Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dividing decimals with Base 10 Blocks - Hands on Activity

Part of the CCSS is that they want kids to be immersed in concrete ways of doing mathematics.  This is something that I wholeheartedly agree with, even for my higher-level students, because it makes them think about what they're doing.  

Here's a lesson that we did with Base 10 blocks and dividing decimals: 5.NBT.7

This might be something you want to show your kids to model the strategy for them, and then have your students use Base 10 blocks with some other problems.  I used easier problems first and then included problems with remainders.

First, I showed this video:

Next, I split them into partners and had them solve a series of problems.   We did the first one together and then they completed it in partners.  Partner A was the banker first (they traded the hundreds block for 10 tens, a ten stick for 10 ones, etc) to partner B, who was the solver.  Then, they switched roles and solved the same problem.

I grouped the problems into levels of difficulty by A, B, and C.  Here's some examples of them:
A:  3.6 divided by .6
1.2 divided by .2
1.8 divided by .6

B:  7.2 divided by 1.2
6.4 divided by .9
4.2 divided by .7
4.8 divided by 1.2

C:  1.25 divided by .5
3.6 divided by .8 (there's a remainder)
4.8 divided by 1.3 (remainder)

For the early finishers, I challenged them to come up with their own problems for their partner to solve.  I also challenged them to write word problems that related to real-world problem solving (very hard for some students).

I think the hardest part was for them to talk out their thinking (does that make sense?) while doing the mathematics.  Also, they had trouble at first with trading in the Base 10 blocks if they couldn't make any groups.  

A great extension activity would be to have the kids make their own Youtube videos to explain their thinking, which is what we did below.

Overall, GREAT lesson, LOTS of higher level thinking, and it was SO ENGAGING because it was hands-on and challenging for many of the students.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Teaching about Bullies

Admit it: They're everywhere.  Mean people. Mean kids. We live in a mean world sometimes. 

That's why it's SO important to talk about them as teachers with your students.  Having these discussions opens many doors for kids who are being bullied, who bully, and who watch bullying happen.  

One of the best books I've ever read as a read aloud is Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  I read it every year with my kids and it is one of those stories that they beg me not to stop reading.  It's that good! It centers on a boy, August, who has severe facial deformities and how he mainstreams to a regular education school in New York.  It also switches perspectives of characters, so you get to see it from their eyes.  

Some of the bad parts, like when Auggie REALLY gets bullied, I just stop reading, and you could hear a pin drop in the room.  The kids immediately launch into heated discussion and defend Auggie. He becomes part of our classroom.  Everyone knows an Auggie, and this book leads itself to recognize the Auggie's in our world.  

I can't stress enough the greatness of this story!  

Another famous bully we read as part of our reading groups is Gilly from The Great Gilly Hopkins.  This Katherine Patterson great novel was written in the 70's, but deals with many behavior and tough issues that exist today.  Gilly is a foster child who longs to be with her mother.  She doesn't want to get close to any families because she is just used to rejection, which leads to mean behavior from her. Gilly crosses all lines: racism, bullying, fighting, language.  At the heart, she's just a little girl who wants her mom.  

This book is another staple in my room because it teaches the kids that behavior stems from something deeper within a person.  To understand the negative behavior, sometimes you need to peel away the layers to find the real source of hurt.  

Like August, Gilly becomes a character that stays with us for the entire year, and she and him get woven into discussions as we read other stories.  I have a unit available on Teachers Pay Teachers here for The Great Gilly Hopkins.  

If you're not a follower of my store and want to be, visit 5th grade Files on TpT. Follow me and I'll follow you back!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Day 3 with Nicki Newton - Decimal of the Day

So today let's talk about Decimal of the Day.  Yesterday was Fraction of the Day, if you missed it!

This follows the same thinking as Fraction of the Day.  Again, Nicki recommends that this is done at least 2 times per week to keep the skills fresh.

I squeeze this in on my morning math each day, which I talked about yesterday from the lovely Stephanie in teachinginroom6.  You could, however, make this much more elaborate and make the kids really THINK about decimals, which is the point! 

