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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, October 30, 2015

Coordinate Graphing: Halloween Pictures

Yesterday, I was out attending a Digital Math Classroom workshop.  It was very good and I came back with some new ideas for using technology effectively in my math class.  The three sites that I plan on using are Schoology, EdPuzzle, and GoFormative.  If you are an educator, you might want to check these out! 

In our class today, I went ahead and had the classes signup for these sites.  However, I am not sure if and/or when these will be implemented.  I need a little time to play first!

Our focus today was graphing ordered pairs on a Quadrant 1 coordinate plane to create a Halloween picture.  We began by taking some notes in our journal.  We used a small coordinate plane to label our x-axis, y-axis, and our point of origin.  Then I explained an ordered pair.  To use an ordered pair in quadrant one, you will go ACROSS the x-axis FIRST and then UP the y-axis to place your point on the graph.  As you do each ordered pair, you connect to the previous point.  After graphing all of the dots and connecting them....Voila!  You have a picture!

I found the activities today on www.teacherspayteachers.com 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Extending Decimals: Women's Luge

It was time for a little independent work with extending decimals.  Today, I asked the classes to compare and order decimal numbers and then to subtract decimal numbers.  I found an extension activity on the website Envision Gifted! and felt it fit perfectly with our decimal activities.  Here is a screen shot, from Marcie's site, of the activity we used:

As usual, I created a Google Doc and sent the activity to my students through Google Classroom.  They completed their work on their desks using dry erase markers and input their answers into the document.  When finished, they turned their assignment in, completed an xtramath.org exercise, completed a Countdown to STAAR and, if there was time, worked on Khan Academy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Humboldt Paper Company (Day 3)

We finished up our Humboldt Paper Company product by writing an expression  that would help us determine the type of paper we need to use in an invitation.  We were given the information of the thickness of paper an envelope could hold and the thickness of one of the sheets of paper.  Students subtracted this information and compared their answer to the types of papers. 

After turning in this final part of the project, they did an xtramath.org exercise, completed a Countdown to STAAR, and then worked on Khan Academy.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Humboldt Paper Company (Day 2)

We began math class today with one of my favorite warm ups.  The warm up is called a Would You Rather.  Today's was:

To determine their answer, students had to discover how many feet were in a mile using their STAAR Grade 5 Mathematics Reference Materials

They also needed to know how many days old they are.  To make this painless, I gave them a link:  http://www.beatcanvas.com/daysalive.asp .  Using this information, they were able to make a reasonable mathematical response.  Afterwards, I asked them which I should choose, then I asked them to help me determine how old they should be for their number of days to be more profitable!

Then, we continued with the Humboldt Paper Company today.  Our focus was rounding decimals.  Our tasks:

Once students had completed the tables by first rounding, and then by choosing the comparison symbol that compared the original decimal to its rounded version they were asked to think about the math they had just done:

To finish out the math class, students completed an xtramath.org exercise, and then completed a Countdown to STAAR.  If they did not complete the Countdown, it was assigned for homework.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Humboldt Paper Company (Day 1)

We continued our Extending Decimals study today by solving part 1 of the Humboldt Paper Company problem. I assigned this problem through Google Classroom, so all of the data was kept online.

The problem begins with the information we need:

Today's problem was

We began by reviewing decimal place value (tenths, hundredths, thousandths), then I gave an example of word form, expanded form using decimals, and expanded form using fractions.  Students worked in partners to ensure everyone understood the process and I walked the classroom to make adjustments in thinking and/or answer questions.  Once the classes started working, it was at that moment when I discovered the best part of students typing their work online.... I can READ their NUMBERS!

Once students completed this table, the next problem was:

b) Create a table that orders the paper names and their thicknesses from thickest to thinnest.

This problem was nice because students had to create a table using the computer.  Then they wrote the six decimal numbers on their desk with dry erase markers to place them in order, greatest to least.  It was very easy for me to see which students understood equivalent decimals, and which students understood ordering decimals using the place value.  Once they had the numbers in order, they had to type the name of the paper and its thickness into the newly created table.

Finally, students were asked to:

c) Write a comparison statement using the symbols >, <, or = to compare the thickness of two of the paper types.

