Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Parking lot coordinate grid

I found a new take on an old favorite lesson of mine. In years past, I taped off my floor using painter's tape and had my students walk off ordered pairs. This year I found a blog about a teacher that used toy cars with the coordinate grid. (http://forsuchatimeasthis.blogspot.com/2013/02/giant-floor-graph-city.html?m=1) Taking that lesson along with the experience of watching my police officer husband recreate accidents using the computer for accident reports I created a lesson that my students loved today. I made four stacks of color coded ordered pairs and had a pile of hot wheels my son let me borrow. I had students in centers working on the skills from our chapter and this was my teacher center. I reviewed the coordinate plane on my Promethean board whole group before we broke off into centers. Then I had the students in my group choose four cars and a stack of cards and sit by the coordinate plane I taped on our floor. Taking turns, they brought their car and a card to the origin. From there, we discussed where they needed to move their car to match the card. I purposely created several of the same ordered pairs so the students would have a point of impact or intersection. It worked great! The students would redirect their teammates if they saw they weren't traveling in the right direction anticipating when the next "intersection " or "accident " would occur. This is a great hands-on activity for the students to be engaged in. It also fostered teamwork on my groups. Even though at the end of the day sometimes I'm frazzled and preparing for centers takes a lot of planning, the students really learned from the activities we did today. That's what counts!
(This picture was from a practice run at home... I was too busy working with the kids to get better pictures today)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Renaissance Distinguished Educator

I'm so blessed to have received the Renaissance Distinguished Educator award from Renaissance Learning! I love working with their products to help my students be successful. My goal this year is to certify some of my classes in Accelerated Math and Math Facts in a Flash. I also want to use our school data to help certify other classrooms in AR, AM, or MFIAF. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


It's been a while!!! Things have changed very much for me since my last post. 

1.  I moved to a new district. 
2.  My son now goes to the same school I do. This has been a big difference because not only is he now a "teacher's kid" but he's right down the hall from me. He has made a big transition from a private school curriculum to public school Common Core. Even learning how to get your lunch tray was a change for him. He went from being able to order chicken nuggets every day to getting what is being served in the cafeteria. 
3.  I teach only one grade and one subject... 5th grade math. Makes planning so much easier!
4.  Now instead of learning 24 names, I have learned 91. 
5.  I went from having a 5 minute commute to a 30 minute commute. I love the time I get to spend with my son on the way to and from school. Most mornings he takes a cat nap though. :)
6.  I miss my friends from my previous school and district terribly, but I already love the new school and district I'm at. 
7.  I'm teaching with a friend that I taught with 10 years ago. We were both pregnant at the same time when we taught together ten years ago, and now our boys are in the same class. This was a tremendous help in our transition!
8. I definitely appreciate all the junior high and high school teachers out there because I only have 4 class periods. By the time the last class comes to me, I think... Do I really have to teach this lesson again? Of either, Now I know how to teach this lesson more effectively. 
9.  I am a little lost without all the technology I used to have. Last year I had 1:1 iPads in my class, a SMART board, a NEO cart, 4 computers, and Nooks. Now I have a Promethean board, 4 computers, and the NEO cart I borrowed from the library. 

But all in all I can say change is a good thing. Sometimes I get too comfortable and need a change in some way to challenge me. I absolutely love the 5th grade age though. I believe it is my niche. 

I guess a name change for my blog is in order since I guess I will only be rambling about 5th grade. :) Suggestions?

