Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Math Notebook Setup Part 1

In addition to your sweet comments about my notebooks, I received several comments/emails inquiring about how to set them up. I would like to answer all of you now in this post! I do not have enough time to go through all of the setup process, so here is part 1. I should be able to finish part 2 tomorrow.

My students LOVE their math notebooks. They especially love making foldables or anything else on a colored piece of paper to put in them. I follow the same procedure each year to set them up:

1. Obtain notebooks
My students aren't always able to get necessary school supplies (for various reasons). That is why I clean out the composition books at Walmart each August! They always have them for 10 cents each right before school starts, so I buy ALL of what they have! I have stocked up on them over the past three years so I have quite the collection. I also stock up on the 10-cent spirals. I really have no preference as to which I want my kids to use--I just think it is important for them to have a personalized notebook so I accept whatever (new) notebook they bring in. Some have those ginormous three or five-subject notebooks, some have the basic composition book or spiral, some have Bieber, Phineas and Ferb, or Transformers on the cover, and some just have a basic notebook. As far as using one type over the other because of pages falling out--that has not been something that I have had to deal with. I know a lot of other teachers I have talked to about notebooks won't allow composition books because of that. Whatev, I'm not that picky (in that aspect).

2. Guidelines
At the beginning of the year we talk about how we are all mathematicians and even have a little minilesson over it. The point of the lesson is that mathematicians are always learning, observing and discovering, all of which can be recorded. We go over the guideline page (available below) together and then the kids sign the bottom. This page is glued on the inside cover so I can refer to it in case any problems should arise (like a student not taking care of his notebook--we can go back and look at the guidelines he signed). I think I got the original page from a workshop; I modified the font and a few words to make it fit my classroom.

3. Personalize notebooks
The very first page in the notebook is for students to personalize. This is a page that they decorate to represent themselves so I allow them to decorate it as much (within reason) or as little as they want. (I don't have any picture examples to share now but I'll get some tomorrow!) For this year's deco party, I brought in a bunch of scrapbook paper with a nice variety of patterns and colors. I had aspirations of bringing in my Cricut so they could cut out the letters in their name but I decided not to at the last minute--it would have taken too much time and I didn't have anymore to spare. They were given two class periods to decorate--we went ahead and did the front and back of the page so it was nice and sturdy. They really enjoyed this part and I love how they came out!

That's it for today--stay tuned for part 2! :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

MORE Math Notebooking!

This year's math notebook is even more awesome than last year's! I am MUCH more proud of this one! :) My kids are so excited each time we make something to put in it and are even more excited that they get to take it to 5th grade with them next year! I have some of the pages available--look for the links! Hope you enjoy!!!


I choose not to use our math textbook--in fact, the fourth graders I had three years ago are the only ones that have even seen the book!! For my kids, the notebook IS their textbook, so I make sure that I always carefully plan out each page and activity. I want it to be GOOD if it is to be used as a reference tool.

I appreciate all of your feedback that you have given in regard to my notebooks! :D

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Measurement Evaluation part 2

I'm on a roll! Another action shot post!! These shots aren't the greatest--I had to squeeze between kids to get them in between helping them! :)

To finish up metric measurement we completed several measurement stations. There were 5 total stations--the students estimated and measured how far they could toss certain items, how much water they could squeeze from a sponge and the mass of a handful of pennies. The kids had SUCH a good time. They were totally engaged and even helped each other with measuring.

The kids always struggle with estimating and spatial sense--they have a hard time determining reasonable measurements. It worried me when I saw some estimate that they could throw a q-tip only 10 cm or that a handful of pennies would be 3,000 grams! I loved seeing them not only realize what was wrong with their estimate but actually apply the knowledge gained at the next station. They were able to estimate more closely and actually begin to understand the concept of 1 cm, 1 mL, and 1 gram. I am very proud. :)

Measurement Evaluation Part 1

According to state standards, 4th graders must be able to estimate and measure length, capacity, mass and weight using the metric and customary system. They must also be able to determine which units to use when given a situation. Last Friday the kiddos completed part 1 of the evaluation of part 2 of our measurement unit. We did part 2 of the evaluation today but I'll post about that tomorrow! :)

First we made a Venn diagram using three circles (something new for them): one for capacity, one for weight and one for length. The students each received a set of pictures and had to sort them into the proper category or categories. Example--one of the pictures was of a man running on a track. Some students just thought that picture would go with length because you can measure how far he is running; others thought length and weight because you could also measure how heavy the man is. The final thing they had to do was write which units they would use to measure. So those that chose length for the runner put miles and kilometers and those that chose weight put pounds. If you click on the pics to enlarge you should be able to see where the students wrote the units they chose on each picture. They enjoyed this activity and they really enjoyed part 2 of the evaluation that we did today. You'll have to come back tomorrow to see what it was!!

