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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, March 2, 2015

Read Across America/Global Blogging Challenge/Math/Social Studies Test

Our morning began with DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) in response Read Across America Week.  The importance of reading is well documented, but here is a graphic that sort of pushes this idea home:

Once we were back on a regular schedule, we moved on to our classes.  This was a very choppy day in my classroom... still trying to play catchup from last week... on top of new things to try.

First, I introduced my students to the Global Blogging Challenge.  Each year, I have my students join the challenge to encourage them to create and post a written assignment, post it to our Kidblog classroom, and then to find another student from somewhere in the world (using a list of classrooms pre-approved by the coordinator) and comment on their post.

Today was about the writing assignment.  Students are going to create an "I Am" poem using a format that I give to them.  This will be due on Wednesday at which time we will prepare our writing to be posted to our blog.  You may find my example at:  I Am Tina

Second, we moved into defining some geometrical terms.  I began with a formative assessment called "A&D Assessments."  I found this in a book called Mathematics Formative Assessment by Page Keeley and Cheryl Rose Tobey.  This is basically a "fact/fiction" statement.  The students choose between (1) I agree, (2) I disagree, (3) It depends, and (4) I'm not sure.  They are to justify their choice with their thoughts.

Our first A&D Assessment was:  All of these shapes are plane figures.  I asked the students to make their choice, justify it, and then stand by their chair.  After everyone had completed their thought, I asked the students to share their thinking with the whole class.  At first, they were a little hesitant, however, once they realized that this wasn't a grade and I just wanted to hear their thinking, they relaxed.

It was very interesting to hear their misconceptions about plane figures.  For example, most of the students did not believe that the irregular hexagon was a plane figure because it was not a "normal" shape.  .  

After our discussions, we took a few notes in our journal about plane figures.  We determined that a plane figure is ANY closed, 2-d figure.  Therefore the statement was true!  All of the figures on the page were plane figures..... including the irregular hexagon!

Next, we moved on to defining the word polygon.  I posed another A&D Assessment statement.  Using the same figures, this time the students were asked if all of the shapes were polygons.  The misconception that arose the most was that a figure was a polygon based on the number of sides.  For example, a triangle is not a polygon.... it has too few sides, or a hexagon is not a polygon... it has too many sides.  Students did not seem to understand that the term polygon is a more global term, not one associated with a single shape.  
Once again, after our discussion we returned to the desks and 
added this page to our journal. We defined polygon as a plane figure (2-d, closed) that is made up of at LEAST three line segments.  Students now understood that the only figure on the paper that was not a polygon was the circle.

Our next activity required that the students use their prior knowledge to list the critical attributes we use to name geometric figures.

  • Number of sides
  • Number of vertices
  • Number and type of angles
    • right
    • acute
    • obtuse
    • straight
  • Lines
    • parallel
    • perpendicular
    • intersecting
    • congruent

We use these critical attributes to compare and contrast sets of polygons.  I found this activity, called "Polygon Sets," in a book entitled Good Questions for Math Teaching, Grades 5-8 by Lainie Schuster and Nancy Canavan Anderson.  The students were given a sheet of polygon sets.  I posed the question:

Which polygon does not belong to the set?

Using the attributes, they began working in table groups to find the shape that was not part of the set.  Here is an example of the thinking from one class as we combined our answers and process of solving the problem:

Lots of higher level thinking in class today! 

Oh, but that was not all!  We also needed to take our Week 19 Social Studies Test from last week.  So, the last 30 minutes of class was given to finally finishing up Social Studies!  Whew!

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