Thursday, February 28, 2013

Science Foldables

In my school we study social studies in quarters 1 and 3, and science in quarters 2 and 4. That means that my students are currently in the middle of social studies (we completed a really fun simulation today that I will share with you tomorrow,) but last quarter we made some great Foldables for each of our science units.
Our first unit in science is electricity. My students make two Foldables for this unit and we glue them together back to back so they are all together.
Foldable 1-each tab opens
Foldable 2-glued on the back-classic "shutter fold"
My students use this to write all of their important vocabulary words and key concepts down on paper. They can then use it as a reference when they work on their final assessment which involves wiring a cardboard house.

Our second science unit of the year is the human body. For that unit we make three Foldables and glue them into one giant Foldable.
Body System Foldable
Vocabulary Foldable 1
Vocabulary Foldable 2
Finished Foldable

We put every body system that we cover as well as all of the key vocabulary on the Foldables. The students use them for in-class projects and reviews. Then they take them home to help them study for their test. The students love have a "giant" Foldable, and I love it because it is extremely hard for them to loose!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More Math Foldables

As I shared yesterday, I have fallen in love with Foldables! They are a great way to have your students write notes in a fun way. While we worked through our geometry unit we made many Foldables to help them learn the terms. Those of you that teach geometry know just how many terms students are expected to know. These Foldables are great because you just use notebook paper that you have on hand. If students use a binder they can place the Foldables in their binder using the holes.
Types of Triangles Foldable
Types of Triangles Foldables (inside)
 The students enjoy making the Foldables because they are able to create something. I let the kids use them to quiz each other in class to help them practice them. I also have the kids take it home to help them study. The parents appreciate them because, for many of them, it has been a long time since they used these terms!
Quadrilaterals Foldable
Quadrilaterlas Foldable (inside)
Check back tomorrow when I share some of the Foldables I use in Science. Happy folding!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Math Notebook Foldables

As fourth graders, my students have completed "millions" of worksheets (according to them,) by the time they enter my classroom. I can remember feeling the same way as a kid. Who doesn't? As a teacher I work to create fun interactive activities that allow the kids to explore...but I struggled with how to create fun and helpful ways for the students to take notes, until I learned about Foldables. Foldables have been created/marketed by Dinah Zike. You can find her website here.  They have been the answer to my prayer.

What I love about Foldables are the many ways you can use them, and the different types that there are. I use some of the Notebook Foldables to tape into our Math Journals.
3-D Foldable laying flat in our notebook

3-D Foldable "popped up"

Angle Foldable picture 1

Angle Foldable-sneak peak inside two of the flaps

 Tomorrow I will share examples of the other types of Foldables I commonly use with my kiddos. Happy folding!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Maniac Monday-Fraction Bars

It is Maniac Monday at Classroom Freebies and I am linking up with a math handout I have been using with my students as we work through our fraction unit together. Fraction Bars 

My students struggle initially to find equivalent fractions as well as comparing fractions. I copy the fraction bars onto a bright colored card-stock and allow them to use it as we work through our fraction unit. Most students, as they become more confident, stop using the chart. But it really helps my struggling students to have access to it at all times.

Happy Monday!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Read Across America Day

I love this time of the world gears up for spring, I'm able to run to the store and purchase Dr. Seuss books on sale! I've loved Dr. Seuss books for as long as I can remember, and even though my students are in fourth grade I still like celebrating Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss things. I normally read them a book or two (I let them vote on their childhood favorites and those are the ones we read.) I also share with them some "fun facts" about Dr. Seuss that they hadn't heard before. This year while I was looking on Pinterest I discovered this poster from the following website: Seuss Poster
While I knew most of the facts, I didn't know all of them. I am looking forward to sharing some of them with my kiddos on Friday!  I also like to give my kids time to read in their "comfy nooks" (our reading spots where the students each get a pillow or blanket to lay on while they read.) Last year the kids and I decorated our classroom door based on our read aloud The Sign of the Beaver. This year I am planning on having each student create a new book cover of the book they are currently read, or have just finished, and we will use those to decorate outside of our classroom.
What do you like to do for Read Across America Day?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What's My Rule?

