Friday, November 29, 2013

'Tis the season of giving...

In this season of giving, I want to share about a special gift that has been given to my classroom.  DonorsChoose is a website dedicated to helping teachers get needed resources.  (If you've never checked them out before, run over there - as soon as you finish reading this, of course! - and check them out!)  Several of my co-workers have recently submitted projects and I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

My project was to get a class set of calculators.  Now I know what you're thinking...why would a math teacher want calculators?  Shouldn't the students be performing calculations?  Real math gets messy.  If we truly want to do real-world math, then we need students to see math as it is...messy.  The problem with messy math is that the calculations get in the way and students spend so much time working through the calculations that they really lose sight of the math involved.

Enter the calculators.  If I can eliminate the need for my students to labor over the calculations, maybe, just maybe, they could "get" the math.  Alas, our supply of calculators was more than a little inadequate.  They were old, not quite abacus old, but old nonetheless.  Every time we got them out to use them, there were two or three more that needed to be thrown away because they no longer worked.

I turned my frustration into action and decided that I would submit a project of my own on DonorsChoose.  I would, I decided, try to get new calculators for my classroom.  I submitted my project on November 4th.  By November 22nd, my project was completely funded!  (In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that both my parents and my husband gave generously to my project and they gave at a time when their donations were doubled.)  My calculators were ordered the same day the project funded and they shipped two days later.

I also became part of the Caring Classrooms Community on Donors Choose, which is administered by Laura Candler.  To join Caring Classrooms you must donate to at least one of the projects featured on Caring Classrooms.  By doing so, you can submit a project of your own for consideration.  My project was selected to be featured by Caring Classrooms and within a week, my project was completed funded!  How's that for the power of community!?

My story doesn't stop there, however, and here's where it gets exciting.  The last donation to my project (one that was over $100), was made by a teacher in Ohio who had her students collect pennies.  She and her teaching partner agreed to double the amount collected by their students and they choose my project to donate to!  I am so honored to belong to a profession full of great people!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Are you ready for the big sale?

Have you heard the news?  TpT is having a Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) sale.  All products in my store will be 20% off and you can get an additional 10% off by using the promo code CYBER for a total savings of 28%.

What are you waiting for?  Go get your wish list ready!

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's About More Than the Math (or whatever other subject you teach!)

A family friend is a NASA astronaut.  Back in September, he left to spend 6 months living aboard the International Space Station (yes, I know someone on the ISS!).  He has been tweeting from space (@astroillini) and has shared some amazing photos!  He has also done numerous interviews from the ISS, and my husband even got to talk to him on the phone!

So where am I going with this, you ask?  Well, I've been sharing all of this (mostly via Edmodo) with my students.  (To 12 year olds, astronauts are like rockstars!)  I've uploaded the tweets (sometimes just the photos, sometimes the whole tweet) to Edmodo and we have had a really good time discussing them.  Sometimes I've posted a photo of a major landform and asked my students if they knew what it was (it happened to be the Grand Canyon).  Sometimes I've taken 5 minutes and played one of his interviews.

So why do I do this?  We all have reluctant learners.  Students who are difficult to engage in our subject matter.  Students who try to stay invisible.  I am hoping that by sharing about Mike's adventures I can engage those students.  I can show them that, while I do care about them learning the mathematics that I teach, I also care about them being engaged with the world around them, because what they don't realize is that there's an awful lot of math involved in what Mike does (and what he had to do to get where he is today!).  My efforts have created connections between me and my students beyond the mathematics that happen in the classroom.  I am hopeful that these connections will reap rewards in the classroom!

Do you engage your students in something outside your subject area?  I'd love to hear what you do and how your students respond!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Promoting Students' Logical and Critical Thinking

One of the things that I've noticed over the years is a decline in logical thinking.  Last year, I decided I was going to try to build some logical thinking activities into my classroom without students realizing what they were doing (I sneaky!).  At CAMT13, my teaching partner and I came across the perfect "puzzle" to satisfy this need.

The Ultimate Puzzle, as it's called, is quite challenging.  It took my daughter (who I must admit is very bright - she is a junior in the Dulles High School Math and Science Academy) spent hours on it the first time she tried.  Once she got the hang of it, then she set out to see how many different ways she could put the puzzle together. my classroom, I had a couple of students finish a test quickly.  They asked what they could do and I sent them to the hallway with a puzzle.  They spent the rest of the class period attempting to get a 4 x 4 puzzle put together!

