Conferences: FREEBIE

Friday, November 20, 2015
We are all about growth at my school, so that is our focus of parent-teacher conferences. We don't want parents to constantly got discouraged with the skills their students can't do. We want them to feel uplifted by the skills their student have made GROWTH on!

Here is the form I use for parent-teacher conferences - it's called a Growth Report.

Here is the FREEBIE!

Happy conferences!

Mental Math Addition Strategies

Saturday, November 14, 2015
Students are taught the standard algorithm for double and triple digit addition way too early! Because of this, they learn the routine instead of the actual reasoning. They treat addition as a procedure and often do not understand how place value works. Then when students make a mistake in the procedure, they're unable to fix their error because they don't understand what went wrong.

I'm trying to break that standard algorithm and truly teach these students how to use mental math strategies to solve double and triple digit addition.

Here are the strategies that I teach: split, jump and round. Students are actually teaching themselves these strategies to solve these problems.

My students are doing amazing work with these skills which contributes to building the foundations of subtraction, multiplication and division!

Polluting the Potomac

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
As my students are wrapping up our Ecosystems Unit, I wanted to find an exciting activity to bring it all together. I found this incredible resource to simulate pollution HERE. It's called "Who Polluted the Potomac?" I decided to give it a shot with my students and it was a hit!

The hands-on learning lead to some amazing discussion about human impact on our environment and ecosystems. We discussed the various sources of pollution and also were able to come up with solutions on how to eliminate or reduce pollution.

Here is a picture of a few of the items you need for the activity. I had almost all of the items around my house or classroom (SCORE!). The only items I had to get was soil and leaves (which I had my students collect during their recess). It was so incredibly easy to set up!

With this amazing resource, there is a story that goes along with it. The story already has stopping points with discussion questions and lays out when you add in what substance to pollute the water.

To wrap up the lesson, I told them to try to clean up their polluted Potomac River. They looked at my like I was crazy, but tried the best they could. We talked about how once the damage is done, it's really difficult to reverse it!

You have to check out this activity. I did it with my 5th graders, but it could easily be done in any grades. It has such a powerful message, great discussion opportunities and nothing beats hands-on learning!

Amazing Engaging Math Center!

Monday, November 2, 2015
I grew up playing the game Shut Box with my family! Just until recently, I realized that it is the perfect game for math centers! This game builds numeracy skills, as well as problem solving skills to manipulate numbers for various sums. There are a few different types of boards to play. I found this great 4 player game on Amazon here that is perfect for my classroom!

How to Play: Player 1 rolls the dice and adds the numbers. Then the player is able to knock down any combination of that number. The goal of the game is to get all your numbers knocked down first.
Example: Here an 8 is rolled. The player may put down the 8 tile or choose a combination of numbers, such as 7 and 1, or 6 and 2, or 3, 4, and 1 and so on. If they roll a number they cannot make, their turn is missed. However, the player cannot knock down an 8 AND a 7 and 1. They must choose one combination.

It's worth the $25 and the students are hooked!

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