Sunday, July 28, 2019

Retesting in Math Class


Do you allow students to retest?

Do you have a system for retesting?



Testing and grading is necessary for any classroom environment. Students need to know from their teachers how well they are performing. To measure that performance a test is required. Is it okay to give a test more than once? Do you allow your students to retest if they do not perform well the first time? 

Retesting in Math Class

Retesting and grading can be done many different ways. Some of the most popular ways to grade are with letters (A, B, C) or for mastery (on target, progressing). Regardless of your grading system, grades need to be distributed fairly and given with regularly.

In the last blog post “Grading Math Assignments”, a grading system for math tests was explained. It’s important to know how to properly grade a math test before it is given. The key components for grading need to be in place to give a fair test. 


Key Components for Retesting


1.       Why retest?


What’s the point? Why are you retesting? What are you assessing? The end goal should be apparent. For example, the students need to know how to add integers. The retest should reflect the student showing that they understanding that skill.

2.       What to test?


What do the students need to know? For example, the students need to know how to add integers. The test should then only be about adding integers. There should be no confusing or off topic questions. Keep the goal simple. Keep the test goal aligned to the content.


3.       When to retest?


Students need to be given a time after the first math test to stop and reflect. After being given a test the first thing the students look at is the grade. “Wow I scored a ….!” The reaction then gives way to automatic self-reflection. Students instantly know why they scored the way they did. They don’t need a four point scale to know why they didn’t earn a passing grade. Students know for themselves if they prepared, practiced, and know the material. 

4.       How do you retest?


When your students are ready to retest you can be ready. Have a retest form already prepared. What’s your plan? Tell your students what they need to do to retest. Click HERE to use the retest form in Math class
Retests are opportunities for students to show growth.



Retesting in math class doesn’t have to be difficult. Make a plan. How do you want to retest? What will be on the retest? When will you allow your students to retest? The next time your students take a test think about how you will give retest opportunities too. 
Want to learn more about helping your students with Test retakes? Watch the PD Video today! >>Click HERE<< 


Happy Teaching! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Math Read Aloud The Greedy Triangle

Do you want to start Math Read Alouds in your class?

Do you want activities that accompany your Math Read Aloud?


Math Read Aloud The Greedy Triangle


The Read Aloud Math series is a monthly blog post about one book that can be used for grades 3-5 and grades 6-8. Every month there is a Math Book Read aloud that will be shared with different resources for elementary and middle school math teachers to use.

This month's Math Read Aloud is "The Greedy Triangle" by Marilyn Burns. The book is not included in the Math Read Aloud packet. You can purchase the book separately HERE. The Math Read Aloud packet includes comprehension questions, discussion questions, math craft activity, teacher directions, and a read aloud report.


August's Read Aloud Math book "The Greedy Triangle" is great book to read to Upper Elementary and Middle School students. The Geometry concepts make real world connections for students. A fun and engaging way to look at two-dimensional shapes.

The Greedy Triangle Math Activities for Grades 3-5 Features:

✔Discussion Questions {with answer key}
✔Math Shape Craft Activity {with student & teacher directions, and pictures}
✔Math Shape Writing Activity {2 versions}
✔Read Aloud Report {response paper with & w/out rubric}

Click HERE to view the Preview for Upper Elementary students. 

The Greedy Triangle Math Activities for Grades 6-8 Features: 


✔Discussion Questions {with answer key}
✔I Want More Sides Activity {with answer key}
✔Design a Math Shape Activity {with student & teacher directions, and pictures}
✔Math Shape Writing Activity {2 versions}
✔Read Aloud Report {response paper with & w/out rubric}

Click HERE to view the Preview for The Greedy Triangle Middle Math Activities.


Looking to add more Read Alouds to your Math class this year? Join the Math Read Aloud Series today!



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    Sunday, July 21, 2019

    What's a Math Read Aloud?

    Do you do Math Read Alouds with your students?

    What types of Math Read Aloud books do you use?