Fast forward 2 weeks.  The first students to finish came and asked if they could go in the hall with the puzzles.  At one point I had 3 students in the classroom finishing tests and 24 students trying to get the puzzles put together!  I absolutely love it when students ask you if they can do something that they think is fun, but that I know will help develop their brains!

So far, we've been able to get a 3 x 3 square, but we haven't had any luck with the 4 x 4 square.  My students are determined, though, and I can't wait to see the excitement when they get there!

We also have some Brick by Brick puzzles that come with bricks and different pictures.  Students have to build a figure that matches the picture (similar to Tangram puzzles but three dimensional).

What do you do in your classroom to help build students' logical and critical reasoning skills?  I'm always looking for new ideas :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Why don't they remember?

For the most part, everything we've done so far this year in 6th grade math has been a review of 4th and 5th grade concepts (multi-digit multiplication and division, decimals, divisibility rules, prime factorization, etc.).  Despite the fact that I know they've seen it before, they all seem to stare blankly as if I'm speaking Greek.

On Friday, in my GT/Honors class, I asked the students to set up their interactive notebooks.  On the right side they copied the objective and on the left side I asked them to write a sentence or two about what they already knew about the topic.  I heard way too many kids say that they didn't have anything to write because they had no idea what that was!  Can I just say...frustrating!

Why is it that our students don't seem to retain information from year-to-year?  Are there brains really wired that differently?  (I'm not that old, am I?)  There is so much information at our fingertips these days.  We don't need to remember phone numbers because they're in our contact lists.  I hate to use absolutes, but there's almost nothing we can't figure out with a simple Google search.  Students are busier now than they've ever been.  They go from school to sports or other after school activities, to clubs, to church, etc.  Has the harried lifestyle of today's children combined with fast paced video games, media, and other technologies created students who cannot focus for sustained periods of time?

And then I can't help but wonder, with the information available at our fingertips, how much of what we are expecting our students to learn (and remember) is really relevant to their future lives?  Is all of it necessary?  Our students certainly live in a world much different from the one in which we grew up in.  When I was growing up, it was important to learn to use a dictionary and an encyclopedia.  I would argue that those skills really aren't that important today because we can enter information into a search box and the computer will find entries that match my search.

What do you think?  Do your students retain instruction?  Do you feel our current curriculum is relevant to students?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Successful Week 1

As the saying goes, week one is in the books.  I'm starting to remember most of my kids' names (it's always the quiet ones that are difficult to remember!) and the kids are getting into the routine of middle school.  I'm trying out some new things this year and I can't wait to see how they go.

The one thing about the first week that always gets me, though, is when to start with the curriculum.  Our district provides us with a calendar.  Not one with specific topics on specific dates, but one that maps out the units based on how many days the curriculum department thinks the unit should take.  Following their calendar, we get through the curriculum (albeit barely!) before we take the state test.  The problem with the calendar is instruction starts on the second day of school.  Yes, you read that correctly, instruction starts on the second day of school.

I'm not sure how things work in other places, but on our campus, we make sure that the students see all of their teachers, get fed, and get home.  That's the goal!  I teach 6th grade, so it takes about 2 hours to get the kids settled, give them a tour of the building, wrap up attendance, etc.  Our bells aren't working, every class period is a manual dismissal so that the schedule can be easily adjusted if necessary (it always takes longer than anticipated to get the 6th graders through the lunch lines!)  This year, I literally saw one of my classes for 5 minutes!  This year on Thursday, we had an assembly scheduled for our PTO fundraiser.  Oh, and then there was textbook distribution that we (the teachers) had to do ourselves.  The unpredictability of the first week just makes it really difficult to get started with curriculum!

That being said, there's that calendar beckoning us to get started, and there are some teachers who believe that what the calendar says goes!  Don't get me wrong...I love routines and I can't wait until the kids are into the routine and we're moving along.  I get that we have curriculum to cover, but I think it's counterproductive to try to get your students to do much when they haven't gotten their supplies, schedules are still being changed/adjusted and there are many other influences interrupting your day.

