Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning

A place dedicated to learning for ALL students!

The Wonderful World of Mathematics the Finale…FINALLY!

So here is the final wrap up to my adventures at CAMT.  I promise this is it!  I kept rereading this post and my previous one trying to see why something didn’t seem right.  Hence the delay.  Then one day, I was picking up things and gathering my school stuff to start getting it back in room and then it hit me.  I forgot to tell about a session I went to on day 2 that was my favorite!

Have you ever heard of The Learning Carpet?  No?  Well just click the name and you can learn more.  Specifically, a teacher in Canada put a 100-grid on the floor.  A large one.  One that the kids could walk on.  Yes she used it as a giant 100 chart.  But she did so much more with it.  And you know what?  She encouraged us to go out, make our own chart (on the floor, on carpet remnant, a shower curtain) and teach.  Why?  Because if you buy her carpet, you pay $299.  While well worth the money, she knows it’s not always possible.  But she believes this great tool so much that she told us to make our own.  For her it’s not about the money.  So refreshing!  Below are some pictures of what we did.  So many possibilities!  Oh and I took a chance and went to their sale table to try to buy her book.  I got THE LAST ONE!  WHOOP!!

Here it is as a 100 chart.  Oh, can you tell me why those certain numbers are black?  😉

You can do more than math with it!  She did so much more but I was too busy watching and forgot to snap pictures.  Oops!

Okay so day 3 was very short and sweet as it was the last day.  My first session that I attended was on Dinah Zikes’ foldables.  It was a lot of fun!  We were very busy folding and tucking with a little bit of cutting.  In about an hour and a half, we created several samples of foldables and learned of the MANY possibilities to use them.  I hope I remember them all!  If you go to her website (click her name) you can see some videos.  Here are a couple of videos of some finished products.  Out of respect to her and her products (books), I have not included directions to make these.  Again see her website.  Oh and we did not use ANY glue or tape.  Pretty cool!

A mini-folder.

A little folding and a little cutting.  Tuck here and insert there.  A multi-page book!

Rather than fold, unfold, and then cut- just cut the fold!  Brilliant!

Mini-match books!  So cute!

So after that I rushed to another session only to have it cancelled.  But later I happened to be at my last session (actually in the wrong room really) and ended up getting the packet she was presenting.  I’ll look through it…eventually.  😉  So I killed time at the sales tables and a got a free mini-Versa Tiles set!  I love free stuff!  Then I went to my last session.  Another one concerning math workshop.  I really like the model and since I know it works for reading, why not math?  Well unfortunately I don’t have a long enough time during my math block to really implement it in its entirety.  But I’m going to try as much as I can.  After that it was homeward bound.

The whole CAMT experience was a great one for me.  I had never been to a teaching conference like that and it was neat to be in a room full of teachers with so many different teaching backgrounds.  It was interesting to hear what different schools or districts did and how well they worked.  I came away from the experience energized and ready to have a classroom full of kids and teach.  Love it!  What is inspiring you this school year?  What is your muse or kick start?  Did you attend a conference?  Talk to me people!

Happy teaching y’all!

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Gotta love those books!

So I was doing my daily blog stalking and I came across a new post from a blog I love following, SOS Supply, and she talked about this new widget that she had added on her blog. It’s called Shelfari and it’s a book widget. Cool! I love books! So I hopped on over to the website to see what this was about. It’s a widget that lets you display or list books you’ve read, are currently reading, or want and you can write things about them. Awesome! It’s powered by Amazon and I love it! Now for some reason I can’t make it do the neat bookshelf look that Sue has. But the list is pretty nice too. I’ve put the book I’m currently reading on G/T students and using literature and I’ll be adding more as time goes on. This will include what I’ve already read and my future plans. I’ll work to keep this as updated as possible. So check out my new page in my menu and see what I’m reading!

Happy teaching ya’ll!


