Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Can't We All Just Get Along???

Name calling, tattling, smack talking, pinching! You name it, my kids were doing it today.  I do not know what has gotten in to my kids but it has to stop!  I felt like I spent all afternoon listening to one boy telling me about how so and so was talking about his mom, and then another wanted to tell me about someone calling him a cry baby, and it went on and on.  I have done the whole squirting glue/toothpaste thing with a class before when talking about name calling and hurt feelings.  Does any one know of any good books or lessons for helping my kids get along and solve problems? I would really appreciate all suggestions!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slowing Down for Some Factoring Fun

A huge chunk of the 3rd Nine Weeks for my fourth graders is dedicated to fractions.  We eased into this unit by using manipulatives and drawing to explain what a fraction is and then we practiced naming fractions.  Then we added and subtracted fractions with like denominators (which my kids said was so easy!).  Today it was time to dive into the more complex concepts- key scary music- simplest form!!! I know you are all hiding under your covers now much like I wanted to do this morning. 
    Every year my students have struggled with simplest form and I finally realized I was putting it all on them in one huge heap of math nonsense! Factoring, greatest common factor, dividing oh my! So today I tried a new approach- breaking it down into small pieces.  Today we talked about what a factor is and how we factor.  I showed them some examples and then we factored some numbers as a class.  Once my kids got the hang of it, we had a factor competition.  The kids loved it and it did not take a lot of time.  My kids already sit in groups so we had our teams.  I put a number on the board and they had to work together to find all the factors of said number.  When they thought they had them all, they would raise their hands.  I would come to them and tell them if they had them all or if they needed to find more.  The team that got all factors first was the winner of that round.  My kids were so into it they even forgot who won and to ask me about prizes.
 After factoring for a bit, I started putting two numbers on the board and we would factor both.  Then we would circle the factors they had in common.  Next step we added was finding the greatest common factor or gcf as we call it.  The last thing we did was talk about how we would use this with fractions.  They saw the pieces come together in the end! I am hopeful that by slowing down and taking the time to focus on the factoring my kids will be more successful with this skill this year.  Keep your fingers crossed!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Farley is having a GIVEAWAY!

Mrs. Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade is having an awesome giveaway.  She contacted the wonderful people at My Rubber Stamp to create this one.  You have to see it to appreciate its awesomeness!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Na Na Na Na FACT MAN!!

 I have been telling my students since August how important it is to know your basic math facts by heart! Apparently every teacher at my school has too and we haven't gotten through to our kids.  Fact Man to the rescue! Our amazing Title One teacher, Mrs. Edwards, dressed up as Fact Man on Friday.  You never knew when Fact Man would rush into the room and ask a student a math fact! When a kid got one right they got a piece of candy.  My kids were delighted by this fun way to encourage fact fluency.  Fact Man will be making more visits to our school soon.  Perhaps he can stop by your school as well! Check it out!

Fact Man's cape was decorated with math symbols and words

My kids watching Fact Man

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


  Today my kids were working on their PowerPoint presentations on famous African Americans.  Justin is doing his on Ray Charles and he had a question about his research.  I went to help him and he said, "Ms. Coleman, how can you go blind from guacamole?"  It took me a minute to figure out what he meant until I read a sentence on his page: "Ray Charles lost his sight due to glaucoma."