THE MATH GAME: BUILDING
TEAMWORK AND MATH
I created this game in
my classroom the year that I had several students with emotional
disabilities that had a lot of behavior issues. I was desperately
looking for a way improve problem solving skills and to create
a spirit of teamwork. A simple idea that the kids LOVED!
- one number cube
- paper and pencil for each team member
- several math story problems
- Divide students into 2 teams. Split
ability levels so that the teams are evenly balanced.
- Roll the cube to see which team
- The first team rolls the cube to
see how many points the first question is worth. Teacher
reads the first question aloud. First team works out
the problem individually on their own paper, THEN confers
with their team members - very quietly - to agree on
their answer. They MUST reach an agreement as a TEAM
or they get zero points. (Depending on the level of the
students, I may tell them what the correct operation
is, or they may have to decide for themselves based on
the "clues" in the problem)
- When they agree they tell the teacher
the answer. If it is correct, they get the number of
points on the cube. If they are incorrect the other team
may answer and earn one bonus point.
- By allowing the other team to answer
when the first team misses, ALL students are working
out every problem at the same time.
- Game continues as time allows.
- The winner is the team with the
- To encourage good sportsmanship
and ease competitive tempers, ALL team members from both
teams are rewarded with a small piece of candy or a pencil
IF they have shown good sportsmanship throughout the
My students LOVE this simple
game! We play it every Wednesday and they remind me if I
forget. They are getting constant practice in problem solving,
teamwork and sportsmanship.
LODGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
WACKY WACKY WEATHER
This is not an original
idea, but it's well worth repeating for those of you who
may not have come across it. It can be modified for many
grade and/or ability levels. I am currently using this
activity with my Resource Room students.
- book: Cloudy
with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
- chart paper & marker(s)
- weather forecasts from newspaper
- weather related books/kid's magazines
at a variety of reading levels
- food forecast planner
- writing paper with a food border
for final copies
- crayons/colored pencils
- As a journal topic, have students
brainstorm as many weather words as they can in 10-15
minutes. You may want to make the following available:
weather reports from the newspaper and/or the Internet;
weather books (I had several from the Step Into Reading
- Have students share their weather
words in a whole group. Write the words on chart paper.
You may want to categorize by labeling three pieces
of chart paper as follows: Wind Words, Rain and Snow
Words, Other Weather Words.
- Read the book Cloudy With a Chance
of Meatballs by Judi Barrett to the students.
- Explain to the students that
they will now be planning and writing their own weather
forecasts for the town of Chewandswallow. I also shared
examples that former students had written (planners
and the written forecasts). We talked about what was
good in each piece and what could be improved upon.
- Hand out the Food Forecast Planner.
It should have two columns, one for a school day and
one for a weekend day. In each column should be lines
for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. The students
should list food for each meal/snack along with weather
words. I review the writing process at this point and
explain that complete sentences are not necessary at
this point. Encourage the use of the weather word charts
for reference. Variation: If you have many students
with limited writing skills, you may want to take the
time to brainstorm some food words as well. I did this
in a small group while the other students got started.
- After the planner is finished,
students should do a draft of their forecast, then
revise, edit and complete a final copy on the food-border
- Naturally, most students will
want an opportunity to share their forecasts.
- Fillers: Because students work
at different paces, it is necessary to have some "filler
work" for those students who finish quickly or
who are waiting to have a writing conference with the
teacher. Some suggestions follow:
- Make a compound word matching
puzzle. Cut meatball shapes out of brown construction
paper, cut each meatball in half, and write one half
of each compound word on the meatball halves. The book
Cloudy... Meatballs has lots of compound words (meatballs,
northeast, overcooked...) The kids could put the meatball
halves together to form compound words, then write
the compound words on paper (built in accountability).
- Have the students list in their
journals all the problems that could occur if food
really did fall from the sky.
- Have the students scan the text
of Cloudy...Meatballs for all the words following a
specific pattern or rule. For example, they could search
for compound words, words with -ing, words with consonant
blends, etc. etc. The words they find should be listed
- Read or listen to (on cassette)
weather related books or poems. They could fill out
a short form telling what they thought of the book
FARM HILL SCHOOL
In order to make our
classroom a bit more real life we have instituted a pay
system. Students enjoy getting paid for their work.
Computer (to make
your own personalized checks)
Items to stock
your store with, point sheets and record keeping
items (I use an EXCEL spreadsheet)
You will have
to teach each of the areas you for which you will
be issuing points. In my classroom, students
receive the following points. We work from
Friday to Thursday so that I can have their checks
ready to be cashed on Friday's. The idea behind
this is to get students to realize that in the real
world if you don't work, you don't get paid. I
am currently giving a penny a point and round up
to the nearest dollar. Students are earning
any where from 1 - 3 dollars a week.
