Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Get Your Students Moving with Go Noodle!

Earlier this year, a colleague of mine told me about Go Noodle. Let me tell you, this website is A-MAZ-ING! This site has a plethora of movement activities to use throughout the day with your kiddos. My students absolutely love this site. Some of my students set up free accounts so they can do these activities at home. Yes, they are that fun!

You can set-up a free account, or you can purchase a subscription. Once you have your account, you have access to these fun activities. No more searching the internet for kid-friendly activities! They are all here for you! The activities are organized into categories like Zumba Kids, Brainercise, Indoor Recess, YouTube, etc. This site even lets you add activities you may have used in the past to your account (I personally love this feature).

When you set-up your class, you get to select a mascot. This mascot is used to keep track of your students' progress. When your students complete a certain number of activities, the mascot enters the Transmogrifier and changes its appearance. The mascot even helps your class earn awards for reaching certain milestones.

If you haven't tried the site out yet, sign-up and get your students moving! I'm glad I did!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Teachers are Heroes (Sale and Giveaway)

We all have that one special teacher that made a difference in our lives. Someone who believed in us when we didn't believe in ourselves. Someone who had a key role in shaping who we are today. If you could talk to that teacher today what would you say?

In high school, I was an average student that struggled. I had to work really hard to earn my grades. In ninth grade, I was fortunate to be placed into Coach Riddle's Geography class. He made learning geography fun! His stories made learning interesting and the class discussions were insightful with the right amount of humor. In fact, I find myself talking about some of those discussions while I teach my students today. Most importantly, he made me believe in myself as a student. At the end of the year, he gave me the opportunity to take AP History the next school year. Something I thought I could never do. I never had a teacher believe in my ability to learn like that before. It felt great to have someone think that I was smart enough to handle that responsibility.  So, I jumped at the chance and earned that AP credit.

As a teacher, I often think about how I impact my students. I have been teaching for twelve years. I've had the privilege of teaching twelve bright groups of students. Each year, they have taught me so many important things and helped me grow into the teacher I am today. I just hope that I have been the type of teacher that makes a difference in their lives like they have mine.

In honor of all teacher heroes, like Coach Riddle, TeacherspayTeachers in having a site-wide sale February 25th. All of the items in my store will be 20% off. Use the promo code HEROES to receive an extra 8% off your total purchase. Thank you, teachers for being heroes to your students!

As if this sale isn't awesome enough, The teachers from The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs (TBOTEMC) are having a giveaway! You can register for a chance to win one of three $100 gift cards! Click here to register for this awesome giveaway!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Exploring and Understanding Quadrilaterals

We are currently exploring quadrilaterals in math. When teaching this skill, I find that my students have a difficult time understanding the concept of a square. Not only is it a polygon and quadrilateral, but it is also a parallelogram, rhombus, rectangle, and last but not least a square! Yikes, so many vocabulary words for one shape!

In order to help my students understand this difficult concept, I use a couple of different activities during this lesson.

To introduce this lesson, I give each student a copy of my Polygon Geome"tree". This graphic organizer classifies polygons, and puts them in order using a tree chart. On the back, each polygon is listed with a definition describe each shape's attributes. You can download this graphic organizer for free here. This graphic organizer works great as a polygon study guide as well.

Next I show my students the YouTube video Math Mansion Show 34 Get Back in Shape and Be a Square. This short video examines parallelograms, and shows students how to classify quadrilaterals. I like the visuals used in this program, and my students enjoy the humor.

After we watch this short clip, I like to create an anchor chart like the one used in the video. I post this chart in the room, and keep it up throughout the unit. The chart below is the anchor chart I created this year. I added a trapezoid off to the side to show that he doesn't fit into the parallelogram club.

Then I have my students create different quadrilaterals using Geoboards. I give them clues for creating their shapes. For example, I don't just ask them to create a square. Instead I would ask them to create a quadrilateral with four right angles and four equal sides. My student can use their Polygon Geome"tree" graphic organizer to help them with this activity. After they have created their quadrilateral, I have them hold up their Geobaords so I can check for understanding.

Finally, I use my All About Polygons Lesson Pack to instruct and assess the students. This pack includes a presentation about polygons with an interactive quiz, and three leveled assessments (with answer keys) to meet the needs of all of your students.

By the end of this lesson, my students are polygon masters! What strategies do you use while teaching this concept?