Friday, February 14, 2014

Number Talk and Five for Friday

I have been blessedly spoiled this week. My district had already planned for a holiday this Friday so I was already lucky(or cursed) with a four day week. Then, that lovely snow storm hit, and my short week turned into a snowcation giving me Wed. and Thurs. off. Sweet, yes? gets sweeter! Now, I am in the lovely city Nashville sipping on some local coffee, eating a bagel, and making NO plans to head home until Monday because we also have Presidents' Day off. I know, I know. Don't hate me. I'll make it up to you at the end of this post. Promise.

 So with that said, I hesitantly joined the Five for Friday linky this week because I really don't have anything exciting to share with you unless you want to see my week of photos that would have included my pajamas and screenshots of Netflix marathons. Have you seen this shirt? This is literally what I do on all of my snow days. 

                          It describes me. I take full advantage of down time when I can find it. 

Even though the week was short, we are really starting to take off with our learning adventures. One of our adventures this week was our math "Number Talk". I introduced it to my kiddos at the end of last year, but really incorporated it into our classroom math curriculum in full force this year. I love the flexibility, teaching progression, student growth, and differentiation that our classroom math talk can provide for the students. 

Number sense is a skill that is HIGHLY important to student math success. For example, students must understand place value and the representation of numbers to understand how and why they borrow and regroup tens and ones in addition and subtraction. In the past, my students and I would spend large amounts of time on place value and then we would move on to new units in math. Since we were not reviewing previous skills on a consistent basis(besides during calendar); my students would struggle to retain strong number sense. I was at a loss as to how to solve this problem until I stumbled upon a book that discussed having a "number of the day". I liked the idea of picking a number and having the students model that number in model, expanded, and word form.

 However, that wasn't enough for me. I wanted to take it one step further. I envisioned using a daily activity that would allow students to represent a number in an unlimited number of ways. So, we began a math "Number Talk". At first, the students participated in this activity in whole group, and it would be our introduction to our math block each day. I would place a number on the board, and the students would be given private think time to gather their thoughts on what they were going to include to the number talk web. I only had one rule - whatever you place on the web must somehow relate back to the number of the day. Here is a picture of our first number talk. 

They blew me away. And, I knew instantly that this was going to be a reoccurring activity in my classroom. 

Some days, we do whole group. Other days, it is a math center. Sometimes it is an exit ticket on big chart paper, and occasionally we use it for an entry in our math journals. I like to switch it up as often as possible. 

I love it because it allows the students to show me what they know and apply it in as many ways as possible. I can challenge my higher students( I have one student who is 8 years old and can multiply and divide pretty much any number I give him in his head. C-ray-zy awesome), push my on grade level students, and expose my lower students. It provides great discussion platforms for accountable talk. I actually LOVE it when a student gives a wrong answer. I will say "agree?", and the students will immediately enter into respectful accountable talk. There is no fear of a wrong answer because the students handle the process with such care that there is never any offense taken. 

Another big love I have with this activity is the progression of student growth. The map from October would look completely different to the map my students will do next week. Why? Because now you will see time, money, repeated addition, etc. I encourage students to apply new and old skills to the map to keep old skills fresh and to master new skills.

I just can't sing enough praises to our classroom number talk. Do you use something like this in your classroom? If so, do share! I would love to pick your brain about it!

Looking at this picture just puts a huge smile on my face. I love my daddy, and it makes my heart so full to see him happy and having fun. And, like most dads (and just men in general), he is a big kid at heart and LOVES his toys. We got about 7 inches of snow in the latest snow storm which is unheard of for my area. So, he broke out the snow plow attachment that he bought a good 8+ years ago(against my mom's wishes) and finally got to use it. My mom tells me that he not only mowed their driveway, but the neighbor's and the street that they live on. Adorable.

I finally caved and bought some Scentos markers. I have never used them before and had a moment of weakness last weekend while grocery shopping. I turned down an elsie, saw them, placed them in the basket and kept walking. It was quite out of character for me. But, my kiddos worked REALLY hard on writing this week just to get a mark from me on their paper with the marker. Their faces and reactions were priceless, so I would say it was worth it. 

This last picture melts and breaks my heart all at the same time. This afternoon, I opened up a text and saw that my little brother had sent me this picture.

It moved me so much that I had to get up and leave the group of people I was with because I became a hot mess in 0.5 seconds. Ben is a senior in college and currently out of state for his last college swim meet of his career. He has big goals for this meet. It has been a really long swimming journey for him and our family, and most of the journey has been bumpy. The date on his wrist signifies the date my Nana left us and went to be with our Savior. He said he is swimming today for Nana. No matter what the outcome of his races are, he is swimming them for her, and I know she is right there with him through it all. 

And, last but not least. Here is something I posted in my store during the snow storm this week. Grab the freebie by clicking the picture. . Try it out, and if you like it then the full unit in my TPT store. 

                                      Happy Friday. Happy Valentines Day. Hugs to you all.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Can you believe it? It is February already! I am not one to get excited about the month of love and hearts, but I am trying my best to embrace it this year and what better way to do that then starting off with a little Currently Linky from Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

It is eerily quiet at my house. It has been that way all week due to me being home four days for snow. But, I actually REALLY enjoy days off. Don't get me wrong.....I get a little stir crazy, but the time off is nice. I wear myself out teaching because it gets my 110% effort and attention all the time so it is nice to have some unexpected vacation days to recharge! 

Tonight is date night, and it is a double date! My little brother, who is graduating from college this spring(yikes!!!) has a new girlfriend. I can't wait to meet her, and I have promised to not play the "big sister" card and be on my best behavior! :) It's not my fault that I am little over protective! :) 

I have a zillion ideas floating around in my head for things to create and post on TPT from ELA QR activities to Valentine writing center templates to testing prep. folks!!!!! I seriously have a pile of grad school work that I need to finish as well. I work on that all the time yet seem to get nowhere. Maybe THAT is what I should have done on my break this week...nah!

This one made me LOL when I typed it out, but it's the truth! I really want a doughnut. Today is my cheat day so I will probably talk the boyfriend into making a coffee and doughnut run. I also really want a new pair of low cut, ankle boots. Ohhh and a new oversized Aztec sweater.  It's an obsession really, and I have no idea where it materialized from (probably an outfit picture on Pinterest). 

Ooops, I kinda answered this one under thinking. But seriously, homework is a must this weekend.

2 Truths and a Fib
I may have made these too easy, and maybe I shouldn't be telling you which ones are truths and which ones are fibs, but I am dying to spread the word about an app that many have been posting on our Facebook Teacher Fitness page, #teacherfit. So truth numero uno is that my hair needs a cut, BAD! It is convenient that one of my teacher friends at my school cuts hair. Guess I need to find her this week and set something up. The second truth is that this little blog is going to be getting some major professional help in the near future. I am get a real blog design(finally), and I will be changing to a I am pretty excited!! 

Now for the fib. I hate water. It just has no taste. We are clean eating here at the house which means that even putting the flavor packets in the water or adding fruit is a NO WAY. So, I am having to drink water PLAIN!!!! Oh my goodness. Na-has-ty! It is hard work getting the water intake I need when I despise the taste so much. So, I am tracking the water I drink with the app Waterlogged.
It is easy to use, and it is free. It has really helped me make sure that I am drinking enough water, and I am such a visual person so seeing the little water bottle fill up throughout the day is a great motivator for me!

So..there is my February currently. Lots of love to all my blogger friends and followers!

Happy February!