Financial Literacy Featuring Animoto!

Saturday, November 21, 2015 No comments
Happy Thanksgiving BREAK!!!!

I want to highlight a special technology tool that I love to use in the classroom! ANIMOTO!!! If you have never seen an Animoto, it is a music video made with text and images.  This week, during enrichment time, my students made a music video to explain the financial literacy terms that we have been learning over the past couple of weeks.  Here are a couple of their videos that they made for this project:

My kids LOVE to use Animoto and it is very user friendly.  Here are some tips to using Animoto in the classroom:

1. Make sure you sign up for the FREE EDUCATOR Animoto! That's right FREE!!!! Here is the link to get your free version of Animoto! It says apply, but really, if you are an educator, you will receive a promo code for a free year of unlimited videos!

2. Make your Animoto account have an easy user name and password.  This will allow students to sign in to your Animoto and create their own videos.  For example: make your user name your last name, then make your password, Password.

3.  When students log onto your Animoto account, have students save their name as the title of their video.  This will allow you to find their work, and grade it accordingly.  Students can save their work and come back another day and work on it some more.  We only have 30 minutes a day for enrichment time, so this feature is awesome.  It allows the students to save and then pick up where they left off the next day.

4.  Talk with your students about behavior and being considerate of other's work.  Since the students are all using the same account, they can technically delete other students' work.  This has never happened to me, and I have used Animoto for three years.  I always tell the students that if they like Animoto and want to keep using it, they will need to respect other's work.

5. Create a rubric! Make sure to tell the students exactly what you expect in their finished project.  It is easy to get swept up in all the cool things Animoto does, and students can forget what and why they are actually doing the Animoto.
Here is a copy of my Financial Terms Animoto Rubric

I would love to hear new ideas on how to use Animoto in the classroom! If you already use it, please comment below and tell me how you love to use Animoto!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Peace, Love, Math-

Types of Taxes, Gross and Net Income and Multiplication of Decimals using Models

Friday, November 13, 2015 No comments
Happy FRIDAY!!!
It is almost time for Thanksgiving break! I know I can't wait to rest and recharge.
This week I signed my students up for a computer game, Prodigy.  My students LOVE this game! You can set assignments, differentiate grade levels and it is ALL FREE!!! There is a paid version for students but it is not necessary.  Every thing for the teacher is FREE!!! The game provides them with questions, and even allows them to use aids such as base ten blocks or markers to help them solve the questions. If you would like to check it out here is the link!  Let me know what you all think about it!

I started out the week with Types of Taxes.  In our state, the standard calls for all students to understand these four types of taxes, property, payroll, income and sales tax.  I first had students research and define each type of tax.  We then put our definitions on to a Padlet.  From those definitions, we developed our own definition.

Afterwards we played a Kahoot which I developed to help reinforce the definitions.   One thing I have learned is when playing Kahoot, kids often focus more on being on the leader board and answering too fast in order to make that happen.  More times students are wrong when really they knew the answer.  So I started Hands Up Kahoot.  Students will put their hands up in the air while I read the question fully.  Then I will allow them to answer the question.  

The next day we focused on Gross Income and Net Income.  I used an activity which allows students to draw a Gross income card and then draw three payroll tax cards.  In addition to payroll taxes, I also included medical insurance.  I used a paycheck that I found on the internet from, you can see the citation for that at the bottom of the paycheck.  I laminated the paychecks so that students could use dry erase markers in order to practice.  I put the gross incomes in one cup and payroll taxes in another cup.  If you would like to do this in your own classroom click HERE for the cards and blank paycheck.  

On Wednesday we had a major science exam so students played prodigy when they were done.  
On Thursday, we started with multiplying decimals by wholes.  I first had each student use base ten blocks to make 0.36, then we journaled what it looked like.  They sit in groups of 4, so we took each person's 0.36 and put them altogether (0.36 x 4). We drew all the tenths and hundredths we had.  We then exchanged 10 hundredths for a tenth etc.  We looked at the repeated addition and carried that over to multiplication.  We repeated this same situation with another decimal, 0.28, but this time two groups got together, so there was 8 different 0.28s.  This was wonderful to see how students used their place value knowledge to exchange tenths for whole and hundredths for tenths etc.  It was easy for the students to see how this related to the repeated addition and then to the multiplication.  

On Friday we investigated tenths times tenths, for example 0.9 x 0.6  
We used grids and blue and yellow crayons to show the intersecting hundredths is the answer.  Students practiced this using an activity that had QR codes for self assessment.  I like to use the blue and yellow, in order to count the green squares. 

HERE is the activity with QR codes. 

I would love to hear from you all and hear what you all do to tackle this in your classroom! Please comment below! 

