Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spam Comments Bugging You?

I've been receiving a ton of spam comments on my blog lately.  Ugh! 

And, I don't know about you, but I hate the robot checker and didn't really want to have to revert back to that (but knew I would have to if I couldn't find an answer...because some of the spam was just plain inappropriate!).

I think I found a temporary solution.  Maybe a permanent fix....time will only tell.

Here's what I did:



What I had begun to notice is that most of my spam comments were on older posts. So, this way, I can still receive comments (even from "Anonymous" comments) and I'm blocking most of the spam from getting through. I now receive notices that I have comments to moderate.  Well, guess what?  All of the ones that I have to moderate are about 99.9% spam.  And, most of the legit comments are still able to make it through without having to enlist ol' robot checker.

For me, it seems to be working...I'd better go knock on some wood.

Hope this helps you :)  If you have a better solution, I'd love to hear it!  Please comment below and tell me your tricks for comment moderation and blocking spam.

Happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

iPoke Equivalent Fractions Game

Hey all,

I posted a little funny video earlier today.  I hope you enjoyed it.  It sure did make me laugh. {I know, *gasp* two posts in one day....forgive me.}

We are finished with our fractions and decimals unit, but my kiddos still needed to continue to practice with equivalent fractions.  Working with equivalent fractions is important, because it is also allowing my students practice in numeracy (knowing that one fraction is equivalent to another simply by multiplying both the numerator and denominator by the same number can only help them with number sense and continue to build their basic multiplication skills).

I had created this fun Valentine's Day Poke Game (Thanks to Tabitha Carro's clip art and idea):
But, I now needed something less "seasonal".  So, I converted the same game to my new iPoke Equivalent Fractions Game.  
There are 45 total cards.  My kids love these!  They love that they self-checking and can be "played alone" or with a partner.

Want a copy?  Answer the question in my comments below before Saturday.  The people who answer correctly will receive a copy!!

What special activity do I have planned for Saturday?  {Hint: It is very "bright", but I'm not feeling rather "bright" about signing up for it right now.}

A Little Funny to Brighten Your Day :)

Have you seen this video yet?  Some days, I can totally relate.  I'm sure you can, too. 

Enjoy!


Off to visit my son at his school, it's his birthday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fun with Decimals!

Greetings everyone!

We've been plugging along with fractions and decimals.

One of the ideas that was difficult for my students to understand is how to labels decimals on a number line.

The common core standard reads as such:
4.NF.7 Compare two decimals to hundredths by reasoning about their size. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two decimals refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual model.

Oh, sure.  If it were only that easy.  I tried relating it to money.  I tried relating it to whole numbers.  I got mostly blank stares.  I was surprised, because usually at least the money analogy works. 

Oh, what to do?  Well, my groups this year LOVE, LOVE, LOVE songs/raps/making hand movements, etc.

So, I said, "OK, get up! Push in your chairs!"

"Let's use our bodies!"

I explained that we were going to make our bodies into number lines.

The middle of our bodies would represent 0.5 or 0.50.

Then, to the left of us would be all of the decimals from 0.01 to 0.49 (We also talked about how if we stuck our arms out as far as possible to the left that we would have just "touched" 0.)
T


Then, to the right of us would be all of the decimals from 0.51 to 0.99 (And...if we stretched out really far, we'd reach 1.0).

Seems simple.  So why did it take me this long to do this with my students?  Don't you just love "Ah ha!" moments?  I do!

So, we talked about how 0.25 would be half way between as far out as we could stretch our left hand out and the middle of our bodies. Therefore, 0.75 would be half way between how far out we could stretch out our right hand and the middle of our bodies.  This seemed to do the trick!

I'd call a decimal and they would have to quickly stretch the correct arm out the correct distance away from their bodies. 

Take a look at this "decimal".

What decimal do you think she is trying to represent?

Do you know the best part of this activity?  I could see them "doing decimals" when comparing decimals while taking their tests!

"Ah ha!"

I'd like to also share this freebie with you.  We used this flipbook in our math notebooks to help us remember the vocabulary terms related to decimals.


 Just click on the images to head to my TpT store to download them :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Have You Heard of Study Jams?

This site is incredible.  Seriously.

Developed and run by Scholastic, this site offers a ton of videos for Math and Science.  Whoop, whoop!

When you visit, click on the tab for either Math or Science.

Um, of course, I clicked on Math.

There are a multitude of options.  You can click on "See All Topics" or scroll through the slide show of topics.  Of course, my focus was on fractions right now.

Look at the flood of videos!  Love them.

Wanna know what I like best? They are short.  Under 3 minutes tops.  Maybe even less.  We all know that we can't go much further than that, or we've lost them. 

Head on over and check them out for yourselves.

Oh, and yes, they are FREE :)

Cool!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How Important is Multiplication Fluency?

Oh, that is such a loaded question. Isn't it? 

