Top 5 Back to School Tips to Keep Your Sanity! Plus a Giveaway!

Monday, August 14, 2017 No comments
It is that time again, where we lose sleep over cute classrooms, professional development and engaging activities.  This will be my 15th year of teaching and I am still up early worrying about stuff that I need to do! I will be presenting to the new teachers at my school today and I have come up with 5 Back to School tips to KEEP YOUR SANITY!

1. Cute Classrooms take time, especially if you are a new teacher, and won't get paid until the end of September ( I remember this time )! Just do what you can do, to make it cute.  Don't get caught up in Instagram and Facebook photos of cute and perfect classrooms.  Those classrooms took time and years to put together.  Your students will love you based on the relationship you form with them, not because you have the cutest classroom ever. Super Tip- Use fabric for your bulletin boards.  The fabric wont fade and will last for years! Plus you can buy fabric that has an awesome theme, print or design to make your boards POP!

2.  You are NOT ALONE! The first couple of weeks are stressful for EVERYONE regardless of how long they have been teaching. Make sure to breathe, relax when you get home and remember you are not the only one who feels stress. Super Tip- Form a relationship with your team.  I am so lucky to work with my best friends! I could not imagine going through a school year without them.  We share our feelings and have each other's back.

3. Set expectations and rules the minute the students come into the class.  Once you have set those expectations and rules for the class, be consistent and vigilant. This will be stressful in the beginning and you will sound like a parrot, just repeating yourself, but after a month or two (may be a semester) the students will get it and then you will not have to repeat yourself anymore. Super Tip- Have students create the rules with you.  You can facilitate the discussion and lead students towards the rules you want. The students will have more buy in when they are a part of the process.

4. Everyday is a new day and learn from your mistakes! There will be days that your lesson doesn't go the way it was supposed to, or there are drills or assemblies in the middle of instruction or you spill coffee all over your cute outfit.  Those days suck but the good thing about those sucky days is that they are over the minute your head hits the pillow.  You wake up and guess what? It is a new day! Leave the mistakes behind you, learn from the mistakes and move forward.  Super Tip- Have this same belief about your students.  Kids have bad days too.  Don't hold a grudge.  Kids make mistakes so let them know that tomorrow is a new day and a clean slate.

5. Prepare in advance! Know your content and standards! If it is your first year, you may want to plan out what you want to say and do each day.  You never want to "wing it" because the kids will know and they will not be engaged.  You want to prepare and anticipate everything that can go wrong with an activity.  Super Tip- Find someone who does know their content and use them as a resource.

I am grateful to be a part of an amazing giveaway! So let's celebrate the start of the new school year by winning some FREE GIFT CARDS!!!! 3 winners will be chosen!




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I'm Moving On Up! (To Sixth Grade That Is :)

Thursday, June 22, 2017 No comments
Next year I will be looping to sixth grade math.  I am very excited about the change.  I will be headed back down to fifth after next year so please bare with me fellow fifth grade teachers, I will be back! I am looking forward to the challenge and can't wait to share my lessons and activities with you all! If you can, please forward my blog to your sixth grade teachers, I would love to collaborate! I am currently working on an escape room challenge for prime factorization and a complete learning cycle for teaching the properties of math operations.

To help celebrate all the wonderful things in life right now, #hellosummer, #hellosixthgrade, #hellovacay, I have joined in with other wonderful teachers to offer an amazing giveaway!

Who doesn't love a good giveaway?? The raffle begins Friday, June 23rd and ends at midnight on Saturday, July 1st. The more links you visit and follow the more chances you have to win! There are 2---$100 TpT Cards to win and 1---$50 TpT Card to win!




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In addition to the wonderful giveaway, we will be featuring products up to half off! Just go to TpT and search #hellosummer to find amazing deals! This hashtag sale will be from June 23rd through June 25th.



