Today was a snow day for me - so what did I do? Finish marking math tests (haha don't make me laugh), plan for next week (nope), clean my house (nope but I did finally but away the last of my winter decorations - even though we are in the middle of a snow storm). I made calendar cards that I don't really need but just kinda wanted - yep! I am loving my superhero clipart from Melonheadz right now - and I don't really do St. Patrick's Day or Dr. Seuss as a theme in March, so I figured what the heck - superheroes it is! I am also thinking that next year I would like to go full force with the Superhero theme - so when better to get started then a snow day! Click here to get a free copy.







I am hooking up with Classroom Freebies for Manic Monday.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

I am sharing this little selection of math problem solving pages. There are two types of problems that no matter how many times we try them a couple of kiddos still  need practice. Click here for a copy.



There are 4 problems - 2 to practice each of the two strategies.

One set involves using multiples to find the answer.
Example: There are close to 40 cookies. If put in groups of 4 there are 2 extra if put in groups of 8 there are 6 extra. How many cookies are there?
I have my kids write out the multiples of 4 in one row and then the multiples of 8 in another row. Then look for numbers that are close to 40 that when you add the extras you get the same amount.
4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
8 16 24 32 40
36 + 2 = 38
32 + 6 =  38

The other set uses subtraction, division and addition.
Example:  There are 45 shapes. There are 7 more squares than circles. How many squares and how many circles.
45-7 = 38
38 divided by 2 = 19
One group has 19, the other has 19 + 7 = 26
Check 26 + 19 = 45


If you like the squirrel clipart check out Ashley Hughes' store at TpT. If you want more math resources featuring the squirrel check out my graphing unit at my TpT store!.

If you are in the mood to read how I started my graphing unit last week with an inquiry lesson check out my guest blog over at Lessons from the Middle.

Also, if you have not entered Tonya's fantastic 700 followers giveaway you need to head over there and enter - the prizes are amazing but the real prize is her blog - she always shares so much!

Another great giveaway to check out is taking place over at Teaching and Tapas. You can enter the Grade 4/5 part of the giveaway right here but really need to check out her blog - this giveaway is crazy huge!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

and the Grade 3 giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



I am so over February - how does the shortest month always feel the longest??? I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and Teaching Maddeness for their linky parties - click on the pics to head their way for more weekly wrap-ups.



Here are 5 things from this looong short-work week!

1.Yahoo to finishing up multiplication and division. I love finishing up a unit - only to move on to the next unit and have the kids keep trying to use what they learned in the last unit to solve problems and do inquiry activities - even when it does not apply!


2. Double yahoo for finally signing up for Adventure to Fitness. I have seen people blogging about this program for a long time and then I finally checked it out. The class loves it (just like all those people said their kids did - go figure).




3. Last of the winter art - I can't do one more activity that involves snowman, snowflakes or snowballs - bring on the spring art. Here is our last activity - I was inspired by Amber at The Teacher Life's post  about her snowman at night art (you must check it out - they are awesome) and she gave directions (which we did not follow very well (we had to rush through the activity too much work to finish up from these short weeks!!).



Sorry for the picture quality - bright winter day + art on window = bad picture

4. Having the students do a suffix search and hearing the question "Does an s count if it comes after an apostrophe?" After I picked myself up off the floor I realized that once we wrap up our prefix and suffix unit we will be moving on to the dreaded apostrophe - why do I dread it - because once I teach the apostrophe it starts to pop up every where - especially in plurals. I updated my punctuation poster and made a quick little activity to work on using the apostrophe. Click here to pick up a copy.





Check out more classroom freebies.

Freebie Fridays





5. I'm almost finished my graphing posters and activity unit. Here is where the favor comes in. I would love a couple of people to look over the unit and help me edit and make suggestions - I have been staring at it for too long. If you have some time this weekend and would be willing to help me out please leave a comment with your email address and I will zip it over to you. Thanks!







I am so excited to welcome Amy from Ecclectic Education my first guest blogger. She has a great reading lesson to share with you, once you finish reading it be sure to go check out her blog - you'll be happy you did!

First of all, let me introduce myself! My name is Amy, and I am a Title 1 intervention teacher that works with grades K-5 in small groups. I work with students in both reading and math. This is my third year teaching and my first year blogging. Now on to the lesson!


Main idea is a very challenging concept for my students. The first time I ask them what they know about main idea, they almost always say "what the story is about." I suppose that is part of it, but they are missing the key word. Main idea is what the story is mostly about. The following is a lesson that I used with my third grade reading intervention group.




I begin most of my lessons with an anchor chart. We go over the anchor chart together, and then students glue a copy of the anchor chart into their reader's notebooks. This way students always have a copy to refer to. I find this helps my students become more independent and take ownership of the material. 


For finding main idea, we focused on what the story was mostly about. To help us figure this out, we looked at the title, the pictures, beginning and ending sentences, and words that were used repeatedly throughout the text.



As an introductory activity, we completed a main idea sorting activity. (Click on the image below for your own copy!)




I gave each student in the group a strip of paper with a sentence on it. Together all of the sentences made up a paragraph about a fictional brand of cereal named Munchy Crunchy. As a group, we had to identify which one of the strips of paper was the main idea for the entire paragraph and explain why. For this particular activity, the main idea is that Crunchy Munchy is a very popular cereal. All of the other sentences explain why Crunchy Munchy is popular. 

Next, I read aloud the book Gregory, the Terrible Eater. This book provides a very clear main idea about eating a balanced diet. 




After I read the story, we completed a summary graphic organizer that required us to identify the main idea and support that idea with details. First, we identified key words from the story. We used those key words, and the other strategies identified in the anchor chart, to help us identify the main idea. Then we filled out the supporting details in the remaining boxes. (Click on the image below for your own copy!)


