Sunday, October 7, 2012

Teacher Pay Teachers Freebies - Homework Graph!

Since I am now a stay at home Mom I have started to spend some time uploading some teaching products to SELL on the Teacher Pay Teachers Website. When I taught I would search this site regularly for good products and bought quite a few! The very best resources are made by the very teachers that use them! I have a few teachers that I follow and have most of their resources - Laura Candler and Mark Tully are two of my all time favorites!

Right now, this is just for "fun" and has kept me busy editing some of my teaching resources. This is a never ending job that I could be working on forever! ;) The more I have gotten into this the more addicting I see it can be! Between starting a blog, updating resources to perfection, thinking about incorporating Pinterest, Facebook,! It can get overwhelming. For now, I will just start slow and see what comes naturally. :)

I have a few simple freebies on my TPT site that I would like to share! The first one is my favorite way to keep track of homework (my students always liked it, too).
Click on the homework graph to go to my TPT site and download for free!
My first year teaching I struggled as a math teacher with what to do with all of the homework! Collecting it everyday seemed overwhelming. I didn't think I could go through and check students homework everyday and I didn't think having me checking it would be helpful for them. I wanted THEM to check their homework, see their mistakes, ask questions, and hopefully learn from their errors. That is what homework is all about, right? It is practice for them. I always told my students the purpose of homework was to practice what we were learning in class - and I expected they would make some mistakes. Therefore, I didn't want to grade them on how well they did - that was what the concept checks (quizzes) and tests were for.
So, I would assign homework several times a week. When students came into class they would always get out their homework and their homework graph. I would walk around the room to see that they did their homework. I used a system of marking on their homework graph 3, 2, 1, or 0. A mark of a 3 meant that their homework was complete and all work was shown. I would mark a 2 or a 1 if they didn't finish their homework or didn't show work. Of course, they would get a 0 if they didn't do their homework.

Students would grade their OWN homework and get a percentage (we spend a great deal of time in the beginning of the year teaching students how to do this). Students would then graph their percentage on their homework graph.

These homework graphs are a GREAT resource! Students can have visual representation of what concepts they are understanding or their lack of understanding just by looking at this bar graph. It is also a great way for them to see missing assignments.

I collected the homework graphs at the end of each week and entered the assignments into the gradebook. This was a much quicker and more effective way of keeping track of homework, for me.

There is also a place for parents to initial the graph. They could always see how their child was doing on homework! Parents loved this!

Download the homework graph and let me know what you think! Does it work for you? Leave me some feedback on TPT - I would appreciate it!

Happy Teaching!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cooperative Learning - SHOWDOWN!!

FREE Download!
One of my ALL TIME favorite cooperative learning techniques is called, "Showdown!" When I taught middle school math I used this activity all of the time in the classroom. When my students walked in the room and saw the word showdown on the board they were always excited!

This IS NOT my original idea. I first learned about this cooperative learning technique from Laura Candler. If you don't know who Laura Candler is  you should check out her website - she has some awesome resources! After using some of her showdown resources I created some of my own to go with the content I was teaching in my classroom.

Showdowns are VERY simple, yet very effective. I always put my students in groups of 4 and had white boards, markers, and erasers at every group.

Students would receive 8 or 10 showdown task cards with specific problems from the content we are learning about. Task cards would be placed down in the middle of the desks. Students would need to decide who would be the first leader. The leader turns over the top card and reads the problem. Everyone in the group, including the leader, writes the problem on their white board. When everyone has the problem written the leader says, "Go," and everyone begins working on the problem. Once finished each student turns their white board face down. When the leader notices that everyone in the group has their white board down they say, "Showdown!" Everyone flips their board over and shares their answer. This is the most important part. If everyone gets the same answer they can assume it is correct. If not - groups need to discuss to see if someone did something wrong and HELP that student see what they did wrong. I am always walking around to make sure this is happening. The goal is to work together and make sure everyone in the group understands.

Students rotate who is the leader and go through all of the task cards. Sometimes if the content is difficult I will have the answer written on the back of the card so the leader can know for sure if the group got the answer correct.

Usually I would have the students participate in this activity AFTER I have already taught the material and we have practiced a lot. I usually used this as a final activity before moving on to the next topic. This also is a great formative assessment tool because I can walk around to see who is getting and who isn't.

Multiplication with fractions showdown:

Multiplication with decimals showdown:

Dividing with decimals showdown:

Simplifying Fractions showdown:

More to come!

Happy Teaching! :)