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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Accomplishing SMART Goals: Think Through Math

Lesson Frame:

• We will work on passing Think Through lessons in order to achieve our SMART goal.
• I will work on passing lessons to get closer to achieving my SMART goal.

State of the Competitions

So, here is the current status of our competitions.  My homeroom is trying to catch up to the 3rd graders we challenged (it's not looking good, apparently they were hoarding their points).  My other two classes are neck-and-neck at being the next class to achieve their class goal.  Two of my classes are being VERY competitive about the ice cream.  I am gaining on my SMART goal as well.  I need 44 students to be in the Think30 Club by March 28 and I am sitting at 22!

Activities
2. Think Through Math
3. DONATE POINTS!!!
My favorite part is that my kids are happy to be working so hard!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Accomplishing SMART Goals: Khan

Lesson Frame:

• We will work on passing Khan Academy 5th grade skills in order to achieve our SMART goal.
• I will work on passing Mastery Skills to get closer to achieving my SMART goal.

Activity
1. Countdown to STAAR
We are not only working towards getting our Khan Academy goals, but we are also trying to get donuts for the class by having everyone achieve 30 goals passed!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Still Accomplishing our SMART Goals!

Lesson Frame:

• We will work on Think Through Math to accomplish our SMART goals and to win our competitions.
• I will work on Think Through Math in an effort to accomplish my SMART goal AND to help my class win our competitions.

Activities

Things are moving along smoothly!  We completed a Countdown to STAAR and then went right in to Think Through Math.  I had students reach their SMART goal and immediately wrote their new one!  I have students passing skills right and left, so their SMART goals are getting closer and closer to being completed!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Accomplishing SMART Goals

Lesson Frame:

• We will work on Think Through Math to accomplish our SMART goals and to win our competitions.
• I will work on Think Through Math in an effort to accomplish my SMART goal AND to help my class win our competitions.

Activities

Things are moving along smoothly!  We completed a Countdown to STAAR and then went right in to Khan Academy.  I had students reach their SMART goal and immediately wrote their new one!  I have students passing skills right and left, so their SMART goals are getting closer and closer to being completed!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Accomplishing SMART Goals: Continued

Lesson Frame:

• We will work on Think Through Math to accomplish our SMART goals and to win our competitions.
• I will work on Think Through Math in an effort to accomplish my SMART goal AND to help my class win our competitions.

Activity

I am going to apologize right now for the lack of variety you will be seeing in my blog over the next few weeks.  My kids are focused and determined, so I am not going to interrupt the flow!

I promise that something fun will happen on Valentine's Day (I already have something in the works), and we will have a BLAST after our STAAR test in March.

Until then, we will be working on SMART goals and winning competitions.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Accomplishing SMART Goals: Competition Helps!

Lesson Frame

• We will work on achieving our Khan Academy SMART goals.
• I will work on achieving my Khan goal.

Rewards

So, with my focus being on student progress on both Think Through Math and Khan, I thought I would sweeten the pot as far as the rewards go.  The following rewards are still in place:

Competitions

Now, it is time to add some competition.

Think Through Math
1. My homeroom has already achieved 100% towards their TTM classroom goal, so they are working on their second goal.  This time, we are challenging 3rd grade to beat us to it.... right now 3rd grade is winning!  Who knew they would hoard points?!?!?!  Also, by achieving the second 100%, they will earn a pizza party for the class.
2. My other two classes are in competition to see who gets to their first classroom reward.  Right now they are neck and neck.  Once they achieve this goal, they will go for a second and maybe this time we will challenge 4th grade!
3. All three of my classes are in a 3-week competition to see which class gets them most passed lessons.  This will earn them an ice cream party!
1. Once an entire class reaches 30 passed skills on Khan, that class will get donuts!  Who knows, I may even bring in assorted donuts!
2. Today, I asked my kids to fill out a Google Form that would give me some ideas to use for when the classes reach 45, 60, 75, and so one.  We will choose our next reward as we achieve the first goal.
STAAR Test

This one is a doosey! My principal and I are still in the beginning stages of a plan for this, but it will be BIG.  The goal is 100% passing on the March 28 STAAR test.  We are also shooting for 40% advanced (commended), which is about 22 children.  Last year we had 15, so WE CAN DO THIS!  Not sure what the added bonus might be, but wouldn't it be great!

Outcome

So far, my kids are incredibly motivated!  I have never seen such enthusiastic math problem solving in my life!  It helps that the students feel confident in their abilities to work the problems, so they are not trepidatious about jumping into the work.

I will keep you posted on our results!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Accomplishing SMART Goals

Lesson Frame:

• We will work on accomplishing SMART goals.
• I will work towards completing my SMART goal.

Activities:

So, we have something like 63 days until our STAAR test.  I want my students to do well, but I don't necessarily want to STAAR review them to death.  Therefore, I have decided to spend all of our time on math.... not whole group learning, but individualized, differentiated learning.  I can accomplish this with the use of Think Through Math and Khan Academy.

