Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Christopher's Graduation

My oldest son Christopher graduated from Basic at Ft. Benning and just got stationed to Ft. Riley.

This is the moment I got to hug my boy after the ceremony.  So dang proud of him.  My students  missed me while I was there, but this was something I couldn't miss.  The first three days I was absent in 3 years.  I hate writing sub plans, but so worth it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Inherited Traits...and Prepositional Phrase Poem

Inherited Traits and Learned Behavior  

We had so much fun creating our Dr. Seuss blended creatures, that I decided to integrate them with our language skill this week.

We are studying prepositions and prepositional phrases.  The students created seven prepositional phrases about their creature.


My TPT  Inherited Traits Unit includes 5 Activities:
Dr. Seuss is my favorite one.

The TPT Link to the unit and other activities:

Student created creature and completed traits page.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fraction Family Flip Book

Fraction Flip Books that highlight 

fact families and equivalencies instead of order.

Fourth and Fifth grade teachers…. Stop making fraction books that put unit fractions in descending or ascending order.  Instead, group those fractions in to families.  Deeper learning and understanding occurs.

We start with the whole and then create the halves, fourths, and eighths using yellow bars.  We fold to create halves, and label them.  Then we fold another whole into halves, and I ask them, “How can we create fourths from halves?”.  Students tell me to fold it in half, so we do.  We then label those fraction pieces after I ask them, what does 1/4 look like.  Hold up what 3/4 looks like.   I can ask them little questions like which is longer  1/2 or 3/4 ?   Then we repeat the process for the eights.  We start with the whole, fold to make ½, fold again to make ¼ and then once more to make 1/8 .   After we explore how they are related to each other, we glue that family on the flip book.

Students learn that a fourth is half of a half and an eighth is half of a fourth  HUGE!!!  Folding paper is both visual and kinesthetic.

Folding paper strips provides for deeper understanding than when the teacher provides a strip already labeled.   They see the connection between the fraction family unit fractions when they fold and label themselves.

1/12 can be included as part of the third fraction family, but I leave it by itself.  When we fold to make those we fold sixths in half, but I have the students align the twelfths to the fourths to notice that ¼ is equal in length to 3/12.   I choose green for the twelfths because yellow and blue combine to create green. When you add thirds and fourths you create twelfths.

Fraction Families

1/2, 1/4, 1/8 yellow

1/3, 1/6 blue

1/12 green

1/5, 1/10 hot pink

I have created templates for 1/2, 1/3, 1/12 and 1/5 to print and use in the classroom.  They can be found at my teachers pay teachers store for free.  :-)
The link below will take you there.

Inside the fraction flip book, we label percent, decimal and other fraction equivalents.   I also ask the students to illustrate the fractions using the circle model, rectangle or area model, or a set model.   This takes an entire class period to create, but is so important.  The next class period, we formally compare fractions and I introduce the number line based on the strips we used in class. 

__________  ____________  ____________   __________  _____________
People have been asking for pictures of the inside of this book.  These are pictures from one student's pages.  The decimal point is difficult to see but 2/3 is equal to 66.6% on the first picture.  He was not as comfortable with the circle model for sixths or fifths, but was able to provide a picture model for each fraction.    This is a great formative assessment for their understanding.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Engagement Meter

We have been working hard this week.  A lot of testing and data collection.   I want to share an engagement meter I use in my classroom.  I think the importance in having one is in the power of asking the students to keep track of their thinking.

I introduced the engagement meter by stating that this is NOT a meter of behavior.  They are all well behaved and look like they are doing their best.  Instead, this meter is to track where their thinking was focused during the lesson.  

  • Engaged.....  Students are learning for themselves.  They are curious, or interested in what we are learning.
  • Compliant.... Students are learning because it is expected.  Grades and outcomes are important to them, but it may not have real meaning to them.
  • Retreat.... Students were functioning, but not learning.  Their minds may have wandered or they just were not interested in the learning.

I use popsicle sticks with their names on them during the lesson to ensure I call on all students with questions or comments.  When I call their name, I give them their popsicle stick when they answer.
At the end of the lesson, they put their stick in the labeled cup.  
Easy visual to gage how engaged they were in the lesson. 

Again.... the power of doing this is NOT just in the outcome data.  A paradigm shift occurs in ASKING the question.  How engaged are you?  I tell them I am going to ask at the end of the lesson, and I notice how much more vested they are in the process.

It is the JOURNEY... not the DESTINATION that is most important.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Poetry Imagery Lesson

I sit here on a Saturday looking at the plans for the upcoming week.  There is so much to do, and so little time!
We are going to begin our fraction study on Wednesday and I can't wait!  We will finish our reader's theaters on Island of the Blue Dolphins and Sign of the Beaver.  Students are writing a conversation between characters and will read them aloud Thursday night for their parents.  We are also working on bring a couple of Shel Silverstein's poems to life for Thursday.

I did create a poetry imagery lesson that uses the reading strategy Making Connections, to improve comprehension.  I want students to read and visualize the poem.  Then work on what the poem means to them by connecting what they read to themselves, their life, another book, or the world.

The link below will take you there.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Beginning

I can only hope that this will be the beginning of a productive relationship between me and other fifth grade teachers searching the web for lesson ideas and products.   As I sit here taking a break from my lesson plans, I wonder if any other teacher will come across this page.   
So... the beginning will be a humble hello and hope that I will be able to post ideas, pictures and lessons that I use in my classroom.  
See you soon.

This is my pinterest math board with some items I find interesting and links to my Common Core Order of Operations unit on TeachersPayTeachers.

Pinterest Math Board