Book Study: Good Questions for Math Teaching (5th-8th)

jamie and jenn

I’m excited to share with you about a new book this week that I am reading, Good Questions for Math Teaching: Why Ask Them and What to Ask in Grades 5-8 by Lainie Schuster and Nancy Canavan Anderson (link below on picture of book).

Good questions make the difference in any classroom no matter the subject matter. When we as teachers take time to ask well thought out questions it will set the stage for deeper understanding for our students. We all know how important it is for students to not only understand what they think but also how to get from point A to be point B.

What Are Good Questions?

Good questions help students not only make sense of their learning but also help to raise students confidence about breaking apart their own misunderstandings. Open-ended questions allow students to provide their own answer rather than just a canned response. Good questions also promote students to delve deeper.

How Are Good Questions Created?

When we take time to plan our lessons we should also think ahead to what our end goal is for our students. With this in mind we can develop questions to implement not only in our lessons but also our assessments. Beginning with the “end in mind” requires that we understand our content and objectives clearly.

What Are the Teacher’s Responsibilities in Presenting Good Questions?

When you are presenting questions in your classroom the NUMBER ONE thing is to understand the question yourself! Knowing misconceptions that will arise with students ahead of time as well as ways to prevent those misconceptions is also key. Spending extra time during the presentation to clearly explain will save you time on the backside from having to unteach, reteach and reassess.

What Classroom Conditions Are Necessary to Support Good Answers?

A supportive and open classroom is necessary at all grade levels. Students should feel open to express their thinking without risk of feeling “stupid”. Building a safe environment in your classroom starts from the first time students walk into your class. They must know that communication is part of their learning and sharing with others helps to develop their learning.

Disagreements are okay and should be allowed as long as they stay in control. When students have different thoughts that they can then talk about this deepens the understanding for all involved.

I am absolutely loving this book and I think it will help me beyond the classroom as well when I am training with teachers. I truly think that we all need to work on communicating better and the basic steps in this chapter on how to do so are great.

Don’t have a copy of the book and want to grab one to add to your professional library? Feel free to click on the image below to grab it today from Amazon!

Book Study Questions

Make sure to take a moment and check out the first post for the Kinder through Sixth grade version of the Good Questions for Math Teaching Book that Meg from The Teacher’s Studio Posted last week.

meg and jennifer f

We are here all summer long bringing you some great insight from these two books! See you again in two weeks!

book study large

Monday Made It: Marketing, Planners and Conferences

Week three of Monday Made Its and I am still going strong! This week is full of organization and preparing for some upcoming (and most recent) conferences. Thank you so much Tara for allowing us to share all of our great creations with the education community once again!


First thing was to create a rack card to hand out at my OCTM conference. These went over well and many new people were able to grab my Interactive Notebook Starter Pack as a FREEBIE! I will be using these for the upcoming conference in New Orleans as well.

Rack Cards for Conference

mmi 2

This week I also got my planner in from Best Value Copy that I had custom made for me. I had to get started on organizing it and getting it all pretty right away!

First thing was that I grabbed some NoteTabs by Avery just like I had on my planner last year. I really like these because they are not only durable but I can write on them and they won’t harm my book if I need to move one of them.

Organizing my PlannerAdding Tabs

I didn’t stop there with working in my planner. I pulled out some of my Washi Tape and blocked off times in my weekly calendar that showed I was going to be at one thing for a few days. Had to use all different colors! :)

Blocking Off Time

mmi 3

And the last time that I started just wasn’t going to be finished in time because there are still some steps to do. They should be finished this week but so far this is how things are looking. I spray-painted the edges of some vintage suitcases (there will be 4 in all) with black. Loving how it’s looking so far.

Step One of Next Weeks Monday Made It

And after last week of sharing some storage containers that not everyone could find, I thought I would share these that I found yesterday at Michael’s. They are $14.99 and on sale for 40% off this week! Add in your teacher discount and you are getting the 6 mini containers (photo sized) inside the larger container for less than $9 after tax!

Task Card Storage from Michaels

Thanks again Tara for another great Monday Made It! I’m off to go hop and see what else everyone is creating!


Monday Made It

Book Study: Guided Math Chapter 3

Chapter 3

So happy to be here talking about Guided Math in the Upper Elementary and Middle School classroom once again. If you missed last week’s post, feel free to jump back over and check it out.

