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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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Division Test

We finished our first round of division today with a division assessment.  The kids were asked to solve 4 multi-step division problems in 45 minutes.  I also wanted a little insight into their thoughts about division, so I asked them to complete a 3-2-1:

  • 3 things I have learned about division
  • 2 things I like about division
  • 1 question I still have about division

Friday, September 19, 2014

Three Act Math and Would You Rather?

So, I thought I would walk you through a typical math class warm up.  As the kids come in, I give them what I call an "entrance ticket".  It is a single problem.  The type of problem varies.  Sometimes the ticket is on something I am about to teach (to pre-assess), sometimes it is on topic, and sometimes it is review.  This helps me see how my classes are progressing.

After the entrance ticket, we have been working on estimating.  I found a website that has a visual estimation problem each day.  The headline on the homepage is "building number sense one day at a time."  We have completed the first 19 days.  At this point, I believe there would be a mutiny if I decided to stop allowing them to estimate.... unbelievable!  What I love about this short activity is the math talk that happens with table groups.  They are reasoning about numbers, they are compromising, they are pulling in background knowledge, and they celebrate their successes.  Any failures we have had are put to good use the next day.  It is truly amazing!

While I need my students to understand the processes in math (how to add, subtract, multiply, divide, etc.), I also want them to have to STOP AND THINK.  I want them to have to make choices and justify their thinking mathematically.  I have found other educators who feel the same.  The first is Dan Meyer.  Basically, he is a gifted high school teacher whose goal is to make kids stop and think.  To this end, he has created "Three Act Math" to answer his own question, "How do we turn the world outside the math classroom into a math problem that is both challenging and fun, not boring and easy?"  While I cannot use many of his Three Acts (they are high school level), there are gems that occasionally come my way that I can use.  Today was one of those days! 

 Today, we worked with Sugar Packets.  
  • Act 1 is introducing the problem.  We watched a very short video of a man eating packets of sugar, this was the hook.  It asked the kids, if you won't eat ___ packets of sugar, why would would drink ____ packets of sugar in a soda? 
  • Act 2 is gathering data.  We had to find out how many grams of sugar are in a packet.  Then we had to find out how many grams of sugar are in a 20 oz. soda.
  • Act 3 is looking at another short video with the payoff...letting us know if our answer was correct.
We really enjoyed this lesson and the kids discovered just how much sugar is in a soda.... not healthy!

Next, we moved into a "Would You Rather" lesson.  This type of lesson focuses on "asking students to choose their own path and justify it."  We worked with two questions:

  • Would you rather:  Earn a dollar for every foot in one mile OR earn a dollar for every day you have been alive?

  • Would you rather:  be given 800 pennies OR three $1 bills, 10 quarters, 12 dimes, and 22 nickles.

The kids really enjoyed these activities.  I like the activities because they are of high interest to my students, right on target with the higher level math thinking I need them to be comfortable with, and they make the kids 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Division.... more division...

One more day working on division word problems.  

I introduced another division strategy today.  This was called the partial quotient strategy:

To see how this strategy works, please view the video that I did in class today:

Once we went through this new strategy.  I asked my classes to write about their learning.  I asked them to give me two similarities and one difference between working with a standard algorithm and using the partial quotient strategy.

Finally, they began working on six division word problems.  By this time most of my kids are feeling pretty confident when it comes to dividing.  This was my goal.  We will revisit division when we have to divide decimal numbers and again when we have to divide fractions.  Before confronting my kids with new concepts in division, I wanted to be sure that they were confident in their ability to divide!

We will step away from division tomorrow, but we will have the division assessment on Monday.  Then.... on to algebra!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Division Word Problems

We worked with solving division word problems since we have been focusing on division for the past few weeks.  

For many students the most difficult part of math is decoding the word problem (what is being asked, what parts of the problem are needed, which parts are not needed, which operation(s) should I use, which one should I do first.... ).  Many of my students assume a problem is "hard" because there are words.  Wouldn't we all love to have math thrown at us in ways like "What is 4 + 4?"?!?!  Instead, we spend our entire day solving mathematical problems that are multi-step word problems.... we just don't write them down.

Think about it.  As you are going through the grocery store, more than likely you are on a budget.  You know how much you have to spend and you have no intention of going over (no matter how much your child wants that sugary cereal and is letting the entire store know!).  So, as you walk the aisles and place items in your cart, you are either keeping a mental estimation going, or you are using the calculator on your phone.  This is problem solving.

