Saturday, March 21, 2015

Graphing Task Cards and a Freebie

*****You can download the free sample of the Bar Graph Posters by clicking here!*****

I have a deep seated hatred of worksheets. I loathe worksheets. This year, I have done my very best to eliminate as many worksheets from my math class as possible. Yes, there are times when we do worksheets, particularly for homework, but, for the most part, worksheets are extinct in Room 19.

That brought me to a sticking point when it came to graphing. I could not figure out how to have my students practice graphing without giving them a worksheet. Then it hit me...task cards! I could make task cards to teach graphing. This way my students could practice reading and analyzing different types of graphs without using a worksheet.

 photo bar graph picture.jpgI made six different full-sized graphs. Each graph was printed on a single sheet of paper. For each graph, I created four questions. Each question was put on its own task card. This made for a total of 24 different questions. I cut out the cards and taped them to the wall under each of the graphs. Small groups of students went into the hall to answer the questions, writing the answers on the recording sheet.

To this point, we have practiced line plots and bar graphs. We will also be working on picture graphs shortly and I will follow the same format. My students really enjoy being able to get up and move around instead of simply staying in their seats.

So you can see what we are doing in my class, I created a free sample of the Bar Graph Posters for you to download. Simply click on the picture below to download your free sample.

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If you are interested in the full sets of either the Line Plot Posters or the Bar Graph Posters, they are available for purchase in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

 photo Line Plots 6 Posters.jpg         photo Bar Graph Posters.jpg

As always, thank you for stopping by. Please feel free to leave a comment below, especially with examples of how you are using the activities with your students.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Three Things I Try to Tell My Students Every Day

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For anyone who is a teacher, you know that it is game on from the moment the bell rings in the morning until the last student gets on the bus at the end of the day. It is crazy and hectic and there are days I forget that I need to drink water and go to the bathroom. I forget to sign papers and one time I even forgot to send home report cards. Trust me, the parents and students didn't let me forget the next day. I think I am still answering emails about that.

However, even with all of the craziness that is a day in a third grade classroom, there are three things I try to tell my students every day. I can't say that it happens 100% of the time, but I do make an effort to let them know these things every day.

  1. "You are doing a great job!" I want my students to know that I think they are doing a great job and that the work they are doing is being noticed. I want my students to work hard and I want them to be recognized for that fact. I tell them this even if they have only completed half of the activity because, for some students, they are working to the best of their abilities. Sometimes, as teachers, we tend to focus on the students who complete all the work and answer all the questions. I'm guilty of that very thing. I want to make sure that my students know that I see what they are doing and I think it is great.
  2. "I'm proud of you!" I tell my students I am proud of them all the time. When a student completes a multiplication problem he has struggled with for several minutes, I let him know how I feel. When a student has had a bad day and does something remarkable, I let her know how I feel.
  3. "I love you." The first time I told my students I loved them, most of them gave me strange looks. "Did our boy teacher really just say that?" I tell my students I love them every day. Sometimes it is "I love you very much, but you all are driving me crazy at the moment," but I want them to know how special they are to me. I know it is cliche, but I may be the only one who tells them "I love you" in any given day. I pray that this isn't the case, but it might be. I say "I love you" to my class so often that, as I was leaving the other day for an appointment, as I walked out the door, one of the girls called out, "Mr. Pearson, aren't you forgetting to tell us something?"

Why do I do say these things? Well, there are lots of reasons, but, mostly, I want to build relationships with my students. I want them to know I care about them and they are more important to me than tests scores and reading data graphs. I want them to trust me and to know that I am there to protect them, even on those occasions when I am upset with them because of their behavior. It makes it so much easier and more effective when I tell a student, "Hey, you are out of control and you need to settle down," if they know it is coming from a person who loves them and wants the best for them.

Do you say these things to your students? What are some things you tell your students every day? Please share in the Comments!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Making and Using Videos in My Classroom

The other day I had a scheduled day off. It wasn't necessarily a fun day, but I had to be at the Admin Building for some training for committee that I help facilitate at our school. On the day I was to be off, my students were going to begin learning (and/or reviewing) how to tell time on a clock to the nearest minute.

As a literature tie-in to the lesson, I decided to read Game Time by Stuart Murphy. This is a great book that talks about units of time and how they work on a clock, all set in the context of students playing a soccer game. I knew my students were going to love it.

The only problem was that I wasn't going to be there to read it to them. Obviously, I could leave the book for the substitute to read, but I didn't want to for some reason. So, I decided to make a video of my reading the book. It's not a particularly well-polished video, but it achieved the purposed.

If you are interested in the video, I posted it below.

The best of part of this story is this: When I returned to school the next day, I asked my students what they thought about the video. I figured they would say they liked it, but one student had a really great answer. She said, "I liked the video because it's like you are here with us, Mr. Pearson, even when you aren't in the classroom. We miss you when you aren't here. Well, at least I miss you."

So, yeah, that's why I make videos, even if they aren't always the best.

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Do you make videos for your classroom? How do you use them?