I chose to do a bit of review this week, but even then, some class periods got more of a review than others because some class periods got interrupted more than others.  Tuesday we should be able to hit the ground running....that's if they all remember to bring their supplies!

How do you manage the first week?  I'd love to hear how others handle the dilemma of the first week!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Tuesday Tech Tidbit

This weekend I was working on some lesson plans for the first couple of weeks of school.  In doing so, I reviewed what I had done last year and the year prior.  The good thing about going back over what you've done before is that it helps you remember some of your favorite things.  One that I'm excited to share with you is MangaHigh.  I love MangaHigh because the kids love it and this makes it a worthwhile resources, one that I know my students will use.

You can use MangaHigh two ways.  The first way, Prodigi, is almost like a minilesson.  Prodigi lessons are sorted by curriculum standard.  Choose the curriculum standard and then you have the option of going through a short lesson "teach me" or jumping in to answering questions.  There are 10 questions for each "lesson" that get progressively more difficult.

The second way to use MangaHigh is games....and these are fun games!  My favorite is Ice Ice Maybe.  It's an estimation game that uses all four operations.  Not only does it require players to estimate, but it requires them to do it quickly (the purpose of an estimate!).

And, if you didn't think that was awesome enough, you can challenge your kids to meet certain goals on MangaHigh.  And if that wasn't awesome enough either, schools can challenge one another.  These Fai-To's (the challenges) last for 5 days and a school wins a round by earning the most medals each day.  Last year there was a U.S. vs U.K. Fai-To (sadly, the U.K. won, but I'm hoping we get the chance to redeem ourselves this year!) which the kids really had a lot of fun with!

The best part is that MangaHigh is FREE!  You read that's FREE!  And, the folks at MangaHigh will help you get your classes set just need to send them an Excel spreadsheet.  (It's very easy to do yourself...but they'll help, too!)

What are you waiting for?  Go play!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School Sale at TpT!

Check it out and prepare your wishlist!

I won't bore you with anything else....go to TpT and start shopping (that's more fun anyway!).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Getting ready...

Today I worked on my bulletin board, knowing that getting that out of the way would give me a sense of accomplishment and help me feel like I was getting somewhere.  I ordered the fabric online and when I took it out and unfolded, I realized that my work was not going to go as easily as I had imagined.  To simply stretch the length of the fabric and staple it up would mean that the chevron stripes would be going vertically and that wasn't what I wanted.  So, I had to cut the fabric into three sections and match the pattern.  Easy for a math teacher, right?  NOT!  Fabric has a little give to it, and any little stretch one way affected how the pattern matched somewhere else.  

Then I used silver deco mesh to create a border.  I wanted grey burlap but couldn't find that, so I settled for the silver mesh.  It was a little lighter than I wanted, but looked good considering I had spent hours trying to find the grey burlap.  

I printed the letters and had my kids cut them out.  They look better than stock letters and give the board a more personalized look.  I think it's important for kids to know that we don't have to be great at everything and the important thing is for them to work hard at whatever they do.  So I used a Kevin Durant quote, "Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard."

What are you doing for your bulletin board this year?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Made It - eJail

I can't take credit for this came from Pinterest.  I did, however, tweak the original.  The original pin used a clear paint can that you can get a The Container Store.  When I went to the store and looked at the paint cans, I decided I didn't want to deal with trying to get the lid off (they give you a little washer to pry it off, but I just knew that the little washer had the potential of getting lost...and then what?).  So, I looked at all the other fun stuff that could be used instead of the paint can.  There were about 4 different ones that I thought would work, but in the end, I went with this "handy box" because it was inexpensive, I could easily open it, the handle folds flat so it's stackable, and the handle makes it easily portable.

My original intent was to use electrical tape for the stripes but the only electrical tape my husband could find in the garage was old.  So my son suggested that I use his hockey tape.  I was a little skeptical at first, thinking that it would be too wide, but it actually worked perfectly.  And now I get to say that I found something useful for hockey tape!

The letters were cut from self-adhesive vinyl that I cut with my Cricut.  We debated on the title.  Because kids bring more than phones to school, I didn't want to exclude the possibility of having to take up an mp3 player or other type of device (the box isn't big enough for a tablet, but I thought something that big was a little too much).  Ultimately, the family decided that e-Jail worked best.

