Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Blog Post: Math Warmups

How do you start your math class?

This past year, I took on the approach of math workshop. I'll save the whole routine of math workshop for another post, but I do want to focus on the beginning of the math lesson. The first 5 minutes of math are crucial. The math warmup is important to engage learners, review previous content, get them ready for the upcoming lesson, and get students thinking about what is to come.

My district utilizes Everyday Math, which incorporates a warmup, followed by a math message that involves critical thinking. Everyday Math's warmup is nice in that it differentiates to various skill levels. However, simply solving the problems on a whiteboard or in a journal can get old fast. Therefore, I found a few different ways where students can get those same warmup problems, but in a more interactive way.

One easy way to incorporate math warmup problems is to do what I call a "math-ercise." It is essentially solving math facts while doing exercises. I like it because it adds the "brain break" element and also gets students moving while practicing math.

There are few different ways that I integrated the "math-ercise" into our math workshop.  Sometimes, I would call out an exercise, followed by a math fact. They had to do the exercise the number of times that the answer would be. For example, I would call "Jumping Jacks, 3 x 3!" Students would then respond by doing 9 jumping jacks. Students liked verbalizing the answer and completing the exercise while counting aloud.

Another way that I included the "math-ercise" was through a Power Point presentation.  Facts would appear on the screen, and students had to call out the answers. In between every 3 or 4 slides, an exercise would appear! Students would call out the answers to the facts appearing on the screen, but then quickly spring into the requested action.

Warmup exercises are very easy to do with math facts. No matter the grade level, students need to know their facts! It is a great way to practice them in just a short amount of time, and in a more engaging way than the typical speed tests.

Other than the "math-ercise," I created a warmup called "Two Truths, One Lie: Math Edition."  Many of us are familiar with the icebreaker, but I made it math related. 3 problems appear on a Power Point slide. It is then the students' job to identify which statements are true, and which one is the lie. For those mathematicians who finish quickly, I have them correct the lie and make it true. A 3rd grade version of "Two Truths, One Lie: Math Edition" can be found on my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

For the next warmup, you'll probably think of a familiar tune. "One of these things is not like the other" is something we remember from watching Sesame Street, but can also work great in math! I put 4 different mathematical pictures or equations on the slide. Then, students have to figure out which one is not like the others, and explain why. For extra fun, you can play the song in the background on repeat.

Those are just a few suggestions for starting math, whether you do a workshop style, small groups, or whole class instruction.  Have any clever ways to engage students for math warmups? Add them to the comments section!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lesson Plan: Interpreting Remainders

Interpreting Remainders "DIRT" Anchor Chart
This lesson is intended for 4th grade Everyday Math, but can be translated to other math programs and grade levels.   The lesson is broken into different parts. The lesson starts with an anticipatory set, a warmup problem, minilesson, and then breaks into math centers (guided practice, partner work, independent).

Lesson: 6-8 Expressing and Interpreting Remainders

Objective: Students explore different ways to express and interpret remainders.

CCSS: 4.NF.1, 4.NF.2, 4.OA.3, 4.NBT.6, SMP1, SMP6

Warm-Up: Read Aloud: A Remainder of One, by Elinor J. Pinczes

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lesson Plan: Distributive Property

Distributive Property game has been updated and
is available on TSN's Teachers Pay Teachers Page
This lesson utilizes enVision Math, but ideas can be adapted for other texts.  Many of the hyperlinks will direct you to a place to download the resources used throughout this lesson. (Note: You must have ActivInspire downloaded to view the Promethean Board slides)

Lesson: 3.5 Distributive Property
Subject: Math
Grade: 5th

Integration of Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to use the Distributive Property to simplify expressions and solve equations by constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, looking for and making use of structure, looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning.

· 5.NBT.5: Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
· 5.OA.1

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Classroom Management: Clip Chart Alternative

For the last two years, I have been using "A Cupcake for the Teacher's" adorably awesome clip chart.  Students have their own clothespins clipped to the chart. For good behavior, students can move their clip upward, while poor behavior results in a downward motion of the clip.  

There are consequences for clipping down, and rewards for clipping up.  If they clip up to "Super Student," they get a star on their clip. 10 stars retires their clip into the "Clip Chart Hall of Fame."  I also included a positive reward system to go along with the chart, where clipping up earned them a ticket for a weekly raffle.  The raffle winner would recieve a prize such as a homework pass, or sitting at the teacher's desk for a day (a class favorite)!

While this is an effective way of classroom management, there is a new alternative to the clip chart game. The "Character Trait Clip Chart" promotes all positive behavior.  Instead of "clipping down," this chart is only for "clip ups." Students earn their clip on the chart by displaying character traits from the 6 Pillars of Character.  Students can also recieve a certificate for getting their clip on the chart.
Character Trait Clip Chart includes 7 different traits and an award certificate

I like this alternative because it doesn't draw toward negative attention.  It promotes a positive environment, as the negative behaviors can be handled without the student "clipping down" in front of the whole class, which many bring out other negative energy.

The clipchart alternative can also be used with a positive reward system. Students can earn raffle tickets for getting their name on the chart, much like the original.  It could also be used with Class Dojo, earning students points. I like the idea of Class Dojo because negative points will also hold students accountable, and gives leighway to address negative behaviors without being centerstage.

The intensions of the "Character Trait Clip Chart" are to promote a positive learning enviornment. There has been so much hate in the world recently, and the point of this clip chart is to bring out the good in the classroom.

Download the "Character Trait Clip Chart" on TSN's Teachers Pay Teachers page.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Display & Blog Post: William Glasser "We Learn..." Poster

Back in high school, I took private batting lessons to improve my softball swing.  My hitting instructor was one of the best in the business, as he could pinpoint the tiniest details in my swing.  He went beyond the fundamentals, sharing the best techniques and mechanics.  His knowledge for the game was through the roof, but perhaps the most unique thing about him was how he took the mental side of softball to a different level.

Every session, he would say "you only remember 50% of what you see and hear."  At the time, I never understood why he said this.  I figured it was an excuse that would benefit me in case I were to forget something.  When I became a teacher, I finally understood what he meant.

Lesson Plan: Multiplication Properties

Front of Properties Foldable
This lesson utilizes enVision Math, but ideas can be adapted for other texts.  Many of the hyperlinks will direct you to a place to download the resources used throughout this lesson. (Note: You must have ActivInspire downloaded to view the Promethean Board slides)

Lesson: 3.1 – Multiplication Properties
Subject: Math
Grade: 5th

Integration of Learning Outcomes
· Students will be able to identify and apply Commutative, Associative, Identity, and Zero Properties of Multiplication by reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, looking for and making use of structure, and looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning.

· 5.NBT.6: Use strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lesson Plan: Every Picture Tells A Story

Objectives: Students will be able to…
  • Brainstorm a topic for a narrative by looking at pictures
  • Independently start writing a narrative based on a picture they selected
  • Orally outline a story by looking at a picture
  • PA.R.1.4 – Types of Writing
  • PA.R.1.5 – Quality of Writing
Anticipatory Set: There will be a brief discussion. Ask the students, “What is a writer’s block?” Have students raise their hands and give the definition of a writer’s block. Ask the students if they ever had a writer’s block and how they felt during that time.  Follow this up by asking the students how they got out of the “writer’s block.” Share a personal experience or examples of a writer’s block so that the students feel comfortable sharing their own experiences.

This activity allows students to discuss a topic that they can relate to, but also connect to brainstorming. Explain that we will use one strategy that will help resolve the issue of a writer’s block.