Sunday, April 22, 2012

Create Your Own Math Homework

Hello friends! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you with the math homeworks - I was crazy busy at the end of this week making sure everything was ready for this week's tests, and then yesterday I got some not so great news, and that kinda threw me for a loop. Then this morning I ran an 8K race (and in under an hour, I was very happy with myself!), but I am exhausted because of it (I actually have had a headache for most of the day - I hope it's not running related, because it's feeling really good to get back in the habit of running).

 Anyway, I went ahead and uploaded the homework packs to Google Docs as Word documents instead of PDFs (links below; example problem above) so that way y'all can download them and edit them how you need. Y'all are already going to have to do a bit of editing because of the dates on each homework set, but hopefully you won't have to change too much. Again, these homework questions are geared towards the skills and standards for third graders in Texas, but I think they should work for most any third graders (and, with some tweaking, could also work well for other grades!). If you end up using this for homework or otherwise, please let me know by leaving a comment! It really does give me a thrill every time I see via comments and blog posts that someone has used something I've created. I've been seeing my font pop up on lots of people's creations recently (it was especially shocking/surprising/amazing to stumble upon it when I clicked on this link via Joanna Goddard's blog, A Cup of Jo, because her blog has a HUGE following and has nothing to do with teaching), and it absolutely blows my mind that nearly 13,000 people have downloaded my font from - I honestly thought when I posted/shared it that only my teacher friends and followers would have any use for it. Crazy to think that many people are using my handwriting to create things - it really boggles my mind!!

Our third graders will be hard at work on their reading and math state tests this Tuesday and Wednesday, and then I'm leaving right after school on Thursday to head to New Orleans with my boyfriend for a wedding. I hope to share some of the things we did to review and prep for our STAAR test before I go out of town, because as tired as I was last week, I'm really pleased how everything turned out. Have a great week, y'all!

Create Your Own Math Homework #1

Create Your Own Math Homework #2

Create Your Own Math Homework #3

Create Your Own Math Homework #4

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


so, i know i'm supposed to use a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence, but when i type, i've always preferred not to. (shhhh, don't tell my students!) although i usually give in to convention, today i am so.dang.tired. that i can't even muster up the effort it takes to press the shift key to give you all the courtesy of capital letters. at least i'm still using apostrophes, commas, and periods. you're welcome.

this week has totally wiped me out. i think (and hope) my kids have enjoyed the the camping themed review, since it has meant we have had fun treats and two pop up tents in our classroom, but i am so exhausted from getting everything together that i can barely even think straight. yesterday there was a PTA meeting at 6:30, and because i don't live super close to my school, going home before the meeting and coming back wasn't an option. at 7:30, i looked at the agenda and realized we weren't even half way through the meeting, so i had to leave - i hadn't eaten since my lunch time at 12:30, so i'm sure they were glad i left, as my stomach was making some pretty loud and obnoxious noises. then today, we had a staff meeting 'til 4, i worked out, and then i got to get started on prepping for tomorrow...only i didn't really get to because i had so many papers/piles/messes to sort through/clean up. but, now i can see the top of my guided reading table, so at least the table is prepped for tomorrow...

anyway, the real reason i wanted to post today was to see if any of y'all would be interested in seeing/using the DIY math homework my kids have been using these past few weeks. in preparation for our STAAR test, i wanted to be sure my kiddos were still reviewing/practicing the skills they've learned this year, but i wanted to avoid giving them too much "to the test" type work because (a) it's boring, and (b) i didn't want them to become so tired of seeing/doing that kind of work that come test day, they are burnt out. so, in an effort to make things a little more fun and engaging BUT still meaningful, i came up with the idea of having my kids write their own math problems. each week, they must come up with 4 questions, but they have to follow a specific set of instructions as to how to create/write each problem (i.e., what numbers/operations to include, pictures to draw, etc.). they also have to come up with 4 answer choices. then, on fridays, instead of me grading their work for them, they have to get with a partner and trade homework, and they answer each others' questions! i do, obviously, still grade their work, but the conversations i overhear when my kids are answering each others' questions is SO worth not having a one size fits all, easy to grade with an answer key type of assignment. i also love that these assignments are totally self-paced - the kids who feel comfortable playing around with bigger, more complex numbers do, and at the same time, those who feel more confident sticking with smaller, easier numbers are able to do so without being penalized.

so, if you think you'd be interested in seeing and/or using these homework assignments, please let me know by leaving me a comment. i know some of you might want and/or need to tweak things to make the questions correlate with your grade level/state standards, so let me know if you're interested and i'll email you the files!

have a great rest of your week, y'all!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What We've Been Up To's been awhile! I hope you haven't given up on me. I have been so overwhelmed since I came home from my cousin's wedding - there's just so much to do! It took me awhile to get caught up with everything that happened while I was gone, and since our STAAR reading and math tests are coming up in just 8 days, I've been crazy busy trying to plan a fun review week for next week. Standardized tests are zero fun, that's all there is to it, so I want to make sure my class is able to enjoy themselves during the review/prep days before they're forced to sit in silence for four hours for two days in a row.

But - I didn't come here to write a post to rant about standardized tests - I wanted to show you some of the fun things we've been up to these past few weeks. We finished up our geometry unit by learning all about 3D shapes, and my kids had a blast building the different shapes with play dough and spaghetti! 

Then, while searching Pinterest for more geometry ideas, I cam across this activity from Heather over at Loose Shoelaces, and my kids LOVED it! It literally took my students ALL day to create their castles, but they were engaged the whole time, and, even though a lot of my students did not correctly calculate the total number of edges, faces, and vertices in their castle on the first try, once I told them which calculations were wrong, they were able to correct their numbers by actually looking at/touching the different parts of their castle, which was awesome. Love me some hands on activities!

I know that's not much of an update, but that's about all the time I can spare right now! I'm off to spend the rest of my day at school to prep for our review week. Since I decided to go with a theme, it makes planning easier, but I'd like to get everything ready today so that I'm not scrambling every day after school to make copies or figure out what to do next! Have a great week, y'all!