Coordinate Graphing FUN!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
I just wanted to share a little game I have been preparing for the students to practice Coordinate Graphing.  Basically, the students get into partners and need a spinner, game board, and a pencil. Students fill out the KEY on the game board so that it is easier to determine which player they are when looking at the game board.  The OBJECT of the game is for the students to get 4 in a ROW! This is terrific practice for those coordinate graphing skills AND students are working together  so they can monitor each other for accuracy. A WIN WIN! I threw in a FREE CHOICE option so that students have a chance to strategize where to put an ordered pair to improve their chance of winning.  This could be used whole group OR in a center.  I also threw in a question that asks the students to predict an ordered pair that they think may be in the winning 4 in a row (JUST for fun).  This could create a future discussion when I introduce PROBABILITY so I thought, why not?? The first time we play, I will have little prizes for the winners (pencils or other trinkets).
Download this game by clicking on the picture below...
Coordinate Graphing Game, Math Centers, Coordinate Graphing, 5th Grade Math
I hope your students have fun with this one!

Mixtures and Solutions!

Monday, December 2, 2013
My students are smack dab in the middle of their mixtures and solutions unit, so I thought I would write a post about all of the little treasures I have made to help my students with these tricky concepts! First up, All About Atoms.  To familiarize students with the periodic table AND what exactly an atom looks like, I will have students use buttons and markers to make an atom model like the one below.   I thought that students could present these projects to their peers and then guess which atom it is.  (Obviously they should probably leave out what type of element it is since that kind of gives it away! :)) This is actually part of the Mixtures and Solutions that I have just posted on TPT, but you can find it here as a freebie.  Just click on the picture to be taken to the link...
Here are a few pics from the rest of the pack.  I needed to organize the basic information for Atoms, Elements, Molecules, and Compounds in my own brain before I presenting it to the students, so I made a foldable outlining important ideas and information.
Next, a foldable for Chemical and Physical properties along with a sorting activity for students to differentiate between physical and chemical changes.
If you would like to purchase the COMPLETE unit, 
click on the pic below. 
OR Better YET, if you are in need of MORE science stuff, purchase the BUNDLE to get a savings!
Finally, I stumbled on a few neat songs to introduce the elements.  The first one, by There Might Be Giants seems like a general introduction to some of the major elements and their uses, whereas the 2nd and 3rd versions are actual songs to help the students remember the names of the elements in their order from the periodic table.  Click on the links to and you will be taken to YOU TUBE.

Next, I needed some resources to add to my science library so I browsed Amazon and found these books which I used to research for the foldable freebie that I designed on Atoms, Elements, Molecules, and Compounds.  You can find links to these widgets in the Amazon link below!!
How do you teach the Periodic Table to your students?

Holiday Pen Pals Around the World!

Saturday, November 23, 2013
I am so excited to share my most recent project, "Holiday Pen Pals Around the World"!  Here is a little sneak peak at this project in action.  This project encompasses informational text, close readings, text-dependent questions, a flag ornament for each country, and summarizing response letters!!! Holidays with a little hint of CCSS. :) There are 12 different fictitious pen pals from different countries.  Your students will learn about all of the interesting and unique ways that each pen pal celebrates during the holidays in their own part of the world.  This took me quite a while to research!  But I thought it was worth it since I thought this would be a fun way for my (and your) students to learn this information! The countries included are Mexico, Egypt, England, China, Sweden, Poland, Tanzania, Russia, Poland, Italy, Netherlands, and the United States.  
Have you tried out Close Reading with your students yet?  Students have the opportunity to practice Close Reading strategies like annotating.  The example below was the model that I used with my class.  We all did this one together and then I separated them in small groups and assigned each group to do a different country.  They LOVED it!
As a follow up, I had the students write BACK to their Pen Pal on a postcard ornament AND had they were able to decorate their Pen Pals flag.  We had SO much fun decorating this tree for our door!

Here is another example of the Pen Pal Ornaments!
The kiddos also completed some of the follow-up activities aligned to CCSS such as text dependent questions and supporting their answers with evidence from the text.

Finally, some students wanted to respond further to their Pen Pals!  

Thanksgiving Freebies!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Here are a few Thanksgiving freebies for you...Click on the pictures below to grab the freebies!

Also, I found this ADORABLE turkey (from Doodle Art Alley) for the kiddos to color and have fun with. Click on the picture for the link to Doodle Art Alley!

