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!

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<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: