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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Measurement and Geometry Unit

Here in Colorado, we have two more months of school before summer break, and as of last week, we have taught ALL of our math standards!  Yay!  Now it's on to some collaborative projects, STEM activities, and enrichment while we review all of the concepts we worked on this year.  Before we begin those super fun activities, though, we had to finish up our geometry and measurement unit, and I'm here to share some of the activities we did!

For ALL of our geometry concepts, we compiled our notes into a big Geometry Waterfall booklet.  We do A LOT of interactive note-booking throughout the year, so I wanted to change it up a bit for this unit, and they really enjoyed it!  Here is a peek inside our waterfall booklets.

We started with area and perimeter.  The notes they took were really basic since they remembered many of these skills from third grade.  Here is another blog post I wrote about PERIMETER AND AREA with a ton of other ideas and activities that we did in the past and did again this go around! 

Then, we worked on line study.  This is one of my favorite parts because of the line study activity we do every year.  Kids love it SO much!  Here is a look at the very basic page in our booklet...

Now the fun begins!  My kids make their own hands-on line study packets for practicing.  You can read more about that in old blog posts HERE and HERE.

Next it was on to Angles!  

This looks like SO MUCH when it is all put together.  However, we did this over the course of two or three days and walked through each step.  It would have been far too overwhelming to do all at once, so I don't recommend it. :)   I have blogged about ANGLES and the activities we do HERE and HERE.

Next, it was on to Classifying Polygons.  We really didn't spend too much time on this after we made our waterfall booklets.  We played a few games during math workshop, and they caught on very quickly!

Finally, we worked for a day or two on symmetry.  Again, they were familiar with the concept, so we took it a bit further with our discussion.

They created shapes using pattern blocks and mirrors to check for symmetry.  If you've never taught symmetry this way, I HIGHLY recommend it!

When we were done with these concepts (which took about three weeks in total, between whole group instruction and math workshop rotations), it was on to measurement! On the first day of instruction, we reviewed the difference between Customary and Metric measurement, which was actually a big struggle for a lot of my kids.  We also reviewed relative size using an anchor chart I found on Pinterest!  If you are the original creator of this chart, please let me know!

The next day, we briefly introduced converting measures, which again, was fairly foreign to most of them.  It was SO nice that day (and we were in the middle of state testing), so we took it outside.  I created a quick little sheet that gave them specific things to measure on our playground.  Then, they had to convert into feet, inches, yards, etc. as well as centimeters and meters.  It was just the break we needed!

You can download a copy of the SUPER BASIC recording sheet HERE.

The next day, we combined all of our geometry and measurement skills with these real world task cards.  My students loved them so much that they started taking and drawing their own pictures and writing questions! I love to see students take action like that.

You can find these Geometry and Measurement Picture Task Cards HERE.

One more connection we made to the real world was with our Geometry Circle Map.  Students found examples in the real world and we put them into a circle map.  I keep forgetting to take a picture of ours, but here's one from a few years ago...

Once we were done with measurement, it was time to review ALL of the learning we had done for the past month.  This was undeniably the highlight of the unit!  I combined all of the concepts we had worked on and made a quiz style review game using task cards.  Set up was easy because I already had the task cards made for each topic from math workshop.  You can read more about how we play the game with fractions HERE (there is also a link to download the point cards and a recording sheet).  This time, though, I made it a little bit simpler and just had teams get FULL points if they were the first done and got it correct, and then the rest of the kids got half points if they got it correct. That way there is still incentive to finish it and do well!

When a card was chosen, I would project it up on the document camera while groups read and solved it together.
When we were done with the game, my kids BEGGED me to put new cards in it and play again!

You can purchase the task cards I used for the review game (and throughout my ENTIRE unit) in a Bundle HERE or separately if you only need a few sets! :)  Happy teaching.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Teaching Quotation Marks and Dialogue

We've been busy working on narratives in writing (post about that coming soon!), so it seemed like the perfect time to also throw in some instruction on using dialogue in writing and rules for using quotation marks.  We didn't have much time to practice, and the vast majority of the practice we did was done while we were writing our narratives, but I did want to share a few activities we used along the way!

