Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cyber Monday TPT Sale



It's hard to believe December is almost here!  I was surprised to learn how many schools have Thanksgiving week off.  We had a field trip (in the snow, on a boat) yesterday, I'll still be picking up a few items for Thanksgiving after school today, and the day after Thanksgiving I'll be starting report cards.  It's a crazy-busy end to November, but my goal is to have them finished by Sunday night, because for me that's when the real fun begins:  Cyber Monday!  Forget about getting up early for Black Friday and braving the cold.  Not to mention the overseas postage to my husband's family over in England.  Shopping online is my kind of shopping. 

If you love online sales too, then you are in luck because Teachers Pay Teachers is once again having their Cyber Monday (plus Tuesday) sale!  You can save up to 28% off of your purchases by entering promo code CYBER at checkout.  My whole store will be a full 28% off as long as you remember the promo code! 



Some popular products this month have been my Long Division Games Bundle:


If you teach fourth grade, you'll most likely be teaching fractions pretty soon:



 

 Poetry Month is in April:


  
And finally, if you're looking for my best deal, you can save 28% on my largest bundle:  
Normally priced $25, it will cost just $18.75 for two days only! 

So start filling your wishlist, and come back Monday and Tuesday to save a bundle on some fun, engaging resources for your class. 

On the other hand, if you are pinching pennies this season and you would like a freebie instead of shopping the sales in my store, here's a seasonal one for your class.  It's designed to help target assistance for your lower income students if you have funds from the PTO to provide them with a little something for the holiday.  I'm lucky enough to work in a school where we give to the families in need every year, and this Holiday Aid for Low Income Students page will help you get started with that. 


Happy bargain hunting!




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Making Long Division Interactive (and Dare I Say Fun!)



It's that time again.  One of my students several years ago called it "The Nightmare of Fourth Grade."  Fourth grade teachers know what math concept I'm talking about:  Long Division.

Nowadays there are different ways to approach teaching long division.  I've tried the partial quotient method and I find that it's great for some learners.  However I like to take a different approach.  Math in Focus puts a lot of emphasis on place value at the start of the year.  It's also very important in Chapter 2 when we estimate and in the first part of Chapter 3 when we multiply 2 digits by 2 digits.   

So in my mind the best way to tackle long division is to use what the kids have been learning about place value.  And the best way to do that is with money.

To start out, we break out the place value mats and write a dividend at the top.  Then I teach them that another way to think of the divisor is "the number of wallets" they are splitting the money into. 

 In the first example, I make sure that the numbers divide evenly which is a huge confidence booster for kids who have heard "horror stories" about long division form their older siblings.  They get a preview of a column of numbers underneath the numbers in the standard algorithm and shut down.  

We don't get into ANY of that on day one.  We stick with the manipulatives and it's as easy as dealing cards.

Split the hundreds, split the tens, and split the ones.  Count the total in a single wallet and you have your quotient.
 As an aside, I COULD use place value chips that come with Math in Focus, or I could use the base ten blocks.  But I like using money better because I feel like it's a "real world" manipulative that kids can relate to better.  Plus there's just something about the feeling of counting dollar bills that motivates a lot more people than plastic blocks!

 
I actually had a couple students call me out because this system seemed so simple.  One noticed how engineered the numbers were, which I coped to.  I told them, "This week you can see 862 can be divided by 2 easily because 8, 6 and 2 are all divisible by 2.  Tomorrow you'll have a number like 762 which is not as easy, but you'll be used to dividing the money so regrouping will just be one extra step.  However one student had an even more exciting doubt for me:

"What about remainders?"

Ooooh, that created a buzz.  Surely numbers with remainders in the quotient are REALLY HARD! 

But I was ready for them.  "I can show you how to do that right now; it's not a big deal."  And all I did was increase the ones place by 1 to create a new number, 863.  I went through the process again, only this time I wrote "r 1" at the end.   



"Ohhhhhhhh!"

Suddenly remainders are easy.  I changes a few of my original problems to have a remainder of 1 or 2 so the kids could practice the challenge they made for themselves, and they took it in stride with no issues.

Next time I'll show you how we regroup with the money in order to tackle those problems like 762 divided by 2.  If you can't wait, you can preview my long division task cards bundle product.  It has 3 different levels of difficulty so you can differentiate to different learners in your class.











Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"All New" Giveaway and a Sale



One of my blogging buddies, Meg from The Teacher Studio (formerly Fourth Grade Studio)  is celebrating a milestone: her blog is 1 year old.  It's hard to believe that she's only been at this for a year because I've learned SO much from her posts over the past year.  To commemorate her one year blogiversary her blog has a fresh new look which I'm a big fan of.  And even more exciting; this week she is holding a HUGE giveaway every day this week!   


Each of the 5 winners this week will each win over $100 worth of TPT products of their choice from the selected sellers who are participating!  Head over there now for a chance to win.  Then go back tomorrow for another giveaway, and again on Friday for yet another giveaway.  There is a different group of stores participating each day! 









To honor her "All New" blog theme, not only can you win $10 worth of products from my store (in addition to a handful of other bloggers' stores for a combined value of around $100) if you enter today's contest, I'm also putting my "All New" product on sale for 50% this week only.  






 I recently finished Math in Focus Chapter 2 with my fourth graders, and I always like to have some math review games at my disposal to help the kids retain their skills all year.  My

Prime or Composite Board Game and Least Common Multiple Dice Game have really helped since I created them last year, and this year I rounded out the set with my "All New" Greatest Common Factor Game.  So if you're looking for some fun review, check it out while it's still on sale!  














Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Reading Response Using 2 Column Notes

Because my anchor charts have been so popular, I wanted to do a quick post with one of my latest ones that I did for 2 column notes for responding to reading. 

I've been working on developing 3 levels of Close Reading questions for each Journeys lesson.  With Unit 1 in Journeys over with, I can safely say so far, so good!  I'm excited about the difference I'm seeing between my fourth graders' written responses to grade level text between last year and this year.  Of course no two groups are the same, but they are so much more focused and prolific, and their notebooks are much more organized.

The way I approach the progression of questions I create for each lesson, is I think of Close Reading as the next generation of QAR questions.  When I developed comprehension questions for each text, I started out with very basic questions about the text for the first Close Read that can really be answered in one word, such as the characters and the setting.  For the second Close Read, however, they need "reasons," "evidence to support their answer," "details from the text," or "proof."  Thus, they are seeing the language of the test every week.  The "question" in a second Close Read is more of a prompt, such as, "Use details from the text to prove that Miss Franny was lonely."  The answers to the question are "Right There" in the text, however I tell them the goal for answering is a paragraph (with a minimally accepted answer of 2 sentences). 

At this point in the year, we have started with the "Level 3 Close Read" questions.  These questions require some inferential thinking or an opinion in addition to evidence from the text.  Since this is a more complex answer than the other 2, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to merge the idea of Close Reads with the fabulous Keys to Literacy training I received on 2 column notes!  Here is one of the level 3 Close Reading questions I modeled for my class:


I used a text the kids had read earlier in the year as a model for teaching character traits.  We used a list of possible traits as a scaffold to answer this prompt with opinions before looking for proof in the story.  The result was kids were able to organize a variety of ideas about a character, as well as locate text based evidence to support their thinking!  


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