Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Currently

Woohoo!  Another month, another 'Currently'!  I know it's a bit early, but once again, I've linked up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade to share my very captivating list of pertinent info!  So here it goes:

-Does your dog/cat/guinea pig/significant other snore?!  My dog has taken up snoring like it's going out of style.  Seriously, she often snores so loud, she wakes herself up.  Do they make Breathe Right for dogs?  I think I'll google that as soon as I push "Publish".
-I LOVE my new planner from Miss Math Dork.  I love it so much, I plan on blogging about it next week, pics and all, so come back to see it in all its' glory. 
-We leave for vacation in 9 days, and it couldn't come fast enough!  I'm ready to kick back and relax with my family in the beautiful state of Michigan!
-Last Summer, we took on retiling our entire house, but the fancy-schmancy new tile makes our walls look a little shabby.  They need to be painted, and I want them painted, but the magical paint fairy has not paid us a visit yet.  Sigh.
-  It's been so hot here, and we (like most of the southwest) are in serious need of rain and cooler weather.  But I guess that's the price you pay 'mild' winters and 'dry heat'!
-Finally, my tip is to always spell check and proofread!  I'm sure we all have embarrassingly hilarious stories about spelling slip-ups, and it happens to the best of us, but accidentally omitting letters from words like "britches" and "pennies" can really change the entire conversation!  And we've all seen the importance of commas.

Head on over to Farley's blog to check out the other 'Currently' blogs. 
Oh' boy fourth grade
Happy Weekend!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday!

Even in the Summer, I get excited for Fridays because they just feel special.  But it is the end of June, which means my Summer is half-way over!  Eeeeeeeeeeek!  So in effort to not think about my quickly-fleeting summer, here are the five random images that sum up this past week. 
1.  Rainbow Chevron Labels
I made these for my TPT store, but they're just so...cute.  Never mind that I already have my supplies labeled. 
Forget the fact that it took me several hours to print, laminate, hole-punch, and attach my book basket labels last summer.
I. Just. Have. To.  So needless to say, my printer is printing, and my laminator is warming up.  Time to do it all again!  You can get your own Rainbow Chevron label cuteness here.  
2.  It's been SO hot here.  Like too hot to function.  
It's been so hot that I don't even have the energy to elaborate further on this one. 
3.  Because it's been hot, we've spent most of the week inside!  Yesterday, we went to a local jumpy balloon place where my boys ran like wild animals for a few hours.  The air conditioner in this place was icy, so we were all happy! 

4.  Because it's been so hot (see #2 above), we've spent most of the week inside (see #3 above).  We decided to hunker down in a cool, dark theater and see "Monsters University".  

It was so stinkin' cute, I would highly recommend it.  Both boys loved it, but my 9 year-old said, "That was my favorite Pixar movie of all time!".  If that doesn't seal the deal for ya, I don't know what will. 
5.  Finally, I tried something new this week.  For the first time in my entire life, I put on soccer cleats and joined my hubby on the field for a just-for-fun game.
Was I any good?  No.  Were the matchy-matchy pink socks necessary?  No, I didn't even wear shin guards...but they sure are cute!  Was it hot?  Yes (see #2, 3, and 4 above).  Did I have fun?  Yes.  Will I do it again?  Yes.  Moral of the story- try something new, you might surprise yourself.
Happy Friday!  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bloglovin Link Up!

I am a Summer blog slacker, but I did manage to muster up the energy to join Bloglovin since Google Reader is going away.  You can easily follow my blog by clicking that cute button to the right! 

Since I'm in Summer mode, I was not looking forward to the DRAMA of re-finding all my favorite blogs, it's way too hot to deal with that mess!  But much to my delight, it was drama free!  One click, and all my favorites were there.  It's like they created Bloglovin with Summer Me in mind!

Anyway, I've also joined up with Tori's Teacher Tips for her Bloglovin Blog Hop Linky Thingamagig. 

I'm off to find some new blogs to follow, want to join me?!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Geometry Cafe!

Throughout this past school year, I have been so fortunate to be part of an ongoing partnership with several wonderful professors and research mathematicians out of New Mexico State University.  This partnership has opened the doors to many learning opportunities for both my students and myself, including several classroom visits from a real-life mathematician!

