Learning fact fluency by the end of first grade is an important math skill to prepare first graders for second grade. Basic math facts are as important as learning high frequency words by heart. Students need to see a fact and know it... quickly.
My class was struggling with fluency this year so I decided to make a no-prep homework packet to send home each week for some extra practice. I give a 5-page packet each week and attach a sheet of flashcards on colored card stock.
I also included some fun and easily differentiated activities I do during guided math. Enjoy!
I made these activities to be used over and over again in my class. I have different dice for the games that help me easily differentiate for my students.
Roll & Add:Students roll dice to practice addition. These ten frame dice I used help me differentiate because there are 4 different levels of dice (numbers 1-5, 5-10, 10-15, and 15-20). Students are aware of which color dice they are to use.
Roll & Count: For this activity, I use these double dice. Students use any strategy to add. Again, you can use higher number dice.
I love integrating technology and movement into my classroom as much as possible. Having a room of 20-something 6-year-olds has taught me that I must find creative ways to integrate both on a daily basis, however, these products must be durable (I have enough cracked iPads to prove this)!
When I saw Qball online, I knew it would be perfect for my classroom. After having my Qball for about a week now, here are a few things I learned. This is an unbiased, unsponsored post!
I LOVE using Qball in morning meeting. It's a perfect way to highlight an individual speaker. It encourages my quieter students to share their thoughts. I take attendance each day asking how my students feel as they begin the day. It's a great way for students to share their concerns and excitements about the day. I'm able to gauge the general vibe of my classroom this way.
I love using the Qball during whole-group lessons! Students share answers and discuss various topics using this microphone. They are so much more engaged once I take the Qball out because they all want a chance to use it. Answers are amplified throughout the room to ensure each person can hear the speaker. This is especially useful because I have flexible seating.
Qball makes every seat a front row seat
It's super engaging
It makes quiet voices louder
It encourages movement
Super durable microphone
You have to speak directly into the speaker (meaning mouths directly on it) Germ City!
You need a really loud speaker to hookup to
It's expensive ($179)
I did only found 1 coupon code. Thought I'd share:
I call this cart my "assessment cart". I keep student's file folders in the bottom, assessments that need to be graded on the top drawer and assessments that need to be files in the middle drawer. It's perfect because I can roll it around my room and use it anywhere.
7. This Wall-Mounted Binder RackI had such issues storing my students' writing portfolios because the binders would always slide and fall. I got 4 of these and not each student has their own slot! Perfect to use year after year!
I got an Echo Dot recently and was so impressed at how easy it was to use I decided to get one for my classroom. I decided to make activities that allow students to set individual goals for themselves and also check their work. Here is how it works...
1) Students set a goal for how many facts they can solve.
2) Students set a time limit.
3) Students follow the instructions on the paper and say "Alexa, set the timer for..."
4) Students begin to solve the addition/subtraction problems.
5) When the timer goes off students check their work by following the Alexa prompt, "Alexa, what is 2 + 2?
6) Students correct wrong answers and write down how many they got correct.
Daily 5 RulesEstablishing clear rules that everyone agrees on is an important part of implementing the Daily 5 in any classroom. This products allows you to make rules with the students and display them in a cute way. It's also nice and small so it saves precious wall space.
Type student responses in and make the frame together. Place in a 4x6 frame.
Technology in the classroom is great, but if not introduced properly, it can sometimes prove to be more of a nuisance than a valuable learning tool. Here are a few tips for how to get your students started with the most difficult task.... signing in!
1. Practice mouse & trackpad skills: I begin by allowing my students to sign in as a guest. I pull up some games that help teach students how to use the mouse or trackpad. This is important because many children are used to tablets and smartphones and assume all screens are touch screen. I recommend the website OWLIE BOO.
2. Incorporate a 'Technology Coordinator' into your classroom jobs: We all have them; students who know more about technology than even the most tech-savy teacher. Use them. I instruct students to go to these students before coming to me with technology help.
3. Use visuals: When providing usernames and passwords, use visuals to not only show students their passwords, but where they should enter the information. I use lanyards and put their sign in cards inside the lanyard. You can get my editable Chromebook sign in cards HERE.
I've blogged a lot lately about using Daily 5 in my classroom. I recently posted a Facebook Live explaining how I organize Word Work to meet each of my students' individual needs (without losing your mind). For this post I want to talk more about Read-to-Self and Read-to-Someone.
Independent practice is important in any classroom no matter the subject. I wanted a way for my students to independently practice the comprehension strategies I teach during my read alouds. To do this I made reading comprehension sticky notes on VistaPrint. It was fairly easy and inexpensive (~2 a pack). I included the images in my Cafe Menu Poster & Comprehension Sticky Note Pack. I have more detailed directions there.
Here's how I use them. When teaching a comprehension strategy during my mini lesson, I show the corresponding card of my CAFE Menu. After my mini lesson, each student gets a sticky note. They use this during Read-to-Self. They place the sticky note on the page where they used the strategy. They can also respond on the back of the sticky note. The picture on the sticky note helps remind students of their objective during reading and is a great informal assessment tool.
Flexible seating has been around for some time now. I'm not sure what took me so long to jump on that bandwagon, but here goes! This is my first year teaching first as well as my first year using flexible seating. That being said, I'm clearly not an expert in the area, but I did want to share some pictures! Enjoy!
This is my fabulous step-daughter using the lap desks during my set-up day.
homemade objective boards. 12x12 weathered wood from Michael's, printed vinyl, and clothes pins.