Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Apply For This Grant Intermediate Teachers and a Great First Week Celebration!

Though much of the philosophy behind current mathematics instruction requires students to "discover" concepts through manipulatives and deeper experiences, the fact remains that if students do not have quick recall of basic facts, this will eventually catch up to them and impact their ability to build more complex concepts.  Reflex math offers an alternative to the traditional "drill and kill" routine and really engages kids with a structured and scaffolded approach to mastering the basic facts in both addition/subtraction and multiplication/division.  There are 8 or so games, all of which are ridiculously fun, as well as other motivational tools like an avatar, benchmark rewards, and engaging graphics.  There is also documentation of  hours logged for intervention documentation...easy to show growth or lack there of!

Reflex is  providing free, full access to their program for two teachers at a school, open to grades 2-8, teachers who provide math instruction.  The grant literally takes 10 minutes and is very simple, and I found out, along with my team teacher, about 4 days later.  Since then, I've had my kids on it every morning and they volunteer to come in at lunch, as well as utilizing it at home!  They have already logged thousands of fact practices and are loving the game format!  I have also noticed with a few of my struggling mathematicians, their confidence is increasing and they are definitely bringing their learning back with them to, I was working with a little girl who said, "Oh, I did this fact family this morning on Reflex" and proceeded to explain the relationship between multiplication and division!  It's a great opportunity to explore a normally pricey subscription!  Go for it and best of luck!!!

On a kindhearted, gooey note, one of my girls who is new to our school (we've only got 2 of our 18 kids new to the school) came in as proud as could be this morning.  She could barely get in the door before she was clambering to get this GIANT piece of paper from behind her raincoat.  With a big smile, she proudly announced, "I made the class a card! A big card!"  She took a whole bunch of notebook papers and taped them together and wrote our class name on the front, and then wrote the sweetest "Thank You" to all of the kids in the class explaining how she had made so many new friends last week and loves her new school.  She then proceeded to draw and name every student in the class on the inside of the card.  WOW....she made me a little leaky, because just yesterday we had had a very tough day with one of our ESE students who has some behavioral issues.  This was just the pick-me-up I needed and this little gem probably has no idea how much she made my day!  I will definitely be sending her one of our Weekly Stars notes on Friday to let her know!  

And finally, it's the small things that make me happy I guess, hehe.  I've had these giant hands for a few years and always want to use them but they really just end up sitting in the corner.  This year, my new little devils have obsessed about a way for me to use them.  One of my goals this year is to promote 100% engagement through the use of explicit instruction strategies. Well, today, they all had their thumbs up after think time and were ready to go, but our choral responses were a mess.  We just couldn't find or rhythm and so I snagged the green hand from the window sill and said, "Talk to the hand!"  Hmmmm...the light went on and suddenly our choral responses were perfect!  I thought this was a dated phrase, but apparently my fifth graders still know its meaning, and they thought it was pretty funny.  So now when I say, "Talk to the hand" and hold up my silly green hand, they are with it!  Goofballs.....but whatever works!
***I tried finding them on the internet but can't!  I am pretty sure I got them from but it's been several years.  There are giant-sized clappers I found during my search and of course, the oldy but goodie foam fingers would be fun too!

Have a great rest of the week!
:o) Heather