The Wonderful World of Mathematics Part 3

Well day 1 of CAMT was pretty packed.  But the good thing was I had a better idea of how I wanted to pick my sessions.  Kim Sutton and Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks had more choices.  But being new, I wanted to get a little bit of everything.  Also, the entire 3 days I was there, my whole thought process was finding new ideas for my math small groups.  Also, I was curious to see if I could do math workshop.  I looked for sessions that helped me with that.

So day 2 I started with a session that focused on math workshop.  Perfect!  Guess what was praised and told to be a great resource?  The book Guided Math that has been featured in one of Teaching Blog Addict’s summer book studies!  (Go here to check out the book study!)  I was curious about that book but didn’t want to jump on that bandwagon until I had a chance to find out more about it.  After this, sold!  Click the picture to purchase!

Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction

Okay so that session was really nice and I enjoyed it.  One thing she showed us that was new to me and I loved it.  As part of the accountability system for students while they are in math stations and the teacher is working with small groups is a score board.  After everything is cleaned up and you’re doing a quick wrap-up, talk about how the time went.  Using a board of some sort with moveable items with goals for the students to follow (i.e. no interrupting the teacher, working quietly, clean up, etc.), you tell the students how they did.  If they met that goal, it’s a point for them.  If they didn’t, then it’s a point for you.  My district math coach was worried about the competitive issue for those groups that are not as competitive and changed the board to say needs improvement and goal met.  The students obviously want to get as many of the goals as possible.  If they get within a certain range (4 out of 5 for example) she suggested giving them a piece of something they are working towards (filling their bucket, marble jar, whatever you do).  I love the idea and will be using it for math AND reading stations.

My next session was on mathematical fluency.  Funny thing…It was presented by a colleague of my aunt’s who is a middle school math teacher!  This presenter taught my cousin!  Small world.  Honestly though, the session was not what I thought it would be.  But she did suggest that if you are going to have student use flash cards, make sure they have the WHOLE fact to practice instead of them trying to find the answers.  Think of it like practicing sight words.  They need the whole word to practice it.  Well students need the whole fact sentence to practice it.  Interesting.  I will remember this.

After this, I spent the last 3 hours of the day at Math-a-Rama.  It’s 6 mini-sessions all concentrated on one area.  There was one done each day and I went to one of them.  I didn’t realize that each day was different or I would have been more choosy in which one I went to.  Rookie mistake.  But it wasn’t that bad.  The one I went to was centered on operations, relationships, and algebraic thinking.  There was a lot of multiplication and division work which my first grade babies will not really do.  Not even my G/T kids, unless one of them is a super genius!  But one of them was about using count-around strips to examine relationships with 5’s and 10’s and other skip counting patterns.  I can do that!  You use connecting cubes to create number lines skip counting.  They then hold up the different strips and see how they are the same and how they are different.   Good small group discussion.  Hmmm…possibilities.  On a weird note though, the ballroom it was held in was the coldest room at the convention center!  We all froze!

Okay that was the end of day 2.  I promise there is only one more day!  So how many of you do math workshop in your school?  What does your school provide for you to make it successful?  My next post will explain why I will NOT be able to follow that model fully…unless some great suggestions come in!

Happy teaching y’all!

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The Wonderful World of Mathematics part 2

Okay so sorry I fell off the blog bandwagon!  I’ve been working in my room and then having some opportunities for family visits.  Ah good times…But I digress!

Okay so when I last left you, it was day one of CAMT and I had done some shopping.  What I really did was just do a look around and just see what was there.  A lot.  A lot of stuff was there.  Everything from teacher fashions (the shirts were so cute!) to textbook programs to jewelry.  There were some booths I was looking for specifically so I made sure to hunt them down and just know where they were so when I attended some more sessions I would know where to find what I wanted.  After that I hoofed it over to listen to the great Kim Sutton.

