Friday, February 28, 2014

Week 26- Chemistry, Field Trips, & Video Announcements

This week we did a few science experiments for our chemistry unit. The students had to observe the properties of 6 white powders. Then they added water and observed what happened. 

On the next day they added vinegar to those same powders. 

We'll test a few more liquids with the powders and at the end they will use the data they have collected to determine a mix of mystery powders. 

Teachers, if you ever do science experiments in your classroom you have to get these lab team roles! They are free on TpT and I love using them. Each student gets a card to assign their task for the experiment. It is a great way to keep everyone on task and involved.

Check out this picture of Jacob I found on my camera roll. You can see us meeting in small groups for math instruction in the background. Jacob solved one of the puzzles and this is the picture of him to go on the wall of fame. 

Friday we went to the Civic Center to see Sparkman High School's play, The Wizard of Oz.

After the play we went to CiCi's pizza for lunch. 

I was sad I didn't get to go bowling with my students on Tuesday. I had to go to a meeting at central office for the Technology Integration Mentors. While there I won a new Sony HD video camera. So this week I tried something new! Check out our video announcements for the week! 

Thanks to this group of students for hanging out with me for a little while after school to get our first video done after the field trip.

STUDENTS: Which field trip was your favorite and why?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Week 25- States of Matter, The Ultimate Puzzle, & Math Small Groups

This week in science we have been studying states of matter. This song is one of my favorites when I teach this. It is also one of those songs that gets stuck in your head once you hear it.

I also did a demonstration of the movement of particles in hot and cold water. We added food coloring and the students observed to see what happened and they discussed why there was a difference.

We learned all of our brain dumps for customary measurement this week too. Check out this video I made that explains how to use the brain dumps to convert measurement. 

I've changed up the way I'm teaching math. After reviewing some test scores I decided to try teaching all my math lessons in small groups. I divided the students into 3 groups and I have 3 things for the groups to rotate through. I start with a quick mini lesson and we check any homework we had the night before.

The first rotation is time with teacher. This is where I review skills and introduce the new skill we are focusing on that day. 

Our school just got access to all the exemplars for math. Samples can be found here. These are complex word problems that won't be solved in a 15 minute rotation. The students solve the problem, label their work, write an explanation, and draw any charts or pictures they used to solve the problem. I allowed the students to work together this week to solve their problem. 

The 3rd rotation is Calendar & Math Games. We have been calendar math all year and in this poster the group can choose one piece of the calendar to complete. After that, they are able to play the math games I've left in this area. This week I introduced them to The Ultimate Puzzle

I'm pretty sure this puzzle was a hit with a lot of my students. When they solve a 3x3 or 4x4 puzzle I take a picture of them and their solution. My plan is to create a poster of solutions. Here are just a few from this week. 

I have 3 of the same puzzle so to keep the pieces from being mixed up I put colored stickers on each set. This helps keep the pieces with the correct puzzle and prevents them from being mixed up because it does make a difference. 

Are you familiar with Learn Zillion? I love this site! This is a great way for my students to review a concept in a group without me. I created the poster so they can scan the QR code to go to the website. I then provide them with a quick code and they are able to access the video I want them to watch. I've been using several things in math class to have them review. Here are a few of them:

Math Journal Prompts and Essential Questions- We start some days with math journal prompts. I love these because it incorporates writing into math.

Common Core Math Worksheets- I love these because they are a quick way to assess my students and make sure they understand.

Common Core Math Outside the Box 5th Grade- Another quick assessment!

Math Exit Slips 5th Grade- I add a snapshot of the exit slip on my slides for the day. I have my students write their answer on a sticky note and post it on the Show What You Know Board. This is a quick way for me to check to see who needs to review the standard.

I'm still working to find what works best for our groups but I think it went pretty well this week. I also love sitting at the table with every student. It helps me see the errors they are making and connect with each of them.

Want a copy of the signs I made for my math rotations? Click here to access my dropbox file.

STUDENTS: Do you like the way we did math this week? Why or why not?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Week 24- Snow Days & Exemplars

What did we do this week? Not a lot! We were out for 3 days because of snow. It doesn't snow much in Alabama but when it does we hibernate. The main snow storm arrived late Wednesday night and my husband went out and took a picture of the house with the snow falling. We ended up with about 4-5 inches at my house but it rained all day before the snow started so the water turned to ice quick.

So Friday we finally went back to school. We spent time working on Exemplars. These are multi step word problems that we will start using every week. I'm changing up my math instruction and this will be one of the rotations. I wanted the kids to see how to solve these problems and what I expected to see in their work.

I let the. Work with partners and we spent some time discussing how to work with someone else when solving a problem.

I also started creating charts for our data wall. I'm planning to make one for each standard and I'm using STAR data to plot the students on the chart. Each student also has their own personal data in their leadership notebook. 

Since today was Valentine's Day I also wanted to share the picture of all the goodies I received today. I must say I could feel the love!

STUDENTS: What did you find most difficult about the Exemplar problem we did today? What was the easiest part?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Week 23- Leader in Me & Kid President Inspired Videos

This week we had a bunch of visitors at our school from the Leader in Me Symposium. This is 
a picture of us wearing our Leadership & choir shirts.

I thought I'd share some pictures from around our school building. We have our testing data displayed. The 5th grade has graphed test averages for math and reading.

We also have display cases in the front hallway. After we focus on a habit we add things to the display cases.

This is also located in the front hallway.

Across from there we have the school improvement wall. We have things posted like percent absences and discipline referrals. 

Quotes to Lead by is the display of favorite quotes from all the faculty and staff.

Right across the hall is the grade level display for the current habit. This is where each grade level displays some of the student work that includes the habits.

We also have a board for our WIGS.

These cute people also have the habits listed in the hall. We are super leaders so these super kids fit right in. 

This is a table 2 of my students set up. They had samples to share with the visitors.

This week in class we started my favorite science unit, chemistry! So I couldn't wait to do the first demonstration. The students observed properties of two clear liquids. When I mixed them together the turned into a solid. Informed it into a ball and they bounced it back and forth to each other..

Everyone had a chance to feel and bounce it on the table.

Once we were finished I put it in a bag and we checked back in that afternoon. The kids were amazed to find it had flattened out and it took the shape of the bag.

For the Digital Day of Learning we made a padlet to brainstorm ways to make our class more awesome. They used iPads and posted their ideas to the padlet. Once they were finished we made a video! Want to see them? Each class made a video. The students put it together using iMovie. 

STUDENTS: What have you learned so far in chemistry? What did you think about the ball we made Friday?