Monday, March 31, 2014

M is for Mathematical Monday: Fractions

Look at me... 2 posts in 2 days!  I really wrote this yesterday, but otherwise I'd never get anything posted!!!

I'm linking up with Jess over at I {Heart} Recess for her M is for Mathematical Monday linky party.

For the past month or so, my students have been investing fractions in our 4th unit of 4th grade math.  I saw several awesome posts from Meg over at The Teacher Studio about how she's taught fractions to her own kiddos.  So I decided to buy her fraction concept sorts for my own students and they did such a wonderful job with them! I had my students work with their table groups (groups of 5) to cut and sort the pictures by exactly 1/2 and not 1/2.  Then they had to explain why the not 1/2 weren't 1/2.  We then did a carousal walk to check each other's work. It's a lot of pictures, but I was too proud not to share!

The green flags are in an incorrect sort.  I think it was the only one in the whole class!

I love seeing the mathematical explanations!  This was a struggle for some, but overall they did really well!

Thanks to Meg for creating such a wonderful resource that requires that deeper thinking the Core is known for!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Peek At My Week {3-30-14}

Ok, I'm really going to get better about this blogging thing!  I was doing so well for a while and then things got crazy and I have been a terrible blogger!  I'm spending some time today working on some posts that will be scheduled for later in the week as well.

Well, my spring break is officially over today.  I actually worked Monday and Tuesday as a sub because the traditional calendar schools in my district made up two snow days during Spring Break.  That was quite a trip!  We spent the second half of the week at a friends lake house where it was cold and windy, but SOOOOOOOOO relaxing!

Family pic at the lake!
It is Sunday, so I'm linking up with my blogging buddy Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her weekly Peek at My Week Linky Party!

I don't have much exciting to share, but it is test prep week!  We give our state standardized next Monday through Thursday.  My 4th graders take a reading, writing, and math test.  Our problem issue challenge this year is to prepare our students for an Arkansas test when we have been teaching Common Core Standards.  I have to cover a few this week that are not in the 4th grade CCSS including probability, 3D shapes, slides, flips, and rotations, etc.  We will also be doing a lot of open response practice with these types of questions.  I'm truly hoping that I haven't just taught my 50 students content, but that I have taught them how to think and that no matter what problem they come up against, that they will be able to persevere and solve it to the best of their ability.

I also have several "projects" for the house that I will hopefully be blogging about soon that I will be working on in the evening!

What do you have planned for the week?  Are you test prepping or have you already tested???

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Scholastic News

So I've been a terrible blogger!!!!  I love to blog truly.  I love getting to share what is going on in my classroom and how my students are becoming amazing problem solvers, but the TIME!!!!  There is just not enough of it!!!!  I've been working on a "Tried It Tuesday" post for 3 weeks now and just can't seem to get it published.  I really need to work on spending time getting posts ready and scheduling them to post.
I decided to take one of my "Tried It's" and turn it into a Spark Student Motivation Saturday Post.  I've never linked up with Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her weekly linky, but I love reading about what everyone is doing to keep students engaged and motivated to learn.
We got a subscription to Scholastic News this year through our fabulous PTO.  We didn't actually start getting the magazines until January but we wanted to make the best use of the half year we will get them.  My kids love getting to read Scholastic News!  There are so many interesting articles and it's a great spark for independent research and such.  Well, since I have my class set of laptops, I decided to explore the online version of Scholastic News.

I played around with it a little one morning and decided to give my kiddos a chance to explore and see what they thought. Here is the screen when the students log in.

This was the result!!!  Yes, the volume is turned up!

My kids were totally silent for the 15 minutes I gave them to "play" on Scholastic News. There are so many features to love about the online version of Scholastic News.  There is a read aloud function, which is wonderful for my SPED and ELL students who have difficulty reading grade level texts.  There are videos to go along with the articles and the students can take the "quizzes" on the back page electronically as well.  I gave our class code to my parents as well, so they can access the magazines from home.
My students now ask if they can get on Scholastic News any time they have a little free time!  That's what I call student motivation!
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