Friday, December 7, 2012

Math Freebie - Steal the Treasure (X Version)

While I was recreating an addition game I first saw in a fabulous post by Aimee of Primarily Speaking, I decided a multiplication version was needed.

Here's a snapshot of the multiplication version of Steal the Treasure.

The game comes with teacher directions, student directions (shown), and a game board. 

Download the multiplication version of Steal the Treasure!. Please let me know if you try this with your students and how they liked it.

Math Freebie - Steal the Treasure!

While pinning resources yesterday I came across a fabulous post by Aimee of Primarily Speaking. In it she describes a game she learned about at a workshop. Using a number line written on a paint stick, students roll dice, add the numbers, and remove each other's markers. Called Walk the Plank, I thought it looked like great fun.

After writing to Aimee to ask if I could take this idea and run with it (she said yes!), I changed the title and made several different game boards. Here's a snapshot of this new version called Steal the Treasure.

The game comes with teacher directions, student directions (shown), and three different game boards. 

Download Steal the Treasure!. Please let me know if you try this with your students and how they liked it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Pinterest Update and a Thank You

I blame Loreen Leedy for this! On December 21st last year she wrote a post entitled Pinterest for nonfiction (and everything else)!-- a post that convinced me to ask her for an invitation. I started my account on January 8th and began with a bit of trepidation. What exactly was I going to use this for?  I played around a bit and realized very quickly just how very useful these boards could be in my teaching. Here's a glimpse of my page.
Nearly 11 months later I have 113 Boards, just over 3900 pins, and a growing collection of resources for teaching math and science, and to a smaller extent, social studies.

For years I've developed web sites for my classes. In this particular iteration I'm using both Weebly and Google sites. I like them both for different reasons, but I must say the visual nature of Pinterest is highly compelling. Students SEE very quickly what I'm talking about. Both the Weebly and Google sites are text heavy. With Pinterest I can point them directly to resources they can use in planning lessons. It has significantly changed how I think about sharing some of the more practical, applied components of the pedagogy I teach.

So, while I blame Loreen for this new obsession, I also owe her a great deal of thanks for helping me add yet another tool to my arsenal of teaching ideas. Thanks, Loreen!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Geology Kitchen

Have you seen Geology Kitchen? I'm enamored of this twelve episode video series that uses food metaphors to explain earth science concepts. The host is terrific and offers up a hefty dose of science in an engaging way. Here's the pilot video on the three types of rocks.
The videos are free and can be either watched online or downloaded from iTunes.

This is a terrific resource, so be sure to check it out!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Domino Math - Addition and Multiplication

I've been working with my class on the operations of addition and subtraction. I like to use dominoes to practice basic facts, so I've been exploring different ways to do this. Here's a form I created for students to sort dominoes and then record corresponding addition sentences.
Download Domino Addition Sort.

In anticipation of where I'm going with my class, I went ahead and created a similar page for multiplication.
Download Domino Multiplication Sort.

If you download, please let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Math Freebie - Paper and Pencil Shut-the-Box

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Last week my class started looking at activities for practicing basic facts in addition and subtraction. I created this recording sheet so that they could play a version of the game "Shut-the-Box" with paper and pencil. (You can learn more about the game at Board Game Central.)

Here's what it looks like.

If you still want the tactile aspect to this game, try writing the digits 1-9 on poker chips. As students flip or remove the chips they can record the results on this page.

I hope you get a chance to use this in your home or classroom. Please let me know if you try this and how your kids like it. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Math Freebies - More Picture Sudoku

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Last week I created my first of a set of puzzles to ease kids into Sudoku. These puzzles contain a 6x6 grid (instead of 9x9) and use pictures instead of numbers. Today I've added three new sets of picture puzzles to the Monster Sudoku puzzles.

Each file contains 5 different challenges with pieces that can be used to solve the puzzles. Answer keys are also included. Please note that every set has different puzzles, so if you download all 4 sets you get 20 different puzzles!

Here's a sneak peak at one puzzle from each set.

Download Sports Sudoku.
Download Star Wars Sudoku.