At this point, students were able to turn in their work, work through an xtramath.org session and, if time, work on Khan Academy.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Extending Decimals with a Little Bit of That!

We are beginning a new study on decimals.  Today, I focused on some misconceptions and wanted to see my student's thinking about decimals.  I found a set of decimal talking points and chose to use a few of them in a Kahoot Discussion.  The points I used were:

This Kahoot was different from our usual game.  This time, as I posed each talking point, students had to WRITE whether they agreed, disagreed, or were unsure and explain why.  When the time was up, our choices showed up as a graph and we took a few minutes with each point to discuss our thoughts.

The first Talking Point was meant to see if students understood comparing decimals.  I wanted to know if they realized that .35 is actually greater than .345 regardless of the number of digits.

The second Talking Point focused on the place of a digit and its relationship to the digits surrounding it.  This will come in handy as we are writing out numbers using expanded notation.

The final Talking Point helped me to see if students had a grasp on equivalent decimals.  The students disagreed on this point, but it all boiled down to the focus of they type of number.  This point is true when only positive whole numbers are involved, but not true when positive decimal numbers are involved.

When we completed the Kahoot, I asked the kids to reflect on our conversations and to choose one of the prompts:

Next we moved into a brief discussion about writing decimal numbers using expanded notation:

My focus was on the "new" information in black, the writing of decimal numbers in expanded form.  This led to a brief discussion about our place value system and how working to the right on a place value chart you are dividing each place by 10 to get the lower place value.  I needed my classes to "see" why there is not a "oneths" place.  I had to show that 1 divided by 10 = .1 = 1/10 and so on.  Each class had at least one person with an AHA moment!

This is where we stopped in each class, in order to actually finish all of the little things from yesterday.  Students worked through an xtramath.org, then if they were interested in UIL Chess they answered the problems, then they completed their letter to the editor, and finally worked on Khan Academy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Little Bit of This... Little Bit of That....

When I assigned the assessment yesterday, I kept in mind the fact that timed tests can really stress people out (young and old).  So, I told my classes that the test was not due until today and watched every class breathe a (audible) sigh of relief.  So, today, we did a little bit of a lot of things.

To make this a little easier of everyone, I used Google Classroom to make today's assignment.  This allowed my students to keep track of what they were to work on next.  It also allowed me to have a single point where all links were located.

  • First, I needed my classes to finish their test (obviously).
  • After completing the test, I wanted them to go to xtramath.org to practice their multiplication facts.  I have become painfully aware of the general lack of automaticity with these facts.  As multiplication is integral to 5th grade math, I want them to begin practicing daily in order to achieve automaticity!
  • At this point, if any student was interested in trying out for the UIL Chess Puzzle team, they took a practice "test" to help the teacher see who could make the team.
  • Next, I wanted the kids to write a letter to our newspaper editor about their trip to The Outdoor School.  We thought this might be a great way to say thank you for supporting our cookie dough fundraiser.  Proceeds from this fundraiser are used to ensure that EVERY fifth grade student attends this over night field trip.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Assessment with a Growth Mindset

I had my classes take the first official assessment of the year.  This assessment included all of the TEKS that we have covered so far:

I will be using the information, not just to assess with a grade, but to monitor student growth.  A few weeks ago, I held a mini-conference with each student.  We looked at the score the student achieved on their 4th grade math STAAR.  I talked with them about setting a goal of +10.  I would like my students to show a GROWTH of 10 percentage points (this equates to 6-7 additional questions correct).  My students unanimously thought this was quite reasonable!

To help them see where they could "find" those 10 extra points, we looked at the four math categories and their achievement in each category.  We did this also to determine the areas of most growth potential.

Since then, we have been making a bar graph (online) using their Countdown to STAAR spiral reviews.  This bar graph houses all of the TEKS for each of the four math categories.  Each Countdown to STAAR question also names the TEK being reviewed.  Students use this number along with whether they correctly answer the problem to create the graph.   Since each student knows their area(s) of growth, they know to monitor the bars within that category to ensure that fewer and fewer problems are answered incorrectly.  

