Monday, 3 September 2012

Math Notebooks, Question of the day and Calendar

Today is my last day of summer vacation!! Tomorrow is a Teacher Day, Opening Conferences Wednesday and kids come Thursday! My kiddos are coming in on a staggered entrance, so I get half Thursday and half Friday and then they all come Monday.
This might be a long post so stay with me! I want to talk about Interactive Math Notebooks, Math Writing in Math Daily 5 and my new idea for Calendar!
I’ve been trying to get my Math Notebooks Set up and ready for Math Daily 5.  I’ve been reading tons of posts and looking on Pinterest for ideas about how people use interactive notebooks. I really want them to be used to help my students, not just as a place to store worksheets (which I hate). We are going to record all the learning that we have been doing in math in these notebooks. Students will take them with them to their Daily 5 Math choices and use them as references and needed support. I am thinking that we are going to record and glue down new info and activities in them every Friday instead of making math choices that day. As the year progresses, and they become more independent, they might become a choice in Daily 5 Math in math Writing to finish up stuff.  I’m not sure yet.
So here is what I’ve set up so far. I went with buying the composition books. I’m not sure if this is the best choice as I’ve never used them before. Other teachers who use interactive notebooks were saying they like them better than binders and spiral notebooks, so we will see! I am not sure if they are going to be too small for the kiddos to write in. Hmm…..
Anyways……I made math notebook labels for the front. I still have to put the kids names in and then they will get packing taped down. 
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Inside the notebook on the back of the front cover I taped in a Ziploc bag. This will hold any paper pieces that kids don’t finish gluing down.
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I then found this great idea on Pinterest for keeping the notebooks closed once they are chock full of foldables and other stuff. Click {Here} to go to the original post.
They hole punched a hole in the back top corner of the notebook.
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And then put a large elastic band in and looped it.
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Then the kids stretch the elastic over the notebook to help keep it closed! Love it!
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Take 2. This picture actually took about 5 takes, as my kitten Jack loved that elastic band.  Voila!september2, 2012 025
Now onto Math Writing in Math Daily 5. One of the choices my kids chose from was Question of the Day. In the morning as part of my kids morning jobs, they have to come in and answer the Question of the Day. I got the idea from {HERE}.
I have 2 cookie sheets hot glue gunned up that say YES and No. The Question of the Day is always a yes or no answer. It also is something that does not have a right answer so kids can’t just copy what the person in front of them does. For Example: it might say “ Are your eyes blue?” and then kids have to find their magnet name (print names on coloured cardstock, cut, laminate and attach a magnet to the back) and put it on the cookie sheet that says YES or the cookie sheet that says NO. I just write the question of the day every morning on a dry erase strip above the cookie sheets.
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Then……at Daily 5 Math time, if you chose Math Writing: Question of the Day, then you could grab the Question of the Day page and use the data from the mornings question and record it!
For Example…lets say the question was “ Are your eyes blue?” then we might end up with 6 kids names under YES and 10 kids names under NO. The kiddos need to use that data to fill out a graph, ten frame, create a number sentence and write tally marks etc. My rounds in Daily 5 Math are only 15 minutes and most of my kids were able to complete this page independently in that time. In the beginning of the year, this page was only one sided. Then we added the second side later on. We also did this page whole group MANY times before it ever became a choice.
Phew. Are you still with me??? For anyone who has read this long and is still here Thank You!
Now onto Calendar…. I had mentioned in an earlier post that I don’t like Calendar and frankly don’t do it. I came across a fabulous idea that totally matches my thinking on this whole Calendar thing on Pinterest!
Instead of having students put up 1 new day every day, the whole calendar is already filled and set up with all the days of the month. (This is something I have been doing for a while!) It’s important for students to be able to see the whole calendar and make sense of it. They don’t use it as a “routine” or a set time for calendar, but rather a space to record special events in the students lives. {LOVE} They write down birthdays, pizza days, specials events in the class, moms and dads birthdays, holidays etc. The students began to see the connections between events in their lives and their friends lives and how days and weeks and months work! One teacher had the whole 12 month calendar up in her room! I don’t have that much space, but I might have them all on like a flip chart and flip through. We will record special events on sticky notes and attach them to our calendar. This will hopefully generate some great conversations about how long it is till certain events, when a certain event happened, etc.
If you want to read more about this idea..Weeds in the Garden has a great post about how she uses it in her classroom. Check that out {HERE}.
There is also a great article called “How many days till my Birthday?” It talks about helping Kindergarten students understand calendar connections and concepts. Check that out {HERE}.
PHEW. That is the longest post I have ever written. Thank you if you stayed all the way to the end!!
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  1. I love reading your ideas! I'm trying Daily 5 for Reading this year and if it goes well I'm interested in expanding it to Math as well. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

    Tales of An Elementary Teacher

    1. Thanks Elisabeth! This will be my 4th year doing Daily 5 for literacy and my 3rd doing Daily 5 for math! I will be posting more on both as my school year starts on Thursday!

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  3. I love the worksheet you use for ? Of the day. Where can I find it?

    1. I can email it to you if you'd like.


    2. Can I get a copy of the ? of the day worksheet also? ?


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