Sunday, March 27, 2016

Joy Cowley Collection & Contest

If you've taught K-2 then you are familiar with Joy Cowley's character, Mrs. Wishy-Washy. I taught first grade for three years and the kids loved reading about Mrs. Wishy-Washy. Did you know that Joy Cowley has other characters too? I had a chance to review some books and share those characters with you. 

The first character I'd like to share with you is Miniboy. Miniboy and his friend Mousie travel into the Land of Kitchen. They are trying to avoid Big Foot and get good things to eat. In each of the books I reviewed, Miniboy and Mousie went on different adventures together. 

The other character I would like to tell you about is Hairy Bear. Hairy Bear is married to Mrs. Bear. He is always fixing things around his house. He has a few misadventures, but that's what makes Hairy Bear fun. It seems like Hairy Bear might be a little accident prone but Mrs. Bear is always there to help him feel better. 

I love both of these characters because they would appeal to boys as well as girls! Each of the characters have friends who help them out so there is a great character connection there. I also love the fact the each book has teaching ideas inside the back cover. Teachers and parents can find a list the features of the text and questions to ask before, during, and after reading. 

These books would be a great addition to any K-2 classroom. Check out the character sets available here.

Would you love to win a collection of Joy Cowley books for your classroom? Click the photo below to enter. The contest ends April 13th so make sure to enter now. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Math Groups from AL to DE- Digital Connections

I am so excited about the math groups we have been doing and I wanted to share. I connected with Mrs. Corey through a #MysterySkype. We decided to do something beyond that with our classes so we started brainstorming and planning.

Using Google Docs and Voxer, we were able to develop an idea for our students to work together even though my class is in Alabama and hers is in Delaware. We started with a getting to know you activity. The kids had video conferences using rooms we created. They completed a Google Doc before meeting and then shared information about themselves and had to find 3 things everyone had in common.

Here is the Getting to Know You directions:

Let’s get to know our math collaboration team!

Your Task:
Type some interesting facts about yourself that you’d like to share with your group members.

Make sure to include…
  • your name
  • age
  • favorite subject (not recess or lunch)
  • 5-6 facts about yourself

You will meet your group members via your group’s room on Thursday. You’ll have a chance to share your facts and learn about each other. Try to find things you have in common.

Each roup is challenged to find at least 3 things every member has in common.

Remember to put your name at th8e top of this document in the color you will use to type and reply to your peers!

After our first meeting both classes were really excited! So we planned another meeting, this time the kids had to present a word problem and let the others solve it. Then they had to explain how they solved the problem. As we went we found that not all the kids were engaged the entire time. If they presented the problem they were just sitting and waiting for the other members to solve. So we made some changes. The next time they are going to all be presented with the same word problem at the beginning of their video conference. Then they will each solve the problem and collaborate on Google Slides to share how they solved the problem. Our hope is that the kids will be able to share different strategies they are using.

We couldn't do this without Google accounts and the technology to allow for our Video meetings. Each student has their own Google account so it allows them to create and collaborate on docs and slides even though half of their team is in Delaware.

My homeroom wanted in on the action too so Mrs. Corey recruited Mrs. Marsh. Mrs. Marsh's class works with my homeroom class now too. We are having a great time, using technology, learning about math strategies, and making new friends. I've had a few people ask how we are doing the math groups so I wanted to share in case anyone else is interested in doing them too. If you have any questions don't hesitate to connect with me on Twitter- @MWhiteMES.

I have a little bit of happy news of my own, I took the test and I'm officially a Google Certified Educator, Level 1. I'm really thrilled about this!