    Do you read any Math books to your students?


    What's a Read Aloud in Math class look like? 


    A Read Aloud is when the teacher is reading a book aloud to students. A Read Aloud in Math class is the math teacher reading a math book (not the textbook) aloud to students. When we read to students, we help students practice listening skills and invite them to engage with the text if they might not be able to read it themselves.

    Choosing a Math book to read aloud can be a challenge. You want to pick a book that is on their level, contains grade level appropriate math content, and is easy to discuss after reading aloud. There are many books out there that claim to be "math", but fall short on the content. 

    What's the Math Read Aloud series? 


    The Math Read Aloud series is a monthly blog post about one math book that can be used for grades 3-5 and grades 6-8. Every month there is a Math Book Read aloud that will be shared with different resources for elementary and middle school math teachers to use. This is an easy to read series that any math class can benefit from. Included are teacher directions, student activities, and discussion questions. 



    Why should I read in Math class? 


    Reading is important. Have you ever looked at your school's test scores at the end of the year. Really looked at the overall test scores? Let's use a sample school's data called ABC middle school. So ABC had 78% of students score on grade level or above for ELA and only 70% of students score on grade or above level for Math. Is this typical data? Yes. Why? To do today's math you need to not only know your arithmetic skills, but you need to read and synthesize information. This is where Read Alouds help in Math class. 

    Sign up to join the Math Read Aloud Series every month! 


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      Grading Math Assignments


      Do you hate grading math assignments?

      Do you get anxiety from grading “all the things”?
      GREAT Teachers do not stress about grading math assignments. They plan for it. This blog post is part of the series, "6 Things GREAT Teachers do". Grading is one of the key parts of teaching. Read the different types of grading options and choose a grading strategy for your classroom today!

      Grading Math Assignments


      Grading is necessary for any classroom environment. Students need to know from their teachers how well they are performing. Grading can be done many different ways. Some of the most popular ways to grade are with letters (A, B, C) or for mastery (on target, progressing). Regardless of your grading system, grades need to be distributed fairly and given regularly. 
      What do grades look like in today’s classroom? Here are some examples of how grades can be given in today’s classroom. 

      1.       Grading Math Warm ups 


      There are a couple different ways to grade Math Warm ups and Bellwork effectively and efficiently. Try one of these ways to help you grade in less time. Grade weekly by collecting bellwork on Fridays, grade bi-weekly and only grade every other week. Any more frequent than a week and you are doing more work, and any less frequent than two weeks it will become less effective for the students to relate bellwork and a grade earned. 

      2.       Grading Classwork & Homework


      Grading classwork is tricky. You could grade all the things and grade classwork every day of the school year. Or you could do less grading and collect a grade for classwork once a week. Grading less shows students that what they do in class matters. Any less frequent than once a week and students start to disassociate classwork with a grade (or importance). 


      Homework is also a catch to grade or not. It’s important to practice skills outside of the classroom, but grading it all can take a lot of time. A method that works well is grading a set number of homeworks a quarter. Set up at the beginning of the quarter the number of assignments and maybe even when they will be due. It will show students the importance of homework and they will be able to prepare for doing some homework at home.

      3.       Grading Exit Slips


      Math Exit slips are important to assess informally what students know. Taking a grade for an informal assessment is not necessary. Exit slips or tickets are for students to display what they know about a math skill before they leave your classroom. Make it informal and do not take it for a grade. That’s one less grade you will need to mark, but will give you information if the student is ready to test or move on to the next skill. 

      4.       Grading Tests


      Having a good syllabus with a grading system in place is key for testing. Students will know what they need to score to do well and show mastery. If students do not show mastery on a test give them the opportunity to make it up. Students who do not do well on a test and have the opportunity to improve will learn a great life lesson. They need to get up, practice and apply themselves again. After giving students a math retest like in the Math Mindset retest form HERE.
      Students not only do better on the test, but they now have gained more knowledge to apply forward. Retesting should not be given lightly, but with a firm explanation that this is an OPPORTUNITY that they can take to earn a higher grade. Students will see it as a chance for redemption and take the challenge.


