Sunday, December 14, 2014


Updated 2/24/15

I have to brag on my kiddos they are really doing GREAT with division!

We begin by creating a multiplication t-chart. This is helpful for all students, but especially for those students who do not fluently know their multiplication facts. (see t-chart example in picture below)

Click the Picture to Checkout this Resource!
At this point in the year my kiddos have had a lot of practice with multiples of 10 and 100. After modeling and many examples, most of my kiddos understand 30 x 6 is a ten times bigger than 3x6 and 300 x 6 is a hundred times bigger than 3x6. Some students are able to justify this by repeated addition.

We use the partial quotients method or repeated subtraction method to teach division. (see examples in picture below) I LOVE this method of division for 4th graders because it helps them retain their place value understanding. In a short amount of time, they are even completing some division problems mentally.
Click the Picture to Checkout this Resource!
When I introduce division, I put into a story. I tell them I baked 298 cookies for the bake sale. I tell them I want to buy some fancy boxes in which to put the cookies. I explain to them that these boxes are really expensive so I just want to buy enough boxes for the cookies. I tell them I am going to put 5 cookies in each box. At the fancy box store, they sell boxes, in packs of multiples of 100, multiples of 10, and 1-9.

I ask the students if I need 100 boxes. They discuss this at their groups. This question usually has a good discussion the first couple of times. Once they decide that I do not need 100 boxes, I ask them if I need 10 boxes. They decide I do need 10 boxes. I tell them that the fancy box store sell packs of boxes in multiples of 10. (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 70, 90) Next, we figured out what size pack we should buy from the store. We used our 5s t-chart for visual reference. We decide to put the 50 pack of boxes in our shopping cart.  I ask them how many cookies will I be able to box if I buy 50 boxes. They tell me 250.

I baked 286 cookies and I have enough boxes for 250 cookies. How can we figure out how many cookies I still need to get boxes for? (Subtraction)  We have 36 cookies that do not have a box. If we buy a box of 10, I will have left over boxes. So we look at buying a 1-9 pack. Using the t-chart again, they decided that a 7 pack would get us the closest without going over. Boxing 35 of my cookies. 

We put 285 cookies into the 57 boxes. There was one cookie remaining. 

A friend of mine introduced me to this partial quotient website, The Quotient Cafe. My kiddos loved it! 

I also have a division set of practice problems. These problems increase with difficulty as you progress through the set. This makes differentiating easy. The problems are on a "Big 7" as I call it, so that students' work can be neat and organize when they are first learning. Select a page from this set and you have a quick assessment. Answer keys are completely worked out, so you can quickly see in which step your students made their errors. Click here to checkout this set!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pencil Flags: Multiplication Facts
I am always trying to encourage my kiddos to use multiplication strategies and help them become fluent with the basic combinations or facts. I came up with the idea to make a little pencil flag with multiples or multiplication facts on the flag. This may help students take advantage of those spare moments in the day. My kiddos LOVE the flags! Some students started voluntarily writing the facts from their flag in their math journals-----go figure. I have printed them on colored card stock for extra durability. As my students pass a level, they will get another pencil & flag with their new level. I even have a Way to Go flag when they complete all the levels :) So far this has really sparked motivation in my kiddo. Click here to check out my Pencil Flags!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Differentiated Word Problems

My kiddos are currently working on multiplication. They know their basis division, but we really haven’t started larger division yet. Not wanting to teach multiplication in isolation, I developed some multiplication and division word problems. The division word problems are basic fact, but still made my kiddo decide if the problem was multiplication or division.
I used these cards in conjunction with an array graphic organizer I created. Since my prior multiplication and factor teaching is so array based this array visual just makes sense. I have used this organizer for a couple years now, and have gotten good results out of my students.
I talked to my kiddos about how most multiplication and division word problems had two things that went together such as: fences & dogs; kids & slices of pizza; football players & touch downs; trees & leaves; books & backpacks; etc. I let them give a few examples too. We went on to discuss that one of the two things was the “group” and the other was the thing “being grouped.”
We read some of the multiplication and division word problems I created looking for only for the two things that went together. Hint: they are usually by the numbers, but not always.
We sorted the cards by their question. Was the question asking: # groups; # per group; # in all. We did a few together whole class, and then I gave each small group a few to sort together. Once they agreed, they placed it on a large anchor chart.
We were ready to start solving problems. Each student created an array foldable to put in their interactive notebook. I gave it student a record sheet. The record sheet has a spot for them to record the # groups, # per group, # in all. We read each problem once looking for the two things. On the second read, we found and recorded the info from the problem. Then, we made an equation and solved it.
After we worked several together, students walked around the room working the problems I had hanging from clips from my cabinets and walls. They were allowed to work with a buddy and at their own pace.
I have made three different levels to differentiate. I have placed cards on my front wall under my white board, on the side on my cabinets, and in the back on my wall. I told my students the cards are in the front are hard, the card on the side are harder, and the cards in the back are the hardest. They get to pick where to start-self differentiate. They like these terms. It makes them feel successful when they solve their problems. One year, I had a student request an even harder level; he called it insane. Click here to check out my differentiated word problems.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Whisper Wand

Do you ever ask a question or put a problem on the board and have a couple kids just stare at the ceiling tiles? For years, I have tried to encourage my students to be thinkers through the use of wait time and partner sharing, but still I have had students who were reluctant to think when I asked a question whole group. Equity sticks are an option used by some teachers; however, I have found that putting my students on the spot when they do not know the answer is counterproductive. One of the best things I did to get these students thinking about whole group questions, I began asking them to whisper their answers in my ear. I found this method very effective because they know I expected them to give me an answer. I wasn’t simply going to call on someone else and move on. My students let me know when they have an answer my holding thumb up to their chest. I even created a whisper wand. My kiddos get a kick out of whispering into the whisper wand. My original whisper wand was invented the year lice was going through my classroom and I decided I needed to put a little distance between my hair and my kiddos’ hair when they whispered to me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Multiple Mummy

