Sunday, September 25, 2016

Math Forums and Useful Links

Students took part in two math forums this week.  The first was to share their thinking about how to find the volume of rectangular prisms. Below you will find pictures of the posters they created, working in pairs, for their first math forum.  The second math forum was about finding the surface area of the same rectangular prisms they discussed in the first math forum. Students did a very nice job of sharing their strategies for finding the surface area and commenting on each other's work.  Below you will also find pictures of their second math forum. Be sure to ask them about these forums and find out if they learned any new strategies for finding volume and surface area of rectangular prisms.

I have added some new links to the right hand side of my blog which I hope you will find useful:  

The first link is called "Homework Board."  This link will take you to a Google Doc that is a copy of what the students should have written in their planner each day for homework. Although it is the student's responsibility to write their homework in their planner each day, I realize some parents question when their child says they don't have any homework.  Now you are one click away from checking to see if this is correct!  I will still require students to writing their homework in their planner each night and have them get a parent signature so I know parents have seen what they have for homework, but this link will allow you to double check what they have written in their planner.

The second link is called "Ben's Guide to U.S. Government.  Students have been using this link in school to learn more about our government system.  I have also given them an opportunity to play the learning games on this website and thought they might want to play them at home, with your permission, of course.  

Posters from our first math forum.

Here are the rectangular prisms that were
used to find the surface area for our second
math forum.

Our second math forum discussion.
Student presentations for our second math forum.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Students Prepare for Their First Math Forum and Celebrate Constitution Day!

There are two highlights from last week that I would like to share with you:

First, students worked very hard last week to create posters for their first math forum (to be held this week).  A math forum is a process where they get to review and comment on each other's work, and then have a discussion to help them build an understanding of a new math concept. They have been learning about volume and created posters, with a partner, to show how many different rectangular prisms they could make out of 24 cubes. They then transferred what they know about calculating volume to the concept of the commutative property of multiplication which states that you can multiply numbers (factors) in any order, and the answer (the product), will not change. They did a nice job with their partner work and followed the expectations they created for discussions and working together in math.

Second, in social studies the students have been learning about the Constitution.  On Friday, they presented at the grade 3 - 5 community meeting and shared what they have learned.  Each student in the 5th grade had a speaking part and then they all sang the Preamble song.  I'm sure if you ask them to sing it to you they can as they rehearsed it many times!  Be sure to ask them about Constitution Day, when it is, and why we celebrated it.

Image result for preamble

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Number Corner, Second Step, and Idioms

We packed in a lot of learning into 4 days this past week.  The students are doing well settling into 5th grade.  Here are some highlights from our week.  Everyday we have core math for an hour, plus an additional math session for another 30 minutes called Number Corner.  This additional math session complements our current math unit and reinforces general math skills.  One of the things students are doing in Number Corner this month is looking for patterns in fractions, using money and clock faces.  Each day they look at a marker on the Number Corner calendar and write as many equations as they can for that marker. Then they work to put any of the fractions they have written in the equations into simplest form.  The idea is to then find any patterns on the chart.  Students also started our Second Step program this week in which the whole school is participating.  This program is to help students build social and academic skills.  Our first lesson taught them about empathy.  In writing, the students learned about idioms.  They will be learning a new idiom each week and then writing about it and drawing to help them understand it. Be sure to ask your child about these things as you discuss what they did at school this past week.

Monday, September 5, 2016


Welcome to the new school year in 5B!  I have enjoyed getting to know the students better during the first week of school.  We have been spending time building a community of learners in our classroom.  One project involved sharing information about themselves on puzzle pieces they decorated to show how they all fit together as a class. Another project involved each student filling in a newspaper about themselves from the perspective of being interviewed by an alien.  They also created classroom expectations listing what their classroom looks like and sounds like to enable them to work together and learn from each other. In math, they learned the Give and Take Strategy which helps them subtract numbers more efficiently. It's been a wonderful first week of school!