Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ninja Multiplication Fact Fun - Kicking it Math GIVEAWAY!

Do your students struggle to memorize their math facts?  Are you looking for a new way to improve student math fact fluency and to build number sense?  Need to provide a wiggle break halfway through your day?

Try Kicking It - A Program for Mastering Math Facts which my students lovingly call Ninja Math!

Inspire students to memorize their multiplication math facts with a high energy, fast paced, daily review.  This amazing product was created by Kelly Malloy from An Apple for the Teacher.

An Apple for the Teacher

I have tweaked the program a little to best fit my students.  Here is a peak at how I run our math fact fluency block during our daily math lesson:

We begin in a circle to practice some skip counting.  One student is selected to stand in the middle of the circle to make sure that all of our ninjas are actively engaged.  If they are not, they sit down.

The student in the middle calls out a specific move for students to preform with self-control and discipline:





Another student stands at the front of the room, by our Smart Board, and calls out facts ...

4 x 1 = 

...and the ninjas yell out 4 while they throw their punch.

4 x 2 =


4 x 3 = 


We practice a few sets of problems.  Each time we need to switch slides our student in the middle calls out a new move for students to perform.

Then students grab a belt and a partner and practice their math facts that are aligned with their specific belt color.

They practice for a minute each, quizzing each other on specific facts based on their progression through the program.

After 2 minutes, I call out, "Belts away, folders out."  Students return their math fact belts to the bin and pull out their Ninja Math folders.

I call out, "Markers up."  Students pull out their markers from the zip-lock bag inside their folder.  When I see their markers up I know they are ready.

I call out, "Ninjas, are you ready to kick it?"  They respond with a loud, "Yes!"  The timer begins.

I've played around with different times.  The time that works the best for my class is 3 minutes and 33 seconds, possibly selected because 3 is my favorite number, ha!

Students rush to complete as many math facts as possible in the allotted time, before the timer buzzes.  Their math fact sheets are inside page protectors and they use whiteboard markers.

Once the timer buzzes students pass their folders around in their groups for their partners to grade.  Answer keys are in the back of their folders and they use them to check each others work.

Students who pass come to my table to exchange their math fact sheet for a new one.

 Math fact sheets are color coordinated to match the color belt that students have achieved.  As students "kick" each level, and earn belts, they add them to their dog tags.  Math fact sheets match the color of belt that they most recently have received.

Their dog tags serve as a display of their accomplishments throughout the program.

They proudly wear them throughout the day but I request that they stay in class until they become a black belt.

Once students become a black belt they are initiated during our lunch time black belt party.

Students enjoy black belt cupcakes (with black licorice of course.)

They earn Ninja bags and a certificate of completion.

Each bag contains a little ninja stress squeeze figure and some candy.  The ninja figures and bags were from Oriental Trading Company.

Students ate pizza for lunch during our celebration.  We listened to some Ninja tunes, celebrated, and enjoyed our success with multiplication math fact fluency.

Each month we have a new party to initiate the new black belts into our club.

Check out how Kelly uses this program in her classroom here.

Here is a peak at the Table of Contents from Kicking It Math.  Check out what is included in Kelly's pack.

Want to win a copy for yourself?  Kelly has offered a free copy of her Kicking It Math - Multiplication and your choice of any product from her TPT store.  Enter below for a chance to win!

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How do you improve your students' math fact fluency?

Friday, February 27, 2015

MobyMax in the Classroom Review & GIVEAWAY

Have you heard of MobyMax?

MobyMax is an amazing program that students can access to practice Common Core aligned K-8 curriculum that is differentiated based on their acquired skills and needs.

"Moby Curriculum teaches students to be better problem solvers, critical thinkers, and creative geniuses with thousands of cognitive skill manipulatives. Moby has students think and discover rather than just be told." - MobyMax Website 

I love how students can access MobyMax on classroom computers and/or classroom tablets.

It's the first touch curriculum made for a tablet!  You can't find anything else like it!

MobyMax provides the classroom teacher with formative assessment that drives great instruction.  The program allows you to monitor student progress in real time so that you know exactly how each student is performing.  You can analyze data for all Common Core standards by student, class, school, and district.

My students are loving MobyMax.  It is a fun test prep option, great during center rotations, and useful across the curriculum!

Want to give MobyMax a try?  Enter to win a free subscription of MobyMax for your classroom!

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Good luck and check back for a second giveaway over the weekend!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine Goodies for Monday Made It

Over the weekend I got back in touch with my crafty side and created a few Valentine goodies to share with you.

First off, my daughter Natalie will be bringing these cute little Valentines to daycare on Friday.

We made one for each of her friends.

I picked up a box of Teddy Graham bags at Wegmans, printed out the teddy bear cards, and stapled them on.

I also printed a black and white version on red and pink paper to use for my students.

How do they look?

Next, I created a little card for her daycare provider.