Until next week, 
Peace, Love, Math-

Adding and Subtracting Decimals Using Simple Budgets and Rounding Decimals!

Saturday, November 7, 2015 No comments
Hello Everyone!
The last two weeks have been very crazy.  If you were not able to catch my webinar, check it out HERE for the next 90 days or so.  It was so fun doing this webinar with Google For Education!
Every year, during the last week of October, we take our kids to Camp Grady Spruce at Possum Kingdom Lake.  This is an amazing experience and teaches the kids so many science skills that cannot be brought into the classroom.  It also allows us a chance to get to know our kids in a non-academic setting! We hike, ride horses, canoes and learn how to shoot an arrow.

So when we came back from camp, we moved onto Rounding Decimals! We journaled how to round decimals and then the next day we played a game.  This is a game I saw on the internet that I modified to meet my needs and my TEK standard.  Here is a copy of the handouts: Handout Place Value Mat

I quick checked the students a little differently this time.  Instead of calling them over one by one and observing the student, I decided to create a Google Form and have all students quick check at the same time.  I was so glad that I chose to do this! The kids did well and the process took a fraction of the time! Thanks to Flubaroo, which is a Google Sheets Add-On, grading was done in seconds.  I have students complete the work on paper and then answer on the Google Form using the chromebook.  

Our next focus was on Adding and Subtracting Decimals, which I taught while also focusing on Balancing a Simple Budget.  We took quick notes on how to add and subtract decimals and then students took home an interview for their homework.  Students went home and interviewed their families about Budgets.  Here is a copy of that interview
The next day we used Padlet to collect thoughts from every interview.  

The next few days were spent working with budgets, income and expenses.  Another activity we used was a hands on way of figuring out how many hours a person would need to work in order to pay for three different expenses. 
I had two cups, one was a job cup and one was an expenses cup.  Students would pick one job and three expenses.  They would need to determine the least amount of work hours needed in order to balance their budget. 

You can buy all the cards and recording sheets, by visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers store: Income and Expenses- Working With A Simple Budget

Next Week: Gross and Net Income, Types of Taxes and the Start of Multiplying Decimals! 

Follow me on Twitter, I almost have 100 followers!! and Don't forget to post questions or comments below :)
Peace, Love, Math-

Curriculum Assessment- Collecting Data; Blendspace on Digital Citizenship

Sunday, October 25, 2015 No comments
I am excited to share that I was asked to co-host a webinar about Google for Education! I will be asked to share and discuss how I use Google within my classroom.  I am looking forward to sharing my ideas and I would love for you all to join the discussion! Here is a link that will allow you to register for the event.

This week we took curriculum assessments.  In my district these tests are used as a summative assessment.  Summative data is great to look at and analyze, but seems to shut down my class for a few days.  I have shared all of my activities and lessons thus far and I would like to share the results of those lessons.

Sorry about the messy PicCollage, but I didn't want to publish by school name.  Based on a 50% passing rate, I had 94% passing.  My lowest TEKS were 5.3A : estimation: 71% and 5.4B: Prime and Composite: 77%.  

I am very proud of my students and how they preformed on this test.  I will continue to focus on these two TEKS that they have not mastered yet.  

After testing I shifted gears just a bit.  We are a technology rich school, and yet I have not talked with my students about Digital Citizenship.  This is a very important issue that gets forgotten.  We talk with our kids about not talking to strangers on the street but we don't talk with them about talking to strangers online?? Students need to know how to handle strangers online, as well as, spam, pop ups or giving out personal information online.  I took Friday to discuss these important aspect with the students.  I allowed students to work through a Blendspace that featured interactive tutorials reinforcing digital citizenship.  

If you have never used Blendspace, it is a wonderful resource to order links, docs, videos, etc, for which you want students to access.  Students can even make comments on specific tasks.  This service is free and it can link up to your Google Drive account or Dropbox. 

Here is my Blendspace on Digital Citizenship.  

Next week, I will be headed to Camp Grady Spruce with my 5th graders! We take all of our 5th graders to camp to learn about many science experiences that we cannot bring into the classroom.

Until next week!
Peace Love and Math

Expanded Notation and Comparing Decimals, featuring virtual base ten blocks using Google Docs

Saturday, October 17, 2015 No comments
Before I share my activities from this week, I am excited to share that I was asked to co-host a webinar about Google for Education! I will be asked to share and discuss how I use Google within my classroom.  I am looking forward to sharing my ideas and I would love for you all to join the discussion! Here is a link that will allow you to register for the event.

