Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Project-based Learning: FREE Teacher for a Day PBL

Have you heard of project-based learning? It's my favorite way to have students apply the Math standards during the second half of the year. Read up on project-based learning below and then download a free activity!

What is Project-based Learning? Project-based learning is a teaching method where students gain and apply skills by working on a long project where they complete an in-depth inquiry into a specific topic or question. Like all teaching methods, it's not standalone. It can be added to the teaching you are already doing in your classroom. PBL allows for more real world application and in-depth understanding of the concepts your students need to understand.

What are the benefits for students? Project-based learning is exciting for students. The first time I did PBL in my classroom, students were voluntarily doing extra research and activities for their project at home. I am constantly impressed by the level of interest students take in these projects. Student interest equals engagement, which will raise your test scores without all that boring test prep. In the long run, PBL helps students practice life skills like creating a budget or starting a business.

What are the benefits for teachers? In project-based learning, students work to investigate the concepts by making their own choices. Once you've set up the parameters, the students do all the work. You are just there to facilitate. PBL also involves far less paper than worksheets, and far less grading. Students receive a final project grade, and observational grades throughout.




Monday, December 29, 2014

Calendar Math...in the Upper Grades??

One of the BEST things I have done in my 5th grade classroom has been to implement Calendar Math.  I know what you are thinking.....isn't that something they do in primary grades?   Well, when I started teaching, yes.  It was pretty much exclusively for primary grades.  But, after seeing what it could do for the little kids, I was bound and determined to bring it to my upper grade classroom.
Students can review grade level standards on a daily basis with Calendar Math in 5th Grade

Now, if you follow my blog, you know that I am a HUGE proponent of Calendar Math.  In fact, I have written about it on my blog more than any other single subject.  I just feel like it is the one thing that has saved my math instruction, and kept my kids on top of the testing score scales.

With Calendar Math, kids never forget the basic skills since they are constantly being reviewed.So what exactly is Calendar Math?  Basically, I take all of the major standards that the kids need to learn throughout the year, and put them on to one sheet of paper.  The kids manipulate the numbers, practicing the skills they need on a daily basis, with all of the numbers revolving around the calendar date.  Each day the skills stay the same, with the numbers changing.

This constant review (that we go over daily together) takes about 15 minutes per day (though it does take a bit longer in the beginning to get it going).  This 15 minutes is the most productive 15 minutes of our whole day.  Really.  It is SUCH a good use of time, that we never miss. 

Would you like to try Calendar Math in your classroom?  Here is the recording sheet that I use with my students.   Here is the routine sheet that I wrote out too....so that you can know what to do with it all!

Want to know more about Calendar Math?  Come over to my blog to read even more in detail and pick up even more Calendar Math resources

5th grade blogger Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Need a little bit of customized organizing for back to school?

This little freebie is a great way to get organized when you go back to school... plus it's customized!

I keep a stack of these printed out and on a clipboard. They go to meetings with me, sit on my desk in the open for quick reference and access, and come home with me. It contains any and all important areas of our 'teacher brains' to help you organize. Click the image to download your own!

<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
<img alt="post signature" class="left" src="http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n162/courtneyjuno/Untitled-1_zpse286c7c0.png" /></center>

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Highlights of My Break

I've shared this before on this blog, but now we have a lot more followers so it's worth sharing again. This is something very easy to prep this week before you take off for break. Think of how nice it will be to have something ready for those first few crazy minutes back!

I'm sharing a freebie that I use right away when we come back to school from break. It allows students to quietly share as they fill out the organizer and then "get it out of their system" so we can return to our regular lessons. Students draw or write about something fun, something new, something surprising, something special, something crazy, and something else. I give them about five to ten minutes to do this or longer if needed. Then I draw a stick and have the student share one thing from their paper. Click on the picture to go to my TpT store for the download.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Freebies

I've shared a few Christmas freebies on my blog, Surfing to Success, over the years.  I thought I'd share here.

Need some free Christmas Tree Clipart?

Click the picture to download.

Looking for a funny gift?  I make some simple cookies that I call Reindeer Poop.  I made a bag topper for them.  

Click the picture to download.
You really can put anything chocolate into the ziplock bag, but if you'd like my recipe, click here.

Do you need some gift labels?  The round ones fit on the top of mason jars.

Click the picture to download.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and well deserved rest!


Surfing to Success

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas-themed Graphic Organizers for ANY Book!

Hello friends!
Jessica here from "Joy in the Journey"
Joy in the Journey

I've got a special FREEBIE for you - and it's just in time for the busy Christmas season! December is one of my favorite times of the year to teach - but it can also be the most hectic. In between concert rehearsals and Christmas parties, I want to fill my days with fun-filled, but still educational and curriculum-geared activities.

They are fun, festive, and functional!
Sounds like a win-win-win to me! :)
So grab a fun Christmas book and engage your students while working on their comprehension skills with one of these 7 graphic organizers:
 You can make the lessons as in-depth or low-key as you want - plus these activity sheets can be used over and over again with different books!

Visit my TPT store for the freebie:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Happy Holidays! Constructed Response Task Cards

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Are you read for December to be here? I'm really not! We're on the countdown to state testing now, so I'm excited to work in some practice on multi-step, constructed response problems.