Chapter 3a

For years I had students working on a warm-up when they entered my classroom. Middle school students were reluctant at times to get this started much less complete it during the time allowed. All of this led toward frustration for me and therefore the connection wasn’t built for them to truly enforce their skills.

In the most recent years I started using those first crucial minutes as the “Mad Minutes” in my classroom. Students used that time to prepare for our lesson to begin. I noticed that since this time was crucial for them to be prepared they truly did use it wisely.

Students would walk into the classroom, grab the materials for the day from the table next to the door, look at the directions on my screen and get busy. This typically was to prepare their Interactive Notebook for the day (title, date, update Table of Contents, and cut the flippable for the day if we had one).

This did allow students a few moments to get their wiggles out as well as they were interacting and previewing the materials for the day to develop some connection to prior knowledge. This also gave me those crucial moments to take care of the necessary teacher business in the beginning of a class.

Chapter 3b

Connections made to Math in Real World are important beyond measure. One of the ways that I started concentrating on this in my classroom is bringing my students names and interests into the word problems that we solved. What better way to engage them?

Real World Connections in Math using Solve and Snips

My Solve and Snips are all based on real students, real interests and real world problems. Not only do the quick 10 problems engage students to work through things that they may not necessarily connect with being mathematical but they are also self-checking.

Guided Math Book Study 2014

Have you grabbed your copy yet? Well, take a moment, hop on over to Amazon and grab it today! You won’t be disappointed with all the goodness that Laney has to offer!

Another week, another giveaway! Make sure to enter to win as you won’t want to miss out on this great prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out the other teachers who are participating in the Guided Math Book Study for all of their insights on Chapter 3.

Math In Real Life: Volume in Moving

It’s the first Wednesday of June which means it’s time for our monthly linky – Math IS Real Life!!  If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!

If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs – feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!
A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by
   ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~You’ve probably already guessed how I have been using math in my life lately… yes, moving! From measuring spaces in the new home, creating layouts of where furniture will go and down to packing up my van and my husband’s truck to get the most out of each trip.

Boxes Everywhere

We have been packing boxes like nobody’s business for the 3 weeks. Every weekend we are over at the old house packing up more and more to make another trip (or four). Thankfully it’s down to basically the hubby’s office/man cave and our couch and recliner. Next time we are already saying we will hire movers AND packers!

Full Load in the Van

As you can see my van gets PACKED! I started wondering on about the umpteenth trip how many cubic feet my van was holding with all of the seats down. I drive a Dodge Caravan and love how it can easily fold all the seats into the floor for quick storage and allows me plenty of room.

I knew that the width of the interior was about 5 feet and the length was at least 7.5 feet based on fitting in two twin size box springs (for our king sized bed) and still having room for a few boxes, two dog kennels, three dogs… and a partridge in a pear tree. Hubby’s truck is roughly the same dimensions but has the unlimited height involved with being a truck. I verified online that my van has 143.8 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s a lot of space when most of the boxes I was packing held 1.5 cubic feet!

Then of course I had to test out the theory by playing Tetris with all of my boxes and see how many boxes I could CRAM into my cargo space and get over in one load. Let’s just say there were some loads that I probably shouldn’t have done since it blocked my blind spots and the view out the back of my van.

Amidst PackingAnd there is still random things here and there at the former house as you can see above. Seriously need to find a home for the TALL wrapping paper tubes. They don’t fit in the holder I got after Christmas.

Now I need to go and check out my friends blogs as I have heard some of them are talking about our amazing FitBit that we each have. I am in love with mine and maybe that will be another month’s MIRL and how I use it along with some other apps.


Currently In June…

Not only has Farley posted the latest Currently but you might see something special over there….. yep, I’m the sponsor this month!

Currently in June and a Secret

Pretty self explanatory but I’m hoping to use this summer to make the new house come alive and make it not only liveable but pretty as well.

4mulaFun Weekend Super Sale

And if you hadn’t already seen my special that ends today in my store, you might want to jump on over and read about the Super Sale I am having. Just a hint…. there are more coming this month so make sure you are following me here on my blog, Facebook and my Teachers Pay Teachers store to stay up to date!

