Saturday, October 31, 2015

Blog Posts I Love--Part Two

I need a better name for this. But this week I went searching for specific posts on Order of Operations. This is what I found in the process. Not every post is on Order of Operations.

Embrace the Drawing Board presents an interesting way to have a debate over the order of operations.

At Leaf and STEM Learning, who happens to be my math coach on my campus, she uses GEMA to remember Order of Operations. I used that in summer school and I did not have one student make any mistake in remembering the order of the operations they were to perform.

Insert Clever Math Pun Here talks about the trend to save the animals by not making mistakes in math. I am going to incorporate it in a math lesson coming up. There are some mistakes that make my heart twist. Like when a student says 3/4 is the same as .34. I want to throw my hands up in despair. Maybe the dramatic will help my students remember.

I really like this Order of Operations Puzzle at 180 Days of Math at Mesa. I can use it for a small group activity this week.

Finally, I like this Order of Operations Activity from Writing to Learn to Teach which gives students starting numbers and they are given signs and exponents to make expressions.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Red Ribbon Door

It is the end of red ribbon week. This is the door that my students decorated. I showed them some doors on Pinterest and they choose this one. 

I told them that I would not be able to do any of it, but several students rose to the challenge. They came early to get it done. 

We didn't win the competition, but I think they did great. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

100 Minutes to Teach Math!

I have three math classes and each class lasts 100 minutes. It is a ridiculously long time to teach math compared to 50 minutes, but I fill every minute of every class period. I do not know how I could fit everything into a shorter amount of time.

Not every 6th grader loves doing math for 100 minutes. I have to break up the class period with several activities to keep their interest. 

15 minutes
Daily Math Review

Consists of 4 computation-only problems. The students practice the same types of problem every day for 2 weeks and then they take a quiz. After students work in groups, we grade it together.

This week, students are working on integer operations, exponents, and ordering rational numbers.
30 minutes
Whole Group Instruction

Introduce topics, do whole group activities, add to the interactive math notebook

This is not always direct instruction. Whole group instruction looks different every day. Students may learn about manipulatives (most recently Algebra Tiles). They may also work together to come up with their own rules for the math they are learning.

45 minutes
Math Stations & Small Group Instruction

Students work in heterogeneous groups working on fact fluency, iLearn (a math website that all my students have an account to), and practice skills learned in previous weeks with games, task cards, stations, etc.

While students work, I pull homogeneous groups to work on the new skill introduced in whole group instruction. I have 5-6 groups per class that I pull depending on the class and how much time I have to pull them all.

We do 2-3 rotations in 45 minutes.
10 minutes
Exit Ticket

Practice problems, writing in mathematics, Plickers questions… it varies.
This would be on a normal day. Of course everyday is not perfect. Some days there are tests, or pictures, or field trips. Someday I don't do whole group instruction at all and just do small group instruction. 

Because we spend so much time every day doing math, I don't give a whole lot of homework. Maybe one homework assignment a week, and usually not problems. I like to assign mini-project that students would actually want to do and where they can use their own creativity. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Properties of Operations Foldable

I found this foldable on Fabulous in Fifth and used it when we did Properties of Operations.

I had the students come up with their own definition and their own examples. We did numerical and algebraic equations as examples.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

5 Dice

There are so many math apps out there and not all of them are awesome. And some are, but you can only do so much before you have to pay for full access.

5 Dice is a great FREE app that helps students practice all levels of Order of Operation. 
After students choose a level, they roll dice to get their starting number. 

Then they have to create an expression, using all the numbers, to hit the target number. 

Once students hit the target, they are shown the expression they made and how it is simplified. 

My students think it is fun and it is a great way to practice order of operations. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Blog Posts I Love

I spent time this weekend to find more math blogs to read. In the process, I have run across some great ideas that I want to use in the classroom and I would like to share them. Some of them are older, but still awesome. This is why I love blogs! I love reading about great ideas from other teachers.

I found these through the MTBoS Directory.  I only discovered this network of math teachers a few months ago and I am still trying to figure it all out, but I love it so far.

