Monday, February 9, 2015

MMI - Four 4th Grade Algebra Freebies!

Thanks to Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics for the Monday Made it Link Up.  

On the heels of last week's unofficial often ignored American holiday Groundhog's Day,  I am reminded of the classic Bill Murray movie, by the same name. In it, Murray's character Phil relives the same day over and over until he finally "gets it right."  Repeating the same events day after day becomes a form of torture for Murray's likable but disreputable character. 


We all know that repetition can lead to boredom.  And as someone who has taught fourth grade for over 20 years, it's something I must be careful of. I've said before that one of my greatest fears is boredom.  Someone once told me, "If you're bored, you're boring."  I don't ever want to be considered boring.
Fortunately, I can honestly say that I have never become bored of of teaching 4th graders.   Each crop of new students (and their parents) brings new challenges and experiences.  And while the curriculum I teach seems to change very little from year to year, I am constantly reinventing my methods for teaching them.  I also teach with a team great professionals that helps keep me happy and energized and excited about do what I do.

"Don't drive angry!"
Something that has energized my teaching a bit this year is reading all of the great ideas shared via teacher blogs and Twitter posts.  In fact, these great teachers inspired to start blogging myself.  They also motivated me to share some of the things I have created for my classroom on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Over the past month, I've been very busy posting some new classroom resources.  I'm happy to share some of the things I have created with you for free for limited time!  Please take advantage and share with your teacher friends.

My 4th graders are currently studying algebra expressions.  This is largely a new concept for them.  They soon discover that it not so hard after they realize that a variable is just a missing number in an equation, which they have done before.

These I Have… Who has… cards I made are a fun, and effective way to quickly review this concept with your class.  They also encourage teamwork and active listening skills. 

You can do this as a whole class activity or make several sets and do them in smaller groups. I love to give each group a timer so they can “race” each other to get the fastest time.  I record the fastest times on the board.  It’s amazing how motivating this simple thing can be!

 The hardest part of teaching algebra concepts is getting 4th graders to relate an expression or equation to a word problem.  I created this set of task cards to practice this very skill.  It also gives them great practice with relating words and phrases like total, sum difference, less than, increase, decrease, etc... to the operation that is needed to solve a problem.

My students love when I make the coded,
joke answer documents like this one


If you've downloaded my other TpT stuff you know that I like coded answers.  Why?  Because kids love them, first of all.  Secondly, they are super simple to for students to self-check which frees me up to help students who need it.  This code is unique in that it creates a 4 by 4 crossword.

Finally, I made a set of task cards which requires students to write an equation to match the word problem and then solve for the missing variable. 

Spring is right around the corner (we hope).  Thanks for reading!  Have a great month!

1 comment:

  1. I totally get what you are saying about each group of students and parents bringing new challenges! I have taught fifth grade for 24 years now and no two years have ever been the same. Love your math freebies! I'm not teaching math right now, but I'm going to nab them just the never know!

    Forever in Fifth Grade