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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Test Preppin' :)

Is it just me or is time just flying by?!?!  We had our Spring Break early this year and it felt like we had some time to prep for this stinkin' test we've got coming up......but now, it's like "What???  Only 10 more school days until we test?!?!?".  It's crazy.....

Before I begin to tell you about the adventures in room 14, let me tell you why I am able to blog at 11:00 {AM} on a school day.  This morning, at 5:00, we were up and getting ready to take Jaci to get some tubes put in her ears.  My poor baby has had an ear infection every month since she started daycare! The procedure was quick and mostly painless......the anesthesia makes those babies CRANKY!!  Here's my baby in her hospital gown. How cute is that?!?!?
We were back home very soon and then baby girl crashed out!  It must have been all the adorable screaming she did in the car on the way home :) 

While she is napping......I am blogging!!!  Needless to say, we have been busy in 3rd grade these past few weeks.  Who am I kidding?  When are we ever NOT busy??  It was business as usual :)  We are practicing a little bit of everything every day.  I have some "action shots" to show you just what we've been up to! 

We have been practicing reviewing our vocabulary.  We are almost done with our ABC's of Math from Teaching with Moxie
This has been a great refresher.  On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we are working on our Countdown to STAAR curriculum.  It's a great spiral type of practice, but we also needed some vocabulary, so......on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we do some ABC's of Math.  The kids love it.  I also used another vocabulary resource from Amanda at One Extra Degree.  They are called formative flaps and they are great {and free!!!}. 

I had my kids write their own definitions on the top flap, and then go check their definition with the one in our textbook glossary.  Then, they wrote the official definition on the bottom.  I had so many kids coming up to me saying, "Mrs. Palmer, my definition is just what the book says!".  They were so proud of themselves.  They really know their vocabulary :)

We also do fact practice.  Every day.  It's one of my four math stations. T-teacher time, I-independent work, M-math facts, and E-enrichment.  This week we used a multiplication wheel from Jersey Teacher.  They roll 2 number cubes and add them together and that gives them their first factor.  Then, they move around the wheel, using that same factor and multiplying with the factors on their wheel.  It's great practice and the kids enjoy it. 
We also do problem solving every day.  We work a few problems together, as a class.  Our state test is mostly word problems, so we need all the practice we can get.  And on top of that, we need to be growing critical thinkers.  2 stone.  You know how that goes!  Normally, I use the document camera, they work them with me.  It's good, but we were getting a little bored with it.  Then, I remembered how much my kiddos like dry erase boards and the boredom problem was solved!  Instead of pencil and paper and document cameras, we put our work on whiteboards.  My kiddos use "Look, Know, Solve" boxes to help them dissect the information in a word problem.  I've blogged about this before, but not in much detail.  With these "boxes", the kids take out the important things they need to solve the problem.  In the "L" box, we put the questions, what are we looking for? I have them write that question in that box.  In the "K" box, we write down the information we are given, or what we know.  In this box, I have them write down the information we need to solve the problem.  We used to have to write down everything, but now we are getting to where we can differentiate between what we need and what is extra information......and I wasn't even pushing for that :) Then, in the "S" box, we solve.  This is my favorite box.  Every "S" box looks different.  I love seeing how kids think!  So, using the white boards instead of pencil and paper, I had them work in groups.  I would read a problem out loud (they had their own copies as well) and then let them loose!  The rules were that they had to talk to each other and each member of the group had to make a set of boxes on their white board and each member had to have them completely filled out.  The group with all their work shown with the correct answer won the point.  They LOVED this!  The conversations were great and the learning was so much fun!!
Dr. Marcia Tate said that the person doing the most talking in your classroom is the person doing the most learning.  Yesterday was such a great example of that.  My kids were talking about the content and so much learning was taking place.....and the kids didn't even know it! 

Well, my baby is back up and is needing some mommy love!  Oh, and be sure to check out Teaching Maddeness tomorrow night!  She is showcasing my blog in her weekly "Budding Bloggers Showcase".  I'm so excited :)))  Hope to see you there!!

Keep livin' the dream,


  1. Found your blog through the guest blog post! Welcome to the world of blogging. I am a new follower and I hope I helped in your goal to get 100 followers.
    Love all your ideas, keep up the great posts!!

  2. I just found your blog from Amanda's blog and I'm a new follower. It looks like you have some great math ideas and I am looking forward to reading more!

    The REAL Teachers of Orange County

  3. I totally relate to your stress this time of year! STAAR is so soon!!!! I feel like our state test is a difficult one- but I may be a little biased :) It's a lot for our little ones to deal with.

    Good luck on your test prep! It'll be over soon!

    Koonce’s Korner

    1. Our state test IS difficult!! I will be so glad when it's over with!! And thank you....I need all the luck I can get :)

  4. Hello,

    I love your multiplication wheel! I too teach third grade and love it!

    How can I get a master of the multiplication wheel?

    Meg Helton
    Sacramento, California