Monday, October 12, 2015

Using High-Interest Nonfiction Passages To Build Comprehension

The more students know about a topic, the more they tend to like it.  Students love reading fiction.  The tricky part is trying to get them to read informational text.

Doing something as easy as taking a nature hike might be enough to grab their interest.  I love nature and enjoy going into the field to experience nature before I write about it.

The pioneers and Native Americans made salads
using dandelion leaves.

I foraged for native plants that have been used throughout history for food.  I would not recommend doing this with a class, but teaching students an unusual fact about plants that are in their own backyards can spark interest in reading more about plants.

Black walnut seeds provide food for squirrels and other rodents.  They also are the home of maggots that
keep safe in the warm layer under the outer shell of this seed.

This is a picture of a wild plant called bloodroot.  It is an ephemeral.
Ephemerals are plants that bloom for just a few weeks out of the year.
They grow in early spring before larger plants are able to grow and 
compete with them for sunlight.

Teaching Integers for Deep Understanding (Negative and Positive Numbers)

Negative and positive numbers seem like a straightforward subject.  I have found students over the years that seem to understand the concept, but when they are faced with a word problem or a situation that involves integers, it becomes easier to distinguish students that have deep level understanding from those that partially understand.

Presenting this concept in many ways is helpful.  This builds deeper understanding. Students  will often say "Oh!  That is what is means" when they see integers presented in mutiple ways.

Students are asked to draw diagrams in their journals of different ways to represent integers (negative and positive numbers).

My favorites are
-as owing (negative) or having (positive) a certain amount of money
-as above sea level (positive) or below sea level (negative)
-as below freezing (negative) or boiling point (positive)

After using multiple examples, students begin to generalize.

Grade 5 Interactive Common Core Math Journal


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Teaching Square Roots (Radicals) For Deep Understanding

The square root of nine can be shown visually
with chart paper and blocks.

Whenever possible, the visual form of math concepts should be shown.  Often times, blocks and diagrams are used at the lower grade levels.  Using diagrams, hands-on examples, and manipulatives can be useful for older students as well.

This method works only with perfect squares.  
To  teach square roots in a visual way,
 have students place their blocks in equal rows starting from the corner
of the page.  A total of 9 blocks will be added to this diagram.

Students can "see" the square root of  9 is 3.
Students can determine that the square root 
is one side of a square times itself.

Drawing a square within a radical sign is also helpful.
Students found the square root of 4 in the top math problem.
The square root of 3 was determined in the second math problem.

Additional Resources

Friday, September 25, 2015

High Interest Low Readability Daily Common Core Practice for Middle School Students

This quick, daily practice is a great resource for middle school students that read below grade level.  It provides middle school level questions with high interest passages that are great for below grade level students.Click Here for More Information

Monday, September 14, 2015

Common Core Grade 5 Interactive Notebook (Number Operations in Base Ten

I greatly appreciate the feedback that so many people have given about the interactive notebooks.  Many people have asked about additional Common Core Standards and when they will be finished.  This brand new one is hot off the press!

I really love interactive notebooks because students really dig in deep with concepts. Plus, it makes concepts much easier to understand.  This interactive notebook gets to the heart of each Common Core Standard. Students review Common Core in-depth with fun activities that encourage them to think and justify their answers.Click Here to Access This Interactive Notebook

Friday, September 11, 2015

Happy Brand New School Year!

Happy brand new school year!  For many people, this was the first week of school. Some of you began the new school year  a week ago.  I included a picture of a person planting seeds.  This is because the role of a teacher is that of a seed planter.  We plant seeds into the lives of so many children.  The role of a teacher not only affects individual students.  It also affects the nation.

Have a wonderful school year!  Thank you for all that you do.

Literacy and Math Ideas

Thursday, September 10, 2015

(Morning Work) Daily Common Core Practice in Just 5 Minutes a Day


(Multiple Grade Levels are Available) These high-interest passages review the Common Core Reading Standards in just five minutes per day.  Historical fiction, realistic fiction, poetry, informational text,drama/plays, fantasy, and science fiction passages are all included to give your students quick, daily practice at your grade level. Common Core Standards are written right next to each short passage for easy progress monitoring. Best of all, the passages are thematic so each week, students build important reading, science, and social studies knowledge as they review each standard.