I can't wait to see the kids' reactions!  What are you making for your classroom?

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Little Inspiration from Forest....Forest Gump

Today my family and I ventured to Galveston, TX to have lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  Everyone in the family LOVES shrimp (ok, my daughter tolerates shrimp), we love the movie, and my husband had the day off, so we hit the road.  This really isn't meant to be a review of the restaurant, so I'll keep this part of my ramblings brief.  While they had outside seating available, we chose to sit inside (the thermometer in the car had read 100 on the way down!)  We sat right at a window, though, so we had a lovely view of the Gulf of Mexico.  The food was delish!  As you would expect, there was shrimp prepared just about every imaginable way.  Our waitress, Mihaela, was a delightful young lady from Moldova (geography quiz...Where is Moldova?) who was full of personality.  She came and played movie trivia with us, and, I must say, we were amazing!

Okay...I'll get to the point!  The restaurant sits on the second story and the 1st story is occupied by a gift shop and the bar area.  We found lots of treasures in the gift shop.  My hubby scored a t-shirt that says, "Stupid is as stupid does!"  My daughter found one that says, "Run, Forest, Run"...(she runs cross-country and track).  And my son's t-shirt..."My mama says I'm special!"  Maybe the best find, though, was a license plate...

My husband thought this would be a great bathroom pass.  I agreed.  I didn't buy the license plate, though.  They had stickers (about 3 in by 6 in), which were cheaper and left open more possibilities.  I bought those...for me and my friends.  I did consider buying the license plate and hanging it from a chain so that it would become somewhat of a placard as the kids walked down the hall.  But then I thought, it might become a badge of honor and the kids might ask to use the restroom even when they don't need to just so they could wear it.  (Yes, my darling kids sometimes find excuses to get out of math class.  The nerve!)  Now, who would've thought that my trip to Galveston would have netted me new bathroom passes!

What new goodies have you found for your classroom this year?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

You know you're a teacher when...

You know you're a teacher when your willing to spend time, money, and energy laminating and cutting to get ready for back to school.

Well that's me!  I have literally spent hours laminating and cutting games and task cards over the last two days.  At one point, I was sitting next to the laminator, feeding sheets in and cutting while waiting for the sheet to go through.  The picture doesn't do the stack justice.  And, I'm still not done.

What is it about laminating?  Maybe it's that I typically see 150 students each day and by the end of the day the cards never look as good after being handled by all those hands.  Is it just my kids?  Mine can't keep from folding them in half, or better yet, trying to turn them into origami.  Some think they would look better with holes poked in them, while others think they should take it upon themselves to decorate them with whatever art supplies they have at their disposal.  Seriously, does anyone else have this problem?

So I laminate.  Because it looks pretty.  Because it'll ensure that I can use the resource more than once.  Because I'm a teacher, and that's what teachers do!

Monday, August 5, 2013

And so it begins...

I spent 6+ hours working in my classroom today....and there's still a lot to do.  Our building got new carpeting over the summer so absolutely almost everything had to be boxed (it felt like everything!).  I was able to get everything out of the boxes and some of it put away.  To some of you, this may not seem like the feat that it really is.  You see, you could really call my classroom Staples, OfficeMax, OfficeDepot, or whatever office supply store you so choose.  As I was unpacking I was thinking that my class is really the Noah's Ark of classrooms, but then I realized, that's not true...I have more than two of everything!

In my unpacking, I came across these gems that I made last year.  (The one with the glare says "guys".)  These are my hall passes that I made from wooden door hangers I found at Hobby Lobby.  A little paint, scrapbook paper, and Mod Podge...easy!

I'm so glad they survived a) last year's 6th graders, and b) being packed in a box all summer.  On the back (the picture didn't turn out, darn!), I had a cute little tag that said, "Hurry back, you are missing something important!"  They made me smile because they were so fun to make and I loved the way they turned out.  It's the little things, right?

