Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Measurement Mania

I have to be a complete teacher nerd and admit that I am having  the most fun with my fourth graders as they are exploring metric measurement!  Hands-on is the way to go, and has truly helped my sweet kiddos understand the conceptual aspects of measurement as well as the importance of metrics in the real world.  I am so glad that Take a look...

I began the unit with metric length and challenged my students to find the relationships between centimeters, decimeters, and meters.  We used centimeter cubes, a meter stick, and a decimeter template.  I was inspired by an activity on K-5 Teaching resources., and if you haven't seen this site, check it out for some amazing, free activities, templates, and station materials!  My students still refer to this activity, especially when they are trying to convert meters to centimeters.  Sometimes they want to multiply by 1,000, but as soon as they think, centimeter cubes, the 100 benchmark pops into their little brains :)

After we explored length and metric length conversions, mys students worked in pairs to complete a metric length sort. Partners ordered centimeters, meters, and kilometers in order from least to greatest, and were challenged to do some mental converting.  I think they thought Mrs. Brown was giving them an easy assignment, but it turned out to be more rigorous than expected!  They had a blast with this and were determined to solve the puzzle.

Metric mass and weight were next to cross out on our master metric list, and we had an absolute blast differentiating between mass and weight.  This was a great opportunity to let students experience both the balance scale and spring scale, and they loved utilizing each tool.  Students did a grams scavenger hunt and created their own 100 gram weights, which we combined to make a kilogram.  Having a kilogram benchmark really helped students get a feel of kilograms and items that are appropriate to weigh in kilograms.  We spent two days on mass/weight exploration and the students did a fabulous job making etimatesand recording actual measures.

Next up, capacity! My fourth graders were amazed at how tiny a milliliter actually is compared to a liter.  We had a fabulous discussion about the difference between milli and kilo.  I had to explain that milli is a prefix that means 1000th, like a fraction.  A milliliter is 1/1000 of a liter. Kilo means 1,000 and is 1,000 wholes.  This helped bridge measurement and fractions, which got my little math self pretty excited! One of my students favorite activities was trying to estimate the liquid volume of these containers.  In groups they ordered the containers from least to greatest, based on how much water they thought each would hold.  Then they were actually able to experiment with the containers, water, and graduated cylinders.  SO much fun, and hardly any spills!

Even though our exploration and hands-on discoveries have been super fun, we are all super exhausted!  Sooo, this week we have been doing some task card reviews, metric sorts, around the room conversions, and, their all time favorite, headbandz!

Some of these measurement activities can be found here at my TPT store.  Enjoy!  Be on the lookout this week for an amazing formative assessment idea for word problems AND some "feedback fun"

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Peek at My Week

You know that feeling when you wake up on Monday at 5:00 and the next think you know it's Sunday night and you're about to wake up on Monday, again?!  Or, in other words, does anyone know the feeling of pure exhaustion?!  Honestly, this has been the craziest start to a school year I have had in my eight years as a teacher, and I'm struggling to keep up!

I am taking a few minutes to link up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for the wonderful A Peek At My Week Linky.  So, here's what I have going on this week...

This will be week 6 with my sweet babies, and we are already wrapping up our first unit, which was place value.  I have to say, I miss the comfort of third grade, but I really enjoy the content of fourth grade math.  Teaching two advanced classes gives me the opportunity to try some really neat things that I plan on sharing with you all soon. Here are just a few snapshots of my fourth grade lovies over the past few weeks,  They are doing a great job with cooperative learning and communicating their math ideas :)


I am so excited to be able to share that my class and I have received our first DOnor's Choose grant!  Our rugs and math manipulatives arrived on Friday, and this week my students will begin writing thank you notes and documenting how the materials help with personal growth in mathematics.  We are so excited to send out thank you packages to the donors who believe in mathematics education!

On Wednesday, I am beginning measurement with two of my classes.  I. Am. So. Excited!  I love teaching measurement,  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  We are beginning with the metric system, and I absolutely cannot wait for my students to create, explore, and discover measurement concepts.  Pictures to come for sure!  

On Friday I have to plan for a sub (booo) because I have been selected to serve on a state committee to create test sample questions for our state assessment.  I hate being out, but I guess this will give me an opportunity to give my students a "review" day.

Our state has suggested that our district use Eureka Math as a guide for math curriculum.  Not, I am not the biggest fan of mandated curriculums or teaching from a book, so I have to tweak things a bit and make my lessons meaningful for my kiddos.  So, to go along with our measurement unit, my project for this weekend was to create some task cards, hands-on activities, and student evaluations that "go along" with our Math Module 2. I think my students will enjoy these tasks, and I am excited to implement some of the task cards into my Guided Math rotation.

Have a good week!