Pam's Place Moved to a New Blog Address

Please visit Pam's Place at its new URL: atpamsplaceblog.blogspot.com. Same blog. Same design. Just a new URL. Due to technical glitches behind the scenes, a new URL was needed to move on :)!

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Guided Math in Action ~ Chapters 3 & 4: Managing the Math Workshop and Forming Guided Math Groups

Welcome back! Today I am going to discuss chapters 3 & 4 from Guided Math in Action as part of a book study hosted by Adventures in Guided Math.

Chapter 3: Managing the Math Workshop

I liked how the chapter started. Start slowly. Start calmly. Start immediately. Just start! (pg 29) The whole management piece can be daunting.  Routines. Procedures. Expectations. Setting the stage and adhering to the expectations are key. I keep thinking back to guided reading. If similar routines, procedures, and expectations can be found in both reading and math, the transition for students might be easier.

After reading the chapter, I keep thinking back to "hot topic centers." (pg 31) It's not to say I don't thought about "hot topics" or the need to recycle and review "hot topics." But it is something I want to keep monitoring and adding to throughout the year. What "hot topics" come to mind for your students?

One key component of math workshop is having supplies and math tools readily available. In looking at the Figure on pg 36, I really like the varied representations of math tools. I feel it is so important that students have multiple ways to view math. It reminded me of a lesson where students represented decimals to the hundredths place using base-ten blocks, a centiwheel, and money.

All math tools are kept in a community location for easy student access. I have found organizing manipulatives in student packs makes for more efficient use. The Standard for Mathematical Practice #5 states: Use appropriate tools strategically. After instruction, I allow students to choose the tools they feel will be most useful to them when practicing new concepts or when solving problems. One thing I am sure to do is introduce and model the correct use and functionality of math tools for students first before they are added to the community location.

Management of guided math takes time, patience, and PLANNING.

Chapter 4: Forming Guided Math Groups

I think this the best chapter so far. Small group instruction is key to helping us meet students where they are so we can take them where they need to go (pg 9). While reading the beginning of this chapter what resonated with me was the statement that it is very important for teachers to work with small guided math groups at ALL levels, not just the lowest-performing (pg 41). I know this is not always easy to do, however, if we are going to take our students where they need to go, ALL students deserve the benefits of small group instruction. Dr. Nicki's story about the first grader, Miguel, was a gentle reminder of those students who may already know the current lesson and probably need something more. Math workshop seems like it can afford opportunities for ALL students to complete tasks at their readiness levels in order to move their learning along.

One of the things I have learned when forming groups is I not only need to allow data and teacher observation to guide my decision ... but also student voice. Student voice through reflection and conversation. The groups need to remain fluid. I think by building a sense of community early on in the math classroom helps students to understand that "fair is not always equal." Highly capable students are not highly capable in everything; struggling students have areas where they shine. Honoring where students are ready to learn is important to me, yet sometimes it is not always easy to find the "right fit" on the "first try."

Record Keeping. I try to jot down little notes in the moment when working with students so those thoughts and observations are not lost. Because I don't want to take away from the interaction with students, I keep my notes concise but try to target key points. Sometimes after reflecting about the lesson, I might have an afterthought and will jot down any additional ideas on a sticky note if there is no room left. One record keeping sheet that I have used is the one the below. Click on the image and grab the FREEBIE if it is something you might be able to use.


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Guided Math in Action: Chapters 1 & 2: Perseverance and A Numeracy-Rich Classroom Environment


Welcome to the Guided Math in Action Book Study hosted by Adventures in Guided Math. Today's discussion is going to focus on Chapters 1 and 2.

While reading the first few chapters, one of the key points that resonated with me is the goal of  Guided Math (GM) to meet students where they are so you can take them where they need to go (pg 9). For so long this has been the goal/emphasis in reading that I am glad to see this i s now shifting to math.

