Well, things got even more interesting as my work with fractions unfolded on day 2! For those of you who read my first fraction post, I discussed how we used paper folding to get our fraction concepts unit "launched", and we ran out of time to finish the investigation before digging into some fraction misconceptions. I gave them another 25 minutes today to work on folding their different ... Read the Post
Fraction Folding–discovery learning
Today we kicked off our fraction unit, and I think I am going to really try to do a lot of blogging about it over the next few weeks--because I will be immersed in it AND because it is such a critical component of the Common Core for intermediate grades. I think it is vital that we dialogue about ways to help students build their understanding of fractions, so I invite you to share along with me ... Read the Post
Launching Reader’s Workshop and Independent Reading
One thing I know to be true about fourth graders and intermediate students is that there is no ONE thing true about fourth graders and intermediate students. It seems like the longer I teach, the more compelled I am to find ways to group and individualize for students, but I have to admit--it is NOT easy for me. It isn't that I don't KNOW who the students are or what to do. It's that whole ... Read the Post
Why Mentor Texts?
There are a billion resources out there that are stressing the importance of using "mentor texts" to help students develop as readers and writers. I couldn't agree more! Studying what other writers do can not only help our students become better writers--but better readers as well! In fact, I think it's so important to dig into these texts that we keep an ongoing list in my class ... Read the Post
Division Day 2: Cookie Time!
Back into the division trenches today with one of my favorite "kick off" activities! I love it when a piece of literature can spark a lesson, and this is no exception. Marilyn Burns turned me on to this idea a few years back, and I have taken the ideas in her lesson and expanded it to really challenge my students. The lesson unfolds over a few days--I am going to try to paint the ... Read the Post
Problem Solving Rubric–Try out this math freebie!
I spent the day at a regional music competition watching my son and countless other students show off their hard work and practice. Some achieved their ultimate goal of qualifying for the state contest--others left disappointed. What struck me as I volunteered for the afternoon was the judging. After each student or group performed, the judge walked through their scoring sheet pointing out what ... Read the Post
Fractions Day 16: Word Problems and Critical Thinking
Well . . . I promised a little update on the problem solving from the other day, so here goes! What I often do toward the end of a unit is provide students with a class period or two to work collaboratively or on their own on an assortment of word problems. Some of the problems are right at the level I would expect them to be able to do and others "push" and help them work on their "problem ... Read the Post