Saturday, January 17

Five for Fraturday - Phonics Centers & Fraction Pizza

Time for another link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!  Technically, it's still Saturday here in Wisconsin for another 28 minutes, so I'm counting it as a Fraturday instead of a Frunday! ;)

 I usually do some kind of sight word or phonics centers on Thursdays.  I just had to snap a pic this week because they were doing so well!  The blend puzzles were a Target dollar section find this summer, and my kiddos love them!

 Two: The color printer at our school finally got fixed!!  It's been a cutting lamination kind of weekend, folks.  On the bright side, I am SO.PUMPED to introduce some new math centers to my kiddos next week!

I discovered these exit tickets from Create-Abilities a few weeks ago and started using them this week with the introduce of our new unit!  I stapled the standards for the unit together to make a little book, and my kids have done them every few days.  They have been a great "quick check" to see who gets it and who needs more practice!

I received the cutest note from one of my sweeties this week!  I love the "report to me and tell me why" part!  LOL

First, I had the kids plan their toppings and assemble their pizza.

Then, I had kids write about the fractions they used and create the crust using brown paper.

Here is the finished bulletin board!  (Yes, I display all 65+ kids' work!)
We made these cute little fraction pizzas using Jennifer Bate's "Pizza Fractions" freebie!  I did it a bit different than her template and asked kids to decide which toppings they were going to use and how many fourths of the pizza those toppings would get.  I think the final result is darling!!

Hope you enjoyed this little peek at my week!  Check out Doodle Bugs Teaching blog for other Five for Friday (or Fraturday, or Frunday....) posts!

Wednesday, January 14

Non-Standard Measurement Experiment {Freebie!}

I have a fun measurement experiment to share with you today!  I've done it for a few years now, and every year, my kiddos just absolutely love it! 

To practice non-standard measurement and explore why we get different measurements depending on our unit of measure, we use shoes to measure items around the classroom.  I have the kids use THEIR shoes, I bring in some of MY shoes, and I ask a guy friend (who wears size 12 men's shoes) to loan me some of HIS shoes.  The kids are always a little in awe of how big his shoes are!

We measure and record the first item together, so I can reinforce how to measure correctly and model how to record the different measurements.  I make sure to observe that it takes less of the men's shoes than their shoes to measure the object and ask them to think about why that is, though we don't answer that question yet.

Then, I have the kids get into partner pairs and send them off to measure items around the classroom.  They always get really into it, and every year someone comes up with the idea to measure ME!  The kids just get a kick out of measuring the teacher. :)

Using my shoes to measure...I am 7 of my shoes long!

Using men's shoes to measure...I am 6 men's shoes long!
After they are done measuring, I bring them back to the carpet and we finally answer the question of why it takes less of the men's shoes than their shoes.  I also ask students to extend their thinking by asking them if it would take more or less baby shoes to measure the same objects.

 If you are interested in doing this experiment in your classroom, you can grab the freebie below!  There are 2 versions of the recording uses the language "your shoes, your teacher's shoes, and men's shoes" and the other uses "your shoes, medium shoes, and large shoes", just in case there are some guy teachers out there who want to use this too. ;)

If you try this experiment in your classroom, I'd love to know how it goes!

Sunday, January 11

Number Talks Book Study - Chapters 1 & 2

As some of you may know, the district I am in specializes (or "departmentalizes") by subject, even in K-5, so I am in charge of teaching all of the 1st grade math for my building.  I am also in a grad program for elementary mathematics and lead the Vertical Math PLC for our building, so I enjoy finding blogs & posts that specifically relate to elementary math.  I recently stumbled upon The Elementary Math Maniac blog and discovered that she was going to be hosting a book study on the Number Talks book by Sherry Parrish.  I had been given this book a couple years ago but had not read it yet (don't know you've done that too!), so I thought this book study would be a perfect opportunity to dig in.

Essentially, a classroom number talk is a discussion around a particular problem.  The teacher displays the problem, and the kids are first given a chance to solve it independently.  Then, the teacher takes and records all answers (both correct and incorrect) so the class can discuss the strategies used.  So, what's the teacher's role in a number talk?

When discussing a problem, ideally the teacher's role is that of facilitator, but it's going to take some time to get there.  Kids (especially younger kiddos) are going to need lots of modeling and practice with how to respond to one another and ask questions.  I love this pin of math talk discussion starters.

