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Welcome to my math blog! The purpose of this blog is to help you stay informed about our learning and experiences that have taken place during our math class. I have also included links your child (and you) may want to use in order to supplement math learning in 5th grade.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Party

Today was all fun and games!  

we played a little Christmas Bingo.....

made a fabulous foam wreath.....

Then we had our Christmas ornament Chinese Gift Exchange.  Wow.... people (even kids) get a little testy when an ornament is taken!

Finally, we had FOOD and released at 12:00

I hope you and your family have a blessed and very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Order of Operations (PEMDAS) with Decimal Numbers

We continue to practice using the Order of Operations (PEMDAS) as we practice operations using decimal numbers.  Since we have been working with division of decimal numbers this week, this part of the Order of Operations is included on the assignment.  So, students will be practicing solving problems by 

  • First, solve the expression(s) inside of parentheses.  
  • Then they will go back to the beginning of the problem and solve any division or multiplication problems.  
  • Finally, they will go to the beginning of the problem and solve any addition or subtraction expressions.  
To view an example, please follow the link:  Order of Operations with Decimal Numbers

We do not work with exponents in 5th grade, but we do add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimal numbers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Division of Decimals by 2-Digit Divisors

The process of division remains the same no matter how many digits you are dividing by.  Today we divided by two- digit divisors into a decimal number.  Like yesterday, the process is still the same, it's just the idea of a decimal point that throws my kids off.  It is just a matter of placing the decimal in the quotient before beginning to divide.  

Of course the next problem was dividing by a two digit divisor.  It's not the process, it is the fact that you have to work to determine the "number of times" a two-digit divisor "goes into" the dividend.  Not a favorite of my 5th graders.... working....

The page I had them work on was called "Behind the Scenes."  I found it it The Mailbox:  Teacher's Helper, the June/July 2012 issue, p. 33.  The page had the kids solve 6 multiplication and 6 division problems.  The assignment was made a little more challenging by the fact that you had to use a code to determine the numbers to use.  We did have 30 minutes of classtime to work on the assignment.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Division of Decimals by Whole Numbers

We moved into decimal division today.  We will only divide by whole numbers in 5th grade.  The process of division does not change.  You still divide, multiply, subtract, bring down, check, and repeat (or remainder).  The only new idea to a fifth grader is the placement of the decimal.  Much like adding and subtracting decimals, you just line them up!

I keep telling my classes that multiplication and division will not go away.  Once we get back from our Christmas break, we will be moving into fractions.... including multiplying and dividing them!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Decimal by Decimal Multiplication using Models

I introduced our final multiplication model today.  We are multiplying a decimal number by a decimal number using a hundredths grid.  To see how to do this, please watch the video:

Multiplying Decimal Numbers

Then we worked some of these types of problems using our textbook, p. 139.  However, I do not assign homework over the weekend, so we turned in what we had finished!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Decimal Multiplication using Area Model

Today we looked at multiplication of decimals using an area model.  To see the examples that we placed in our math journal, please see the video:  

Decimal Multiplication with Area Models

After working through a few examples, we compared using the area model to using the Distributive Property and explained the similarities between the two.  The instructions for this are shown on this video:

Distributive VS Area Model

Students do have a math assignment.  They need to complete the problems on p. 127-128 along with the writing assignment that asks them to explain the similarities between the area model and the Distributive Property.

Finally, we had our first day of intervention.   

  • Two groups of students worked with a teacher on solving a problem by 1) reading the problem, 2) thinking about and talking about how to solve the problem, 3) writing the steps to HOW to solve the problem, and 4) solving the problem.
  • One group of students worked on solving a Would You Rather problem:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Multiplication of Decimals using the Distributive Property

Once again we looked at multiplication of decimals in a different way.  Today we focused on the Distributive Property of Multiplication.  Basically, you are distributing the decimal number by writing it in expanded form.  Then, you use this expanded notation to multiply each piece by the whole number.  Confused?.... it may help to watch the video I made while we took our notes.  Please watch:  Distributive Property to see how we solved the following:

As part of their assignment, I asked that the students solve four of the multiplication problems using the Distributive Property.  The remainder of the problems they may use the standard algorithm.

This strategy for solving multiplication problems will become very helpful as they move into algebra and are solving for the variable.  See coolmath.com for an example!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Multiply Decimals and Whole Numbers

We began our class today by voting on the final five choices for our Think30 Reward.  I will let students know the outcome in the next day or two.