So, use dice, or a deck of cards, or just write a decimal to get started.  Here's a list of questions you could ask with the Decimal of the Day:

1. Write the decimal in word form
2. Write it in fraction form
3. Write 2 decimals that are greater than this number (Show them all on the numberline)
4. Write 2 decimals that are less than this number (Show them all on the numberline)
5. Write the decimal in expanded form
6.  Add .9 to this decimal
7. Subtract .9 from this decimal
8. Multiply 2 by this decimal; Write a story about this equation
9. Round it to the nearest tenth and hundreth
10. Compare it with symbols to 2 other decimals

You can grab a freebie worksheet that I made up at my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.  Because really, why re-invent the wheel when I already have one! And it's free!  

You might choose to do this as the students are coming in in the morning, or as an exit slip, as a guided math center, as a differentiated center activity (use different decimals), or as a whole class review.  I'd be curious to know how you implement it in your classroom.

I also found this great website to create decimal squares for templates.  It's a great item to put in the student's tool kits for this unit.  You can grab those here!  The website is  

Another great decimal tool is the decimal hundreds chart for those students who have a hard time visualizing decimals.  Get a free copy here!

Finally, here's a couple of great anchor charts that I will be making for my classroom to accompany our unit on decimals.  

I got them all off Pinterest by searching 'decimal anchor charts.'  So many great ideas to choose from!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Day Two with Nicki Newton - Implementing Fraction of the Day

On to Day 2 of my mini series: Fraction of the Day.

If you missed Day 1, click here.

Nicki really stressed the need for constant review in critical areas, like division, fractions, and decimals.  I am a huge beliver in the calendar math from Stephanie over in Teachinginroom6.  This is something we spend 10 minutes on each morning, and then we also spend 10 minutes reviewing the spiral math homework from Stephanie each day.  It's helped my students tremendously! I find that they need spiral review in the critical areas of the CCSS, such as place value and expanded notation in order to retain the skills.  This was my answer!  


What I am going to start doing is implementing Fraction of the Day and Decimal of the Day into my math block.  I'm going to aim to do it twice a week for each topic, and these topics will become a section in my student's Math Notebooks.  I also am a big supporter of Runde's Room Interactive Math Journals and find them to be an excellent tool for the students to keep.  Nicki had these cool little dice that I got my hands on, and that's really all I'm going to do for these two activities. Put it under the Elmo and off we go!  Use the inside number as the numerator and the outside as the denominator, or vice versa. 

Aren't these the cutest 'lil things?  *love*

Here's a couple of ideas to do with Fraction of the Day (by Nicki)

1. Decide if it is in simplest form
2. Add 1/4; Draw a model
3. Subtract 1/4; Draw a model
4.  Add 1/2 (You want students to realize that this is easy…just decompose 1/2 into fourths); Draw a model
5.  Subtract 1/2 (see above); Draw a model
6. Multiply it by 3/ Write a story to go with your equation
7. Compose/Decompose it …like  3/4 = 1/4 +1/4 + 1/4 or 3/4 = 1/2 +1/4
8. Divide 3 by it / Write a story to go with your equation
9. Draw it on a Numberline….Is it closer to 0, 1/2 or 1
10. Draw it as a set and/or as the area model

There is also a graphic organizer for this activity as well.  I am a lover of anything graphic and anything organizer, so I'm all over this.  You could also use a section of the student's math journals to do this activity as well (which I will do). 

Here's the link to the pin for the graphic organizer.  It may or may not be a $$ item, but I made one for free that has the same information on it.  You can grab that freebie here at my TpT store.

Tomorrow I'll share the Decimal of the Day!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My PD experience with Dr. Nicki Newton - a math guru. Day One of my first Mini-Series.

I had the privilege of attending a professional development day with Dr. Nicki Newton this past week.  If you've heard her speak before, you know that she is fast paced, to the point, and a wealth of information! I left with my head spinning with so many good ideas I want to implement as part of my math block.  If you haven't heard of her, she has written about Guided Math Instruction and she travels internationally to speak about it.  