My plan is to daily have a Fifth Grade Builder or a Countdown to STAAR to continue our spiral review.  Then, the remainder of the period will be devoted to either Think Through Math or Khan.  This way, my students are doing all kinds of different math at their own pace and their readiness level.

While students are working on one of these online programs, I will be working individually with students I have seen to be struggling through the reports I received from these programs.  This will allow me to give instant feedback and immediate help in areas students are struggling.

It makes me a little nervous to no longer be the "sage on the stage," but if my kids are enthusiastically engaged in these math programs.  Why would I shut that down just to talk?  So, I will continue to monitor and as I find areas where multiple students are struggling, I will pull them into a group to learn together, otherwise, I am just going to let the kids continue to meet their goals!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Accomplishing our SMART Goals

Lesson Frame

• We will work on Khan Academy or Think Through Math to close any mathematics gaps.
• I will work on Khan or Think Through Math in order to accomplish my SMART goal.
SMART Goal

Well, an important event in our nation occurred today with the inauguration of our President.  As I told my kids, it doesn't matter who you wanted to win, watching the inauguration is watching the history of the United States being made.  So, we took some of my first period to watch a part of history.  This limited the amount of math today, so I made some changes with the other two classes.

We spent half of our math time on Khan and then the other half on Think Through Math.  This allowed everyone to work on their SMART goal, but also advance on the other program.  We spent the final 10 minutes donating points and playing with avatars.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kahoot and SMART Goals

Lesson Frame

• We will play a Kahoot on rounding decimals and then work towards accomplishing our SMART goal.
• I will try to win a Kahoot and then I will try to accomplish my SMART goal.
Activity

We began our class by playing the Kahoot that we worked problems for yesterday.  I have found that  when students complete the work prior to the Kahoot, they have a lot more fun!  Now, the competition is getting the correct answer first, not try not to be the last one to put in your answer!

Assignment

Next, we completed a Countdown to STAAR to continue our spiral review.

SMART Goal

Finally, we worked towards accomplishing our SMART goal.  I have had two students finish their first goal, so they rewrite for the next goal and keep going!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Rounding Decimals: Let's Get Ready to Kahoot!

Lesson Frame

• We will Round decimals to tenths or hundredths.
• I will locate the correct place to be rounded and then use rounding rules to correctly round the decimal number.

Activity

My students love to play Kahoot!, but many of them get frustrated when they feel like there is a time limit to solve problems. They feel like they don't have a chance against the "smart kids." I try to alleviate this by solving the problems the day before the game. This way, they have an answer, they just have to find the correct one on the screen.

So, today, we solved 12 problems involving rounding decimals using the procedure I gave them yesterday. I have created a Screencastify to walk you through the process.

Assignment

Once we completed our Kahoot preparation, students worked on a Fifth Grade Builder. Most students were unable to get to their SMART Goal because we have shortened classes due to a UIL Awards Assembly this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rounding Decimals

Lesson Frame

• We will Round decimals to tenths or hundredths.
• I will locate the correct place to be rounded and then use rounding rules to correctly round the decimal number.

Activity

So every year rounding is a concept that baffles my students. What's funny is that they have been rounding for years. This kind of befuddlement bewilders me, so I tried something new today. The problem is, my Screencastify didn't work, so I don't have any evidence of my work! AARGH!

Basically, we began with a decimal number. First, I had students write the place value under the number, placing a "1" under the decimal point (pink pen). Next, using this place value information, I placed a box around the place and its neighbor to the right. Then above the box I wrote the lower 10 and above the box I wrote the higher 10. We circled the number CLOSEST to the number in the box. Finally, we rewrote the number by keeping everything in front of the box, then adding the circled number, and finally converting any digits after the box into "0".

I am hoping this image helps:

I just thought that working with the two numbers needed to round as a single number might, in fact, make rounding make sense. My students, in each class, overwhelmingly agreed that this process makes understanding the concept much easier. I hope this holds true over time!

Assignment

Today we just took notes on rounding with decimals, so we had time to do a Countdown to STAAR and work on our SMART goals:

Monday, January 16, 2017

MStar: Middle of the Year Assessment

Lesson Frame:

• We will take the MStar middle of year benchmark to assess our growth in algebra readiness.
• I will take the MStar middle of year benchmark to find out how I am progressing on my algebra readiness.

MStar

We took the MSTAR Universal Screener today.  This was our middle of the year assessment.  I am going to compare the data from today with the beginning of the year assessment.  I will be looking for growth towards algebra readiness.

We also completed a Fifth Grade Builder.  However, many students will have to complete this as homework, which is unusual for my math classes.  With only 70 days until our STAAR test, it is what it is!

Friday, January 13, 2017

SMART Goal

Lesson Frame

• We will create SMART goals to work towards as we get closer to the STAAR test.
• I will create a SMART goal.