As the clock struck 3:00 (time had flown and I hadn't even stopped for lunch!), I realized that I needed to be going, but then was struck with the panic that was my messy room.  And, it was about that time that I realized I hadn't seen my SmartBoard pens and eraser.  I checked, for the 100th time, and yes, all the boxes were empty.  I scanned the room looking for where they could be to no avail.  Alas, I sit here now, the OCD in me in full swing, wondering where on Earth that Ziploc bag is.  I don't know about you, but something like this bugs me to the point that I almost can't do anything else until the issue is resolved.  I guess you know what this means...I'll be at the school tomorrow morning searching!  (I have to be there tomorrow afternoon to do some planning anyway!)

Until next time,

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Who doesn't love a makeover?

If you didn't notice, I've done a blog makeover!  Who doesn't love a makeover?  Have you ever looked forward to something and it didn't turn out quite how you expected (think of all those Pinterest ideas that didn't look quite like the original pin!)?  Well this is definitely NOT one of those times!  The new look exceeded what I envisioned and I couldn't be happier!

I'm also working on making over my classroom.  Not necessarily my classroom decor (although I am making a few changes), but the "culture" of my classroom.  If you've been here lately, you know that I've participated in the "Minds on Mathematics" book study.  The book, and the discussions the other great teachers and I have had, have really made me think about how I've approached teaching in my classroom and why there is need for a makeover.

First, the classroom and lessons, need to be more student centered.  I feel like I do a pretty good job of this at the beginning of the year and then somewhere around November/December I get tired and slip into bad old habits.  The work of the classroom, i.e. the learning, needs to belong to the students, and the only way for that to happen is for the students to do the "work".  A teenager doesn't learn to drive a car by watching videos or someone else do it; they have to do it themselves.

With this in mind, I sat down the other day to pencil out some plans for the first week of school.  On the first day, we see all of our students, but we have some classes for a bit longer than others.  We don't really do "much" on the 1st day except some introductions.  On the second day, I usually go over my expectations and some procedural "stuff".  I have a letter that goes home to the parents welcoming them to my classroom and giving them information about how to contact me.

As I thought about this second day, I had an epiphany.  Why was I going over the letter with the students?  It was the students who needed the information so wouldn't it be better if they read the letter themselves?  So with the math workshop format in mind, the welcome letter, will become the work time for the second day of the school  During this work time, students will read through the letter with their groups and highlight "important" information.  Our "closing" will be going over any questions that the students have.  By doing this, I'm promoting collaboration (an important 21st century skill!), the students learning about our workshop format from the beginning, and I'm sending the students the message that they are responsible their learning.  

I'm really excited about so many things!  Stay tuned for my next classroom makeover blog-i-sode!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Minds on Math Chapter 10 - Sharing and Reflection

Chapter 9 stressed the importance of students sharing and reflecting upon their work.  Again, I felt as I was reading this, that this was something I did fairly well in ELA, but under-utilize it in math.  It is important for students to think about their not only the mathematics they are learning, but their own thinking.

On pages 162-163, Ward Hoffer lists questions to use in reflection.  As I read these questions, it dawned on me that I really needed to compile some of the great lists of questions that Ward Hoffer shares in the book.  So I set out to find my favorite lists.  I wanted to put them in an easy-to-use booklet that I could carry with me as I circulated the classroom.  This is what I came up with...

I'm going to cut them apart and have them spiral bound at an office supply store.  There were so many useful things in this book and I wanted a way to have what I considered to be the "best" tidbits at my fingertips.  

I really liked the rubric that Ward Hoffer included.  For me, this really helps assess explanations and it gives students some guidelines to consider when penning (or penciling) their explanations.  It also makes the assessment less arbitrary and is more useful than a credit/no credit system.

For those of you interested, we will be having a Twitter chat tonight at 7:00 p.m. CST about this book.  Join us #momathchat!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Minds on Math Chapter 9 - Conferring

When I taught ELA, conferring was just something that we did.  It was a common practice to have a quick conference with students about what they were reading or writing, and the conversations were often very informative.  You could tell who was reading and whether or not they student understood what they were reading.  For writing, you discuss ideas with students and help them further develop those ideas.

When I started teaching math, though, it didn't seem as important to conference with students....until I read this book.  As I read, I thought often of my days in ELA and it dawned on me that, just like in ELA, we also teach reading and writing.  To be successful in math, students have to be able to "read and comprehend" a problem.  Students also must communicate (or write) their thinking and solutions to a problem.  With this ah-ha! and Ward Hoffer's book, I came the realization that I was doing my students a disservice by not conferring with them about their math thinking.  

