Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Common Core - Simplified (yeah right)

I know that there are a lot of questions about the future of Common Core.  Who knows if it is here to stay (although we all know nothing stays in in regards to education standards) or will be thrown under the bus with every other trend in education.  The one thing that we do know is that if we live in a state that has required implementation of Common Core, then we need to hit the ground running.

My school system has been using Common Core for two years.  The first year felt like we were being thrown to the sharks.  You know how it goes, "Here are the Common Core standards.  We don't have money for the textbooks or reading materials required, nor do we have money to train you, but get out there and teach!"  I don't blame my school system.  It was just the nature of the beast at the time.

Some teachers decided to try to jump in using just the copy of the Common Core standards they were given.  Others figured if they ignored it and kept teaching the Georgia Performance Standards the Common Core would simply go away.  Then there were teachers like me.  If I'm going to teach it, then by golly I'm going to figure out as much as I can about it and teach it the best way I can.

This led me to several great resources, but two of the best are the FREE Annotated Common Core Standards that Secondary Solutions offers and the other is the Engage NY website.

The Annotated Common Core Standards is a great resource that simplifies what we are supposed to teach.  It simplifies and explains each standard in a way that just makes sense.  Secondary Solutions provides these for free for grades 3-12.  You can get them by going to their website HERE.

The EngageNY site is a massive, but useful,  amount of information on Common Core.  They have everything from videos to writing exemplars.  It really is a great site.  Plan to spend a lot of time on the site once you're there!  You can find the site HERE.

Do you have any great Common Core resources that you've found?  Feel free to share them here!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cowboy or Superhero? Fun with numbers!

I made two new games this weekend and totally forgot to add them to my blog!  My mom had surgery yesterday, so the past few days were crazy trying to get everything ready for 2 days with a sub.

I was looking for a fun way for my students to work with the 120 board to help them with number recognition and counting.  I also wanted something they could play fairly quick after morning work.  These games are great in that you can play with as few as 2 players or as many as you want.  I have my students play in groups of 2 or 3 and then have them rotate to play with other players if time allows.

Both games are the same, I just changed the theme.  One has a superhero theme and the other has a cowboy/cowgirl theme.  Students roll to determine how many spaces that they go.  If they land on a box with a number, then they just stay on the number until their next roll.  If they land on a special box that has a treasure box or cowboy boot then they draw a card from the stack.

The cards may tell "-5", "Go To 136", "Skip a Turn", or "Go Again"...among many other things.  I've been playing the games with my students this week and they LOVE them!  I hope you do, too!

You can get the Math Superhero game by going HERE  and the Wild West Math by going HERE.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sight Word Homework Packet - a entire year's worth!

I've been trying to figure out a way for students to review the Fry Sight Words in a quick way that didn't involve flashcards.  I decided to make Lightning Words handouts for homework each week for the entire year.

I wanted to make the homework fun, so I added a time component to it - hence the Lightning Words title.  Students will get a list each week that they will take home on Monday.  Each night (Monday - Thursday) they will say the 25 Lightning Words for the week as quickly as they can.  An adult will help them record their time on the sheet.  The goal is to increase the time as the week goes on, eventually getting "Lightning Fast".

I've just uploaded the files tonight to my TPT store.  The pack comes with 30 weeks worth of Lightning Words.  The lists start with the First 100 Words list, then the Second 100 Words list, a mixture of the First and Second 100 Words lists, and finally the last 5 weeks are from the Third 100 Word List.  You can snag an entire year's worth of Lightning Words by going HERE.