Achievement Gaps in Mathematics

Achievement gaps in math still exists.  Why?  Why do our students struggle with math and science.  Did you know that math is considered the "gatekeeper" of success or failure for high school graduation and career success (National Research Council)?  Students are falling below their expected levels of math achievement for a variety of reasons.  Is it because of the instruction, materials used in the classroom, or lack of connection between math and real life?  Could it be the student's lack of attention, the inability to retain information such as formulas, terminology or lack of experiences?  I'm sure there is some truth in all of the above. 

What can we as educators do to help students be successful in math?

I compiled a list of my top musts in a classroom.  I like to look at these as the threads in the fabric of the classroom. 


If you are in need of some fabulous math posters, I just happen to have them.  Take a look at the new posters.  They have customary and metric units. 


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Best Posts of 2014

I always like to look back to see what was the most read posts for the year.  I thought you might like to look back over your posts too and then link up.  Here are my best posts from 2014!

Snapshots of 2014

My best and most read posts from 2014:

If you want to link up this week, get the image below and link back to my blog!

Link Up Below:


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Solar System Projects Made Easy-FREEBIE

This project was created as a space saver and a time saver for teachers.  Classrooms are just about too small for 20+ solar system poster boards or display boards.  As a teacher, you want to teach students about the solar system and the planets but maybe lack resources or space to do it.  I created a planning board for students.

Students research their planet and then present their findings to the class using the planning board.  Check it out!


Other related projects you may like:


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Science in the Classroom- The Ultimate Starter Science Kit

Science will be a breeze with this starter kit.  We all have tons of reading and math materials.  Science materials usually gets pushed off the side.  This packet has almost 100 pages of content.  It includes: Life science, Earth Science and Physical Science. 


The Science Starter Kit includes tons of posters, close activities and tons of vocabulary cards!  

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Ugly Sweater Contest- Campus Wide Fun!

My campus celebrated another successful Ugly Sweater Contest.  The staff strutted and danced down the runway.  The room was full of students, parents and staff.  The music and laughter could be heard miles away.  

I have the best librarian.  She works tirelessly setting up a hard to beat Christmas Store.  Students bring in their allowances just to shop for their family.  We have some really nice gifts to choose from each year.  

 Each year the librarian brings her Christmas village and places it on display for the students.  The library is guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit.
I hope each of you have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy time with your family. 

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It's Wordless Wednesday: School Pictures

It is Wordless Wednesday with my friend, Miss Decarbo.  I dread picture day every year.  Why does the photographer feel the need to zoom in so close?  I'm sure you can tell by looking at my picture we had a bit of drizzle in the air.  My hair grows Texas Size when it starts to rain or even a threat of rain.    Wordless Wednesday a link up and I share a picture and ask a question.  So here goes....

I was probably in second grade in the first picture.  That seems so long ago!

Question:  What can I use to control my hair when it starts to rain?  HELP!

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Use Data to Identify and Help Struggling Students

Data meetings are very common on my campus.  Student data tracking is a constant given.  We are using data to see how students are performing on the standards and to plan for small group instruction.  The teachers on my campus are very blessed to have computer generated data at their fingertips.  I remember way back when we had to do that all by hand.  Oh, how I love technology.
Each data meeting has a focus.  The focus of the meeting last week was to look at student progress in reading and math.  Students were assigned intensive interventions to help bring up the scores.  If scores are increasing, it is a sign that the intervention is working.  For the students who are having no increase or showing a decrease in progress, we are making a change in small groups and/or intervention.
How does data day look?   Teachers come in my office during their conference period.  Data day is set well in advance.  I take care of everything else for them.  I run all the reports.  Provide all the handouts.  They come and discuss their concerns of individual students with me.  We assign intervention or dismiss students from intervention. 
After data day:  Teachers use their data to work with students on specific skills.  If teachers continue to use the same plan in intervention or small group, they will get the same results. 
How to stay organized?  All the data is kept in the teacher binder.  I punch holes in my handouts.  If it has holes, it goes in the binder. 
Read more about Data Days by clicking the picture:
Do you use data effectively?   Use data to improve student achievement. 


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Our Very Merry Christmas Staff Party

We had the best time at our annual Christmas party.  The room was filled with sounds of laughter, Christmas carols and smells of delicious food.

 Our staff Christmas party was held at a Culinary Arts building.  My staff brought a special appetizer or dessert from home.  We had chips and dips, fruit, cheese trays, cookies, and so much more.  I took about an hour that morning to decorate the building with candles, pine cones, lights, and poinsettias.  I wanted to make this Christmas party extra special for the staff.  We needed to relax and have a good time. 

 Let's talk about the games!  I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  We played a paper plate game.  Everyone was given a paper plate and a pen.  I told them to place the paper plate on their head and do not remove it to the end.  They had to draw what I told them to draw. 
1.  Draw a line for the floor.
2.  Draw a Christmas tree.
3.  Draw a fireplace with a mantel and a fire inside the fireplace.
4.  Draw decorations to the tree.
5.  Add stockings to the mantel.
6.  Add a star on top of the tree.
7.  Draw gifts under the tree.

I truly wish you could see their pictures.  In all the fun, I didn't think to take a picture of it.  Most drawings looked like a two year old did it.

 Reindeer Games:  We started off with two teams.  I had a team and my PE coach/AP had a team.  We both picked 6 people from the audience.  The teams were given a pair of pantyhose, a red dot for a nose and 12 balloons.  Each team had to blow up all 12 balloons, stuff them in the panty hose, put it on our head and give us a red nose.  The team who completes this the fastest wins.  We came in just seconds behind Team Adam.  All participants took home a poinsettia from the table.
Other games played:
We sang the 12 days of Christmas which was edited for a "school theme."  This was funny because the words to the song fit our campus or school experiences.  For example, 8 data meetings, 5 late buses, etc...

My gag gift from the staff- a big box of cups for the workroom.  We are always running out of cups.  I think they are trying to tell me something.  Hey, money is tight, right?


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