-- 5 points per day
-- 5 points per day
-- 5 points per assignment on time that is quality
(must earn at least a 70)
-- 5 points per assignment on time that is quality
Bonus -- can
be given by teacher for whatever seen fit
All of the above
were taught to my students during the first week. On
Friday we taught them about checks and how to properly
endorse them, etc. We will continue lessons
on banking and even take a field trip to a bank that
is a business partner with our school. So far,
we are finding that the quality and quantity of our
students work is greatly improving. If anything
else, or 4th,5th and 6th graders will have learned
some valuable life skills.
You will need
to include time to cash checks and allow students
to shop at the classroom store. Takes roughly
1/2 hour to 45 minutes for 12 students to go one
at a time.
Items I have
in my store -- 2 pieces for a dollar (cap erasers,
small candies like starbursts), 1 dollar items include
larger candies and wood pencils, 2 dollar items are
plain mechanical pencils, grippers; 3 dollar items
are lolli pops, fancy mechanical pencils, highlighters;
5 dollar items are small candy bars, cool flex rulers;
10 items are yo-yo's, sodas, juices; 15 dollar items
are baby bottle pops; 20 for markers; 50 for small
games and puzzles; 75 for beyblades (at the request
I have the items
labeled and in containers - takes roughly 2 minutes
to set up my store. I polled students as to
what they were willing to work for and they love
it. Some spend every week and a few are learning
to save. Soon we will be getting to the point
of opening accounts for students so they may deposit
their checks versus having to save the money themselves.
I wish everyone well
if you attempt this and grant that you will need to modify
this to meet the needs of your students. It is
a fairly new idea and we are still working out the kinks
-- but hey, for SLD kids to be working as hard as mine
are I will go to any length.
OAK PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
TEACHING TTQA: A STRATEGY
FOR ANSWERING QUESTIONS IN WRITING
Many students struggle with
answering questions in writing. By teaching students to use
TTQA (Turn the Question Around), you can help your students
formulate complete sentences in response to questions on tests
and assignments. When students use TTQA, they use some of the
words from the question to write their answer. An example follows:
Q: Who was the story mostly
A: The story was mostly about
a girl named Jamaica.
- Write several questions on sentence
strips before hand. Be sure they are simple enough to make
using TTQA easy.
To begin instruction, I explicitly tell students that they
will be learning a new strategy for answering questions in
writing. I tell them the acronym and what it stands for.
Recommended: Create a poster describing the steps in TTQA.
- TTQA (Turn the Question Around)
- Read the question.
- Think about what the question
- Underline the words in the question
you will use in your answer.
- Decide what your answer will be.
- Write the answer using some words
from the sentence.
- Re-read and edit your answer.
- Post the sentence strips with questions
on the chalkboard spaced widely enough that there is room
to write answers beneath the strips. Have student volunteers
read the questions. For the first 1 or 2, follow the steps
of TTQA yourself to formulate and write an answer. "Think
aloud" as you do. By verbally stating the steps as
you do them, you are providing a good model.
- When students seem to have it, allow
them to tell you the steps in TTQA and how to write the
answer using a complete sentence.
- Allow students to practice independently
by giving them questions to answer. Start with non-threatening
questions such as "What is your favorite color?" The
first time they practice, you might want to begin the answer
sentences for them (ex: My favorite color is...). Gradually
wean them off of this assistance.
- Once students understand TTQA, you
can make it a regular requirement. They can use TTQA on
written comprehension questions and tests.
- To increase students' skills further,
begin having them use TTQA for the first sentence in a
written answer; then have them add a "detail" sentence
with additional information.
- As students get older, TTQA can be
used to formulate topic sentences for paragraphs. Knowing
how to answer essay questions on tests in complete paragraphs
will help students with disabilities gain additional points
JAN DE MONTIGNY
FARM HILL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT: SELF
This method allows students
to evaluate their own behavior. It also provides written documentation
for parents. I currently use this with 2 of my BD students and
it is helping.
evaluation sheets (one
per day--see example below)
Give students a week's
worth of sheets (responsibility is part of the lesson).
After each class period
(or day, depending on how your classroom is set up), the
student completes the sheet marking + for following that
behavior or a 0 for not following that behavior.
Student takes sheet
up to teacher to be changed (if teacher disagrees), to
add comments, and to initial.
Sheets are to be taken
home and signed by guardian.
This works well with
a token economy. Establish rewards for improvement. These
can be easily adjusted to meet individual behavior goals.
ELKINS MIDDLE SCHOOL