Thursday, July 4, 2013

Math Literature

I absolutely love math literature!! I have been collecting math literature for years. One of my favorite authors is Stuart J. Murphy. I like to use his books in my math centers to review skills already taught. In his book, Lemonade for Sale, a group of friends decide to setup a lemonade stand to raise money to fix up their clubhouse. They create a bar graph to keep track of their sales. I created a FREE pdf to go along with this book. It shows the bar graphs the kids made each day.Click Here to Download Your Free Copy of Lemonade Graphing

One of my all time favorite books is Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! by Marilyn Burns. It is a cute story about a couple that decides to have the family over for a meal. They rent 8 tables and 32 chairs. Throughout the book the family rearranges the tables as more and more family members arrive. Reading and discussing this book is a fun way to introduce area and perimeter. I created a pdf and powerpoint to go along with this book. It shows the table layouts described in the book. I also created a set of table and chair cards that the students may cut up to manipulate into the same arrangements described in the book.Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! $2.00


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Aluminum Foil Boats

One of the fourth grade common core standards is line plots (specifically line plots with fractions). I cannot speak for anyone else, but my fourth graders weren’t ready for line plots with fraction at the beginning of the year. Aluminum foil penny boats is a fun way to introduce line plots. Begin by giving each student or pair or students a square of aluminum foil with a dimension of 4” by 4” or larger.  The boat in the picture was made from a 6” by 6“ piece of aluminum foil. Keep in mind the bigger the piece of foil the more pennies it will take to sink it. When you give students the foil tell them that they are going to build a boat that will hold pennies. Ask them to estimate how many pennies they think the foil boats will hold before sinking. Once students get their foil they simply mold it my hand into the shape of a boat, then the real fun begins. They will place their creation on the water.  You can use any large container filled with water. Students will place one penny at a time inside their boat. They should keep track of how many pennies they add to their boat. Once everyone is finished, complete a line plot together as a class by displaying the printable on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Create a bulletin board by hanging completed line plots and stapling student foil boats in the corners.Click Here to Download Your Free Printable


Monday, July 1, 2013

Restroom Procedures

I teach at a 3-5 school and last year we departmentalized our 4th and 5th grade. We thought it was more important than ever to exam how we could maximize our instructional time. We estimated that an average class trip to the bathroom took 8-10 minutes. If teachers takes two trips to the rest room a day, that uses 16-20 minutes of instructional time. The math teacher in me says, “20 minutes a day times 5 days in a week is 1 hour and 40 minutes, spent at the bathroom in one week.” We decided to reclaim some of this time by allowing students to go to the bathroom individually on a timer instead as a whole class. We figured that if a student asked to go to the restroom once in each of his 4 classes, he would miss a total of 12 minutes of instructional time daily and 1 hour weekly compared to 1 hour and 40 minute lost by every student when we all went to the restroom at the same time. Each teacher in our school received a little timer like the one pictured. I stuck three pieces of sticky wax on the back of mine and hung it in my classroom above the light switch. My students signaled they needed to go the restroom by raising their hand and crossing their fingers to form the sign language letter “R”. I granted them permission to get up and go to the restroom my nodding my head. They would walk over to the timer, press the start button, clip the bathroom pass to their shirt (painted clothes pin), and then walk to the restroom. More often than not the students were back before the timer went off. If they weren’t, I sent someone to check on them. When my students got back, I had them stand by the timer until it beeped so they could press stop. My timer would automatically go back to the set time after it went off, but not if it was interrupted. We started the year off at 3 minutes per trip, but rapidly decreased our time to 2 minutes because they were so quick. Believe it or not, my students could go to the restroom and back in less than 2 minutes almost every time. At the beginning of the year when we were going over our procedures, I taught them when it was appropriate an inappropriate to signal. I did not let them go during direct instruction.