First, we made an anchor chart together discussing ways to use dialogue so that they could change it up a bit.  Then, we made an anchor chart about the basic rules for using quotation marks.  After this, I had them look through a page in their current novel and pick out each of the dialogue rules we had discussed. 

Now, this was one of those activities I thought of mid-lesson that turned out to be perfect. We have a class set of 10 iPads, so I had the students get into groups of 3 and record themselves having a brief 15-20 second conversation with each other (topic was their choice, but if I had planned ahead, I might have given them topics). Then, they had to transcribe their little conversations into a dialogue. They thought it was the coolest thing ever, and it was a super quick but super effective way to work on their types of dialogue and quotation mark rules! 

The last activity we did included a set of quotation mark task cards!  They are multiple choice task cards, so they can be used as a quick Scoot activity.  However, I wanted them to take the task a bit further and keep on practicing their skills.  Each partner group got a task card.  They selected which one was punctuated correctly.  Then, they had to come up with a line of dialogue that could go BEFORE and a line of dialogue that could come AFTER the sentence on the card.  This was GREAT practice because they had to correctly punctuate three separate sentences or sections of dialogue and be creative at the same time.  These were super fun to read and grade, too!

You can find the Quotation Mark Task Cards HERE!

While they worked on these activities, I had them use a quick little checklist to make sure they were following dialogue rules.  You can download the list HERE.

Do you have any fun dialogue activities to share? I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Fractions and Decimals Project

In my last post, I wrote about how I introduced converting decimals and fractions.  My students did so well with it and didn't need too much more practice on it.  However, I needed them to show me they could really apply their knowledge in other situations, but I didn't want them simply working through worksheets to show me what they knew.  Today I'm sharing, for FREE, the project we did instead!

Since we are an IB school, we focus a lot on building international-minded citizens.  Any time I can bring in an international concept, it's a huge plus!  I remembered a book I used to read my third graders during our community unit.  It's called If The World Were a Village and it's one of those striking books that really sticks with you when you are done.  The author takes the world's population of about 6.9 billion people and puts it into a village with just 100 people-- each person representing about 69 million people.  Then, he gives pages and pages of statistics about the languages, nationalities, ages, etc. of the people in the village.  I thought it would be a PERFECT book to make some connections with since all of the statistics would have a denominator of 100.

I set out creating a project for my students not really sure how it would look in the end.  I knew I wanted them converting fractions and decimals, I knew I wanted them showing their data on a hundreds chart model like we had worked on, and I knew I wanted them to do some critical thinking about their data.

I ended up taking four of the pages from the book and creating assignments to go with them.  The pages and statistics I chose were on Nationalities, Languages, Ages, and Food.  These pages had the most concrete data for the students to use and were most relatable to my kids.

I also got my hands on the first edition of the book (2002) AND the second edition (2011) so that my students could compare the data and see changes from one book to another.  (NOTE: They don't sell the first edition anymore, so unless you get it at the library (mine had it), you will need to use the second set of pages in the project which includes that data.)

At the beginning of the lesson, I introduced the books, as well as the website, which I also used in some of the questions.  I explained the premise of the book, and I read the first page that described the data in the book.  We talked about how the 100 people represented the ONE whole village and each square represented one person which represented 69 million people.

Then, I split my students into groups and explained their assignment to them.  First, they would collect the data from their book and write it as fractions and decimals.  Then, they would display their data on a hundreds chart. Finally, they would complete 6 tasks/questions about the data.

Differentiation: The questions and data are different for all of the sections.  Therefore, I was able to differentiate a bit.  My group that needed the most challenge got the FOOD section.  The group that would need the most support worked through the NATIONALITIES section.  The other two sections are somewhere in the middle. :)

I had my students work in pairs within a group.  That is, each pair of students had one packet but there were two or three pairs working on the same section.  I let them work near each other in case they needed support from their peers.  If you have more time than I did (only one lesson period), you could have every student complete all four sections of data!

Here is what you will need for each pair of students:

*One copy of the page of the book they are working on from If The World Were a Village
*A copy of the Data Page, Question Page, and Hundreds Charts (Included in FREE download)
*Colored Pencils or Markers

(NOTE: Since I only found a couple of each book at the libraries around town, I ended up making copies of the data pages from the book.  It is my understanding that teachers are allowed to copy a minimal number of pages out of a book for student use only.)

