School’s (Almost) Out Blog Hop!

School’s ALMOST out!  It’s so hard to believe that we are in our 4th quarter and the school year is dwindling down!  I currently have 2 countdowns – yes 2!  One for Apple Blossom (a strange festival where all the people in the city I work for shut down school and most businesses to enjoy a 4 day weekend of crazy tree lovin’ goodness) which begins Thursday at noon when we release the kiddos.  The second is for the end of the school year (DUH!) which is 31 days away.  However… I’m TOTALLY not counting!  I know you aren’t either…. heheh YEAH RIGHT!
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In order to celebrate the momentous occasion that is the end of the school year, I’m linking up with the School’s (Almost) Out Blog Hop hosted by Krystal Mills who writes Lessons from the Middle and Joey Udovich from Create, Teach, and Share!
Lessons From The Middle  
This year has been a year of firsts for me! It was my first year…
    • as the Math Specialist in my school building. 
    • teaching resource classes
    • teaching 5th, 6th, and 7th graders (I’ve somehow had 8th graders for 7 years!)
    • as the math department chair
    • dealing with math placement for my school’s students
So lots of new experiences all around!  I’m going to devote the rest of this post to how I plan to change the structure of my Resource classes next year. First you need to know a little bit more background knowledge.  For the past 8 years I have taught for 87 minutes to eighth grade students (classes ranging from pre-al to geometry honors).  This year, upon moving to be a resource teacher, I was given 40 minutes (on a good day!).  So, not only did I need to rethink classroom management styles, I also needed to think about how to structure my classroom.  Each quarter I changed my structure a bit – I decided I needed a good chunk of time to really work through the kinks.
1st and 2nd quarter there was a lot of teacher instruction with activities.  We spent times working on multiplication facts, fractions, and measures of central tendency.  I found that 70% of my kiddos did really well with this…but, my really low, really weak mathematicians continued to struggle and need more help.  So, 3rd quarter I restructured so that activities were more independent based.  Students were given activities and they worked at their own pace.  This allowed me to work with students one-on-one and really help the strugglers.  Again, this worked for about 70% of my kiddos, but my mathematicians who aren’t great at self-motivating got by with the least amount of work they could possibly do.
Soooo… in the 4th quarter, I changed to a meld of the two.  Currently on Mondays, we do a lesson together and students get an activity to work on for the week.  They have part of Monday and all of Tuesday to work on it (I can work with kiddos who need extra help).  On Wednesday and Thursday we work on an individualized computer math program (more about this soon) and on Friday, if they have completed their assignment well, can explain the concept to me, and have showed mastery of the topic, they get free time with various math games.  This 4th quarter has, by far, been the most successful as far as management.  The biggest irritant (is that too strong of a word?!) are the 2 computer days.  We are required to do the program for 2 days a week.  Watching my kiddos on the computer seems like a HUGE waste of time.  SOOOO… I think I’ve come up with a solution for next year that involves my 4th quarter ideas AND a way to get around 2 days of watching my kiddos interact with a computer program that I am not allowed to help them with.
Here goes… (remember…this is in the EARLY, early, early, stages of planning… any ideas or help would be GREATLY appreciated!!!!)
Instead of having all 10 kiddos doing the same thing everyday, I am going to try stations.  I think if I make 5 stations around my room, I can have all my kiddos interacting with an area 5 days a week.  This will allow for a few things:  one-on-one time with me, independent time for an activity, 2 days of computer time, AND a free day to play math learning games.
Here is kind of what I have mapped out so far:
And,  yes, I am that person who has to draw out where I want everything (even when it’s for people coming over for a party – I plan out where the food will be… OCD much?).  Anyhoo, I feel much better now that I have taken the time to put that on paper!  Here’s hoping I don’t get my room changed on me now!!
So the plan is to have each kiddo have their own schedule card (make sure to check below for your own FREE template copy!) that will keep them posted as to what activity they are doing on each day.  If we miss a day for snow or whatever the reason, then when we come back, regardless of what day it is, the student continues the schedule on whatever the current day of the week it is.   This schedule will allow me to work with 2 kiddos one-on-one each day and really delve into their needs while still allowing flexibility AND not having to watch 40 kiddos on a computer in two days.  
I really think this might be a great mix.  For now, I am excited for the change – almost so much that I want to implement it now.  Unfortunately, I am sharing laptops with 2 other rooms and my days are Wednesday and Thursday.  I’ve already talked to technology about having my own laptops for next year, since I only need 6. 
And… I already played with what the scheduling card each kiddo will get, in addition to the one I will hang up.  You can grab yours for FREE here by clicking on the picture…

So, what do you think? Am I nuts? Do you think it will work? Do you have any other ideas or suggestions to share?  I’d LOVE to hear from you!  Leave me some love below!! 

Oh, and I’m thinking of a new behavior management system too… in my head I keep seeing a huge Battleship board…. once I figure that out, I’ll post about it to!!
OH!!! and I forgot to mention, that as a part of this blog hop there is a giveaway!!  Make sure to check out Krystal and Joey’s main blog for all the details, but you can sign up right here!  They are giving away a TON of TpT stuff including my MEASUREMENT WARS (best seller) AND a $35 gift card.  Sign up!  You have nothing to lose!

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Make sure to click on each of the pictures below to jump to a new blog and hear all about their exciting ideas!

Little Lovely Leaders Addie Education – Teacher Talk
The Teacher Wife 2PeasAndADog Blog
MissMathDork Composition Classroom The Teaching Bank
An Educator's Life Numbers Rule My World The SuperHERO Teacher's Adventures and Advice!
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