Enjoy! Please let me know if you try these and how your kids like them. I'll be working on number versions and 9x9 puzzles next.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sudoku Puzzles With Pictures

I thought it might be fun to ease kids into Sudoku puzzles by trying a scaled down version (6x6 grid) with pictures instead of numbers. Here's what I've come up with so far. This first version has 5 different challenges with pieces that can be used to solve the puzzles.

Download Monster Sudoku.
Please let me know if you try these and how your kids like them.

Friday, August 31, 2012

STEM Friday - Secrets of the Garden

Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard, written by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and illustrated by Priscilla Lamont, is a fine example of informational picture book that works on many levels. It is gorgeously illustrated, interestingly told, and chock full of science.

Let's start with the actual story. It opens in the spring with a family of four (mom, dad, son, daughter)—five if you count the cat, and seven if you count their amazingly smart chickens—preparing to plant a garden. The soil is prepared, seeds are planted, and then watered. Narrated by Alice, the young girl in the story, her observations and wonderings immediately set the stage for the science that is to come. Here's an excerpt.
I try to imagine what's going on under that soil. Are our seeds alive and growing? Every morning we hurry out of bed and check to see if anything has sprouted. But days go by and still our garden looks like an empty patch of brown.
Alice leads readers through the many stages of growth of in the garden, spending time closely observing everything that unfolds. She spots a rabbit munching on the vegetables, a hawk swooping down and snatching an unsuspecting grasshopper, many insects eating plants or other insects, and a robin capturing and eating an earthworm. As fall arrives, the vegetables are harvested and many are put up for the winter.

Complementing the story are Lamont's beautifully rendered pen and watercolor illustrations. There is a tremendous amount of detail in them, giving readers much to look for. In addition to the main illustrations that support and help to tell the story, there are small boxes and bits of informational drawings and text scattered throughout. 

While the CIP data for the book indicate that this is fiction, there is a TON of information in it. First, there are two chickens, Maisy and Daisy, who appear throughout the book and provide information on everything from composting, to the plant parts we eat, to food chains and food webs, and more. There are also speech balloons where the characters describe what they are seeing. All the concepts in the text are explained in kid-friendly, highly accessible language. One of my favorite illustrations in the book is nothing more than a rendering of worm trails in the soil. However, the trails are filled with worms and information! Here's what you'll read and learn when you follow the trails and turn the book upside down and around.
Worms are a special part of the food chain. When plants die, they fall to the ground and begin to rot. The worms eat the rotting plants. As the worms tunnel around, they leave digested plant matter behind in the soil. The digested plant matter returns important nutrients to the soil. The worms also loosen up the soil as they tunnel. Then water and air get down to the plants' roots more easily. Worms help the plants grow.
Near the end of the book, Alice describes her home and compares it to their summer home, the garden.  She explains that while only their family lives in their wooden home (house), their garden home includes others, like rabbits, birds, spiders, and beetles. One the opposing page, one of the chickens reads from a book that defines ecology. In the speech bubble we read these words.
Ecology is the study of all the living things in one area, or environment, and how the relate to teach other. The word "ecology" comes from the Greek word oikos, which means "house" or "home." Any living thing's environment is its home.
There is so much to love in this book, from the simple story of a family living and working together to tend the garden, to thoughtfully integrated science, to the lovely illustrations. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Author:  Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld 
Illustrator: Priscilla Lamont
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 2012
Pages: 40 pages
Grades: K-5
ISBN:  978-0517709900
Source of Book: Personal copy

This review was written for STEM Friday

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review - World Without Fish

Today over at The Miss Rumphius Effect you'll find a review of WORLD WITHOUT FISH: HOW KIDS CAN HELP SAVE THE OCEANS, written by Mark Kurlansky and illustrated by Frank Stockton. If you have a moment, please stop by and check it out.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

More Patterns!

Just a quick post today to share to new pattern sets, one for African animals and one for woodland animals. In each set you'll find 8 different pattern strips and pattern pieces. Patterns found in these sets include AB, ABC, ABB, AAB, AABB, AABC, ABCD, ABAC. Here's a sneak peak at a few of the pages from each.

