Before I go out and start stuffing my face with turkey (yummmm!!!) I wanted to take a second to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Americans out there - and to all of the other teachers out there, not from America, have a WONDERFUL day!

I am so thankful for Teachers pay Teachers and so thankful for all of the teachers out there!

Teaching is a tough job! There is a lot that goes into it, and sadly, it's usually a thankless one. I personally am so thankful for all of you though. You are changing lives every day in the classroom, and are making the world a better place! <3

Be safe!

## Thursday, November 27, 2014

## Thursday, November 20, 2014

### Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due: Grading Fairly

***Disclaimer: The thoughts shared in this post are my opinion. I would love love to hear other peoples thoughts on best grading practices.

My
6yr old daughter has spelling tests every week at school, and I hate it. I feel
like spelling tests are pointless. Being able to write a word one week doesn’t
mean anything to me – especially if you don’t understand what the word means or
how to use it. So far, Dixie has done well on her tests. However, every week I
anxiously wait for her to bring the graded test home so I can see the grade and
breath a sigh of relief. I get anxious because I know how much each word is
worth – 10points. Missing 3 words on the test means getting 30% of the test
wrong and earning a C grade (70%). Misspelling 4 words would give her a *gulp*
60%. The most annoying thing to me is that if she has 4 words like

(from this
week's list):

**those woke stone joke**
and
spells them:

She
would have missed only 4 out of the 18 letters she needed to write down
correctly. Adding in the other 6 words on her list, missing 4 letters means
missing 9.3% of the test (there are 43 letters in all that make up the entire
list of words).

In
my book missing 9% of a 100-point test, should not constitute a near failing
grade. Should it?

Having
an elementary-school-age child has changed my philosophy on grading in the
classroom. Throughout the years, I’ve gone through a plethora of ideas on best
grading practices. Originally I was a teacher who if you solved a problem like
2x+6=4 and wrote x= 1, would make the problem wrong no matter what, and move on
to the next one. The more I think about it though, the more I dislike the black
and white “wrong is wrong” line of thinking when it refers to grading. Why do I
think this? Because I feel, it is mathematically incorrect.

Here’s
an example why:

When
I teach students how to solve equations, I am teaching them steps they need to
follow to correctly solve equations. I am not teaching them that 4/2 = 2
(teaching that was someone else's responsibility). I am teaching students that
when they see parentheses around an expression that includes a variable they
can remove the parentheses by distributing. I am teaching them that when they
see a variable multiplied by a coefficient on one side of the equation and a
constant on the other they should isolate the variable by performing the
inverse operation (division) to both sides of the equation. In the situation
above Jessie is showing me that he has a good grasp of the method I’ve taught.
The mistake he made was big enough to change his answer, but it is not big
enough for me to mark the question as entirely wrong.

I
give credit for work done correctly. I do not believe in marking a problem
completely wrong because a minor mistake led to a wrong answer. If I were to
give a 10 question, 100-point test on solving multi-step equations (like the one
shown above) each question would be worth 10 points. When I grade work my line
of thinking goes something like this:

If
this question were worth 10 points on the test, I would give this answer 6 or 7
out of 10 points. Jessie completed the majority of the steps correctly – and
his grade should reflect that. I do not think it is fair to allow a minuscule mistake like this to cause a failing grade.

I
don’t want to get into this too much (this post is already longer than I
anticipated) but one of my major issues with standardized testing nowadays is
that they do grade students in black in white, “wrong is wrong”, “right is
right” form. Standardized testing ignores everything a student does right and
puts all of the attention on minuscule mistakes made, which is unfair. Outside
of school in the real world we recognize that mistakes are part of being human.
Standardized testing ignores that part of human nature and expects absolute
perfection.

I for one would take pride in receiving an
answer like the one given by Jessie above. It shows that Jessie is grasping the
methods I’ve spent time teaching in class. Standardized testing ignores that
anything was done correctly to solve a problem. Jessie would receive the same
grade for his work as a student who chooses to go through the test highlighting
random answers without doing any work at all – which is wrong.

How
do you grade students work? Do you give credit for work done, or mark
everything wrong if the answer is wrong?

IDisclaimer:: I asked my daughter to write the words incorrectly for me so I could add a graphic to the post. She asked me to make sure I shared with you that she does know how to spell the words above correctly. :)

Picture for the title post is from:: Robert Couse-Baker

Clip Art is from: Lovin Lit

Fonts are from: KG Fonts

## Friday, November 14, 2014

### Task Card Relay

I
was thinking about games in the classroom the other day and had a new (to me)
idea. I know I've written this before, but task cards are awesome! Students
enjoy them much more than they do completing worksheets. Having one problem on
a card vs. 10+ makes them seem less challenging.