Another quote that stuck with me is from pg 11, "It means that if Johnny doesn't get it after you've tried to teach him three different ways, then you try a fourth." We talk about students showing perseverance, and sometimes as teachers, we too, have to persevere in finding ways to reach all our students. It is that idea of filling a toolbox with ideas and strategies to pick and choose and revisit as many times as necessary.

Chapter 1 ~ Guided Math: An Introduction

To help foster perseverance in the classroom, I have a bulletin board that addresses the 8 Standards of Mathematical Practice. Perseverance is covered in Standard 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. As a class, we talk about the Standards of Mathematical Practice, and we anchor back into the practice when perseverance is not being shown by students. It seems simple, but the visual reminder helps students to remember what is to be expected. If you click on the image, you can see where these mini posters were downloaded from.

As a class we also talk about ways we can overcome being "stuck" in math. Another strategy I use to foster perseverance is Need a Hand? Try This! Click here to read a previous post. Basically there are tips on each hand that I encourage students to try before the infamous saying, "I need help." or "I don't get this." or "I can't do this." I encourage students to TRY THREE before ASKING ME.

Chapter 2 ~ Guided Math in a Numerate Environment

I try to keep a numeracy-rich classroom environment to help develop strong mathematicians. I have found it is better to start the year off simple and then add to the room as learning occurs and needs are recognized.
  •  I like to use each new poster or anchor chart as part of a learning experience so students can make the connection and see value in them. I have been known to tell my students, "Take a short field trip to the back of the room and reread that poster. Come back and let me know what you learned/remembered." They *LOVE* to take a field trip and often come back grinning with the answer. 
  • Math time should not be a quiet time. Looking on pg 17, I loved seeing all those -ing verbs that helps to foster a numeracy-rich environment. For too long math was thought of as computing. Period. Posing open ended problems with multiple solutions or multiple entry points of learning can foster rich mathematical discussions where students have to connect, explain, listen, and prove. The Tell Me All You Can Routine (pg 23) not only fosters fluency of thinking, but perseverance to tell ALL you can...and not stop at just one or two ideas.  
  • I have a space where math manipulatives and math resource books are available for student use. Students know where they are; students know they can use them when needed. Something I was left to think about was when it mentioned on pg 23 that centers are brought to students to save instructional time. So much of math workshop is creating routines to maximize learning. 
  • You gotta love all the wonderful math literature that is available nowadays. No better way to launch a lesson than by reading a quick book about math...whether it is fiction or nonfiction. One book I love to launch the year with is Math Curse by John Scieszka and Lane Smith. A great book to make students realize that math is ALL around them! They live in a numeracy-rich environment. They just have to notice!!

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Two for Tuesday!

Linking up today with The Teaching Tribune for Two for Tuesday. Glad you stopped by!


Perimeter, Area, Volume...Oh, my! includes Poke and Check cards along with three anchor mats for perimeter, area, volume. The Poke and Check cards can be used in a center or hung up around the room for students to walk-the-room and review these concepts. I also have used the cards where students use markers to put on each paint splat and then check with the answer key. So many different ways to use these cards.

Along with the Poke and Check cards are three anchor mats. I *LOVE* using these anchor mats with my students. I use them in many different ways. I use anchor mats before learning as a preassessment, during learning to add information, and/or after learning as a summative piece. What I really like about these anchor mats is students use them as a resource throughout the year. It makes them accountable for their own learning when they "get stuck." I encourage students to fill out the anchor mats using pictures, symbols, and words. Students can fill out the sections using their prior knowledge, as well as information learned during instruction, from picture books, from math resource books, or from online resources. This tool allows students to conceptually develop a working definition/ understanding of perimeter, area, and volume.

Calling all Bill Peet book lovers!! Check out this product that helps students take a closer look at author, Bill Peet. Add a little twist to a traditional author study with this download. Although this author study is based on the author and books of Bill Peet, it can be adapted and used with other authors!

