I’m baaaack… 😉 After a long hiatus, I’m ready to begin blogging again. Last year was incredibly difficult and I couldn’t bring myself to write about school when it was so tough. I was, however, incredibly fortunate to be honored as one of my school’s two Teachers of the Year (!!!) last year, and, after the year I had, I really feel like I earned it! More about that later…

At the end of the 2014-15 school year, my principal gifted all of us teachers with the book Learning in the Fast Lane, by Suzy Pepper Rollins, with the expectation that we’d read the book over the summer. As an added bonus, my school offered a professional development course on the book, for which we could obtain advancement credit. I’m typically super lazy over the summer, and in the interest of full disclosure — I read about a third of the book that we were “assigned” last year, so I knew that the only way I’d actually read this book was to sign up for the course. I’m SO glad that I did! I loved the book, and it gave me additional motivation and ideas that I needed to try to help more kids love math — or at least math class.

One of the activities that Rollins mentions time and again is a “sort.” Many of us teachers know what these are: you have a number of different items in a baggie, you give students one of the baggies, and they can work individually or in groups to sort out the items into categories. For struggling students, you can give them the categories, or, do as I prefer to do, and just see what kids do with what’s given to them. I think these are so fun, and as long as I’m not making them over and over again each year, I love them. Certainly, they can be tedious to create, but when you can actually see students’ thinking right in front of you, they are an awesome tool. Rollins recommends using them as a way to start class off on an engaging foot, but I also like to use them at the end of a lesson so that you can see how students’ thinking evolves throughout the lesson.

I created this sort to help my kids distinguish between operation symbols and key words. I also created a handout that we will glue/tape into our notebooks. If you’re interested in the sort, please head on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers page! I have the item on sale until further notice. 🙂

sort 1 sort 2

sort 3
The handout for inside the kids’ notebooks.

We are back in school (we started August 13th) and so far, I am LOVING my new group! I am trying this with my (new-ish) kiddos on Tuesday, and I can’t wait!

Mrs. K