So,
here’s an idea to try:

Divide students into group of 4-6. On a large table (or
on the tray under a whiteboard) set up stacks of task cards. Put enough task
cards in the stack to make sure each student in a group will be able to have
one. If there are 4 students per group, set up stacks of 4 task cards. Then,
have students stand in rows (separated by group). Count to 3, and on the first
students quickly walks up to the board, grabs the top task card, and solves it.
Once they finish, they tag the next person in their group. That student grabs a
task card, solves it, then tags the next person.

If
the task cards are on a subject students are struggling with, have groups of
students team up so that 2 students are working on each task card problem.

The
first group to complete their task cards CORRECTLY wins!

*Task
cards with QR Codes would work perfectly because rather than scanning an answer
sheet to see if students have the correct answers, the teacher (or teacher
assistant) can scan the cards and see if answers match.

The
hard part of playing games like this where students need to be quick to win, is
that some students are just slow. I always try to make sure each group has an
even number of slower students, and I try to make sure those students are the
first in their group(s) to go, so that they aren't left at the end, embarrassed
and sad that their team didn't win.

What
do you think of a “task card relay”? Do you play games where students race each other to complete problems in your
classroom? How do they work for your students?

~In other totally unrelated news, I woke up this morning, checked out the weather via my weather app, and thought about crawling back into bed and letting my daughter skip school today when I saw the temperature was 23°*gasp*

I mean, it's only November. Here in AL it Jan & Feb. are out coldest months. We live down South to avoid the cold. Brrrr.....Anyone else freezing today?Fonts for this post came from: KG Fonts

Clip art is from: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Glitter-Meets-Glue-Designs

## Friday, November 7, 2014

### Bundle of Math Resources 80% Off!

__Math Teachers of TpT CD Bundle__

I
am thrilled to be one of eleven Math Teachers of TpT to team up to bring you
Volume 2 of math resources for 3rd through 9th grades at a deep discount.

Included
in this bundle is $125 worth of product for only $25 plus shipping! That’s 80%
off! The sale ends on Sunday so make sure to purchase your copy soon!
They’d make a great gift for all your math teacher friends - so get your
holiday shopping done soon!

Here
is a preview of what is included in the bundle:

Click on the picture above to purchase the bundle.

## Wednesday, November 5, 2014

### Math is Real Life: Thanksgiving Holiday Expenses

__Math is Real Life: Thanksgiving Holiday Expenses__

Some
of my fellow Math TpTers host a
monthly link up called “Math is Real Life.” I’ve gone through and read
all of the previous posts – and LOVE it! I’m so excited to link up this month!

Link up is hosted by:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I
use math every day - mostly, for
budgeting. Thanksgiving is coming up and my husband asked me to figure out what
extra Thanksgiving holiday expenses I expect – so that he can include it in our
budget for this month.

There are 4 main parts of our Thanksgiving
holiday expenses.

We
budget around $700 for grocery money each month. This year we will be hosting
Thanksgiving dinner for part of our family, so there will be extra grocery
expenses from that. Since school is out the entire week of Thanksgiving, and
since my husband is off work that week, we also plan to do some traveling,
which means we’ll need extra gas money set aside! I’m super glad cyber Monday
ends up in December this year – so any money we spend then will come from
either December’s budget, or our Christmas savings account. However, black
Friday spending money needs to be budgeted from our November pay checks, or from our Christmas savings account.

__Food Budget:__

Turkey
Breast: $25

Stuffing:
$2

Cranberry
Sauce: $2

Gravy:
$1.50

Potatoes:
$4

Green
Bean Casserole: $6

Pie:
$8

**Total: $48.50**

__Decorations:__

I purchased fall themed napkins last year on clearance, and I have loads of heavy duty paper plates, so I'm set on that (yay!!)

Gold
Leaf Place Cards: $4

(Take
a maple leaf, spray with gold spray paint, then use permanent marker to write
name)

Candles:
$10

Ribbon
to put around Candles: $6

Total:
$20

__Gasoline Money:__

We
plan to travel approx. 1000 extra miles Thanksgiving week.

If
gas stays around $2.80 (it’s $2.67 right now – yay!!) and our Camry
gets around 30miles per gallon we’ll need less than 34 gallons of gasoline with
puts the approximate total at: $95.20

__Black Friday:__

This
one is hard! I haven’t seen anything in any ads that I *have* to purchase yet.
However, I know that no matter what sometime this winter I will be purchasing a
tool for my husband that costs $250. I am going to go ahead and set my Black
Friday budget at $300. If I do not find gifts for anyone else – I’ll at least
purchase my husband's Christmas gift.

Total Thanksgiving Holiday Expenses:
$463.70

Note: $300 is going towards gifts!

Now
that we have an expected amount, it can be stuck into our budget for the month,
which will prevent us from overspending! No surprises!

Where do you see/use math in real life?

Make
sure to check out the other Math is Real life Posts which can be found here: Math is Real Life November Edition

Clip Art from: Ink n Things @ Teachers Pay Teachers & Ashley Hughes

Font is from: KG Fonts

Subscribe to:
Posts (Atom)