Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Math Lit: Probably Pistachio

Probably Pistachio is one of Stuart J. Murphy's Math Start books -- quite possibly my favorite series of math books!

The concept for this book is probability. As Jack goes through his day he is always thinking about the probability of certain things happening. What makes it fun is that everything is going wrong for him on this particular day. In fact, the book very much reminded me Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! You can use this book to talk about math vocabulary: probably, impossible, and certain. You can have students make predictions and talk about fractions. Follow up with your favorite probability activities (colors in a bag for example).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Math Lit: Dealing With Addition

This week's book is another one that is new to me. I'm asking my students to all have a deck of cards to practice math at home, so this book fits right in with that.

The book talks about ways you can use cards to play math games and learn about numbers. It explains the deck and gives lots of examples of ways to put the cards together. I plan to have students work in pairs to model some of this as we read the book. (note to self - go to Dollar Tree and buy lots more decks of cards!). One of my favorite things is representing numbers with sets of cards; for example, there are 5 different ways to get a total of five with three aces, a two, a three, a four, and a five card. I plan to give students time to explore these and find all the ways to group them. We will also record pictorially in our interactive math notebooks. After each of these challenges, there is a full page picture of the solutions. At the end of the book a card game called "Dealing With Addition" is explained. We will be playing it in pairs and I will challenge the kids to go home and play with someone in their family also.

Have you ever used this book with students? What are your favorite card deck math games?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week Three

Somehow I never got around to writing this post on the weekend, so am up early on Monday morning typing away! Week three was a short week with the holiday, but we packed in a lot like always.

First, a chuckle: We are a uniform district; one of my boys came to school Friday without his uniform shirt. Since it was the second Friday in a row that he was out of uniform I asked him why. His response: because my brother peed on all the clothes! Another kiddos immediate response: BEST  EXCUSE EVER!!

My students are so excited to start the BYOD program; we had to get their logins done first though. Over the week I was able to get all but four of the 36 students on a computer in my classroom and walk them through how to change their password to comply with district policy. Then on the weekend I spent a long time making a one page cheat sheet for each student with their log in information for most of the websites we regularly use. Today is the big day; I can't wait to see how many of them bring their mobile device!

In science we did a follow - up inquiry to find out what ingredient in taco sauce was cleaning our dirty pennies (we had already tested our hypothesis that taco sauce WILL clean pennies). We tested salt, vinegar, water, and tomato puree. Our conclusion: tomato puree by itself will clean the pennies.

I was introducing collecting, displaying, and interpreting data this week in both science and math, so I used a fantastic math text. The activity page I made (in picture) was a big hit! It helped kids track what was happening in the story and gave them practice with tally tables, picture graphs, pie charts, and bar graphs. Totally a keeper lesson! Don't you love it when something new works so well?
I have a blog post scheduled about the book on my Tuesday math lit series.

Hope your week was wonderful. I'm gearing up to start week 5, which means it is almost time for progress reports (unbelievable!).

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Math Lit: How Much, How Many, How Far, How Heavy, How Long, How Tall Is 1000?

I'm sharing one of my new books with you today. This book by Helen Nolan is recommended for 5-9 year olds, so perfect for our K-3 kiddos. This is the Amazon summary:

How tall would a pile of 1000 acorns be? And if those acorns grew into 1000 oak trees, how big would that forest be? As children learn about large numbers, counting becomes less practical and understanding these numbers becomes more and more important. In this playful and mathematically sound book, children will develop an understanding of how big, how small, how long and how tall 1000 really is!

I plan to follow a suggestion from a Math Solutions (Marilyn Burns) book and show my students just the cover of the book and then have them work together to explore the number 100 first. Notice that there are actually 6 questions in the title -- that will lead us into a lot of discussion for the number 100. After that I will read the book to them, and we will talk about the number 1000. I hope to share with you in a later post about how this goes!

Have you used this book with your students? Any suggestions?