I also had my observation while I was teaching this lesson, and it went very well.  The students were incredibly engaged and were making great connections and having many "Ah HA!" moments during their work.  It was really beneficial for me to walk around and talk to the students about what they were doing and ask them questions about their work.

When we were done, we debriefed together and discussed our data.  We looked at some of the changes over time and why we think some of the statistics changed.  We also talked about our hundreds charts and how they made evaluating the data a bit easier and what other ways we could represent the data.  We discussed why I chose to have them use a 100 chart to show their village's population, etc.  Overall, it was incredibly meaningful for them.  It is also going to make a wonderful bulletin board when I find the time to hang it up!

Click on the cover below to download the free recording sheets and answer keys that I used.  Have FUN!

If you are searching for the book, grab it on Amazon below.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Converting Fractions to Decimals

I'm stopping in quickly (time is so short these days!) to share an anchor chart I made with my students during a lesson about converting fractions and decimals.

I debated how to introduce this skill, but I decided to use good old coins!  They had the background knowledge they needed and it would be in a familiar format.

You know how sometimes you are in the middle of a lesson and you think to yourself, "MAN I wish administration would walk in right now!"?  This was one of those lessons.

This anchor chart looks pretty darn busy now that it's done, but when I started teaching the lesson, it was a blank canvas.  I stepped them through every single note that's on this anchor chart, and you can see how we progressed through the skill.

I started off by asking them to tell me the value of a dollar bill.  One, of course.  I then asked them the value of a penny. One, of course! Except... nope!  We talked through the value of a penny in relation to a WHOLE dollar.  They deduced that there are 100 parts in a whole dollar in relation to a penny.  We wrote the fraction and we wrote it out in words.  Then, we wrote it as a decimal.  We did a few more examples (2 pennies, 3 pennies, etc.) and glued a 100 chart to represent the value of one penny.

We continued down this same path for dimes, then nickels, and then quarters.  When we got to quarters, I started showing them how to convert fractions so that they have a denominator of 10 or 100.  This was the most logical place for me to do this since they were all familiar with the idea that 1/4 of a dollar is one quarter.

The whole lesson was only about 20 minutes, but we were at near complete mastery of the skill.  It was so easy for them to visualize this way.  I definitely left the lesson feeling so pleased with the way it had gone!

Afterwards, I gave them some decimal cards to make basic charts in their notebooks with visuals, fractions, and decimals.  They were so thrilled with themselves for finding success so quickly.

We don't have much more practice to do with this, so I made a new set of task cards to play two quick games of SCOOT with them.  These task cards are a perfect option for SCOOT because they are very quick to solve.  The first set is identifying and the second set has them adding.

Click HERE to see the task cards at my TpT store.

You can also read about the FREE follow up activity I did to this lesson HERE!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teaching Long Division

I'm popping in today to share some long division activities and anchor charts that have been sitting  since December just waiting to be posted. :)  Time slips away, doesn't it?

We started out our division unit by making this little chart in our notebooks.  We needed a quick way to review division and get into the division mindset!  This is a picture of my teacher notebook that I projected using the document camera while the students made their own version in their notebooks.

We spent several days working on basic division and making sure they were solid on that.  I also spent copious amounts of time talking about how multiplication relates to division... they needed that frame of mind to get ready for long division.  Oh, long division.  It's a doozy, that's for sure!

Here is a peek at my teacher notebook (again, I create it with them as they take notes in their notebooks.  I didn't pull out any fun foldables for this one because it is such a tough concept I wanted them really focusing on the concept.  You can also see the anchor chart I made to replicate the notebook page.  This hangs in the classroom for reference.

 We spent as much time as we possibly could on division, primarily working in math workshop groups so that I could work on reteaching and enriching in small groups.  I usually have three stations for my math workshop model: Task Cards and/or Games, Independent Work, and Meet With Teacher. We did two really fun activities during independent work... the students BEGGED to keep working on that station time and time again!  The first one we worked on was my Movie Marathon Division Project.  This one gives them so much division practice that is all real-world and incredibly engaging, if I do say so myself.  In the past, I have also sent this home as an at-home project or used it as an assessment.