I stuck it to the back of a heart shaped box of chocolates.

Want to make your own?  You can download a copy of these printables here.

Check out all the other Monday Made It's at Tara's blog, Fourth Grade Frolics.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Winner Winner!!!

Congratulations Rebecca C for winning a copy of Ali Maier's book, Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer.

You should be receiving a copy of the book in the mail shortly.

Thank you to all who entered!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How to Use Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer & GIVEAWAY!

I'm very excited to share with you how we have been using Ali Maier's book, Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer, throughout the last few weeks of school.  As you may remember, I first mentioned this book right before Christmas break.  This book is about twins, Maggie and Max, who are challenged by their mom to write 12 journal entries together during the Summer.  The twins analyze a different event, situation, or activity for each chapter (or journal entry) which makes for a great book to focus on analyzing, comparing, or contrasting perspectives.  You can read my initial review here.

Here are my suggestions for using the book in your classroom:

Ways to Read in the Classroom:
- Provide individual copies for students to read independently.
- Read with a partner (one student reads Maggie's part while the other reads Max's.)
- Read whole class (teacher reads main text and chooses a student to read Maggie's comments and another to read Max's.)
- Project for the class to see so they can follow along with all Maggie and Max's commentary.

Using the Book to Teach Comprehension Strategies:
- Analyze characters and setting.
- Locate humor and descriptive details within the text.
- Create a list of Maggie and Max's character traits.

Initially, I recorded every student suggestion.  Then, students looked back, and debated whether or not each character trait really fit the characters.  If not, we crossed them out, and added a better fitting trait.

- Analyze perspectives.
- Compare and contrast Maggie and Max's experiences, perspectives, likes, and dislikes

Below, students compared and contrasted Maggie and Max's experiences at a hotel.

Journal Writing
- Analyze the genre of journal writing.
- Use this book as an anchor text to model positive characteristics of good journal writing.
- Use this book to launch an in-class journal writing center where students write back and forth to one another in the same fashion as Maggie and Max.
- Launch an at-home journal writing activity over an extended break (Christmas, February, April, Summer, etc...)

Want to snag a copy of this book for your classroom?  Enter using Rafflecopter below.

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Lastly, be sure to check out Ali Maier's website for more resources and information!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tips for Implementing Engage NY's Math Modules in 60 Minutes

Are you struggling to adapt or adopt Engage NY's math modules?  You are not alone....and these tips may help!

Last year, my school adopted Engage NY's Math Modules (Eureka Math).  This is my second year teaching the 4th grade Math Modules.  I am frequently asked how I manage to squeeze in a whole module in 60 minutes.  Trust me, it is hard...and there really is no short answer for how to make it work.  However, here are a few tips to make implementing the math modules easier in 4th grade:

**Clipart in the image above is from Krista Wallden and Ramona Maidis***

Break up the Lesson - If the whole module lesson from Application Problem to Exit Ticket seems overwhelming to both you and your students try breaking it up.  Complete half the lesson before lunch or special and half after.  Try completing the fluency during morning meeting.  Activities like skip counting can be done while lining up throughout the day.  Sprints sometimes fit perfectly between the awkward break between lunch and recess.

Use Exit Tickets for Review - Rather than use an Exit Ticket to assess students daily, use a problem or two from the Problem Set to look over after each lesson and save the Exit Ticket to review for the Mid-Module and End-Module Assessments.  The modules (as of now) don't contain any review materials to prepare for their tests.  However, the Exit Tickets are short and sweet.  Combine a few to create a review packet or use the questions to make a class Jeopardy game!

Highlight Problems - Does the Problem Set take your students too long to complete?  Do they struggle with the front side and have little to no time to complete the back side?  Highlight the problems you'd like them to focus on.  If they finish early, they can always go back and work on the rest.  This way students get a variety of problems to solve.  No time to highlight?  Write down the letter or numbers you want students to complete on your whiteboard.  Don't skip the word problems at the end.  Chances are, those are the problems that will best prepare your students for the state test.

Send Home Problem Set Answer Keys - Are your parents confused as to how to complete this "new math"?  Download the Word document of the lesson from Engage NY's website.  Copy and paste the Problem Set Answer Keys from the teacher directions.  I like to enlarge them, print & copy them, and send them home in a packet for parents to use to assist students with their homework.

Prepare the Concept Development Problems in Advance - Look over the lesson ahead of time, select which problems you would like students to focus on, and create a Power Point or a Smart Notebook file with the problems.  That way, when you teach, the problems are already written out for you and you won't have to hold on to the script and continually refer back to it.  Teachers Pay Teachers has a wealth of pre-made resources that you can use.

Last, but not least, make it fun!  Add some review games or keep a record of student math knowledge with an Interactive Notebook.  Don't be afraid to add, modify, or tweak the curriculum to best meet your individual students' needs.  After all, you know them best!

What other tips do you have for making the Math Modules more user friendly and easy to implement?