It all boils down to numeracy and number sense if you ask me.  Students need to know and understand how 3x5=15 equates to 3 sets of 5, or 5 sets of 3.  It also means that if you start with 15 items and place those items into 3 equal groups, you have 5 in each group.  I've spent a lot of time trying to help my students create a true understanding of the relationship between numbers.  How do they work together? Which numbers "belong together"?

That was the sole drive behind creating these two lapbooks:

I wanted my student to work towards understanding how numbers work.

Now, I wasn't taught in a way {so many years ago} that valued understanding numbers and the relationship between numbers.  I was expected to memorize my facts.  And you know what?  I expect the same of my students, too.

But wait!  You might have been thinking that this post was going to be heading in the opposite direction, didn't you? 

Here's the thing.  I truly believe there is a balance between the two ideas.  I want my students to understand the relationship between the numbers.  But, you know what else I expect of my fourth graders?  I expect them to be able to recall multiplication facts quickly. Fluently.

When we start longer multiplication and division processes, I need for them to know that 7x8=56 NOT 64. Why is that the one they always miss? 

Enter this great little product from my dear friend, Kristen.

I mean, how cute is that?  And perfect for Valentine's Day.  Numbers go together like peanut butter and jelly, or milk and cookies, or salt and pepper, or {a personal favorite} hamburgers and french fries.

I want my students to know that 6x8=48 and 8x6=48 should be stuck together or "InFACTuated" with each other.  {Love it!}

Truly this is a way to "marry" both of my ideas and beliefs into one.  If students can visualize which facts go together, then they will be able to memorize them more efficiently.  

Here are a few snapshots of our work in action:

First, students quiz each other using the fact cards.  They turned this into a game and loved it!


If the student got the fact correct, he could keep the card.  If he didn't, then the partner kept the card.


Finally, when they were finished playing {I mean, quizzing each other), they went back to their seats to create study guides of the facts they need to practice.


I am having my students get these sheets signed so that parents can see specifically which facts need to be practiced.  It's one thing to tell a parent, "Hey, your child needs to study his/her facts."  And, it's a completely different thing to tell a parent exactly which facts need practicing. 

I'm hoping this pays off with our timed multiplication tests this week!  {And, I'm sure that it will!}

So, how do you feel about having your students memorize multiplication facts? I'd love to hear about what you do in your classroom!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Little Announcement

And, no, it's not that kind of announcement.  I'm 40, remember?
Not to say that it couldn't happen...but it's really not that kind of announcement.  Swear.

You know how I'm always thanking all of you for making me a better teacher, right?  Well, I'm needing to thank you even more today. 

You see, I was announced as my school's Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014.  I'm still in shock.

I really don't know what to say.  Except this:  I wouldn't have been recognized a few years ago.  Why?

I'll be the first to admit it.  I had grown stale.  Listen, when you've been at this as long as I have, it happens.

But, enter blogging.  And, *poof*!  I'm a changed woman.  I'm a changed teacher.  I'm a better teacher.

You all have made me better.  This community of blogging has made me WANT to BE better.  And for that, I am so truly thankful.

Oh, and there was cake!

And, then there wasn't:

Teachers can eat.



Monday, February 4, 2013

February Made It

I'm linking up with my good friend, Tara:

I haven't put too much together for this month.  I wish I could tell you I've been busy, busy, busy.  But, really, I've only been lazy, lazy, lazy.

I did have the chance to finish putting these together for my students to start using this week:

This is how you make them self-checking :)
They are laminated, cut and ready to put in my math stations this week!  Yay!

And, I did finish the heart-shaped crayons for all 80 of my students:

 Oh, and I made some Valentine's cards to send to my family.  {They were in a kit from Target...I cheated this time.  Usually I make them from scratch.}


Well, that's about it.  I really wish I had a ton of things to show you, but lazy called this month and I answered.

Link up with what you have been busy with this month.  Maybe, just maybe, it will encourage me to get crafty again :)








Saturday, February 2, 2013

Currently and a Super Sale :)

It's February already?

Where does the time go?

Listening: You know I love him....right now on iTunes, you can listen to his album that is being released on Tuesday.  I'm streaming it and um......LOVE :)
Loving: 'Nuf said!  Plus, I'm going to the special movie about the making of the new album "All that Echoes" on Monday night :)
Thinking: Ugh...I hate grocery shopping!
Wanting: Well, wouldn't that be great?
Needing:  Well, that's probably more of a want...but, you know.
Pet Peeves:  Pretty self-explanatory, right?

Now, if you didn't already know...there is a big ol' sale on Sunday:

Thanks to Ashely Hughes for the button :)



 You can click on the button to head on over to my store.  Plus...if you buy two items from my store, I'll give you a third item for equal or lesser value for FREE :)  All you have to do is email me and let me know what third item you'd like.

Happy Super Shopping!  My cart is full and I can't wait to download some goodies :)