Download African Animal Patterns.
Download Woodland Animal Patterns.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Patterns, Patterns, Patterns!

I still find myself perplexed that patterns do not appear in the elementary portion of the Common Core Standards for Mathematics. Arithmetic patterns do appear in the upper elementary grades, but identifying, extending and creating patterns has disappeared altogether. This is a shame because understanding patterns is one of a number of skills that lay the foundation for algebraic thinking. Patterns help children make sense of the world around them. There are patterns in music, poetry, the seasons, life cycles, phases of the moon, tides, and more! Patterns can be used to solve problems. They can also be a powerful tool for helping children make connections across areas of math. Memorizing basic facts is so much easier when we teach children to recognize patterns and relationships.  

I know many elementary teachers that will be reluctant to give up activities related to patterning. Since I'm preparing teachers in Virginia, and since VA is one of the few holdout states in relation to adopting the CCSM, I am still focused on activities related to patterns. Perhaps teachers in Common Core states can sneak these activities in under the guise of the Mathematical Practice standards 7 and 8 which say that students will look for and make use of structure (7) and look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning (8).

For teachers helping students to recognize, describe, extend, and create a wide variety of repeating patterns, I have created a set of materials you may find useful. You'll find 8 different pattern strips and pattern pieces. Patterns found in this set include AB, ABC, ABB, AAB, AABB, AABC, ABCD, ABAC. Here's a sneak peak at a few of the pages.
Download Farm Patterns. Please let me know if you find this useful. I'm working on some other themed sets for repeating patterns, as well as a few for growing patterns.

Monday, July 16, 2012

ScreenChomp Videos for Math

My eight week summer class has ended and I am absolutely thrilled with the work my students have done. One of their assignments this summer was to experiment with ScreenChomp and create a video tutorial for students. Here is what they came up with.

Suzanne created a video on Fact Families.

Rachel created a video reviewing Mixed Numbers.

Allison created a video on Adding Fractions with the Butterfly Method.

Myra created a video on Telling Time.

Beth created a video on Adding Fractions.

Donna created a video on Magic Math Windows.

Mandy created a video on Long Division.

I hope you enjoy these and find them helpful. If you like them, please leave my students a little love!

Monday Math Freebies - Egg Carton Place Value

I've been making lots of resources for my class this summer. The teachers seem to be enjoying it. Last week I made sets of materials for egg carton place value. Here's what they look like.

We eat a LOT of eggs, so all my containers have 18 cups. Most egg carton math activities use the standard dozen container.

Here's a closeup of the directions.
Download a copy of Egg Carton Place Value.
When we played we used a copy of the recording sheet created by Doris at Third Grade Thinkers. Her version is pretty cool too! You might want to try that as well. 

Fraction Discovery Bottles

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
After making discovery bottles for number sense and computation, I decided to try making some bottles for fractions. I used some wooden pieces from a collection of sorting objects. There are geometric shapes, as well as planes, cars and even a horse. One of the bottles contains LEGO pieces. Here's a peak at them.

Here's what you'll find in each of the bottles.
Bottle 1 – Transportation theme
Contains 5 wooden vehicles
  • 3 cars/trucks, one red, one yellow and one blue 
  • 2 airplanes, one red and one yellow
Bottle 2 – Shapes theme 
Contains 6 wooden shapes
  • 2 circles, one red and one green
  • 2 squares, one red and one green
  • 2 triangles, one red and one green
Bottle 3 – Mixed set
 Contains 6 wooden shapes
  • 2 circles, one red and one green
  • 2 squares, one red and one green
  • 2 triangles, one red and one green
Contains 5 wooden vehicles
  • 3 cars/trucks, one red, one yellow and one blue 
  • 2 airplanes, one red and one yellow
Contains 1 red wooden horse
Bottle 4 – LEGO theme
Contains 5 LEGO blocks
  • 3 large blocks, one gray, one black, one white
  • 2 small blocks, one gray and one red
I have created a packet with directions for making the bottles and one activity page for each of the four bottles. Here are a few sample pages.