We will be adding the same data from this assessment to their bar graphs as well, so that they can evaluate their own progress.  I am working very hard to have my students understand that making mistakes is "ok" and that we are more interested in "growing" our brain, than being the perceived perfect math student.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Order of Operations: Kahoot

We will be taking a math assessment tomorrow.  A few of the questions will be answered using PEMDAS, so I wanted to review the Order of Operations.  To begin, I had students look over the Depth of Knowledge problem from Thursday.  We worked the problem together, which allowed students to see any problems with their thinking.  Next, I wanted to spend time practicing.  Last year, I had the students work on a "leaf" worksheet to practice this concept.  

While my student,s last year, were a little mollified by the fact they got to color the leaf on a worksheet, this year's classes were much more excited to solve two KAHOOTs instead.  Each Kahoot had 12 expressions.  As usual, being allowed a "game" and a dry erase marker, there was little to no grumbling about solving 24 problems!  The first Kahoot is called Order of Operations (Part 1) and the second is called Order of Operations (Part 2).

Once we had completed the two Kahoots, I had the students complete a Depth of Knowledge prompt:

Playing two kahoots took the majority of class time, so there wasn't a Countdown to STAAR today.  Instead, I had students begin working through a Khan Academy section called Algebraic Thinking.  We will spend extra time over the next few days completing this Khan Academy set of activities.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Order of Operations: I Have/Who Has

During our math class today, we spent a few minutes voting on the Outdoor School plaque entries.  Each team had a few entries turned in and we needed to have the team vote on their favorite.  I used a Google Form and had our results by the end of the day.  I will share the winners on Monday as we will not have math class tomorrow.

Next, I handed out the Countdown to STAAR from yesterday and the kids graphed their new results on their Data sheet.

Once again, our focus today was to "simplify numerical expressions that do not involve exponents, including up to two levels of grouping."  Today, I wanted to spend some time recording all of the steps necessary to simplify an equation.

We began with this expression.  I handed out twenty note cards.  Each card had a single step from each of the four expressions that we were going to simplify.  We recorded these steps in our journal in order for students to have a place to refer to as they work with PEMDAS later.  I reminded the students about the steps to the Order of Operations and we jumped right in.  I asked "Who has the first step to this problem?"  The student who had the step on the notecard read it to the class.  At this point, this game varies from the true I Have/Who Has game.  As I needed to have students focusing on the use of PEMDAS, I was the one who repeatedly asked the Who Has.

The answer to this problem was:

  1. 2 x 4  = 8
  2. 16 - 8 = 8
  3. 8 divided by 2 = 4
  4. 11 - 7 = 4
  5. 4 divided by 4 = 1

We continued simplifying expressions until every student had a chance to contribute.  After spending this time working through this process, I wanted to check their understanding.  So I gave the following prompt to solve individually:

Once students completed the prompt, they worked on today's Countdown to STAAR.  Any additional time was spent working on Khan Academy.

Tomorrow will be a crazy day ... it is Homecoming.  So, we will attend our Friday Campfire meeting, leave to attend the High School pep rally, go to PE, have some students leave to ride the fundraiser limo while the rest of the kids was "Treasure Island," then we will head to Stephenville to see the Tarleton University students present the play "Treasure Island."  Whew!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

PEMDAS: A Skeleton of My Former Self KAHOOT

We began our class today by graphing student results from yesterday's Countdown to STAAR.  The purpose of graphing is for my students to see their progress in the Categories they may have struggled with in 4th Grade.  The kids enjoyed this, especially since we use Google Classroom to house the spreadsheet.... there is nothing to misplace and we don't have to hunt for map pencils!

Our learning goal today was to "simplify numeric expressions, that do not include exponents, but include up to two sets of grouping.  Basically, we worked with the order of operations or PEMDAS again today.  I began by asking them to discuss with their table this prompt:

They did a very good job in deducing that they would use PEMDAS to find the numerator, but they had no idea what to do with the "4".  I wanted them to understand that a fraction can always be looked at as a division problem, so I showed them:

Once we knew we were dealing with a division problem, we worked together to simplify the expression beginning with the numerator.  This problem was pretty involved and I wanted them to have some success with working with PEMDAS, so I had them play a KAHOOT.

