Sunday, May 4, 2014

Properties of Operations

The dreaded properties...the kids HATE them because it is so difficult for them to remember.  I HATE rote learning.  But, alas, it was time to teach them...and I vowed for those lessons to not be torture for me or the kids.  So, I resorted to my handy-dandy textbook...NOT!  I turned to Pinterest for inspiration.  And inspiration I found HERE and HERE. 

Many of my students are visual learners, as am I.  So, I knew this would be perfect for my students.  I showed the students my example of each property (such as Identity Property of Addition)
Then, I gave them a blank card shown below for each property that we were going to do.
Click on picture for the card :)
The students drew their own picture in the large space at the top, wrote a description of the property in the "words" section, and wrote a math problem using the property in the "math example" section.  This was HUGE as it merged the linguistic learners with visual learners with mathematical learners.  Each student was engaged and thinking deeply about what the properties meant.  POWERFUL!
Here's some examples of their work :)

Happy May!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Algebraic Expressions-Multiplying

Moving from the X to the dot for multiplication--mind blowing for a lot of students.  This is the first part of our learning about how to multiply algebraic expressions.  We talk about how this is no longer "baby math" and now this is the BIG LEAGUES.  They buy into it and feel excited because they are doing 'fancy math.' 
A lot of my kiddos want to put the dot like a the bottom of a number.  We referencing where to put the dot, we talk about putting it in the middle, like you would wear a belt, not at the bottom like a pair of shoes.  Since this analogy, we have not had a SINGLE mis-placed dot!  YAY :)

I am all about the conceptual learning before getting into the abstract learning.  It takes time, but the pay-off is huge!  It gives kids a point of reference for their work, and they are more engaged.  Algebra is no different.
I start by providing an algebraic expression to the class.  We discuss how many "d's" we have in this case.  This tells us that we have 3 d's.  From our work with adding and subtracting expressions (post to come), students know that the variable is represented with a little bathroom cup.  In this case, 3d tells us that we need 3 cups.  The important information "d=6" tells  us that each cup is worth 6 blocks (I use base-10 unit blocks).


Now the job is to figure out how many blocks we have in all.  I teach students with learning disabilities, so they need to physically count the blocks.  So, we dump them out of the cups..
and into a pile.  Then, we bridge the concrete representation with the symbolic representation by using substitution.

Here's my sixers working on the expressions.


They did SOOOO good with this!  I was so super excited with how well they learned the content and retained it :)  Day 2 we worked on the representational (pictures) and symbolic (numbers) forms to evaluate the expressions.  I didn't snap any pictures, but you can pick up the FREEBIE here.




Thursday, March 6, 2014

Order of Operations

My sixers are working on Order of Operations.  We've only had 20(!) snow days, so that makes it hard to have continuity with instruction.  So, my kids definitely need some practice with numerical expressions.  They have been cooped up in their houses, so they are needing to get up and move.  So, what better time to pull out my Order of Operations Task Cards :)

I am going to distribute the cards around the classroom, laying out more cards than there are students (for my fast workers).  Also, I'm going to write the answers on the back so students get immediate feedback (and so students do not think I'm the sole-possessor of the answer).  If the students can't figure out their mistake, they will seek out my help.

The students will have a piece of notebook paper that they fold into 8 sections (16 counting the back also).  They will set out to work, moving freely around the classroom to practice their math work.

I'm looking forward to this in my classroom!  After having so many snow days, we need something that gets us all moving around :)

Check it out here in my TPT store!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Multiplying fractions--FREEBIE!!!

Multiplying fractions has got to be one of the EASIEST mathematical computations there is...except for the fact that the kids always get it confused with the processes they learned when learning adding and subtracting fractions (especially with uncommon denominators).  Since I teach interventions at the 6th grade level, I spend a lot of my time building up skills that the kids did not master or understand in earlier grades.  For my tier three kiddos, this often means starting with the question "What is multiplication?"  For my tier two kiddos, we begin with memorizing our facts...I strongly believe that is the gateway to mathematics. 

And once we have a really solid grasp on our multiplication facts, we are ready to work on fractions.  And since these kids are at-risk kids, they do not like to sit in their seat, and they especially do not like to do mundane worksheets (and neither would/do I!).  So, I made these task cards (A-Z!) of multiplying fractions by fractions and fractions by whole numbers. 

I am going to have the students work the cards SCOOT-style.  They are going to love it!  And, the first three people to comment below WITH their email will get this for FREE!!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Characteristics of Coordinate Plane

I just thought I would share what I am doing tomorrow with my kiddos.  I am using this in my 6th grade resource/special education class, but it totally fits right in with 6th grade content in the regular classroom (and will take less time there). 

I taught characteristics of the coordinate plane last week in one day, and then assessed the next day.  Not ideal, but due to all of the snow days that are mounting, I went ahead.  Of course on the assessment, I saw that some kids are mixing things up and one grasped some of the content.  I wanted to do an activity this week that will help solidify thing in their brains, as well as give them a hands-on approach to it.  So many of my kids struggle with copying words and are s.l.o.w writers, so this will bypass the writing.

{HERE} is the link for the freebie! 

Let me know what you think!