This is her text available on Amazon:

It has lots of ideas that are easy to implement right away--it's a good  resource to have in your classroom library.  

She's also got an amazingly extensive Pinterest board with TONS of math ideas, narrowed down by different math topics and strands. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I would highly recommend following her on Pinterest to keep up with her!  

And this isn't even all of it!! Check out her boards here.

Here is Nicki herself telling about the 5th grade critical math areas. If you're going to watch just one video, make it this one!

I wanted to share with you a couple things that I will definitely be implementing with my fifth graders immediately.  I thought since she unloaded SO MANY ideas all at once, I'd slow down and share one idea each day this week.  Consider it my first mini series!

Today, I'll share with you this:  

In my classroom, we are beginning 5.NBT.6 starting Monday, which is all about division.  She shared with us that we should be showing a variety of strategies to teach this besides the normal algorithm.  Some of the ways were challenging, and some ideas were like, "Oh, hey, I can do that!"  Here's one of those "ah ha!" videos below: Olivia's short division.

Another way to teach long division is using Base Ten blocks with the area model of division.  This way, I admit, I had to watch a couple times because it was little confusing to me.  And then I got it!  It's another good way to implement manipulatives into the classroom to teach conceptual understanding.  

Another strategy is to teach long division by chunking.

In 5th grade, one of the big CCSS ideas is to use the Distributive Property to solve division problems.  They also want the children to show using models and pictures to explain their work.  She stressed the importance of having tools for the children to use, and one of those big tools is (no surprises here) anchor charts!  Now, if I could just get a chart fairy to create these beautiful things I'd be all set, but alas...oh well.  Here's some GREAT charts that I will be making for my room.

They've also got to use that math vocabulary in their talk!  It's SOOOO important.  Here's an easy thing to stick in their math notebooks.

Because Nicki's focus is Guided Math, she shared several centers or stations  (I like stations for the upper grades...sounds more sophisticated for 4th and 5th graders) that are easy to use.

The first is the Power Towers.  All you need is Dixie Cups and you're all set!  See here how to do this!  

This is also great because you can differentiate the cups for all learners.  In the video he has addition problems, but you can easily use division on the cups.  And then my mind fast forwards to algebraic operations and the possibilities are endless.  If some students are working on fluency, set up a timer and see how fast they can build their tower.  If some students are working on accuracy, forget the timer and let them work at their own pace.  Genius. Now I've got to start eating some Pringles...

Here's another idea for a division station: A division game.  All you need is the game board and some dice, and you're all set!  This is also easy to differentiate because you can control how difficult you want the problem based on the directions.  

And for the students still needing work on division with single digit divisors, here's a game for that by Simply Centers.

This hardly skims the surface for what is available out there for long division.  If you want to link up and share YOUR experiences or resources with this standard, find the linky below!  

I'd love to see what you're doing in your classroom to teach this standard!

Check back tomorrow for my take on Fraction of the Day!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Currently

I've missed these Currently's! Couldn't wait till Farley posted so I could link up again!

It's really been my first week back to school this year, because I've been out on maternity leave.  What a change!  I am comforted because I know a ton of women do it, so I know I can do it too.  That's not to say I didn't cry my entire trip to work the first day, and then reallllllly cry when one of my teaching loves gave me a hug.  And I'm not a crier!  It's just a different transition that no one really prepares you for.  But I'm alright, and she's in great hands, so no worries!  

Loving that it's lighter out because of DST, but hating that it will get dark so early.  Hate the days when I leave at dark and get home at dark...

Thinking about everything to do!   Besides all my PLC meetings, Tier 2 meetings, a PD on Tuesday, there's a lot to think about for the upcoming week!  I am nursing, so I've got to make sure I bring all the pump parts, cleaning things, and bottles with me each day.  Not to mention the PD is in the high school building Tuesday which means I'll be pumping in the bathroom 3 times.  NOT looking forward to that.  This week I forgot to pack the little lady socks and bottles on two separate days.  Glad I'm a hop skip and a jump from Grandma and Grandpa, so they saved the day.
This week I'll be more organized!

