Saturday, April 26, 2014

Website - FREE reading passage and related math problems

I wanted to share a website a colleague showed me this week.
Have you heard of

Basically, each night they add a new informational text passage.
There are high interest topics.
This week we read about taking SELFIES!
Did you know the first selfie was actually taken in 1839?
After reading the passage,
there are leveled math problems for the kids to solve.

The easy ones are REALLY easy,
but the harder ones do take a bit of thinking.
In fact, only about three kids in my class
figured out the hardest problem.

My kids just recorded their answers on the back of their paper.
I used the activity for morning work, 
but it could also be homework.
You can even incorporate some reading
skills into the mix.

I'd love to hear how you could use these passages and math problems.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Using Staff Data to Teach Graphs - The Kids Love It!

Spring is just about here and the kids can feel it!
When the kids feel it, so do the teachers.
I'm finally taking the time to get out a new blog post.
Today I'm sharing a few ideas I used with graphing.

I started by putting this question on the board.
Every student went up and wrote an answer.
Then I started to ask questions -
What was the most common food?
How many people wrote steak?

I asked the questions and called on students quickly.
I believe I even said, "Why don't you know the answer?"
and "Why is this so hard?"
We came to the conclusion that the info wasn't organized,
so it was difficult to answer the questions.

Next everyone was able to survey the class.
We all used the same question and choices since it was our first survey.
I gave each student a class list so they are able to survey all the students in class.

The next day the superintendent was coming to our school.
My principal needed classrooms to visit, so I volunteered.
The only reason I did was because I had a good math lesson planned.

I put this up on the board:
I told my kids I made a picture and I wanted them to see it.
Some thought it was the Chicago Skyline.
Others thought it was a graph of the survey we completed the day before.
They were wrong!
It was a graph showing what subjects the teachers at our school like to teach the most.

They were quite excited to find out that it was actual data
from an email survey I sent to our staff.

We quickly learned that it's important to have certain labels on a graph.

Our final step was to make a horizontal graph.
Can you see my error?

What are some fun activities you use with graphing?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday - How We Treat Others

Today is a quick post to join Jennifer at 

This year I've really been trying to have a more positive attitude.
There are so many changes in education,
but I'm choosing not to complain about them.
I try to find the positive in all the changes.

My gosh, I didn't even complain when we had negative temps here in Chicago.
There were snow days and we have to make them up at the end of the year.
What can be good about that?
My family and I have a warm home, good jobs
and food on the table.

Attitude is everything!

I found this quote the other day and I really like it.
It was posted on the We Are Teachers website.

It really made me think about how the kids in my class
and my own kids act.
I want them to be good people because it is the nice thing to do,
not because they will get rewarded.

I have found that I do sometimes have to reward
this type of behavior at the beginning,
but over time the kids do it on their own.

How do you teach this in your classroom or own family?