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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Teaching Equal Versus Inequality

We have already learned the algebraic properties of addition (commutative, associative, zero property) and we have been practicing our addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.  Now we are practicing understanding the connection between all these inverse operations.  While learning all this, we also are solving equations to see if they are equal or inequalities.

To help mix all these concepts together, I came up with a sort.

The first page is addition and subtraction equations and the second page is multiplication and division equations.  Students solve the equations and determine if the statement is true or false.  If it is true, they glue the equation under Equal.  If it is not true, they glue it under Inequality.

The editable PowerPoint includes:
~A cut and glue sort that has students solving equations and deciding whether they are equal or inequalities
~The first sort is addition/subtraction equations
~The second sort is multiplication/division equations
~Answer keys for both sorts that allow for quick or self-checking work

If you'd like to pick up the whole packet, click here.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Constitution Day Activities

Our district requires us to celebrate Constitution Day and do activities related to it.  I actually enjoy it.  For one thing, The Constitution is one of the most important documents our country has ever written.  For another, we will be discussing this document in depth in Virginia Studies.  If I take the time to front load the vocabulary and basic understanding of the Preamble, it makes studying the document's history go much more smoothly.

First, we read We the Kids: The Preamble to The Constitution of the United States by David Catrow.  It's a really cool book that uses kid-friendly images and language to explain the Preamble.

There's also a video with the same title as the book that can be used as a refresher later in the year.  It has the exact information and language in it that the book uses, but it's just a nice visual reminder for the students.

We use a graphic organizer to break down the robust vocabulary of the Preamble.

We also do a writing activity that incorporates the vocabulary and talks about the students' personal freedoms.

I have an extension activity set up for students needing a challenge.  These students work in small groups to take a sentence or phrase, rewrite it in their own words and illustrate the main idea.

My complete lesson plans for Constitution Day include:
~The Virginia Reading and Writing Standards and objectives associated with the activity
~Mentor text/video suggestion
~Prewriting activity suggestions (anchor chart, graphic organizer)
~Graphic organizer of robust vocabulary from the Preamble
~Journal prompt
~Challenge/Extension activity

If you'd like to pick up a full copy, you can do so by clicking here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cooperative Learning Groups

I use the Guided Model for most subjects, which means students spend a lot if time in small groups.

In Reading and Math, the groups are determined by preassessments and individual needs. In Science and Social Studies, it's a different story.  I randomly assign groups by pulling Popsicle sticks. I do reserve the right to change group members if the dynamics are off. 

After groups are together , I have them quickly and randomly choose group jobs. I do this with the spinner included in my Cooperative Groups packet.

I then pass out the group job description sheets.  I really focus on the Words of Encouragement part of the group Booster's job description (below), especially at the beginning of the year to build a sense of community.

This editable PowerPoint includes:
~Directions on how to create the groups and job descriptions
~A spinner to randomly choose jobs for students
~Job descriptions and checklists for the following jobs: Guide, Booster, Materials, Recorder, Reporter

If you'd like a complete copy, you can pick one up by clicking here.

Do you use Cooperative Learning Groups?  If so, do you use the same jobs?  I'd love to hear how you use them.