)
Week 9: Multiplication and Division Word Problems (3.OA.3)
Week 10: Multiplication Fact Practice (3.OA.7)
Week 11: Division Fact Practice (3.OA.7)
Week 12: Multiples of 10 (3.NBT.3)
Week 13: Properties of Multiplication and Division (3.OA.5)
Week 14: 2 Step Word Problems (3.OA.8)
Week 15: 2 Step Word Problems (3.OA.8)
Week 16: Patterns (3.OA.9)
Week 17: Pictographs and Bar Graphs (3.MD.3)
Week 18: Measure to Nearest ¼ Inch with Ruler (3.MD.4)
Week 19: Tiling with Area/Multiplying to Find Area (3.MD.5+3.MD.6+3.MD.7a+3.MD.7b)
Week 20: Rectilinear Area(3.MD.7d)
Week 21: Perimeter (3.MD.8)
Week 22: Find Unknown Side Length Given Area or Perimeter (3.MD.8) +Area and Perimeter Word Problems
Week 23: Identify and Partition Fractions (3.NF.1 and 3.G.2)
Week 24: Putting Fractions on a Number Line+ Distance Between Fractions on Number Lines (3.NF.2)
Week 25: Equivalent Fractions (3.NF.3a,b)
Week 26: Comparing Fractions (3.NF.3d)
Week 27: Fractions as Whole Numbers (3.NF.3c)
Week 28: Telling Time (3.MD.1)
Week 29: Elapsed Time (3.MD.1)
Week 30: Units of Measurement (grams/kilograms + liters/milliliters) (3.MD.2)
Week 31: Line Plots (3.MD.4)
Week 32: Review –Multiple Choice (All Standards)
Week 33: Review– Multiple Choice (All Standards)
Week 34: Review—Multiple Choice (All Standards)

If there isn’t a hyperlink on one of the weeks, it means I’m still in the process of creating those math units.

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3rd Grade Math Homework

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Two years ago, I spent about six months creating the perfect homework for my third grade students to review all of these essential skills. Each page has 10 problems of NEW material on the front and ten problems of SPIRAL material on the back so students are practicing all concepts taught on a weekly basis.

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I have now used it for a whole year and the results in my class were amazing. I love it and I think you will too!

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It’s available by quarter or you can get the entire year BUNDLE for 20% off! Check out the first week for FREE here!

 

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Math, Uncategorized