Thursday, September 21, 2017

Making Place Value Fun!

Every school year we start math with the same unit, place value. Over the years I have used many different strategies to engage the students and make learning place value fun. Below are a few of my favorite activities and strategies.

I always start my unit out using this lesson pack. The presentation is perfect for introducing the unit and goes over key vocabulary terms like digit, place value, and period. These terms lay the foundation for understanding place value, and students need to comprehend these terms before moving on. This pack also goes over understanding the difference between the place of a digit in a number and its value.  

After the presentation there is a quick ten question review you can use to quickly assess student learning. If students need extra practice, the "I Am the Greatest Game" at the end of the presentation is a perfect way to give students extra practice and wrap up the lesson.

Once we go over place value, I have my students create place value pictures. This activity is a fun assessment and a great way to incorporate art in the classroom.

To do this activity you need to give each student a piece of white paper and a copy of the Hundreds, Tens and Ones paper from my Place Value Games and Centers Pack. Student will then use the hundreds, ones, and tens pieces to create a place value picture. Once they have created their picture, they need to count how many hundreds, tens, and ones pieces they used and add them together to find the total represented by their picture (see the example above). 

This activity is real easy to differentiate for diverse learners. You can have them use a certain number of pieces, or set a place value goal for their pictures. One of my favorite things to do is to assign the students a number and have them make a picture using the different pieces.
If you bought the adorable “Hello My Name Is...” name tags from Bullseye's Playground at Target this summer, this activity is perfect for you! Really, any name tag would work for this activity, but the Target name tags are super cute. 

You could even set up a center with place value blocks and have the students create place value sculptures like the picture below.

Expanded, Standard, and Word Form Match-up is a great way to review and practice number form skills. This activity can be done individually, as a center, group work, or as part of a math lesson. Students will practice their expanded, standard, and word form skills with this match-up game. While playing this game, your students will match a number in standard form with its expanded and word form match. The numbers in this activity go up to the hundred thousand place. 

Standard, Expanded, and Word Form Name Tags

Before doing this activity, I took the name tags and divided them into groups of three. I then picked a number and wrote it in standard form on one tag, expanded form on another, and word form on the last tag in that set. I did this until I had a class set of 22. Now you math teachers might be saying, "Wait a minute, you can't divide 22 into three equal groups." Since I have 22 students, I had three groups of seven and made my extra student a name tag that said group checker.

Before we started our math lesson, I gave each student a name tag. We learned about the different number forms and for a summarizing strategy I had each student find their matching partners. When a group of students found their matches, my group checker made sure the matches were correct.  My students absolutely loved this activity!

I love choice boards. They offer students a choice in how they show their learning, teach to the multiple intelligences, and keep students actively engaged. Let’s face it, anything is better than a boring worksheet! I first learned about choice boards during teacher training a couple years ago and I have been using them regularly in my classroom ever since. They have been a huge success! I will sometimes use them in place of a major test grade at the end of a unit. My students really like doing this chioce board on place value, which can be modified for the different levels of student learning.

electrified siggy

Monday, July 31, 2017

Back to School STEM Challenge

The start of the school year is my favorite time of year. Everything is new. The students are with a different group of peers and everyone is getting to know each other. It's a great time for me, the teacher, to observe my class and the student dynamics. I've found that I get the best feel for my class by assigning group projects on those first few days of school.  Group projects are great because the students have to collaborate with one another. While they are working, I can see which of my students are leaders, rule followers, creative thinkers, and which students need an extra push. 

Science is my absolute favorite subject to teach. I love the hands on learning opportunities science gives my students. So the back to school projects in my classroom have a STEM focus.  My Back to School STEM Activities Set has three of my favorite STEM challenges perfect for the beginning of the school year. 

This set includes three STEM challenges. Each challenge has a teacher directions page, student planning sheet, and a student directions page that you can print for each group or easily display on your Smart Board. This pack also includes STEM group work task cards. 

These cards assign each group member a specific task while completing each challenge. These cards are optional, but they help keep reluctant students engaged. 

There are only a few budget friendly supplies needed for each challenge and setting up each activity is super easy. All you need to do is print our a few papers and you are good to go!

Each challenge has a student directions page, student planning sheet, and STEM work task cards.

The STEM group work task cards can be used for any STEM activity you do in your classroom. I would recommend laminating the cards once you print them so you can use them throughout the school year. 

I like to keep each group's STEM cards in a Ziploc bag so they are ready for any STEM activity. I also like to use a sharpie and write the group number on the bottom right hand corner of each card. STEM challenges have the students moving around the classroom and sometimes the cards get mixed up. I have found that this makes life much easier when it comes time to clean up.