Next, I had students read the nonfiction article Sweet Feet. (Click for a copy if you have an Ebsco host login.) This article is about how butterflies taste with their feet. The kids really love that and think it is hilarious. Once finished, we completed the summary graphic organizer for the article.




Since I only have thirty minutes with each of my intervention groups, I like to use a lot of short stories and articles. To find many of these articles I use Ranger Rick, Highlights, and an online database called Ebsco host. Many schools have an Ebsco host login, but if you do not, almost all public libraries have one. I would highly recommend checking the database out. It has a lot of amazing resources.


I hope you all take something useful away from this lesson and I owe a big, BIG thanks to AMC for letting me post on her blog today! Come check me out at Eclectic Educating!








Just a quick post today. I am getting ready to start my data management unit and was looking through my graphing files. I like to start my unit by making some class tally charts and graphs - but this year I am starting with an inquiry based lesson - so I thought I would share my file for making class graphs. My school mascot is a gator - hence all the gator clipart I own! If you would like a copy of this graphing activity click here.







Have a great week - be sure to check back in on Wednesday for my first guest blogger and an awesome reading lesson! But right now head over to Classroom Freebies for some more great freebies!


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


I have a couple of books and activities to share this week. This week we started the division part of our unit. I use these two books (split-grade class, so I alternate between them year to year!).






This year I used "Divide and Ride" which is great for my grade 4's since it deals with remainders. Last year we planned an inquiry based math lesson for division based on amusement park rides. It went something like this:
Option 1: Tell the students that a group of people (what ever number you want) are going to an amusement park and they want to go on a ride altogether (show a picture of the ride). Ask how many rows they need to go on the ride together, will there be any left over cars or left over people?




Option 2: A group of 6 people want to go on this ride (show a picture of the ride). They are waiting in line and trying to figure out how many more cycles of the ride they have to wait for their turn. There are 58 people in line in front of them. Remember they want to go on altogether. How many more turns do they have to wait.


Another book we read this week was Each Kindness by Jaccqueline Woodson. It is a fantastic book about how we treat people and how little actions can have big impacts (not smiling, turning our head away from someone) and about regretting our choice to not show kindness (warning there is not a happy ending - but an important message!). My favorite part is when the teacher in the book gathers the students around a bowl of water and drops a pebble in it. She tells the students that each act of kindness is like the pebble and the ripples of the action go out into the world like the ripples in the water (I think the same could be said for acts that are not so kind). This visual image had a huge impact on the kids in my class.



Some possible follow-up activities:

*nothing - let the message sit with the kids
*identify the message of the book
*use a tree diagram to calculate how acts of kindness could ripple and how many people would be affected if you did 2 acts of kindness and each of those people did two acts - figure it out for 5 ripples/level - or if everyone in your class did 1 act - and all of those people did one act and so on for 5 levels/ripples

I saw this awesome poster on Classroom Freebies that is from Diane at Teach With Me.

I thought I would like to make one that is about kindness - since the main character in the book misses her chance to be kind to Maya. Click here for your copy.


Check back tomorrow for my Manic Monday graphing freebie.

This month is flying by - with snow days, holidays and theme days there is hardly any time left for teaching!
I thought I might not be able to pull together 5 things from this week! But I think I have 5 so here we go:

#1 - Fantastic new math resources.

I got the super "Superhero Problem Solving Posters" from Collaboration Cuties as part of their great giveaway. I love them - because they are fantastic too look at but also because they have great info for the kids to use. I also like them because I am moving towards a Superhero theme in all of my math posters and these fit in perfectly.

I received a copy of Tonya's (of Tonya's Treats for Teachers) Math Journals. She is incredibly generous with her teaching ideas and resources. I can't believe she includes a ppt version of her file so that teachers can edit it. I took her page on key word and turned it into a poster for my kids to refer to... which we did and I love it!

#2 - We are actually moving on in our division unit. We are learning and using strategies - yeah us! Here are some of the strategies we have covered.

#3 - Handy Dandy Sticky Note Method


I got this idea from Young Teacher Love (only hers is way better) and immediately implemented it - like the very next morning! I use it to collect our statements for the Wonder of the Day from Wonderopolis and will be using it whenever we write our connections or questions or answers on sticky notes. I made a grid on bristol board, numbered each square (rectangle, whatever!) and whenever we use sticky notes the kids post their responses in their square (each student was given a class number in September). It is so much neater and easier to read and quickly assess then my old method of letting them post it anywhere on the board or near the question!


#4 - Speaking of Wonderopolis
I love that my kids love this site so much they are going on at home, with their families and posting comments. They have totally become hooked on these quick non-fiction articles.

#5 - Valentine's Day

Love the chocolate, love the excitement over little cards and treats. Love how kids think that work is so much more fun if it is Valentine-themed. We used the division freebie I shared on Monday - we used candy hearts and the ten frame to create division sentences - then of course we ate the hearts! Then we wrote multiplication facts using felt hearts from heart containers (an idea I saw at 4th Grade Frolics). I wrote numbers from 0-10 on hearts and put them in containers - the kids had to take 2 hearts, write a multiplication sentence, return the hearts and grab two new hearts. I used the timer to add excitement (as many as they could get done in three minute intervals). They were so pumped to multiply as many as they could and would shout out if they got the same numbers or a really easy one or a double like it was so exciting. There was running and cheering. After every 3 minute mark we would exchange our work with some one to check and then start again.


I am linking up with DoodleBugs Teaching for her awesome weekly linky party. Head over there for more great ideas - I know I always find some great ideas!










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