Plastic Times: In the Beginning

This year we have been focusing on Book Studies. We have read several great works of literature including Love That Dog and Bridge to Terabithia. Recently, we picked up another Newberry Award winner. After 16 pages most of us were having trouble ‘getting into’ the book. We weren’t even through the first chapter yet – it was 24 pages – when I stopped and asked the students what they thought. At first, they were reluctant to be completely honest. They said things like, ‘it’s okay’ and ‘eh’. So yeah, when I gave them my honest opinion, they opened up a bit more. I have difficulties with reading comprehension, which they all know about, and I simply told them that I was having trouble ‘getting into’ the book. Collectively, they all breathed a sigh of relief and opened up. In the end, we decided to put the book down – at least for now – and move on to something different.

This is where Plastic Times comes in. Last year my class wrote, directed, produced, and acted in their own movie. It was an empowering experience. Within the last year, A Tale Unfolds has expanded their resources and restructured their payment system. Essentially, they have a ‘suggested’ price but will accept what you are willing to pay. Yep, even if you want to pay nothing! Which is brilliant, since their generosity makes me want to pay the suggested price and not try to get a cheaper price. A Tale Unfolds has partnered with several quality organizations, including CNN, to create top quality lessons. Teachers, everything is included!

Anyway, after the book fail, I wanted my students to participate in something meaningful, fun, and most importantly, rigorous. So, I went onto A Tale Unfolds and was immediately drawn to Plastic Times.  This lesson incorporates research, forming opinions on facts, (high quality) writing, and PBL.

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-5-26-25-pmFriday we started our new path. The first lesson has students reviewing five different pieces of ‘Evidence’ (all factual) and taking notes. They are investigative reporters learning about the impact of plastic on our environment, animals, and us. Then, they are to form an action plan. When each group received their ‘Evidence’ I don’t think they thought I would stick to the 4-minute timer. I printed one copy of each piece of evidence and so they had a certain amount of time to review and take notes before passing it along. After the first round, they got the message. They then watched a 14-minute video produced by CNN to further their knowledge on the subject. Honestly, I have never seen the students so engaged. They really wanted to get all the information provided and answer all the questions on the guiding worksheet. And that was only day 1! I can’t imagine what the rest of the three weeks will bring, but I’m excited to see where this takes us!

Place Value Basics & Mult./Div.

Last year, I began using Jon Corippo‘s 8 p*ARTS . I saw great success with the repetition. As a result, I thought I’d like to do something along similar lines with Math. Now, I will admit, what I came up with isn’t nearly as fun. However, the repetition is there. This is for 5th grade and can easily be modified for other grades. Here’s what I came up with.

Place Value Basics

The plan:

  • Today’s Number – Have the student of the day decide on the day’s number anywhere from billion to thousandths place. However, the number must be at least to the tenths place.
  • 10 times greater – Take the original number and make it ten times greater.
  • 100 times greater – Take the original number and make it one hundred times greater.
  • 1,000 times greater – Yup, take the original number and make it one thousand times greater.
  • Add 10 times greater and 100 times greater – add the numbers.
  • Write a number that is GREATER – Have students change ONLY a digit that is AFTER the decimal.
  • 1/10 times less – Take the original number and make it ten times less.
  • 1/100 times less – Take the original number and make it one hundred times less.
  • Subtract 1/10 and 1/100 – subtract the numbers.
  • Write a number that is LESS – Have students change ONLY a digit that is AFTER the decimal.
  • Prime factors of the first 2 digits of the whole number – Only take the numbers in the ones and tens place and find the prime factors.

An example is given on the second slide. This should be done daily, with an assessment each week. The first week or two should be done as a group until the class understands what is expected. Once they ‘get the hang of it’ all that is needed is the number and the students can do this independently.

Update: Since the beginning of the year, I have added a new daily practice paper. Now that they can do the Mult/Div paper well, I switch back and forth. I will soon add a fractions practice paper to the mix.

Place Value Basics

Last year, I began using Jon Corippo‘s 8 p*ARTS . I saw great success with the repetition. As a result, I thought I’d like to do something along similar lines with Math. Now, I will admit, what I came up with isn’t nearly as fun. However, the repetition is there. This is for 5th grade and can easily be modified for other grades. Here’s what I came up with.