Download Fraction Discovery Bottles. If you try these, please let me know what you think. If you have any other suggestions or ideas, please let me know.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fun with Fractions in 5th Grade!

Literature Connections

The Hershey's Milk Chocolate Fraction Book. By Jerry Pallotta. Illus. by Robert Bolster. (1999). 32p. Cartwheel Books. 
(978-0439135191). Gr. 2+
*This is a great book to help introduce fractions to your students. The book begins with one whole (chocolate bar) and then continues to break it down using fractions. The author uses fractions such as 2/3, 3/4, 8/12, and 7/12. There are many lesson out on the internet that go along with this book which is very helpful. The author made this book fun for students to learn about fractions!

Fraction Fun. By David Adler. Illus. by Nancy Tobin. (1997). 30p. Holiday House. (978-0823413416). Gr. K+
*Although this book can be used in the lower elementary grades, it is a great resource to share with upper elementary students too. The author gave a clear explanation of fractions and fractional value. The illustrations present the book in a fun manner and would be great for a quick review of fractions in the beginning of the unit.

Polar Bear Math. By Ann Whitehead Nagda and Ciny Bickel. (2004). 32p. Henry Holt and Co. (978-0805073010). Gr. 2+
*This book is perfect for learning about fractions as well as learning a little about polar bears. Which I think makes it fun! The book follows two polar bears who were abandoned by their mother. The author provides great pictures for students to be engaged while reading independently or whole group. The book begins with defining fractions and then moves into comparing fractions. All concepts are tied to the polar bears and what they are doing!

Web Resources:

*This is an awesome website for kids to use. Once on the main page, click on fractions and several games including a fraction tutorial are shown. I like this site because students can review about fractions before playing games. Students can choose from several games to play which include, simple fractions, equivalent fractions matching, fraction addition, fraction subtraction, and much more!

*This is another fun website. The games focuses on equivalent fractions. Students are to figure out which level they want to play and then the game begins. Once they have selected the level, the student will be shown four fractions, they are to click on the fraction that is not equal to the others. Teachers could ask students to copy the fractions down as they go on scratch paper to turn in as an alternative assignment.

*This website is perfect for students who want to practice several fraction concepts or at least have the option to choose between concepts. Some of the topics that are listed are equivalent fractions, simplest form, and improper fractions. I mainly like this website because students get the option to choose what they want to review

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Third Grade Fractions

Literature Connections for Teaching Fractions in Third Grade

Fraction Action. By Loreen Leedy. (1996). 32p. Holiday House. (978-0823412440). Gr. K-3.
This book is a fun take on learning fractions, as there are chapters that tell stories about fractions as a way to teach fractions. Students will enjoy the graphics as they learn from Miss Prime all about fractions!

My Half Day. By Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed.  Illustrated by Karen Lee.  (2008). 32p. Sylvan Dell Publishing. (978-1934359143). Gr. K-3.
This book follows the story of a boy through his day, and everything that happens to him seems to be happening in fractions!  With a fun story line and exciting pictures, students will love seeing what happens next!

Full House: An Invitation to Fractions. By Dayle Ann Dodds. Illustrated by Abby Carter. (2009). 32p. Candlewick. (978-0763641306). Gr. 1-4.
This a great rhyming book that introduces the denominator and numerator of a fraction in terms of a house filling up with guests.  Children will love the story and learn about fractions at the same time.

The Wishing Club: A Story About Fractions. By Donna Jo Napoli.  Illustrated by Anna Currey. (2007). 32p. Henry Holt and Co. (978-0805076653). Gr. 1-4.
This is a cute book about four friends who make wishes one night only to find out that parts of their wishes are coming true.  A great story in teaching fractions!

Online Resources for Kids to Learn About Fractions

A pizza party game that includes 10 questions for kids to answer about the fractions of pizza left or gone!  Easy to understand questions and simple graphics keep the questions at an academic level for most students to answer without much difficulty.

This fun Bamzooki fractions game gives great descriptions of the numerator and denominator.  Students are given the task of creating the fraction in the game before time runs out!

