Winter Wonderland, Activities before Winter Break! Featuring Coordinate Grids and Crystal Snowflakes

Saturday, December 17, 2016 1 comment
If your school is anything like mine, there are tons of activities right before winter break.  It is hard to get anything taught, let alone keep students engaged and behaved.  So this week I decided to just Let it Go!
On Monday, we had Polar Express Day, which is held by our librarian, and we all were pajamas.  We had shortened class periods so we began our Crystal Snowflake Experiment.  I took on the role of a science teacher and we discuss the important vocabulary that would be seen in our experiment.  These words included solubility, solution, boiling point, pore space to name a few.  We discussed what would be occurring tomorrow in science terms.  We also watched a few short videos about solutions and dissolving substances into water. The next day we put our plan in action! I had asked parents to send jars the week before and I had one jar per person.  Side note, the pint sized wide mouthed mason jars as well as the common chip dip jars work the best.  Bigger jars require A LOT of water and A LOT of Borax soap, so if you have extra jars like I did, I just made them trade their jar for a smaller one.  We also used colored pipe cleaners instead of food coloring and it worked out amazingly!
I boiled the water and put the water into the jar.  Students then put in 3 tablespoons of Borax for each cup of water and stirred. Not all the soap will dissolve and that is okay.  We then put our jars in an empty room and left them overnight.  The next day, Wednesday, revealed awesome crystals that students could use for ornaments on their tree!

While students waited patiently for me to heat their water and make their crystal, students completed my Winter Wonderland Coordinate Grid Decoding Activity! This is super fun! Students used their knowledge of locating points on a coordinate grid to decode answers to riddles and jokes! Students then created their own secret messages for other students to decode! They loved it! Visit my store here for the Winter Wonderland activity! 

I am looking forward to the new year! I hope everyone has a safe holiday break! 

Peace, Love and Math

Reaching for the Stars! Movement on the Coordinate Grid

Saturday, December 10, 2016 No comments
TEKS 5.8C explains that students will need to be able to move around on the coordinate grid using directions like right, left, up and down as well as cardinal directions such as north, south, east and west.  Thus I created Reach for the Stars! This game was fabulous and the students loved playing!

The partner game required so many different TEKS and standards that it was awesome to see the students work together! First students came up with a starting point, by spinning a spinner.  This is the only time that they will spin the spinner.  Next students drew cards from the bag.  Cards have 1, 2 and 3 step directional movements.  Students then follow the directions.  If they ever pass through a star or land on a star, the students receive the points indicated on each star.  Students record and add up their points on the score board.  I laminated my game boards and had students use dry erase markers.  I gave students two different colored markers.  I also had my students complete an exit slip with STAAR prep questions, and I was amazed at how many students retained the movement concept! If you would like to complete this activity in your class, check it out HERE!

Next week, is our last week before winter break.  My class will be making a Crystalized Snowflake and I have also made an activity called Winter Wonderland! I can't wait to use this new activity in my class! If you would like a sneak peak, check it out HERE!

Have a wonderful last week (if it is your last week:)
Peace, Love and Math

Order of Operations and Integrating Literature with Coordinates!

Saturday, December 3, 2016 No comments
This week we focused on Order of Operations without exponents.  I developed a great activity that allowed students to analyze different problems while looking for mistakes.  I instructed the students that they were human lie detectors :) .  Students determined if the statements where Truths or Lies.  Students worked through each problem justifying why the problem was a Truth and why the problem was a Lie.  They sorted the cards onto the sorting mat which has QR codes to reveal the correct answers.

You can get your own copy of this activity by visiting my store: Order of Operations Lie Detector Activity

Next the students played a partner game in which students "Choose Your Fate".  Students were given an equation card with a QR Code.  The partner chooses the fate (which step to solve the problem to) of the other partner.  This is a great activity to really focus in on which step is first and which step is third and so on.  This is also a QR Code activity which reveals all the steps to solve each equation.  This is very rigorous and really helped my students slow down and look at each individual step! 

If you would like the Choose Your Fate activity click HERE to be taken to my store! 

On Friday we began one of my favorite units which is coordinate grids.  I love to integrate literature whenever possible, so we started off the unit with the Fly on the Ceiling by Julie Glass.  This is a great book to begin learning coordinates and it actually tells a story about how Rene Decartes developed the coordinate system.  Afterwards the students had their own flies on the ceiling activity to practice plotting flies onto a coordinate grid.  I bought little plastic flies from Amazon.  The students LOVED this activity! 

If you would love to have flies on your ceiling, check out my Shoo-Fly Activity: HERE

Until next time! 
Peace, Love and Math! 

New School Year, New Activities! Multiplying Decimals, Dividing Decimals and a new Types of Taxes Board Game!