Review of Decimals and Using Base Ten Blocks
To activate prior knowledge and to review what students learned in fourth grade, we started off the week making decimals using base ten blocks.  I started making baggies with bits and pieces of each type of block and then quickly realized, there has to be a better way! And there is! I created a Google Doc that I shared with my students on Google Drive.  Students were able to work together to make decimals using the document I created.  I could toggle back and forth between groups, making  comments and suggestions, all in real time.  I could also see misconceptions and observe students who were not recalling the information from fourth grade.
 I allowed the students to work on this for about 10 minutes then we went onto whole group, where we reviewed the base ten blocks and how to make decimals using the blocks.  We took notes in our journals and afterwards students could go back to their groups and apply the knowledge to fix their decimal documents.

While students were working, I could see them fix their mistakes and make the decimals appropriately.  I could also give feedback instantly. 

Expanded Notation

The next day we moved onto expanded notation.  Students knew that each place has a value, but I knew they would have trouble connecting that each number is composed of that place value times the digit.  For example: 3.45 would be written as (3x1) + (4 x 0.1) + (5 x 0.01)
I wanted a hands-on way to visually see the process of multiplying the digit by the place value.  I made a set of cards for each place value, from the tens to the thousandths.  I copied the cards using colored paper.  I also made an activity mat that allowed students to record a number and then construct the number using cards.  At the end, students would record the expanded notation at the bottom.  To save paper, I laminated the activity mats and had students use dry erase markers.  To add a fun element, I had students generate numbers using dice.

If you would like your own copy of the cards and activity mat click here.   

Comparing Decimals

This is a standard that students should have been taught in fourth grade.  To activate prior knowledge and observe students' current understandings, I asked a simple question on Edmodo.  Using the poll feature on Edmodo, I asked, "Which number is greater? 0.49 or 0.7?"  Often times students who don't remember their place value will suggest 0.49 is greater simply because 49 is bigger than 6.  So this quick 2 minute assessment gives me a ton of knowledge about their current understanding.  

Afterwards, we draw and talk about each place value while recording observations and details in our journals.  To allow students to practice, we play a very simple game called Roll Big, Roll Small.  The game is very simple,  Round one, students roll dice to create a number.  The biggest number wins.  In Round two, the smallest number wins, and so on. Since our focus is decimal comparisons, students are creating decimals.  

Another fun activity we do as a class, is explore race data.  Again I ask a simple question on Edmodo, using the poll tool.  I ask "If Payson and Madison were running a race and Payson finished the race in 25.67 seconds and Madison finished the race in 25.5 seconds, who won the race?" Many times students think that the biggest number is always the winner, because of that, many vote for Madison winning the race. Before we talk about the answer to the question, we collect some race data of our own.  Using a stop watch I time each child how long it takes to eat a starburst candy.  Almost immediately, students figure out who is winning the eating contest.  We record each time down in our journals.  At the end of the race, once everyone has had a chance to eat a starburst, students put the times in placement order starting with first place.  This really allows them to see that first place is the smallest time and then last place is the biggest time.  At the end of our lesson we look back at our poll on Edmodo.  We talk about who won the race and why.

Next week, we will be taking curriculum assessments on all of our material so far.  I am always a little nervous about the first test, but I think they will do great.  

Until next week, 
Peace, Love, Math-


Positively Practicing Prime and Composite Numbers Plus Order of Operations Project Using Google Slides

Saturday, October 10, 2015 No comments
Happy Weekend Everyone!

This week I have a lot to share with you! First off, during our Enrichment and Intervention time, students worked on an All About Me project using Google Slides.

Order of Operations: All About Me Project Using Google Slides
I love the idea of taking facts about yourself and turning them into equations.  I saw this idea on pinterest but the product was on poster board or chart paper.  So I decided to turn it into a digital presentation using Google Slides.  Students were to create equations using at least three steps including parentheses or brackets to represent the numbers that are about them.   Here are a couple of examples:

Students followed a simple guideline and rubric.  To get your own copy of the rubric and guideline sheet click HERE. 

I love how students are so great at using Google Slides.  The students love to add graphics, transitions and animations! It also makes grading so easy too! I cannot imagine taking 68 poster boards home!

Prime and Composite Activities

Last Friday, we had an introduction to Prime and Composite numbers.  You can check out the introduction activity in last weeks blog.
On Monday, we learned about Eratosthenes and his sieve process for finding prime numbers.  We colored a blank chart that I pulled from the internet on  Click HERE for a blank chart.  
On Tuesday, we looked at the sieve and we created generalizations.  Students used Padlet to share their conclusions.  These are just a couple screen shots that I took while we were completing the activity.

I like using Padlet, because it is an easy, colorful way to share ideas.  The board is live and students can get immediate feedback from me.  Reluctant students can be supported by looking at others before typing their ideas.

