Sunday, January 31, 2016

Math Hacks: Equivalent Fractions

Fractions are so hard!  I know!  My kids really struggle with fractions.  When I introduce equivalent fractions, I begin by asking the kids, "What's my name?"  They look at me like I'm crazy and someone finally will say, "Ms. Banks."  I say, "I have other names.  What do my daughters call me?  What does my husband call me?"  I tell the kids, "Different people call me different names.  Mom, Karla, Ms. Banks.  That doesn't change who I am."  I explain that fractions are the same.  They may have many different names, but they are the same value.  We change the fraction to make it easier for us to add or subtract.  Then, I show the kids a multiplication chart.  A multiplication chart is actually a fraction chart showing equivalent fractions.  I know that just blew your mind!  Right?!

Look at this multiplication chart.  Look at the first two lines.  Look at the first line as the numerator in a fraction and the second line as the denominator of the same fraction.  1/2  If you follow the rows across, you will find several fractions that are equivalent fractions to 1/2.  2/4= 3/6= 4/8= 5/10 and so on.  Crazy!

Here's a second example.  1/4= 2/8= 3/12= 4/16= 5/20 and so on.

When kids struggle to find equivalent fractions, I have them use their (laminated) multiplication chart.  For the problem: 2/5=    /15

First, have them highlight the two rows that the problem is asking about.  In this case, 2 and 5.  Then I have them look to see if the problem gives them the numerator or denominator.  In this case, the denominator is given.  Students go across the denominator line (5) and look for 15.  Then they trace their finger straight up to the numerator line which is 6.  2/5=6/15
Once kids get the pattern, they can usually drop off using the multiplication chart and just multiply to find the missing numerator or denominator.



Friday, January 8, 2016

Using Nearpod to Increase Participation

I don't know about you, but this year has been tough.  I have some pretty significant behaviors with very strong personalities in my class.  I have found that the more engaged my kids are, the fewer behaviors I see during class.  I LOVE Nearpod.  I am very blessed that our school is 1:1 with iPads.  Nearpod a free app that you can use on a tablet or you can use the website on laptops.  I use Nearpod almost everyday in writing.  Writing is the most difficult subject for all of my students and it's right before lunch.  Tension is high during this time of the day, but Nearpod really helps.

Nearpod is extremely easy to use.  You can take any of your powerpoint lessons or smaortboard lessons and convert each slide as an image.  Then you can insert each image into your Nearpod presentation.

When I login to Nearpod, this is what I see.  To create a new lesson, click on the + icon.

This is the next screen.  I go ahead and highlight "Untitled Presentation" and rename the lesson.

Click on the + to add a new slide.  You have 3 choices.  Add content allows you to create a slide as you would in any presentation or add a picture (which can also be a slide from a powerpoint or smart board file that you have converted to images.)  Add Web Content allows you to add a link to a site for students to explore.  Add activity is my favorite and why my kids love Nearpod.

Add Activity allows you to add an open ended question, poll, quiz, draw it, fill in the blanks, or memory test.  Open ended questions are great for getting the kids interested in the lesson or to assess their learning.  The poll allows students to answer an opinion question.  The quiz allows you to create a multiple choice quiz for the students to assess learning.  Draw it allows you to ask a question that requires students to write/type on the screen.  (My kids will work so many more math problems if I do them one at a time as a draw it slide.  Fill in the blank is exactly what it sounds like.  You type in the text and then select the words from the text you want the students to fill in.  They drag the word to the blank.  Memory test is a quick game of memory.  Students match a set of pictures then they are asked a question.

I mix several "content" slides where I teach from and then add in some "draw it" slides to allow students to practice the concept.  They will complete 3-4 "worksheets" in a Nearpod presentation without complaint, but will barely put 2 words on paper.  Nearpod has greatly increased student participation.  If I don't use Nearpod for a lesson, they will often ask me to make more Nearpod lessons.

Here's a lesson that I will use in math next week.  You can check it out. Download the free Nearpod app and enter this homework code.


This will allow you to proceed through the lesson as a student.  You can also download some free lessons from their site to see what it looks like from the teacher's screen.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

January Lesson Plans

Lesson PlansDONE!