I'd love a break already.  And you've already been at this school thing for waaaay longer than me!  I just love lazy mornings and coffee in my yoga pants. 

And I want a cleaning lady.  A little fairy who does the dishes, vacuums, and cleans the bathrooms would be fabulous!

Needing: ME TIME!  I just would like a little uninterrupted time to do and time like that comes so rarely lately!

Reading:  Go read this book if you're a fan of fantasy.  It's really fabulous, and it's the first in the part of a three book series.  I'm halfway through it and it's a mix of Game of Thrones meets Brave princess meets magic.  I'm in love.  

I'll leave you with a picture of the Bean in her Halloween costume this year.  She's too cute! I love her to pieces!

Stay tuned because I'm working on a math series coming up soon that focuses on Guided Math, math strategies, and math centers from a PD I went to with Dr. Nicki Newton.  SO excited to share! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Freebie

A spooky hello to all of you!

It's almost time for the craziest teaching day of the year.... and lucky me we are going on a field trip to a science museum!  I found it's great to keep the kids entertained, learning, and occupied while they're so excited about Trick-Or-Treating later on!  Plus, it's a great addition to our unit on the moon.  We get to see a planetarium show- woo hoo!

Anyways, I'll keep this short and simple! I've got a freebie Halloween worksheet for you. It goes with 5.NBT.5 and 5.NBT.6 and gives the kids a fun way to practice division and multiplication.  

You can grab the freebie here at my TPT store!

Have fun, and have a great day tomorrow!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Asking your kids, "How was school today?" and always getting, "fine."

That was my normal response to my parents, so why am I surprised?  I ask my nieces about their days and I never really get a lot of good information about what happened.

And I'm curious!! 

I'd like to know what happened in the lunch room, or before the bell rang in the morning.  I'd like to know what they did in math that day, or who they played with at recess.  I just never could get them to TELL me without driving them crazy and asking zillions of questions.

Then I came across this on my FB newsfeed, and it was so good I had to share.  Now, it's not my work, and they are not my questions, but the simplicity of them were an, "ah ha!" moment for me.  

So here's the link.  It's worth a read!

Friday, September 12, 2014

My little, adorable, bundle of joy reason for being M.I.A.


I haven't blogged in forrreevvverr BUT I have the greatest reason why!!

I had a baby!

She and I are hanging out at home until mid-October, so I've gone off the grid, so to speak.  

In all honesty, between lack of sleep and adjusting to life with a newborn, my world (and house) has l.i.t.e.r.a.l.l.y. been turned upside down!  

And I wouldn't change any of it for the world!

So, meet my reason for staying M.I.A. this fall:

Nora Mae
6 lbs 10 oz

She turned 6 weeks today!  

So even though I am taking this time off from blogging... there's always ideas floating around in my head that I can't wait to blog about once I get back to school.

But for now... I'll stick to diaper changes, laundry, and spit up.  I'm one happy mama!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014-2015 Goals

There is a great linky going on over at 
Simones Math Resources
Each year I say to myself, next year will be so much EASIER... and then the district always throws something new at us.  Last year, it was Lucy Calkins Writer's Workshop, new teacher evals, and solid CCSS implementation.  Even one of those is tricky because we're all essentially learning and teaching new curriculum with the CCSS.  I know that will go easier next year because I can at least know what to expect and about how long to spend on each standard.  

This year, they're going to introduce Reader's Workshop and Guided Math Workshop. I'm a little panicky because I'm no guru on workshop models. I've really got to sit and scour Pinterest and other blogs to get a grip on what I'm walking into next year.  Centers alone scare me!!  I guess I have trust issues on letting my lower level "Johnny" on his own for 3/4 centers and what he will do when he's not with me.  That will definitely be a focus for me the entire year.  

Maybe I can do some research while the new little one in my life is napping....maybe.  *wishful thinking*  11 days by the way!!! I can't wait!!  I've got my countdown on but baby doesn't seem to want to come yet... stubborn like mommy I suppose.  

Here's my goals for next year.

