First days back

We went back to school on Wednesday, I was not ready to go back but do appreciate that I was able to catch back up on sleep after three days rather than five.  (This is me working on my OLW embrace :) ) Thursday my wonderful Assistant Principal stopped by my room to do a quick visit.  She came in when we were working on our Runaway Ralph unit.  We had just divided the students into their reading groups to work on and complete the Character Comparison sheet.

Due to having the EC cluster I get a lot of support in my classroom.  The EC teacher comes in twice a day, I have a classroom tutor four hours M-Th, a Teacher Assistant two hours a day, and a floating teacher about 2 hours a day.  I decided to try something new after break, my Reading block just wasn't effective or utilizing everyone efficiently. I created reading groups for each of my support help (except for my TA, she is in the classroom at the end of the day) each of us have 5-6 students.  When my AP came in we were each working with our groups, I will tell you that I was cringing inside because the "Controlled Chaos" was killing, but my students were doing awesome!  They were all engaged and on task, this is not the norm, they are usually off task, arguing with each other, or any other avoidance behavior.

When my AP left she left me the following note on my table ( I do not use a desk).

Mrs. Scott,  You've got so many good things in place for you struggling learners.  Mr. Hasinger was using you in an example during the 5th grade team meeting on Wednesday when he was speaking about teachers who know how to help kids grow.  It's been a challenging year for you but I see a very special and dedicated teacher in the person that you are.  I appreciate you!  Beth Burnett

This made me day, week, and year!  The week before break I was in her office in tears due to frustration, exhaustion, and at a loss.  There is nothing better than having the support of your administration!

This week I was even surprised by how much my students retained over the break.  Many of them have short term memory issues so learning facts can be difficult, along with lack of parent support for some of them.  To keep my students accountable and on track for memorizing their multiplication facts they take a 5 minute multiplication test before each Math lesson.  Here is a what it looks like:

This sheet is OLD!  Our school and grade level have done this "drill and kill" practice for many years.  It is very effective.  Classes with students who are above average or gifted and talented strive for who can do it the quickest.  Since my students do not practice their facts at home they highlight the boxes they did not complete in the 5 minutes and complete it for homework.  I started having my students write the facts they missed three times each as well, I required this before break, and they where then remembering them more and more.

We also use this sheet once students have mastered the standard Multiplication Table.  The same process is used.  This sheet is just a bit more challenging because the facts are mixed up.  This sheet is also OLD!

What are some strategies you use in your classroom to help students master facts?  Addition or Multiplication?


  1. Awww-that is so sweet! It's great when you have supportive administrators! :)


  2. What an awesome note! :) Your admin rocks- and they appreciate you! :) Put that one in the "smile file" for that random time you need a smile!

    Smiles from 2nd Grade

  3. Your small reading groups sound a lot like my team member Karen's reading class! She does the same thing with our low guys. We're going to try it out in writing, hoping it works.

    What a GREAT note! It made me smile for you!

  4. Kudos to you administrator for taking time to write such a wonderful note to you. I always say that more learning takes place in a busy classroom than in a silent classroom. It is so nice to see that your efforts are appreciated! I keep all those kinds of notes in a "Kudos" file to help cheer me up when I have days that I feel like running out the door! LOL!

    Teaching With Moxie

  5. Yay! Notes like this from an administrator are the best:) Keep it posted somewhere. It can bring a smile to your face all year long.

    My Teacher Friend


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