Tools for Parent Conferences

Friday, October 11, 2013
Self-Reflection Tool

I wanted to give my students the opportunity to self-reflect about their learning before parent conferences, so I made up the form below to get an idea of their strengths and weaknesses.  I really am enjoying reading these and how detailed they are! Click on the pic below to be taken to the free download.

Interactive Notebooks and Parent Conferences

If you are using Interactive Notebooks in your classroom, they can serve as an AWESOME tool during parent/teacher conferences.  I have learned through experience though that the worst thing that I think could happen is to waste time flipping through a student's notebook, looking for a certain "discussion point".  I already like to have specific places earmarked in a students Interactive Notebook, so that I am not fiddling through looking for something!  The question is, how do I choose the page we turn to? It's simple.  I actually give my students 2 bookmarks to fill out during class before parent conferences.  These are reflection bookmarks that the students use to identify a piece of work that they are the MOST proud of and want to show off, and a piece that they would like to improve on.  Here is a sample picture that shows an example of what these bookmarks look like using my Interactive Writing Notebook-Informative/Explanatory Writing.  
If you would like to download these bookmarks to use in your class, click on the photos below!  I give students one of each bookmark. This way, they can choose something they would like to IMPROVE on AND their BEST piece of work.  
One reason I love using these bookmarks is it is totally student's choice!  This is a place you can go to look at their progress and the evidence is presented right there.  Once the students are done filling each out, they earmark the page like in the picture below.  (I wrote one up, this student's name is fictitious!)  On each day of conferences, I have the students that are up for the day, bring me their notebooks so I can pair them with the report cards and any other things I will be showing the parents.  That way, everything stays pretty organized!!! 
How do you get organized for parent conferences?

Halloween Freebies and Interactive Notebook!

Monday, October 7, 2013
I am excited to share a few October Halloween activities that I have used in my class.  Click on the image below to grab a copy of this freebie!

I am also excited to share my new Interactive Writing Notebook Unit that focuses on Halloween Opinion Writing.   This unit will take your students through writing a 5 paragraph essay that is Common Core aligned for grades 2-5.  This is a fun one!

 Students use magazines or their own drawings to share
some of their individual opinions about Halloween.
 These paragraph scaffolds guide students through writing 5 paragraphs.
 Below is a sample of how students arrange the pieces into 
their interactive notebooks.

 Below is a copy of the CCSS aligned criteria chart and 
rubric that can be used in grades 2-5.

Click on the link below to look at this product in further detail. Happy Halloween!

The "Four" Operations!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Next up? The "Four Operations".  My goal for teaching addition and subtraction strategies in a student's interactive notebook are to show students how they can use the relationship between the two to check their work.  Here is a glimpse of what I do with addition and subtraction strategies!

Here are the key strategies I highlight for the students, but often times they can think of or know even more! 
I multi-differentiate for students that are not ready to add and subtract up to the "billions", but for those that are ready-they LOVE it!  Take a look at the bottom of the anchor paper below.  Here, I also make sure that the students are reflecting about what they are doing in writing.  The students fold this math journal up and glue it into their Interactive Notebook so that they can reference it again later!  
Below are glimpses of what I do with multiplication and division strategies.
Once again, these are the strategies I focus on, even though I know there are more.  I just want the students to have an awareness and see different ways of problem solving to deepen their understanding of the concepts!
 I LOVE teaching the "area model" for multiplication!  This is a NICE alternative for the students that were having trouble with the traditional algorithm.  Here is a sample of the math journal below.  Again, I always challenge the students to reflect on their work in writing so that I can read how they are understanding the concepts. 
Next up, lattice multiplication.  An awesome alternative strategy to show students.  They are "amazed" to see that they will indeed end up with the same number when they have completed the different strategies!  

Some students need additional support when writing their written reflections.  To give students that extra "boost" I provide them with math journal sentence starters to give some extra support while writing.  Students glue these into the cover of their Interactive Math Notebook.  I have the smaller version so it fits perfectly for them.
Let's not forget grading! Students glue the rubric seen below into their journal and I grade them for each reporting period.  I do not like to write all over the students notebooks since I am encouraging the students to take ownership of what they are doing.  Students fold the rubric over for confidentiality purposes.  This works very well for parent conferences.  I have students bookmark the page they are the MOST proud of and I open to that page to show parents.  From there, we go over their work for the current reporting period and the rubric.  This is a great way to keep the students accountable!
All of these materials can be found in the links below!
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