This fun game gives children 13 different ways to look at the fraction ‘1/2’.  This would be good for students who are functioning at a higher level of thinking as it requires some higher-level problem solving skills.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Money in Second Grade

In Second Grade the Standards of Learning state, "the student will count and compare collections of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters whose total value is $2.00 or less; and correctly use the dollar symbol, the cent symbol, and the decimal." 

Measurement, money in particular, is a real-world application that should be introduced with a variety of representations.

Therefore, this post will provide some children's literature that can be useful in supporting the instruction on money in second grade, as well as, some fun web resources.

A Quarter From The Tooth Fairy. By Caren Holtzman. Illus. Betsy Day. (1995). Cartwheel, (0590265989). 40 p. Gr. K-3.
In this book, Caren Holtzman [Hello Math Reader, Level 3] recounts in verse how a young boy spends the quarter he got from the Tooth Fairy for his tooth.   He first buys a monster for his quarter but then decides it wasn't quite right and returns it, getting 2 dimes and 1 nickel back.   Each time he buys and returns an item, he gets his 25 cents back in a different combination of coins, making this book an excellent introduction to the problem of how many different ways students can make 25 cents.

Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money. By Amy Axelrod. Illus. Sharon McGinley-Nally. (1997). Aladdin, (0689812191). 40 p. Gr. K-3.
In this book, Amy Axelrod tells how the hungry pig family finds an empty refrigerator and then decide to hunt all over the house for money. After finding different amounts of money, they drive to their favorite restaurant, Enchanted Enchilada, and order 4 daily specials from the menu.

Jenny Found a Penny. By Trudy Harris. Illus. John Hovell. (2007). Millbrook Press, (0822567253). 32 p. Gr. K-3.

In this book, Trudy Harris describes how Jenny saves different values of coins to make a special purchase that costs one dollar. But even when she has the correct amount, will she be able to buy her item? There's a real life lesson in the story and is a great resource to pave the way towards financial responsibility.

The Coin Counting Book. By Rozanne Lanczak Williams. (2001). Charlesbridge Pub Inc, (0881063266). 32 p. Gr. K-4.
In this book you will find large, clear photographs of money that instruct students in coin denominations, grouping, and counting. This book is valuable as an introductory lesson on money.

How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty. By Nathan Zimelman. Illus. Bill Slavin. (1992). Albert Whitman & Company, (0807534315). 32 p. Gr. 1-3.
Nathan Zimelman takes a humorous look at a second grade fund raising project and the many adventures and misadventures along the way. What better way to slip in the concept of money to a second grade class than with a book exclusively about second graders raising money.

The Penny Pot. By Stuart J. Murphy. Illus. Lynne Cravath. (1998). HarperCollins, (0064467171). 40 p. Gr. K-2.
Stuart Murphy explores the world of money when Jessie want to have her face painted at the school fair. However, it costs 50 cents and she only has 39 cents. Therefore, she hangs out at the "leave a penny, take a penny" penny pot to gather additional change until she has enough.

Where the Sidewalk Ends. By Shel Silverstein. Illus. same. (1974). HarperCollins, (00605722345). 192 p. Gr. K-5.
The poem Smart, written by Shel Silverstein in Where the Sidewalk Ends, is a good-humored look at our money system and a child's misunderstandings about the size and value of coins. This is especially effective when student's "act out" the poem using the large coin cutouts or when students draw their own coin illustrations for the poem. Additionally, by having the students work out the equations for what occurs in the poem, you are encouraging some reversibility of thought.

Here are some fun websites that "coin"cide with teaching money in second grade. This site provides ten different games on money, from verifying the amount, comparing, and matching. This site provides some dynamic, educational video games while teaching important money skills, such as "Peter Pig's Money Counter". This site reinforces basic money counting skills by totaling the value of the shown coins correctly to fill in the box. This site provides six different money games - like paying for bus fare, running a lemonade stand, and shopping.

Here is an additional site for fun facts about money. It can help bring in a history element to the learning process.