Monday, September 30, 2013

How do I do a Task? Multiplication and Division Tasks!

Teaching math is my favorite part of the day!  We usually start our day off with the number of day.  I used to use whatever number the day actually was, but this year I started using three and four digit numbers instead and it is helping them so much.  We use an anchor chart with everything from ten more, a hundred more, expanded form, three digit number sentence, write a story problem, and much more.  After just a few weeks, the kids are experts at it!

We usually do at least one tough math task a week.  We start off with a quick review of the task, but I don't give them any extra information than what is displayed on the screen.  Then, they work for 10 minutes that we call private work time.  During this time they analyze the task and write their own ideas and solutions in their math journals.  I don't talk to them or answer questions, I want them to think about the problem and solve it.  The next step is group time.  We work anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour.  They share journals, ideas, and come up with the best solution path.  I walk around and talk with the groups and ask them advancing and assessing questions.  The last step is whole group.  We talk through the problem and have different groups come up and draw/write their ideas.

The kids really seem to enjoy the tasks and the conversations they are having during the group time is amazing.  I see an increase in their ability to problem solve already.  Using these tasks have really built a sense of community in the classroom!

Finding the perfect task is somewhat difficult.  Even more difficult is finding a source to tell you exactly how to structure your task.  I've found searching online works sometimes, but often I end up writing my own.  Here is a sample of some of the tasks I wrote for this year.  It also includes two pages of detailed instructions on making a task work for you.  You can take a good look at them by clicking the link that will take you to my TPT store.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

AR Roar!

One of the first things on my TO DO LIST before schools started was to make an AR board to keep track of the kids points.  Two months into school and I finally got it done!  It turned out way much better than I thought.  I used fabric and my favorite printed duct tape to make the background.  Then I added ribbon and some animals to create a board I will be able to use year after year. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oh That Commutative Property!

If you teach third grade you know that the Commutative Property is a HUGE deal!  We have done two lessons on it, made anchor charts, and talked about it a lot.  My kids totally understand it, but they never seem to reference it when they explain something in a math task that uses the Commutative Property.  They write the balanced equation that shows they know how it works, but very few of them use the words Commutative Property when they explain their answers.

We had a few minutes yesterday and I decided to make a quick foldable.  All we did was define what the Commutative Property is on one side and wrote five examples on the other.  BAM!  We did a task today and 16 kids used those words I have been waiting to read... this equation shows the COMMUTATIVE PROPERTY because....

Isn't it funny how something so simple sticks with them?

                                        Here is my proud picture of five minutes well spent.

Have a great day tomorrow!  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

More Anchor Charts!

Well this week is FLYING by!  Over the weekend I found some really good ideas for anchor charts that I made with the kids this week.

My school does Mountain Math and Language.  Since I am new to the school I am still in that lay low stage!  Ha Ha!  Well long story short, the teacher I replaced left the language, but we can't find the math.  So I decided to make up something myself to take its place.  Where did I turn?  Pinterest of course!  Here is the chart that I made.  We use Number Journals to write all of our answers down and then go over when we start math.  The kids really enjoy it and I feel better that they are getting this practice everyday.  Today was our first official day of doing it and they cracked me up.  We are going over the number sentence section and I had fifteen hands fly up to give me the answer.  Boy was I wrong!

They actually wrote a sentence that had a number in it.  Today's number was 438.

" I have 438 really amazing baseball cards. "
" My family lives on 438 Sunhill Drive. "

I laughed so hard!  The one thing they learned today is that a number sentence means the same thing as equation.  Tomorrow we will do better at this!

I was reading a post by a math teacher that said that children believe that an when they see an equal sign the answer is coming next.  The more I thought about it I realized that she was so right.  So I designed this anchor chart with the help of my kids.  Now I am sure they understand what an equal sign means.

 Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Organization at its BEST!

It is no secret that I LOVE ANCHOR CHARTS!  But storing them is a different story.  I've tried everything from boxes to rolling them up with rubber bands.  Nothing ever seemed to be perfect until......  hangers, binder clips, and a laundry stand!  I used binder clips to attach the anchor chart to a hanger and LOOK AT THIS! 

When we need a quick refresher, I just grab the hanger and hang it on a hook off the chalkboard!  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fall Centers are finally finished!

I spent this weekend finishing up my fall centers for math and reading.  My kids this year really love to do centers.  During reading groups, I use some centers that never change like Squiggle and Sticker Story.  My math centers seem to change with the different skills.  However, I like to have some that change and who doesn't LOVE fall?  I made a list of some skills that my kids are struggling with like dictionary skills, antonyms, writing with graphic organizers and writing poetry.  In math, we are working on mastering rounding, story problems, multiplication, and fractions.  So I created this packet of 14 different easy to use centers that I only have to run copies and laminate the direction sheets.  No other prep on my part!  Can't wait to use them this week!  You can take a look at them at my TPT store, just click on the picture!

Monday, September 9, 2013


We are a little behind on our pacing guides this year, but we are finally starting landforms this week.  I don't know about you, but when I'm behind on those pacing guides it makes me NUTS!

I really enjoy this unit in S.S.  We are going to make landforms out of a box of all these random art supplies that I had in a tub.  My plan is just to let them pick a landform that they like and let them go to town to create a display that shows their landform.  Then we will try and guess which one they did.  Should be lots of fun for a Friday Project.  I will post some pictures of them over the weekend.

To go along with the S.S. book, I created a landform packet.  It has all kinds of activities like, "I Have.... Who has" Landform game, anchor charts for 17 different landforms, flashcards to help them learn them, and of course a flipbook! Here is sample of some of the activities in it.  You can click on a picture to go to by TPT store to check it out.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Putting a Paragraph Together!

We spent this week really working hard on how to put a paragraph together.  When we started on Monday I thought we might be at this for a long long time!  We worked on margins, indenting, and the hardest part putting one sentence after another.  We focused on topic and closing sentences, and then added in supporting details.  We worked through three different stories where the kids worked as a group and the independently putting the paragraph together.  By Friday, we all understood the structure of a paragraph and could correctly put the sentences in order.  Our school system added a 30% writing grade to our ELA this year, so the rubric really helped me grade their work.  Click on the pictures to take a look at the packet.  It is only $1 this week!