Thursday, February 27, 2014

The End of Molasses Classes...Sailing Through Spring!

I started a new book study with a group of co-workers last week and it is exactly what I needed this time of year to sail through spring!

The book is a great reminder to make the classroom a fun place to be and it is giving my classroom a little energized kick!  The name of this beloved book is called The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark.  It contains 101 extraordinary solutions for parents and teachers for getting kids unstuck!  

I am intrigued by Clark's story and I have a lot of the same passions and beliefs that he does.  His book is filled with tips such as how to raise the bar and how to really listen, but my favorite so far has to be his engagement tip on teaching math using balloons.  I have tried it twice in my classroom so far with huge success, so here is peak...

First, I gave each team a balloon to blow up and a Sharpie.  I wrote a math problem on the board and I assigned a teammate to record a group solution first.  I began the timer and had the students pass the balloon around their group adding other ways to get the solution to the problem on the board.  The students really needed to work together thinking fast and to hold the balloon in place!  I gave the students about 3-4 minutes (shhhh....I wasn't really timing).

Here are some pictures of the students while they were working...

When, the "timer" (in my head) went off, I gathered the students to the carpet area and had them hold up the number of fingers representing the number of solutions they found.  Two groups tied so we further examined both these groups' balloons.  We found a mistake on one groups and had a clear winner!  Now, for the best part...
The team that won got to pop all the other groups' balloons!  You would have thought I gave them a million dollars; the engagement was very high in the classroom! 

Want some more "Sailing Through Spring" tips?
I'm linking up with a fantastic bunch of teachers who are also sharing some more tips to keep your head above water in all this Spring craziness!  Hop to the blogs below for more teacher tips!

Now one more thing before I go, have you heard about the TpT Three Million Teachers Strong Sale Event? It starts NOW and runs through midnight on the 28th! This is a great time to stock up on some Spring materials for school. My store will be discounted 20% and TpT tosses in another 8% off if you use the coupon code! Click the image below to hop on over and check out the newest goodies on the site!

Here you will find my best-seller writing bundle 28% off!  This is the lowest it has ever been, so hop over and check it out!
Happy Shopping :)  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fraction Action!

I have been keeping busy in February with fractions in the classroom!  I must share one of my FAVORITE fraction activities with you!  

I start by giving the students a list of fractions (some are regular fractions, some are improper fractions, and some are mixed numbers).  The students are also given blank squares to represent the wholes, squares divided into thirds, and squares divided into fifths.  Then, the students must use the blanks, thirds, and fifths to create fraction cards with their list of fractions.  The students are really challenged to think, especially when creating the improper fractions.  

Examples of these cards are seen here...

And what better idea then to play FRACTION WAR with the finished cards!  The students shuffled their cards, dealt them out evenly with a partner, and flipped them over.  The friend with the largest fraction won both cards and the student with the most cards at the end won the game!
If the students were ever unsure with the visual models, such as these students with 3/6 and 3/8, I had them get out their previously made fraction bars to represent the fractions in another way.

The students also recorded their fractions in their math journals using >,<, and = signs...

As an extension, I had small groups line up their cards using benchmark fractions and on a number line.  Seeing this visual relationship really helped to increase student understanding!

Afterwards, I had the students pick two cards, glue them down on a piece of construction paper, and compare them.  Of course, this was the perfect bulletin board!

I love the little details such as my circle border and my letters...

This ticket out the door, helped me give the students a quick formative assessment.  Most students were able to thoroughly explain equivalent fractions and comparing fractions such as this student below!

This week, I will be moving into decimals and the relationship with fractions.  I can't wait to use my fraction and decimal match-up pack!  It is filled with 60 decimal, fraction, and word form match up cards with an adorable newspaper theme! These cards are perfect to practice Common Core Standard 4.NF.6 - Use decimal notation for fractions with denominators 10 or 100. For example, rewrite 0.62 as 62/100. 

Suggestions for individual, small group, and whole group activities included. There are also student direction sheets and recording sheets for individual activities. Bonus: An assessment to check mastery of the standard with an answer key!

Click on the pictures above to grab these today, but pssst...if you haven't heard, there is a HUGE TpT sale happening later this week, so you might want to wait until then!

Either way, I know you will love this pack and I wish you luck teaching fractions and decimals!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Donor's Choose Help Wanted...Get FREE products from my store!

Exciting news from my 4th grade classroom… we’re ready for some library love including organization, Nevada books, and microphone headsets! This school year (and for years to come), I want to ensure that my students have what they need to succeed, so I've created a request on a 501(c)3 charity website called

I'm blogging today to ask for any donations possible for my students - no matter the size (seriously, every little bit counts). This week only, any donation you make to my project will be DOUBLED!

Now, the best part!!!  I was thinking how I could really persuade you to donate and I came up with a solution.  With any $5 or more donation to my project, you can pick out $10 worth of products from my store!  This is only for good until Feb.23rd.  

Here’s my classroom request:

To have your donation matched dollar for dollar, enter the promo code INSPIRE on the payment screen. IMPORTANT: The INSPIRE promo code will only double your donation for the next 7 days.

Simply donate and email me at with your selections totaling $10 from my store!

If you can't donate anything at this time, no worries...I would greatly appreciate any shares to someone you know who might want to take advantage of this deal!  Your donation will have a direct impact on at least 27 students this year and you'll hear back from our class about your impact!

Please feel free to send me any questions you may have, and know that my students and I greatly appreciate your support.

Thank you again!

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