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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, February 29, 2016

Appropriate Measurement Tools and Units

We moved into measurement today.  I thought I would have a little fun with reviewing appropriate tools and units, so we played a Kahoot!

We also worked on a Countdown to STAAR.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Wrapping Up Our PBL: Perimeter, Area, and Volume with Legos

So, time is running out for me to make sure all of my TEKS are covered before our first STAAR math test on March 29.  With that in mind, I had to wrap up our project a little sooner than we needed in order to complete it.  However, we have floor plans finished and we have Lego brick homes created, most are only missing the roof line.  All good to know for planning next year!

Anyway, our focus today was wrapping up our lesson and focusing on the perimeter, area, and volume of the homes the students created.

To begin, we brainstormed a list of math strategies that were used this week as we attempted to meet Mr. Python's specifications and expectations.  I wanted to make sure that they realized that this was not just a week of "play" as I am sure many parents were told!  This is an example of the ideas that were generated by the students:

Next, we moved into working on a Google Doc that required them to find perimeter, area, total area, volume, and total volume.  I allowed them to work together and was tickled every time they realized that the area of each floor would be the same as would the volume.

Finally, I asked them to write about their learning this week.  We used the brainstormed list above and the writing prompt:

I also as using a rubric to assess this project.  It's nothing special, just a checklist of the things I wanted to see.

So, there is a part of me that is frustrated that this didn't have a chance to go exactly as planned, but the other part is thrilled with the learning that was involved in this PBL.  Again, all good to know for next year.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

PBL: Perimeter, Area, and Volume with Legos (Building with Legos) More of the Same

We spent the majority of the class time building the model for Mr. Python's home.  We will need to wrap this up tomorrow, so I gave as much time today as I could.  The kids are ON TASK, INTERESTED, COLLABORATING, and I just couldn't be happier.... unless I didn't feel so bad.... first illness this year.

We finished up our classes with a Countdown to STAAR.

By the way, for any of you educators who have students with an accommodation that requires you to read aloud to your students, I have found a way"

Once you have added the Screencastify Extension, scan a document that the students need to have read aloud.  Open the document so that it is visible on your screen, click the Screencastify icon in your extension bar. Click "Start Record", read the document aloud, click "Stop Recording". Screencastify records your voice and/or anything you do on the screen. When you are finished, it will automatically save to a Screencastify folder in your Google Drive. It can then be shared through email or Google Classroom for students who need oral admin. AMAZING!!​​​​

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

PBL: Perimeter, Area, and Volume with Legos (House Plan)

So, today we focused on finishing up the floor plan for Mr. Python's home.  The students already had a bare footprint based on their work yesterday.  Today we got to fill it!

We discussed rooms that are typically on the first floor.  We looked up floor plans and discovered that they are typically shown in square feet.  Since we are using meters, we had to convert the feet to inches.  Since we do not covert across measurement systems in 5th grade, we Googled it!  I emphasized the fact that, while we will not actually be building this home, we have to create plans that are accurate representations of living spaces.

I told the groups that they needed to work together to decide which rooms would go on which floors.  I also expected them to look at each other's design to make sure everyone agreed with the final plan.  At this point, I let the creative juices flow!  Mr. Python had not given us a budget, so my kids assumed that the sky was the limit.  I have students planning for unicorn rooms.... and swimming pools on the top floor... elevators.... you know, your every day necessities!

Today included some of the best math talk I have heard from my students.  I heard discussions about door widths (if a door is 3 feet wide, then it would only need one meter of space on our plan).  I heard discussions about elevators (we need to show it in the same spot on each level's floor plan).  I watched them use their computers as a resource; looking up floor plans, converting measurements, discovering how to show a stair case on a floor plan.  There was collaboration galore and it made my math heart happy!

We also decided that we will work with the roof line as a team as well.  Since we are working in groups of three, we will have a three story home and we will create the specified rectangular prisms (3 of them) as part of our roof line as an architectural team.

We finished our class with a Countdown to STAAR.

Monday, February 22, 2016

PBL: Perimeter, Area, and Volume with Legos

The set of activities I combined to create my lesson on using Lego bricks to model perimeter, area, and volume are an amalgamation of three lessons I found on the internet.

