Happy spring everyone!!
I feel like it's at this point in the school year when we are feeling drained, tired, and pretty uninspired. Often times our students are feeling the same way. And yet, we still have content to cover, ideas to explore, and concepts to master.
Sometimes we just need a fresh view on something or an idea to get us going. In that spirit, I present to you some of our favorite websites for lessons and inspiration:
And, of course, don't forget all the resources we have curated for you right here on our website! The Resources page has all of our go-to resources, organized by zone! Check out and find something you love!
I hope you find some inspiration here! And don't hesitate to contact us if you need more ideas!
Looking forward to summer,
It's Meghan, back this week with another (hopefully) awesome idea. If you don't remember, or are new to our blog, I teach 1st grade. I love math and technology.
One of the questions we often get is how we create math groups during the guided math portion of ZONES. Math groups for me are fluid, based on the standard we are working on and each student's proficiency. I use technology, specifically Seesaw, to streamline my data collection. This is something you can do with a little or a lot of tech in your classroom. It works on any device or computer.
So today . . . Seesaw and exit tickets! Whatever the exit ticket is that I am using to gauge understanding, I have my students take a picture or screen shot of it and turn it in to our exit ticket folder on Seesaw. I can then see how my students are doing (without sifting through a pile of papers) and easily give feedback that my students can see, and that parents have access to as well.
Here are a couple examples . . .
Exit Ticket in Pieces Basic
Pieces Basic is a free app on our iPads. The students had to build the number 45, screen shot it and turn it in on Seesaw. I saw how each student was doing and gave them immediate feedback, either affirming their work or correcting their mistakes. You can see in the comment below the picture, I told the student what needed to be changed. On the picture, I edited their work using the drawing tool to show the student the correct way to build the number. From this exit ticket, I was able to create a group of students that needed to be pulled for additional instruction.
Paper Exit Ticket
Here is an example of an exit ticket from our math curriculum (Engage NY). The student completed the exit ticket and took a picture in Seesaw. To give feedback on this exit ticket, the draw, label and text features we all used. Again, the student has immediate access to this, as do parents.
In the paid version of Seesaw, you have access to 'skills'. These are areas you are working on that you want to assess the students on. Think standards, but less formal. The goal of this feature is to give you a quick view of how students are doing with a concept. When a student turns an item in, you quickly mark their understanding on a 4 point scale. Then in the 'skills' view, you have a visual of how the students are doing. You can pull a red (does not understand), yellow, light green group, or green group (ready for extensions). So easy! No lists of student, no piling paper together. All of this is hidden from students and parents. It is only for you and your instructional purposes.
While Seesaw Plus/For Schools is paid, it is not that expensive. If it looks interesting to you, you should look into it.
In summation, use exit tickets/quick checks to build small groups. And then, use technology to streamline that process so you have more time to spend with your students during the guided math portion of ZONES.
Today I want to tell you about a web based app that would be great to use during On Your Own or Memorize. It is called Front Row. If you haven't heard of it, it's a (mostly) free app that has a lot of possibility. If you have heard of it, but haven't had a chance to check it out, I'll lay it out for you.
Front Row is a web based app that is easy to use for teachers and is very kid friendly. It actually offers other subjects besides math, but today we will focus on math . . . because you know, math.
What you need to know:
From the Student Perspective
When students login, they see their home screen. For On Your Own, students would choose Math. For Memorize, students would choose Fact Practice.
How cute is that pig??
From there, the students choose the domain they are working in. Each domain has them take a pre-test which decides where they start working in each standard. The questions are kid friendly and have a read aloud option. For ZONES, I would assign the students to the domain we are currently working in. This screen is very cutsey, which is great for early el. Other domains that are more applicable to the higher grades are less cute.
....back to that cute pig. As students work, they earn coins which they use to buy clothes for their piggy. (My pig only has shorts.) They can only enter the store after they have worked for so long and the store is timed - they cannot spend forever dressing their pig!
There is also an easily accessed assignment page where students can go to for any assignments you've given them.
From the Teacher Perspective
In the free version, you can assign one standard at a time. As you teach each standard, you could use Front Row to gauge their understanding. Once that assignment has been completed, you can assign others.
Front Row seems pretty great, right? I definitely encourage you to check it out. It has a lot of potential to make your ZONES time engaging for students and it would allow you to work smarter, not harder.
-Meghan, 1st Grade
Have you found yourself discovering amazing teaching resources, but struggle to organize them? Do you have difficulty keeping track of those videos you pull off of YouTube or wish you could organize internet finds by category or unit? Have you reached your breaking point trying to keep it all together?
SymbalooEDU creates the ability to manage your favorite web resources
offers the ability to search or share them with colleagues or students!
So... Go register using the EDUCATION platform.
Once you've registered, you can begin customizing/organizing your own favorite 'tiles'
as you create your own 'webmix' and get organizing.
Another option is to SEARCH other Symbaloo webmixes (created & shared from other users)
for a particular topic like... let's just use math as an example!
There are TONS of webmixes for math!
Just type in what you're searching for!
Need elementary math resources? Check out this webmix:
How about resources for specific curriculum like Everyday Math ?
Want grade level specific? Just search!
What are you waiting for? Get organized today!
Guided Math seems like the one of the largest buzz words in mathematics instruction as of late. Just do a Google Search or a Twitter hashtag search, and you can find numerous resources, examples, and professional conversations regarding the Framework.
We (the creators of ZONES Math) have researched the text Guided Math by Laney Sammons and agree with many of the strategies and structures Ms. Sammons suggests. We also encountered the same struggles in our math instruction as Ms. Sammons. The reflection that our whole group math instruction was not reaching all students was also the reason that we created our Framework. However, ZONES Math does go a few steps further than the typical Guided Math classroom. Here is a chart that compares the components of both ZONES Math Framework and a Guided Math Framework.
ZONES Math includes all of the components of a Guided Math Framework. However, there are several areas where ZONES Math exceeds the basic Guided Math Framework outlined in the book.
We have gotten such positive feedback from all of the teachers who have implemented ZONES Math. Real teachers understand what really works in a classroom. They understand the essential components that are necessary in math instruction and appreciate the detailed instructions ZONES Math includes. We have received such excitement over the ZONES Math Framework and how it includes all of the best practices in a model that is realistic to implement.
Do you need any more reasons to start ZONES Math right now? You should try it, you will love it too!
We're glad you're here!
Rescue your math class with ZONES:
How can we help?