Thank you all for following Math Chick! I hope you continue to follow now that I am moving to 6th grade! Share the wealth with your fellow math teachers :)

Until next time,
Peace, Love, Math
Jennifer

Amazing Augmented Reality in the Classroom! (An Alternative to QR Codes)

Thursday, June 8, 2017 No comments
I am SUPER excited about this newest technology that I have integrated into my math class! I am sure you have seen Pokemon Go and how it uses Augmented Reality or AR to bring to life Pokemon in a game style platform.  What I have done is take this AR technology and I have made task cards that come to life!
For years, we have used QR codes to provide students with immediate feedback and as a way to integrate technology into the curriculum.  I wanted to find a new and fresh way to offer students that same feedback but by using a different platform. Here is where Aurasma hits the scene!

Aurasma is a free app that is available on android tablets as well as iPads.

Aurasma allows students to scan a picture or task card and then watch in real time, the picture or task card, come to life! Students are so excited to see this technology in action! I have made a sample pack of task cards that you can access HERE. You can try the task cards and technology for FREE! Once you see the technology in action, you may never want to go back to QR Codes! 

Here is a breakdown on how to use the cards! 
1. Download the free Aurasma App on the device you will be using.  



2. In order to make the task cards come to life, you must follow my Aurasma channel.  You can scan this QR Code to access and follow my channel or you can use this link http://auras.ma/s/xh2IN

3. Once you have the app and have followed my channel, you are ready to access the content on my task cards. 

4. Open the app and start scanning the task cards much like a QR code. 







I love this technology! You could also use this in several ways! I personally have thought about "Student of the Week".  Students could scan a picture of the "Student of the Week" and it would reveal a short video that the student of the week has made about him/herself!  This same thing could be done with "Meet the Teacher Night".  Parents could scan a picture of the teacher and watch a video that tells all about the classroom and teacher. 
Students could create their own Aurasmas by taking a picture of their work and making it come to life by retelling a little bit about the content. 

Another AR or Augmented Realty app that is absolutely breathtaking is Quiver!  
Quiver is a free app available on iPads or android devices.  In order to use this technology, you will need to print off Quiver sheets to use.  There are several free Quiver sheets to use, and some sheets that cost money.  I printed off the free sheets and we used them in class at the end of the year.  Students absolutely loved them! To access the coloring sheets click here: http://www.quivervision.com/coloring-packs/



I would love to see more sheets become available on Quiver because it is AMAZING! Using the sheets you can see a volcano come to life, you can color a beetle and watch it come to life and then learn about the parts of an insect, you can color the world and then literally have the world at your fingertips! I wouldn't mind spending a little money in order to get quality sheets to use with this app. 

I am hooked on Augmented Reality in the classroom! I can't wait to find more ways to use the technology in class.  I would love to hear how you have used Augmented Reality in your classroom, feel free to share in the comments below. 

Peace, Love, Math-
Jennifer 



Digital STEM Challenge Activity- How Much Water Can A Penny Hold?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 No comments
I love to do STEM challenges! I have always wanted to integrate more technology into my STEM challenges but hadn't fully wrapped my brain around how to integrate it properly.  I have done many digital interactive lessons for math class so I decided to try to take a STEM challenge I already had created and turn it into a digital STEM challenge!

The result: AMAZING!!! Not only were the students able to have a hands-on experience with a science and math challenge but they were able to practice making tables, graphs and typing in text boxes.  These students are learning 21 century skills in a meaningful, real world way!




Afterwards students designed their own investigation.  Students could compare the number of water droplets on pennies and nickels or the water droplets on clean pennies versus dirty pennies.  Students could think of what ever they wanted to test! Students loved designing their own investigation!   




I am very happy with how this turned out! I will be making two more digital STEM challenges, so stay connected! If you want to get your hands on this digital challenge check it out in my TpT Store or press this LINK! 

Until then- 
Peace, Love and Math
Jennifer

Let's Celebrate! STAAR Scores are Back!

