Sunday, September 11, 2016

Building Fact Fluency

Aloha, Friends! 
Today I'm here to share a tip with you on building fact fluency with your students.

I'm not sure about you..but my students always seem to struggle with their addition facts when they enter third grade. Don't even get me started with the subtraction facts either! lol. I also hear from the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers at my school that it is a never ending battle. Each year the kids just DO NOT know their facts. 

As teachers, if we expect our students to know their facts, we need to allow them the time to practice their facts! In an ideal world, they would actually be practicing at home, but we KNOW this doesn't happen at home for most! 

In my classroom, each day of our math block begins with Math Drills. This seriously only takes about 5 minutes of our block, and I see improvements daily. Rather than making copies and having them pile up on my desk wasting a ton of paper, I print one copy of each drill and insert them into clear sheet protectors. 


Then all of the sheet protectors go into their math drill folder. 

The students use their dry erase markers to do their drills. I quickly go over the answers and the students correct their own drills. We don't log our grades anywhere. The students take a mental note of how they did for the day, and they are challenged to beat their scores the next day. 

I get my drills from this awesome site: math-drills.comhttp://www.math-drills.com .
You can print addition, subtraction, multiplication an division drills. I begin each year with addition. At the start of this school year, most of my kiddos couldn't even get through half of the page (50 problems on each page). After about a month or so..almost the entire class was whizzing through the entire page-with accuracy! 
Now, we are currently working on our subtraction facts. Eventually, we will add in multiplication drill pages as well. I usually add in 4 different sets of each operation. This way we can change it up each day. The drills from the website are already labeled 'drill a', 'drill b', and so on. This makes for easy reference to which drill set we will be working on.



The best thing about is this is that it's easy and the kids WILL get their facts down! 
I recommend getting thicker sheet protectors, because they will last longer. I am still using the same drill folders from 2 years ago! 

I've also got a little treat for you today :)

I've created some labels for you to add to your math drill folders! All you need to do is print, laminate, and tape onto the front cover of the folders. I have included a black and white version to save on ink. You could easily print on colored paper for a pop of color. Also, there are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple labels in this file. 

You can pick these labels up in my TpT Store for FREE! 

If you decide to use these drill in the classroom I would love to hear about it OR see it!  Tag me in a photo (@teachinginparadise) on instagram so I can check out your math drill folders!! 

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Weekly Homework Routine in my 3rd Grade Classroom

When I first started teaching, I was all about giving homework. I truly felt that homework helped to reinforce what was learned in class and that it gave parents the opportunity to see what their child was learning in school and the chance to help them with things they were struggling with. 
Little did I know, homework would become the bane of my existence. I spent so much time tracking down assignments that weren't turned in, talking to students about the importance of them doing their own homework, and not their parents doing it for them. I also became frustrated with parents trying to teach kids the 'easier way' of doing math, the way that we all learned when we were younger when I was trying so hard to build the conceptual understanding during school. Homework was becoming a waste of time for me because my intentions of assigning it were not being met. Those students who needed the extra help at home, were the ones not getting it. 
I also began to reflect on the amount of time my homework was taking up. I began asking parents how long it was taking their child to complete their homework. What I imagined would be a 30-40 minute homework routine, was taking up to 2 hours for some kids. This is NOT what I wanted. My students work extremely hard during the day and I want for them to have time to be a kid and unwind after a long day at school. 
Since I knew that my purpose of assigning what I was assigning was not having the outcome I had hoped for, I decided to scrap it all. I came up with an entirely new homework routine that worked amazingly well. 

Each Monday I assign a new reading log. Students are required to read a minimum of 100 minutes week. They can choose what days they would like to read and for how long. Reading logs are due every Monday  morning.

Students are given a reading log each week. The minimum requirement is that each student reads 100 min. week. Students can self pace their reading throughout the week and choose a day that works best for them to answer their ONE response. 
Before assigning these reading logs, I always model what a quality response looks and sounds like. We practice writing responses together as a class before I send these home. 

I believe that reading should be enjoyable, and I highly encourage my kids to read books that they love and are interested in. I require just one response because I do want to hold them accountable for their reading and I also feel that this helps them with their writing and provides me with a check in on their comprehension. Logs are collected on Monday mornings and a new reading log is issued. 
You can find these reading logs here. The product contains 4 different reading logs. You can give a different log each week so that students are not always answering the same question. 
Photo from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad
On Tuesday and Thursdays I assign Text Evidence homework. I hand out a double sided sheet every Tuesday. One side is a fiction reading and the other side is a non-fiction reading. On both sides, students are practicing finding text evidence to answer 5 different questions. 
These text evidence passages are quick, simple, but effective. When my littles come to me at the start of the year, locating text evidence is always so difficult for them. These sheets as homework really help to build proficiency with locating text evidence. Here is a GREAT post from Jenny, the creator of the Text Detectives product I use on how to get kids to refer back to the text. 

Students are given the option on how they complete these assignments. They can do one side and turn it in on Wednesday morning. This will get returned to them by Thursday morning. Thursday night, they can complete the other side and turn it in for credit on Friday morning.
The other option is for the student to complete both sides on Tuesday night, turn it in on Wednesday and be done for the week.  To see how I manage collecting homework, you can read all about it here.

The only other homework that I assign on a weekly basis is online homework. The first is Kidbiz3000  and the other is typing practice. The reason I assign typing practice is because at the ending of the year, our 3rd graders are required to take the SBA. It is so important that students know how to type as they are required to give many extended responses for their answers. I started to practice giving my students their weekly Reading Wonders Assessments online and I found that the quality of their typed responses for #21 were so weak compared to their handwritten responses when given a paper pencil assessment. I realized that the reason for it was because it took them way too long to type, so they wrote as little as they could. 

I don't collect anything to check that they did their typing homework, no do I have them log minutes. I can tell who has practiced typing by watching them on the computer during class. I just continue to encourage them to practice on their own as it will truly benefit them in the long run. I also used to try to schedule lab time so that students could practice playing games on various typing programs. This is key as this is often a 'hook' for them to realize typing practice is fun! 

What does your homework routine look like?? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below!