Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spread the Sale!

TPT is having a big sale today and Friday!  SO many educators are putting their products up for sale, and when you enter the TPT promo code, you get an even bigger discount :)

Happy Shopping!

Here are a few of my creations that my kids have been loving...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Another Peek into My Week

Sorry it's been a while, friends!  Usually my immune system holds up pretty well, but this year is a completely different story.  I cannot seem to get well, which is taking a toll on my energy levels.  Regardless, the show must go on, so here is a peek at what we've been doing and what we will be doing this week :)

Thanks again, Jennifer, for the opportunity to link up!

Last week, we spent our time identifying and plotting fractions on a number line.  My students did very well with this concept and absolutely loved this around the room activity.

I used sentence strips to create number lines representing halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths, eights, ninths, tenths, and twelfths.  After laminating the sentence strips and taping them in different locations around the room, I wrote corresponding fractions on clothespins and handed each student 4-5 pins each.  The goal was to go around and find exactly which number line, and where, their clothespins belonged.  I challenged students to do this silently and to constantly check the work of others.  If students observed that a fraction was placed incorrectly, they had permission to remove the clothespin and find its correct placement.

Again, my kiddos really enjoyed this activity, and it is now a great addition to a math workshop station.  Here are a few pictures of the activity in action!

As for this week, we will be diving into equivalent fractions.  On Monday and Tuesday, I plan to do explorations with fraction bars.  I found this AMAZING activity from Math Coach's Corner that I will be using during my formal observation on Tuesday.  This activity incorporates so many standards for mathematical practice. Click the image below to visit Donna's blog and to download her amazing freebie!

At the end of the week, I will be spiraling what we've learned about fractions so far this year.  Since the third grade fraction unit is so intense, I created a test-prep task card pack for my students to use in small groups and math stations.  There are 52 task cards with the answers on the back for easy self-check.  An Around the Room activity is also included, which will be what my class will be doing Friday before our test!  Click the image below to check it out.

In science we are finally jumping into our force and motion unit!  I really enjoy this unit because my kids get a chance to work in groups to explore concepts of motion.  They also get to use ramps, jeeps, and sheep!  Who wouldn't enjoy this unit?!  

I use the Picture Perfect Science lesson, Sheep in a Jeep to kick of force and motion, and I will continue to use this lesson for many years to come!  Check out their website and resources, here.  I will definitely be posting pictures throughout the week :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sticky Graphs

Good morning, everyone!  I know each and every one of you are excited about the weekend, but if you're like me, my weekend is filled with lesson plans and grad school work!  Being the procrastinator that I am, I think this is a perfect time to give you all a sneak peak into my mathematics formative assessment strategy of the week.

My kiddos are continuing to explore fractions through the use of fraction bars.  It really is amazing how a simple manipulative can help students grasp onto a concept.  If my teachers would have put these little babies in front of me in third grade, my entire world would have changed!  As a third grader, fractions put me over the edge because we used ZERO hands-on manipulatives.

 My students have also fallen in love with a game called, Roll a Fraction.  I came across this  activity from the Fractions Rock bundle over at Ashleigh's TPT store.  This super, simple set-up gets students excited about comparing fractions.  In pairs, the kiddos roll 2, 12-sided dice, create two fractions, and compare the two fractions using < , >, or =.  The student who had the greater fractions the MOST times, wins.  This class favorite will definitely be making its way into my math workshop station rotation.

Sticky Bars

 This was the most meaningful formative assessment I have experienced with my class s far this year. Here's the deal... Sticky Bars is a way to make students' ideas public and helps them see that there is a range of answers and ideas about a specific concept within the classroom. 

Here was my prompt to see what my babies had learned about comparing fractions this week... 
The kiddos were allowed to use their notebooks to draw models and expand on their reasonings.  Once they selected the student they chose as the winner of the race, they wrote an answer, anonymously on a sticky note.  They passed the sticky notes to me, and I arranged the diverse student responses into a bar graph on the whiteboard.  This activity helps students understand that their thinking may differ compared to the thinking of their peers.  The strategy also reinforces that learning requires the process of working together to construct a common understanding.

