Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fraction Fish

My team mates and I were looking for a fun way to introduce and practice creating fractions, when one colleague came across fraction fish on 3rd Grade Art with Mrs. Brown.  This looked exactly like what we had been looking for.  A creative way to use fraction circles to create sea creatures in an engaging and meaningful way.

Mrs. Brown has a powerpoint that she has created that you can download for FREE on her site.

She includes pictures that give some examples of what the sea creatures would like like. She also gives directions for how to make them. We are lucky because we have an Ellison Die Cut Machine still in our school.  I was able to cut out about 120 circles in about 20 minutes after school one day. If you have a parent volunteer and you have a the time to plan it out, I recommend you get some help.

Some advice....make sure that you do "follow the directions" that she has outlined for you.  If you have a group of kids who struggle with following directions, I recommend that you cut them together.  In other words, I would have them each choose a color and cut the circles in 1/2 at the same time.  Then do another circle, at the same time.

I also had the children label each fractional part after they cut them out and added details to the blue background.

Here is what my kids did:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Awesome product for your binders....

Are you a binder addict like me??  I have so many binders I sometimes forget which one I am using.  I have my data binder, my meeting binder, my math binder, my every day binder, and my reading binder, and my....well, you get the drift!

Anyway...anyone who binders knows that the best tool for the job is a 3 ring hole puncher. 

I just got the greatest 3 ring hole puncher EVER! 

It's the papermonster electric hole punch .  I was honored to get an email from  offering me a chance to test one out.  And boy do I LOVE it...and so does my team!  We bring it with us to team meetings, data meetings, etc... It punches up to 15 pages at a time and makes it easy to organize all of your notebook needs.  I highly recommend it!


Enjoy it! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Have a little fun with your doors...

Two of our Kindergarten teachers, Lauren and Kelly, started a trend at our school...cute, adorable Halloween Class doors!  It was so refreshingly cute..that we all started to copy them...
Enjoy a peek at our school doors!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

How do you manage your websites?

There are a million websites and apps galore that our children are exposed to everyday!  Research is showing that our 21st Century learners need time to explore GOOD websites - where they can practice, extend and create new products.  One really good source of organized videos is Interactivesites. This site has a lot of great websites categorized for you.

Butsometimes I want to pick and choose what sites I want my students to use.  How do you manage that?  I use .

This is a FREE site that you can sign up for to use from home or school or anywhere you can access the internet. You will have a Member login which allows you to edit the websites into categories that make it easier to assign your students practice work. They have a separate login under Guest Access (so they can't mess up our system!)

Once they log on they will see your categories and be able to choose websites that you have found underneath.

I like this because I can be as specific as I want to be...assigning sites under a topic like Ecosystem or Poetry or as vague as I want like Math.  The website is always a work in progress and you can edit and change it as needed.
This is a great way to make your learning experiences with computers meaningful  - whether it is in the computer lab, using ibook carts in the classroom or even assigning it for homework . 
Portaportal is a great site and it works for me!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Strategies to engage your kinesthetic learners....

Kinesthetic learners need to move and groove....but they don't have to be disruptive. What are some ways to channel their energy into meaningful activities that will help them learn? I can tell you this...whole group is usually hard for them.  Breaking up the day into short stints works well. 

My teaching colleague, Christina, (who is an expert in working with kinesthetic learners) shared with our team an amazing strategy....take the kids outside and read a readers theater.  Genius! We took our whole grade level outside to practice our readers theater and the kids were engaged, happy and could be as loud as they wanted without driving me insane! (Readers theater practice with more than one group is very loud....)

This got me thinking...I need a checklist of strategies for each subject area to look through when I am planning for the week.  You can download it for free!
I hope you will enjoy it...I know there are more strategies, but I wanted to keep it simple and not too over whelming.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kinesthetic Learners...

Characteristics of Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners learn best by moving their bodies, activating their large or small muscles as they learn. These are the "hands-on learners" or the "doers" who actually concentrate better and learn more easily when movement is involved. The following characteristics are often associated with kinesthetic learners.

1. Kinesthetic learners often wiggle, tap their feet, or move their legs when they sit.

2. Kinesthetic learners were often labeled "hyperactive" as children.

3. Because they learn through movement, kinesthetic learners often do well as performers: athletes, actors, or dancers.

4. Kinesthetic learners work well with their hands. They may be good at repairing work, sculpting, art, or working with various tools.

5. Kinesthetic learners are often well coordinated and have a strong sense of timing and body movement.
I have a whole classroom of them this year...literally 20 out of 23 came out as kinesthetic learners on my learning styles inventory. 
What kinds of learning strategies work well with them? Stay tuned...I am working on that myself!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Math Warm Ups...

I have nicknamed my class...the squirrely drummers. In other words, I have 20 out of 23 students who are kinesthetic learners.  They are sweet as all get out, but man do they move, wiggle, drum, bang and squirm.  It's a good think I'm okay with this...just have to add a lot of movement into my already jam packed day.

In the past, I have written warm-ups on the board and students have copied them into their math journals.  This year my team decided to move to a more "study journal" for math reflections and note taking.  So what should we do for warm ups now?

Enter mini-white boards.  Do you have these?  I got some made a few years ago from showerboard at Lowes, but now you can pick these up almost anywhere - Target $1 spot, the dollar store, etc...

We start warm up by passing out a tissue to each child (to be our eraser) and then I write the target number on the board.  How many ways can you make equations that equal 425 using addition?

Students will write the equation on their white board while I post an online timer to count down how much time they have to do it. 

Once they have written down a few equations, I have the students stand behind their chairs.  When time is up, they need to find 4 people to share their equations with. (Hence the movement...kinesthetic learners need!)