Ward Hoffer offers three steps to conferring with students.  First is research.  Conferring can be used as a tool for "finding out" what students know, are stuck on, are thinking, etc.  Second, conferencing can be used to coach students.  This entails walking a student through a problem without giving them answers.  Third, help the students reflect on their thinking.  

As I think about my classroom last year, I know that I conferenced with students, but usually when the student came to me.  I was not intentional about conferring with students on a regular basis.  I realize I need to change this.  Time will always be an issue.  Obviously some students need more assistance than others, however, even the "advanced" students in our classroom can benefit from conferencing.  After all, we don't want those students to get bored and lose interest.

I think the list of "Conferring Questions" on page 147 will be helpful.  Maybe I'll put some of these lists/reminders together and spiral bind them so that I can have them with me to easily reference.

Good luck to you all as you get ready for the coming's going to be fabulous!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Minds on Math Chapter 8 - Work TIme

Ward Hoffer starts this chapter with planning.  One of the things that needs to be planned is differentiation and honestly, I need to work on this.  I'm good about differentiating content, and sometimes process, but I rarely differentiate product.  I think it's easy to differentiate product in just about every other subject, but I struggle with this in the math classroom.  Part of me struggles with it conceptually another part of me struggles with the management of it.  When we give a test in math, there's an answer key and we go about grading the test.  When students are allowed to show different forms of mastery, it makes evaluating the mastery much more difficult.    

When it comes to the students and what they are doing, Ward Hoffer is clear, we must be explicit in our expectations (do you see a pattern yet?).  In explaining the benefits of this, Ward Hoffer writes "you have so effectively established and conveyed purpose to them during your opening, explained the connection between purpose and the task during the transition to work time, that they remain continuously conscious of why they are doing what they have been asked to do."  

During work time, it's the teacher's job to promote thinking, gather data and troubleshoot.  I love the Ward Hoffer's use of the term "troubleshoot".  So much of what we do is troubleshooting!  I found Ward Hoffers list of questions to use when students are "stuck" especially helpful.  These can help students without rescuing them (something I think I do too often because I'm worried that they have to "get it" before the bell rings!).

The thing I love about workshop is that most of the time the students are "working".  I was reminded of how important this is this week when I was driving with my daughter (who just got her license yesterday!).  She said, "mom, it's so much easier to know how to get someplace after I've driven it myself instead of sitting in the passenger seat."  Yes, it is easier after you've done it yourself, whether that be driving the car or working a math problem!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

TpT BTS Resource Books

A bunch of really cool teacher authors on TpT have put together a book of resources for back to school.  In it there are links to lots of freebies and Common Core tips.  There have been countless hours put into putting this book together and it looks really great.  Check it out!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Gear!

I told myself no more black t-shirts.  Absolutely none.  And, well...I found two new math t-shirts that I just couldn't refuse, black and all.

This now brings my math t-shirts to 6, or in math terms, an even half dozen.  My husband thinks that's too many.  After all, he says, there are only 5 days in a school week.  I'm not quite nerdy enough to wear them on a non-school day, so they really only do get used for school.  What do you think?  How many is too many?  And if you don't think I have enough, share your favorite place to get math-wear!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


How do you handle IDK's in your classroom?  At #CAMT13, presenter Juliann Doris suggested using an anchor chart with suggestions for what to do instead of IDK.  I took her idea and created this poster to use in my classroom this year.

I've formatted this to print on 11x17" paper and will have 3 or 4 printed that way I can have several up around the room as a reminder of what to say "instead of IDK".  

You may have read that I am participating in a book study on Minds on Math Workshop.  One of the ideas presented in the book is that we should never accept "IDK" as an answer because it sets up a culture in the classroom that a student can say "IDK" and never be held accountable for his/her learning.  Ah-ha!  I loved this!  When we accept an IDK, we not only send the message that it's okay to not know (which it is), but we also tell the student that it's okay to "never know" because we aren't sending the message of "so you don't know it yet...what can you do do know it?"

I'm excited for a culture shift in my classroom this year!  

Oh....and I've joined Facebook.  Find me there and like the page for product updates, freebies, and giveaways!