This freebie includes 8 cards for you to use to practice these difficult problems in your classroom. Each card is holiday-themed, so your students won't even realize they're doing difficult math!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Winter Break Freebie Fun!

Happy Thanksgiving! Nichole here, from The Craft of Teaching. I am in shock to think that Thanksgiving has already come and gone. This year is flying by!

Teaching for the past 12 years, I have learned a lot about being prepared. Namely, I have learned that I'm not usually very prepared at all. I am not that kind of thinker...unfortunately for me. It means I spend a lot of time thinking and not much time actually DOING the work that needs to be done to be ready for lessons the next day. Now don't get me wrong, I aspire to be organized and a thoughtful planner. I try to make it work for me, but usually I end up reverting back to my mega-procrastinator ways!

Luckily for me, I have worked with some amazing and talented teachers who have helped get me to think a little bit ahead! Even though it's not part of my every day routine (YET) I at least try to think about what's coming up in the classroom. You know...I have a calendar for school events and I even try to write out a yearly plan for what units I will teach. Baby steps, folks.

In the spirit of thinking ahead, I thought maybe some of you awesome way-ahead-planners would be thinking about what to do after Winter Break comes and goes. Here is a fun freebie that you might use after we all return from a restful and fun holiday season.

This is a freebie I created last year to help my students practice writing complete sentences in answer to a question. We call it CSIQ - Complete Sentence Including Question. Some people who have downloaded this product have also used it for discussion starters and interview questions! There are 9 question cards, a recording sheet, answer idea sheet and a Winter Break writing paper included in this product.


I used this with 3rd graders last year, but I think 5th graders and other upper grades would be able to use it as well!

Enjoy and have a great few weeks until Winter Break!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Turkey Talk ELA Center Freebie

Today I have a freebie for you from my Thanksgiving ELA centers. In this center, students identify the point of view and practice their editing skills. I have also included a blackline version for those of you who can't print in full color. Click on any of the pictures or {here} to download. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vocabulary.... It's truly the most important!

As far as teaching Science and Social Studies to my 5th graders goes, I love it! I love making it fun and interactive for them. I love finding visuals, media clips, and experiments to apply and increase understanding. The part that gets some of them stuck... is vocabulary.

No matter how engaging you make the activity, if they don't 'get' the vocabulary it's hard to follow and understand anything else going on in class. I always try to create a fun way to have them discover or find the vocabulary words for a new unit. For example, the foldable we created for Changes in the Plains:

This time, I went straight up old school for them since they had some schema for Electricity and Magnetism already. I thought you my like to grab it too! (Just click the image to grab your download!)

Don't forget to stop by my blog and catch up on other exciting news (ahem.. like tomorrow *wink* *wink*)

<center><a href="http://www.teachingwithgrace.com/"/><img src="http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n162/courtneyjuno/blogbutton_zpsbb2ce355.png"></a></center>

post signature

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Periodic Table

The Periodic Table of Elements is a 5th grade standard in my state.  It is such a hard thing to teach the kids, because there is just SO much to grasp when looking at it.  

This year, I tried to tackle it a bit and make it a little more manageable by adding in some easy to use and fun resources for my kids.  We did a great little foldable, that had the kids looking at the various groups, and we did some Periodic Table Spelling...that the kids LOVED! Come on over to my blog to read in detail how we did it and pick up your freebies so you can do it in your room too.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trick or Treat Target Addition

Here's a quick little freebie that you can easily add in to your festivities tomorrow, Trick or Treat Target Addition.  All you need to do is print the game boards and grab some bingo chips or candy to use as game markers.  

You can find it at my TPT Store!  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Early Explorers

Studying early explorers anytime soon? Grab this fun QR code review activity to get your students up and moving!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Free Expository Transition Bookmarks

This week I'm on Fall Break, which is going way too fast! Next week we'll be back to school and working on Expository text. I have to admit that I'm a little obsessed with making bookmarks for my students. For some reason, they are way more likely use a bookmark as a resource than a sheet of paper.

You can download these bookmarks for free in my store. The different transition words and phrases are organized by structure and are easy to read! The bookmarks come 3 to a page, to conserve your valuable card stock. I have 97 writing students, so I do everything I can to avoid making 97 copies of anything!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ready for a Book Conference?

A few years ago, I started having book conferences with my students on all the books that they finish.  Yes, it is a little daunting and sometimes I have enlisted the help of an aide or even my mom, but I do believe it is a worthwhile practice.  My students know there is an accountability piece in order to get credit for the books they are completing on the way to reaching the 40 book challenge.  

I try to make the conferences very brief, really only a few minutes.  They bring their book and reading log to the conference.  I check that they have filled out the log on their book, we discuss what genre it is and why, I ask them a couple questions about the book, and I have them read aloud a paragraph to me.  Then I stamp a chart in their log and the one on the bulletin board and they are on their way!  

My students used to just tell me when they finished a book, and I wrote it on a sticky note, but this year I created a spot on the marker board where they can sign up for a conference on their own.  They find their name in the basket and put it under the "I am ready for a book conference!" sign.  This has worked out great, since they don't have to interrupt me when I am conferring with other students, and I already have too many sticky notes on my desk!

You can make one of your own by downloading my fully editable PowerPoint set at my TPT Store!