Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Made It - March Math Freebies!

Top of the morning, friends!  Well somehow I missed the link up before it closed, but I wrote the post so I'm doing it anyway for all of my loyal (4) followers!

Spring has almost sprung here in NW Ohio as we are expected to crack 60ยบ this week.  Hooray!

I'm here to share a few things I've been working on lately for the March Monday Made it.

What's that I see?  Freebies ahead?

This is your lucky day.  I'm giving away all sorts of Math goodies today.  So, hold on to your (green) hat.

First up is my newest creation posted to TpT.  My fourth graders have been working really hard on fractions so I put together a set of task cards for multiplying fractions for them to practice.  Also included are 2 interactive notebook pages that I used to introduce this concept to my students.  These are free for 1 week - be sure to snatch them up and share with your teacher friends.

Did I mention we've been studying fractions?  Here's another set of task cards for comparing fractions.  Like the multiplying fractions set, they are designed to practice 4 different methods for comparing fractions.

Have you heard of Learn Zillion
Similar to Khan Academy, Learn Zillion is full of tons of free short instructional videos which can be used to learn Math or Language Arts skills.  It's all sorted by grade level and common core objective,  so it's easy to find just what you need.  

This is a really great teacher and student resource in a lot of ways. Here are a  few suggestions of how I use it:
  • Flipping the classroom. The videos are perfect for teachers looking to try a "flipped classroom" where students learn a concept at home and then practice the skill at school.
  • Absent students.  Have a student that took a week long vacation to Florida or a student that misses three days with strep?  Have them watch the matching videos for the lessons you taught that week on their own at home or when they come back.
  • Station activity.  Have a group of students watch a video and then perform a task that demonstrates an understanding of the skill.
  • Homework.  I love to have the students watch one of the videos for homework and then complete related problems.  To me, it's much easier than sending home the Math book and is a better reference tool than one or two examples of how to do a problem at the top of the page.
The product below is an independent work packet I designed to go with Learn Zillion's 4th grade long division video set.

My one problem with Learn Zillion was that there was nothing to assess a student's understanding of the video.  There are no worksheets or online practice problems to accompany most of the videos (yet).  That's why I made these Learn Zillion packets. 
Until I watched this video series, I had never even seen "the partial quotient method" for long division (shown above).  If you've never seen it before, it's a little hard to understand at first.  

When I first saw this method demonstrated, I was very skeptical about it, but now that I've come to use it with  my students, I see that it has some value.  I still teach the standard "old fashioned" algorithm for division primarily, but I show students this method, too.  

Be warned though, this method gets a strong (mostly negative) reaction from parents.  Comments like, "That's not how I learned to do it" and "Wouldn't it be faster to do it the regular way?" are common.  They don't understand it, and it seems to be one of those hot button common core skills that parents love to post examples on Twitter with the hashtag #commoncoreproblems.

My response: #thingschangesogetusedtoit

My last freebie is something which has been free in my store for a while now.  It's one of the things that I posted to TpT as I was first learning how to use it.

We used this to prep our students for the OAA (Ohio Achievement Assessment) before common core came around.  Most everything in this packet still correlates pretty well to common core.  And, it has an editable word file if you want to add or delete questions, too.  We did this as a nightly homework to provide mixed review of Math skills the students had learned up to that point.  
Students decorated this sticker chart and then used it to keep track of their progress on completing each day's Math assignment.

 Each day's assignment has 10-12 questions and then an extended response question.

That's it for this month.  I hope you can find something there you can use! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Currently - March

I wasn't originally going to post to this month's Currently.  But then came our tenth snow day of the year.  Ugh! Suddenly, I had some extra time on my hands.  Thanks to Farley at Oh, Boy Fourth Grade for creating this popular link up.

Listening to Alabama Shakes "I Don't Wanna Fight No More."  I was bummed that I missed them on SNL last weekend (fell asleep), but this early release track is awesome.  The bass groove and chorus had me hooked on the first listen.


Close second to this is the Hozier album who I just saw in concert this weekend in Detroit.  Awesome show!

Loving Sherlock on Netflix.  The cool thing about this show is that it is one I can watch and enjoy with my teenagers.  I'm sure you've heard of Benedict Cumberbatch who plays the prickly, yet brilliant Sherlock Holmes.  Its a BBC show so you might want to put on closed captioning to be sure you catch everything they are saying!

Thinking I may be teaching until July. This is our tenth day of school missed and our first one we need to make up at the end of the year.  I'm hoping its the last one.

Wanting More time to prepare my kiddos for the PARCC test.  Missing two whole weeks of school because of weather (along with 5 delay days) has put us pretty behind.  I was hoping to be done with covering everything they needed to know about fractions before the tests, but its just not going to happen.  I'm hopeful that I've given my students the foundations in thinking to work through the problems.  

Questions from the 4th grade practice test like this one have me a little freaked out

Needing to get my visa for my trip to China this summer.  I have a best friend and his wife who have been teaching in China in the Peace Corps.  I am planning on going to visit them this summer.  There's more red tape involved than I thought - for example, I need to get a "official invitation" letter from my friend before I get my Visa.  I also need to give them very specific travel dates.  I'd better get going!

Destination: Chengdu, China.  Whoa, that's a big country!

Spring break plans - travel to PA to get my grandma's house in order.  This will be sad for me.  My grandma's been having problems with her memory and judgement over the past few years and its been in real decline suddenly- probably more dementia than Alzheimer's.  She has lived all alone in a small Pennsylvania town since the death of my grandpa 10 years ago.  Fortunately, she has lived in a small town community that has been very helpful and supportive of her for many years.  Just last week though my dad decided it was time to put her a nursing home.  I know this was very difficult for him (and her).  Over spring break, I'm going to go visit and also help him go through the house so it can be sold.  I know this will be emotional for everyone involved.

Here's my grandma playing solitaire on my iPad at our kitchen table.  Her mind was always so sharp which is why it is so hard to see her change.  She still loves puzzles and does the Sudoku and crossword in the paper everyday. When I showed her my iPad, she said, "I don't see why anyone would want one of those things."  She changed her opinion a bit after playing Solitaire on it until the battery ran out!

Here's my wife, grandma, and I from this Thanksgiving playing the slots at our local casino.  We always take my grandma there because she loves to gamble.  She told me once, "I don't see why anyone would want to drive halfway across the country just to sit on a beach.  I'd much rather go to the casino."  You might pick up on the fact that my grandma has strong opinions!

Have a great March everyone!