Have a fabulous week!!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter egg math

I hid eggs in my classroom today that contained some math problems and a few prize eggs. The kids love homework passes and free Dojo points!! 
I let the kids pair up with a friend and set the class timer on 30 minutes. The kids went around the room finding eggs. They would work the problem on their notebook paper then place the egg back where they found it. Then move on to another egg. The first pair of students who finished first with the most correct answers earned a free 100 in math. I hid two homework passes and two +5 Dojo points in my surprise eggs. The kids love collecting Class Dojo points. The student with the most points at the end of class gets a prize from the treasure chest. If I would have given the students a worksheet with 15 math problems today... They would have not been so excited to see test prep on Easter party day, but this way they had fun, worked together, and learned from each other. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Grandfather Tang: Tangram activity

This week we are giving our nine weeks test. The students and I took a much needed break from test prep yesterday to read Grandfather Tang's Story written by Ann Tompert and illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker.
After reading the story to my fifth and sixth graders, I passed out the tangram manipulatives for them to explore with. We reviewed transformations and attributes of polygons while they were "playing with their puzzle." They tried to make a square using all seven pieces, but only one was successful. I found some wonderful activities on CREATE for Mississippi (link here) to work with my students this week. I downloaded some free apps for our iPads to let the students play. Yesterday the fifth grade each picked a character from the book, created the tangram animal with their manipulatives, traced and colored the pieces, and wrote which character changed into that animal. When they finished, we used their art work to create a quilt that would tell the story in order. The students arranged the pictures in the order they happened in the story and taped them to bulletin board paper. We hung the quilt in the hall to display for the other classes.

My sixth grade class also created the characters from the story using their tangram pieces. After testing this week, they will continue working on their project. I am going to have them create a book using the pictures and summarizing the story. They will type their summary for the character they chose and I will publish each student a copy using our binding system. My colleague and I have been discussing how much trouble the students have with summarizing. Hopefully I can help with this skill as well as their writing skills with this lesson.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Using iPads with a science lesson

This week I was teaching a lesson on weathering and erosion in my sixth grade science class. I decided to incorporate our classroom set of iPads. We use the iPads daily for math and I'm trying to find more ways to use them in science. I found a good kid friendly site (www.geography4kids.com)that we read from on the iPads rather than using the textbook. We discussed the different types of weathering and I let the kids "google" images of each type. They then took screenshots and imported them into the PicCollage app. From that app (which is cute and free) the students typed a definition for each type and labeled each picture. I have had students make PowerPoints in the past, but this was a quicker way for them to display what they know while utilizing our iPads. I let the kids choose their own background and text font. They had a great time and learned something. I uploaded their picture collages to our school website and printed them out to send home with the kids. I love how the kids got to use their creativity and technology to learn our objective in science. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Math: Technology and Manipulatives!!!!

I discussed the ruler and equivalent fractions with my fifth grade class today. I did this lesson a year ago as a small group activity. I thought it was a good introduction to the ruler. You can read the original post with directions here. This worksheet came from Laura Candler's website. I LOVE her resources!

Love Laura Candler! Also this week we have worked on function tables, rules, and equations with my sixth grade. I found these function tables for the kids to work with their cooperative learning group. Then we made these awesome windsocks with a function table on each face and the rule dangling from the windsock. I made a trifold out of construction paper and we discussed that it was in the shape of a triangular prism with the exception of the invisible bases.

I found this fabulous resource on TPT at Richelle Votow's store. (pssst...it's FREE!) The kids loved scanning the QR codes to "partner check" each other's tower. When they finished, they followed the directions to cut, paste, and construct the towers. I hole punched them and hung them on a string to display in the hall.

This awesome freebie came from Flapjack Educational Resources. The kids could practice basic math facts and GCF/LCM. They read the directions that came with the resource and had a BLAST playing!!


This is a picture of my students doing their daily 3 Minute Math quiz. I use this to review basic facts, measurement conversions, percent/decimal/fractions, algebra properties, etc. The PowerPoint is timed and all I do is call out the number of the slide. The students quickly write down their answers, then when we have finished, we "trade and grade."

Working a lattice multiplication problem on the SMART board with a student.

One of my students using the iPad to practice Math Facts in a Flash from Renaissance Learning. If you are not familiar with this company, they also have the Accelerated Reader and Accelerated Math programs, STAR reading and STAR Math testing programs, and more!

We used the Geoboard app I downloaded from the App store to build patterns as a preface to my function tables lesson.

I am LOVING all the technology I have been blessed with in my classroom!!! What technology do you use in your room?