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.  

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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!