Saturday, May 10, 2014

Best Mother's Day Gifts Ever!!!

I have not always been on top of things when it comes to creating Mother's Day gifts. Many years kids just ended up creating cards. One year I took pictures of the kids and we made magnetic book marks. Last year, I had the kids paint a picture. This year....this year I have a group of great moms and I just wanted to do something amazing. 

So on Tuesday afternoon I stood in the craft section of our local Wal-Mart wondering what to do while my 3 girls ran around me pulling my ADHD self everywhere but where it needed to focus. Finally, I decided on painting self portraits. 

We have done several throughout the year using paper, pencil, and crayons. I work with them on starting with basic shapes (standard=check) and turning them into eyes, necks, and lips. We also talk a lot about sequencing (another standard=check). We even wrote a "How To" paper on the steps of drawing self-portraits (another standard=check). Their last set was so impressive that everyone that was entered in our local art contest was featured (This is not one of those;)'. 

Now this is something one could get very overwhelmed about. I mean mentioning paint is enough to make most teachers run for the hills! But if you take it step by step, and force encourage children to focus on your instructions before they do each step then it is not that torturous cause for suicidal thoughts bad.

Here are the steps I took with my class of 21 first graders over a period of three days in short little segments between lessons:

1. Draw a face. Encourage them to make it big, and kind of like an upside down egg. Yes you will have to help some who have yet mastered the skill of drawing a circle. 
2. Use a trapezoid to create a neck and then curve in the sides slightly. 

3. Then draw eyes using ovals. 

4. Noses can be drawn using a lower case b like shape or a backwards L shape. 

5. Finally it is time for the paint. Before this step I did everything as whole group. Once paint is introduced however it is whole 'nother story. Now I started pulling them back into small groups according to what color they wanted their background. 

 (Hint: to make a color that covers well. Mix a little white in with the main color. Not enough to even really lighten it, but enough to help it cover.)

6. Next it is time for the skin colors. Now I know it is not politically correct but I had to segregate the children for this. I could only do one skin color at a time. So we actually study everyone's skin and noticed that no one was really "white" or "black". The kids matched their skin tones with the others in the room, and we ended up with five different shades of skin color: light, tan, caramel, mocha, and chocolate....their words not mine. 

After a wee bit of trial and error, I found it easier to go ahead and outline the face, around the eyes, and around the lips for them and then let them fill in the rest. 

 7. Now it was time for shirts and eyes. They picked their shirt colors and a separated them into groups accordingly. Before they painted the shirts, they painted the eyes white. I had to help some on the outlines, and I added polka dots or swirls to their backgrounds for them. 
(They look like the White Walkers from Game of Thrones don't they. Needless to say our floor was a little "freaky" for a while.)

8. Now we added eye colors and lips. Once again I traced the shape in paint for them and they painted the inside.  

 9. Now it was time for the fun part. This is where they start coming to life. They traced over their noses that they had already drawn with black. I traced around their eyes and lips. They then made their irises with black. 

(Of course, some people would use a "fleshy"color for the nose and choose not to outline in black. I probably would do that with older kids, but it also has to do with what kind of look you are going for.)

Sadly,  this is where my tutorial has a massive gap. It was Friday afternoon at 12:45. The kids were leaving for PE. I was going to let them do their hair and eyebrows and finishing touches, but I realized that if I waited for 2:00 for them to come back then the paintings would not have enough time to dry in order for them to take them home. Plus, I then realized that we had a blasted assembly that afternoon, so there went another 30 minutes. 

Needless to say,  the next hour turned into a mad, racing, painting frenzy for me, and I had no time for the foolishness of picture taking. I put all the kids together that had the same color hair. All brown and blonde hair got 2 coats. Luckily, black covers so much better and the black hair only required one coat. I tried to paint their hair based on how they wear their hair most of the time. 

After the paint dried, I outlined everything in black with a good permanent marker instead of paint since there was limited drying time. Plus, the marker allowed for a lot more control and straighter lines. I also added wispy lines to hair to show pieces. Finally, I painted bows, beads, and rubber bands. 

The end products were AMAZING!!! No one believed that the kids did them. Everyone thought that I painted each child and were shocked when I told them the little bit that I did. 

I as so impressed at how much each portrait portrayed their subject. They looked just like them! I have never been more proud of something my students have produced, not even the amazing test scores. This was so much more beneficial and memorable. 

I have always integrated art into my classroom through a variety of ways. But this is the first year I have been at a school where there was no art. We have music and PE, but the budget for art was cut a few years ago. 

Art stimulates creativity, imagination, and the real life use of geometry and measurement. Not too mention the DOK Levels of 3 and 4 are constant throughout the creation process. In fact, I realized a couple of years ago that the reason my third graders could not solve problems is that they could draw them due to the fact that they could not visualize what was happening in the problem due to the fact that they never used their imaginations anymore due to the fact that their video games, TV shows, and DVD's told them what to see. Due to this fact (hahahahha) and the success of this project,  art, not just drawing on notebook paper, but real ART will, from now on,  be a staple in my classroom.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Diving into Division

When I tell parents that their third grader is going to learn to divide, I am often met with looks of trepidation. It does seem like a very hard concept for wee ones to learn. However, that is what the curriculum calls for these days.

