Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cards and Dice

No...not heading to Vegas. Darn!
A few posts back, I talked about math fact fluency being a hot topic at our school. So, I've been looking for some fun games to reinforce multiplication facts.

Enter...Spiral Multiplication Game!       Spiral Cards for short!
My students are obsessing over the spiral multiplication math game. They are even asking to stay in during recess to play! I found this game at

We changed the directions up a bit. Students create their game board using the cards. They select game pieces and place them on the card in the middle. That is the start. Then, they use the double dice. The outside number, is what they multiple the card by... the inside number is the number of spaces they get to move. They love this game!!!

Must have for any game that involves dice! Felt Squares! 
I explain to my students that the dice must be rolled on the felt square----one it absorbs the sound and two, it protects the plastic ones from cracking. 
Here is a picture of one of my felt squares and some of my fun dice.

Happy rolling!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Electrifying!

Experience before label! I handed each group the extremely cute, Insulators and Conductors, box of items and asked them to light the bulb.

No other directions! It was so interesting to watch as each team approached the task.
8 out of the 10 groups were able to light the bulb. group had a faulty bulb! Oops!
After, I gave them the label...closed circuit, we had the discussion-What makes it a closed circuit?
We then discussed an open circuit...
I posed the question...Are there everyday items that will close the circuit...LIGHT THE BULB?

We created our insulator/conductor testers with the items from our oh sooo cute boxes. We started predicting what item might be a conductor. Then off to the testing.  What great discussions!
Students made their own connections as they tested.  I loved listening.
They added the information to their data chart and then drew a closed circuit. When they finished up their sheet, I had them discuss the questions that were on the inside of their box. Loved the group that said, "Where'd those questions come from?"
Ahh.. the power of wires, batteries and a light bulb! They make you oblivious to questions posted!

The top of the box. 

Inside the box lid

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Outdoor Learning Environment and Math Facts

Oh, my goodness! It has been forever since I posted!
I am in the midst of writing 5 grants and prepping to present to our school board for an outdoor learning environment. Ohh, and also doing lesson plans for my oh sooo cute-precious and darling class. (They really are!)

If you happen to have an outdoor learning environment at your school, I would looooooove to hear from you about how it was started, what you have in it, how you maintain it and how your got the funds.

So, completely not related to the outdoor learning environment, my post for the evening is about math fluency! HOT topic at our school.  Our fifth graders are coming to us with low math fact fluency. Research shows that higher order math skills such as multiple digit addition, subtraction, multiplication, long division and fractions will be severely impaired without fluent retrieval. 
Preaching to the choir? I know...
My friend, Amy, found this website that helps to work on math fluency! LOVE IT!!!!!
Students work at their own pace. There is a short, daily lesson that combines basic skills with a beat the teacher quiz. Once they master a skill set, the questions start to become harder. Teachers receive a weekly progress report letting you know how your students are doing. 
 Oh, did I mention... it is FREE!!!!!!!

What do you use for math fluency?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Currently September

I'm linking up with Farley for her Currently September.

Listening-My daughter's fourth grade teacher is using Google Forms for the nightly reading response entries. It is way cool.
Loving-I haven't seen my friend in 15 years! She came here to scout out venues for her wedding. It was great getting caught up and meeting her fiance.
Thinking-Way to long at school yesterday!
Wanting-I'm finding too many excuses for not getting back on the treadmill. Mainly...I'm tired!
Needing-It might have been an epidemic. Several of my team members couldn't sleep either. 
Favorite Things- I LOVE my Consuela bag! My husband and daughter gave it to me for my birthday. My goal is to NOT load it down with school stuff! Here's a pic!
Yummy coffee!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Talking Points for Parents

Every day, after a bit of down time, I begin to quiz my daughter about her day. I tried the, "What did you see today, hear today..." not working anymore. These are the typical responses...
It was good.
It was fun.
I don't remember.

I got to thinking, wouldn't it be nice to have some talking points?
What if...
I posted a day in review phrases on our class website?
students created the day in review?
things are written in a vague manner so their child has to elaborate?

Here is my first attempt.
Live...from the Red Carpet!