This pin was image only...if you know the original source, please let me know!
The book mentions the importance of teachers keeping a "blank face" when accepting or discussing wrong answers.  We all remember that "teacher face" in school when we gave a wrong answer.  We knew it was wrong even before the teacher explained our mistake because of their face, and it didn't make us feel good or want to keep participating.  Allowing and accepting all answers for discussion lets students with incorrect answers to defend and explain their thinking, which helps the teacher to see misconceptions and the student to feel that making mistakes is ok.

Being purposeful in selecting the problem is also an important role for the teacher.  If the goal is to discuss various ways to solve 3 addend problems, the numbers selected for the problem should assist that goal.  For example, the problem 3 + 7 + 3 would allow students to use doubles (and then near doubles when solving 6+7), finding a ten, or counting up.  If the teacher wanted to focus on borrowing from one addend and giving to another, a problem like 8 + 5 + 3 might be helpful, because the student could take 2 away from the 5 and give it to the 8 to make a ten, leaving them with 10 + 3 + 3.

Sherry Parrish also recommends that teacher's have a specific spot in their classroom where they hold their number talks.  Mine is on our carpet, as it's the place for students to be close to one another.  She also recommends that teacher's have something to record student thinking, whether that be up on the Smartboard or on chart paper.  Posting student strategies as anchor charts around the room can help keep students accountable during that time.

So how do I incorporate number talks?

I have to admit, I did a better job with this at the beginning of the year than I have lately.  Mostly because I started the year off doing a LOT of subitizing and activities from my number sense pack.  We had some great discussions, even as beginning first graders, about the different ways that we saw numbers.  I have continued number talks occasionally in guided math, but have not done them whole group in awhile.  What I would like to start doing is creating a bank of problems to use for my number talks.  I think that having the problems ready to go will help me be more consistent with implementing number talks throughout the year.

So, have YOU implemented number talks in your classroom?  I'd love to hear how it's going and if you have any tips for implementing them consistently.  Feel free to share resources that you've found helpful as well. :)

Happy teaching!

Saturday, January 10

Five for Fraturday & a GIVEAWAY

I'm linking up (for the first time ever!) with Doodle Bug's Five for Friday linky...part of my hopes to become a better blogger in 2015.  Make sure you stick around until #5...there's a giveaway at the end of this post!

I live in Wisconsin, though I am not originally from here.  Let me tell you, it's freezing here!!  (Notice how the -13 degree windchill is "much warmer" than yesterday.)  I thought it was cold in Michigan where I grew up, but I was wrong.  Wisconsin is cold...C.O.L.D.  We had -25 degree windchills here this week, and our school did not close!

I ordered one of these this week!  I can't wait to try it out.  If you have one, how do you like it?

My kids needed some review practice with skip counting this week, so I put them on "The Counting Game" app (by Chris Egerter).  My kids really love this app because it's fun to find the next number in the sequence, and I really like it because it has lots of different types of counting...from counting by 1s all the way through counting by 10s.

We also did a non-standard measuring experiment this week.  More on that later (including a freebie so you can try it with your class!), but let's just was a huge hit!

If you've been to my blog before, you probably notice that it looks a little different now.  I got a FABULOUS blog re-design from Megan at A Bird in Hand Designs.  She was exceptionally patient when I asked for things to be tweaked, and the results are absolutely beautiful!  I am so, so thrilled with how it turned out!  If you are looking to freshen up your blog design, you need to check out Megan's work!

To celebrate a new design, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to TPT!  You can enter through the Rafflecopter link below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, January 1

Currently January 2015

It's currently January 1, which means it's time for another Currently linky from Farley!

Listening:  I like to listen to the television while I work, so right now I'm listening to reruns of Last Man Standing.

Loving:  Christmas break!  With the way the dates worked out, we ended up getting 2 whole weeks for break this year, and it has been heavenly!  I love lazy days at home.

Thinking:  I should probably start to work on getting stuff ready for after break. :( 

Wanting:  There is not a whole lot that I want right now...I have been extremely blessed! :)

Needing:  There way not be a whole lot that I want, but there are some things that I need....the fridge is getting pretty bare!

Yes: Yes to more classroom pictures!  I'd like to remember to capture more of what we do in class, not only so I can remember all of the neat things that we did over the year, but also so I can do a better job of sharing them with you! 

Maybe:  Maybe (ok...probably, most likely) I will be traveling this summer.  Not sure where yet, but I have the itch to go somewhere!  Any suggestions? :)

I Wish:  I wish I could be a morning person...but I am not.  The End. :)

Want to catch up with other bloggers?  Visit Farley's blog to see who else is participating!

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