Place Value Basics

The plan:

  • Today’s Number – Have the student of the day decide on the day’s number anywhere from billion to thousandths place. However, the number must be at least to the tenths place.
  • 10 times greater – Take the original number and make it ten times greater.
  • 100 times greater – Take the original number and make it one hundred times greater.
  • 1,000 times greater – Yup, take the original number and make it one thousand times greater.
  • Add 10 times greater and 100 times greater – add the numbers.
  • Write a number that is GREATER – Have students change ONLY a digit that is AFTER the decimal.
  • 1/10 times less – Take the original number and make it ten times less.
  • 1/100 times less – Take the original number and make it one hundred times less.
  • Subtract 1/10 and 1/100 – subtract the numbers.
  • Write a number that is LESS – Have students change ONLY a digit that is AFTER the decimal.
  • Prime factors of the first 2 digits of the whole number – Only take the numbers in the ones and tens place and find the prime factors.

An example is given on the second slide. This should be done daily, with an assessment each week. The first week or two should be done as a group until the class understands what is expected. Once they ‘get the hang of it’ all that is needed is the number and the students can do this independently.

A Tale Unfolds: Part 1

a tale unfolds Next week I will start A Tale Unfolds with my class. It is an 11 week ELA/ELD/Writing unit where the end product is a movie that the class has written, performed, and taped. As this is a UK Standards aligned unit, I looked over the lessons for the upcoming week and was pleased that on Day 1 ten (5th grade) CCSS are covered. While the lessons are complete on their own, I will be able to enrich them with conversations and expectations.

Along with the lesson plans, there are Promethean Flipcharts and SmartBoard resources, a ‘book’ (2 levels), and in certain cases leveled resources (depending on the activity). The focus of the writing is on quality, not quantity.

Overall, I am excited to get the unit started. I think the students are really going to enjoy it.

Gamification: Here’s the Deal

And what a deal it is! I have written about my use of Mangahigh in my classroom in the past (Gamify My Homework, Math In the Summer, Engage Student With Mangahigh, and Online Homework). I really do like the tool!

Here’s an opportunity to check it out…for FREE (for a limited time). Not only do you get to check out all the features, your class/school can participate in an online challenge! Adding to the gamification fun. Go ahead, sign up for the challenge. What do you have to lose? It’s FREE.

10% Discount

And if you like it and decide to purchase…You can receive a 10% discount and a 30-day FREE trial. See, it just keeps getting better! Email Amber (amber@mangahigh.com) with the code: NOWATECHIE10.

Mangahigh

Challenge Details

The challenge will run from February 1st – 15th 2016 for all K-10 students at schools in the US and Canada. It’s completely free to participate and we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to explore Mangahigh and see the impact digital games-based solutions can have on students’ learning.

 

During the challenge, you will have full access to all of Mangahigh’s premium features, including 600+ activities aligned to Common Core and other state standards. You can assign specific challenges to support the topic you are currently teaching, or simply allow students to complete challenges independently.

What do we win?

The school that scores the most points during the competition will be crowned the Math Bowl Champion, winning a $500 Amazon voucher, $500 Mangahigh voucher, trophy plus medals and certificates for their top 10 students.

The 9 runners up with all receive a $100 Amazon voucher$200 Mangahigh vouchermedals, and certificates for their top 10 students.

Students with 200 points or more will receive a Mangahigh medal!

Who can enter?

The competition is open to all schools in the US and Canada for grades K-10 regardless of school size, location and previous experience with Mangahigh.com. You are welcome to enrol as many teachers and students as you like.

Who will join me?

I’ve already signed up. Who will join in the challenge?

 

I’ve Fallen Down the PBS Rabbit Hole

Okay, specifically PBS LearningMedia California. I wrote about how excited I was that I could share directly from PBS LearningMedia to Google Classroom, but I seriously underestimated the awesomeness of this resource. There is so much, I will most definitely be writing more about how I’m using it.

First of all, sign up for it. No really, go now and do it! Now that you’ve signed up let me share some of its power.

  • I can search by standard (National or Common Core), subject/grade, or do a search using keyword(s).

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  • Since I know I will be dealing with fractions when I return from Winter Break, I’ll browse by Standard. Once I choose ‘Browse’, all the standards that deal with fractions appear below. Find the specific standard and click on it.

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  • This now takes me to all the resources – all 31 – that match the specific standard. I know, AMAZING! But wait, there’s more. I can further modify my search. On the left side, there are options for Subject, Resource Type, and Language to name a few.

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  • When I choose a Resource to view, I am taken to a new page. Here I can view the resource, information, support material(s) (if applicable), and other standards the resource covers.

There are so many other ways to use this site. I can ‘favorite’ resources, organize using folders, assign, share, build lessons, and create quizzes. Okay, back in the rabbit hole I go!