SMART Goal

As our STAAR test gets closer each day, I wanted to focus students on our goals that we have set for ourselves this year. However, I wanted to ensure that we were working with SMART Goals:

I linked the goals the students wrote today to our Think Through Math and Khan Academy programs.  At the beginning of the year, I posted the rewards for both Think Through Math and Khan:

Students have been receiving rewards all year long for success in both of these programs, but with half the school year gone, it is time to work towards some of the larger goals.  I gave the students a template to use towards writing the SMART goal:

Students who have not obtained the Think 30 goal, as of today, needed to write that as their SMART goal.  Once they achieve 30 lesson passed on Think Through Math, they need to begin working on a Khan Academy goal.

I have students who have already passed 30 lessons in Think Through Math, so they chose the SMART goal for Khan based on the number of 5th grade skills they have already mastered.

I also wrote a SMART goal.  My goal is to have 80% of my 5th graders pass 30 Think Through Math lessons.  Once my students have achieve this goal I will increase to 90% and hopefully 100%!

We spent the remainder of class working towards achieving our goal.  We also used the last 10 minutes of each class to spend the points earned on Think Through Math.

I am so proud of my homeroom class!  They worked together to pool all of their points to earn a \$50 donation to St. Jude's Hospital!  First time my students have reached their classroom goals!  I hope my other two classes will soon follow suit!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Geometric Hierarchy

Lesson Frame

• We will classify two-dimensional figures in a hierarchy of sets and subsets using graphic organizers based on their attributes and properties.
• I will create a hierarchy of geometric shapes using their critical attributes.

Activity

Today we worked on creating a hierarchy of two-dimensional figures. We create a page of notes:

We began with "Polygons" as the top of our hierarchy.  Next we named the types of Polygons:  Triangles, Quadrilaterals and Any polygon with more than 4 sides.  From their we named our triangles based upon their angles, and then discussed they types of triangles (named for their sides) went with each.  Next we moved to quadrilaterals.  We named a trapezoid and kite as those quadrilaterals that were not parallelograms, then we worked with parallelograms.  Finally, we named the next six polygons that have more than four sides.

Actually my classes seemed to enjoy this process and mentioned that they had come across problems like these in Think Through Math and on their Countdown to STAAR.

Once we completed the note-taking, we jumped into a Countdown to STAAR and then either Think Through Math or Khan.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Snowflake Geometry: Cutting the Snowflake!

Today we cut out snowflakes!  I began by giving each student a hexagon.  We folded it into a trapezoid, then we folded it into a rhombus, and finally we folded it into an equilateral triangle.

Next, I had then draw a design on their triangle to cut out.  Then voila!  We had snowflakes!  I find it so funny that my fifth graders get really excited about their designs.  They really enjoyed the mystery!

Again, we spent a very short time on this part of the day as I wanted them to have time to complete their Fifth Grade Builder and get onto Think Through Math or Khan.

Snowflake Geometry: Day 2

Snowflakes are actually very mathematical!

So, today we completed our notes on the geometric shapes found in a hexagon.  We are working with critical attributes of each shape to create our definitions.  We ask questions like:

• Is a hexagon a polygon?  How do you know?
• How many sides?  (4 sides is also called?)  Congruent?
• How many vertices?
• How many angles?  What kinds of angles?  Congruent?
• Is it a parallelogram?  How do you know?
• What type of lines make up the shape? (Intersecting or Perpendicular)  How do you know?
• Are there any lines of symmetry?  How many?
We completed this task using a hexagon (yesterday), then we folded the hexagon in half creating a trapezoid, next, we used the trapezoid to create a rhombus, and finally we used the rhombus to create a triangle (an acute equilateral triangle to be exact).

I was glad that I made students name the types of lines because they always wanted to call them perpendicular.  This allowed me to reiterate exactly what makes lines either intersecting or perpendicular.  I also had to correct the terminology of diamond.  A rhombus is not a diamond!  And finally, it was fun to have them correctly label the triangle as we had been working on that in our Fifth Grade Builders.

This activity did not take too much time.  I had planned it that way on purpose.  I wanted to have class time available for our assignment and even time to get back onto Think Through Math.

We began using a Countdown to STAAR today.  We will alternate between the Fifth Grade Builders and the Countdown to STAAR.  Countdown incorporates word problems, Builders does not.  However, both will help me close gaps.  I love having work completed in class AND students must show me their work/answers after solving each problem.  This allows me to correct and reteach in real time.  Love it!

Monday, January 9, 2017

It is the first day back after a two week vacation and it snow we didn't get any snow while we were out.... so what better way to pique interest in math than by focusing on snowflakes?!

Snowflakes are actually very mathematical!

Our goal today was that the students would be able to generate geometric definitions using critical attributes of a 2-dimensional figure.

We began by reading the book:

This is the true story of Wilson Bentley who had a passion for studying snowflakes.  He even invented a way to photograph them in order to share the beauty of snowflakes with the world!

After reading the story, I showed a short video about Snowflake Bentley that showcases the photographs he began taking in the early 20th century.  The images are pretty amazing!

Finally, we began to focus on the geometry of snowflakes by working with the fact that most snowflakes are hexagonal.  We defined a hexagon by using its critical attributes (sides, vertices, angles, lines of symmetry, parallel, etc.).

At this point, we ran out of time. We needed to spend time on a Fifth Grade Builder to get back into the swing of things and continue our spiral review.