Saturday, July 19, 2014

Building Fraction Kits

Yay! Yay!  One of my favorite times to read blogs during the month is here:  Bright Ideas Linky.   I hope that you have enjoyed the others as much as I have.  If you missed them, no fear, check out my posts HERE and HERE and HERE.  I have filed away a ton of useful ideas for next year!

Next year, I am changing jobs from an academic coach (supporting teachers in all subjects for grades PK-3) to an instructional facilitator (same concept, different name) for just math and science in grades 3-5.  I am very excited about the opportunity!  This summer I have been brushing up on different strategies and ideas that I can have ready when my teachers need help.  Today I am going to share with you a simple way to help students visually see fraction equivalence. 

Building a fraction kit just requires strips of different colored construction paper.  You can provide scissors but if you really want to keep it simple, then folding and tearing will get the job done.  Here is how it is done:

Step 1:
Choose five sheets of construction paper.  I used the regular size but you can use the larger type if you would like a bigger fraction kit pieces.  Cut the construction paper into small strips (like you see above).

Step 2:
Give each student five different color strips.  On the first strip all the students should do is write the number 1 in the middle.

Step 3:
Fold the second strip of paper in half and tear along the line (no scissors needed).  Write 1/2 on each piece of paper and place under the whole strip.

 Step 4:
Fold the third strip of paper in half and then in half again.  Then tear along each fold.  You should have four pieces.  Write the number 1/4 on each piece of paper.

 Step 5:
Fold the fourth strip of paper in half, in half again, and in half once more.  Tear along each fold.  You should have eight pieces of paper.  Write the number 1/8 on each piece.

Step 6:
Fold the fifth strip of paper in half, in half again, in half again, and in half once more.  Tear along each fold.  You should have sixteen pieces of paper.  Write the number 1/16 on each piece.

Now you have a complete fraction kit that serves to help students visually see fractions equivalence.  For example, students can now prove that 1/2 = 2/4 or 1/2 = 1/4 + 1/4 or 1/2 = 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/8.

If you enjoyed these bright ideas, please consider joining me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for more ideas.

The Bright Idea bloggers also created a Pinterest board so all the great ideas from each month are housed in one place.  This is definitely a board to follow for great ideas.

For more bright ideas from a bunch of different bloggers, browse through the link-up below.  The titles give you a glimpse of the topic and grade level of each post, so you can choose the right ones for you.  Thank you so much for visiting today!

Monday, June 30, 2014

July Currently

Well, I haven't got my act together in a long time in order to join Farley's Currently linky.  So excited that I am getting it posted early!

My husband currently has control of the remote and is catching up on all of the YouTube channels that he is subscribed to, which means that I watching a blacksmithish show about creating weapons from video games, television, and movies.  It is actually pretty interesting as long as I know a little about the game or show.  However, I think he may be going deaf (he's only 35) because I am pretty sure I could go in the living room and hear the television in the bedroom perfectly fine.  I may get him hearing aids for his birthday.

Summer break!  I don't think I really have to explain that one.  :)

I am participating in some pretty great book studies this summer.  I just posted my contribution to the Notice & Note book study (close reading strategies).  I am super excited to be in planning stages for a book study on Barbara Gruener's new book What's Under Your Cape.  I ordered the book from her site and she signed it!  I will get the book Wednesday or Thursday.  EXCITED!!!

I am changing jobs, which means that I need to find a new daycare for my daughter.  Sadface!  I love my daycare but it is not in the city where I lived (it was where I used to work).  It is not easy to find a good daycare.  We are on the waiting list, but I need one now not whenever we are next on the list.  It is a little stressful.  I have to go back to work on August 4.  I don't know what we are going to do if it isn't our turn yet.

Good news!  I love the Independence Day holiday!  We always visit my sister-in-law in Chattanooga and it always a ton of fun.  I hope everyone has a fantastic Fourth of July weekend (for my USA readers)!

Click on the button below to check out what everyone else is CURRENTLY doing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Notice and Note: Anchor Questions

Summer time is my opportunity to catch up on professional texts that I put in my TBR pile during the year.  Notice & Note is one of those books and I am thrilled to be part of this bloggy book study put together by Dilly Dabbles

Why this book?  Close reading is an important strategy, but I have been having trouble with the 'prescribed steps' that you see everyone on the web:  first reading you do this, second reading you do this, etc.  Students are supposed to annotate the text in many of the close reading strategies.  What does that mean?  What are they supposed to be writing down?  What are they supposed to be noticing?  I knew there had to be a better way to help students through this process.  Beers and Probst helped make this process more explicit for me through their signposts.

Have you missed the beginning of the study?  Are you thinking:  What is a signpost?  Go HERE to see all the posts up to this point and then join in by commenting on this post or join the linky party with your own blog post.

I am sharing this section with the wonderful Kim from Finding JOY in 6th Grade.  After you have read about "The Anchor Questions," visit Kim to learn about "The Role of Generalizable Language."

Once students begin to notice the signposts, teachers start asking questions, lots of questions, about what they noticed.  However, this was making the students dependent on the teacher to develop their thinking instead of creating independent thinkers.  What was the problem?  TOO MANY TEACHER GENERATED QUESTIONS!  I know, sounds crazy right.  As an instructional coach, I am always working with my teachers on creating deeper, higher-level questions.  However, the ultimate goal is for STUDENTS to create the questions and become independent readers and thinkers.  If the teacher is the only one creating all the questions, then the teacher is the only one OWNING the questions.

What to do????

Students need a focus, or ANCHOR, question in "their repertoire, they need to be able to apply it appropriately, and they need to let it lead them to other questions" (page 77).  Did you notice the important word "a"?  Not a ton of questions for each signpost - just ONE.  There is no way students would be able to internalize a laundry list of questions, but ONE questions is definitely doable.  "When prompted to consider the anchor question, the student[s] began making inferences, making connections, and offering" predictions (page 78).  What students learn from the question deepens their thinking.  Just noticing the signpost is NOT enough!

Two of the signposts that I find the most often when I am reading fiction texts are "contrasts and contradictions" and "again and again."

Read about the next step in this process by visiting Kim and learning about "The Role of Generalizable Language" (click on the blog button below).

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