Sunday, November 20, 2016 No comments
I love to change up my activities from year to year.  Even though my students did extremely well last year on the state achievement test, I hate to do the same lessons every year.  One reason I try to change it up from year to year, is that students are not the same each year.  Some years are better than others while some years require a different approach.  This year, the students require a different approach.  I have to be very explicit with my directions and expectations.  I cannot assume anything this year.  With that being said, I made some new activities in order to teach this year's topics to mastery. 

What better way to reinforce decimal multiplication using the standard algorithm than BINGO! Students love bingo and they love to win! You can grab your own set of Bingo cards for FREE at my TpT store! Click HERE

I was looking for an activity that would allow my students to practice multiplying decimals to the hundredths while working on problem solving skills.
I came up with the GREAT GROCERY HUNT! This activity is AMAZING! I used products that anyone should be able to find in any grocery circular! One great thing about this activity is that it is open ended and can be done with any grocery store ad. In my classroom, there were 3 different apples to pick from. I did not mind which apple they chose as long as the math was correct. 

As an added bonus, this activity helps their inferential thinking skills, that they need so badly in reading class. Because the questions are written in clues, students must gather clues and decide on which product to use in their solution. 

Download comes with activity sheets, teacher directions and answer key. It also comes with a word doc that is completely editable! You can add your own questions or edit mine! You can make it more difficult or use different product in your own grocery store circular. 

This could be done individually or with partners. You could also put this in a math station! To get your own copy visit my TpT store or click HERE! 

While students were working on Multiplying Decimals, I was reteaching Dividing Decimals Using Models.  I created this sorting activity that helped to reinforce how students look at models.  They figure out the quotient, the equation, and what the total is of the model.  This is the most confusing part for the students.  Students often have trouble looking at the model and being able to determine the total divided by the number of groups (seen in the model) equals one group (which is your quotient).  Often times students want to put the one group down as the total of the model.  The sorting activity really helped my students make those connections! They actually did better on there Curriculum Assessment on dividing decimal models then multiplying decimal models.  That is a first for me! 

I have these task cards/ sorting activity on my TpT store! Click HERE! 

Lastly I made a board game that helps students practice defining the four types of taxes.  Taxes featured in the game are Property, Income, Payroll and Sales.  The students LOVED this game! They did very well and could recall the types of taxes quickly and accurately. I used fake coin money as the "people movers" on the board game, super cute and super engaging! 

You can pick up your own copy of this game here at my TpT store or click HERE! 

After Thanksgiving we will be learning about Coordinate Grids and Order of Operations! I look forward to sharing the activities with you! 

Peace, Love, Math- Jenn

Decimal Multiplication using Models - TEKS 5.3D

Saturday, October 22, 2016 No comments
Part of a teacher's job to get better every year and to get to know your content better every year.  This is the third year of the new math standards and I think this year I have done a ton better with teaching decimal multiplication using models.  Here are some of the activities I used this week.  

I first focused on a decimal times a whole number.  We modeled this with base ten blocks and proved our answers with repeated addition.  Afterwards we focused on how to color in a grid to represent the repeated decimal.  This is what they will most likely see on the end of the year assessment, STAAR.  We reinforced this concept the following day with a game! This game allowed students to color in appropriate models but also compare their decimal products to determine the winner of that round. The game is called Best Out of Nine! You can purchase the game here on my TpT store.  

The next two days we focused on the models used to represent tenths times tenths.  They may also see this model on STAAR.  This is seen using a grid, two different colors and the product is seen as the intersecting boxes.  We first practiced this concept together and then I allowed the students to do a little independent/partner practice.  This activity requires students to demonstrate a multiplication problem using the grid and then finding the product.  Then the students checked their work with an Ipad and QR scanner.  You can get this activity for FREE here on my TpT store.  I had also allowed my district to use this activity in the curriculum document this year.  So hopefully lots of students had a chance to practice this skill using my activity.  

The last activity I used was from Games 4 Gaines website.  This is a free domino puzzle that uses a standard 28 domino set.  I made my students draw each model while solving the domino puzzle.  I just printed off a ton of little grids so that they could model each domino they solved.  The kids LOVED this activity!

Next week we are off to Camp Grady Spruce- Outdoor Education for three days.  When we get back to school, we will focus on the standard algorithm of decimal multiplication.  You can get a free copy of the BINGO game we will play to practice standard algorithm on my TpT store! 

Pearce, Love and Math! 

Multi-Digit Multiplication! and My New Love, EdPuzzle!

