Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fraction Action!

Is there ever a subject that just seems ever so daunting? For me, it's fractions... in third grade! You may or may not know, but we don't have a curriculum to follow. So, when planning units, it can be tough to know what to teach when. Luckily, my math coach approached me about coming in and doing a few lessons together. She has totally changed my outlook on math instruction. What you'll see here is minimal worksheets and a lot of collaboration... yes, about fractions! 

On day one of fractions, we gave students a Frayer Model.
First, the Frayer Model was modeled for students. Then, students were paired up and given a Frayer that already had a fraction in the center. My higher thinkers got a more challenging fractions and my lower kiddos got a simpler fraction. This is how some of them turned out!

After students finished their Frayer Models, they were given one sticky note. They walked around the room and look at other's papers. When they saw something that they did not agree with, they drew it and labeled it on the sticky note. Then, the kids placed the sticky notes on this piece of paper, and we projected it under the Elmo! The kids had such a great discussion. At the bottom of the page, you can see that sticky notes that had something in common were chosen for discussion.

The next two days were filled with these sticky notes... that is all we had to do (well, my math coach) to prepare for the lesson. The kids were given a scenario. Then, in their math journals, they worked on partitioning in order to give each person an equal amount. Again, we had discussions about each scenario as a whole class. Sometimes, students paired up with another group to share their strategies.

Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of their math journals (I'll add it in).
After students worked on their last partitioning problem, they got to make a poster. Here are a few examples.

After the kids made their posters, they shared them by explaining their strategies to the class. It did take time, but it was totally worth it.

After the students shared their posters, they came up with a list of things that should be on a fraction poster. This will be used in our future fraction lessons! :)

To assess, we used an exemplar. Exemplar's are an amazing way to encourage critical thinking skills, while giving students a chance to answer a problem in an open response type of way.

Some students could only come up with one strategy, while some other came up with multiple ways to solve.

I hope you got a few ideas from this post today! It's super easy... but, oh my gosh so effective. I am normally a very activity based teacher, and I think that comes from being in first grade for two years. So, this year, I've been working on switching gears to more lessons such as this one. Hopefully, I can keep it up! I love it! 

Also, please check out Jamie, my math coaches TPT store! She has such great items!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Working on Point of View!

This week we began working on Point of View! We are learning 1st, 2nd and 3rd point of view before we dive into developing our own point of view. We had a delay and a few set backs this week in our schedule, so we didn't get to everything I wanted to get to. You know how that goes! :) I'll share what we've done so far!

The first thing we did was break out the book, "Help Me, Mr. Mutt." On the first day, we simply read the book for enjoyment. We noticed how Mr. Mutt was talking and then how the author used different words when other characters were talking. 
Super, quick-I'm trying to stick to this mini-lesson thing. Guys, it's hard for me! :-)

The next day, I wrote little excerpts from Mr. Mutt onto large paper. We read the excerpts and noticed common words that were being used over and over again. 
We realized that those words helped tell us who is speaking or telling the story. 

After we did the Mr. Mutt activity, the kids got their own little anchor charts. I filled out large ones, while the kids filled out little ones to keep in their reading notebooks. 
We really dove into 1st, 2nd and 3rd POV on this day.
 We went over the Mr. Mutt letters again and had a LOT of discussion while we filled out our anchor charts.

The next day, I pulled this crazy picture up on the board! They were hooked at this point! It was the PERFECT picture to use to talk about point of view. They all have background knowledge on how to drive someone crazy... especially their parents.
We came up with story after story using this picture. Then, we picked just one story. We told it in 1st pov, then 2nd and 3rd. The kids started to notice how to rearrange their sentences to make them match the point of view.

We spent our entire mini-lesson just talking. They used their mini-anchor charts to remind themselves of key words to use when they were telling their POV stories.

The next day, the kids got their own pictures! I had 6 available pictures and I made 5 copies of each picture booklet. I wanted a variety of stories from the kids. I loved that when the kids got their books, they wanted to get out their whiteboards to brainstorm first! Um... yes, please! If you do this, I highly recommend the whole brainstorming process. It was great to walk around and assess their understanding as they wrote their stories. It was easy to help those who didn't quite understanding too, because they didn't have to erase their whole story from their booklet-really just key words. It really helped it click!

So far, we have written our 1st point of view story to match our picture. After we wrote the story, we got in groups of 5 and shared! The kids gave suggestions and compliments to their peers.
Tomorrow, we will be working on 2nd and 3rd POV stories while using the same picture!

We have a long ways to go to really meet this standard, but we're getting it and it's so much fun!
If you're interested in this unit, click here.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Visual Plans -Reading Block Revised... again! ;)

I am just going to right on ahead and post these visual plans today! Why not do 2 blog posts in one day?! ;)

I've been talking to Meredith from Creativity to the Core non-stop about my reading block and how I am struggling with implementing the reading workshop approach with the station rotations and guided reading meetings that I love. I knew there had to be a way to do it and she helped organize me and guide me into what I should do. Like, she even drew pictures for me! (ah, love her!) 

I like the reading workshop idea, but I feel like there are so many gaps and it can get tedious (just my opinion). So, I am not going to delve deep into it all just yet because I just started but I am letting you peek at my plans and see how I differentiate and get it all in. It worked last week and I bet it will work again!! The kids were SO engaged and busy with meaningful work! The reading block is as follows: 
1.Mini-lesson/active learning
2. Off to stations they go
3. Stations Include: Read to self, respond to reading, skill work, teacher table and word study.

Students only visit four stations a day so each day I switch out station strips. (I will do a blog post later once I've gathered photos)!

Oh, and I am a freebie hound... so, there are a lot of freebie links in there from me and many other amazing TPT-ers!

Just click here or on the image below to see my visual plans up close & to be able to click on the product links!

I hope you can find these useful!
Have a great weekend!!