Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Math Lit: Give Me Half!

I always like to review the concept of one half when we are ready to begin fractions in third grade. There  seems to be a handful of students who really don't understand what it means. A few months ago I decided to look for a book that would help, and came across one in my favorite "MathStart" series by Stuart J. Murphy.

When we start back after Christmas break I plan to share this book with my classes to begin our discussion of fractions. It is a story of a brother and sister having to share a lunch. Sharing with a sibling is a common experience, so students will be able to relate the concept of "one half" to real life.

I blogged about another favorite book, The Doorbell Rang, here. When we begin fractions that one also comes out and we look at it differently -- instead of division, we talk about the fractional part of the cookies that the kids are sharing in that story.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Math Lit: One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab

My math coach recently mentioned this book to me, and when I read it I immediately fell in love with it. The illustrations are wonderful, and it can be used for a wide range of learners. This was one of those books that I felt I needed to make a packet to use in my classroom!

A couple weeks ago I asked her to come and share this book with both my classes. They loved the book as much as I did. I'm still putting together a whole packet to go with the book, but I want to share a small freebie with you today. In my class we used it as a springboard for multiplication, but you can use it in primary classrooms as an addition book. Check out this picture of some of the work my kids were doing:

In this example, they are working in groups of three to solve the problem at the top of the chart paper in as many different ways as they can. This one says, "Make combinations for 58 feet. You must use at least 3 different animals." They choose the animals they want to use, glue them on the chart paper, write a factor and the X to the left and an = and the product on the right of the picture. Then they add up the products to equal 58. A lot of math talk, a lot of checking and self-correcting to get to the right number of feet, lots of strategies for the multiplication problems --- and they were having a blast!

The pictures they were using were supplied by our math coach, but I made my own page to use. This was such a great activity that I plan to use it again, giving them regular sheets of paper so they can work individually. You can download my pages of animals by clicking the picture, and of course you could do this activity without the book -- but I recommend you get it if it's not already in your library!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Math Lit: The Grouchy Ladybug

This book may already be on your radar for when you teach telling time, since both the hour and the day of the week is referenced throughout the story. Did you know it can be used for multiples of 10 also?

I've been a collector of Eric Carle's books for years, ever since I was a preschool teacher. As many times as I have read "The Grouchy Ladybug" I never noticed that the ladybugs have 10 spots! We read the book in our math meeting one day, and then came up with word problems about ladybugs to solve. We had already read another book when I introduced multiples of ten - I blogged about it here - so this book was a great follow-up.

I have been having students write their own word problems in their interactive math notebooks and using books as a hook has really helped them come up with good problems. Have you tried this?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fiction Friday 2

I'm back for a second edition of Fiction Friday, where I recommend a couple books that are good classroom reads. Today is an all day literacy event at my school, so I am blessed to be able to spend all day reading with my students. FUN!

A few weeks ago my school had the privilege of having an author visit our 3rd through 5th grades. Chris Grabenstein is the author of "Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library," which was selected this year as one of our Sunshine State Young Reader Awards books.You can find out more about Chris at his website here. To get him to our school, our media specialist only had to purchase a certain number of book copies at $5 each and resell them to students and staff. No problem -- the demand was so high she had to order more!

This event set of a flurry of reading for my students. Somehow when you meet the author your interest in his book goes way up! I had not read the book myself until I got my signed copy, and then I flew through it quickly. It is a fun story for adults too, who will recognize more of the book references than students will.

OK, confession time. Until recently I had only seen the movie of this story (actually both of them). My teaching partner loves this book and kept talking about using it with our students. I decided I had better order it and read it -- I did that first before I confessed to her my deep dark secret! And when I read it, of course I loved it.

Today we celebrate Literacy Week with bell - to - bell reading. We decided to include some themed activities to go with her reading of this book with our students, so I will be teaching them to make "traveling s'mores" and we will be dipping some pretzels and nilla wafers into melted chocolate. Hopefully we survive the sugar rush!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Math Lit: Snowflake Bentley

Do you know the story of Snowflake Bentley? A farmer from Jericho, Vermont, he became the expert on snowflakes. I grew up knowing about him, because I grew up in the Jericho area myself. When I first saw this book a few years ago I knew I had to get it. 

This week I was able to use this book in our math class as we explored patterns in multiplying with a factor of 6. Because of the work of Wilson Bentley, we know that most snowflakes have 6 branches. So, we wrote story problems about snowflakes!

If you don't have this book, may I recommend a youtube video of the story found here. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fiction Friday

During the past few summers I have enjoyed being part of a linky called Fiction Friday. Not only do I love to get new book recommendations from other teachers I also enjoy sharing my own finds. I decided it's time I did some fiction Friday posts here on my own blog, and I am hoping some of you will share what you have been reading in your classroom. I'm not going to write summaries of the stories, just bring to your attention some books we are enjoying this year.

I read this classic to both of my classes as part of preparing to teach my "Chocolate Economics" unit in social studies. If you use this one it helps to familiarize students with the story of King Midas - mine had never heard that tale.

This is my current read - aloud book, chosen because I loved it when I read it this fall. Each chapter tells the story of one of the characters, and my home-room students are enjoying putting the pieces together to find out who each person is and how they are connected to others in the story.

Please share what you are reading and loving!

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