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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Using Sticky Notes for Long Division

I recently read a great post on ways to use Sticky Notes in Math Class.  I love sticky notes and can't resist buying them whenever I see them in the store!!!  They make me happy.

One way that I have been using them for the past week is teaching long division.  They help keep numbers lined up and the student can focus on one digit at a time.

Check out Mr. Elementary Math's Post for 10 Ways.  He has some original ideas and has templates to print and use with your class!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Project Reviews...New Way to Share

My two science classes completed their first at home projects and I was thrilled with the results. They created "States of Matter" brochures.  I didn't want to have them all share orally because they would have heard the same information over and over. It can get very monotonous listening to 46 reports.

I decided to try something different.  I broke my children into groups of four.  We discussed constructive criticism and how you can suggest things in a positive way.  Each child had to review the brochure and leave a comment on the sticky note and then pass it to the right.  They were told to also read the previous comments so it was not repetitive.  I then had the groups of four choose the #1's out of the group and tell why they liked it.  We had 6 #1's for each class.  

I have two science classes so they reviewed the opposite class.  I had already scored the brochures and had my comments under the sticky.  I thought it was very successful and they kids loved reading the comments.

My favorite review...sub-par drawings!!!  
I don't think I have ever used that word in a sentence before.

The project is part on my Matter Really Matters unit which is available on TPT for $7.00.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Top Secret Science

I am the proud owner of my school's first "Teach Like a Pirate" T-shirt.  I was awarded one at our last staff meeting for my Aunt Sally lesson and now I have gotten the pirate bug!  I don't want my pirate lesson to become a one hit wonder.  Every week I look over my plans and think of ways to get my kids more engaged.  I want my students going home and talking about what they did in school.  I want them to get so excited that they want to come back for more!  
I decided to introduce my "Mystery Powder Lab" as a detective.  I set up the story that someone broke into the school and stole all the labels off the white chemicals.  I was assigned to the case and needed their help.  Their mission was to identify the unknowns.  I made up secret agent tags and case files for each group.  The lab was a huge success!!!!
The lesson took two periods to complete.  They kids wanted the introduction show repeated the next day.  The video was my first run...I got so winded running around but I got much better with practice!!!  It was a great way to pass out materials...the kids were so entertained.

I wrapped up the lesson with another powerpoint.  They were riddles describing each mystery powder.  This lab was part of my Matter Unit available on TPT for $7.00. You could use your own powder lab.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Human Place Value for Big Kids

Teaching  the place value standards can be challenging.  I wanted to come up with a more engaging and kinesthetic approach this year to use with my fifth graders.   I came up with the idea of "Human Place Value for Big Kids."  the cards can be used with other grades too.

Each student got a digit and a place value name card.  They had to go get into one of the line ups at the start of the lesson.  I used it to go over many place value skills and vocabulary including; digits, value, place value, periods, comparing numbers, greatest, and least.

I used the cards for another lesson on our standard that moving to the right is 10x, 100x, 1000x more of the digit and moving to the left is 1/10 of, 1/100 of, 1/1000 of the digit.

I used the cards to model exponents for another lesson.  Students moved places to see the patterns of exponents and zeros.

I printed out two sets of cards, so all of my students could be an active participant in the lessons that I have done.  I did each place value period in a different color and laminated all cards for durability.  I printed out extra sheets of zeros.

The possibilities are endless.  I will use it when we get into decimal unit.

You can can create your own set of cards or purchase my set of TPT for $4.00

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Visit from My Dear Aunt Sally

Our district has challenged everyone to "Teach Like a Pirate" this year after having author Dave Burgess motivate the staff on opening day.  I have spent my past weekends coming up with new ways to enhance my lessons and engage my learners.  I think I have gotten the bug.

My Dear Aunt Sally
Last weekend, I looked over my lesson plans and knew that Order of Operations were in my upcoming lesson plans.  I have heard of people dressing up like Aunt Sally and knew that was what I was going to do.  I purchased a dress, sweater and a cane and had a wig with a bun.  Now to come up with a plan of how Aunt Sally was going to teach the lesson.

While looking for ideas I saw pictures of hopscotch boards on playgrounds made with PEMDAS....the idea hit me.  Aunt Sally is going to teach hopscotch with a chant.  I made my boards but still left with the can this work.  I spent the weekend brainstorming.  Visit my post on how I made the board.  Click here 
Building up to the lesson:
During the week I talked about my dear old Aunt Sally who gets mixed up a lot.  She is retired teacher and was coming to stay with me from Florida.  I talked about picking her up at the airport and told them things that she had done like mixing up my salt and sugar.  My partner teacher helped building up the story. Thanks Laney!!!

The Lesson: (I did this for two classes, two periods in a row)
I put up my PEMDAS letters on the board in a mixed up order. (go to link for printable letters)
I started passing out their multiplication warm-up and started bumping into kids saying "Please, excuse me" and then told the children about our experience at the Chinese Restaurant.  Aunt Sally forgot her glasses and as we were walking to the table, she kept bumping into customers and I had to say "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally."  I was acting it out and being very dramatic, I did this a few more times.  Just as I was about to start the lesson, I stopped and told my students that I had to run to the bathroom and they should work on their multiplication sheet.  I ran down the hall to change. (Thank goodness for my theater experience and knowledge of quick changes)

I banged on the door as Aunt Sally looking for my sweet niece Kelly, because she left her poster on the counter.  They told me that she was in the bathroom.  I told them that I wanted to get them started on their lesson.  I had the children gather around me and showed them what the PEMDAS hopscotch board should look like.  I had a small chalkboard and chalk in my purse and drew it.  I also brought a mini-bell(from my teaching days)  I taught them the chant and movements.

I had the kids sets up 4 hopscotch boards and get into groups. They hopped on the boards chanting with motions.  Once they were finished, I was going to have them solve equations while hopping down the board but I was running out of time.  (I did it the next day) I had kids pick up the boards before Mrs. Hall returned.  I told the kids that I had to leave and not to tell Mrs. Hall that I came because she would be angry Aunt Sally/me.  Mrs. Hall told me that her new principal does not allow visitors.  They all promised and I ran down the hall and changed.

I returned as Mrs. Hall and apologized for being gone so long. (chinese food)   The kids were amazing.  I picked up the story about my aunt bumping into tables at dinner and me saying "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally."  I mentioned a man in the restaurant telling me that is how he learned the Order of Operations.  While telling the story I started arranging the letters on the board to spell PEMDAS and then said Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.  Their faces all lit up!!!  It was one of those magical teaching moments.

This is a day that my students will never forget!!!