Thursday, December 13, 2012

Let's Learn Our Multiplication Facts!

A few days ago I discussed using multiplication fact cards as centers and practice. Christmas vacation is almost here and after the break it'll be time to get busy with memorizing our multiplication facts! I'll be creating some different multiplication centers over the next couple of weeks that can be used for partner practice. This week I finished up creating practice tests for multiplication facts. I created a test for each number 1-12 and also created three different mixed facts tests. I like using these as timed tests starting in January. However, I believe in doing timed tests a bit differently. Instead of asking students to complete a test in a designated time like Mad Minute, I put a timer up on the board that counts up from 0 all the way to 10 minutes (at first). Once I start the timer, students complete their 35 problems. When finished, they write their finish time at the top of their paper. I like doing this because even if they don't get it finished in 3 minutes or your designated time, they can see that as the days progress, their time gets better. (I figure if they don't get 35 done in ten minutes they won't finish...and honestly most of my kids finish by 8 minutes unless they don't know any of their facts.)

I also like to keep track of what facts students have mastered. In the past I've used a chart that I created called "Buzzing Through Multiplication" which is free in my TPT store if you'd like to download it. I also have a multiplication log that is free in my TPT store that I use to keep track of how often students practice their facts at home.

In the Multiplication Facts unit I created this week, there is a new tracking chart that is monkey themed. It includes trees for 1-12 and also individual student markers that can be a girl monkey, boy monkey, or a banana. My kids love moving their monkey from tree to tree as they practice and master their facts. I normally write their student number on it instead of their name so it's a little more private. I also included a one-page chart in the unit so you can keep track of where your kids are with their fact mastery all in one place. There are some images below of the unit and you can also get more information at my TPT store. What ways do you help your kids master their multiplication facts?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Name Tag Freebie

Hi there everyone!  Can you believe it's only 19 days until Christmas?  I was hoping to get some more Christmas stuff up here but it's been a bit hectic around here. I did create some Christmas name tags I like to use in my classroom during the month of December. By now our name tags have taken a beating and it's fun to add a little Christmas cheer to our desks this time of year. :)  I've used the graphics I love from Goodness and Fun that I get from her stuff! If you like the clipart take a look around her Etsy shop...she has lots of cute stuff I like to use in my classroom.

You can use these for name tags, a Christmas word wall, compliment cards for the month of December, etc. Since it's Christmas and I'm in the giving mood, I've uploaded my Christmas tags onto TPT for free until Christmas!  Stop by my TPT store and download them for free so you can add some Christmas cheer to your classroom!


Merry Christmas everyone! :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Powerful Prefixes!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and enjoyed a few days off to spend with their family and friends! We made the trip over to California to spend Thanksgiving with my brother and his wife. The weather was beautiful and we had a wonderful time!  I can't believe it's already December...this year seems to be flying by.  I normally start teaching prefixes and suffixes as part of my vocabulary study this time of the year so my kiddos have a preview of it before we dig deeper into them after Christmas break.

I made a prefix packet called Powerful Prefixes to start off the unit. I focused on five prefixes: pre-. re-. un-. in-. and dis-. These are the more common prefixes and most of my students already know un- and re- so it gives them some confidence to start with the more familiar ones. In the unit there are prefix graphics which show the prefix and meaning. I enlarge these to use as posters in our room and I shrink them up to glue into our reading journals. I normally introduce one prefix each day of the week and have students glue in the graphic at the top of their journal page. We then brainstorm words we already know that include the prefix along with meanings from the prefix. I also sometimes have students work with a partner to come up with a sentence using a word with the prefix. The harder part is being sure they include context clues to help others figure out the meaning of the word. We get into that a lot more in January but it's fun to start a bit early...especially if you have a higher group.

The unit also includes a matching game that students can play in the style of Memory. It includes directions, 15 word cards (with prefixes for each word), 15 word meaning cards, and an answer sheet for students to check their answers. Included also are two worksheets you can use. One has sentences with missing words and a word box for students to pull from. The other has a paragraph where students must fill in the five missing words using the word box. I like to use these as a pre and post assessment to find out where my kids are in the beginning and to find out who still needs more help at the end of the week.

The unit is available for a discount at my TPT store. I hope it helps you get started in your vocabulary study this year. Have a great weekend!