My kiddos had the best time today with multiples. I gave my kiddos some receipt tape and a set of numbers from which to choose. I wanted them to section off the receipt paper and find the multiples for one of the numbers. I also gave them a printable to complete once they finished their multiples. I told them if they completed the task that they could turn their teacher into a Multiple Mummy. They were so excited to get started. I let my inclusion classes wrap my colleague Mrs. Alexander. Let me tell you, they LOVED it!!! I love it when they leave class saying they had fun. Click here to checkout Multiple Mummy's in my TpT store!
My friend and colleague, Mrs. Alexander

We also played my new game Factor Flipout this week. My kiddos LOVED this game. They asked, "Are we going to play it again tomorrow?" What I liked about the game is it made my students want to know what the factors of a specific number are. My students who were struggling with finding factors of a number came to me during this game for help.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Multiplication Strategy Freebie

As my students are learning their multiplication facts, I teach them to begin with a combination they already know. Since I teach fourth grade, many of my students already know the 5s and 10s facts.

A couple of years ago, I had a handful of kids that didn’t know their multiplication facts. Every time they were presented with a problem they started at one skip counting it out on their fingers.
Finally, I came up with a plan. I told them I was going to introduce them to couple of my friends. Mrs. 5 and Mr. 10. If they were given a problem such as eight times seven, they would call up Mrs. 5 and ask her, “What is 5 eights?” They would then start skip counting at 5- 40,  6 – 48 , 7 – 56 .

I now have a set of t-charts which I can use in my math centers or project on the board. To get your free copy click here!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Rounding Freebie

We started the year off with place value and rounding. My kiddos learned to round on a number line by finding the benchmark numbers on the number line. For example, if they were rounding 3,567 to the nearest hundred. They would find the two closest hundreds to this number 3,500 and 3,600. They would also find the midpoint between the two hundreds, 3,550. Using these three numbers they plot the number 3.567 on the number line. Since 3,567 is greater than the midpoint, my kiddos know that it is closer to 3,600. I want to share a review center I created for my students. Click here to get your Freebie!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Number Fluency + Freebie

At this point in the year, I can give my 4th graders an addition problem and they whip out a piece of paper and pencil and produce a correct answer. On the other hand, I have a few kiddos that could add all day on paper but cannot manipulate numbers in their heads. This is why I have been thinking about number fluency, the ability to add and subtract within a specific number mentally. Somewhere along the way these kiddos missed this skill.

According to TNCore,
  • Kinders should be able to add and subtract within 5
  • Firsties should be able to add and subtract within 10
  • Second graders should be able to add fluently within 20

I have created a FREE product on fluency with 10 for my Kindergarten and First grade friends. Click here to Grab your freebie!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Task Card Craze or CrAzY + Freebie

I gotta say I love task cards as much as the next girl, but I create soooooo many that if I laminated them ALL and cut them ALL I would go CRAZY! Lately, I only cut the ones I am going to use to play scoot or solve the room. If they are for small group there is NO WAY they are getting laminated or cut. I just slip the whole sheet into a clear report cover and call it a day.

That’s what I plan to do for the little rounding review center I created for my kiddos to work for St. Patrick’s Day. Click here to Grab your Freebie!


I am linking up with Tara at 4th grade Frolics for Monday Made it!



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Word Problem Graphic Organizer

I don’t know about you, but many of my kiddos have a difficult time processing word problems—especially multi-step word problems. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been developing an 8 step graphic organizer designed to help my students think through the steps of solving any type of word problem.

  • The graphic organizer may be displayed on an interactive whiteboard for whole class discussions.
  • Students may keep a copy of the Problem Solving Strategy Graphic Organizer in their journals as a reference. Then, write the numbers 1-8 as they solve word problems.
  • The teacher may choose to laminate the graphic organizer so that students may use fine tip dry erase markers to solve their problems.
  • I have included a jpeg of the printable so that the teacher may order a poster from a company that makes poster from pictures. If you had a laminated poster, small groups of students could complete the Problem Solving Strategy Graphic Organizer together. One fun way is with sticky notes. 
Click here to get your FREE Word Problem Graphic Organizer! 

updated 1/11/16

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February Currently

I am joining Farly at Oh Boy 4th Grade by linking up with her Currently!

Listening: Drip… Drip… Drip… My kitchen sink has been dripping for a while now. I had a plumber friend stop by and fix it about a week ago and it is dripping again.
Loving: We don’t get much snow here in Alabama, but when we do it really affects our travel. Tuesday, our roads were blanketed with snow and ice.
Thinking: Notice I am “thinking” about cleaning. I need to actually be cleaning. 
Wanting: I have been wanting a new laptop for awhile. I had pretty much made up my mind that I wanted to make the leap from PC to Mac. Now my school, has gotten a bunch of Chromebooks and they are really cool. Decisions…Decisions…
Needing: I really could use a nap right now. I have been having insomnia lately. Funny thing is I went for a sleep study on Monday night. I woke up in the middle of the night and could not go back to sleep. The next morning, I told the tech that I couldn’t go back to sleep after I woke up. He said that it didn’t take me that long for me to fall back asleep. Surely, I am not dreaming about not being about to sleep!!
2 Truths & a Fib:
  • Over 11,000 students spent the night at school Tuesday night (Truth). The conditions on the roads became too bad too quickly and busses had to return to schools with students.
  • I am a great cook (Fib). I love to eat, but I do NOT love to cook.
  • There is snow on the ground and my son wore shorts to baseball practice (Truth). Teenagers?! BTW--It is in the 50s today.