Every morning on the way to school, there's a short health-related message from Dr. Sanjay Gupta - facts or figures, and tips to improve/develop healthy habits. A few weeks ago, he shared the fact that fewer than 20% of Americans regularly eat the correct number of vegetable servings each day. Thinking about my own vege consumption, I have to admit, that I have not been in that 20% group for quite a while!
So, I decided to set myself up for better success - I've been buying carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower and cutting them up on Sundays. I put servings into 5 baggies, so that I could easily grab a baggie each day and take the veges to school for lunch (with a little dip). Yesterday was the third Sunday in a row that I have done this!
Early last week, I was trying to think of a different kind of activity to help students that needed more reinforcement of the order of operations, and I decided to make a sequencing activity. I haven't tried this before, so I wasn't sure about the best way to design this, but it ended up working quite well. Here's how I put this together and used it:
For the activity, I created 8 different
expressions, and then typed out the steps to simplify each expression. I copied the expressions and steps onto different colored papers, so that two expressions would be on the same color. I cut the steps apart into strips, and then put two expressions and their steps (of the same colored paper) into a baggie...I figured if I put only one equation in a baggie, the activity would be too simple. If I put two expressions of two different colors, it would be too easy. So I went with two expressions of the same color.
I decided to put 3 baggies (6 different expressions and their steps) into a manila envelope for each group. Groups were mostly just partners, with an occasional group of 3.
I had typed directions, and when I gave students their envelopes, I asked them to do their best to follow those directions before asking for clarification (some of the students worked on this activity, while others completed different activities, so I needed them to try to work through the directions themselves before I got to each group to discuss with them). Some students did need additional instruction, while others did not.
After students put the steps into the correct sequence (shown in picture), they had to write those steps onto a recording sheet, pictured here.
In each of my classes, students worked on this activity for about 15-20 minutes. Some groups completed all 6 expressions, while others completed only 2-3. A few more minutes would have been helpful for those students who didn't complete as many expressions, but I can revisit the activity with those students this week.
I wish I had started reading The Together Teacher earlier in the summer so I would have had more time to work on all the things that I needed to begin/restart/refresh, etc.
I'm reading along (for the most part!) with Kelly at An Apple for the Teacher to find new ways to become more organized (some of these ways, I have discovered, are strategies I used to use, but for some reason had forgotten about). Chapter 10 focuses on creating stations to help the classroom run smoothly. This includes stations such as: your teaching station, entry and exit ways, student mailboxes, an anchor board, distribution center, the "paper pantry," the "materials pantry," classroom calendar, classroom libraries, and classroom jobs. The chapter even includes some organizational information for how to keep track of these types of things if you are a mobile teacher. There are quite a few helpful ideas in this chapter which make me want to run into my classroom and change things. I don't have time to change too many things right now, so I settled for working on a few.
The teaching station is the area in which you'd keep all the materials you need to teach your classes each day, so you have to be searching for things in the middle of a lesson. This station could be your desk, or a centrally located place in your room. Some suggested items for the teaching area are markers, pens, pencils baskets or folders for student work, tape, stapler, hole puncher, paper clips, binder clips, timer, stickers, incentive items, copies for the day, materials for the lesson. I worked on cleaning up/reorganizing the counter behind my desk to use as my teaching center. I have files needed for my classes, popsicle sticks, and some other supplies in the drawers. .....a work in progress.
The distribution center is an area in which you keep the copies needed for the week (suggestion is to keep them in a hanging folder labeled with the day of the week). I'm also working on this, but no pics to share yet:)
A helpful suggestion for a "paper pantry," where you would keep multiple copies of forms that are used often in the classroom, is to put the original in a sheet protector at the bottom of the stack so that when the original is reached, it can just be removed from the sheet protector and put into your copying folder.
The "materials pantry" was the easiest for me to improve. It is an area I will use more often this year because of my increased use of "fold it ups." I organized my scissors, glue sticks, and rulers into 5 different bins so that when we need these items, I can just give a bin to a group (little need for student movement). My markers were already organized in a shoe holder (even though you can't really see them in the holder). I had another shoe holder on hand, so I used it to organize the calculators, putting 2 in each pocket and labeling the outside of the pocket with the calculator numbers.
Lots of good information in this chapter! I hope you get to check it out!