Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Let's Talk About Math! - Using Partners to Help Solve Word Problems

I'm actually getting a post done on a Tuesday.
It's a perfect day to link up with Holly for
Last week in 3rd grade we worked on multi-step word problems.
I know some you will disagree with me,
but my kids understood them and I believe it is because 
of the CCSS we implemented this year.

This my fifth year teaching 3rd grade
and it's the first time everyone in the class
was able to solve these problems.
 I mean everyone including my resource students!

This year I was able to spend more time 
working on multiplication and division stories
and this helped with the multi-step stories.

One fun activity we used was a genius idea from

 This activity is great because the kids did work on
their own and with a partner.
Step 1:  On your own, read the word problem.
If you want, highlight the important info 
and underline the question.
Think about how you would solve the problem.
Step 2:  Meet with your partner and discuss
how to solve the problem.

Step 3:  Go back to your seat and on your own, solve the problem.
Step 4:  Get back with your partner and compare answers.
If you got different answers, review  your strategies and work.
If you got the same answer, discuss how you solved it.

My kids loved this!
This strategy really helped my kids that weren't 
sure about how to solve these problems.
I could see they felt confident going back
and trying to figure out the answer
after they had discussed it with their partner.

What are some strategies, techniques or activities you use with word problems?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Trade and Grade...The Island! A Project Based Learning Activity

I was so lucky to be paired up with Matt from Digital:Divide and Conquer.
He sent me one of his favorite products:
I love trying new things with my kids 
and this product was definitely something I had never done before.

I started by reading through the whole product
and quickly learned that I didn't need to do 
every project in the pack.
I was able to pick and choose the activities
I wanted my kids to complete.

Each student was given a writing journal
to use for the project.
You definitely don't need to do this 
and could easily have kids staple together some sheets of paper.

 Each day we completed one of the "tasks" 
that was given to the students.
Many of the beginning tasks get the kids ready for the adventure.

We created maps, files and even signed a contract that was included in the pack.
Sometimes we brainstormed as a class before we started to write.
Here was our adjective list we created.
I couldn't believe my third graders came up with these words.
Can you tell they were interested and motivated?

Sometimes we brainstormed in small groups.
You can see how the kids glued the task on the one side of the paper
and then would do their writing directly across from it.

There was a lot of time to write on their own.
This packet was so easy to use and the kids loved it!
I was so comfortable with it, 
that I used one of the tasks as a lesson
 when I got observed by our principal!

After we completed some of the writing tasks,
I used them as lessons to teach revising and editing.
 They fit right in as some kids would say, "I'm done."

If you want to see more,
be sure to download a free sample of 
 Since you stopped by, be sure to enter this amazing giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 14, 2014

Reading Informational Text - Engaging the Whole Class

I’m always looking for ways to keep
all my students engaged and actually
paying attention to their reading.
Here is what we did this week
with an informational text article.
Each student had to read an article.
As they read, they had to record
some ideas on their note cards. 
FYI – I cut index cards in half and each student
received three of them.
You could even use a sheet of paper.
On one side of the card,
they recorded an important
word, phrase or sentence.
On the other side,
they recorded why it was important.

Then came the fun part!
I put the kids into groups of three or four.
 Student #1 shared the word, phrase or sentence on their card.
Student #2 told why they thought the idea was important.
Student #3 had to give a different idea.
Finally, Student #1 told why they chose the idea
as an important part of the article.
Then it was time for Student #2 to read his first idea.
Student #3 gave their thoughts as to why
the idea was chosen.
Student #1 gave their feedback
and then Student #2 gave their reason.

This continued until all the students
had a chance to share their cards.
As the students discussed,
I rotated around the room and listened.

For some of the students,
I questioned why they chose certain words.
Many kids had the same words and so we
discussed why that happened.
I had two boys that truly understood
the main idea of the article.
They both found a sentence that
summarized the whole article.

It was awesome to hear everyone talking  about reading!

Have you ever used this type of activity?
What other activities have you used with informational text?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cute Teacher Gift and Amazing Math Resource Site!

State tests started on Monday!
I hate that we take them when we still have 1/3 of the school year to go.
Oh well!  At least they will be finished.

Last week the PTA's Teacher Appreciation Committee
gave all the staff members gifts.
How cute is that?
See the glass jar?  It has a straw in it!
It's a glass water bottle.

My real reason for blogging today is to link up with Holly
from Fourth Grade Flipper for

Have you been on this math resource site?
My principal recently introduced this site to us and I love it!
There are ideas/printables for games, centers, math facts, etc.
The two items I bought and highly recommend are:
Math Journals

 and Math Projects
Sorry for the crappy pictures.

JOURNALS:  There are 90 different journal prompts for the kids.
Each page has about 30 copies of the prompt 
so everyone can cut and glue it into a math journal.
Next week, after our state testing is complete, 
I'm going to use them as Morning Work.
This will give the kids some morning math practice
and a chance for some meaningful "math talk."

PROJECTS:  This is my TRIED IT activity.
I've tried two of these and they worked out great.
This was the first one we did.
It was right before one of our long breaks from school.
The other third grade teachers and I split the kids into groups of three.
They spent about three days working together on the projects.
It was fun to meet kids from the other classes
and watch everyone interact.

The other time I used it was during my 
 addition/subtraction unit I had about eight students
that had mastered all the skills.
I put them into two groups of four and explained the project.
Each project has a directions page and a rubric.
I made a few of my own recording pages to help the kids stay organized.
For about three days, they worked on it during my math lessons.
They had fun and real life math skills were being used.

Check out these fun titles!
We are going to do the 
Tallest Buildings of the World as part of our graphing unit.

There are samples of both the journals and the projects on the website.

Please note:  If you check out the final projects shown on the site,
none of them were completed by my students.
I made it very simple and they didn't have a big display at the end.

Have you ever used this site?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Currently March - Chance to Win A Product!

It's March,
but I guess the weather doesn't know it.
We are getting more snow right now!

I need something fun to do,
so I'm linking up with
for Currently March.

Listening - Have you seen the musical?  It's terrible.  
The movie is so much better.

Loving - March means that spring is slowly on it's way.

Thinking - I should do some lesson plans, 
but I also want to work on a new product, 
order pictures online 
and order some home goods.  
What to do!

Wanting - Isn't this what we always need?

Needing - I'll probably get a load done tonight 
and fold in the morning.

???????????? - Hint: Something happens here in Illinois on Monday. 
Make a guess!  
I'll randomly pick a winner on Sunday night.  
The prize?  
Winner's choice of any product in my store!

Have a great rest of the weekend!