Friday, September 16, 2016

Recommended Math Games

This week we finished all 6 modules of Stanford Math for Students and at the end Jo Boaler suggested three math games to use to help students learn math. The links are below.

Motion Math
Dragon Box
Math Breakers
Wuzzit Trouble

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday Roald Dahl!

Roald Dahl continues to be my favorite author of all time. I can't recall the number of times I have read Matilda, or decide which is my favorite book. Right now I am reading The Witches to the class and am reminded of the time I had to give a monologue in high school. I chose one of The Grand High Witch's speeches and it was a hit not only with the teacher but the other students too.

Today Roald Dahl would have turned 100 years old. We kicked off the celebration yesterday in the library listening to a passage from The Twits and checked out his books. Thank you to Mrs. Feller for getting the week started right. Today we watched some segments from past celebrations and did some project to go with the videos. See the links below:

After watching a clip about how they make sound effects for audio books, students got together and used items around the classroom to add sound effects to a made up sentence that would be found in a Dahl book.

Of course we also ate candy and read from The Witches. Then we drew Willy Wonka with Quentin Blake and created a new sweet for the chocolate factory.

We will continue to celebrate this week watching some clips from the 100th anniversary video and so some more activities this week. It is not everyday that an author comes along who changes children's literature in such a huge way. I am happy to spend time with my kids honoring such a great author!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Library Monday

Today was our first official Library session with Mrs. Feller. Have I mentioned yet how much I love our library? It is not only filled with amazing, magnificent books, but it is inviting, whimsical and warm. There are stuffed animals to read with, quiet spaces to sit in, fun chairs to discover and a life size pirate ship. Yes you heard me correctly, a life size pirate ship.

The library has consistently been one of my favorite spaces in a school, ever since I was younger and the library at AAS is no different. I love being there with my kids and feel just as excited as they do. I'm happy to have such a wonderful space in our school.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Math: A Growth Mindset

This summer, I started reading Jo Boaler's book Mathematical Mindsets. I have been intending to take the online course from her at Stanford for a while now, but with the summer slipping by, I decided the next best thing was to take the online course for students. After diving right into it, I realized that it would be a wonderful launching off point for math instruction in my classroom.

The first day, when it was time for math,  I handed out some crisp, new math notebooks for them to decorate. Then I set the stage by asking who has ever thought of going to college. They told me of some well known colleges and universities around the world and we had a discussion.

Then came the shocking part. I told them we were going to do something that was so special, not many elementary students have ever done it, especially in 5th grade. We were going to start a college course on day one and it was going to be from Stanford! The kids were shocked, to say the least!

The second morning of school, during our daily meeting, I asked if students had any questions about the first day or what was to come. One girl raised her hand and asked for the link to the course. I then asked how many students went home to tell their parents about the course. More than half of the students had! I was so happy to see students taking "action" on the very first day which is one of the components of the PYP.

The course is linked here. As we progress, I will be posting activities and photos that show the work we are doing in conjunction with the coursework. The kids are so excited to learn about the brain, mathematical thinking and how anyone can "be a math person!" It is a great way to start the year and I encourage you to start the year the same way!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Exhibition Photos

Oh boy is the end of year busy for everyone, but with the three huge events for ISL grade 5 in the past month, I have barely had time to come up for air. Today the students are up in middle school for their shadow day so I have some time to breathe, catch up and give attention to some things that have been recently neglected, i.e., the blog.

Exhibition has come and gone and seems so far away, but in reality, it was just only a month ago. I could not have asked for anything more from the kids and they were wonderful, not only on Exhibition day, but all of the 8 weeks working and preparing for the event.

This year our topics were impressive and I was so proud of the depth in which they dove into their topics. The topics covered breast cancer, video game addiction, consumerism, endangered animals, brain health, food waste, sexism and homelessness. Here are some photos from the big day!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

FCL: Measuring Volume Due Due April 29th

Everyday Math Lesson 9.8-9.9

Materials Needed:
  • Please watch the following video

  • Draw three rectangular prisms and make up their length, width and height. Write the measurements on the figure to label. Then figure out the volume for each shape. Please use a straight edge. 


FCL: Introduction into Volume Due April 28

Intro to Everyday Math Lesson 9.8-9.9

Materials Needed: interactive math notebook, volume/capacity graphic organizer
  • Watch the following video on volume and capacity

  • In your notebook, please write a definition for volume and capacity. 
  • Around your house find objects that have volume and capacity and fill out the scavenger hunt graphic organizer. The goal is to find 5 objects and record the data for them. 


