Monday, November 24, 2014

The Fraction Frenzy Continues...

It's the first day of Thanksgiving break, and I'm blogging about school...WHAT???  On Friday at 3:00, I was certain I wouldn't be blogging again 'til we were back in the classroom, but here I am!!!  I just had to get this new set of mini-lessons out!

We wrapped up our week talking about equivalent fractions - yes, the learning continues in 5th grade, even on the Friday before Thanksgiving break.  One of the things that I LOVED about this set of lessons is how it scaffolded the kiddos through models, numbers, and finally...problem-solving!  I remember last year how DIFFICULT it was for my kiddos to think of creating equivalent fractions to figure the number of onions in Johnny's garden ("Three-fourths, Ms. S!  Three-fourths!  He has THREE onions in his garden!!!).  But this year...totally different story!

We started out coloring fraction models and fraction bars - I left the manipulatives out for these lessons because my kiddos are famous artistes, and they love breaking out the crayon box for math!




After talking about models, we created equivalent fractions using two workmats that I created to target my kiddos' areas of need.



Finally, we tackled problem solving as a class, and then I gave them an assessment - just four quick problems, and I'm ECSTATIC to say that every one of my students got a perfect score!  WOOHOO!!!  Download your FREE copy of the mini-lessons HERE for a limited time!!!

So here's how my break started out...


I have my kiddos this week (lots of thanks going on over here!), so I decided to decorate for Christmas a bit early.  This will be our first official Christmas in the new house, so we went out yesterday and bought a tree and all new decorations.  We have pumpkins and turkeys AND this beautiful UNLIT tree gracing our home this week!  Why isn't it lit, you ask?  Well, that's because Momma, in her haste to get all the little packages of extra lights off the cord, CUT the darn thing in two!  Yep.  Ugh.  So today, I'm playing electrician, and headed off to Lowe's to buy electrical tape and a pair of wire-strippers (are those even a thing???).  So yeah...pretty typical holiday season over here!  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fraction Frenzy

We started a new unit this week.  Bring it on, fractions!  Knowing my kiddos the way I do, I knew that they weren't ready to jump right in to comparing fractions (SAY WHAT, CURRICULUM???).  First, we needed a few interactive lessons to review fractions as parts of a whole and parts of a set.  I came up with a little bundle of activities to refresh my kiddos on fractions, and prepare them to dive in to MUCH more challenging work with fractions.  EEK!!!

Available FREE in my TPT store for a LIMITED time!
To kick off the mini-unit, we talked about fractions as parts of a whole.  We busted out the pattern blocks (yes, we still use these in 5th grade!), and discussed how many triangles or rhombi make a hexagon, trapezoid, etc.  Sounds simple, right?  Not so much.  I threw in a few problems using multiple shapes.  Creating fractions using more than one shape kind of threw my kiddos for a loop!  BUT...it was the perfect opportunity to start talking about equivalent fractions.


If we'd had more time, we would have created some pizza fractions, but we are already behind!  Story of my life!!!  Maybe next year...here's what it would've looked like.  Sigh.


Next, we started a "Fraction Friends" activity to begin talking about fractions as parts of a set.  We played a fun version of "Guess My Rule," creating fractions for the number of kiddos with light-colored eyes, sporting hoodies, wearing accessories, etc.  It was so cute watching them scrutinize each other and try to figure out what they had (or what they were missing)!  We wrote various statements to describe the attributes of class.


Finally, we created our very own "Fraction Friends," which included fractional statements of shared attributes.  I can't wait to hang these cuties on the wall outside my classroom!



Get this fun bundle of activities in my TPT store FREE for a limited time!  Click HERE to download your free copy!!!  Make sure to share the link with your friends and colleagues, because it will only be free for a short amount of time!  Be on the lookout for future mini-units on equivalent fractions and comparing fractions - they will be coming VERY soon!!!



Thursday, November 13, 2014

A How-To Hullabaloo!!!

Time has just flown by!  I can't believe we are coming up on Thanksgiving break, but I have to admit...I am ready for some down time!  We have been going non-stop in the 5th grade world, muddling through lots of new math (but still finding time for some fun!).

This week, we started a unit on procedural text.  Frankly, it can be kind of a snooze-fest.  I wanted to jazz it up a bit, so I created a quick little lesson to kick off the unit.  My collab partner was sweet enough to pick up some bubblegum late Tuesday night so that we could get our kiddos excited about procedural text.  And boy, were they!


We started by passing out the bubblegum, but instructed the kiddos NOT to chew until they were told.  I know, so mean, right???  Once they were FINALLY instructed to chew, we went through the process steps and wrote them out together on this page:
In their table groups, they came up with a topic sentence and conclusion.
Then, they took this prewriting, and put it all together to create a how-to paragraph on blowing a bubble.
For some of the kiddos, it was the first time they'd ever blown a bubble!  So cool!!!  After writing, they were able to complete a quick (operative word), cute craft that we will eventually put up on our bulletin board next to the paragraph.

I love having my kiddos get interactive with a skill!  We will be transferring what we know about writing procedural text to analyzing it in reading.  Having the background knowledge on writing it will give them a boost in understanding the features and purposes of procedural text!  Yay!!!  Get your FREE copy of the lesson for a limited time in my TPT store: How to Blow a Bubble: A Guide to Writing Procedural Text.  Today, we are using the book Cook-a-Doodle-Doo by Susan Stevens Crummel to continue our discussion on procedural text.  I have a fun guide available for this unit in my TPT store, too!  Get your copy HERE!

Next week, our kiddos will be using what they learned this week about writing procedural text to create a booklet with steps and fun Turkey Tips to help turkeys survive Thanksgiving!  Check it out HERE!!!

So, on a personal note, I captured this sweet image of one of my little darlings on the way home yesterday.  Yep!  Momma feels the same way!!!  I just love that she's snoozin' away with her new book and pen in hand.  Gotta love the Book Fair!