Five for Friday: May Edition

Five for Friday

It has been quite awhile since I have done a Five For Friday and caught people up on the regular weekly shenanigans around here so I figured it was about time to do some catching up.

Starbucks is Talking

Sunday we were headed to my aunt’s for Mother’s Day (my mom and aunt are twins) and I grabbed Starbucks on the way. Crazy at it seems, my sleeve was speaking to me! I have had a fire lit under me this past week and it definitely is pushing me toward fulfilling my purpose.

New Home

Hubby and I have been looking for a new place to rent for about 4 months now. We are looking to move about 60 miles from where we are now and I won’t be east of Dallas but rather east of Fort Worth in Arlington. We have both been searching every site imaginable to look for houses to look at daily and this one came up on Sunday. Hubby approved of it and I called the guy after Mother’s Day lunch. He called me back a bit later and we were on our way to view it. Needless to say, we really liked it and completed the application while we were there! We get to pick up our keys tomorrow and start moving in. Who is going to be my first guest?

Modeling Equality Activity 3

Remember that fire that has been lit? I’ve been working on the final unit for the 6th Grade Interactive Notebook which is Equations and Inequalities. While I have been working on this it has sparked some new products as well. One of those is the FREEBIE I shared earlier this week on the blog, Modeling Equality, which can be used in so many different grade levels to different extents.

iPad Inequalities

Another new product is iPad Inequalities and I created this based on the fact that in my years of teaching I never really got to teach inequalities and so I was loving creating items for the Interactive Notebook and had more ideas left over that had to be used!

30 Day Challenge

This week hubby and I started a 30 day challenge. We recently bought mountain bikes and I love mine. It’s turquoise and so cute! Yes, I know that’s not the reason to pick a bike but that is how I picked it and hubby approved of it’s specs. I will tell you that Day 1 and 2 (1 mile and 1.31 miles) were KILLER! I thought I was going to die. Day 3 we went for 1.5 miles and actually hit 1.78 miles and that is where the smile above came from. I’m getting better for sure. We both want to get out and get on them daily but things do happen and we are already learning that. I’m posting daily selfies (or #healthies) on Instagram and Facebook to share the progress.

Fill Er Up!

And then the crazy amazing deal this week was getting gas for $2.98 a gallon! It just so happened we showed up at the right time because we found out that 3 hours later they bumped it back up to $3.35. Needless to say we filled up both cars despite just having filled up the Beast (hubby’s truck) the day before.

So what’s new in your world? Have you summarized your week and share it on your blog? Link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and let others come and check out your week!

Math in Real Life: Preparing for a Conference

It’s the first Wednesday of May which means it’s time for our monthly linky – Math IS Real Life!!  If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!  
If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs – feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!
A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by
   ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ What a crazy month it has been for me and LOTS of math has been involved for sure! Last night I got home from Arkansas Association of Middle Level Educators Conference in Hot Springs, Arkansas where I met a couple of hundred wonderful teachers from all over Arkansas!
To get ready for the conference where I would be presenting and exhibiting there were a few different things that had to get done.
Preparing to Bag
My dining room started to look quite crazy as we were nearing the week before the conference. Each of the boxes contained goodies from the teachers being represented at the table and they each had their special space.
Stamping Bags
Stamping bags was a labor of love for about two weeks. Hubby and I worked each night and got all 300 bags done! Broke it down into groups of 25 so we could see progress.
Boxing Bags
Finding a way to transport the bags that was economical as well as was able to fit as many as possible without being too heavy was a chore. Hubby and I grabbed boxes from Home Depot and I was able to fit in 84 bags, or 4 layers of 21, in each box. Since I needed to take 300 bags with me I had quite a few boxes to fill and then fit in my car. Quite a bit of playing Tetris.
Booth Set Up
Every conference is different and the booth size at this conference was 8′ by 8′. I was provided with a 6′ table  and knew that I needed more room than that to display all the great stuff from the teachers participating. I added in two 5′ tables and it turned out great. I might have mapped it out on some graph paper before I went.
Chatting with Teachers
And last, but certainly NOT LEAST, making connections with other teachers added great people to my network of teachers. The three educators above were talking about Unthinkable by Live.Love.Math where students work on their vocabulary in a game format.
I had a great time at the conference and look forward to the next one that I have coming up in Tulsa, Oklahoma followed by New Orleans, Louisiana.