The first lesson I found came from "Teaching in Room 6" and was called:  Legos + Volume = Awesome!

The second lesson came from a blog titled "The Reflective Educator" and was called:  Lego and Minecraft in Math.

However, it was the final blog that I found while attending TCEA that helped me design a PBL lesson that combined my TEKS with the use of Lego bricks.  The blog is titled "David Lee:  EdTech.org" and the lesson was called:  Minecraft in Education.  

Using these three blogs/lessons, I was able to create a blended learning lesson that I created using Blendspace (www.tes.com).

Today, we focused on the first 4 boxes of the blendspace activity.  Using the information provided, my students found the basic footprint for the home they were to design.  By the end of class they had:

  1. Labeled the x- and y-axis of their grid paper.
  2. Numbered their grids.
  3. Created a scale explaining that 1 square was equivalent to 1 square meter.
  4. They used calculators to find an area for their footprint between 150-250 meters squared.
  5. Drawn the perimeter of the "home".
  6. Labeled the dimensions.
  7. Found and labeled the area.
We did finish off our day with a Countdown to STAAR.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Think Through Math

We spent our math class working with the online math tutorial program Think Through Math.  My classes had used the program last year, so I spent a few minutes reminding the class about their dashboard

We looked at a lesson and discussed the importance of the Pretest.  I also pointed out the tools that they have available (formulas and vocabulary).  Finally, I made sure they realized that they can have the text read aloud.

The remaining time was given to taking the Placement Test.  I also allowed them the last five minutes of class to design their avatar.  I have to allow this "avatar time" or I will have students doing this during the time I need them working on the lessons and earning certificates.

Next week, I will have each class choose the classroom goal and start working towards some motivators!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Kid in a Candy Store: Day 3

I had decided to take the, in progress, floor plans home to look over last night.  I wanted to catch any problems before they became permanent.  A few of the items I came across were:

  1. Make sure you can walk around and stand behind your counter.
  2. If you have included a bathroom in your floor plan, be sure to have a door....
  3. Federal law mandates that aisles be a minimum of 3' to be handicap accessible.... make sure your aisles have at least 3 feet
  4. Make sure the displays you have chosen to include are the correct dimensions as given in the packet.
We spent a majority of our class time today correcting these errors, completing our plan, and adding some color to make them visually pleasing.  We will not be able to complete the PBL in its entirety.  We have a diminishing amount of time in which to cover our remaining TEKS before our STAAR test in a few weeks.

We finished math with a Countdown to STAAR.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PBL: Kid in a Candy Store Day 2

Well, for a teacher who is kind of techno-dependent, my world was turned upside down when the bulb in my projector went out and no bulbs were to be had!  Instead, they opted to take out my dinosaur of a projector and give me a new one!  Whoop!

However, this process took a little while, so it was back to old school teaching...

The kids had a great time today designing the floor plan of their candy shop.  Yesterday we had marked the dimensions of the shop on grid paper, but I felt it was necessary for them to visually understand what 24' x 28' looked like.  So, I brought in a measuring tape and we discovered that their candy store is just about the same dimensions as my classroom.  They found this very helpful!

Next, we had to discuss the need for a door.  I explained that federal regulations require a door to be at least 3' wide so that it is wheel chair accessible.  We discovered my door was 3' by 7' (again with a tape measure).  I then showed them how an architect would show this demarcation on blueprints using (gasp) my whiteboard and dry erase marker!  We did not include windows on our floor plan this time.

Our next topic was the checkout counter.  We discussed the need for its placement by the door.  We measured a table in my room to get an idea of what might be a comfortable amount of work space for a check out counter.  It was also important to discuss the amount of area to have behind the counter to be able to maneuver comfortably in the space. I also asked that they label the counter area so that I would know what I was looking at.

We then looked at the example given in the packet and made notes of things that were included.  It was interesting that one of my students felt that the floor plan example was missing a very important element.... a bathroom.  We discussed this in each class with some students choosing to include a bathroom and others deciding that it was fine to leave it off the plan (of course I don't know what they plan to do if they actually worked there!).  We decided that if we were doing a single bathroom a 6'x6' would be adequate for a toilet and sink, however, I did have some students who wanted to include multiple toilets.  This meant that they needed to include stalls, so one sweet young lady headed down to the bathroom with a tape measure to determine the measurements for a stall.  You have to love it.... real world application!