...and yes, popcorn is the perfect snack to munch on while they are working on this project! 

The other independent work project we did was actually slightly different than what is pictured here because we did it with a Christmas Tree!  Since I am so late getting this posted, I wanted to adapt it so that it could be used any time of year, and so the Division House was born!

As much as I loved how all of their trees turned out in the Christmas version, I love the house version even more!  Some students may need a little bit of help getting started or building their equations, but overall, most students could complete this division activity by themselves.

During Meet with Teacher and the Task Card Station, we used several of the resources from my Long Division Resource Bundle.   You can check that out HERE. Their favorite from the Task Card station was the Write & Solve Task Cards!  They are given two numbers and then a theme and they have to write their own division word problem.  It was so much fun to see what they came up with.  :) 

After we were pretty solid on long division, I introduced the concept of interpreting remainders.  While they had been working with remainders, we really hadn't required them to think critically about what the remainders represented, particularly in word problems.  We made a foldable with examples of what you might do with the remainders.  Each tab has a word problem example under the flap.


I have set up the template to be printed double sided.  If you don't have that option, just print both pages and glue the examples in. 

Also in our math notebooks, we worked through some of my interpreting remainders task cards.  I didn't end up putting these in a center because I really wanted to hear their thinking about remainders.  We did several in Meet With Teacher and several as exit tickets (I just print them out for each student and they glue them to paper then turn them in).

Our unit ended like most do... with an assessment!  In the past, I have also used the Movie Marathon project as an assessment, but with standards-based grading, we need so much evidence.  Here is a free long division assessment (you can also use it as review or just as printable practice) that I created!

Happy teaching!  If you have any other long division activities or ideas, please feel free to share them!  It seems I can never get enough. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

The ULTIMATE List of Fraction Activities

Hi There!  I don't know about you, but we are knee deep in our study of fractions.  There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it all!  I have posted several times about different activities we have done, particularly around fraction operations, but this time the focus is ALL on fraction concepts!  There are so many basic concepts we have to cover: simplifying fractions, finding equivalent fractions, working with fractions on a number line, comparing fractions, improper fractions and mixed numbers, etc.  SO MUCH!  Below, you will find some of the best fraction activities, freebies, and resources from my classroom and from teachers around the country.  It's a long post, but it's worth it! :)   Happy planning!

As always, we have an anchor chart for our fraction unit.  Before you look at this and panic about the amount of information on it, this anchor chart is intended to be filled out over the course of several weeks as you teach each of the concepts.  I started with just the template and then filled in each box as they learned about it.  DO NOT make this entire anchor chart in one day! :)  It is a great reference chart to leave hanging in the room for the rest of the year without taking up too much wall real estate.

Fractions Anchor Chart

I also created this foldie to go into my students' interactive notebook.  Again, we put notes in here as we went through the unit.  I absolutely love these notebooks so that they can easily access their notes and concepts when they need little reminders.  I don't know what I would do without interactive notebooks!

Our math block is split this year, with an hour before lunch, and twenty minutes after lunch.  During that last twenty minutes, we usually finish our last math rotation and complete an exit ticket.  I have created exit tickets for all of the concepts above.  You can also use them as proof or independent work in your notebooks!

Now, here is my favorite part of my fractions unit, simply because it is so nice and organized and once it's done, one section of my math workshop is DONE for the entire unit!  My Fractions Task Cards are, in my opinion, the perfect station for student practice.  I have it all organized and ready to go so that students can easily access the cards, recording sheets, and answer keys.  I can easily grab them to work with small groups, or in whole class if needed.  

Fractions Task Cards

Here is a look at a notebook entry we did for equivalent fractions.  This is such a huge skill for kids, and it seems that once they get it, they really just GET it!  We used pattern block manipulatives for this journal entry.  This is a picture of my notebook page where I traced the blocks, but I used an Ellison Die Cut machine to cut out paper versions of the pattern blocks for them to manipulate and actually glue into their notebooks.  It was quite the arm workout cutting all those manipualtives out! :)  

We started by defining equivalent fractions.  I explained to them that the yellow hexagon had a value of one.  Then I asked them to make hexagons out of all of their other shapes and figured out the value of each shape.  We concluded that any time your numerator and denominator are the same, the value of the fraction is one whole.  This was a GREAT visual way for them to see this.  They also saw that these were all equivalent, or equal fractions.  We then moved on to the trapezoid and I had them use triangles to make an equivalent fraction.  Then, you can see where I wrote down the two fractions and asked them what we did to the first fraction to get to the second fraction.  They did a GREAT job drawing conclusions!  This was all teacher-led, but when we were done, they did a PHENOMENAL job applying their skills using my Equivalent Fractions Task Cards.  We played a game of Task Card BINGO with the cards.  So fun!