Thursday, April 21, 2016

FCL: Area of Parallelograms and Triangles Due April 26th

Everyday Math Lesson 9.5-9.6: Area of Parallelograms and Triangles

Materials Needed: interactive math notebook, ruler

  • Watch the following videos 

  • Write the formula (a number sentence with letters) for area of a parallelogram and triangle in your notebook
  • Paper Practice:
    • Parallelograms-
      • Draw 3 parallelograms with a ruler and measure each side to the nearest millimeter
      • Then measure the heights of the parallelograms
      • Determine the area of the parallelogram you drew to the nearest millimeter and show your work
    • Triangles-
      • Draw 3 triangles with a ruler and measure each side to the nearest millimeter
      • Determine the area of the triangles you drew to the nearest millimeter and show your work
  • Online Practice:
    • Go to IXL and practice skill Z.17 in 5th grade for 5 minutes


Learning Grit: Successful Failures Videos

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

FCL: Area of 2D Shapes Due April 21

Everyday Math Lesson 9.4 Area of 2D Shapes

Materials Needed: Math notebook with graphic organizer and graph paper glued into it. 

  • Review area and perimeter by watching this video
  • Write your own definition of perimeter and area in your math notebook


Monday, April 18, 2016

Exhibition Action Film Festival

We are in the process of brainstorming, drafting and receiving feedback on our action plans. Over the next few days we will be examining some videos and articles that show people taking action throughout the world. Enjoy a glimpse into our film festival with these selections.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

FCL: 2D Shape Transformations Due Tuesday April 19th

Great work on the first flipped classroom lesson. Not bad for a first try. We reflected on our experience and ready for our second lesson.

Everyday Math Unit 9.2 Assignment:

  • Then, watch this video on youtube:
  • Tasks- In your math notebook:
    • Write and define the following terms: transformation, reflection, rotation and translation
    • Create a model/image with labels showing each vocabulary word (make it colorful)
    • Play one of the following games for 5 minutes:

Sorting Out Exhibition Information

Exhibition is going really, really well and the students got started on writing their central ideas and lines of inquiry this past week. We followed the following steps with much success!

  • Created notecards with facts on them as a group
  • Sorted the notecards into categories
  • Wrote titles for the categories and determined if more research was needed
  • Did more research
  • Sorted the categories into sub-categories
  • Learned how to write an outline and created outlines for our research
  • Examined the POI and discussed the elements of a "good" central idea
  • Looked over lines of inquiry for Units of Inquiry throughout the school
  • Drafted, reflected and revised central ideas as a group
  • Used the central idea checklist to evaluate our central ideas
  • Looked at the key concept questions linked to our research and started to draft lines of inquiry
I am so proud of all of the hard work the kids are doing. Their knowledge and hard work on the PYP elements has been wonderful!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

FCL: Plotting On A Coordinate Plane Due Monday April 18th

Hello students! Today we are going to do a flipped classroom lesson. I was reintroduced to it during my CEESA conference and thought it would be a great way for us to get through our new math unit while continuing to spend lots of class time working on exhibition.

How it works is that you have a video to watch and some reading to do for homework before the lesson. This will help prepare you for the lesson. Then, the following day, you ask questions for what you don't understand and then complete the work.

Everyday Math Unit 9.1 Assignment:

  • Watch the following videos-

  • Tasks- In your Math Notebook:


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Exhibition Retreat Planning

If you want to try planning an exhibition retreat, here are some steps to help you organize it.

  • Talk to your administrator about the idea. State the purpose and how it is going to benefit the students through the process of exhibition.
  • Start introducing the idea to parents and the teaching staff. Include a conversation with mentors to get them on board and excited about it.
  • Set a date. We had the students stay over night on Thursday so the retreat was for two full days. While it was exhausting for teachers since we were with the students the entire time without prep time, it allowed lots of time for lessons and fun. 
  • Create a blank schedule off timetable and share it with your mentors and specialist teachers. Ask them to donate their time and teach a lesson with the students at some point during those two days.
  • At the top of the schedule, offer some suggestions for staff members who want to participate, but are not confident about their ideas. 
  • Enlist the room parent to help organize the food. I asked families to send in snacks and drinks for the two days and to provide breakfast. We had more than enough food and the parents were eager to help. 
  • Talk to families. I did this during the exhibition morning for parents and students. In hindsight, I would talk to families way before this since it was a bit of a time crunch.
  • Make a packing list. In addition to the normal sleep over items, students brought yoga mats to sleep on and fun items such as a torch, game to play, stuffed animal and scary story.
  • Afterwards, have students write thank-you letters to everyone who participated, including the staff, chaperones and parents.


Exhibition Retreat

A few weeks back I had the privilege of traveling to England to attend the IBO Exhibition workshop. While collaborating with teachers and administrators from the region, I got this wild idea to organize a grade 5 exhibition retreat for the students. The goal would be to get them excited about the journey and process ahead of us and have experts come in to teach on various topics.

I went to my administrator and shared this idea with him. He was game for giving it a try, including the overnight sleep over. It was a lot of organizing and working with parents and staff to pull it off, but it was a huge success. A parent called me a risk-taker and I love it when I can live and model the PYP learner profile for my students. If you have an idea, give it a try and work to accomplish it!


Friday, March 11, 2016

Student Myth Plays

During our writing lessons in this Unit of Inquiry about Ancient Civilizations, the students spent their time creating and writing their own myths. Many opted to write their assignments in the form of a play. We then invited the parents to come watch the students present their very own myth plays. Here are some photos!