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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.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

STEAMing into Christmas (Rotation 3)

Bell Ringer:

I used the Christmas Coordinate Graphing page from this resource as our warm-up.

Lesson Frame:


I had six different STEAM challenges with each group having 3 students.  I carefully arranged the students myself, but then each table group the a number that represented one of the activities.  This allowed students to see that I didn't play favorites.

Bloxels - http://home.bloxelsbuilder.com/index.html is a build your own video game activity.  I had three Bloxels kits and three iPads for students to use.  


Lego Marble Run - https://frugalfun4boys.com/2016/01/13/lego-duplo-marble-run-stem-challenge/ is a STEAM challenge I found on the blog:  Frugal Fun 4 Boys and Girls.  We used the regular Lego sets I have with no difficulty.  This was the only true group activity where students worked together to complete a single outcome.



littleBits - http://littlebits.cc/ are easy to use electronic building blocks.  I was gifted a class set through Friends of Hamilton.  Again, there were enough pieces for all three students to have their own to explore with.


Hour of Code - https://hourofcode.com/us/learn gave students a chance to learn how to code.  To be honest, this was the least favorite, as everything else was more of a hands-on challenge.  I may try to find another hands-on activity next time.



STEAM Engineering Challenge:  Index Card Tower -  https://intentionalstorytime.wordpress.com/hands-on-science/engineering-challenge-index-card-towers/ challenged students to build a freestanding tower using only index cards.


CrazyAction Contraptions - students worked to create one of the contraptions and, while no one was successful in fully completing the challenge, everyone loved it!


I actually used a random closure generating  website to reflect on the activities.  The website is:  Learning In Hand with Tony Vincent.  The reflection generator web address:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Personal Financial Literacy : Wrap Up

Bell Ringer:

We finished up reviewing our STAAR Benchmark using Kahoot.

Lesson Frame:


Yesterday, we played a Kahoot using the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of payment.  Today, we are wrapping up what we have been doing the past few weeks, by balancing a budget.

I wanted this done online, so I created a Google Form using one of the budget sheets from the above resource.  I also created a spreadsheet like the ones we have used together in class for students to keep their budget.

Finally, I did allow them the use of a calculator.  Students used the task cards that were found in the form to fill out the spreadsheet.  As they determined new balances, they placed them on the form.  

This activity turned out to be quite a challenge for some.  


Explain how to balance a budget.

As part of this activity, the final few tasks resulted in a negative balance.  I asked students to think about what they would do to help the Sosa's balance their budget.

Assignment:  Think Through Math 

There was not additional assignment, I didn't want students panicking!  After they finished the budget, they worked on Think Through Math.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Personal Financial Literacy: Types of Payment

Bell Ringer:

STAAR Benchmark on Kahoot

Lesson Frame:


Today we played a Kahoot that asked students to analyze the method payments.  They were to choose the payment they thought was best for each scenario.  Typically, there was more than one correct answer.  I did allow them to visit as table groups, but I also made them wait at least 30 seconds before choosing their answer.


  • Countdown to STAAR 5.1.7
  • Think Through Math

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Personal Financial Literacy: Santa's Expenses (Variable)

Bell Ringer:

STAAR Benchmark Kahoot

Lesson Frame:


We continued working with Santa's budget today by adding variable expenses.  Our spreadsheet started out looking like this:

Today's spreadsheet was bare.  This was in order for me to teach a few things about formatting the spreadsheet.  (1) We went through the credit, debit, and balance columns and formatted each with "currency" so that dollar signs, decimal points, and the change would be evident.

After putting in the balance, we put in the first expense.  At this point, I taught them how to format a cell to subtract.  We repeated this a few times to make them a little more comfortable, then I showed them the "cheat" that began appearing when we typed an = sign.  I did not teach them how to format a column in one step... maybe next time.

The expenses we used were:

When we added in the final expense, we noticed that Santa had a negative balance.  We knew that meant that he did not have enough money for the month.  This lead into our "close".


I wanted them to type their response, so I introduced them to "create" within Google Classroom.  Since the spreadsheet had already been assigned, students could "create" a Google Doc to answer this question.  When finished they were to "turn in" these two items through Google Classroom.

  • Countdown to STAAR 5.1.6
  • Think Through Math

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Personal Financial Literacy: Santa's Expenses (Fixed)

Bell Ringer:

We are still working through our benchmark review using Kahoot.

Lesson Frame:


Today, I wanted to focus on fixed expenses; things like rent, water, electricity, etc.  By connecting this entire unit to Santa, I have students' undivided attention!  My students are also enjoying working on spreadsheets.  Today was no exception.  I had precoded the spreadsheet to automatically subtract each entry.  Students LOVED this.  I threw a challenge in, however, when we had to add an entry.  I showed them how to code that entry.  So exciting!!

The spreadsheet started out like this:

We used the following tasks to fill out the spreadsheet:

The final spreadsheet looked like this:


Explain why it is important to budget.

Assignment:  Countdown to STAAR 5.1.4

Monday, December 11, 2017

Personal Financial Literacy: Define Taxes

Bell Ringer:

We are continuing to review our math STAAR benchmark using Kahoot.

Lesson Frame:


Today, we worked with defining taxes using the above resource and Kahoot.  

I have begun using Kahoots  more in my classroom (1) because the kids love it and (2) I have figured out a way to make all kids feel successful.

First, I had students open their math journal to the vocabulary pages on the four kinds of taxes.  Then, as we were playing the Kahoot, although I had set a 90 second timer, students were not allowed to put in their answer until I said so.  That way, slower students had the opportunity to think about the answer without the stress of others always being faster and/or correct.  I know that this worked, because one of my SpEd kids WON the round for their class!  This never happened when we played the other way!