One thing I do to make this easier is to spend a good bit of time on the meaning of multiplication:
  1. Repeated Addition
  2. Groups of
  3. Rows of (Arrays)
  4. Times I count by
You can purchase my Meaning of Multiplication PowerPoint and my Mystery of Multiplication packet at my TpT store

 Then when we move to division the concept does not seem near as daunting. I teach the meaning of division as:
  1. Repeated Subtraction
  2. Sharing into Groups
  3. Making Equal Groups
  4. Times I Count by
  5. Invers Multiplication
I use a great PowerPoint when teaching about division. It is called The Meaning of Division.

Here are some activities that students are asked to complete:

I love these videos to help students understand the Meaning of Division.

If your child likes to get on the computer, let them practice the concept of division with these online games:

Deep Dive Division
Deep Dive Fun4theBrain Game

Digging Division
Fun4theBrain Can You Dig It? Division Game

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Multiplying by Tens and Hundreds

One of my favorite concepts to teach is multiplying by multiples of 10's and 100's. Once I teach students The Meaning of Multiplication and how to find the answers to multiplication facts using arrays, groups, skip counting and repeated addition, I love to totally impress them with some major multiplication problems like:

20 x 9=180    
400 x 6= 2,400    
5,000 x 7 = 35,000
I help students master this concept by introducing them to Zero the Hero.

He makes multiplying by mutliples of tens and hundreds simple. All students need to do is circle the basic fact. Find the product. Count the zeros and then add them to the answer.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation I use during class.

Multiplying By Multiples of 1...

Once students practice a little while, it becomes second nature. It makes estimating with mutliplication a breeze.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Popping about the Properties of Multiplication

Properties, properties. So many to teach and so little time. Not to mention what an abstract concept it is for students to understand. Here are some tricks I use when teaching the properties of multiplication:

1. Commutative- Before I start I have students use a Thesaurus to find lots of synonyms for the word talk. We make a word web of all of the words. One of the words is always communicate. We talk about what communicate means. It means to say something by talking, writing, using sign language.... Then I show the problem 4 x 3= and I ask them what is another way we can say the same problem...3 x 4. We can show that the 2 problems communicate the same thing like this 4 x 3=3 x 4. Since the two are communicating the same things we say that they are the Commutative Property-the order in which you multiply two factors does not matter the product will always be the same.

2. Associative- We start by talking about friends. Friends are the people we choose to be with. When we are on the playground or in the lunchroom, we group ourselves with our friends. Another word for grouping is associating. We associate with our friends. Associate means to group. When we multiply 3 or more numbers, we can't multiply all of them at the same time so we group them or associate them. To show the grouping or associating, we use parentheses to show which numbers we are grouping together first: 3 x (5 x 6)=3 x 30=90. The Associative Property says that it does not matter which two numbers you group together or associate first, the answer will still be the same. We show the Associative Property like this: 3 x (5 x 6) = (3 x 5) x 6. When we are multiplying the factors 3, 5, and 6, it does not matter which two we group or associate together first. When we find the final product, the answer will always be the same.

3. Identity-I like to talk about secret identities. The kids really get into it: Spiderman is Peter Parker, Batman is Bruce Wayne, Superman is Clark Kent, Hannah Montana is Miley Cyrus....They are not two different people. They are the "1" and the same person. Their secret identities (Peter, Bruce, Clark, Miley) are their real identities. It is who they are and adding a costume or a wig does not change who they are. The Identity Property of multiplication shows that a number can stay the same when we multiply it by a certain factor. Then I show them the following facts: 4x0=0, 4x1=4, 4x2=8, 4x3=12. Which one allowed the 4 to keep its identity? 4x1=4. The identity property states that any number multiplied by a factor of 1 stays the same.

I use a PowerPoint presentation to teach students about the Properties of Multiplication. You can find it at my TpT store.
I also use this packet that has tons of printables, activities, games, student notes, an assessment, and so much more to teach students about the properties of multiplication.

 You can find the Popping about the Properties of Multiplication at my TpT store.

See how I use all of this in my classroom at my classroom website, Mrs. Hill's P.I.R.A.T.E.S.

 Mrs. Hill's Perfect P.I.R.A.T.E.S.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Freebies for Upper Grades

Hocus Pocus with a Giveaway Focus!!  Halloween's just around the corner, and I have to admit it's one of my favorite holidays!  Ghost stories, pumpkins, candy corn and excitement fill the air. It can only mean that we teachers need to prepare for our classroom gremlins' dynamic desires to Trick-or-Treat this season AND fast! Why not get ready for celebrating this festive occasion by entering my HUGE Halloween giveaway?

It even includes a $25 gift card to the amazing black-and-orange company,!

Not to mention, you
have a chance to win 19 high-quality HALLOWEEN products specifically designed for upper grade students from some amazing
and very generous TpT sellers!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Mystery of Multiplication

Multiplication has come a long way since we were in elementary school. We were handed a list of facts and told to memorize. I don't think we even questioned why 4 x 9 equaled 36. We just accepted it.

Things are so different today. Kids not only have to know that 4 x 9 equals 36, they also have to know why. In other words, how do you know? Prove it to me. Which is perfect for my math motto: PROVE IT! DON'T JUST CHOOSE IT!

Our standards no longer just require students to answer the basic fact. The new standards require students to show what 4 x 9 looks like using groups of objects, arrays, and repeated addition. I have created the following products to help my students master these concepts:

I use this Meaning of Multiplication PowerPoint presentation over a week long period. I take each meaning one day at a time. I embed videos and online games into it, so that we can just click and go.

I also use The Mystery of Multiplication lesson and activity packet to provide lessons, printables, games, activities, graphic organizers, and more.