Here is a picture of our Bingo Game Boards.  You can use them with ANY set of task cards!

Another way that I always have my students visualize equivalent fractions is with Fraction Fringe!  These are die cuts from Elison and they are such an AMAZING resource!  I have used them for years and they are such a valuable visual for kids. 

I absolutely love this anchor chart from Tessa at Tales from Outside the Classroom.  It is all about drawing conclusions, and I love that you can tell she made it with her students and really discussed the WHY behind each one of these statements.

Simplifying fractions, though it's not a standard in my grade, is, in my opinion, a critical skill that students learn, so we always cover it.  One of their favorite activities of the fraction unit is this Scrumptiously Simplified Fractions activity!  We use M&Ms (you can use Skittles, too) and go to town with simplifying!  

Simplifying Fractions Activity

I like how Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 explains simplifying in the easiest way possible.  Teaching students to find Greatest Common Factors when Simplifying Fractions is KEY in eliminating the frustration that so many students face with this concept.  She takes you through it step by step...

Blair Turner from One Lesson at Time does a great job explaining how to use Cuissinaire Rods (AND Pattern Blocks) to teach fractions.  She even provides free printables for implementing her ideas.  Love!

Another item that I always prep ahead of my unit is my Fractions Math Project.  I  make several different packets that include different pages based on the abilities of my students.  I use these packets in my workshop model, for early finishers, and as homework.  The project covers SO many concepts that it is great to have a packet of highly engaging activities for my students to complete. 

This idea from Curious Firsties is SO clever!  She has students create a piece of a fraction museum, and then they all go through the museum and complete the activity.  So much fun! 

Now, if you're students have finally come off of their sugar high from the M&M Simplifying Fractions Activity, it's time to throw some Skittles into the mix. :)  This page comes from my Skittles Math packet, and the bottom actually has a lot of equivalent fraction work, so this one always makes an appearance during whole-group work time!

It is so important for students to be able to justify their thinking, and Meg from The Teacher Studio has so many wonderful fraction lessons for really getting kids to think critically about fractions.  I love this idea, and how she has them try to convince other students why they should be on the Yes or No team!

At the end of our unit, I always give a mini assessment to my students.  Here is my fraction assessment that I'll be using.  You can use it for an assessment, review, or printables for your unit.

I love how Greg from  Mr. Elementary Math does an excellent job of helping students visualize fraction concepts.  He has solid ideas for teaching fractions on number lines and the printables you see here are FREE! 

If you are still in the early stages of your fraction introduction, be sure to check out Ashleigh's Hands-On Fraction Booklets!  She has a free fraction booklet that has so many wonderful activities in it.  Perfection!

As soon as I saw this amazing fraction project, I KNEW I had to add it to my list of plans this year!  Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics has SUCH a good idea with this one.

Games4Gains is one of my go-to gals for games for math workshop!  I love her spoons idea for teaching equivalent fractions.  So much fun and low prep, too!

I have seen a lot of different versions of this visual fraction number lines, and I think they are critical for students!  It is so kinesthetic and so visual.  There is no original source link for this image, so if you know the source, please let me know.

Here is yet another wonderful model for comparing and ordering fractions. Visual models are so important, and I feel that it's incredibly important for students to be able to generate their own visual models as well.  Source HERE.

I truly feel like I could post twenty more ideas to this blog post and it STILL wouldn't give credit to all the amazing ideas out there!  If you are looking for even more, stop by my Fractions Pinterest Board for loads of ideas.  I hope you have found some helpful ideas here! 

If you are looking for ideas on Fraction OPERATIONS, check out some of my older blog posts, too!