      Grading and recording math assignments doesn’t have to be hard. Start by setting a goal for the course. How many grades do you want to distribute? Plan ahead and your grading will be much easier and organized. Get the FREE Grading Rubric today!


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        Sunday, July 14, 2019

        Having Consequences for the Classroom

        Do your students follow all the classroom rules? 

        Do your students test their boundaries?  

        Do you have consequences for your classroom?


        Having Consequences for the Classroom 

        Consequences are necessary for any classroom environment. Students need to know their boundaries within the classroom. Consequence is defined as "a result or effect of an action or condition." They are a direct result of an action taken by a student. Help your students know that consequences are the boundaries that help them behave appropriately. 

        Build Relationships First

        If you haven't already read the blog post, "How to create a positive environment", I recommend doing that first. As teachers we need to work on creating the best environment for our students first, then enforce consequences after rules have been broken. One of my favorite ways to build relationships with students is through a ticket system. Not all students are intrinsically motivated, and some students need external motivation to follow the rules. 
        The ticket reward system is to acknowledge your students are doing "the right thing." It is a positive re-enforcement system for one class or many. (I have used this system both in elementary and middle schools with all different cultures). Do you love being rewarded for doing something right? Yes! Most people love being rewarded and your students will love this too! 
        You can award tickets to your students for good behavior, turning in homework, completing a project, finishing all the classwork, or helping a fellow student. Have a set list of things that you will award tickets for. Make it as fair a system as possible that any student in the classroom has an opportunity to win a ticket. 


        These are the tickets I have used with affiliate link. Students write their name on the ticket and then place it in their class bucket. Every Friday I pull tickets for candy or prizes at the end of the math class or day. Students then leave the class motivated to continue to do well to earn a prize. 

        How do I apply consequences? 

        What do consequences look like in today’s classroom? Here are some examples of consequences that you can use in your classroom today.

        1.       Verbal Warning


        Students need reminders. Some students need lots of reminders. When they get comfortable, they forget what they are doing. Giving students verbal warnings is a good way to get them to redirect their behavior in a positive way. The appropriate way to address a student and give a verbal warning is to say, “{Student’s Name}, please stop {inappropriate behavior}, and {state what behavior they should be doing}.”

        An example of this would be when Susie is texting in class. Say, “Susie, please stop texting on the phone. The school rule is 'all phones must be turned off and put away in your bookbag'.” Notice that the statement was broad and only used Susie’s name once to gain her attention. It is simply a statement used to remind the student of a school policy. Practice these statements to gain confidence in giving short responses.

        2.       Phone Call to Parent/Guardian


        Phone calls to parents and guardians should not be avoided. Involving the parents into the process is helpful in understanding why there is a situation occurring at school. Make sure to gather accurate phone numbers at the beginning of the school year for every student. Use a general contact card to get parent/guardian emails and phone numbers to create open communication all year long.

        3.       Lunch Detention


        Having detentions served during lunch is a great alternative to before and after school detentions. Depending on the school, lunch detentions could be served in your classroom or in the hallway of your school. Have the students complete a reflection prompt during lunch detention? Have them think about their actions that resulted in a lunch detention. 



        4.       Conference Meeting with Parents


        Hold a conference with parents, student, guidance counselor, and any other teachers that work with the student. This is a great time to talk about the positives that the student does and refocus the student to make better choices in behavior and/or academics in the future.

        5.       Referral to Dean or Principal


        Referring a student to the dean or principal should be the last thing that you do. Take all of the above actions first. Make sure you give the student plenty of verbal warnings and ask them to knowledge your warnings. Phone the parents and create that line of communication. Have the student complete a lunch detention. Have a conference meeting with parents and administration.

        Making and keeping consequences doesn’t have to be hard. Start by sending home a parent assignment to get your parents communicating with you now!  
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