Saturday, 25 July 2015


Have you seen the countdown to school on social media?  Well, it's time to think about ways to start the school year off right.  I have often been guilty of sending a questionnaire home for parents to answer questions about their little darlings.  The past few years, I gave the questionnaire to the students.  I asked them to answer it to the "best of their ability" and to be perfectly honest.

I often received true notes of what the students were fearful of, what they dreaded the most about school (often Math) and ways they could help themselves as well as me gain better control of becoming responsible classroom contributors.

So, here's the link to the free questionnaire designed for grades 3 and up.  I'm hoping it will help you gain better insight of your students.  Just click on the picture below:

Monday, 20 July 2015

Assessment - So You Have to Document Knowledge and Skills?

Assessment has always been a difficult thing to do.  With a plethora of assessment tools out there for educators what do you choose?  When do you assess?  What do you assess?  It's certainly overwhelming.  Here are a few things I use and my students love them!

If you haven't tried this, it's a must!  It's an app I use on my iphone to scan students' responses to questions generated by me.  The app scans a card that is printed for each student with its own unique code.  Plickers is a simple tool that collects real time assessment data without the need for student devices.

Visual Rubrics and Qualifiers

Younger students don't generally understand what a rubric is.  So, I created my own visual rubrics using pictures such as apples and snowmen.  These are things students are familiar with.  Here's an example:

Students are often involved in creating their own rubrics.  I have a predetermined vocabulary chart of qualifiers or words that assist students in understanding a 4, 3, 2 and 1 level.  From those words, they generate their own rubrics.  The process is lengthy but students often understand their own rubrics better than the ones I give them.

Here are some examples of qualifiers I provide:  consistently (4), most of the time (3), some of the time (2) and minimal (1).

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Procedural Writing

Procedural Writing provides a reader with directions or instructions on “how to” do something.  Some examples of procedural writing include:  recipes, giving rules for games,  sports or situations, giving directions to go to a location, conducting experiments, taking care of something, constructing something, etc.  Students should be exposed to the purpose for procedural writing as well as a variety of procedural texts to assist in breaking down the process. 

Procedural Writing:
- Gives a clear reason for the procedure.
- Provides a list of materials required to conduct the procedure.
- Addresses any safety precautions or rules that need to be followed.
- Includes all necessary steps for the procedure.  Steps should be in proper order (using transition words like “first”, “next”, “then”, “finally”......).
- Is easy to follow and implement.  Directions should be clear.  There should be no confusion.


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Why Practice Number of the Day?

I have incorporated "Number of the Day" activities into my daily math routine.  Why?  Children do not develop number sense in a fixed period of time.  It is developed gradually.  Number sense becomes part of problem solving.  Over time, children have become capable of solving problems based on their sense of number.  They have a growing repertoire of strategies to help them solve problems.

I often have classroom activities such as daily routines that include graphic representations such as calendar math, hundreds charts and games that reinforce mathematical fluency. When I created "Number of the Day", I had the students draw 3 numbers and then decide which numbers they'd like to choose to work with.  For example, cards for 3, 6 and 2 could have been drawn for the day.  The students could then generate numbers such as 236, 263, 326, 362, 623, or 632.  This would ensure that no student was left behind.  Their comfort level with numbers increased and so did their wanted to work with larger numbers.  Below is a free sample of smaller number "Number of the Day" activities.  This was used for my newest English Language Learners and involves working with tens.  

Students work with tens using this template.  Just click on it to receive your free download.