## Sunday, May 22, 2011

### Math Monday Blog Hop- Rounding Numbers Lesson

This is my first time participating in love2learn2day's Math Monday Blog Hop. To be perfectly honest the thought of teaching Math keeps me up at nights. Wide awake. Staring. Cold sweats. Awake!

Now, it's not that I am bad at math because I'm really not, I just don't feel that it is my strength as a teacher. Luckily, I didn't have to teach math for many years when I first started my career and there was no worry for me! Then...I switched from being an intermediate rotary teacher to a homeroom Grade 4 teacher where I taught all the subjects...uh oh! I have a particularly vivid memory of a lesson on how to round numbers to the nearest ten, hundreds, etc going so poorly I was pretty sure that my students knew less about rounding after I taught my lesson than they did before I started. Not pretty.

So I headed to the Internet in search of a fellow teacher who was more knowledgeable and confident in this area and what did I find? This amazing lesson from Lesson Plans Page called "We've Got Power"!

The basic gist of the lesson involves teaching the students which numbers have the power to round up and which are too weak so they must go back to zero! It worked like a charm.

0,1,2,3,and 4 have no power,

but 5,6,7,8,and 9 have power!

Head on over the see the entire lesson at the Lesson Plans Page...it sure saved me and my students. When you're done there you can also head over to  love2learn2day's Math Monday Blog Hop for even more great Math lessons and ideas.

## Friday, May 20, 2011

### Welcome all from TBA! Assessment Freebie!

I am beyond excited to be part of  TBA- a Teaching Blog Addict author. I really hope to be able to make a meaningful contribution to this amazing educational community. My blog is just new but please feel free to browse around and take a look at the posts I have written so far. I love feedback, questions and suggestions so feel free to keep those comments coming!

To start off right I wanted to share something that I use often in my classroom.

This iso a document I made with the help of the Ontario Curriculum Language Arts Expectations.  The Level 1- 4 descriptors come right from the assessment chart in the Ontario curriculum so if you do not teach in Ontario you are going to want to adapt those. These posters are ones I originally made when I taught Grade 7 because I found the common "ice cream cone" analogy was too young for my intermediate students and that using basketball terms really helped them to understand what the actual levels on their assignments and reports meant. Feel free to use these if they will help you!

## Thursday, May 12, 2011

### The List to End All Lists

I am blogging about this over at my personal blog, Thinking of Thinking, today as well! I am going to keep the list permanently here on this blog under a page of the same title- The List to End All Lists.

I have been obsessed lately with finding the best pictures books, well all books, so that Avery will have an unbelievable home library as she grows. I know that there are many parents and teachers out there reading this blog and I am hoping to get your help! I want to create a "must read" list of books for my little girl.

Here are a few of my faves...

Picture Books

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Suess
Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two Fish by Dr. Suess
You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Ages 8-9+
The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
A Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Fudge-a-mania by Judy Blume
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
BFG by Raoul Dahl
The Witches by Raoul Dahl
Matilda by Raoul Dahl
James and the Giant Peach by Raoul Dahl
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien

Ages 12+
The Outsiders by SE Hinton
The Hobbitt by JRR Tolkien
Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery
The Lightening Thief series by Rick Riordan
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I am sure there are tonnes of others....and I'll keep adding to the list as we go!

## Tuesday, May 3, 2011

### Possible Sentences ** Pre-Reading Strategy

- adapted from Mastering the Art of Effective Vocabulary Instruction, Adolescent Literacy- Turning Promise Into Practice, J. Allen, p. 87- 104

Rationale:
- when students have prior knowledge of the vocabulary [in a unit] this strategy “gives students the immediate opportunity to use their knowledge of [the] words to predict possible sentences they will find when they read” (Allen p.99)
Steps:
1. Students should have some knowledge of the words they will be using for Possible Sentences. Teachers could use the Tea Party (When Kids Can't Read by Kylene Beers) strategy to introduce the words to the students. Perhaps a Word Sort would work for younger students, or you could use the content area words as spelling words prior to using this strategy so the students have some familiarity with them.

2. Teachers create a list of important vocabulary words from the reading text or unit of study. This strategy works best for non-fiction or in the content areas. I don't know that is necessarily true now that I think back... there are often words in fiction texts that are new to students, or you could words that relate to the theme of your reading, perhaps character traits of the characters in the book would work as well!

3. Students are given the Possible Sentences worksheet with the list of vocabulary words and space to create their sentences.

4. Students choose 2 or more words to write in a sentence predicting how they think those words will be used in the context of their reading. No matter what age students will need you to model this for them, even Grade 8's!! The idea is not to write the definition of the word but to use it correctly in the context of another word on the list.

5. Teachers can ask the class to share their “possible sentences” orally, or record on chart paper/overhead.

6. Students then read the assigned text. As they read they check their predicted sentences against the content of the text. This should be done as a class with younger students.

7. If their predictions are accurate in terms of context (not word-for-word) students highlight the sentence with a check or a circle.

8. If the sentence is inaccurate, students then revise their sentences for accuracy in terms of the text.

Here is an example that I have used in my Grade 8 Geography class for our Economics unit.

The students were given these words (terms):
economic activity

manufacturing
interrelationships
wealth
technology
distribution
society
resources
industry
systems
consumers
goods and services
decisions

...and they were asked to make sentences that show how 2 or more words relate to each other in a sentence.

1. Economic activities involve the production and distribution of goods and services.

2. Society is required to make decisions about how technology should be used.

After the students have spent some time studying the content they can go back and check how right they were with their possible sentences, or correct any misconceptions they had before starting. Just wait, you'll be surprised at how profound some of the student's sentences can be.

I think this strategy would be very interesting to use in the younger grades. I have had much success with it in my Grade 7 and 8 classes and am looking forward to bringing it to my Grade 4 class in the fall.

Here are some ways I may use it in my class next year:

- character education words
- key words from math word problems