Here's where I put my spin on the assessment activity,  Once I posted all of the responses, I allowed students to share who they selected as the winner and why. I asked students to prove their thinking to the class in multiple ways: models, explanations, vocabulary, etc.  THIS. WAS. INTENSE.  I am so, so glad that I took this route.  My students were so engaged and I was able to see EXACTLY how they were thinking.  Misconceptions were identified, new strategies were learned, vocabulary was reinforced, and minds were changed.  Yes. My students convinced other students to change their thinking based on explanations.

So, I then took a picture of the original bar graph, took the stickies down, and gave students another sticky note.  I asked students to once again, choose the student they thought was winning the race.  I was interested to see which students changed their answers based on the explanations from their classmates.  The picture below showed the final graph.

 After a VERY meaningful discussion about fractions, numerators, denominators, halves, wholes, parts, and pieces, I broke out the manipulatives to show the solution. Students were able to narrow the winners down to Sean 3/4, Allie 2/3, and Luke 5/6 because these fractions were almost a whole.  What my kiddos needed to see and experience was that the missing pieces to the wholes were different sizes. Using the fraction bars helped my kids see that the winning runner needed to complete the smallest piece of the race.
 Give this assessment tool a try; I promise you won't be disappointed!  You can click below to grab a copy of my Sticky Bar Prompt.

Also, if you need some Valentine's Day math ideas for next week, check out a few of my resources below.  have a fabulous weekend!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Sunday and Lots of Linkys!

It is the day I have been waiting for since September!  Super Bowl Sunday!  I am beyond thrilled that Peyton and the Broncos made it to the big game, and I will be cheering them on every step of the way tonight.  I am also excited about Bruno Mars at halftime.  Broncos and Bruno. My whole month of February has already been made :)

Speaking of February, I am linking up with Meghan over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her February Currently Linky.

So clearly, my Listening and Wanting go hand in hand with the Super Bowl.  I know, I know, I've said it a million times...GO BRONCOS!  I am just so excited for Peyton and I could possibly want this win for him more than he wants it for himself.  I do think Russel Wilson is a stand-up guy, but Peyton has my heart, and I truly believe this is his year!

I am seriously LOVING my new Nike shoes.  I got a great deal on these puppies at the Nike outlet store, and can't wait to get back into running/working out.  I have a beach trip in April, so it's time to get that bathing suit bod back.  Ha.

My husband turns 29 tomorrow!  I cannot believe this will be his last 20-something year.  at least he gets to spend it with me :)  Anyhow, he loves basic yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing.  I guess I can take a break from blogging, lesson plans, and grad school so I can start this cake from scratch!

I am really needing to finish my grad school assignments.  I have two online classes this semester (I HATE online classes), and the busy work just keeps piling up!  I thought I had gotten a head start during my snow days, but not so much...

2 Truths and a Fib
Truth:  I am always cold.  Always.  At home I have a blanket around me at all times.  If a blanket is not practical, I resort to an over-sized sweatshirt.  I am so, so ready for summer, but, I'll somehow still find a way to be cold here in Louisiana.  Sad. i know.

Truth: I love wedges!  I am so glad I married a man who is 6'2 because it is so nice to go into my closet and know that whichever shoes I select, my 5 foot 10 self will still be shorter than he .  I chose this truth because after the "stow storm", we now have 70 degree weather.  Naturally, I took this opportunity to break out a pair of wedges, and I am now completely in my zone.  I can't wait to see which new styles DSW has to offer me this year!

Fib:  I dislike reality TV.  HA. HA.  Such a fib!  I get sucked in so easily.  What do I do if I have school work or grad school?  i sit down with my laptop and put the TV on Bravo.  Reality TV heaven.  Oh, and don't even get me started on Juan Pablo this season...

Alright, enough about me.  I know that I said if and WHEN the Broncos win the Super Bowl, I would put my entire TPT store on sale.  Well, I jumped on the bandwagon and put my store on sale early.  So as of now, everything is 20% until midnight.  HOWEVER...When Peyton is holding his trophy, I will extend the sale through Monday night.  You're welcome :) 

Click the #18 to jump to my store.
image: Ashley Hughes

 Check out the linky below to see the other very talented teachers who are having sales today!

Thank you Primary Possibilities

GO Broncos!