Assignment:  Countdown to STAAR 5.1.4

Friday, December 8, 2017

Personal Financial Literacy: Santa's Gross and Net Incomes

Bell Ringer:

I have decided to review our Middle of Year STAAR Benchmark using Kahoot.  Each day, I have 4 questions from the benchmark, students post the answers, and we discuss why problems were answered incorrectly.

Lesson Frame:

Over the last two days, we have worked on finding Santa's gross income and net income.


On Thursday, I shared a blank paystub with each student through Google Classroom in order for them to practice working with a Sheet.

Next, we used task cards to determine Santa's gross income:

Today, we used the gross (monthly) income and the gross (yearly) income and using the taxes and deductions, we found Santa's net income.

From here, I had students complete a Student Feedback Survey from this activity.  It included questions that required them to explain what they have learned from this activity.  They were to use the vocabulary we have worked with over the past few days:  income, gross income, net income, payroll taxes, and income tax.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Personal Financial Literacy: Income (gross and net) and Payroll Taxes

Bell Ringer:  Christmas Math Mystery Numbers

Lesson Frame:


It is time to move into studying Personal Financial Literacy.  I began by having my students add this unit's vocabulary into their math journal.  I chose to use the pages from "Personal Financial Literacy for Texas 5th Graders" that I found on TPT.

In an effort to make this a little more fun, I decided to put a Christmas spin on it.  To this end, I contacted the people at Santa Update.  I asked if they could help me by creating a pay stub for an elf that worked at Santa's Workshop.  I am so pleased they were able to help me!

Using this, we discussed income.  I explained that it is money that you earn.  From there we looked at the elf's earnings.  I explained that this was his gross income (we found both the monthly and year-to-date).  Next we discussed payroll taxes and I pointed these out on the stub, as well as other deductions incurred.  We look at the monthly and year-to-date deductions.  The kids were astonished at the amount of money taken!  Finally, we discovered the net amount (both monthly and year-to-date). Again, the kids were appalled at the difference between gross and net income!

We also touched on income tax, property tax, and sales tax.

I explained that we will continue to explore these ideas tomorrow when we work with Santa's salary!

Assignment:  Countdown 5.1.2

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Twelve Days of Christmas Costs WHAT?!?!

Bell Ringer:  AIMS Education Foundation
This is the second of the two logic problems that I found on my Google Drive.  I have no idea where it came from, but its copyright is also 1989.

Lesson Frame:


Today wasn't just about finding the total cost of the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," I also wanted to introduce my students to some "shortcuts" that can be found in Sheets and other Google products.

To begin, I assigned the spreadsheet I wanted the kids to use through Google Classroom and chose the option of making a copy for each student.  Now, when students opened this up in Google Classroom, they could work on a sheet just their own.

There were no formulas imbedded in the spreadsheet, as I wanted to keep the numbers a surprise.  We assumed that the song built upon itself, so technically, "my true love" received 12 partridges in a pear tree total.  So we added 12 to "days given" and then multiplied 1 x 12 to find the total number of gifts given through the song (12).  Then we visited the Christmas Price Index to find this year's costs:  

Once we found the cost of the partridge in the pear tree, we added this information to our spreadsheet, then used the Google calculator to find our total cost (multiply by 12).  During this time, I was also showing students how to center the information for a more pleasing aesthetic.

We continued this process through each of the "gifts".  Believe me, there was loads of discussion about "my true love" and why he purchased these types of items (seriously, have you thought about all of the birds?!?), and why on earth he would pay so much (check out the cost of swans!).

Once we had all of the information, I taught them how to shrink the page (control -) in order to see the entire document making the next step much easier.  Next I showed them how to quickly add a column of numbers in a spreadsheet (Insert, Formula, Sum).  We began with the column of gifts and discovered that she received a total of 364 gifts.  Now, I posed the question, "Suppose she needs to politely give away these gifts and begins to give away one each day starting the day after Christmas.  What day would she have finally given away the last gift?

Next, we added up the cost column to find the total cost of all of the gifts, again we used the shortcut (Insert, Formula, SUM).  At this point (after the hysteria of the amount), I showed them how to reset their page to its original size (CTRL 0).


After we finished up with some final thoughts and I showed them how to "turn in" a page in Google Classroom, I asked them to answer a student feedback survey about the activity.

Image result for student feedback survey

I found this Student Feedback Survey on Edutopia and used it as a guide to create a survey on Google Forms.  This is the first time I have used this type of survey and am very interested to see how it goes!

Assignment:  Countdown to STAAR 5.1.1

I am moving from the Fifth Grade Builders to Countdown to STAAR, primarily because (while both cover TEKS) Countdown covers the TEKS using word problems.  I feel like my students need exposure and time to learn how to work with word problems.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Catching Up

We had a different schedule today.  We are going to go watch the final practice of the play that will be presented tonight, so we squeezed all three classes in before lunch.  During this time, students worked on a few different things, depending on what they owed me.

  1. Math STAAR Benchmark
  2. TTM Benchmark
  3. Finishing up the "mouse" page that had students multiplying and dividing fractions.
At the end of class we donated points earned on Think Through Math to see how close we were to achieving our goal to donate $50 to a charity.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bell Ringer:  Mystery Numbers

Lesson Frame:


We are still doing benchmarks.  Today was the Think Through Math benchmark.  TTM allows you to benchmark students every 90 days, so it was time.  Again, students were allowed to use their math folders and journals.  TTM has a read aloud component that is available to all students.

Some students are still working on completing this activity.  They worked diligently on the benchmark, so had less time to work on this activity.  Once they finish today's TTM benchmark, they will work towards completion of this activity.

If students had any remaining time, they worked on Think Through Math.


I am not giving any additional assignments this week, I do not want students rushing through the benchmark or the fraction review.