This morning I’m heading to Foxboro, MA to attend the MassCUE/MASS conference at Gillette Stadium.  For the 6th year in a row, I will be presenting my Technically Invisible workshop. My workshop is like a buffet of ideas teachers can use in their classrooms when they would like to integrate technology.

masscue pic

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Data Analysis: 3rd Grade Style!

So, we’ve been learning how to solve multiplication problems using partial products.  Not an easy feat!  We are at the point where every student understands the process, and can complete problems independently.

You now wonder… what’s the problem?  Wellllll….  Sometimes we still make mistakes!  Really?  I know, it seems unbelievable, but it is true.  Since Day One, I’ve told my third graders that making mistakes is to be expected, it is how we learn from these mistakes that is most important.

Today we analyzed 9 problems assigned during class yesterday.  Mrs. Brooks graded them, but didn’t fix any of them.  Instead, she created a list of Common Mistakes, and a SMARTBoard slide to illustrate those mistakes.  204 students had to analyze each problem, and categorize the mistakes they had made.


As a teacher, Mrs. Brooks quickly realized that analyzing the mistakes was MORE CHALLENGING than making them in the first place.  Students had to work cooperatively to analyze each others’ problems, and to tally up the data.  It was too tricky to try and do it alone.  Though in the end, each student realized where his or her efforts needed particular focus.

The papers, and the data analysis, went home today.  Look for it in a Backpack Near You!!

Mrs. Brooks made one error on this slide. Can you find it and analyze it??

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Multiplication Mavens

I’m really old, but yet I can still remember learning my multiplication tables when I was in 3rd grade. Mrs. Lynch would have us listen to each times table as a song on her record player, and I could sing you those songs still today.  Combine her strategy with having us practice with flash cards, and needless to say, I memorized all of my facts by year’s end.

I carry some of that tradition to my own classroom, and I hope it is effective.  Students have been listening to and watching the Schoolhouse Rock! videos for each of the times tables through ten. Some tunes are catchier than others, but they are all cute. I can sing those, too, ha ha.

We continue to progress through our quizzes. We have a specific routine for quizzing that I learned from working with Laura Candler and her book Mastering Math Facts: Multiplication and Division. We are working as a team to conquer the 0-10’s tables this year, and so far, we have all mastered 0-3.

Recently I videotaped our routine to share with families at home.  Miss Sally (my mom) was nice enough to run the camera while we went about our business.  You can check out the video on the blog. [You can also check out the post that Laura Candler wrote about us on HER blog here: Mastering Math Facts in Action]  [OR, you can learn more about her program here: Multiplication File Cabinet]


To practice, students can be using flash cards, online games, oral practice, or our Fact Fluency program online.  The same program we use in the computer lab can also be accessed while at home.

Five minutes per night is really all it takes – but just imagine how much progress can be made if each student practiced for 10 minutes per night!!
What’s to Come:

:) This past Friday, we had our first round of Book Talks. Have your children done these before? All I could say was WOW. I recorded all of them, and then when I went to process the files at home, I realized that no audio was recorded! :( So, those that wished to, were re-recorded today at school. They were very forgiving! The first week is always the roughest, even after 7 years!!

:) We are chewing through pencils like they are Twizzlers. I grabbed some from the office, and bought some on my own, but it seems that we must be doing an awful lot of writing lately! If you have any pencils laying around the house, send them on in and we’ll put them to good use!

Smile Wide,

Mrs. Brooks


It just might be cold enough for ice to freeze on the ponds – Figure Eight, anyone??


Criteria For Success

Today we had an assessment in Math.  Before we began, students put up their binders for privacy and concentration. I set up the timer on the SMARTBoard where students monitor their rate of progress.  We also reviewed our Criteria For Success for Math Tests.  We talked about how this list should come in handy, no matter their grade level.  Are there any items or suggestions we missed?

To download a PDF copy, visit my Stationery Studio page.


This year, We have been exploring the idea of using our SMARTBoard as a cooperative learning center in the classroom. So far, we’ve tried out the idea several times during math. While one or two students work at the SMARTBoard, I usually work with a small group or 1:1 with students (when I’m not behind the video camera). I can see the SMARTBoard from clear across the room. The remaining students wait out the cycle while working in Individuals, Buddies and Truddies (IBT).

So far, so good! Some activities I’m even able to differentiate – such as this one on creating rectangles with specific perimeters using a virtual Geoboard: