Sunday, February 26, 2012

Decimals: Understanding that Little Dot

After teaching my unit on fractions, I move on into teaching decimals. It just makes sense because they are both used to represent parts of a whole. Plus 5/10 and 0.5 mean the same thing so it helps kids to start decimals while they are still in the fraction frame of mind.

Check out my PowerPoint presentation at my TpT store.

I spend a week on decimals. The first day I introduce the concepts of decimals by relating them to fractions. I use a graphic organizer to help kids grasp the concept and several other activities, which you can check out at my TpT store.

The next day we watch the following video:

Then we review the graphic organizer with more examples. Next I allow them to show me what they know with a worksheet or matching game.

The rest of the week is spent on adding and subtracting fractions. Here is a video that my kids really love and it helps them understand the most important thing when adding or subtracting decimals.

Number Forms

My teaching style received a major revamp a few years ago when I went through Singapore Math training. Not only did the way I teach math change, but so did the way I thought about math. These principles of understanding the why in numbers does astonishing things to students mathematical minds.

One of the fundamental concepts that students in grades 2-4 must understand is that of Number Forms. Singapore Math takes kids through the forms numbers can be written in. This foundation also provides a foundation for what is to come with operations.

Here is my 4 day standard-based unit on PowerPoint that includes songs, interactive lessons, use of manipulatives, videos... Check it out!


Here is a video I use during this unit.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Circles Go Right Round Baby, Right Round!

A few years ago our state curriculum changed. Now third graders have to be able to identify the parts of a circle: center, radius and diameter. It is to prepare them for what is to come in fourth and fifth grade when they have to find the radius using the diameter, diameter using the radius, circumference using both, and area using all of the above.

This is definitely an abstract concept for students seeing as they only think of a circle as a round object with zero sides (seriously what they think). Any who...I created this PowerPoint Presentation last year to help my children understand the parts of a circle. I also have a song to help them  remember the parts of a circle. Of all my songs, it is my favorite. It is to the tune of Right Round by Flo' Rida.

Check out the presentation at my TpT store. There is a little preview below:


The presentation includes interactive activities, notes for students, an art project, real life examples, a song about circles, and test prep. One activity I do on the second day of my unit on circles, is to go out side and create a circle diagram in the parking lot using sidewalk chalk. We form a huge circle including the whole class and each find the center, walk the radius and diameter, and find how many "feet" the circumference measures. Not only do we have fun, but students, parents, and teachers learn from our artwork as they walk or drive through the parking lot.

Below is a couple of the videos I show while teaching this unit.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Learning Place Value

Learning about and understanding Place Value is the most important concept students can accomplish in elementary school. Everything revolves around it. The PowerPoint is more than just a presentation. It is a 4 day standards based unit that incorporates Singapore Math teaching strategies while providing concrete examples with interactive manipulatives and standardized test practice.

To see a preview or download the whole unit on PowerPoint please visit my TPT store. It includes interactive activities, lessons, example, test prep., songs, and much more. It is all you will need to ensure that students thoroughly understand place value.                   

I use this presentation over a week long period by taking it slow with naming places, to finding places of digits in numbers, to discovering the values of digits based on places. I base my lessons on the strategies developed through Singapore Math.

Each of my students have large place value chart that folds to fit in their desk. Each desk also has the standard manipulative box that came with our math series, but it also has a zipper bag of red, yellow, green, and blue chips (20 of each). These chips are an awesome investment because I use them in my addition, subtraction, and multiplication units.

I use lots of multimedia materials, which I embed into my PowerPoint presentation. Here are some of my faves:

Awesome Classroom Library

Last summer, I spent a week rearranging my classroom library. I had accumlated close to 1,000 books and had always kept my picture books in baskets labeled with genre. My chapter books were arranged in the same way as the picture books except that they had their same shelf where they were kept with their spines facing out.

Then a friend of my introduced me to an amazing classroom. Beth Newingham is a third grade teacher who shares her classroom with another amazing teacher. They are frequently featured on Scholastic's website. She has tons of AhhhhMazing ideas and is sooooooo creative!

The first thing I stole borrowed from her was her classroom library organization. My is not nearly as detailed as her and does not have near as many categories but it is very organized. And I could probably find any book I need at any time.

All of my books are in baskets. Then nonfiction picture books are in green baskets. Picture books are in blue. My chapter books are split between yellow (series) and red baskets. Needless to say that summer I bought every Dollar Tree in South Georgia out of baskets. I kid you not! I went to 7 different stores in 5 different towns.

She has all of her labels on her site. But I changed many of them to suit my needs. A few of them are the same, but most were adapted for my needs.

Check out her classroom library site and get your library labels so you can have an Awesome Classroom Library too!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Embracing My Talents

I have been teaching for over 12 years. And during those 12 years I have tried everything to get out of it. There has got to be something better to do. Something that can make more money, get more respect, and have more days off! Alas, I have yet to find that "something".

What I have found is that I am quite good at teaching. I don't mean to sound cocky, but I seemed to have a knack for not only teaching but getting kids to learn. I guess it is because I do whatever I can to entertain them because when they are entertained they are engaged and when they are engaged they are enlivened and when they are enlivened they are encourage to perform to their utmost potential.

So I am finished trying to find other things to do. I will no longer try to get out of teaching to write or blog or teach Zumba or paint or opening my own store or ...whatever else I thought could get me more money, more respect, and more days off.

I am Embracing My Talents. I am going to start blogging about teaching. And if this blogging leads to something more...well...(hopefully) we will cross that bridge when we get there!