Friday, April 21, 2017 No comments
What a perfect time to celebrate! 
Let me start by saying, I believe that test scores do not define a child in his or her entirety. My students have grown so much and showed that growth on this STAAR test. With or without a test, EVERY student has grown this year, and EVERY student has evolved into a better reader, mathematician, and scientist. I strongly feel that this is the reason they are able to perform so well on the tests. Not because they have been taught how to do a test, but have learned and discovered their inner mathematician, scientist or reader and can think critically about the material.

 I am very excited to announce that we received our test scores for Math and Reading STAAR tests.
 I wanted to share with you just how amazing your students are! 

I had 100% of my students (every student including those who has special education support and accommodations) passed the first administration of the STAAR test! I am very proud of them and all of their hard work! 

Just in time to help me celebrate is a TEACHER GIVEAWAY!  I have joined in on Teacher Genie's amazing celebration! Way to go! 4000 members is AWESOME! 




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Raffle Ends April 28th @ 12am
GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Peace, Love and Math!
Jennifer

Crazy in Love with Google Interactive Math Activities!

Saturday, April 15, 2017 1 comment
As you all know I love to use technology in my Math class.  Within the last few months I have been diligently creating Google Slide Projects that reinforce concepts while keeping students engaged and excited about learning.  Why are these projects so AWESOME!!!??? Here are the top 5 reasons why Google Projects are the future!



1. Integrates Technology!
Students need 21st century skills.  Google projects allow students to create text boxes, tables and use line tools among other tech skills.  The best way for a student to learn tech skills is to practice those skills in real world applications. Students are more likely to remember how to create a table, shape or drawing by actually doing the skill in a meaningful way.

Here students are comparing coin amounts! 


2. Easy to Share and No Copies! No Paper!
If your school is like mine, you are limited in paper and copies.  Google projects allow you to share the project with students without requiring ANY PAPER! or ANY COPIES! All you need to share the project is a platform to share the link out on.  You can share the link through Edmodo, Google Classroom or even a QR Code.  All the students need is their own Google Drive.

Here students are creating models to demonstrate multiplying fractions by wholes.



3. Differentiation At It's Best!
Students require many different levels of rigor.  You can allow students to work independently or with parters or peer support.  You can also manipulate the slides to eliminate slides for students who may require a shortened assignment.  Students may have a shortened assignment but the same level of rigor and problem solving needed for state exams.

Here two students are collaborating on the same project! I encourage students to use scratch paper. 


4. Can Be Used on an Interactive White Board!
You can complete the project as a whole class, using an interactive white board! This year while reviewing for the state test, I allowed some students to go on without me while I completed the same work as a small group using the white board.  Using data I knew who needed the most assistance, so I pulled those students with me to the white board.  Again, this is a wonderful way to differentiate the content, but still allows the students to experience rigorous problem solving situations.

This teacher differentiated between classes! May be you are short on time in one class due to fire drill, class pictures or assembly, using your board is an awesome idea to save time! 

5. FUN! ENGAGING!
Students wont even realize they are learning or practicing math concepts! Students love to try something new and what better way to learn then on technology!

Here students are practicing number lines using emojis! 

I love this projects so much, that I have created many projects for 5th grade and 4th grade! You can find them all at my TpT store.  I will be making 6th grade projects this summer (2017) and they will be ready to go by the start of the new school year! 

I am so encouraged by my students positive attitude towards technology that I will be attempting to change my interactive math journal over to a digital Google version.  I am super excited about starting a digital math journal and I will be sharing my experience here in the fall! 

So Many New Things Coming! 
So check out my store often! Follow my store to be the first to hear about new products! 


Until next time!
Peace Love Math-
Jennifer 

Twas the Night Before STAAR Math

Saturday, March 25, 2017 No comments
Well here we are at the finish line! We have come so far this year and have achieved so much.  My 5th grade students will take the Math STAAR on Tuesday and I could not be more excited for them! We have prepped, reviewed and they are ready for what lies ahead.  On Monday I will send home a note of encouragement.  I always do this the night before STAAR.  I attach a package of smarties to the letter and instruct students not to read the letter until they get home.




