Sunday, October 4, 2015

Math and Thinking Maps

We have been working hard to incorporate Thinking Maps into our daily learning in all subject areas.  We are finding all kinds of ways to use them:)  Today I'm sharing a few ways we have used them in Math.

Brace Maps
One way to use brace maps that I just learned about at a training was taking apart word problems.  I love this because it really helps students find those important parts, what we know and what we need to find out.  Some of my students really caught onto this and liked using them to solve their word problems. 

Flow Maps
I have to confess, this was one of those "last minute/oh my gosh I'm gonna change my lesson plans" ideas:)

Flow maps are so easy to incorporate into our reading block and with good results but I wanted them to try it in math.  We were working on making bar models to solve word problems and were almost ready to quiz on this lesson.  I typed up about 6 new word problems similar to what were had been practicing.  I broke the kids into teams of 3 and gave each team a word problem and told them they had to create a flow map giving the steps to make a bar model to solve that word problem.  

THEN, I took collected the flow maps and word problems.  I then handed out the flow maps only to the teams (mixing them up) and they had to try and solve the word problem based on the flow map only.  Wowzers!!!  Some of them found that this was not so easy based on the information or lack of information in the flow maps.
Finally, I gave back the actual word problem that went with that flow map and they had to create a new bar model based on the word problem only and then compare:)  Some got the same answer because the flow map they had included very clear details/steps....some found that they got the incorrect answer or no answer based on their flow map because it didn't have enough info or some steps were left out.

This was really eye opening to my kiddos!  They really enjoyed it too!  We glued the flow map and bar model on one side of a piece of construction paper and word problem and bar model on the other side and hung them up;)  

Tree Maps
"Taking apart" word problems is always a challenge for kids...looking for those "key words/phrases" is so important so we made Tree Maps in our STEM journals listing several of those key words and phrases based on the operation.

Thanks for popping by.  It has been forever since I've blogged...I'm hoping life will settle down so I can get better about it....and yes, I forgot/ditched Monday Made It last month:(   That will be back a week from tomorrow:)  Would love it if you linked up something!

Have a blessed day!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Investigation Station

Do you have a "Science spot" in your classroom?  I'm not talking about a place where you put your school science materials....I mean a spot for "sciencey" (not a word) stuff....well, I didn't until a few weeks ago and wow has it been a hit with my students.  I just set up a "station" on the side of one of my tables and call it our Investigation Station. 
Set up is super easy:)  What's in it?
- little magnifying glasses
- plastic tweezers
- trays
- magnifying boxes
That's it!  Then the fun part!  Fill it with all kinds of fun, science stuff!
We have been working on life science so this was a great tie in!  I've added flowers, seeds, seed pods, shells...I even have an old shark's tooth.
The kids have been so excited, they have been bringing in things that they find to add to our collection.

Each week I bring in one or two new things.  This week has been really fun because I just returned from a trip to Illinois and brought back a few leaves that are just starting to change and some holly branches.  No biggie you might say, but some of my little Florida kiddos haven't seen any of these things.  They were super excited!
Right now, this is just what it is called....and investigation station...they don't have to answer questions, fill out a worksheet, identify.....they are just free to explore and have fun and they are truly enjoying that!  I may or may not add an activity based on what's in the station later but for now it's just free, learning fun!

And when your koi pond fills up with tadpoles, you have to bring them in to the science spot!!

Boy did this stir up some excitement!  If you don't have a "science spot" or Investigation Station, you must add one!  It's so fun to listen to the chatter of the students as they explore.
If you are interested in the Investigation Station sign, it's a freebie at my store:)  Just click below!
If you have some ideas for additions to my Investigation Station, leave a comment:)  Would love to hear about it!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Made It - Classroom Reveal 2015-2016

Monday Made It.....I should be posting about how I "made it" through my first week back.  I have a super sweet group of kiddos but this teacher is tired.....forgot all about the first week sore feet, sore legs, headaches, crazy schedule, forgot my lunch, teacher tired blues!!!
My made its this week are all classroom related because I am doing my classroom reveal as my major made it! (feel free to do that as well for your made it)  Sooooo, buckle up for lots of pics and few suffering from first week teacher tired:/

So many wonderful additions to my classroom from wonderful teacher bloggers/creators!!  I am so blessed to not only have these items in my classroom, but to call a lot of the creators of all this wonderfulness FRIENDS!!!!  So, if ya see your stuff, thank you for being wonderful!!
My library is a constant work in progress:/

Our little library/over night book check out station.  It's from Mrs. Heeren's Happenings.  I used this last year and LOVED it!  I was having too many books disappearing!  One of my classroom jobs is librarian so they take care of this:)


Where we meet EVERY morning for morning math meeting!

Starting vocab lanyards and Homework club this week!

Smuddles and papers with no names clips!

Told ya there were a lot of pics...sorry about that:)  That's gonna have to be my made it for this week!  While I'm on that note.....I'm gonna have to switch back to monthly Monday Made Its...this will be the last in the summer weekly series until next summer:)  I just can't keep up, and the school year has only begun!!!  Hope you all are off to a wonderful school year!  I'm excited about what this year holds for me and my little ones:)