Friday, September 26, 2014

Five for Friday

Friday!  My job is such a blessing, but I definitely LOVE Fridays!  Happy weekend everyone! I'm linking up, as usual, with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday.  

It's getting cooler here in Connecticut!  The leaves are starting to turn.  There are fields full of goldenrod.  A student brought me a very cute pumpkin, which his family grew.  Fall is my favorite season, and it always goes by too quickly.  My husband installed an electric fireplace, which we've been enjoying at night while watching episodes of Royal Pains on Netflix.  The living room seems so cozy now!  

Mysteries!  This week, we started guided reading groups.  Each group is reading a mystery.  We kicked off our mystery unit with a hunt for clues.  My creative and hardworking teammate/coteacher
had the great idea to hide clues around the classroom.  One student at a time read a clue, which led him/her to another clue.  The final clue led to the "Book Hospital" where envelopes with each child's name were hidden.  Inside each envelope was the student's assigned book and his/her "Case File" notebook. The booklets were created by Amy Lemons and are part of her Mystery Genre Mini-Unit. I really like them, because they are open-ended enough to allow for differentiation.  There are lots of other goodies in the mini-unit as well.  You can get the booklets in Amy's TPT store by clicking here.  

This week, we started NWEA testing.  The time it takes and the disruption to the schedule kind of bug me, but I try not to get frustrated by it.  Part of the problem for me is that the test is new, and I haven't yet seen how it will help me do a better job differentiating for my students.  I'm hoping to glean some valuable information from the data.  My students seem completely interested in the process and have been very positive about it so far. My first day of testing was Tuesday morning, and the fourth grade teachers were such a huge help.  They helped me set up all of the laptops and get the student screens up and ready to go.  I was SO thankful for their help. I work with some truly amazing people.  

Star Wars according to a 3-year-old! I came across this You Tube video a long time ago and pinned it right away.  I watch it whenever I need some comic relief.  It's included in this week's Five for Friday in case you need some comic relief, too!

The unit I'm doing in math right now is, in my opinion, oddly organized.  We started with a basic review of what addition and subtraction MEAN and applied that knowledge to word problems.  We reviewed fact families and talked about WHEN to subtract (take away, when comparing two amounts, and to find the unknown part of a whole).  From there, we moved on to mental math strategies for addition and subtraction.  Next up is rounding and then using rounding skills to estimate sums and differences. 

Last year, I created a comprehensive set of practice activities.  I knew my students would need more practice with rounding than our math program provided. I also knew that what I created would be more engaging and...well...cuter!  While I managed to learn just fine without cute products when I was a 3rd grader, a little cuteness never hurts!  

I'll be using these materials a lot over the next couple of weeks.  Some of them will be used during our main math block. We also have a thirty-minute math intervention block daily.  The students either work in centers or receive interventions during that time. I'm sure these materials will make an appearance in centers.  There are differentiated task cards, a "roll and round' activity, and some word problems that require students to round and estimate.  There is also an additional practice sheet for estimating sums and differences.  If you are interested, you can click on the image below or [here] to find it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store

Head on over to Doodlebugs Teaching to read about everyone else's week.  I like to settle in on Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and have a blog-reading session.  Have a great weekend!

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