Ah Kim Sutton.  She is awesome!  If you’ve ever heard her speak you know what I’m talking about.  She was a classroom teacher and creates things to work on mathematics.  She is famous for her number line with the colored dots to mark the various skip counting patterns.  She also works with Ron Brown who writes music to talk about math concepts.  In this session, we laughed, danced, sang, and just absorbed her enthusiasm.  The session was on addition and subtraction.  Honestly she did not show me anything so new that I was just blown away.  She did show how some of her products, such as the workbooks with the random number calling CD, worked and how to use it.  What I got most out of her session was renewed enthusiasm in what I do- teach.  She made me excited to go back in the classroom and just work hard to help my students.  I feel like we all just sometimes need to be reminded what fun we really have in our work.  Kim Sutton did that for me.  I also got a baggie of freebies including a double 10-sided die, and clear colored chips.  Awesome!

From there I ran to a session I knew I had to find from friends who attended CAMT last year.  I went and saw Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks.  They created games with dice and cards.  They have developed their own deck of cards that are all numbers as opposed to the traditional face cards.  They also love double dice and 10-sided dice.  Now I’ll be honest.  I tried hard to take notes as we were going through the session.  But we moved so fast I couldn’t keep up!  It was just easier to play the games and enjoy myself.  It had me thinking and laughing.  Another great motivating session!

It was almost time to head home and since I had some time, I ran back to the exhibitions and made my first purchases.  Check it out!

The Kim Sutton book has a random number calling CD included.  When I went to the table I told the ladies to suggest the best place to start for a first time follower.  Then I (again being the music geek I am) grabbed a music CD because I know I can use many of them.  I was able to get on her website here and download the lyrics to the music.  Awesome!

After that it was a quick trip to Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks to get this book.

Why this one?  It’s the one that is used with just normal dice and cards.  No special items required.  Perfect!  Oh and you can find their website right here.

Okay let me gather my notes from the other two days and I’ll be back!  Do you use any of these products already?  Have you been to one of their workshops?  What do you think of them?  Talk to me people!

Happy teaching y’all!

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The Wonderful World of Mathematics

The past Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I attended CAMT in Houston, TX with many other Texas educators.  What is CAMT?  It is the Council for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching.  The entire conference was centered around math for all levels.  As it was in Houston, and I’m just outside of it, my coworkers (there were 5 of us) and I carpooled in each day.  It meant getting up at 4 am each day to ensure I was dressed and at the meeting place on time so we could start driving in at 6:15.  Needless to say it was tough getting up but I did it.  And it was worth it!

For three days I went to sessions and listened to great ideas and of course went shopping!  I came away with a lot of ideas and hopes for the next school year.  Because my district pretty much sets what I use for my whole group time, I concentrated on what I could use with my small intervention group.  This is my group of low babies who gets worked with every day.  I also looked for ways to differentiate for my G/T students as that’s another one of my goals.  I got a lot of what I was looking for.  Now to start listing it out…

My first session was on the 100 chart and using it to build number sense.  It was presented by author and teacher Stephanie Sheffield who helped write the books It Makes Sense! Using the Hundreds Chart to Build Number Sense, Grades K-2.  I have not bought the book…yet.  You can click the picture below to order it from Amazon.  It has great ideas and even data sheets to record observations.  She mainly had us doing games and we discussed what they can be used for.

It Makes Sense! Using the Hundreds Chart to Build Number Sense, Grades K-2

Now before I describe one of the games, she gave us a couple of points to think about.  In my classroom, I have 100 charts that are 2-sided.  One side is filled in while the other side is a blank grid.  She said we should have those separate.  It’s too easy for students to look at the other side rather than show us what they know.  Also, once students have mastered counting by ones, they need to stop.  What?  I know.  I was floored too.  But she said students need to be counting in groups as quickly as possible.  Since the 100 chart is divided into groups, it makes sense that students need to be counting that way as much as possible to enable them to concentrate more on operation they are performing and less on the actual counting.

