Thursday, March 29, 2012

April Showers Bring May Flowers {Math Centers}

4th grade teachers!  I'm not sure where the market for fun activities for 4th graders is- it seems to be laaaacking.  Why can't 4th graders have common core standard aligned activities for their classroom?!   We want fun engaging lessons!  We want exciting math games and activities to support our teaching!  Why can't we have these things available, like the primary grades do? 

I cannot lie, y'all.  When I look at the amazingly cute and practical packets put out by K-2nd teachers, I am so jealous of the students in their classrooms!  How fun!  Let's come together to create entertaining and exciting activities for our intermediate grades! 

I created a new April-themed math activity packet, perfect for 4th grade centers or classroom activities.  Each of the 5 activities is aligned with the 4th grade Common Core Standards.  They could also be used for extension activities for 3rd graders or intervention activities for 5th and 6th graders.  My kiddos get so excited when we introduce new centers and are way more involved!  I can't wait to get these into my own classroom this coming month!

Also, I feel the need to share that we finished TCAP (our state test) today!!!!!  Three weeks later, we are allll d-o-n-e!  Woohoo!  My students had their desks back together (since they were separated and in rows- yuck- for testing) and all the wall coverings (covering our helpful anchor charts) down in less than 5 minutes.  Poor things are all kinds of ready for a normal schedule. 

We are spending Monday in PJ's and with a read-a-thon to enjoy some non-testing.  I am looking forward to just reading with my kiddos (no assessments or assignments) and having some fun down time!

Just one week until Spring Break!  Woop woop :)

- Kelly Anne

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mining Rocks!

Last week I needed to teach about the Gold Rush and really wanted to do this activity I had heard about ,where we would search for fake gold out on the playground, but I was NOT feeling very motivated around 5:30 on a Sunday night, to prep it all.  My Mom was in town though and wasn’t about to let me stay in my PJ’s (Thanks Mom!)  So we hurried to the hardware store and picked up some rocks and spray paint!

I spray painted the rocks gold, silver, and purple.  Each color represented a specific type of mineral.  Gold and silver were (duh) gold and silver!  And then purple represented gypsum, because gypsum is a very cheap mineral and I wanted to show how minerals were worth different amounts of money.

  I prepped my kiddos by telling them we were going to be Miner's.  We discussed what type of minerals they were mining for, got into groups of two, and each grabbed a bag!  My spectacular aid went out into the field and clumped some of the rocks together and spread out others.  Then we moved out to the field to "mine". 
As soon as they reached the field, they were off!  They were so excited and were running around non stop!  It took about 15 minutes, but they found almost all the minerals. 

After they had gathered as much as they could, we took their bags inside and sorted out our minerals into piles of gold, silver, and gypsum. 

I went around and weighed their piles, using my bathroom scale, and had a worksheet ready for them to fill in, with their weights. 

Next week we will find out how much money they "made" and discuss what it was like to be a "miner".  (Feel free to grab a copy of The Gold Rush and the Reflection, below)

We will also do a quick reflection on what we've learned. 

I'm so glad I decided to do this activity because it really helped model a little bit of what the Gold Rush had been like.  I'm looking forward to having the time to discuss our observations, how much money we made, and make connections to the real Gold Rush! 

While we'll get to have some fun with gold, we will also take TCAP, our state test, this week.  I'm looking forward to having this behind us, Spring Break in front of us, and fun activities for the end of the year!

I hope everyone has a great week!

- Kelly Anne

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Lorax

So, I feel a little nerdy, but I AM SO EXCITED for The Lorax to come out tomorrow!  It looks so stinkin' cute!  I will be seeing it this weekend- I can already taste the popcorn :) 

In honor of the new movie and Dr. Seuss' birthday, we started a fun science activity today (since we don't have school on Friday, Dr. Seuss' real birthday).  First, I read, The Lorax.  I seriously almost tear up every time I read it! 

After reading the story, we talked about ways we could make a difference in the world and why the world needs trees, like Truffula Trees.  Then, I told my class I had a bag of Truffula Seeds for us to plant! We were all excited! 

They each got to place soil and their seed into a small plastic pot.  They were lovin' it!  Everyone was so careful when placing the soil in their pots and then again when planting their seeds.  Sooo cute!
As their “Truffula Trees” grow, we will take weekly measurements of the seedling and graph the mean, median, and mode height of our class’ seedlings.  (I'm planning on sending the flowers home in decorated pots for Mother's Day in May!)

As if this day wasn't exciting enough, we had a "Winter Weather Warning" and mini-blizzard beginning right when school began and ending just after lunch recess.  LOOOTS of indoor recess for us today.  I was proud of my kiddo's semi- attentiveness this afternoon with all the time spent inside today.  I *love* snow, however, and couldn't stop looking out the window all day!

 But THIS is what it looked like before I left this evening... weather here is CRAAAZY.

Happy Dr. Seuss Day to Y'all!

- Kelly Anne