Saturday, September 10, 2016 No comments
Well I have survived the first three weeks of school! I have spent about 6 days reviewing fourth grade multiplication and then teaching fifth grade 3 by 2 multiplication using standard algorithm.  I always provide students with a multiplication chart, usually taped to their desks, because I do not want students to lose their standard algorithm process if they get mixed up on a multiplication fact.  As time goes by, student after student moves away from the chart and becomes fluent with their multiplication facts.  This chart also helps with learning the steps of long division, which is what we started this week. Both processes require many steps and focus, so it is good when a student doesn't have to worry about a fact and can just focus on learning the process.  Last year, when I had to remove the multiplication charts for testing, it was a MESS! I had to break out a razor blade and alcohol to scrape the sticky residue off the desks.  So this year, I used velcro! I laminated the little charts and bought velcro from Amazon and put the charts on each desk.  The velcro charts are awesome! The kids can remove them and take them to small group or just pull it closer to their journals.   Warning- You have to tell the students not to play with the velcro and not to rip it off and on to make noise. What kid doesn't want to hear that noise? :) 

This week I also used an activity featured in an earlier blog post. Here is the previous post: Multiplication Detectives!

I revamped this acitvity and have posted it on my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Here is the listing on my TpT store! 

During one of my classes, we had a fire drill, so that really limited the time spent on this activity.  As an alternative, I displayed the problems on the board, and then students worked with shoulder partners to solve and decide on the mistake made.  I used a timer and then we went over the problem as a class.  We actually got quite a few problems done using this method, so this might be a great alternative for classes that have a shorter amount of time in their class periods.  

I discovered Edpuzzle while reading my twitter feed! I decided to see what it was all about and I am in love! It is an amazing resource! I love to assign videos to my students to watch but I am never quite sure if they are really paying attention to the video or not.  Here is where EdPuzzle comes in! EdPuzzle has videos and allows you to build comprehension questions into the video.  So while the student watches the video, it will stop and ask a question.  You can make the questions multiple choice for easy grading or open ended.  You can also stop a video to include a note that you want students to write in their journals or just pay special attention to, this can also be done with a voice note, which will record your voice.    

Edpuzzle is free! You sign up as a teacher and then you are given a class code.  Students sign up using the class code. You can use the search tool to find already made products that you can copy and edit all for FREE! 

Once you find a video to use, you can then assign it to your class.  You can assign due dates and you can also prevent skipping through the video! Which I love! After the students complete the video you can click on progress and see how they did with the questions you provided! 

EdPuzzle is a great resource to use for blended classrooms! 

I hope you all have a great week, and I would love to hear your ideas! 

Peace, Love and Math- Jennifer 

Pokemon Go Graphs!!! and MORE!

Saturday, August 27, 2016 No comments
WE MADE IT! First week of school is done! In fifth grade we hit the ground running! So this week we focused on graphing.  This is the third year with the new math standards and I am still trying to fully understand the rigor behind the standards.  I think every year I get a little better at the new concepts.  This year during our data and graph unit, I did some of the same things as last year but I added a few new activities to increase the rigor.
First we focused on Stem and Leaf.  We used favorite numbers between 20-49 and we also played SKUNK to collect data in a more engaging way.  Afterwards I handed out a laminated piece of manilla paper with a stem and leaf graph in the middle.  I divided the paper into four sections.  Each student in the group was responsible for writing a question that could be solved using the stem and leaf.

After they wrote questions, they switched with another group and solved the other group's questions. 

The next day we looked at Dot Plots.  Just like last year, we made dot plots using or hand span and shoe sizes.  You can see those activities in an earlier post on my blog. We also used Padlet to look at several other examples of dot plots. Padlet is a virtual bulletin board which allows students to post in response to questions I ask.  

The next day we moved onto bar graphs.  We used Edmodo like we did last year, as a way to collect data.  Edmodo creates digital bar graphs that students can interpret. Afterwards, in partners, students looked at bar graphs and double bar graphs and analyzed statements to conclude if the statement is true or false.  This is an awesome way that students can justify their thinking and solve problems using their reasoning skills.  
Visit my TpT store and get your own copy of the bar graph analysis here: Bar Graph Analysis

On Friday we did an activity that I am super excited about! It features Pokemon Go! I figured if you can't beat'em join'em! I played Pokemon Go for a week and it was incredibly time consuming but fun! I have to be honest, I do not play it anymore, haha. 
First I showed a short slide show that describes Pokemon Go for students who had no clue what it was.  Then I hung posters aka Pokestops around the room.  Students worked with partners to rotate around the rooms looking at the posters.  Students used a cootie catcher aka Pokeballs to ask each other questions. The kids loved this! They also loved they could talk to me about something they are interested in! 

I laminated the posters so that at the end of the acitvity, as a class, when we went over a few questions, I could write on the poster with a dry erase marker.  
If you would like to do this acitvity in your class, head on over to my TpT store.  The download comes with posters, cootie catchers and the link to my google slide show! Pokemon Go Graph Activity!

Tune in next week for multiplication activities! 

Peace, Love, Math- Jennifer