What are your goals?  Link up!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July Currently

Wooo hooooo July is here!!!!  18 more days till baby!! I can't wait!!!  Besides not being able to sleep or see my feet, I am so swollen it's starting to hurt! And my hands fall asleep often, like right now, while typing.  I'm ready to trade these symptoms for a baby any day now.  With that said, my July currently, which is currently LATE, is baby themed because that's all I'm really focusing on at the moment.  

Thanks Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for this linkup!

I've got a big to-do list today and hopefully this eliminates some of the incessant thoughts about what I "need to get done" before the baby comes.  One of the big ones is I've got to get the carseat installed today.

I do want a clean house - but I'm so limited because I can't bend so well...and my back hurts every other minute.  I do it in shifts because I can't stand a mess!  

Needing...don't get me started.  I'm trying my best to save some $$ this summer because I won't be going back to school right away and therefore... I won't get paid.  But my toes!  My hubby paints them for me (after much nagging and complaining) but I would so love some TLC on my feet.  I'd paint them myself but I can't seem to reach them!

I'm so excited for the 4th!  It's one of my favorite holidays because it's all about family and fun for me.  I am secretly hoping that my 5th graders will remember the Revolutionary War and remember the REASON for the holiday while enjoying fireworks and fun.  Next year, my family and close family friends are headed to Hawaii.  That means 11 adults and 2 1-year old kiddos.  Should be interesting. We're going to pin all the details down this weekend so we can get this plan into action! Can't wait!!

Hope you all have a GREAT 4th!! Enjoy some relaxation and family time!  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Congratulations to the winners!

Thank you for entering my Rafflecopter!

Here's the big winner for the $10 TpT gift card:

And the winner of the planner in teal and grey!

Congratulations to these lovely ladies and thank you for helping me celebrate a mini-milestone this week!

I'm off to visit my very best college girlies this weekend and we're celebrating a Master's Degree, housewarming, and a new baby!  Not to mention one of my best friends from home had her little man yesterday and I can't wait to see him!  What a busy, glorious weekend! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

1 More Day for My Giveaway!

Free stuff! Yippee!

I'm celebrating my 100 followers on TpT - it's a mini milestone for me!  Thank you for being a part of that... I try my best to make products that work for students in their classroom and that are easy to implement!

Also, I'm going on maternity leave this fall because our little one will be born mid-July.  As I'm typing this, baby has a massive case of the hiccups--so cute!  I explain more about that here.

Join me in celebrating and enter the giveaway below!

Have a great Thursday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Maternity Leave - what to do.. what to do...and a giveaway!

So my husband and I are expecting our first in July.  YAY!  I can easily say that I've had a great pregnancy with little-to-no symptoms, so I feel really blessed about that.  

It was a long road to get to here, and we ended up doing IVF which worked on the first time.  again, extremely blessed.  

People don't really talk about how difficult it is for them to get pregnant and it's just "assumed" that you can snap your fingers and a pregnancy will occur.  Well, we were snapping for 2 1/2 years and it just wasn't working.  It was really hard at first to hear from people, "Well, you've been married for some time now, isn't it time to have a baby?" but eventually you get numb.  And it's not people's fault for asking, but I've learned that I am never going to ask about something so intimate because you just don't know what people are going through behind closed doors.  And it's painful.  To all you mom's out there or mom's-to-be, I know how difficult it is and what a long journey it is for some couples.  You are not alone.  Trust me!  I'd also be happy to answer any questions about what we did if you are in the middle of this process as well.

Anyways, I digress. 

I have 29 (count 'em) days of school left with some major milestones to get through: heat, field trips, heat, field day, heat, teaching, heat, planning...

I've started this crate with file folders for the weeks at the beginning of next school year for my long-term sub.  Each folder has the essentials of my routine for homework and morning work, as well as regular classroom assignments.  

