Monday, May 26, 2014

Geometry Vocabulary with Geoboards

Teachers: May the data be ever in your favor.

It's my least favorite time of year...It's testing time! 
 I know many Virginia teachers and students who are stressed out as they wait to take tests and get scores back.    I'm hoping everyone gets the result they worked so hard for!

In an effort to break up the tetsing preparation and multiple choice response practice, I am making sure kids get some hands on review too. 
We are currently working on geometry and the math vocabulary is killer but crucial.  Students are getting these words all mixed up in their little 9 year old brains.  To help them, we are making vocabulary math matching cards and also these posters. I believe in lots of visuals so kids created these congruent shapes and symmetrical figures by cutting out shapes from folded paper. 

Look at how elaborate some of these symmetrical shapes were.  I ended up having to confiscate scissors because kids wanted to keep making these figures after this lesson was over.  Found lots of little symmetrical shape cut outs inside of desks busted!

We also used the geoboards a lot during this ongoing practice.  Kids absolutely loved using them.  Here we were making congruent shapes. 

This little girl made a rectangle and proved it has a square or right angle. 

Besides using the real geoboards...we found this great geoboard ap on our Ipads.  
SO cool!!  

The kids were so into using the geoboards for this practice so I created a two page document called "Design and Draw".  Here I gave the students a geometry word and they had to design it on the geoboard and then draw it on their recording sheet.  

This is a good hands on activity to use during guided math stations.  I like it because it is hands on yet also makes students accountable since they have to turn in the proof of their correct thinking.
I have posted it as a free item on Teachers Pay Teachers.  
You can find it here:

I'd love to hear how you are handling testing pressure and preparation.
Common core friends...there is so much talk about your testing.  What are you thinking?
I would love to hear!

email me....

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week


Memorial Day is an important holiday for my family.  
We spent time putting one thousand flags at the grave sites at Quantico National Cemetery. 
It was an honor. 

Let us never forget those who gave it all. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

.too funny

They sure can.  
Did you ever have everything figured out and something happens that turns everything upside down?  Rethinking my thinking wears me out so I took the advice below and headed to the water. 


My sweet family got me a one man kayak for Mother's Day so I could hit the water on my own whenever I wanted.  I paddled until my arms hurt and then just let myself float. 
 Just what I quiet, peaceful, still.  
Not a soul but me on the water. 

Just what the doctor ordered. 
Am I any closer to a decision....maybe not but I've got a better 
attitude about it. 
What is your remedy for a troubled mind?  
Do you have advice for me? Would love to hear! 

In the meantime I'm going to share another favorite from my playlist.
I love this whole new feel good album  but this line from "The Heart" got stuck in my head:
Long live the heart, long live the soul that knows what it wants.
Take a listen....

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Be More Heart, Less Attack

This is one of my favorite songs on my playlist right now. 

I was listening to it just now and started thinking about my students and a setback we encountered. 
It still sits heavy on my heart so I thought I'd blog about it.  
We hit a rough patch a week ago when some of my kids were caught being unkind to another student in our school. It turned out this was an ongoing problem and one that I was not aware of.   I was so sad and disappointed in them, but also in me. How had I missed this? We had a long serious talk and lots of tears were shed by all.   These are good hearted kids who just need the adults in their lives to step in and guide them in a better direction. 

 As teachers we can get so caught up in the academics that we can lose sight of all that is really important.  I try to teach compassion in action, try to be a model of empathy but we live in a troubled world and sometimes a more direct approach is needed. 

                                                      Here is a great book on the topic for parents....

And for the teacher....

 Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson  come to a bold conclusion - when compassion thrives, so does learning. Building trust, reducing conflict, improving cooperation, all maximizes the potential of each student.
I totally believe in this. 

The Hundred Dresses is one that my mother and I read together when I was a child. 
Now I get to read it to my students.  
Timeless message

We have a growing problem with homelessness in this area.  It is not uncommon for students to see the homeless on our busy street intersections begging for handouts. 
The Lady in the Box is a story that helps students build their empathy for those less fortunate. 

Fnally, Stand in My Shoes helps teach students to become more empathetic with people throughout their day. It includes lots of day to day real life examples of how kids can show kindess to those around them. 

What if all our kids grew up to learn to be more heart and less attack....

How do you teach kindness in your classroom.
Would love to hear...