For some reason my students always seemed to panic when they saw an input/output table for the first time. I decided that I needed to create something "fun" to introduce the concept of input/output tables that was interactive and kid-friendly, and that is where the "What's My Rule?" bear came from.
I start the class by having my students take turns dragging a number behind the bear into the white section of the board. The number "magically" changes based on a rule. Together the students and I make an input/output table to show what we started with, and what comes out. After we try three of the numbers we guess what the fourth number will become. The students discover the "rule" for this bear. We then go through this two more times (on two new pages,) having different students come up to move numbers across and discover the rule of the new bears. Once students have success with this I show them a partially filled in input/output table:

The students work in groups to complete the table and identify the rule. We then work together to create an equation using two variables. I gradually guide them and have them complete the tables on their own, finding the rule and creating an equation to match it.
I've found students are much more confident tackling the tables because they have already solved problems just like it in a fun way! You can find a Smartboard presentation involving addition/subtraction input/output and another one involving multiplication/division input/output tables at my TpT store here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Edible 3-D Geometry

Who doesn't love edible math? I know my kiddos love whenever I pull out some type of food item that are instantly engaged. My students and I were working through our geometry unit, and I decided to give them a "hands-on" experience when we covered 3-D shapes. After a brief review of what a 3-D shape is, and a fun foldable to help us learn the key vocabulary terms (face, edge, vertices,) we built them!
We started by making a cube using marshmallows and toothpicks. Our toothpicks represented the edges and the marshmallows the vertices. My students were able to easily count the number of edges, sides, and vertices on the 3-D objects.
We then made a square pyramid and triangular pyramid and were able to really see how they are different (something my kiddos struggle with every year.)
Then I "set them free" and allowed them to create other 3-D shapes. Here are a few that they made:

Of course after we finished making everything they really enjoyed eating them!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Math QR Codes

A few years ago, I decided that in order to keep my teaching fresh and up to date I would spend each year focusing on a new subject or two. Since I have taught fourth grade for nine years I am really comfortable with the school's curriculum and I have a good understanding of where the average fourth grader is developmentally. With the Common Core being implemented at my school I decided that this year I should focus on math and reading.

One of the first things I did was look around While I was there I discovered this activity from FlapJack Educational Resources; QR Code Math Problem Fun. In this activity students can create their own QR codes to math problems that they create. I thought this would be a great way for me to differentiate, and really challenge those that need it, but it also gave me the idea to create my own task cards where students could check themselves using the QR codes.

I spent a Sunday afternoon working on my first set...creating problems that covered the key concepts my students needed to know, and from my years of experience, what most students struggled to master. When I brought them in Monday morning the only thing I had at the time that could read QR Codes was my iphone, so after a discussion about what I expected of them, I allowed a few kids to work together on the task cards at a time.

The students loved them! Some students worked alone and then checked their answers to the problems using the codes, other students worked together and helped each other as they worked on the math concepts, then checked the codes to see if they were correct. My students loved them because they could use my iphone (now I sign out a few ipads for the students to use from our computer lab,) they had the option of working together, and they could immediately check themselves to see if they understood. I love them because it gives my early finishers something engaging to do, it covers key concepts that I know they need to master, and it allows them to enjoy learning! Who doesn't want that for their students?

You can find a few of the task card sets that I created at my TpT store here.  Most of them are free for you to use in your classroom. All I ask is that you let me know what you think of them! I've just started to load them, so there will be more coming soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Beginning

For years I have followed teaching blogs gleaning great new ideas to use in my classroom. I never once thought about starting my own blog...until recently. I've been teaching fourth grade for 9 years and am now mentoring a third new teacher at my school. As I've worked with her this year, I realized that I do have a lot to share. On this blog you will find teaching ideas as well as stories from my classroom. My hope is that this blog will help new and experienced teachers be encouraged and inspired.
Looking forward to having you join me on this adventure!