Sunday, May 28, 2017

Quote of the Week--May 28, 2017




"Don't follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you."

~Margaret Thatcher

Have a good week,



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Fidget Rules

We were in the middle of class meeting when a student got out his Silly Putty and started pulling it into long strings.  I asked him to put it away and he responded, "But that's my fidget!"

I said, "Thank you.  You have pushed me to a place where I will now do something about fidgets."

Fidgets are not new in my classroom.  Some students use movement and sensory items to help them stay calm and focused.  The new fidgets are creating distraction and chaos--the opposite of calm and focus.  I didn't want to ban fidgets outright.  I just wanted to return them to their rightful place in my room--in the hands of students who truly need them.

I did some quick research that day and presented my class with the new fidget rules:

1. A fidget is a tool to help you focus during times when you are expected to listen quietly.  It is not a toy.

2. A fidget should be something that no one else notices.  This means it should be silent, small enough to fit in your pocket or in your desk, and not distracting.

3. While using your fidget, you should still be able to look at whomever is speaking.  Remember, a fidget is to help you focus on what is happening.

4.  When a fidget is not in your hand, it should be in your backpack, pocket, or desk.

Now when I see a fidget that doesn't meet these rules, I ask the child to put it away.  If I see it again, I put it away.  I have been fewer problems with fidgets.

To download a free set of fidget rules posters, click here.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Quote of the Week -- May 21, 2017


"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

~Mark Twain

Have a good week,


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Song for Bijou by Josh Farrar

Alex Schrader meets Bijou Doucet who recently moved from Haiti after an earthquake.  Alex wants to date her, but Bijou's family doesn't want her to even befriend a boy.

I enjoyed learning about two cultures meeting and connecting.  What I didn't like was the lying the middle school students had to do to keep the adults from knowing what they were up to.  (I know.  I'm such a parent.)


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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Quote of the Week--May 14, 2017

"Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit."

~Moliere

Have a good week,


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Testing 1, 2, 3



I'm a little late this morning with my post...life happens.

There are two versions of each unit test in our math curriculum.  I use one as a pretest and one as a post test.  My students didn't know very much about statistics at the beginning of this unit.  I received a lot of question marks, "I don't know", and "I don't know yet." (Thank you Growth Mindset.)

One student circled the words statistical question on the first page of the test and wrote, "Why is this a thing?"

And then there was the response shown above (edited so you can read it):

"Mountains have gaps and peaks.  More out = outlier.  A cluster of donuts. (Hey, I haven't the faintest idea. :)"

I hope he doesn't answer this way on the SBA this month.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Quote of the Week--May 7, 2017


"The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been."

~Henry Kissinger

Have a good week,


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Basic Operations of Fractions and Decimals Self-Assessment


 This year I am teaching sixth grade math to a group of fifth grade gifted students.  One of the units in our curriculum taught basic operations of fractions and decimals.  It was a cumbersome unit, so I took it apart by skill and made sure my students knew their strengths and weaknesses.

I created this document for students to keep track of their progress throughout the unit.  I would give a pretest, reteach small groups using whiteboards, and then retest to ensure mastery.

To download Basic Operations of Fractions and Decimals Self-Assessment, please click here.

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