Five For Friday - Test Prep and Angry Birds

17 May 2013

You know what I love even better than Friday?  Friday before a long weekend ... ahhhhhhhhh ... much needed!!!  It's been a long week ... but a fun week ... so I guess all is good.  Looking forward to some quality time with the family this weekend (and hoping for some sun).

Friday also means it's time for Five for Friday - I LOVE this linky - I seriously look forward to it all week, planning what pics I'm going to include.  Make sure you check out some of the other Five for Friday posts at Doodlebugs Teaching.

Grade 6 testing is just 7 days away for us, so we've been doing a lot of test prep in the classroom.  Earlier this week we did a 4-corner sticky note activity.  After students had completed a practice activity, I gave each student a different coloured sticky note (5 different colours in total) and asked them to write down their answer to a particular question.  They then had to find their group members (students with matching coloured sticky notes) and place their sticky notes in the 4 corners of the paper they had.  After reading through and discussing all the answers, they then had to collaborate and combine their answers to make the best possible answer.  I LOVED this ... and I'm going to try it out in math next week.

The next day we started to make our test prep bookmarks.  We took the answering the question strategies we've been studying and applying in math, and wrote them on these bookmarks.  We are going to do the same thing with our language strategies early next week, and then we'll glue the two together to make a two-sided bookmark.

Today we used our CAFE/CRAFT board to break down our answers in language.  My favourite part of the CRAFT board this year has been "R" - Response to Text.  We've used this board all year as we built our own set of success criteria for reading responses.  The strategies were introduced early in the year, but we've referred to the board all year long.  (These will also become our reading strategies for the language part of the book mark).  I colour-coded each of the strategies, and then students had to hunt and indicate where they had checked / fixed / added them in their answers (using the correct colour to match the strategy).  Such a great visual for them!

Part of the reason why we had so much fun at school this week was our Angry Bird project.  We integrated our math and science units for this project, and we had a BLAST!  You can read all about it (and grab the link for the angry bird solids) in my blog post HERE.

Lastly, the construction at my school is at full steam (if full steam means REALLY LOUD!)  ;)  We're amalgamating with another school next year, and gaining three new classrooms - two of which have to be built (the amalgamation means much bigger class sizes.  The students are LOVING checking out the construction every day ... and I have to admit, the adults think it's pretty exciting, too.  :)

So, there's my week in review.  Hope you had a fabulous week!!!


Angry Birds = Happy Students

16 May 2013
We just finished up our Angry Birds project - integrating math and science.  I know I've shared a pic or two already, but I just have to show you how they turned out!

I have a few students who are completely obsessed with angry birds this year, so when I remembered I had pinned nets for angry bird solids a while back, I knew it was time to pull them out.  Our math unit was 3D shapes, so we were looking at nets, constructing solids, and measuring volume and surface area.  Perfect.  Our science unit was structures and forces acting on structures.  Even more perfect.  So, we got creative and combined the two.  (***Note - I don't have a unit for this, or even sheets to share, as the angry bird brand is very protected by trademark laws, or copyright laws, or something like that.  I am going to post pics of everything we did, and if it sounds like fun, feel free to borrow these ideas for your classroom).

We first made our 3D shapes from the Angry Bird nets.  You can download your own copies HERE.  When students were finished constructing their solids, they had to find the volume and surface area of 4 different sized solids (since most of the solids are cubes, this step wasn't too difficult for them.  To up the difficulty a bit, I required my grade 6 students to find the surface area of the yellow bird - a tetrahedron).

Once we were done with the math, we decorated our shoe boxes to give our birds a home.  (Also made it much easier to store all their materials, and stacked nicely in the corner of the classroom to contain the clutter.  They then had to start on their structures.  We had watched a few videos about types of structures, and read a few articles, and then they got started.  I gave each student 30 popsicle sticks, 7 straws, 3 arms lengths of masking tape, a piece of paper, and 10 paper clips.  Structures had to be 30 cm tall, have a 10 x 10 cm platform on the top, and be able to withstand the forces of gravity, hurricane winds, and a ground-shaking earthquake.  They took about 2 science periods to complete their structures.

By today we had finished everything, and this afternoon we tested our structures out.  First we measured the height and the size of the platform.

Then we turned the fan on high to simulate those hurricane winds.

Then we tested the effects of gravity by placing 50g weights on top of the structures.

Last, we shook for boxes for 10 seconds to see if they could take the ground shaking earthquake.  When we were finished, students had a reflection sheet to answer, and the final projects were marked with a checklist rubric.  

Such a fun summative project!  And angry birds definitely equalled happy students in my classroom.  I took a picture of each of the kids with their projects, and sent the pics home with the parents.  I'll leave you with a few pics of the finished projects.

Happy Thursday!!!