Math does not come at us in the form of algorithms.... it comes at us as a multi-step problem we have to work through.  The same is being asked of our kids.  The expectation is that students should be able to work through a real life situation (most of these situations ADULTS don't have to go through, much less a 10 year old) and be able to determine the best possible way to solve the problem and achieve the correct answer.

Please encourage your child to read.  Please.  The more exposure they have to written material the larger their vocabulary will become.  The larger to vocabulary, the easier it is to decode meaning..... even in math.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Computer Day

Our computer focus today was thinkthroughmath.com .  This is a free math program put out by the state of Texas to increase mathematics comprehension.  The following is an excerpt from their site:

Designed for students in grades 3 through high school, Think Through Math (TTM) is a learning system that provides quality math instruction and supports students - and teachers – in unprecedented ways. Developed by teachers and technologists to help students prepare for rigorous Common Core and TEKS standards and assessments, TTM accelerates student understanding and supports classroom effectiveness.

We will use khanacademy.org and thinkthroughmath.com as supplemental math instruction throughout the school year.  These programs are web based, so, if you would like your child to work on these sites at home, please feel free to do so!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Division Array

We have worked with long division for a few days now.  I have focused on estimating the answer to the division problem and using the standard algorithm to solve the division problem.

Today, I introduced a new way to look at division.... using a division array.  I want my classes to see this strategy so that if an example shows up on their STAAR test at the end of the year, they will understand what they are seeing.  Below are two videos of how a division array works.

I then assigned 6 word problems.   I wanted my students to use the standard algorithm since the new strategy is so new.  I gave the classes 30 minutes to work on the problems with help from me.  However, any work not finished becomes homework tonight.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Computer Day

We had much shorter classes today.  We had the AWE Campfire meeting, then we had the Pep Rally, then PE.  We have Grandparent's Day Lunch at 11:55, and then we get to see Lucas Miller's presentation at 12:50.

With all of the schedule changes we only had 45 minute classes.  However, we made good use of them.  I had the classes get onto khanacademy.org to work on 5th Grade math concepts.  


15 mastered skills (5th Grade Mission) - your name is on the wall
13 names

30 mastered skills (5th Grade Mission) - join the club
1 member

45 mastered skills - Khan t-shirt

60 mastered skills - Invitation to Khan Banquet

75 mastered skills - sit at the head table

90 mastered skills - medals awarded

HIGHEST Khan mastered skills - "TOP Khan" award

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Estimating Division Problems (Day 2)

Division.... another word for ..... THINK!  My classes did a great job today!  Once again, I differentiated my classes.  I had one group that went to Content Mastery to work on learning the division process using division problems that were given to them.  They were required to estimate, solve, and check each problem.... this required much thinking!  

I had one group that had mastered the process, so they were given a higher level thinking challenge.  This challenge gave the students statements that they had to create division problems for using given dividends and divisors.... this required much thinking!  

My third group used playing cards to create 4-digit by 2-digit division problems.  They got to use dry erase markers to solve their problems.  They had to create the problem, estimate the problem, solve the actual problem, and check their problem.... this required much thinking!  

No matter which group.... they had to put their brain to use!

To finish our day, I gave everyone a statement to solve and explain:

I will explain how to use compatible numbers 
to prove my estimation that 
7548 divided by 38 is  _____ because _____.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Estimating Division Problems

We began our journey with LONG division today.  We will be dividing 4-digit dividends by 2-digit divisors.  We started by creating a division word web that showcases prior knowledge of division (I was trying to prove that they have worked with this before!):

This took a majority of the class time, so we were just able to begin working with estimating with division.   I focused on using compatible numbers:

For example, if our problem was 2786 divided by 49.  We would round 49 to 50.  Next we would round 27 to a multiple of 5 that is close to 27.  The students chose 30.  So our problem becomes 3000 divided by 50.  Our estimation is 60 (see the second problem below).

What I like about estimating with compatible numbers is that the estimation gives us a reasonable idea of the answer to the actual problem.  So as we worked together to solve the problem (this is the first day, after all).  We used our estimation as a guide to the division.  By the end of class, nerves were calming down!