Next, I discussed our intervention rotations that will begin tomorrow.  Basically, I will begin working with small groups of students daily to ensure growth on their STAAR test in late March.  I have three rotation groups that have different schedules for the week based on educational need:

  • Group 1
    • Monday - teacher
    • Tuesday - TTM
    • Wednesday - teacher
    • Thursday - TTM
    • Friday - teacher
  • Group 2
    • Monday - Frog Games
    • Tuesday - TTM
    • Wednesday - Would You Rather
    • Thursday - TTM
    • Friday - Math Fair
  • Group 3
    • Monday - TTM
    • Tuesday - Hungry Teacher
    • Wednesday - TTM
    • Thursday - Hungry Teacher
    • Friday - Math Fair
  1. "Teacher" is working with an adult on math concepts.
  2. "TTM" is working on thinkthroughmath.com
  3. "Frog Games" are mathematical concept games.
  4. "Would You Rather" is problem solving with a prediction and a conclusion.
  5. "Hungry Teacher" is problem solving with a critical thinking component.
  6. "Math Fair" is creating a PowToon over 6 different ways math is a part of something they are an "expert" at.  (ALL students will eventually create this PowToon.)

We were finally able to get back to solving an estimation180.com problem!  The kids were thrilled!  I think many of them thought we weren't going to do them again, but I just didn't have time to work them in last week!

Finally, we took notes on solving problems involving multiplication of decimals with whole numbers.  We learned how to use a hundredths model to show our multiplication and then we solved the problem with the standard algorithm.  I am required to have students show understanding of multiplication through a variety of strategies, so what you see coming home may not look anything like how you solved multiplication problems.  Please know that I am attempting to ensure that there will not be any surprises on their assessments!  Let me know if you would like to visit about the strategies that I am required to teach!  To see the video: Multiplication of Whole Numbers with Decimals

Students were asked to think critically about multiplication of decimal numbers by:
  1. Solve 3 x 0.46
  2. COMPARE the product of 0.46 and 3 with each of the factors.  Which number has the greatest value?
  3. EXPLAIN how this is different than multiplying two whole number (ie. 46 x 3).
Then, students had a math assignment to complete (p. 115 from the math book).  Finally, any student who completed their assignment used their Chromebook to work on thinkthroughmath.com.  Their assignment should be in their yellow folder if you would like to look over their work.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Math Benchmark/Would You Rather

Math benchmark until lunch.

After lunch, I lost my music kids to rehearsal for the play that is tonight, so we completed another "Would You Rather..." problem.  To introduce the question and connect to it to Christmas (rather loosely, but it was fun), I showed the classes a short video called:

¡Feliz Navidad te desean los Minions!

Then I posed the question:

Would You Rather...

There is a specific way that I want the kids to approach these types of questions.  1) write the question, 2) make a prediction, 3) find the needed information, 4) solve the problem and 5) draw a conclusion.  I also want them to get used to seeing and using proper mathematical language, so I provided some sentence stems to make the process easier:

  • Predict:  

I predict that I would rather have ___________ because I think _________________________.

  • Draw Conclusions:

I can conclude from my information that my prediction was ___________ because ______________.

The exchange rate as of today is:

  • 1 Peso = $.07 US
  • 1 Euro = $1.23 US
We decided we would rather have the Euros!

Finally, we used the time we had left to work on Think Through Math.... we need to get to 30 passed lessons!  We will be voting on the 5th Grade reward Monday!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

No Math - UIL

I traveled with the UIL contestants to their meet today.  As I was off campus, there was no math class.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Our morning was taken up by the need to give a Reading Benchmark to assess student needs as we head into the new year.

We did have shorter classes this afternoon.  Again, it was kind of a catch up day.  I lost 17 students to UIL yesterday and needed to have them complete a few small tasks.  First, any student who did not fill out our Think30 Reward form was asked to do so.  I have set a goal for students to PASS 30 Think Through Math lessons by our STAAR test.  I want to reward the 5th graders who achieve this goal with something special and I wanted their input.  So, I had them fill out a form telling me where they would like to go.  I want everyone to have a say, so I needed to give them time to tell me!

Secondly, I am not only using my Math Benchmark (which I will give Friday) to assess needs, I am also using a scientifically based RTI (Response to Intervention) program called I Do, We Do, You Do by Dr. Sherri Dobbs Santos to assess and address these needs.  I gave the baseline assessment yesterday and needed to have the others do this as well.

Thirdly, we pulled out our Twelve Days of Christmas packet and compared answers.  Would you believe that there are 364 gifts given!  The costs of these gifts was an ASTOUNDING $116,273.08!

Then we were able to get to a little math activity called Would You Rather.  I love these activities because they are real-world, high interest, and a little challenging!  However, this being the Christmas season, I wanted to connect this activity to Christmas.  So, I showed a clip from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer called "Silver and Gold".  Then, I posed the question:

Would you rather have:

There is a specific way that I want the kids to approach these types of questions.  1) make a prediction, 2) find the needed information, 3) solve the problem and 4) draw a conclusion.  I also want them to get used to seeing and using proper mathematically language, so I provided some sentence stems to make the process easier:

  • Predict:  

I predict that I would rather have ___________ because I think _________________________.

  • Draw Conclusions:

I can conclude from my information that my prediction was ___________ because ______________.

Finally, we used the time we had left to work on Think Through Math.... we need to get to 30 passed lessons!  During this time, I called students individually to see their scores on their last unit test.  We placed these scores on the progress bars so that students can visually see any growth or need for growth.  We are using this as a motivator to see where we need to be and how far we need to go to get there!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas Costs WHAT?!?!