Bill Peet's books are known for their figurative language. Have students go on a scavenger hunt through his books and find examples of similes, alliteration, and personification to name a few. Have students complete  a Five Star Rating where students evaluate one of Bill Peet's books and then defend their reasoning.  A friendly letter writing activity is included where students choose to write a letter from the point of view of one character to another character from another book. Students can complete The Important Thing summary about what they learned about Bill Peet and his books. Every time you read a Bill Peet book, it seems like you find something new/different.

Now don't forget to hop on back to The Teaching Tribune to check out what other people are offering today for Two for Tuesday.

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Guided Math in Action ~ Book Study Kick-Off

Starting this week, I will be participating in the Guided Math in Action Book Study hosted by Sarah and Courtney from Adventures in Guided Math. I can't wait to read the book and learn from others!

I had the great fortune of attending a conference with Dr. Nicki Newton and was inspired by her passion. I am excited to read this book and explore ways to better develop mathematical proficiency for my students with small group instruction. Dr. Nicki's Guided Math Blog is a great resource! Check it out when you have some time.

Here is the schedule we will be following! Feel free to chime in and visit the other blogs below to see what other bloggers have to share. 

Come back on Wednesday, July 16, when we will be discussing Chapters 1 and 2.
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You Oughta Know About: A Blog Hop ~ Wisdom Can Begin with Wonder

Come join us on the You Oughta Know Blog Hop.

Imagine. Explore. Learn. Grow. Start a lesson with "Have you ever wondered..." and pique the interest of your students. Use technology and interesting topics/images to hook and engage your students. Something you oughta know for your classroom is Wonderopolis.

Wonderopolis is one site that can help to address CCSS: Reading Informational Text. Students can use text, videos, and pictures to help answer the guiding questions. Find some wonders that might work with your units of study. Might you find a topic that relates to a unit of study in science? Or find a topic that connects to a story in reading? Wisdom can begin with wonder.

Wonderopolis is a great way to engage students. Each day there is a new wonder...posed as a question. To begin have students predict answers to the wonder question of the day. These questions are just like the questions students often ask, yet we don't always know the answer to. Do you know why batteries are different sizes? Click here to find out.


And...look at all the great resources you will find to engage students for each wonder.  The text and the short video guide students to finding an answer to the wonder question. For each wonder, students will find Wonder Words that students can use for vocabulary work. There is a Try It Out section that students can complete at home to extend learning. What a great way to  foster the home/school connection. The Still Wondering section allows children to explore the wonder through a different context. Wonder What's Next piques students' interest about upcoming wonders.

Here are some ways I have used this website in class.
  • Have students explore the wonders and then answer the question in their reading journal.
  • Project a wonder with a doc camera for students to read. For younger students, the wonder can be read to students as they follow along. Pass out something similar to wonder stems to each student for them to complete and share during discussion. Then students can work on finding evidence from the text to answer the wonder question after the discussion occurs. Click on the image to grab a few wonder stems.

  • Have students watch the video and write a one sentence summary.
  • Read the text and have students write three new facts they learned. 
Check out this Wonder Mat where students can record their ideas after investigating a WONDER. Click on the image to grab the FREEBIE.


 The possibilities are endless!

Another way to foster wonder is to show unusual photos that might elicit student curiosity. Consider these possible sources for finding unusual pictures: Pinterest, Flickr, and Google Images.  What do you wonder about when you see the image below? Post an image like this and have students generate questions. Use this as an opportunity to teach students how to write rich questions.

Wisdom can begin with wonder. I combined all my activities in a product: Dare to Wonder. Check out the preview to see some of the ways I incorporate these ideas in the classroom.

Don't forget to continue on the blog hop to see what other bloggers are sharing!
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Two for Tuesday ~ Week #6


Hope you have enjoyed stopping by during Summer Bloggin'! Take a peek at what two products are 50% off today!


