January 21, 2013

Social Studies Anyone?

At my school, there is a huge push for social studies. At times, I wish my reader's and writer's workshops weren't so content driven. Other times, I'm amazed at the work my students do through the content.

Currently, in social studies and reading, I'm covering the changes that took place in the colonies right before the American Revolution. In writing, we're in the beginning phases of persuasive writing. I have one period a week to teach straight social studies (the other texts and lessons are through reader's workshop)--meaning I don't have to take conference notes (...yet!!) and I can work on projects with the students. :)

My school uses has a textbook to teach social studies (though we're not really allowed to teach out of the book--here's where the projects come in :) In the textbook, my next lesson was on Influential Colonists.

I looked through my library and what did I find...
a perfect fit for the textbook!!

There were 6 people I wanted to cover (which was only the first few pages of the book--another bonus!!) I needed an organizer for it, so I used a flippable from 4mulaFun!
This is the 6 flap petal from Jennifer's  Flippable Template Pack. (This is just one of 51 different templates--definitely check it out if you do a lot of flippables in your room!)

I read a little bit in the book, stopped and had the students think about the most important ideas we were learning about the person, then we jotted the notes in the organizer. There was a lot of discussion about each person and more content knowledge was gained through this focused conversation!

To link this project with our new unit of study, I had the students answer this prompt:
They drafted in their notebooks and I had them publish. Here are some student examples ( I have to say that the majority of my class chose John Peter Zenger!)


Here is how I planned for this:

How do you make social studies fun? Do you create projects or are you limited to the textbook? I'd love to know about it :)

January 20, 2013

Winners and Multiplicative Comparisons

The winner of my Differentiated Literacy Activities--The Little Match Girl {common core aligned} is...
Congratulations Jay P! Be on the lookout for an email :)

One of my winners didn't get back to me...so here is my new winner of the Jooners Premium Membership:

Congratulations Yvonnee!

On a side note...
                         is anyone else teaching multiplicative comparisons?
 It is a difficult concept for 4th graders--what makes it even harder is the lack of number sense associated with multiplication! I've been working backwards in terms of multiplication--teaching common core concepts from 3rd grade.

I started with basic exploration of multiplication using counters and creating arrays; exploring prime and composite numbers; along with identifying and defining the properties of multiplication--identity, associative, commutative, and distributive. I used a lot of BrainPop videos and foldables for our math notebooks to help teach these concepts and lots and lots of discussion! **Sorry there aren't any pictures for this part!)

Once I finally got to the 4th grade standard of teaching using comparison problems, I taught one type at a time (missing product, missing group, and missing number of groups).

Using the site K-5 Math Teaching Resources I was able to find a bunch of questions to use. (If you don't know about this site--it is awesome! There are so many valuable (and free) activities, suggestions, and printables for grades K-5! If you sign up for the newsletter, you get the updates in your inbox! Love, love, love it!!)

So I put together an activity book for my students with task cards!
The cover

The task cards--I printed one page for each table, cut them, and showed them how to rotate questions. I found these questions on the K-5 Math Teaching Resources 4th grade page.

This is the problem I modeled for them. It is the 2nd page of the book.

I made 2 copies of this page back to back for each student. This is where they showed their work for each of the task cards.
     And if you made it to the end of this post, I have this activity as a freebie! Click HERE to access the document! 
 **If you download this freebie, I'd love for you to follow my blog or leave a comment :) Thank you!!**

How are you teaching the new math standards? Do you find yourself creating your own materials? What are some useful sites you use?

January 12, 2013

Product Swap


I was lucky to swap products with Laurah at

      Laurah is an ESOL public school teacher who currently is working with grades 2 and 4. She has a ton of teaching experience with ESOL populations ranging from Kindergarten through 8th grades. Her blog, The ESOL Odyssey, offers many classroom ideas for teaching all children and incorporating technology. Laurah's kindness and thoughtfulness is demonstrated throughout her blog--one example is her outreach to help those teachers affected by Hurricane Sandy.

     I chose Laurah's Common Core Math Writing Prompts Set 1.
There is 22 pages...here's my printer printing away...
       Each page has graphics to go with the questions asked and the format is very clear and easy to read.

      The beginning pages really help students to think about math and how it relates to them and everyday life--understanding and making real-world connections are key.
Not only did these reflection questions get the kids thinking, but it was also eye-opening to me as their teacher. (see above)
I let my kids walk around the room while doing this activity. Not only did they have fun, but they also stayed on task! I was amazed at what they noticed mathematically!

      One part of the pack that I really like is the connections to literature. After reading a book, Laurah gives you questions to think about an activity to do. I left the activity for The Math Curse for my substitute to do. The kids loved the read aloud and had more fun thinking about how they use math! (Sorry no pics for this one!)

     I really dug deeply into the activities around equations.

 The kids had fun trying to use different operations and parentheses with this activity. I love that I can really see how the students think--some are more advanced using parentheses and multiplication, while others only use addition and subtraction.
     There is also a reflection piece for each question.
To build onto this learning about equations, there is another question that links real-life to math.
      My students had a lot of fun with these activities and yours will too :)

 The other topics in the pack are: patterns, money, expressions, elapsed time, functions, line and bar graphs, & median, mode, and range. All of which will be covered in my 4th grade curriculum.

Definitely go and check out Laurah's blog and store! You'll be happy you did :)


To celebrate the product swap, I'm having a 20% off sale at my TN and TpT shops tonight through Sunday!

And..a rafflecopter giveaway for the product Laurah reviewed:
                                See Laurah's review of The Little Match Girl

a Rafflecopter giveaway