Whether you are a classroom teacher or a homeschool teacher, I'm sure that as December winds down you are already thinking about lesson plans for January.  Although I'm hoping you didn't, chances are you've been thinking about them for a while, even through the holiday season.  Well today, I would like to help you get those lesson plans done!

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Top Picks for January is bundle of 28 amazing educational resources all perfect for  January!  Each of these resources was hand-picked to help you teach language arts, math, science and social studies in a fun and meaningful way.  Your learners will focus on key skills while connecting to the fun and engaging themes that January has to offer.  What makes Top Picks for January even better - the price!  You could spend hours searching for just the right January resources like the folks at Educents did, and when all was said and done you'd have over $120 of educational resources in your shopping cart.  Or, you can take advantage of this limited time bundle that is 75% off.   For only $29.99, almost a $100 savings, you get 28 top quality resources that ready to use.  I know what my choice is! So what exactly is in this amazing bundle?  Here's what you will receive in the Top Picks for January Bundle divided by subject area.  You will also find the recommended grade levels for each resource, however, many of them can be used with additional grade levels by providing a little more support or slightly modifying the final product.  Some of these resources will also help you in multiple content areas.  For example, work on reading skills while doing science or work on writing skills in social studies.


January Print and Do (K-2)
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This no-prep packet by Fantastic First Grade Froggies could easily have gone under Math too.  With 15 ready to use Language Arts activities and 15 ready to use Math activities you are well on your way to a fun, learning filled January.  Just a few of the concepts covered in these activities include sentence writing, phonics (r blends, silent e, digraphs), syllables, editing and punctuation.  Some of the math concepts include reading temperature, graphing, addition and subtraction, place value, telling time, comparing numbers and number lines.  Can you  see why this packet is a Top Pick?   Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.50.50 PM

Snowmen at Night Reading and Writing Unit (2-3) This is a great resource that is designed to accompany a perfect January book - Snowmen at Night.  Clowning Around in Third Grade has provided you with everything you need to use this book to focus on key reading skills like comprehension and summarizing.  When you are done take your book study to the next level with a post-reading writing and craft activity.  

 Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.50.29 PM January Journal Prompts (2-5) Help your learners practice their writing with daily writing prompts by Clowning Around in Third Grade.  Each writing prompt is perfect for January and open-ended which allows your writers the freedom to explain their thoughts and expand their ideas.  These prompts are also a great way to check for understanding on previously taught concepts as students take the concept and include it in their writing.  Curious what the topics are like?  Here's a couple:  "What would it be like if you and your family had to hibernate during the winter?  Write about what you would need to do to prepare for such a long sleep."  "Imagine what it would be like if it started snowing in your town on January 2 and didn't stop until January 31!  Describe what life would be like in your town with this much snow."

  Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.54.31 PMJanuary Language Arts Grab and Go Centers (3-6) Teresa Kwant has provided you with 64 ready to go language arts centers and activities.  Everything you need to practice skills in Grammar, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Vocabulary and Word Structure is right here!  There are multiple activities for each of these areas.  In addition Teresa has provided you with optional activities that also involve the use of technology.  It's easy to see why this jam-packed resource was chased as a Top Pick!

  Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.59.22 PMSnowman Biography Book Report (K-8) Teaching in Bronco Country has put together this fun and engaging tool for teaching your readers about biographies and autobiographies.  Students use this snowman report as a way to show what they learned by reading a biography or autobiography.  You get everything you need including comprehension questions that can be used for any book, directions for the final project, a project checklist and a grading rubric.  Look at this final product by a student who studied Elizabeth Blackwell.
snowman biography

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.59.39 PMGraphic Organizers Winter Theme (K-8) Sweet Integrations has put together this fabulous set of graphic organizers all with a winter feel.  You receive 20 different graphic organizers that your readers can use to reflect on their reading.  There are graphic organizers for sequencing, main idea, summary, cause and effect, connections, inferencing and more!  Here's a student working on a story map using one of these graphic organizers.  graphic organizers 2

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.01.47 PMStone Fox Novel Study (3-6) Looking for a great winter themed novel to study?  Well look no further than Stone Fox and this amazing resource by The Third Wheel.  This resource provides students with a fun and engaging way to practice key reading skills such as context clues, visualizing, sequencing, text analysis and more.  Students will use a foldable for each days reading to focus on a key reading skill.  You also receive a planning guide to help with planning the reading, vocabulary for each chapter and key vocabulary for mastering the reading skills.

 Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.54.09 PMJan Brett Winter Unit (K-2) I don't know about you but I love Jan Brett books and reading them to my students.  This is an amazing unit that will give you resources for 11 Jan Brett books!  Amy Labrasciano has provided you with 22 activities to support the books along with 5 anchor charts to help your readers as you study these wonderful books.  Another Top Pick that you can't go wrong with!

  Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.55.39 PMJanuary Interactive Poetry Notebook (1-3) Erin Waters of The Watering Hole has written original poems for Martin Luther King, Jr., New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year, Setting Goals, and Penguins in this amazing resource.  Each week as you introduce students to a new poem, support their learning with various activities that help with reflection, vocabulary development and more!  Perfect for independent work in a poetry journal, stations, small group work, or whole class instruction.  Here's a glimpse at a couple activities!
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  Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.53.44 PMFinding the Main Idea with Non-Fiction Texts Winter Edition (2-5) For a Love of Teaching has put together this wonderful resource to help your students master the skill of finding the main idea.  This packet is filled with non-fiction texts all related to winter!  Your readers will love learning about snowflakes, frostbite, emperor penguins and shivering bees.  There are 16 additional topics included in this packet as well!  For each non-fiction article student will practice finding the main idea and supporting details.  They will also get practice summarizing text, another important reading skill.  In addition to the articles and practice pages, you also receive a color-coded answer key for each activity!  That definitely helps you save time as you review the work! main idea 3 main idea answer keys        

 Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.55.58 PMJust Add Words for January (K-8) This versatile writing set from Teaching in Blue Jeans will help all your writers no matter their grade level of ability.  Perfect for reluctant writers too!  Give your writers a starting point with these January themed picture writing prompts.  All picture prompts come with primary writing lines and standard writing lines so they can be used for anyone K-8.  Use these pages for many different styles of writing too, including narrative, expository, persuasive and how-to writing.  These can easily be added to a writing center or done as independent writing activities.  They are also great students to show what they have learned about a topic from science or social studies!  Here are two examples of writers using this packet at different writing levels.
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 The Snowman Sight Word ReaderThe Snowman Emergent Reader (Pre-K - 1) Help your budding readers learn those all important sight word with this emergent reader by Teaching in Blue Jeans.  This emergent reader is all about a snowman and focuses on the sight words 'look' and 'said.'  The book also reviews the sight words 'at,' 'my,' and 'the.'  The text is written a predictable pattern to help early readers find words and success in reading!  Young readers will love reading this book over and over again and you're likely to hear "I can read!"  This book can be used individually, with small group instruction or whole group instruction.


Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.00.57 PMSnowflake Geometry (2-5) Teaching in Bronco Country is helping you make math fun with these geometry lessons.  You receive three geometry lessons that use snowflakes as the inspiration.  After students finish the math they use a snowflake craft to reinforce those geometry skills!
snowflake geometry
            Teacher's Take-Out has made it easy for your students to practice and review their math skills with these Winter Equations task cards.  In the Top Picks for January Bundle you will receive 3 different sets of math task cards from Teacher's Take-Out.  The first set focuses on Single Digit Addition and Subtraction (K-2).   The second set focuses on Two Digit Addition and Subtraction (1-3).  The third set focuses on Multiplication and Division (3-6).  In each set you receive 30 task cards that gets students working on the specific math facts in question.  But these task cards are more than just math fact flash cards, the missing number is not always the answer.  This requires students to work at a higher level in order to complete the equations.

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Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.58.09 PMNew Year's Resolutions Writing Craftivity (K-5) Are you ready to teach your kids about the importance of setting goals?  New Year's is the perfect time for a goal setting lesson!  This resource from Teaching in Blue Jeans helps your learners brainstorm possible goals, plan how they will work towards them and then write about them.   This packet can be used by writers of all ages because each section is provided in multiple formats that have been designed for different writing levels.  After students finish writing they can make the display craft and their writing can then be displayed on the adorable New Year's boy, girl or cat.

  Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.01.25 PMMartin Luther King, Jr. Biography Unit (2-5) This unit by The Third Wheel will help you complete a biography book study on Martin Luther King, Jr. using the book Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr?  After reading the book and completing the tri-fold book activities, students can show what they learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. using the mini-book research report.

  Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.56.57 PMMartin Luther King, Jr. Lapbook (K-5) Right Down the Middle with Andrea provides you with this great hands-on lapbook for learning about Martin Luther King, Jr.  Students will research Martin Luther King, Jr. and then compile what they learned in this lapbook that features a timeline, his education, his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and more.  Students are also inspired to learn from Dr. King's example and think about their own dreams.  Students will use language arts skills as well as social studies skills.
   MLK Lapbook Picture 1

  Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.50.11 PMChinese New Year Burrito Book (K-5) Inside Bell's Brain created his fun burrito book for learning about Chinese New Year.  This fun and engaging project will have your students not only learning about the holiday, but also practicing key reading skills using informational text.  You get everything you need to complete this lesson in both color and black and white options so you can choose how much ink you want to use.
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Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.57.48 PMThe Geometric Beauty of Snowflakes (3-8) NatureGlo's eScience has put together this Top Pick that will grab your learners attention.  This in-depth look at snowflakes is fascinating and educational.  Your students will learn about snow crystal development, famous snow physicists' work and the varieties of snowflakes and their geometry.  You will receive 2 PowerPoint presentations as well as a 19 page activity guide that will guide you through this unit study.  In addition, this unit study includes links to the full course MathArt class website loaded with great resources including video tutorials, project and activity guides and more web resources.

 Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.58.35 PMPolar Bears (K-5) This unit study on Polar Bears by Sweet Integrations will give you everything you need to learn all about polar bears.  Additionally, you receive a Power Point game and some language arts and math center activities with a polar bear theme.  The activities in this study are provided so that they hit various grade levels.  Use this in a homeschooling environment with multiple students or use in the classroom to differentiate for the needs of your students.
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  Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 6.58.54 PMAll About Penguins (K-3) Proud to be Primary created this amazing unit on Penguins and it is sure to capture the attention of your learners.  Who doesn't love those fluffy, little birds.  Well, there's a lot more to learn about those amazing creatures.  You will receive 165 pages of science, reading and expository writing activities in this amazing penguin unit.  Your learners will learn all about penguins, their life cycle, important vocabulary and more!  Another Top Pick that is sure to make January lots of fun!

 Arctic and Antarctica (K-2) One Room Schoolhouse provides you with this 63 page unit study on the Arctic and Antarctica. Included in this unit study are 2 non-fiction reading passages, science experiments, math activities, language arts activities and art activities.  Just another Top Pick that helps you reach many teaching standards in one set of activities.   Sunflower Education has put together two wonderful packet based on Weather World Records.  The first packet, World's Coldest Place (3-8) will teach your learners all about Polyus Nedostupnosti, Antarctica.  The second packet, World's Windiest Place (3-8) will teacher learners all about Port Martin, Antarctica.  In both sets you will receive non-fiction reading passages and activity sheets that will not only engage your reader but also help them practice important reading skills.

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 To close out this amazing January bundle, Meredith Anderson provides you with 2 STEM Challenges.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and is a great way for students to apply skills they have learned in a hands-on project that gets them thinking outside the box!  STEM Design Challenge #1 - Design a Transport Device (K-8) will have your kids engineering a transport device.  Although this project is not specifically tailored to winter, you could easily add that element by asking that the transport device be something that can be used in the snow.  STEM Design Challenge #2 - Design a Transmission Tower (K-8) will have your students creating a transmission tower.  Put a winter twist on this STEM project by telling your students that there has been an avalanche and they are needed to design a transmission tower in order to get help.  Each STEM Challenge provides all the instructions and workbooks your students will need to work through the engineering design process as they learn to create.  All that you have to provide are common classroom or household items.  Here's a little peek at what some other students created using these amazing resources.

  design a transport device and power transmission tower - 2 engineering design challenge design a transport device and power transmission tower - 1 front of belt transport   So as you can see, this is an AMAZING bundle of educational resources for January.  I am so excited to not only be part of it, but to be able to share it with you.  I have no doubt that you can finish those lesson plans up quick with the amazing resources in this bundle AND that this will be a January full of fun, engaging activities that your students won't soon forget!  You can't find this bundle anywhere else, and, it won't be there long! Grab it while you can, because this bundle is only available through January 10.  But why wait, don't waste 10 days of January when you could be using these awesome resources today!Buy Now

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