After we formed our ideas, we created and journaled our Rules for Composite numbers.  The rules that we came up with use multiplies and divisibility.

We used those rules the next day to test numbers.  Students worked in pairs to test numbers to see if the number was prime or composite.  Students used a checklist that had the Rules of Composite numbers listed.  Using a QR code reader students received immediate feedback.

If you would like your own copy of the checklist and number cards including QR codes, click HERE to visit my TpT store!

Two very fun Ipad Apps that I love to practice Prime and Composite numbers are Panasonic Prime Smash and Ninja Chicken.  Students love these apps! So much FUN!!!

I would love to hear from any one who uses the activities listed here! Please comment when you can or give me feedback :)

Until next week!

Peace, Love and Math-

Haiku Deck Equations with Variables, Order of Operations and Intro to Prime & Composite

Saturday, October 3, 2015 No comments
What a busy week this week! I had a meeting every conference period, and while the meetings are 100% necessary and worth every minute, missing prep time really sets you back.  But I am all caught up and very proud of my students this week.

During Enrichment and Intervention time, my students worked on a Haiku Deck Variable Project.  This project allowed students to take another look at Greg Tang's book, Math Appeal, and produce a haiku deck that showed each student's ability to make equations using variables.  The beauty of this project was that students could create an equation that made sense to them and sometimes their equation was different from another student's equation.  Some students used parenthesis and brackets while others made sure to use the order of operations they have learned.  Here are a few examples.

Using Variables while writing Equations - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Writing Equations using Variable - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Variables Project Katie Pham - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

If you would like a copy of the project requirements and scoring rubric, you can click here.

To use Haiku Deck, I created a very simple log in and password and shared my log in and password with the students.  This makes grading very easy.  I just log in and can access every deck that has been created.

I love the simplicity of Haiku Deck and how student friendly it is to use!


I always start with an equation like 2 + (6 x 3) x 4
I ask students to write and solve the equation on post its.  We look at all the different answers on the post its and how students solved the equation in a variety of ways.  We then focus on the steps it takes to bake a cake, and how if the steps are not followed correctly, you will not get a properly made cake.  We then journal and take notes on the order of operations.

After creating a foldable and journaling, we spent several days practicing.  One extremely fun way to practice is KAHOOT!!! I created several different Kahoot games for students to use while practicing.  If you have never used Kahoot, you should try it! It is free and the kids LOVE it!  I encourage the students to write down the problem and solve, before answering.  I do not like guessing!

Order of Operations: Sack of Truths and Lies

This activity is an error analysis of several equations solved using order of operations.  I made 18 cards that had multi-step problems that I solved using order of operations.  Some cards are correctly done, Truths, and some are not solved correctly, Lies.  I put the cards into a sack.   Students worked with a partner to analyze each card.  Students put the cards on a sorting mat.  After all cards were sorted, students used a QR code reader to see if they sorted the cards correctly.  Students worked together well and I really enjoyed hearing their conversations.

To get your own copy of this activity check it out in my TpT store! HERE! 

Introduction to Prime and Composite Numbers

On Friday, we moved onto Prime and Composite.  I never just give away the definitions at the beginning of a lesson, what's the fun in that??  Whenever possible, I try to have my students discover the math before I give the students the answers. We start by creating number arrays for each number 1-25.
We use blocks and we journal our findings.  Students hold up the arrays they find as we go.

As we move along, almost always a student says "Look, all the odd numbers can only be made using a stick" or "all the evens can be made in more than one way", to which I reply, "All of them??"  As we keep building I refer back to their predictions.  We soon get to 9, which is an odd number, and then suddenly their A-HA moment occurs.  "9 is odd and it has more than one array", which makes them more skeptical about every odd number we encounter.   The dialog between the students and I is so rich and it really makes them look at each number in more than one way.  After we have journaled and drawn each number to 25, I pose three questions to them...

1. What do you notice about the sticks? (Sticks is what we call the array made with 1 row of ___)
2. What do you notice about the EVEN numbers?
3. What do you notice about the ODD numbers?

I ask students to talk with their shoulder partners about these questions.  I encourage that they look back at each number we drew.

Their answers are spot on every time!!!
1. Sticks can be made with every number except for the number 1
2. Even numbers have multiple representations except for the number 2
3.  Odd numbers, some can only be made with a stick, and some can be made multiple ways, except for 1, it cannot be made with any array.

Afterwards I give them the definition for prime and composite, we also talk about how 1 is neither prime nor composite.

When students generate their own learning, the concept is so much more meaningful to them!

Next week we will focus more on prime and composite numbers, so stay tuned for more activities!

Until then...
Peace, Love, Math