Sunday, April 26, 2015

The End is Near...Resources for Continued Learning

Hello darlings!  I don't know about you, but I am always concerned with the learning loss that occurs between grade levels every summer.  Year after year, our new kiddos come to us reading at least one level lower than the previous year, and somehow that is normal and acceptable.  We work too hard with our kiddos for them to regress and not retain their learning!

Last year I decided to do something about it.  On the last day of school, my kiddos make themselves a Summer Camp Kit.  This kit includes multiplication games, a Reading Response Journal, and Writing Prompts with a Writing Journal.

Because my students are the ones making it, they take ownership and they don't just toss it as soon as they leave for summer!  I tell kiddos that if they bring it back completed the next year, they will earn a special treat from me.  While I would like to report that all of my kiddos brought it back last year, I was please that I did get 12 students who completed it.  I am going for a larger number this year.

I will also be starting a Summer Camp Success Wall in my room to hang up pics of the kiddos who completed it and allow them to sign the wall.  Hopefully this will be another motivator as well.

 Check it out here.
Detailed directions with pictures
Reading Journal with suggested activities and sentence starters
Writing Journal with optional prompts
Camp Workout Game: incorporation multiplication and physical activity
Hike the Hills Game: multiplication strategy game "spotting animals"
Spinner Game: includes 3 different multiplication/division game options

I did this on the last day of school with my kiddos.  The key to these activities is that students take ownership in creating the journals and games themselves.  Students simply color each page, cut out, and staple the journals together.  They also put together the spinner and the other games.  Once completed, they put each game or journal in its own sandwich bag and then place everything inside the suitcase.  We play the games in partners and start off one of the journal entries for reading and writing.   

I hope you check this out and find it useful.  I would love to give two lucky winners this resource for free.  Just tell me your favorite vacation spot and leave your email.  You may find this in your in box tomorrow!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Multiplication and Division Facts Boot Camp Freebie

Hello darlings!  Hard to believe there are only two months left of school!  I am trying to think ahead and provide you with some innovative and rigorous resources for your youngins'.  For the past three years, I have held a Multiplication and Division Boot Camp in my classroom toward the end of the year.  State testing would be over, thus all of our math objectives would have been taught.  For my thirdsters going into fourth grade, it is imperative that they have their facts memorized.  Of course we work on this all year long, but Boot Camp is a great way to reward the kiddos that have retained their learning and help your strugglers at the same time!  

So how does this work?  

In a nutshell:  I give soldiers a pretest to see which facts they already have mastered.  Soldiers have daily drills (timed tests) and daily P.T. (homework with flashcards). They keep track of their progress with a graph.  I am the Drill Sergeant, so I wear an army hat and get into character.  They love this!

Boot Camp can be used in conjunction with your existing math curriculum or it can be a short stand alone unit.  
1.  PRETESTING: At the beginning of Boot Camp soldiers take a PRETEST.  This will determine which DRILLS (facts) they still need to memorize.   I find that some of my students immediately pass all multiplication facts and so, they take the division PRETEST.  I also have some kiddos who pass their 2's, 3's, 5's, 9, and 10's but they failed their 4's, 6's, 8's, 12's for example.  This determines the FLASH CARDS that they will have to make and the DRILLS that they will have to practice and repeat.

2. FLASH CARDS and DAILY DRILLS:  If you notice in the chart below, this soldier passed her 1,3,10's on her PRETEST, so she marked it PT and colored in the box.  For each of the other DRILLS (facts) she had to create FLASH CARDS and study at home.  
The next day she would come in and take one DRILL test.  Notice she wrote the date that she took the test in the box above the correct DRILL.  If she got 100% on the test, she colored the box in.  If she missed one or more, she had to study those facts again and retake the test the next day.  I used one of my low kiddos to give you a real world example.  You can tell, she kept getting stuck on her 4's so I had her move on and come back to them later.  She was getting very frustrated with herself. 

All students start out as a PRIVATE.  So my little John Smith would be referred to as Private Smith during math.  Students who pass all of the Multiplication Drills are promoted to PRIVATE FIRST CLASS. Students who complete Multiplication AND Division Boot Camp become SERGEANTS.  I also give these kiddos an army camo pencil that I purchased from Party City.  SERGEANTS are simply allowed to play the games when the others are taking the tests.  They also help with monitoring and are giving challenge work when needed.  

3. DRILL ORGANIZATION:  The pic below shows how I store the drills.  I purchased little camo buckets at Party City to add some character, but you could use any storage method.  To keep myself sane for the next year, I laminated the original DRILL (test) on one side of a green piece of construction paper and the answer key on the other side.  I make 3-5 of these for each bucket.  
When it is time for the DAILY DRILL, I call students up by COMPANIES (table groups, ex. Alpha Company, Bravo Company) and they grab the test that they need.  (I have included table signs for your Companies.)  They take the test back to their seats and turn it over face down so they can't see it.  When we finish, I have my kiddos check their own work.  (WHAT?  Don't they cheat???)   They complete their timed DRILL in pencil as an entire class, then they come up to the buckets and check with an answer key with a green pen that are stored in the buckets.  We have a huge discussion on honesty and how cheating only hurts your own brain.  I have only had one incident that was quickly corrected.  I also have my students who have been promoted to SERGEANT, monitor the checkers.  

4. GAMES and ACTIVITIES:  After we complete a DRILL for the day, students pair up with a new solider and complete one of the eight games/activities.  These games are very hands on and require students to manipulate items or complete exercises.   They LOVE these games!!!  Before I allow them to choose a game or assign them a task, I go over each activity with them as a class.  

**Operation Cobra Monkey: Complete Word Problems to rescue your team.  If an Enemy signed card is drawn, you must run in place for 10 seconds.
**Get in Formation: Be the first player to use the paper soldiers to create arrays
**Army Strong: Get more soldiers for your army by finding the missing whole numbers, ex. 5 x n =35
**Battle Buddies: Whole group game, soldiers walk around with a number taped to their back and when signaled, they grab a Battle Buddy and multiply their numbers together
**Battle Row: Be the first soldier to secure four combat vehicles in a row on a multiplication board(horizontally, vertically, or diagonally)
**Fitness Facts: Use a spinner to multiply, if you are incorrect, you must complete various exercises
**Build a Soldier: Complete multiplication problems and use that info to create a soldier following specific glyph instructions
**Create a Cadence: Create a fact song or rhyme to march to

This mission requires a lot of strategy.  Can you tell he is thinking hard?

5. Diplomas and Awards:  Once students complete Boot Camp, they receive a Diploma from me, their DRILL SERGEANT.  These diplomas are editable in Powerpoint.  I also award my SERGEANTS with a fun camo pencil that I purchased at Party City.  The point is, you want to make Boot Camp a big deal and you want your students to pass their facts QUICKLY!

Download this game for free!  IF you like it, try out the rest of the unit in my TPT store by clicking here.

This is one of my top sellers on TPT!  Click here to get your hands on it! I really hope you enjoy it!
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