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

It's September! Time to link up with Farley's Currently.

1. Listening: I saw this movie when it came out in 2007, but when I saw it pop up in Amazon streaming I immediately wanted to watch it again. Denzel is my favorite actor.

2. Loving: We had family company this weekend, so I'm grateful for the extra day (they left yesterday) to get the school stuff done!

3. Thinking: My black ink cartridge is fading; gotta get out to Staples today.

4. Wanting: I've got a groupon for a cute little restaurant; hoping we can go out later.

5. Needing: I'm doing the Work Your Workwear challenge at Get Your Pretty On. Today's outfit is really pretty, but I'm missing the print blouse - one more errand for today.

6. 3 Trips: I went to Italy and Greece three years ago. If I ever have the chance to go back to Europe I would love to visit Spain. After cruising to Alaska this summer I'm hoping for a Caribbean cruise in my future. Yes, total baseball fan! Someday maybe I can get to the rest of the stadiums :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Our Second Week

One thing I really like about starting two weeks before Labor Day is that I just need to survive the first 10 days and then I can regroup and start planning for the long haul!! Those first days are absolutely jam-packed, so I just worry about a day at a time. This weekend I will try to do some serious planning for the next week, based on what I have begun to learn about my 35 amazing students.

I am really going to try to give a weekly recap about what we did, including the successes and failures, this year. I know that I appreciate getting a peek into the classrooms of the bloggers I follow and often find a great idea I can try out in my room.

I'll start with the end of the week! I've blogged before about how I celebrate birthdays in my classroom; you can read about it here. We usually do this on the last Friday of the month, so this week we celebrated three young men.


I picked up the chair covers at the Dollar Tree this summer; they were impressed! I bake the cake in a disposable pan, freeze, then make frosting. All I have to do is take it out the night before and remember to take it to school! It was fun to see how excited the students were that I take time for this.


We wrapped up the Great Banana Experiment, our first lesson on the scientific method. After leaving the bananas for 10 days, we found that the one in the refrigerator stayed the freshest. The others were quite mushy, and the kids thought they should be thrown away. I assured them that mushy bananas are still useful for baking. Both of my classes immediately decided I should take the bananas home, make something, and bring it back on Tuesday for them to try! 

They get to taste banana bread on Tuesday.

One of the things I am most enjoying about my class so far is that they are just loving to read!


 This is a typical scene. I have been expecting them to read before school and modeling it myself (I'm working on a Kate DiCamillo book). I am also modeling talking about my reading - what I like or don't like about my book. They have embraced it, and are also taking books to the cafeteria with them every day. Love it!

We have an 8 day rotation for our block this year, so by Wednesday we had finally made it to all our classes. This is designed to keep teachers from knowing where to go :) I made this chart, and the kids are already keeping an eye on it and letting me know if I don't move the clip -- thank goodness!

Just a few things from the week; now I need to get work on the upcoming week! For some of you this will be your first week -- I hope it's a great one!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Math Lit: The 512 Ants of Sullivan Street

This week I am focusing on doubling with The 512 Ants of Sullivan Street by Carol Losi. This is part of the Hello Math Reader series and is an excellent text for second and third graders.

So many of my students come into third grade without an understanding of doubles facts and this book is a fun way to get them thinking about doubling. It is written in rhyme and many students will pick up on and join in on the repeated refrain. Those who see the doubling pattern will also begin to predict the next number in the story.

After reading the entire book I like to go back through and record the equations on the board, getting input from students:
1 + 1 = 2
2 + 2 = 4
4 + 4 = 8
8 + 8 = ?
As the numbers grow, I ask students to explain how they figured out the sum and record their ideas. This is one of those lessons that could easily extend over two days as we explore strategies for finding sums of the larger numbers, talk about our reasoning, and create an anchor chart together about doubling numbers. When we get to multiplication it's also a great book to revisit and apply that operation.

Have you used this book? What else do you do to help students develop number sense?

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