Each week, my kids get:
- Calendar Math from the lovely Stephanie at Teachinginroom6
- Spiral Math HW, again from Stephanie.  I have all 4 quarters and they are great!
- a reading comprehension weekly assignment, usually from or from Kristine Nannini's ELA assessment binder.
- Greek and Latin root word assignment with a quiz on Thursday - I use this book.
- A reading log for independent reading, which is my own product here.
- A Daily Language Review which is an Evan Moore product.
- A grammar packet which focuses on a specific grammar skill for the week.  We use an ancient grammar book in class which is very explicit and concrete, and I send home a packet on Tuesday which is due on Friday for independent practice. We correct on Fridays together.  I use this book here to supplement the CCSS curriculum. 
On Thursdays, we do a Scholastic News as part of their informational text instruction and they love reading the articles.  

I made all the copies for the first 8 weeks or so of school because I plan on being out until the middle of October.  I really hope that whoever my long-term sub is, I want them to follow this routine so my kids are used to it when I return.  I'm trying to be as organized as possible and I even started a "long-term sub" binder that outlines this and classroom routines.

I figure if I give the sub my materials for the first part of the year, which is 5.NBT.1-7 on place value, they can make ends meet.  I shouldn't have to plan each and every lesson, right?  In my classroom I also use Data Tracking Binders, but I feel like that's too much to have a sub do.  I suppose I'll start that when I return.

As far as getting my classroom ready for next year, I'll snag those class lists and make my name tags, locker signs, welcome boards, etc in advance so that is done.  It's hard focusing on the back-to-school-mentality when it's May!

I guess I have this control problem.  Really, all teachers do.  It's our classrooms and we run it a certain way, and when someone new comes in and takes over, it's hard for us to let go.  At least, for me it is.  I want to be prepared for my leave so I don't have to worry about what's going on and I can focus on being at home.  

Does anyone have any suggestions about what else I should do to prepare my room for my leave?  Any and every piece of advice is welcome!

And for the giveaway:

I made it to 100 followers on TpT!  This is a milestone for me and I've been watching the numbers in the 90's creep up until TODAY! YAY!  I'm going to give away 1 $10 gift certificate to Teacher's Pay Teachers AND one of my 2014-2015 plan books!

Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sale and a BIG THANK YOU!

In case you haven't heard, 

Stock up and save! My store is on sale for an additional 20% off!  Now's the chance to check off some of those wish-lists!

Happy shopping, and HAPPY TEACHER'S APPRECIATION WEEK!  We work so hard each and every day to take care of our little ones... thank you for the work you do!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Awesome Read Aloud

I'm going to make this short and sweet:

Read The Giver by Lois Lowry to your class.  I mean it... the kids are hanging on her every word and they are absolutely in love with it! It's so refreshing for a class to BEG you to keep reading.. and secretly you're dying to because it's so good!  

With the movie coming out this year, it's going to be one of the "hot" books.  Think Hunger Games meets Divergent and you've got the premise of the story.

I'm telling you, it's a winner!!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Why are your shoe laces wet?"

This is a question that came out of my mouth yesterday during bus duty.

sidenote: bus duty = cruel and unusual punishment

So let me start this humorous story at the beginning...hope it makes you smile  :)

I was in charge of the kindergarteners, and there was a little boy who did not have his shoes tied.  I asked him if he wanted me to tie it, and of course he says "Yes" because he doesn't know how.

So I begin to tie.

And they're wet.

I think to myself, "weird...."

The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Why are your shoelaces wet?"

Kindergartener: **bewildered look on face**

I start to scan his body looking for signs of water/wet/anything to give me a clue... 

spit?  puddle?  water?

I notice his pants.  Which are wet.  From the crotch.  All the way down both pant legs...into his shoes.

**lightbulb moment**

Me: "Honey, did you have an accident?" 

Kindergartener: shakes his head "yes", regretfully.

So after that exchange, and after telling him he needed to tell his mommy when he got home because he failed to let his teacher know, AND asking if he needed to use the potty before he got on the bus (silly question..the evidence is in his pants.  all over it really... he's got an empty bladder.) I send him on his way.

And head to the nearest bathroom to disinfect.  Multiple times.  

I felt like an ER doctor with the hands up in the air yelling "CODE RED! GET OUT OF MY WAY!" trampling over kids to get to a sink.

The other teachers got a laugh out of it. 

And I hope you did too.  

I'm willing to sacrifice a little cleanliness if it boosts morale... just this once.  :)