NOTE: I just picked a few examples to take pictures of--they may or may not be accurate! :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ice Erosion

I know, I know I NEVER post live action shots of my students. Well, here ya go! I whipped out my iPad and took some pics the other day during a science activity so I figured I might as well share them. :)

In science, we have been learning about some of the different agents of erosion. Our latest one was ice. My super awesome husband helped me with this one--he cut off the bottoms of a few water bottles, threw some gravel, dirt and water into them and froze them overnight. The next day I had several little glaciers to take to school!

I gave each group a piece of clay and had them flatten it to represent land. Then they took their "glacier", moved it across the land and observed what happened.


I know it's hard to tell the effect of the glacier on the awesomely-colored clay land but you get the idea. :) After the activity we looked at some photos of ice erosion I found from Googling. They loved this part--some pretty awesome images came up! (Don't worry, I found them ahead of time because you NEVER know what will come up on Google images!!!!)

The students also took pictures of their land with iPads. We have been collecting pictures of our weathering/erosion lab activities and examples of weathering/erosion from out in the real world (around campus) so we can make a book out of them. We are going to use the iPad StoryKit app to make it--it's free and it's really easy for kids to use. The kids will basically explain what the processes are and show pictures for each agent. We're staying pretty basic with this because this is our first real project using iPads AND because we are so behind in science--like, MONTHS. I'm sure none of you have that problem and are always on track ;)

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Leap Frog Number Line Game

I've got a new game for ya!! :)

There are several upper-level concepts that seems to have little to no FUN resources--number lines included! I have used a few things here and there, but needed something different for review. Since I prefer hands-on activities to worksheets I decided that I needed to create a fractions and decimals number line game; this is what I came up with today. The game includes 6 sets of fraction/decimal cards, 6 number lines, and a recording sheet. It can be used individually, in a small group or whole group. It also includes a little equivalent fraction review (which is something you can never do enough of!). You can check it out in my Teachers Notebook store.

I hope this is something that at least some of you are able to use! The first 3 people to leave an email address will receive a free copy of it!! I hope you enjoy!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

I am HONORED to receive the Versatile Blogger Award from the following blogs (I think I got all of you!):

A Class Act

Fabulous Fourth Grade

(I also apologize for taking soooooo long to claim the award and post this! :D I actually started this post in December!!)

Here are 7 facts about me!!

1. I now have a sweet little TWO year-old--she turned two last month!!
2. I cannot WAIT to finish grad school! 3 more months!!
3. I'm a 20-something, 5th-year teacher (several of you have asked about that!).
4. I obsessively check Pinterest whenever I have a free second! I haven't missed a pin from the people I follow yet! (This is normal, right??)
5. I get my absolute best ideas about 5-10 minutes before deadlines (like right before teaching a lesson or workshop, right before throwing a party, etc.). Drives me CRAZY because I am such an OCD planner, but it most always works out.
6. I have the most random taste in music. My iPod could play a Disney soundtrack, switch to Elton John, play Michael Jackson, hop over to Nirvana or Shinedown, over to Britney Spears, on to The Beach Boys, Adele, Whitney Houston (R.I.P.), George Strait, and Lady Gaga, and THEN back to Disney. :) Love it.
7. I should be doing homework right now............

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Winner! x 5

Thanks SO much for your help on my FB page and for entering the giveaway! I am closing this giveaway with 100 page likes--awesome!! Anyway, it's announcement time! 

By the way, somewhere around the fifties the comment numbers messed up! Most of the winning numbers match the comment but some do not. Don't worry--I counted!! Here are the winners that were randomly chosen:

Congratulations to you all--email me with the item from my store that you would like! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Join my FACEBOOK page, get free stuff!! :)

Well, I would like to celebrate the fact that I FINALLY started a Facebook fan page, so I am having another giveaway!

To enter (leave one comment for each):
1. Comment that you follow my blog.
2. Follow my Teachers Notebook store and comment that you do.
3. "Like" my Facebook page and comment that you did.

I will randomly select 5 of you to win 1 item of your choice from my Teachers Notebook store. Easy, right??


Thanks in advance for helping my FB page get some likes!!


Tweet-Heart Board Game

Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right??!

I just added a Valentine game to my store called "Tweet-Heart".  If you are familiar with my games, it is the Valentine's version of "Turkey Trot" (from my FREE Thanksgiving package) and "Dashing Through the Snow". No matter what the theme, my students absolutely LOVE these games!

You can check it out in my store! Since it's SO late, how about the first 5 people to comment (with an email address!!!) will receive a free copy??

Enjoy! :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Think About It!: The Next Installment

It's been a while since the last post! This has been the busiest month ever!!

Anywho, I finally decided upon the next installment in the series. I can't tell you an exact posting date right now, but I am pretty sure it will be in February! :)

The installment will include ideas for using manipulatives and, more importantly, why you should use manipulatives. I'm also thinking this will turn into a linky party (how fun!). Stay tuned for more details! :)