Saturday, 1 June 2013

Optimum Organization Linky or as they would write in England 'Organisation'

Kristen (Ladybug Teacher Files) and Elizabeth from (Fun in Room 4B) are hosting this weekly linky. I am more than a little excited to be able to link up and read everyone's ideas over the summer. I still have a half-term left, so it doesn't actually seem like summer is coming, but I am already excited about plans on organising my room and myself next year.

Now I don't know about you, from most of the blogs I have been reading, it seems like you teachers are super OCD and LOVE organising. I would love to be organised and I do get a little OCD about how things are placed and done in my room, but I must admit, I am a fraud. Lots of people come into my room, saying how neat it is, how organised I am, but little do they know what lurks in those desk drawers and cupboards. They aren't there during the day when I am having to ask my students where I might have put something or having to write reminders on the WB so I don't forget to do something important. I am really hoping to waste less time next year and get myself sorted earlier on.

One idea I did want to share was my maths book to keep track of students' progress with new ideas. To be completely honest, this worked really well at the beginning of the year and then I started to get lazy with it. Now that I am in the midst of writing my reports I have found this little book to be a treasure. It has also shown me that this is something I still want to implement next year and need to keep on top of.

This is my tiny maths book that I carry around with me when students are working independently. I also have it on my desk to jot notes if I notice something during the lesson or when I am marking. (Sorry for the glare).

This little gem works hand-in-hand with these traffic signals, which I first posted about here.
Each student has access to these cards in their basket. There are enough cards for each student to have a set. When students start working they put it on the colour they are feeling. Red meaning they don't understand and need my help, amber meaning they are kind of understanding but might need a bit of support and green meaning they feel confident.

The maths book helps because straight away I can write down the names of the students that need help. It also helps because if I haven't had time to see a student, they are already in my book, so I know to speak to them next maths session. This maths book also comes in handy because when I mark students' work, I can also note who isn't understanding or who needs to be extended.
This is an example of when we started learning column addition. I made note of what the mistakes were that students were making, ie not setting their numbers out properly, carrying numbers over. This helped me create focus groups to work on a specific area. Once students were able to demonstrate their understandings I double-ticked.
This shows an example of some groupings I did. The first group was being reinforced with column addition, whereas the second group was being extended with larger numbers.

As I mentioned before, I didn't keep this focus up all year, but I wish I had. From the notes I have made, it has helped me with parent's evening and  reports. I have been able to flick through my notes to remind myself of what the student may have struggled with or has been secure in.

BTW: In our school we have sets. This is why I might not be so familiar with my students' needs, because sometimes I only see the student for that hour in maths everyday. There are 75 students in Year 3 and I teach all of them in different subjects throughout the week. I also do something similar for my English set.

Hope this post made sense and was helpful. What types of things do you do to keep track of your students' progress?



  1. How fun to teach in England! I love international teaching! I taught in Mexico for 10 years and Brazil for 3! I am now teaching back in the states which is GREAT, but I miss the ADVENTURE of international teaching!

    Carmen Zeisler

    Exploring Elementary
    Fourth Grade

    1. Wow Carmen, that is amazing that you taught in Mexico and Brazil. How brave. I would love to teach in another country but I would be scared not knowing the language. I have enjoyed my teaching experience in England, although to be completely honest, besides student teaching in California, this is the only teaching experience I have!


      PS: Thanks for following.

  2. This is a great idea! I definitely want to do this next year. :)
    And I'm so jealous that you get to teach overseas! I actually applied to teach overseas but they wanted me available like 2 weeks after I finished my application. (Uh, no!) I'm now following too!