Primary Chalkboard: February 2015

Quick & Easy Indoor Recess Ideas!

Hey y'all! Casey here, from The Original Math Maniac.

Not all of us are blessed with the often frustrating season we call WINTER.  However, here in NC, Elsa has paid us several visits and brought forth an unusual amount of ice and snow. This means an increase in cabin fever and, yes, the dreaded INDOOR RECESS.

 When the weather is rotten and my students are forced to stay inside, I often pull out the same ol' bag of tricks. However, after so many days of being trapped in our homes and with each other in our classroom, ordinarily peaceful students are starting to look more like Komodo Dragons. 

With that in mind, I searched Pinterest high and low for some new ideas to change up Indoor Recess. Please visit my Pinterest page to check out these fun ideas. I will be continously adding to this board to avoid stagnation.

Also, I whipped this fun little Charades dice game. You can download it for FREE from Google Docs by clicking HERE.    Instructions are included and I guarantee at LEAST 30 minutes of indoor fun. :)

I am ALWAYS looking for new ways to entertain my little green beans during indoor recess, please help a fellow teacher and leave your suggestions in the comments! 

What's New in Our TPT Stores????

Hey there, fellow teacher heroes!

We wanted to make sure that you are all aware that TPT is having a HUGE sale TODAY! (2/25/15)

We also wanted to make sure that you had the scoop on what is new and popular in our stores. :) 

Happy Shopping, friends! AND, don't FORGET to enter the promo code: HEROES when you check out today!

Why I Love Authentic Performance Tasks

Hey everyone! It's Heather from 2 Brainy Apples, and I am so excited to be blogging on PC today! I wanted to share with you all one of my favorite activities to do in my classroom ---> authentic performance tasks. I think sometimes the idea of performance tasks can get a little cloudy, so I wrote an entire blog post about why I love them, what they are, example ideas, and example photos.

I love using the GRASPS model, and I include a link to a helpful site if you are interested in using it, too. In short, the G is for goal for the student, R is the role of the student, A is the audience of the student, S is the scenario that is real world, P is the product or performance the student will create or product, and S is the scoring rubric you give to students before hand so they know your expectations.

Here are a couple of pics from one of my performance tasks so you can get an idea of how unique the products are, and you can imagine how engaged students were! Same performance task. Totally different outcome. Want to know what their task was? Head on over to my blog post! These are great for allowing students to express their creativity and get away from mindless worksheets ---> "Worksheets don't grow dendrites." -Marcia Tate. One of my favorite sayings!

I hope you will hop on over to my blog and share some of your ideas and thoughts!

I am such a sucker for Valentine's Day stuff. The colors. The candy. The memories of trying to figure out what the choice of Garbage Pail Kids card meant from the boy I was crushing on... In my classroom, I definitely DOWNPLAY the love stuff with the holiday. I try to make it more of a friendship holiday - with pink, red, and hearts of course!

Just in case you are still looking for a quick Valentine's Day math activity, I made a short FREEBIE that includes 8 task cards for one step and two step word problems. It is perfectly aligned to the 2nd grade standards but could easily be used with some 1st graders and as a review for 3rd grade. You can pick it up for FREE by clicking here.


5 Ways to Dig Deeper with Number Lines

Hi, friends! I'm Blair from One Lesson at a Time, and I'm so excited for my first post over here at the Primary Chalkboard! I am a number line fanatic. They are such an amazing tool to use with so many different math skills. By helping students flexibly use a variety of number line strategies, we can really help them develop deep and meaningful number sense.

Today I am rounding up 5 of my favorite applications for number lines. I'll link you to a few other posts that I've written and some resources that I've created that will help you dig deeper into number line strategies in your classroom.

And away we go!

Rounding can be a super frustrating skill to teach. There are a lot of "tricks" for teaching rounding - and once I ditched them, my quality of life improved significantly. By introducing rounding on a number line, students are immediately set up for success with the underlying conceptual understandings that help us get why we round up or down. 

I don't want to oversell this, but this post on my blog has more information about the lesson that changed my life. Dramatic? Yes. Accurate? You betcha.

Open number lines are probably my current favorite thing, surpassing even my fondness for cheese. Ok, well, I really, really love cheese, so that may be a bit of an overstatement. But I really do love them. 

I was actually inspired to really get into open number lines after seeing this piece of mathematical artwork by one of the 3rd graders at my school:

I MEAN. Is that not a thing of beauty?!?! In this blog post, I do my best to demystify open number lines and show tons of different ways that they can be used as a problem solving strategy.

"Zooming in on a number line" is a quick and easy activity I like to do with my students at least a few times a month. This really helps students with a few fundamental understandings. It's a great way to illustrate which numbers "live" between the intervals when the intervals are greater than 1. You can click over to this post on my blog for more information and pictures.

The Common Core standards for 3rd grade (specifically 3.NF.2) are very explicit about the need for students to be able to understand and represent fractions on number line diagrams. I love using interactive notebooks to teach math, and find them to be particularly helpful with this standard. We first use a flap book to break down the vocabulary....

Then, I give them some guided, hands-on practice in partitioning number lines into fractional parts.  I find that one of the trickiest things about fractional number lines can be that students are often tempted to count the lines rather than the intervals. Allowing them to physically fold the number lines is super helpful in clearing up this common misunderstanding. 

Once they've gotten the hang of it, they are ready for a few more practice activities.

The activities pictured above are all part of my interactive notebook pack for 3.NF.2, which is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Elapsed time is another one of those skills that many teachers prepare to teach by tripling their daily coffee consumption. It can be tricky stuff, no doubt. And CCSS 3.MD.1 ups the ante by explicitly stating that students need to be able to represent elapsed time on a number line diagram. This really wasn't something that I had ever done prior to the Common Core, so I initially felt some trepidation about it. But, HOLY GUACAMOLE. Using number line diagrams for elapsed time was a game changer for my kiddos. It REALLY helps them "get it". So I am now a full-on believer. I use these elapsed time lines to tackle this standard with my students - they are available in my TpT store.

Thanks so much for stopping by Primary Chalkboard today! I'm so excited to be an official "Chalkie", and I can't wait to come back soon and share more teaching ideas with you. 

Happy Teaching!