Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Field Trips

Today our entire school went to a nearby hands on science museum and I am exhausted! The kids had a blast and hopefully learned something.  I wanted to share something my grade level does on field trips.  We prepare a Ziploc bag for each chaperone.  The bag contains tissues, a small bottle of Germ-X, and bandages.  When we can we also provide a map and schedule.  The bag also contains a list of the students they are responsible for as well as my cell phone number in case of emergency.  Our chaperones are very grateful for these little bags!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick Science Idea

This week we are talking about living and nonliving things in science.  We have discussed the difference between the two, read about it, and today we did a quick activity I thought I would share with you.  I printed different pictures of backyards, gardens, forests, etc. from the Internet.  Then I broke students into small groups and they made a T chart on large construction paper.  One side was for living things and one was for nonliving things.  They examined their picture as a group and then recorded which things in the picture were living and nonliving on their charts.  I hung their charts with their pictures in the hall.  I forgot to take a picture but I will try to add one soon. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Graphing Ideas

I was thrilled to here positive feedback on my post about ordering and comparing numbers!  Thanks for reading! I was asked by a reader if I had any ideas about graphing.  Graphing is on of my favortie math concepts to teach.  Most of the data we graph is student centered.  We practice writing tally marks while we collect our data.  I ask a question and give some options such as what is your favorite sport.  The students come up a few at a time and make a tally mark by their choice (or sometimes we use post-its to create a fast bar graph).  We do A LOT of modeling and I pretend to forget to label my axis or give my graph a title. Of course I love to use food so I will give each student a packet of skittles and we graph the colors.  After we practice graphing a lot, we do a data project.  I break the kids into groups.  I either give them a topic and have them come up with a question (one year the topic was sleep and some questions were how many hours do you sleep a night, what do you wear to sleep, etc) or I have the kids pick a question out of a bag.  They must come up with their answer choices and decide how they wil poll the class.  Then they collect their data! After collecting their data, they make a line graph, a pictograph, a bar graph, and line plot with it.  Then they present it to the class.  I might have a rubric somewhere- I will get back to you on that.  I have also divided kids into groups and given each group the same data.  One group made a line graph, one group made a bar graph and so on.  Last year for a graphing review we teamed up with a first grade class.  You can read about it here.  Hope these ideas help.  Feel free to ask questions.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ordering and Comparing Whole Numbers

 I find myself apologizing to you again for neglecting my blog. School has been happily busy and due to a tropical storm in the Gulf I was without power the past few days. My power is fully restored now and I have updates. Last week my wonderful students and I practice ordering and comparing whole numbers (and later decimals). We talked about how to line up the numbers by their place value and compare or to think of it as money. My kids love to think of anything in math as money-should this worry me? Anyways, after practicing I broke out my handy number necklaces. My number necklaces are simply numbers written on brightly colored index cards that are then hole punched and made into necklaces using yarn. I gave each kid one. Then I called two students at a time to stand in front of the room. The rest of us would make our comparison sign or "alligator mouth" with our arms. Then I would have a student read our number sentence (13,402 is greater than 12,394). After doing that a few times, I called students up in groups of four. A fifth student would then arranged the students (and their number necklace) by least to greatest or greatest to least. Finally I called each group (my kids sit in groups) up to the front (one group at a time ) and asked them to get in order from least to greatest. By the last group we were in order. I found it easier to call them by groups than to just let them all go at one time. To call students back to their seats I said things such as "if your number has a two in the thousands place please walk to your seat" to reinforce place value. You can use number necklaces for multiplication facts, decimals, percents, fractions or any combo you choose! Here are some photos!

We are doing our "alligator mouths" to compare our friends' number necklaces.

I had them put their cards over their faces for privacy.  And they thought it was funny.  Don't you love 4th grade humor?