We will be working with this topic again tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Multiplication Assessment

Math assessment..... blerg!  Yet, they have to happen!  So, today we worked on a multiplication test.  There were 5 word problems given and 50 minutes to work.  Students were expected to complete the assignment in the given amount of time.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Multiplication Mayhem

Once again, I broke my classes into groups.  The first group needed some one-on-one help with 3-digit by 2-digit multiplication and headed to Content Mastery.  The second group was actually broken into their own two groups today.  The first group had made some errors on Friday, so needed more practice.  The second group made no errors on Friday, so they needed a challenge.  I asked them to complete the "Finding Products Practice" from the book Nimble with Numbers by Leigh Childs and Laura Choate.  This had them working with a set of numbers to create multiplication problems that matched descriptions.  They seemed to love the challenge!

To end the class, we analyzed a problem that had been solved to determine where an error occurred and explain how to correct it.  This is a much more difficult to do than just solving a multiplication problem.  You have to think about what someone else has done and determine the error.  Can you find the error?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Muliplication Differentiation

I broke my classes into two groups today.  I had a group of children who needed practice with the standard algorithm of multiplication (not to mention.... they don't know their multiplication facts....  STILL).  These kids went to work in Content Mastery to have small group instruction and immediate intervention.

My second group worked on a Multiplying Menu from Choose & Do Math Grids.  This page gave each student 9 activities to choose from.  This allowed for more individualized engagement.  Each child chose an activity that appealed to them.  I asked that they show me their answers as they worked, so that I also could catch and correct any issues.  The issues that appeared most often were a forgotten step, or a small multiplication or addition error.

My plan, is to allow them to work in these groups again on Monday in an effort to make their three-digit by two-digit multiplication effortless.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Multiplication Mania!

We began working with multiplication today.  The next few days will be multiplying 3-digit by 2-digit numbers.  I am very happy with the formative assessments (entrance tickets) that I have given over the past few days.  Many of my students have this concept mastered, so we will be able to differentiate our learning.  I will have a group that will be working on mastering this concept in Content Mastery and the second group will be given a challenge!  I can't wait!

Today we added to our journal.  We began a Multiplication Word Web:

Then I had them attach a Multiplication Table into their journal:

Finally, we worked on Multiple Ways to Multiply.  We began by working with the standard algorithm (the way you learned), then we worked through a multiplication array.  This was used last year, and is required this year as well.  Basically it is using the distributive property of division to help students understand the standard algorithm.  We will be working with these concepts over the next few days.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Real World Estimation

Today was about working with a budget.  We learned that Frank has a budget for building a house.  He received bids from two contractors.  Our goal was to determine which bid was the best.  To do this we:

  • Estimated the total of each bid to see who we thought we be most under budget.
  • Found the actual cost of each bid.
  • Compared the differences between the budgeted amount and the actual bids.
  • Used our information to make an informed decision concerning which contractor to use and wrote a summary.
If your child did not complete this in class, they are probably just having to finish the summary tonight for homework.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Computer Day

Today we got out the Chromebooks and checked on some of the sites we will be using throughout the year.  We began by logging on to edmodo.com.  Many times this is where I will post an assignment that we will use on our computer days.  This allows me to post a link so that less confusion ensues (no mistyping a URL).  While on this site, the classes used a code to enter a class group.  Then we looked at the assignment I had posted.

Next, we headed to khanacademy.org.  I wanted to make sure that all usernames and passwords worked.  While on this site, I asked students to change their username back to one that included their actual name (I have no idea who "Batman" is!)!

Then we logged on to thinkthroughmath.com.  Again, this was to ensure that usernames and passwords worked.  Not as much luck this time.  I had a few glitches that I will try to fix before next week.

Finally, we headed to IXL where we practiced rounding to the nearest 10, 100, and 1000.  This is a quick practice program students can use to hone up on specific skills. 

These are all programs that I will be using as tools to ensure academic success.  All of these programs can be accessed at home.  Your child's username and passwords are in the back cover of your child's yellow folder.  Please feel free to allow your child to work on these programs.

Khan Club is in full swing.  Mrs. Anglin is available from 7:00 - 7:45 for any student who wants additional time to achieve Khan Club goals:


30 mastered skills (5th Grade Mission) - join the club
1 member

45 mastered skills - Khan t-shirt

60 mastered skills - Invitation to Khan Banquet

75 mastered skills - sit at the head table

90 mastered skills - medals awarded

HIGHEST Khan mastered skills - "TOP Khan" award