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Some Sweet Testing Encouragement

Our testing doesn't begin until the end of May, but I know many of you are just about to start testing season (if you haven't already), so I thought I'd share some printables I made to encourage my students throughout the process.

Let me begin by saying I'm not a huge fan of rewarding with food (in the classroom or at home) but once in a while, a little treat can make the day a little more sweet.

I've done these little testing encouragers for a while, and I've found some wonderful ideas online, but last year was the first year I made all of my own.

My students have 6 individual tests (2 math, 2 reading, 2 writing) so I made up 6 little printables for them with the matching candies.  I was able to get all these candies from the Dollar Store, and 2 bags of each were more than enough for my class.  Before the students came into the classroom each day, I had their testing booklets out, a new sharpened pencil and eraser on their desk, and one of the little treats set out.  I also like to display an encouraging quote over the whiteboard during the test, as well.

I've uploaded a copy of all these encouragement notes to google docs if you'd like a copy of them.  Click HERE or on the picture to get the link.  There are 12 cards per sheet for easy printing.  (Since my two oldest girls are also in a testing year this year, I'll be slipping these into their lunch bags, as well).  I also have a pin board of Testing Encouragement Ideas you can see HERE.

News for JaNEWary

It's January ... or JaNEWary around here ... and I am SO excited to share our NEWS with you!

Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6, Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files, and myself are teaming up to provide you with a little EXTRA inspiration this year with Inspiration Cubed - our brand new newsletter.

By subscribing you will receive our monthly newsletter, full of ideas, printables, and resource ideas you can take right back to your upper elementary classroom.

Sign up below to have our newsletter delivered right to your email inbox.  We will be sending out our first issue on Sunday, January 11th ... and you won't want to miss it!

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iHeart Math Holiday Hop

I hope you have the chance to relax a little this weekend, and let that relaxing extend into the New Year with the help our our iHeart Math Holiday Hop.  You can click on any of the blog buttons in the calendar above to open some fabulous gifts and stuff your lesson plans with some of their fantastic tips.

A Holiday Math Tip - Let Your Students Tell You What Engages and Motivates Them
My first stocking stuffer is perfect for just after the holiday break.  One of the best things about returning to school after the holiday break is the chance to start NEW.  It's a fresh start to the year for both the students and teacher.  The students return to school motivated and eager to learn.  One thing I started last year with my students is my Math Engagement Survey.  This half-way point of the year is a great time to check their engagement.  If you did the survey at the beginning of the year, you can check-in with them to see if their attitudes towards math have changed.  If this survey is new to you, it can be the perfect time to give it to your students.

We all know that our students have lots of opinions, and love sharing those opinions (whether it's the right time or not) ;), so why not give them the perfect opportunity with this Math Engagement Survey.  When they feel their opinions are being heard and considered, their buy-in is so much greater.  Their honest answers will help you know if you are reaching your students, how THEY feel they learn best, and what they would like to do more of during math lessons.  Click on the image below to download a copy.

A Math Tip - Turn Common Errors into Teachable Moments
My second stocking stuffer allows you the gift of time.  To save you time, I have created a little template (in powerpoint and pdf) that you can use at any time for Error Analysis.  You may wish to use it in conjunction with number talks, as a math station, an entrance or exit slip, or as a quick teachable moment (like I do).  I like to pull this up a few times a week when I see a common error being made in my students' work.  It's a great way to squeeze in a little reinforcement when you need it.  You can read a little more about it in my blog post HERE.  You can grab a copy for yourself by clicking on the picture below.

A Special Gift
Lastly, my gift to you this season is a Christmas and Winter Themed word problem package.  Now, it may be too late to use the Christmas-themed problems if you finished up on Friday, but the Winter-themed ones will last you through next month at least (or MANY more months where I live).  These problems are full sheet, full colour.  If you do not wish to print them, you could project them onto the whiteboard and let students complete.  I like to print a set and laminate them, then use them for small group problem-solving activities where students solve the problem on chart paper, then display and explain how they solved the problem to their classmates.  Each group becomes an expert at the problem they solved, which increases their confidence and motivation ... a gift to you and them.  :)  Just click on the image below to get a set for your classroom.

Live. Love. Math.I hope you enjoyed your gifts, and I truly hope you have the happiest of holidays.  Tomorrow's post is brought to you by Danielle from Live.Love.Math.  Be sure to pop over and see what she has in store for you.

