K-5 Teacher Talk January 2020

Teacher Tip: Own your present and future.

Chase Mielke, author of "A Letter to New Teachers", urges teachers to develop a sense of efficacy- to see that they are the ones most responsible for their own success and well-being. Consider these three mental shifts... 1- a sense of autonomy, focusing on what was under his control-- for example, how he greeted students at the door each day, versus what happened to them outside of school, 2- cognitive flexibility, brainstorming multiple options to challenging situations versus self-victimizing, 3- ownership, deciding what actions to take right now. I like his saying, "We do rather than stew".

Guided Math

Cheryl Beasley, a math consultant specializing in differentiation, shared her ideas for using small groups during math instruction. Watch the webinar video recording or view some of her shared resources.

Overview of her math block
Breakdown of math block by minutes
How she groups students
Here is a rotation during the 30-40 minute guided time
A list of center activities (link to fluency games)

Math Games

Even if you choose to not use a guided math model, Cheryl Beasley shared some excellent resources. Here are some ideas from her webinar.

  • Embarc Fluency Games- each grade level has a separate document with over 60 pages of standards-aligned math games. These would make great centers, early finisher activities, or interventions with teacher support. I'm disappointed that I didn't know about these sooner!
  • Eureka Math Card Games- 12 card games to reinforce a variety of math skills. All you need is a deck of cards!
  • Number Talks- a great way to encourage number sense and math discussion among students. Several of our teachers already do these daily. Referred to a "Daily Discourse" on the linked website. Designed to take anywhere from 4-7 minutes.
  • Guided Math Resources- links to more information on Number Talks, center ideas, and templates for planning guided math. I really like her idea of using phone books during math. Check it out!
With a refreshed mind and a sharp pencil, we can do anything.

Upcoming Professional development opportunities

Classroom Libraries

Scholastic Education recommends the following considerations when building a classroom library:

  • A minimum of 30 books per student in good condition
  • At least 30% of books should be published within the last 3-5 years
  • 5 new books per student each year
  • 50-70% nonfiction titles
  • A minimum of 10% reference books
  • A wide range of reading levels, 2 to 3 years above and below grade level
  • A rich variety of multicultural books, genres, authors, and themes
  • Multiple copies of popular titles and text sets
  • Digital texts, ebooks, and multimedia formats

Read more about their recommendations in this report on the joys and power of classroom libraries.

Be the Best Educator You Set Out to Be (Part Four)...Be a continuously learning educator. Teaching is an art. We only get better with time. Seek out ways to hone and improve your craft. ~Steven W. Anderson www.web20classroom.org

Helpful RESOURCES and Ideas


Created with images by Jamie Street - "untitled image" • Frank Vessia - "untitled image" • Anita Jankovic - "untitled image" • Kristine Tanne - "Green spruce branch on blurred background"