Then I handed out the sheet of candy types and the display dimensions and let the kids begin designing.  We made sure to also give enough walking space within the area for students to walk around and to displays.  My students agreed that 3' was the minimum requirement, but felt that 4' would be much better.

Before finishing up for today, I asked my students to choose one of their displays and write the coordinates for the display on an index card.  I just wanted to be sure they understood how to write coordinates and that they understood how to read an x- and y- axis.

As usual, we finished with a Countdown to STAAR.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

PBL: Kid in a Candy Store

I must say, we had a full math day!  To begin, we started with our creative thinking using a Would You Rather

Then we needed to do a little house cleaning.  I needed to reward them with their STAAR bucks from the past week based on their progress in Khan.  Then, I wanted to make sure they knew where they were in our Khan Club, so we added our name to the wall, or got a t-shirt, or achieved our banquet invitation,etc.


30 Mastered Skills - Get in the club
45 Mastered Skills - Awarded a Khan Club t-shirt
60 Mastered Skills - Invitation to Khan Banquet
75 Mastered Skills - Sit at the head table at the banquet
90 Mastered Skills - Medals Awarded

Highest number of Khan Mastered Skills -
 "TOP Khan Award"

Our next housekeeping, was to plot our Countdown to STAAR on our graphs.  We have been doing this since the first Countdown to STAAR in order to visually see how we are doing.

 I asked my students to look at their graph and choose the two TEKS they were not happy with and they chose them on a Google Form.  Here is a sampling of the form:

This form was created using the new Google Form format.  What I didn't know/expect, was the way the gathered information can be shown:

This allowed me to see that the TEK my students were having the most difficulty with was still PEMDAS.  It is not that they don't know how to work a problem using PEMDAS, it is that they don't automatically think to use PEMDAS in an expression or equation that shows multiple steps.

Our next step was to complete today's www.estimation180.com activity and completing a problem of the day using a problem from the Kamico STAAR Connection Diagnostic Series.  We will do this daily as we prepare for the STAAR Math test on March 29.

It was finally time to begin our new PBL activity:  Kid in a Candy Store.  Today we began part 1, which consisted of watching a quick video, naming our store, and working with a floor plan.  We created our "floor" using coordinate pairs, locating the point of origin, labeling our x-and y-axes, and numbering our lines.  Then we determined our measurements, found the perimeter of the store and the area of the store.  

I will not be sharing examples or much detail during this process as I purchased this from www.teacherspayteachers.com and want to be fair to the educator who created this activity.

As usual, we finished with a Countdown to STAAR.

Friday, February 12, 2016

I Love Math: Valentine's Activities

Today, our focus was problems involving Valentine's Day.  It began in my tutorials, as I asked the students to solve this problem, which I found on Teacher Vision:

To make this a little more interesting, we created the "box" (without a lid) using 1/2" grid paper.  This allowed me to talk to my students about nets.  Once we had created our net (without the lid) we found the area of each side of the box, allowing me to discuss surface area.  We used the inside base of the rectangular prism to help us determine the surface area of the missing lid.  Once we had our measurements, we were able to determine if Philip had enough construction paper to cover the box.

In math class, we spent our time solving a variety of problems.  We began with an estimation 180.

From there we solved a Would You Rather?

First, I had my classes answer the question based on their prior knowledge.  Then, I handed each student a fake dollar and a fake quarter.  They traced around the dollar and then trace the quarters.  When they had determined the amount of money this would get them, I handed them a box of candy hearts.  I asked them to take out one and use it as their tracer to determine the amount of money this method would give them.  When they had the two amounts, they had to tell me, in writing, if their prediction was correct or incorrect and back up their answer using their data.