When I designed the KAHOOT, I used a worksheet called "A Skeleton of My Former Self" from The Mailbox Magazine, Oct/Nov 2007.  What I liked about the worksheet is that the answers to the equations answer a human body factoid.  Not only that, the skeleton also seems to fit with October....

They very much enjoyed the KAHOOT and I am always amazed at the amount of math they will happily complete when they are using a computer and a dry erase marker!

To finish up the lesson, I asked the kids to answer the prompt:

I wanted them to think about using the Order of Operations using different view points in an effort to see that this concept is useful outside of the elementary classroom.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Order of Operations: PEMDAS and the Power of Parentheses

To introduce our new topic, I asked the kids to write the following math problem on their desk (using dry erase markers):

3 + 3 x 4 + 2 x 3 + 3

After simplifying the expression we shared our answers to find, to our surprise, we had lots of different answers.  I explained that I had forgotten to add a piece of important information.... the parentheses.

I added in the parentheses and the classes reminded me that we do the operation within the parentheses first, so we simplified the expression

3 + (3 x 4) + 2 x (3 + 3)

to find that we had found more answers that did not match.  I explained that the addition of the parentheses changes the rule of how to solve the problem.  I asked whether they thought changing the placement of our grouping symbols would lead to more differing answers.  To test their theory, I asked the students to use the exact same expression, but move the parentheses.

Low and behold, more differing answers!  It was at this point that I asked the students why having all of these differing answers was a problem.  They all agreed that the whole point was for everyone to get the same answer.  I then explained that the reason we were getting a variety of answers was due to the fact that we were not following the set of RULES mathematicians had devised years ago called the Order of Operations.

I then explained that there are universal themes in math and the one we would be focusing on over the next few days was the theme of Order:

Then, I explained to the classes the agreed upon order of operations:  parenthesis, exponents, multiply/divide, then add/subtract.  I found another blog whose teacher used the hopscotch method in her classroom and then created the PEMDAS graphic organizer that we used in class today.  The video with information is at:  

I discussed that we need many different ways to help us remember the Order of Operations.   At this point, I mentioned the acronym PEMDAS.  I also encouraged them to use a mnemonic device to remember the steps such as:

To finish our lesson, I asked the students to answer the following prompt:

I did explain that they were not to simplify the expression.  They were just to explain whether changing the rule (PEMDAS, addition or subtraction of parentheses) would result in a different answer.

Finally, we worked on a Countdown to STAAR.  We have set our +10 goal for the year and know which math categories we need to focus on to reach our goal.  

Tomorrow we will begin graphing the results from our Coundown to STAAR to begin monitoring our successes towards our goal.

Parents can view these documents by going to classroom.google.com and having their child login and then go to their math class.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Outdoor School Video

We needed our math time to finish up our Powtoons that we are creating for our Social Studies Independence Timeline.  Therefore, I do not have a post for math, HOWEVER, I do have something you will very much enjoy....  a video from our Outdoor School trip!

Thank you Ms. Colson for putting it all together!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wrapping up the Outdoor School

We had a fantastic time at The Outdoor School!  Thank you to all of the parent chaperons (I spell checked this.... it still looks wrong to me!) .... we could not have done this without you!

Today in math class (or what should be math class), we tied up some Outdoor School loose ends.  To begin, we changed out the string on our Outdoor School necklaces so that they wouldn't be so scratchy!  We do this in preparation for adding school related beads today.  Students receive beads to add to their necklaces based on accomplishments and service.

Next, we focused on our theme PRIDE (perseverance, respect, integrity, discipline, and encouragement).  I asked the students to choose one boy and one girl from their team who embodied PRIDE.  These students will receive a special bead on their necklace!

Next, I discussed the TOS Plaques.  Anyone interested in creating a design for their team plaque took a sheet of construction paper home to create their design.  The design is due on Tuesday.  Every design needs to have the year 2015, the team name, and the names of the students in the team.  I will display each plaque and each team will vote on the plaque that they would like to have displayed outside the library.

In Science, each student was asked to compose a thank you letter to their Team Counselor and a letter to each of the cabin parents.  Again, we could not have done this without you!
In Reading, the kids worked on a Me Book page journaling their ideas and thoughts about our two-day adventure.

I think these activities were a nice way to ease back in to regular classes and bring closure to our adventure!