Check out Let's Have a Ball in Math! You will find three activities that target problem solving, computation, divisibility, and order of operations. Some of the tasks allow for more than one right answer...and some may require students to demonstrate some perseverance.

Skill levels vary within the tasks so you can differentiate based on student readiness. Have a Ball Problem Solving has eight different task cards. Some of the cards allow for multiple answers. Problem solving and finding combinations can be found on some of the cards too. Beach Ball Round Up has two different number mats that students can use. The recording sheet asks students to create problems that satisfy certain conditions using the numbers found on the beach balls on the number mats. Guess and Check is a strategy I saw my students use for some of these problems. Be on the Ball...And Hit the Target is an activity that has students practicing order of operations.

Thought I would post this item again for Two for Tuesday. These back to school activities can engage students as they settle into a new school year. The Gumball Glyph is a craftivity that can help students get to learn more about each other. The Summer Sub is a writing craftivity that allows students to reflect on their summer. It also is a great piece to share with parents so they can see what their children remembered most about their summer!

Thanks for participating in Summer Bloggin' ~ Two for Tuesday. You might just want to go back to The Teaching Tribune to see what other great resources you might find for the upcoming school year.

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Markdown Monday Linky: That's My Rule ~ Candy Machines with In/Out Boxes


Linking up with Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations for Markdown Monday. This item will be 50% from July 7 - July 11.


That's My Rule: Candy Machines with In/Out Boxes has two activities. Each activity has 10 cards with different function machines, otherwise known as Candy Machines. The cards target addition and subtraction to 20.


Check out the full product by clicking on one of the images.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to go back over to Kelly and Kim's Kindergaraten Kreations to see what other bloggers are offering!

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Fraction Menu & Thinker Keys: Throwback Thursday


Trying my hand at Throwback Thursday today. This post originally came from 7.17.2012, and I felt it was time to bring it back! I love teaching fractions. And I LOVE Thinker Keys. Click here to read more about this framework by Tony Ryan.

Okay, now onto the post. Hope you can use this fraction menu with your students. And, I hope you consider giving Thinker Keys a try in your classroom.


Thinking is essential in math. I am always looking for ways to push the level of thinking of my math students beyond just calculating an answer. With Common Core, students are asked to show multiple representations and dig deeper into mathematical understandings. Using Tony Ryan's Thinker Keys, I designed this Learner Menu for students to use to push the level of conceptual understanding of fractions with some higher level thinking. The Learner Menu could be used after instruction has taken place on the key concepts. Notice how the criteria at the top of the menu asks students to demonstrate their mathematical thinking and understanding when completing the tasks. Also notice how there is not one right answer, and sometimes that answer is not right there.

Thinker Keys are a tool teachers can use to embed thinking into any lesson. They can be used as part of a Learner Menu as seen here. Thinker Keys can start a lesson. To encourage Math Talk, Thinker Keys can be used as part of small group work. In 2005, Tony Ryan, a Learning Consultant from Australia, updated the Thinker Keys. The earlier version, which is used on this menu, helps to foster creative thinking while focusing on deeper understanding of the standards. If you would like to learn more about the Thinker Keys, click on the links below.

Take a look at some other Throwback Thursdays posts at The Teaching Tribune.

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Multiplication Stories ~ Summer Bloggin' Week #5


Today I am sharing a Multiplication Stories worksheet. Once students have a conceptual understanding of multiplication, they then are ready to create their own multiplication "stories" using data from a table. But here is the twist. The answer has to fulfill certain criteria. For example, the answer has to be a product that is even or a product that is greater than 20 and less than 35. In this way, students have to think about the type of "story" they will create based on the criteria given.


Each students multiplication stories will be different. Students then can share their math stories with a classmate and have them solve! This gives student an authentic audience to share their work. Just a different way to reinforce and recycle the skill of multiplication and mathematical vocabulary. Click on the image above to download your FREEBIE.

Now go explore the other resources bloggers are sharing today at The Teaching Tribune!