I can't speak highly enough about "Mr. Ted", as my students call him, because he brings his expertise and passion for mathematics to my students in a way that keeps them on the edge of their seats while deeply engaging in math concepts.  According to them, he walks on water...and invented math.  But that's a whole different post altogether!

Recently, Mr. Ted paid a visit to our classroom with one of my all time favorite math lessons, "Geometry Cafe".  Common Core tells us that geometry is HUGE in 3rd grade, representing an entire Critical Area (that's 25% of ALL 3rd grade Critical Areas!!!).  But as teachers, we know that in order for students to reach the depth of understanding mapped out in CCSS, the foundation is laid in the primary grades, and continues to build and extend all the way through high school.  With that in mind, "Geometry Cafe" provides students with an opportunity to reason about shapes and their attributes through cooperative learning while using the Standards for Math Practice to demonstrate their understanding.

The premise behind "Geometry Cafe" is that students are given a scaffolded geometric "order" in which they must fulfill for the "judges".  Students use the Standards for Mathematical Practice to create the order and present their argument to the judge.  The judges are responsible for critiquing the reasoning of their peers, asking clarifying questions, and finally, accepting or rejecting the 'order'.  Since the order cards are scaffolded, students can choose to either continue to work on the same level of cards, or move on to more challenging, and sometimes even impossible, order cards.   

At the start, students were told that while during this lesson, we would be focusing specifically on Math Practice 3 (Constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others) and Math Practice 6 (Attending to Precision), they would most likely need to use those MP's to explore polygons. Four students were selected to be the "judges"- three were chosen based on their strength in communicating ideas and critiquing the reasoning of others, and the final student was randomly selected.  The judges were told that they were not allowed to "show" the groups how to solve their problem, but instead, must question, critique, and discuss what the group had done.

Students quickly began working in groups of three and four to draw and satisfy their orders on dot and grid paper.  For the 'green' (easiest) orders, many groups were quickly ready to share with a judge.  The 'yellow' cards took a bit longer, as they were more challenging, and many groups continued to work on yellow cards for the entire math time.  Some groups chose to move on to the most challenging, 'red' cards, and this is where I some of the greatest examples of the Standards for Mathematical Practice in action.  One group made sense of a single problem and persevered in proving it impossible for about 45 minutes!  Another group sought out pattern blocks to (choosing appropriate tools strategically) to prove to their judge that their order was in fact, correct!  Students were precise in their geometric vocabulary, especially when conversing with their judge and when sharing out their solutions with the whole group.

As a teacher who is still learning about the Common Core State Standards, I work tirelessly to create math experiences for my students that weave content and Mathematical Practice Standards, because the learning that results is priceless.  Lessons like "Geometry Cafe" are gems, and Mr. Ted knocked it out of the park with this one.

Since you've made it this far, and with his permission, I would like to share* this lesson with you- Geometry Cafe.  Included are detailed directions and a plan, as well as scaffolded orders for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.  This is what I would consider math Christmas!!  I hope your kiddos enjoy it as much as mine did.

**This lesson was graciously shared by Ted Stanford.  It is his intellectual property, and we all know that stealing others ideas and property gives you 7 years of bad juju :-)                   

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June Currently!

I can hardly believe it's June!  It seems like it was only last week when I was anxiously counting down until the last day of school, and now, we're in full-blown Summer mode!  To celebrate, I've linked up with Farley's Oh' Boy 4th Grade June Currently, woo-hoo!  So here it goes:

Since Summer has begun here, we are having a sleep over tonight, so I have had the pleasure of listening to three boys speak in horrible British accents for the last hour, lucky me!!  They've chatted about a wide variety of topics from swimming to soccer...and it seems like their voices are getting louder and louder!  Ahhh!

Despite the bad accents, I am loving that Summer vacation has already begun.  It won't last long, though, as I start facilitation for Summer Math Academies on Monday.  Lucky for me, I truly enjoy this work and am actually looking forward to it.  That's also the reason I am needing a little motivation to organize my notes and finalize some things.  However, I'm distracted thinking about a summer get away (this place looks awesome!), and by wanting some ice cream (I do have a gift certificate!). 

I think I'll let myself be further distracted by browsing through all the currently posts over on Farley's blog!  
Oh' boy fourth grade    
Happy Saturday night!