Is it time to dump homework?

30 March 2019
Do you ever feel like homework is a waste? Or maybe you're worried it's ineffective? Let's face it... homework sucks! I don't care who you are... student, parent, or teacher.
I'll admit it... ... ...
I use homework this year.
My reasons change every year, but this year my parents were asking for it.
I teach inclusion, so many of my students are working below grade level and their parents are desperate to help them catch up. I get it.
I had to do something because I wanted to equip my parents with tools, but I don't want to discipline the students who don't have any help at home. So now I give my students spelling, reading, and math.
The materials I use are easy to modify and my class enjoys choosing their activities.
Here's what I use:
Spelling: they take a pretest on Monday, and I highlight ten words for them to practice. They use these words during literacy rounds or for homework. It's their choice when they choose to do it. They also choose what activity they want to do. Then, I collect their choice boards on Friday.
We use one of my Teachers Pay Teacher best selling resources: Spelling Activities for Any Word List.
Do you ever feel like homework is a waste? Or maybe you're worried it's ineffective? [FIRST NAME GOES HERE], let's face it... homework sucks! I don't care who you are... student, parent, or teacher.  I'll admit it... ... ...  I use homework this year.  My reasons change every year, but this year my parents were asking for it.  I teach inclusion, so many of my students are working below grade level and their parents are desperate to help them catch up. I get it.  I had to do something because I wanted to equip my parents with tools, but I don't want to discipline the students who don't have any help at home. So now I give my students spelling, reading, and math.  The materials I use are easy to modify and my class enjoys choosing their activities.  Here's what I use:  Spelling: they take a pretest on Monday, and I highlight ten words for them to practice. They use these words during literacy rounds or for homework. It's their choice when they choose to do it. They also choose what activity they want to do. Then, I collect their choice boards on Friday.  We use one of my Teachers Pay Teacher best selling resources: Spelling Activities for Any Word List.  I'll know whether or not they did their homework after their spelling tests. I know you know what I mean!  Reading: I assign one science reading passage each week. This is a science treasure because it goes along with ELA standards too! They get a two for one! I also let them take home two high interest books for them to read.  Math: math games are where it's at! These are helpful because you won't lose instructional time checking for completion. By giving my students games for homework, I increased my class' test scores by 21%. These are the games I use:  1st Grade Math Games  2nd Grade Math Games  3rd Grade Math Games  While my class is far from perfect, their learning results have been out of this world! I'm very proud of them. Although I didn't want to give them homework, I think it's helped them be successful this year.  Happy teaching,  Sarah  Simply STEAM

I'll know whether or not they did their homework after their spelling tests. I know you know what I mean!
Reading: I assign one science reading passage each week. This is a science treasure because it goes along with ELA standards too! They get a two for one! I also let them take home two high interest books for them to read.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Science-Reading-Comprehension-Passages-and-Questions-4291043

Math: math games are where it's at! These are helpful because you won't lose instructional time checking for completion. By giving my students games for homework, I increased my class' test scores by 21%. These are the games I use:
While my class is far from perfect, their learning results have been out of this world! I'm very proud of them. Although I didn't want to give them homework, I think it's helped them be successful this year. 

Happy teaching,
Sarah
Simply STEAM

How to Teach Fractions Effectively to ALL Students

09 March 2019
Do you remember learning fractions as a child? For me, it was one of the worst experiences of my school career.
You see, my teacher used an overhead projector to show us fraction tiles. While she was showing us the tiles, she described it as a "Pizza Pie". I was so caught up on this term because I’d never heard that term before. I just called them, "TILES". 

I tuned out everything else because I was trying to make sense of why she called them that.
After she explained the entire lesson, I raised my hand and told her I didn't understand. Out of sheer frustration (I don't blame her), she made me stand up in front of the class.
Then she put my hair up in four paper clips and told me it was in fourths. She wrote a fraction on a post-it. Then she put it on the back of my head.
She said, "There, I gave you a lobotomy." The class laughed. I didn't know how to respond, so I laughed too. Deep down, I felt like a fool.
My teacher was frustrated with me. Fractions were difficult to teach for her. In turn, she took her frustration out on me. Don't let that be you!
Teaching fractions doesn't have to be frustrating! In fact, it's so simple!
I've learned so much from this experience, and although it was bad, I'm grateful it happened. I was so proud of my class last year because they all did amazing with fractions. Here's what I did:
  1. Use language that culturally connects to the students' language.
  2. Use language that connects to the standards.
  3. Practice, practice, practice!
For the practice piece, I created a new game. My kids love this game as a math center.
You're going to love this new fractions game for 3rd grade because it covers literally ALL of the fraction standards. I can't make this up. I went through the entire standards and put everything on 36 game cards. 

Even if you teach 4th or 5th grade, it serves as a great review.
Click here to get your Fractions Math Game for 50% off for the next 24 hours. I'll be adding this game to the 3rd Grade Math Bundle in a few short days which means the price will be going up. Click here for the 3rd Grade Math Bundle.
If these games aren't for you, then please share this with someone who may benefit from them.
With SO MUCH gratitude,
Sarah



3 St. Patrick's Day activities kids will love

05 March 2019
Aren't you tired of winter?! We just had a snow day today, and it was fantastic; however, I'm longing for the days where we can go outside and play in the sunshine, look for bugs, and smell the fresh air.
Spring is right around the corner, and I cannot wait! I'm so happy to offer you some March deals to get your classroom ready for some spring fun just in time for St. Patrick's Day!
This craft is so cute! This Friday, I'll be sending home these precious little bags, and the students will bring back 3 items to "lure" or "keep" the leprechaun OUT of the classroom. They will share their items and keep them in the classroom.
This year they'll be doing some persuasive writing with their objects being reasons why he should come to our class or why he should not come to our class. Of course, he'll come and leave them some treats in the bag. It's seriously SO MUCH FUN! Grades K - 3 $3 $2



Grab this great review game for your class! This is perfect for RTI and helping students reach their IEP goals. These St. Patrick's Day Word Problems are easy to set up. It's a fun way to practice word problems in math centers. Grades 2 -3
$3.25$2
Have fun with your little ones this month! Give them some STEAM and creativity/exploration, while still working with letters and fundamental skills. Your little ones will work hard and stay on task even during the chaos with these literacy center ideas! Grades Pre-K - Kinder
$3$2
Sarah
Simply STEAM

What's the Matter with Your Science Lessons?

03 November 2018

Stop wasting precious time on boring science lessons. Teach science with quick hands-on lessons. Science is fun. Shouldn't we teach it that way?

Thanks to hurricane Florence, it’s been weeks since I’ve been able to do a STEM challenge with my class. We finally completed a challenge on Friday. They had to create a substance that has both properties of solids and liquids. It’s like a dough. They used cornstarch, flour, salt, glue, and water to create their own dough recipes. We called it Oobleck.
The smiles went for miles! I couldn’t get my kids to stop because they were so engaged. It’s lessons like this that make my kids fall in love with science. It felt good going home on a Friday knowing I made a difference. 

This is only one lesson from my States of Matter STEM Challenges. There are three 5E lesson plans for teachers. Each lesson takes about one week. They also include experiments and STEM challenges. Everything you need to know to teach matter with confidence is included in this resource. It even has explanations, shopping list, and teacher tips. 

Click this link to learn more about these quick and cheap States of Matter STEM Challenges.