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Summer Bloggin' ~ Two for Tuesday Week #5


Two for Tuesday! Check out these two items that are 50% off today.


Step "Write" into Narratives has a variety of activities and tools to use to support narrative writing in your classroom:
  • two seasonal narrative prompts
  • an emotion activity where students create a word bank to use in their narrative writing
  • a narrative organizer with a student version and a model for teacher think aloud
  • paragrids to use as a tool to help students monitor and assess writing for targeted goals
  • a narrative color code checklist
  • a narrative menu to use as independent work or to support narrative mini lessons
  • a self-evaluation tool to help students gauge needs and progress on Narrative Menu activities.


Capture the Bushels is an activity that helps students review and become more proficient at identifying factors and multiples of numbers while mixing in some strategy play. The goal of this activity is to capture the most bushels. How? The first player to place the fourth apple card into a bushel captures that bushel.

You can select the bushels and apple cards students will use based on their readiness levels. A multiplication chart and a divisibility rules chart are included to support learners.

Vocabulary anchor mats are included for students to review the following terms: factor, multiple, prime, and composite. Students can complete these anchor mats in small groups prior to this activity or independently as a formative assessment.

Now hop on over to The Teaching Tribune to check out what other bloggers are talking about for Two for Tuesday.

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Batting Around Prepositions ~ Summer Bloggin' Wk #4


Thought I would share this summer themed poem today. After teaching students about prepositions, this nifty poetry format can be used to recycle the skills. Click on the image below to grab your FREEBIE.


If time permits, students can complete their poems on baseballs and then create a bulletin board to showcase their work. Makes a great eye-catching display!

This poetry format can be used for any subject. Think character from a book, content area topic...the possibilities are open to the creative minds of your students. And the whole time students are recycling their learning about prepositions.

While we are talking about prepositions here is a fun and engaging way for students to learn 56 prepositions while singing them to the tune "Pop Goes the Weasel." Check out the freebie  below by clicking on the image.


Hope you have been enjoying Summer Bloggin' hosted by The Teaching Tribune. Don't forget to stop by The Teaching Tribune...you are sure to find some resource gems!
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Summer Bloggin' ~ Two for Tuesday Wk #4


Hope  you have been enjoying your summer so far. Thanks for stopping by today! Linking up with The Teaching Tribune for Two for Tuesday. These two items will be 50% today.


Hook your students into some writing with Here's the Scoop. Here’s the Scoop can be used as part of a center, as an anchor activity, as a whole group activity, or during small groups.  There are sjx writing task cards that focus on the theme of ice cream. The writing tasks are intended to be short writing pieces that can easily be further developed by students if time permits. Students can work independently or with a cowriter. The tasks are designed to tap into student creativity while reviewing different structures for writing.

In addition to the writing task cards, you will find my Roll-a-Cube activity. Six language skills can be found on the cube. Students roll the cube and complete the task. The randomness of the roll keeps students engaged. If you have five minutes before the next activity pull out the cube and roll it. See what ideas students can quickly generate. Or have students record their ideas on an index card as a quick formative assessment. A fun way to recycle skills that we want students to learn and apply!


Here's the Answer... What's the Question? does not necessarily focus on finding the one right answer, rather it asks students to generate “questions” that have a targeted answer. A different way of thinking for some students. This activity allows for multiple entry points of learning so students at different readiness levels can complete the task differently. As a result, students can see multiple representations of fractions.

There are two different sets of task cards. One set of task cards has fractions of a region, set, or unit of measure. The other set of task cards simply has fractions on them. Denominators include 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8. Depending on the readiness levels of students, different cards and different denominators can be used.

Use this activity as a bell ringer, anchor activity, math center activity, review, enrichment, or formative assessment. Make this activity fit the academic needs of your students.

Don't miss out on seeing what other Two for Tuesdays are being offered today at The Teaching Tribune.
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