Hey Diddle Diddle Mean, Mode, and Median

14 May 2013
Yesterday I shared a little nursery rhyme about mean, mode, and median on my facebook page.  I took this one to my class immediately, and it was a hit.  I love using mnemonic devices to help us remember different concepts in class, and this one was a perfect fit!

I whipped up a little practice sheet to go along with the rhyme, and thought I'd share it with you all here. Just click HERE or on the pic below to download your own copy (there is a coloured and black and white version for you).



Math Journal Sundays - Comparing Perimeter and Area

12 May 2013
I'm going back a few weeks ago here, but I have a few perimeter and area ideas to share with you.

This first is a three-part math lesson we did for comparing perimeter and area.  We used a problem from the University of Waterloo's Problem of the Week - they have a great site full of problems that are perfect for three-part lessons.  You can subscribe to the site and get a new problem emailed to you each week, or you can browse through their collection and pick one that's perfect for your lessons.  Check it out HERE.  For this problem, students had to determine all possible dimensions for a 100 square meter area, and then decide which ones were the most sensible for a farm area.  We discussed our learning goal - comparing area and perimeter, and determining dimensions with a given area, and then students worked in pairs to find their answers.  For the sharing at the end, we did a gallery walk. I have this fantastic space outside my classroom with long rows of desks that is absolutely perfect for a gallery walk.  We displayed all of our work out there.  Each student was given 2 sticky notes (they could have more if they wanted) and they were to write a question or comment on the sticky note and place it on a paper.  I really like the thinking that goes on to these sticky notes - they really need to analyze the problem and solution to do this activity.

Following our gallery walk, we reassembled in the classroom to complete our Summary of Learning - a great reflection activity.  Students complete the three-part lesson with an independent task (very similar to the first problem) that they hand in for assessment.

I also have a Interactive Math Journal entry to share for area and perimeter.  This one compares the area and perimeter of rectangles (squares) and triangles.  We did a great hands-on activity before we completed the journal entry which really helped them master the concept.  I forgot to take pictures this time, but I did a similar activity last year, which you can read about HERE.

For this journal entry, we constructed a square and found the area and perimeter of the square (written on the inside).  We then folded it in half (they already knew this would halve the area) and found the area and perimeter of the triangle (which led them to the big idea that the area is half of the square, but the perimeter is not as the diagonal is a longer dimension).
For the proof I asked them to draw a different rectangle and triangle and solve for the area and perimeter of each.  For the reflection, I asked them to solve the problem in a different way (this is one of the reflection questions from my Math Reflection Fans).

That's it for today ... right now I'm enjoying a few quiet moments ... hubby took the girls to visit his mom for Mother's Day ... so I'm getting off the computer to enjoy the last of the quiet. ;)  Happy Sunday and Happy Mother's Day!


Five For Friday

10 May 2013
Ahhhh Friday ... I LOVE you, Friday!  Was it just me, or was this week incredibly long?  I have a feeling they're all going to be like that until the end of the year.

Join me as I link up with Doodlebugs Teaching for this week's Five for Friday ...

I have some exciting news to start with.  I finally started a facebook page this week - YAY!  It's been a long time coming, and I wasn't sure I'd have the time to keep one up, but I'm loving it so far.  I'd LOVE for you to join me there.  Click on the "like button" below and come on over and see my page.

Even though it's not so the weather isn't so spring-like today (or this weekend, for that matter), my spring flowers keep blooming.  These hyacinths smell absolutely delicious!  So pretty, too!

We're working with 3D shapes right now in math.  I have a few kids in my class this year who are obsessed with Angry Birds, so I thought it was the perfect time to combine the two.  We cut out the nets for these shapes (see link HERE).  I had them trace the nets onto construction paper, then cut them out and assemble them.  (If by some miracle, you are unlimited with your number of colour photocopies, you could skip the step where you trace them out on construction paper).  We've been assembling our 3D solids this week, and next week we will begin to solve the volume and surface area of the shapes.  I'm also going to integrate it with our structures unit in science, and have them build a weight-bearing structure to use with their angry birds.  Can't wait - I'll keep you posted on the progress of our project.

We've been working with The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups in language class this week (these books are so FUN!).  We've read both books and used our Monitoring Comprehension Reading Strategy Poster during our read alouds.  We're also writing our own individual copies of grown-up rules.  The kids are having a lot of fun with this project - we're going to publish our stories into a real book when we're done.  I can't wait to share our progress with you.  We've just finished our rough drafts as of today.

Last, but certainly not least, we made these adorable cards for Mother's Day today.  I found the idea on Pinterest, and tracked down a template for the card HERE.  We had to add a little glitter to our cards (because everything is better with glitter), and we added a little poem to the bottom.  They turned out so nice - the students are so excited to share them with their mothers.  ♥

Happy Friday!!!  And a very Happy Mother's Day weekend to all you mothers and grandmothers out there.