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Error Analysis Template

Last week I shared a time-saving tip about how to use pre-made templates for some of your regular lessons and activities in the classroom - (view the post here).  I received quite a few requests about sharing these templates, but I couldn't share the ones I showed because they were made on school time with school technology.

Error Analysis Template

So ... I've found a little time to recreate the templates so I could share with you.

Today I'm sharing my Error Analysis Template.  This is a blank template I use often in my classroom.  This resource includes both the powerpoint version (so you can add textboxes over top of where you wish to add your information), or the PDF – which is what I use.  I simply project the PDF onto the whiteboard and we use our whiteboard markers to write in the boxes.  You can also print and use the blank PDF and use a center or a guided math activity.  Click on the link above or the picture below to grab a copy for yourself.

Runde's Room:  Error Analysis Template

I use this activity as reinforcement/review when I see an error commonly happening in the classroom.  I can quickly pull up the template (which I have as a shortcut on my computer desktop) and write in the question and incorrect solution.  I ask students to look at the incorrect solution, find and circle the error on the board, and then model the correct solution on the right hand side.  You can have all students do this on individual whiteboards, or in their notebooks, or have one student volunteer to come to the whiteboard and model for all.  You could also have your students turn and talk to a partner to collaboratively determine where the error is and how to solve the problem correctly, before someone solves it on the board.

math education

I also use this template when completing “My Favorite No” activities.  I've posted the video before, but it's definitely worth posting again.

I also included a copy of the template with and without the traffic light comprehension.  We use the traffic light to discuss our level of comprehension of a certain concept – green means “got it”, yellow means “still practicing”, and red means “I need some help.”  For a quick template activity, I would just ask students orally to raise their hands to show their comprehension level as I pointed to each color.  My students were always comfortable sharing this information in class (encouraging growth mindset), but if you feel your students would be uncomfortable with this, you can use the template without the traffic light.

Save Yourself Some Merry Little Minutes

I'm back with my favourite group of upper grade bloggers to share some of our time-saving secrets with you in hopes of helping you gain back some precious "merry little minutes" in the crazy busy upcoming month.  Let's face it, we can all use some extra minutes (or hours, or days) - especially in December.

These tips are not only good for the month of December, but all year long.

My time-saving tip is all about pre-made templates for lessons and routines that are often repeated in your classroom.  It saves time in so many ways - the template is already ready to go, no extra time in making up something.  After the initial time making the template, I just save it to my desktop so I can pull it up in a second without looking through my files for it.  The blank template is already saved so I just have to exit at the end of the lesson.  We're using the Smartboard (or whiteboard) together, so there are no handouts to pass out or collect.  Time saved during prep, before the lesson, and after the lesson.

math educationThis is a template I made for our daily number talks.  I had originally started doing our number talks in a notebook, with students copying down everything, but I soon realized we were all wasting valuable time writing everything down, and not as much time practising the actual skills - something that we needed to maximize in the short 10 minute daily number talk.  I made this template with the notebook software for the smartboard, but it could be just as quickly and easily made with powerpoint or even word.  All I needed to do was fill in a new question every day, and then we let the template take us through the rest of the lesson - each day using this same template.  You can't see in this picture, but at the bottom of this template I had an empty space where I would write extra questions (taken from the Number Talks book) where we could quickly practise the skills we learned in the lesson.

math educationThis is another quick and easy template I made for our Error Analysis minilessons.  We used this template 2 to 3 times a week, and it always stayed the same so I could pull it up quickly, analyze a common error I had seen in the lesson, and move on.  I made this one quickly in the notebook software, too.  I could pull up the screen in a minute (already saved to my desk top) and fill in the question and error - which often made for a timely teachable moment during independent or small group work.

I made this template on Dollar Words while we were reading Because of Mr. Terupt.  My students loved the idea of making dollar words, and I wanted to make it fun and easy.  I would pull up this template and they could add the words they figured out during the day (and they were constantly thinking of dollar words through the day while we were reading this book).  (It would make a great literacy station or indoor recess activity, too).

I also used these premade templates for some of our learning goals.  We were piloting the use of Surface tablets in my classroom last year, and had to document our technology learning goals each day.  I made a quick template with a tablet picture and title, and could quickly pull it up and change our learning goal each day.  I would project it while students were using the tablets each day.

Check out some more time-saving ideas and save yourself some merry little minutes this season.  Click on any of the blog buttons below to start your time-saving journey.  :)

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