I actually have a lucky bracelet.  I know it sounds silly but I have worn the bracelet every year starting when I review the curriculum up until I get results back.  My lucky bracelet has never failed me and the kids love hearing about my lucky bracelet too.  
I have put a completely editable copy of this letter for FREE on my TpT store.  Just Click HERE! 

GOOD LUCK to everyone taking tests next week! 

Peace, Love, Math
Jennifer Stice 


Area Perimeter and Volume Lessons

Friday, February 17, 2017 No comments
This week (and a little of last week) have been spent on Area, Perimeter and Volume.
The first lesson we did is based on a little story I wrote that involves two penguins.  One penguin is making a nest for his wife.  He has specific guidelines he must follow in order to make the perfect nest.  He keeps messing up the specific guidelines so the story encourages the students to make the perfect nest.  The kids loved the little story and they worked together with their shoulder partner to figure out the dimensions of the perfect nest.



After the story, students were given a set of "nest" task cards and graph paper.  Students worked in pairs to figure out how to make each nest according to the specific areas and perimeters given.  I love how they have to work backwards to figure out the sides of the nests.


This activity can be found in my TpT store and contains a powerpoint of the story and activity plus nest building task cards.  Last year I did this same activity but instead of using graph paper we built nests out in the hall using the tiles.  This year I was in a time crunch so we stayed in the room and completed multiple nests on graph paper.  I really like the graph paper better because students got more work completed then out in the hall. Here is the activity if you would like to do this in your own classroom! 

Next we did some problem solving with a Google Interactive activity I designed.  This activity not only allowed students to practice their problem solving skills and find missing sides but also allowed them to use a digital ruler.  I love how they love technology! 


  

We then moved onto volume.  I love to teach volume! I first make kids build rectangular prisms.  They spend like 30 min making perfect beautiful rectangular prisms out of linking cubes.  Then when they are done I say, how many cubes is that? They are stunned.  You didn't tell me I had to count??? They very quickly start multiplying the length times width times the number of layers.  They do this instinctively.  I immediately tell them that they just discovered the formula for volume! 
Afterwards I planned some Volume Stations were kids can practice different problem solving situations.  One of the stations I designed is focusing on V=Bh formula.  The students used QR codes to receive immediate feedback.  




We also measured real life boxes and found the volume. 




Finally students completed another Google project on volume.  Here are a few slides: 





Next week I will be wrapping up my curriculum!!!! Our last topic is Balancing a Simple Budget! 

Shape Activities! Using thinking maps to sort shapes based on attributes...

Friday, February 10, 2017 No comments
Before I begin with my activities for the week, I am very excited to tell you about a chance to win $150 TPT giveaway!!!

I have joined forces with other TpT Sellers to bring you the ultimate gift card giveaway! The giveaway starts today and ends on February 18th, 2017 at midnight.  Don't miss your chance to win! Use the rafflecopter giveaway below to enter to win! 


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This week we have enjoyed learning about shapes.  In 5th grade we take all the information we have learned from our years in elementary and use that information to sort shapes in many ways according to their attributes.
We started out reviewing types of shapes, their names, their sides, their angles and how to draw them.  We created a family tree according to their number of sides.  This year we made a family tree using a Google Slide Show.  This worked out so well! It is so easy to share and have kids create with you.




The next day we used ipads and an app called Geoboard.  We created shapes on the geoboard and then used the annotation tool to label sides and angles.  I love using this digital geoboard!






Next the students used a Google Slide Project I created that allowed them to digitally sort shapes.  I absolutely love using this digital platform to reinforce topics.  The kids love it too!





Access my Google Activities HERE!

Finally we used my Shape Hierarchy Activity to formally practice using thinking maps and graphic organizers.  This is completed like a gallery walk.  Students have cootie catchers which contain poster specific questions.  The questions are open ended, rigorous and relevant to the organizer on the poster.  Four of the posters contain mistakes which allow students to analyze for errors.  The students did very well with this activity!





Here is a direct link to this activity on my TpT store! 

Next week we will learn Area, Perimeter and Volume, so stay tuned!

Peace, Love and Math-
Jennifer