Next, I wanted to see if our class had the same number of candies in their box as Mr. Stadel in his estimation180.  So my students counted the candies in their box (including their tracer) and we placed them on a spreadsheet.  When it was complete, I used the function SUM to add up the candies in the class and then the AVERAGE function.  We decided that this meant the number of candies that should have been in each box.  When I asked them why some had more and some had less, we determined that the packaging was based on weight.  Now we wondered why our class average did not match Mr. Stadel's number of candies.  We looked at our boxes and noted that our weight was .9 oz, when we compared to Mr. Stadel, we noted that the weight on his box was 1 oz.....

This led to a brief discussion on the deceptive packaging.  The size of the box had not diminished, and the price of the box of candy had not changed, but the weight (ergo the amount) had!  Sneaky!  Of course, as a consumer, I should have paid more attention to this myself!

To finish off the day, we completed a mystery picture using coordinate graphing that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Women in the Civil War

I found an activity titled "Women in the War" from the U.S. Department of the Interior.  This lesson provides six dilemmas faced by women during the Civil War.  It also tells how each of these women faced their dilemma and the outcome.

I chose to begin with the dilemmas.  Each table received one and had a few minutes of read the dilemma and address what they would have done in this person's place.  We went through each table's decision before I revealed that the person in each dilemma was a woman.

From there, we read the two articles in our Social Studies newspaper about the roles women played in the Civil War.  These roles varied from the usual domestic needs that needed to be addressed to being nurses, to being disguised as men to be in the military, to working as spies.

Once we read through this information, I had the students read about the woman in their dilemma and the results/outcomes (I used screen shots to save these to Classroom in order to save paper).  I asked the students to write to me about their woman, her dilemma, and how she showed bravery in the choice she made.

To finish off the day, we completed a Countdown to STAAR.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I Am: Pink or Say

I had one more activity that I wanted my classes to complete using the book Pink and Say.  It is called an "I Am" poem and there are many examples available on the internet.  To show my students an example of a completed "I Am", I used the character Moe Moe Bay:

As usual, I created a Google Doc with a table for students to type their thinking in.  I sent it to them through Google Classroom and chose the option that each student would get a copy.

I also attached a youtube video of a student reading the story again.  They were given the option of listening to the story again as they were working in order to generate ideas.

When finished, students turned in their poem through Classroom.  We spent the remaining time working on a Countdown to STAAR, then they had the choice of finishing their Social Studies crossword puzzle, working on Khan Academy, or reading their AR books.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pink and Say

We continued with the idea of boy soldier's in Social Studies and read the short story Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco.  I absolutely love this story!  I have read it aloud multiple time each year for at least the last 10 years and it never fails to make me cry.... in front of my kids, but that is what a great story will do.  It will draw you in and break your heart!  

After the story, I had the kids take an AR test and then I wanted them to reflect on the story just a little.  I asked them to do an A-E-I-O-U about the story.

I found this idea on Discovery Education's blog under the portion titled S.O.S.  This is a great place to find instructional strategies that incorporate technology.

Once students had completed their reflection, we spent some time with math by completing a Countdown to STAAR.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Social Studies and Hierarchies

It is my week to teach Social Studies and we are working through the Civil War.  Today our reading was about boy soldiers, so I gave my classes a list of 29 items that a Civil War Soldier would usually have with him.  I asked the tables to come to an agreement of the 5 items that would be most important to his survival.  Next, I asked them to go to their Google Social Studies classroom and open the Google Doc I had shared with them.  Each person could order the items as they saw fit, but they needed to justify their choice.

Math today was a short quiz using www.quizizz.com to review our work with graphic organizers and geometry.  My math will be much shorter this week, as I have to divide my time between the two subjects.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Triangle Hierarchies and 100th Day Celebrations

100th Day of School Celebration

We finished up working with our Triangle Hierarchies today.

Students opened the form from yesterday, and used the interactive triangle calculator to determine angles and side measurements, and then filled in the Triangle Combinations hierarchy.  Whew!

After that, I asked them to complete the question "Do all triangles have two names?  Justify your answer using your Triangle Combinations hierarchy."  I attached this to a "padlet" and had the students answer there.

At this point, they needed to make sure they had submitted the form and then turned in the assignment in their Google Classroom.

Any extra time left in class they got onto Khan Academy to work on math skills.