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I love this time of year!  I love that I can use a Christmas Carol to reinforce math concepts!  Today, we worked to discover (1) how many gifts were received and (2) how much "my true love" spent on the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas.

We began by realizing that the partridge and the pear tree were given each day.  This means that she received 12 partridges and pear trees and the number increases from there!  My kids were stunned by the number of birds she received.  This lead to the introduction of the word "aviary"!  There was also a pattern discovered.... the number of gifts each day increased through day 6 but then began to recede.

To learn the value of each gift, I had the classes go to the website sponsored by the PNC Financial Services group called "The Great Carol Comeback" which gives prices for each of the gifts along with a cute story, song, or other interactive goodie.  The web address is:  https://www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com/

My classes really enjoyed getting to solve this problem!  It was of high interest, they were allowed to use calculators, and they were astonished at the prices!  Fun day in math!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Think Through Math

We are beginning a very eventful week, one that will mean a schedule change each day and loss of students at random times.  For example, our UIL Ready Writing team was pulled from 9:30 - 11:30 for their competition today AND we gave our Science Benchmark this afternoon.  So, we had shortened classes.

However, I attempt to make sure that even shorter classes are meaningful and so, I introduced my classes to Think Through Math.  This is a computer program from the state of Texas that is meant to strengthen math skills.  We watched the introductory video today and chose our class goals.  I also introduced Think 30.  This is a goal (30 lessons passed) that I want all of my classes to achieve, so I want them to come up with an idea of a reward that would motivate them to work hard on this site!  We will poll choices tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Autumn Trees

It is the day before our Thanksgiving Break.  My students have been working hard for me and I wanted us to just take a moment and reflect on what we like about Autumn.

So, on Tuesday, I had the kids work on a paper called "Autumn Five Senses".  I had them write three things that Autumn TASTES like, SMELLS like, LOOKS like, FEELS like, and SOUNDS like.  These didn't need to be sentences, just ideas.

Today, we took those ideas and created our Standing Tree of Thanks (I found them at Oriental Trading).  On each leaf we wrote one of our ideas (for example:  Autumn takes like dad's hot chocolate) and then used glue dots to affix the leaves to the tree.

The kids were very proud of their creations and I hope they are proudly displayed at their Thanksgiving dinners!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

No math today

It doesn't happen very often, but as we have finished our unit on decimals and we needed to close up Social Studies before the break, we focused on Social Studies today.

First, we presented our Bill of Rights PowToon presentations.  These turned out to be just precious.  When I introduced the activity last week, I had no idea how to do a PowToon.  The classes were shocked when I told them to just go for it... and they did!  They had a great time and learned how to add pictures, music, etc.  Now, these were not perfect, but since this was our first time to use the program, I am very open!

You can view your child's powtoon presentation at kidblog.org, just use the following link:

To end the class, we took our Week 9 Social Studies test.  We did use an actual paper copy of the test and then put the answers on a Google Form.  The form allows me to send the grade directly to the student's GMail account.  This also allows the student to see their grade and which questions were answered incorrectly.  Using this email and their test paper, they can correct their test if their score is below 70%.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Unit 4: Decimal Test

We are moving away from decimals, so it was time to assess.  The classes had 17 problems to solve and were given 80 minutes to complete the test.  I had the students transfer their answers to a Google Form and submit their responses to me.  Once all tests are returned (I have absent students) I will be sending them an email that will tell them their score and which problems they missed.  If a student is not happy with their score (below 70%), they can use their email and test to correct the ones missed and return for a higher grade.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Test Glitch

Well, we were supposed to take our Decimals test today, but we ran into a problem.  Since the district was short subs, there was no one available in Content Mastery to read aloud tests to students who have this as a 504 accommodation.  So, we went to our handy-dandy "text to speech" app that had worked beautifully previously.... notice the word HAD.  Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, did the app tell me that after 30 days we would need to PAY for those services.  Needless to say, I am not interested in paying $100 (per student) for an app we will only use a few times a six weeks.  So... no math test today.  We will take the math test on  Monday.

Instead, we spent our time working on our Bill of Rights PowToon presentation that is due Tuesday.  This means that we WILL NOT be using any additional class time to complete presentations before Tuesday.  Students may work on this at home, come between 7:00 - 7:45 on Monday and Tuesday, and stay in at recess Monday to finish up.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Order of Operations (PEMDAS) with Addition and Subtraction of Decimals

Today was another "show what you know" kind of day!  We have a decimal test tomorrow, so we are in review mode.  Today we revisited PEMDAS and simplified numeric expressions using addition and subtraction of decimals.

In order to practice PEMDAS with addition and subtraction of decimals, I had to create some numeric expressions specifically for the topic.  To review with my classes we simplified one together.  To view the instructions to today's activity, please watch:  PEMDAS with Addition and Subtraction of Decimals.

The sixth, and final, problem I asked the students to solve, had a writing component.  I asked them to tell me the first step to solving the expression, explain their reasoning, and then simplify the expression.