Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Math Games

I hope y'all have had a fabulous holiday! It's nice to finally be on break (both school and graduate school)! It's been forever, but I have a lot planned to share, so check back often! 

In January, my kiddo's are going to learn how to multiply two digit by one digit numbers. One of the most common mistakes I've seen (if they're ready for it) is them not remembering their basic facts. In order to circumvent this, I've put together a January Multiplication Game sheet. Each square will contain different games. Most of the games have been inspired by all the different blogs I've come across or from my first masters degree (math specialist).  I'll be posting them frequently, so check back.

The first game is Snowman Grab. Cut all the cards and put them in a baggie (a colored lunch bag works best). Put the kiddos in small groups, and let them play. Each student picks out a card. They read the number sentence with the answer. If they're correct, they get the card. If they're wrong they put the card back. If they pull out a snowman, they have to put all their cards back in. I usually set a timer for 6 minutes, and the winner is the one at the end with the most cards. 

The second game is Domino Game. Students lay out all the dominoes, and pick two at a time. They have to subitize the dots on the pieces and then multiply them together.

I have cards for both so download them and let me know what you think!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Geometry Kick

Where has time gone? I can't believe it's been this long since my last post. My kiddo's have been super busy and it seems like we've been on a geometry kick lately.  I used to hate math when I was kid and it's my passion to make it meaningful to my students so they don't hate it. I spend a lot of time explaining why the numbers and "things" work.  This can be hard for geometry because many of the concepts are abstract.

One of the key elements of helping students understand geometry is giving them time to explore. This is easily done with pattern blocks, but what can be done for concepts like rays, line segments, lines, etc.? Fret no more! Download triangles, lines, and circles to engage your students in exploration.

I started with allowing the kids to "play" with them. I challenged them to see what they could create, then we walked around saw what the students made, and then slowly we started making geometric concepts. Man, was I blown away. Our third grade teachers did such a good job preparing them, and boy do I have to thank them!

Now, I did cut out all the shapes beforehand so it would be a focused process on the content since I have a few squirrels in my room. However, one may contend I'm nuts. I promise the use of my handy paper cutter this took no more than 30 minutes to prep!

How do you get your students involved in geometry exploration?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Symmetrical Pumpkins

I've had pumpkins and corn mazes on my mind. Seriously. I've got no little ones of my own to take, but for some reason, I've been totally in the mood. With bad weather this weekend, this girl had to be a little creative and had to make do with symmetrical pumpkins.

Last week we reviewed congruency, similarity, and symmetry and today we applied. After a quick review game students constructed their own symmetrical pumpkins. This was a great activity to review what the line of symmetry is and what a reflection is. 

They're super cute and easy to make. Plus, it's always interesting seeing nine and ten year olds use scissors and make artsy things. It's totally obvious we don't do it enough!

Here are the super easy directions. I've found it best to demonstrate while I go and have an example. First, lay the orange and black paper on top of each and fold in half (It doesn't matter if it's vertical or horizontal. I let them decide!). Then start cutting half a pumpkin making sure you keep the center fold in the middle. Unfold. Cut one color in half, and glue on both sides (you have to flip the one color so it fits on the other side). Keep the paper together so you have 4 sheets and then you can gut out the eyes, mouth, nose, etc. Glue on opposites (black on orange, orange on black). We talked a lot about how to make it so it would stay symmetrical.

The best part about it is.... one of my kiddo's last year figured out how to make it completely symmetrical on both sides. Many of the directions just tell you how to do it from one side. The key step is cutting 4 pieces of the same paper so they're congruent.

The kids loved this activity and want to make even more... now that's a success!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Favorite Teaching Shoes

I love shoes. I mean, I REALLY LOVE shoes. I just happen to have a closet completely full of them, an underbed filled with them, and oh, and one side of my closet broke, so those shoes in their fabulous boxes sit along a wall in my bedroom. 

I thought this was a perfect Linky Party that Casey over at Cardigans and Curriculum started. I love wearing all these shoes to work too. Some teachers think I'm nuts teaching all day in heels but I love them! Here are a few of my favorites.

These are my favorite heels. Nine West pumps. They are my staple!

I also love my Tory Burch Reva's. 

Teaching just outside of Chicago means we have our fair share of weather changes. Between the winter Snow, the fall & spring rain... this means I have to have my wellies! I love my Hunter Boots. They're perfect for bus and recess duty!

My newest addition to my school shoes this year have been my cowboy boots. I got them in August after 10 years of pining for them each time I visited my brother in Houston.

And for my casual t-shirt/jeans days, I've been wearing my black glitter Toms! I love glitter as it is, so why not have them on my shoes!!

Those are probably my most sensible shoes. I tend to try and match my clothes and shoes together. 

What are your favorite shoes?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Candy Corn Multiplication and Division

Have you ever been to a blog and been super inspired? Thought so... isn't that why we visit/scour over sites everyday?!! Have you seen Cheryl's Candy Corn Math Facts (addition and subtraction) over at Primary Graffiti?  Teaching fourth grade my kiddos are in need of multiplication and division help. I used our biweekly check to determine which facts to use. I'll probably add a few more.

You can download the candy corn, recording sheet (one for a teacher too), and labels. Yes, labels! I'm a huge fan of putting coordinating labels on my baggies.  The font is Doodle Basic, and the candy corn image came from here!

They didn't take too long to make and cut out. I printed them out on cardstock (2 candy corn per page). I hope you enjoy using them!

Now, time to finish eating that bag of candy corn! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Getting ready for conferences!

It's hard to believe it's already time for conferences. I don't know about you, but I love conferences!  A few years ago our Fall conferences were moved from November (around Thanksgiving) to now (around Columbus Day). It was a hard change, but it's totally worth it. These conferences allow me to build a better relationship with all the parents after the parent night and other opportunities in between since late August.

Preparing for conferences used to be a struggle, but I've found some tools to help. I keep my notes all on my computer. I have a tablet that I can use in the classroom so I use Microsoft One Note to take all my ancedotal notes everyday. It makes it easy to plan and to be prepared for conferences. Sometimes I'll still plan a conference sheet with strengths and goals for my tough kiddos.

(I'm new to this... I'm trying to figure out how to upload pics and docs!)

While parents are waiting I have the class books out for the students to read and I also have the parent write their child a note of encouragment.   The kids love getting them the next school day.

I'll take pictures of my set up... complete with kleenex, mints, flowers, and a new air freshner! (I once worked at a school that they lit candles! No joke!)

How do you prepare for conferences?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Comic Life

Have you ever heard of the program Comic Life? It's a great program for kids to use to make comics! I found that my fourth graders can use it very easily. The hardest part is adding the picture files.

Not only is it great for comics but it's a great tool for teachers to use as templates. I have found a variety of templates here!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Joined!

After a few months of reading, stalking, and learning from different blogs, I've decided to make my own. Recently, my new teammate told me, you need to share what you do!  I'm excited about this, and cannot wait to do so!