I like to have each challenge prepped with all of the supplies ready to go before each school day. When I get the supplies ready, I like to give each group a copy of the challenge direction sheet, a set of STEM group work task cards, a planning sheet for each student, and all of the extra supplies they need for the activity.  I found these awesome $3 trays at Target in Bullseye's Playground and they are perfect for holding all of the supplies you will need for each challenge. 

Once you have everything prepped, you are good to go! You can observe your students, and learn about your class while keeping them engaged with fun STEM challenges.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Breaking Out of the Classroom

Are you looking for a fun and rigorous way to end the school year? A colleague recently introduced me to an amazing site called BreakoutEDU. This site has tons of breakout room games ready to go for your classroom.  The breakout games work like the fun breakout rooms that seem to be popping up everywhere. Your students are introduced to a problem that they need to work with the class or small groups to solve in a certain amount of time. These games are great because they make students think outside of the box. The students have to collaborate, use higher level thinking skills, and work as a team.

The best part about this site is that these games are 100% free and teacher friendly. Each game includes a teacher guide and instructional video to help you set up your classroom. All you need to do to access these games is create an account, find a game that works for your class, print the resources, and you are good to go! The only thing you need to purchase to complete these activities is the Breakout Kit. These kits are amazing, but can be pricey. They would make an awesome Donors Choose grant. However, if you are like me and on a tight classroom budget, you can purchase the materials much cheaper on your own.  I ordered my supplies from Amazon because I absolutely love Prime. Here’s a list of the materials you will need to purchase (I’ve included links to items I purchased using Prime):

- 1 Hasp
-1 UV Light (optional)
-1 Invisible Ink Pen (optional)
-1 Small Lockable Box

I wanted to end the school year with a fun activity that would give my students a chance to use their higher level thinking skills, and practice the team work skills they spent the whole year building. When I found the Oh, The Place You'll Go Activity, I knew that I found the perfect breakout session! I always read the Dr. Seuss story to my students at the end of the school year and this activity ties into it perfectly. This game was made with the intent to use it at the beginning of the school year, but you can easily use it for the end of the school year too. When we started the game, I told my students that they had to breakout of third grade in order to go on to fourth.

The game designer, Patti Harju, has done an amazing job making this game teacher friendly. All I needed to do was print out the activity sheets, read the teacher guide, and watch the video on how to setup my classroom. Below are some pictures of how I setup my classroom.

This game gave my students a 45 minute time period to solve the problem. My students were so engaged throughout the entire 45 minutes. They absolutely loved this activity, and I loved watching them think outside of the box! I will definitely be using more of these games in the future!

Monday, February 6, 2017

New Math Resoureces & the Love TpT Sale

I have been hard at work creating some new math resources for my store. I have new third grade math units that align perfectly with the CCSS. I have been using them in my classroom and my students are loving the lessons. I like to use math group rotations while teaching and these lessons are a perfect fit. They give me time to introduce each skill, work with small groups, and keep the other students actively engaged with centers and assessment. So far I have created the following units:

This unit is perfect for introducing multiplication to your students. Teaching your students how to use different multiplication strategies deepens their understanding of multiplication. The strategies explored in this unit are skip counting, using a number line, making arrays, making equal groups, and repeated addition. This unit gives students time to explore, understand, and explain multiplication. 
This unit includes:
-A Smart Board presentation explaining each strategy with assessment
-Homework for each strategy
-Math centers for each strategy
-Anchor charts for key vocabulary
-Multiplication strategy puzzles
-An interactive notebook flipbook on the different strategies

Understanding the properties multiplication can be difficult for students. Teaching your students how to correctly use these properties helps them understand multiplication. The properties explored in this unit are the Zero, Identity, Commutative, Associative, and Distributive Properties. This unit gives students time to explore, understand, and explain the different properties of multiplication.  
This unit includes:
-A Smart Board presentation explaining each property with assessment
-Homework for each property
-Math puzzles for each property
-Anchor charts for key vocabulary
-An interactive notebook flipbook on the different properties

Fractions can be a difficult concept for students. Teaching your students how to correctly read and use fractions helps deepens their understanding. The skills addressed in this pack are fraction basics, unit fractions, fractions of a group, fractions of a set, fractions on a number line, and fractions greater than one. This unit gives students time to explore, understand, and explain fractions. 

This unit includes:
-A Smart Board presentation explaining each skill with assessment
-Homework for each skill
-Math puzzles for each skill
-A choice board for a project based learning approach
-Anchor charts for key vocabulary
-An interactive notebook flipbook on the different fraction skills

Now it's time to show a little love, just in time for Valentine's Day! These resources and everything in my store will be 28% off for the Love TpT sale on February 7-8! Enter the code LOVETpT to receive 28% off all of your purchases. Happy Valentine's Day and happy shopping!