Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mini-Unit Mania!

Blink your eyes, and almost two months have gone by!  It's so easy, isn't it?  I can't believe my last post was in March!?!?!  I guess just maybe I've been a tad bit busy preparing my students for the STAAR test.  It has been a whirlwind!  I swear, some days I don't think I even stopped to catch my breath.  Thankfully, testing is over (for the most part), and now we can get down and dirty with some educational FUN!!!

We have been doing so much hands-on in 5th grade, including my latest freebie!  The kiddos are super-excited to be getting a taste of 6th grade math.   We started with integers last week.  After teaching integers and realizing that there really wasn't anything out there that was exactly what I wanted (hence the integer mini-unit tickling the back of my mind - stay tuned!), I decided to create interactive materials for next week's mini-unit on percents.  If you haven't heard, I LOVE interactive notebooks.  Everything that goes in those bad boys can be used as a resource for tests, quizzes, and even review in the following school year.  I always encourage my kiddos to keep their notebooks from year to year.  Yes, I realize that it may just be a pipe dream, but I have lingering hope that these notebooks will NOT end up in the trash on the last day of school! 

So I'm in the middle of creating this mini-unit on changing fractions, decimals, and percents - just waiting to use it next week on my guinea pigs before I make it official.  But never fear!  I have this cute set of task cards available in my TPT store RIGHT NOW, and they are FREE for a limited time!
Click here to get your FREE Fractions, Decimals, & Percents Task Cards
The task cards range from easy... challenging!!!
I use task cards in a variety of ways.  My plan for the last two years has been to get a whole bunch of those $3 dish tubs from Wal-Mart and create a Task Card/Games Station for each math unit.  I have this vision of tubs lined up neatly on the floor with cute labels and children hovering over them excitedly, trying to decide which activity to do first.  Sigh. 

For the moment, I have two tubs that are filled with baggie upon baggie of task cards, games, challenges, and activities sitting on my classroom floor underneath my Math Wall.  With our new math curriculum and textbook adoption, I had ZERO time to organize this year.  I was just happy if I knew what and how I was teaching the next day's lesson!  Sometimes I use task cards after a lesson as reinforcement before I assess the skill.  They are a great resource to target specific areas where students struggle.  I always use them to review.  They are also available to my fast-finishers, though this year I had LOTS of bookworms who had their nose in a novel immediately after turning in an assignment!  I also use task cards in table groups.  I make multiple sets, and give them to groups to complete at the same time.  Then, I can take a grade because everyone completed them.  How do you use task cards in your classroom?

So what else are we doing as we begin to close out our 5th grade year?  STEM challenges!  My students ask every morning, "What's today's challenge?"  They are so super-excited about science and math, I can hardly stand it!  Be on the lookout for some exciting STEM challenges coming your way in the near future!  Until then, let the countdown to summer begin!!!

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