This post by Everybody is a Genius is exactly what I want to do when I get to solving equations. I started last year's lesson with balanced and unbalanced scales, but I like what thinking this makes students do.

I can't tell you how many times I've gone over tests with students just to hear them say "I didn't see the NOT" or "I wasn't paying attention to the picture" or something silly that would be easy to fix. This post by Reflections in the Plane helps students focus on those little hints in a problem that would help them solve the problem. We have a common assessment this week and I will be using this.

Here is another post from Reflections in the Plane about solving and balancing equations. Similar to the Everybody is a Genius post, it makes the students think about what balanced sides look like.

In Tales from Outside the Classroom, she used arrays to introduce the distributive property. I did use this in my classroom and the students understood a little bit more of what the distributive property was.

Finally from i is a number, she gives instructions for using card sort activities. I used card sorts all the time when I taught science and I love the idea of using one in math. In fact, I am going to plan one for tomorrow.

Again, I love math bloggers. Anyone who you think I should follow?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Multiplying Fractions with Models

My students have a difficult time interpreting fraction word problems. And I do not blame them. I have a difficult time interpreting fraction word problems when it involves multiplication and division.

To help them practice, we draw pictures and models.

We start our lesson with folding patty paper. The paper that is between hamburger patties. It is a square and thin. We divide the paper as it says, shade in the fractional parts in different colors, and then where the colors overlap is your answer. (I'll be recording a video showing the process later.)

This was another teacher's patty paper. I like how she identified the parts of the fractions with the sections. 
For multiplying fractions, I also pull the fractions we are multiplying from word problems. I want students to connect the process with some context so it is not brand new to them. 

I created this notes page that I am looking for some feedback on. I've already taught this lesson this year and combined some different elements to fit on one notebook page. I hope to use this guided math page next year, and maybe even later in the year as we review for the state test. 

It is free on Teachers Pay Teacher right now. If you download it and use it, please let me know what you think. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Follow Me By Email

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And become this is too short, here is my now two year old. Today is her birthday and we are off to a day of celebrations.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Age and Absolute Value

I read about an activity this summer to introduce absolute value to my students. It came from a Dan Meyer blog post

I introduced this as a game. I posted pictures of celebrities and students guessed their age. Then I posted the real age of the person and student recorded that next to their guess. 

We had to decide as a class who the winner was. I asked the students how we could decide. Depending on what students came up with at first, I would prompt them with questions. 

Eventually, I wanted them to say that they would calculate the difference by subtracting the guess from the actual age. If their guess was under, they would have a negative score. If they guess over they would have a positive score. 

Now, we had to decide who was closer. If we added all the scores, then the negatives and positives together would make the score seem less than it actually was. 

So now, I needed the students to decide to just calculate how far away from the real age they were. If they guessed the right age, their score would be zero. If they guessed one year over or under, their score would be one. Then I would connect this to absolute value and the number line. Again, depending on the class and what the students said, I had to guide them through questioning. 

Here is the Google presentation I use. You can see it and Make a Copy if you want to make any changes and have one for yourself. Go to File, then Make a Copy and it will be saved to your Google Drive. 

(If you aren't using Google Drive, you should be. I hated it at first, but I love it now). 

I did have a picture and my age in the original one. If you are comfortable sharing your age, you could add your own. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Interactive Notebook Pages

I have loved the notebook we are doing in class this year. I have a combination of foldables, handwritten notes, and practice. I am actually a little worried we might run out of room before the end of the year. I'm going to have to start watching my pages. 

Here are some of the pages we've done over the last few weeks. 

This was an idea from a co-worker. We use algebra tiles to teach integer operations and having this reminder is good for the students. 

This was one of my favorite lessons of the year. It kind of came together as we went through the lesson. I am going to do another post on it later.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dividing Fractions

When I am in doubt about what I want my notes to look like in the student's ISN, I look for anchor charts. 

This page was after we worked through models and then moved into the algorithm. I saw the anchor chart on Teaching with a Mountain View. And adapted it to fit what I wanted for students. 

I asked students to chose two colors to take notes in (mostly a pencil and a red pen) so they could show the changes in each step they made. It looks like a lot to write down, but my students were excited to write in two colors. It's the little things. 

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