So one of the games was called “Don’t Get Lost”.  Students need a blank 100 chart and a counter to move.  Give students a starting number and they should put their counter where they think it should be.  Tell students where to move on the board- up, down, right, left- and how many spaces.  Students then tell you where they are.  Now this is particularly challenging with a blank chart.  So it was suggested to use a completed one first for those that need it.  I know my G/T students would love to try it without any numbers.

After that, my next session was on using songs to help students remember information.  It was presented by these two ladies who were so cute.  They’re cousins!  They told jokes about each other and kept us laughing and singing the whole hour.  We sang songs to the tunes of “You Are My Sunshine” and “The Ants Go Marching”.  My favorite was the song “Old Mac Donald had a Barn Full of Polygons”!  They were also selling books and accompanying CD’s but I decided not to buy any.  A lot of us did do our voice recorders to record what we sang while in session.  I like music (I sing and play the flute actually) and I’m not afraid to look silly and get my first graders singing if I know it helps.  That’s how my students last year learned the days of the week and months of the year.  🙂

After that I went to two more sessions and did some shopping.  My favorite thing!  What did I see there and what did I buy?  Well you’ll just have to wait and find out next post!  Did you attend CAMT or another major conference?  What did you love the best?  Comment and tell me!

Happy Teaching!

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Let’s get this party started!

Well I’m just going to dive right in and get this blog going!  My classroom has students of all levels in it.  I work with special education through inclusion and and all the way up through gifted and talented kids.  My school has done a great job in learning to identify our struggling learners- also called the bleeders.  I’ve become very good at bringing concepts down to help those who need it.  But where I struggle to most…those G/T babies.  I started working with them only in the last couple of years.  I did that to consciously learn how to differentiate for ALL learners.  To me, it should not matter what level you are (unless you’re an extreme and yes those exist).  If you’re in my room, I want to help you learn more from where you are.  Needless to say I’ve paniced over this constantly.  Oh the joys of teaching!

One of the things I’m doing right now is reading a book to fulfill my district’s requirements to maintain my Gifted and Talented certificate.  They’ve got us (and by us I mean all G/T teachers in district) reading Some of My Best Friends Are Books by Judith Wynn Halsted.  The concept behind this book is using literature to help G/T students do work more at their level as well as learn some life lessons as well.  Such life lessons include making friends with others who do not understand why they are so different.  The book is divided into three parts.  The first part is labled “The Children” and focuses on their emotional and intellectual development.  Part 2 is called “The Process” and talks about how books will help the students.  Part 3 is simply called “The Books”.  Quite literally, it’s a list divided by grade levels as well as genre.  There is a quick synopsis with each book title as well as potential lessons or opportunities with each book.  This book from start to finish is 574 pages long.

Now I’ll be honest.  After I purchased the book, I looked through the various parts to get an idea of how it was laid out.  In the interest of time (because I just realized how quickly it’s running out and I’ve still got a project to do!) I’m only going to concentrate on the books specific to my level.  That takes me to the 300s in this book.  Ouch.  Still a lot to go but I’m deteremined to read all this AND do the required project.  I’ll talk about that later.

So anyways, I finally finished chapter 1 and got some great insight on how G/T kids tend to develop emotionally and what I need to look for in my students.  Think back to your past classes.  Did you have students who thought so outside the box you could only sit and stare at them as they talked?  Did you have students who were experts on topics you never thought kids that age would be interested in?  Were any of these students getting through your grade level work like it was nothing?  Did you ever watch these students in how they interacted with peers?  Did some have a real hard time talking with them and relating to them?  Did they prefer to be alone more than with others?  Chances are, if you answered yes to several of these questions, you had a G/T student.  Throughout this whole chapter, the author gave hints about how reading books would help G/T students through their development and be as strong an individual as possible.

I’m getting ready to start chapter 2 and I’m excited to get into the intellectual development.  The book is actually an easy read and stuffed full of information.  My issue right now?  I’m a slow reader armed with a highlighter.  Yikes.  But that’s okay.  It’s how I learn.  How do you learn?

Happy Teaching!

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