January 11, 2018

Sweet Treat Fractions!

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It’s that time of year again where fractions begin to make their debut in classrooms and today I am so excited to share with you how I’ve taught this unit to my kiddos. Fractions can always be tricky for some kids because it’s the concept that a whole object can be divided into parts and how we label those parts. 

I’ve found that first, introducing money (a dollar is divided into quarters, etc.) or time (half past, quarter past, etc.) makes fractions easier to grasp because students have that schema from earlier lessons in the year.

Study Jams by Scholastic

Study Jams by Scholastic is another great resource to add to any lesson. They provide wonderful visuals and they’re completely free! Scholastic provides a ton of videos for multiple math and science topics, which helps make teaching these tougher concepts a breeze.


Introduction (via)

I personally love beginning this unit with a reading of Eating Fractions because it ties in perfectly with our "sweet treats" theme. However, any of these read alouds would be a great introduction of the concept!

After reading and discussing with students what a numerator and denominator represents, discuss how to write a fraction and use examples from the book to reinforce these ideas.

Guided Practice

Using jellybeans, pour 20 onto a desk in front of the class so everyone can see. Invite a student to come up and count each jellybean - this will be the denominator. Encourage your class, or student, to explain back to you that this number represents the “whole", or the total number of jellybeans. Repeat this step with each same-color jellybeans on the table and practice writing the various fractions that are found. Students can watch or you can incorporate class whiteboards!

Afterwards, add up each of the numerators to demonstrate that it will equal 20, which is your denominator or “whole”. I always share with my kids that adding the numerators is a great way to check their work!

At this point you can play the Study Jams video on fractions or head straight into the craftivity!

Independent Practice

For the independent practice portion of this lesson there are a variety of 'sweet' activities to choose from. Over the course of the week we read a variety of the read alouds outlined above and practice using a different activity from this bundle. Here's a peek at what we complete over the course of the week:
  Gumball Machine Fractions
This activity is always a lot of fun and my students really seem to enjoy it too. It's a flexible activity in the sense that the teacher can control the "whole" number or you can extend it to monitor how deep your students' understanding of fractions goes.

First, students choose four colors, which will represent their gumballs. They will decide how may they want to draw inside their machine. From there, they'll count and represent the colored gumballs as a fraction. Once the math representation is completed, they may design and color their machines and glue to their construction paper for displaying.

I Scream For Ice Cream!

Another fun activity to do with the kids is fraction sundaes!

It’s another popular way to have kids demonstrate their understanding of fractions by choosing their flavors and writing out the fractions. The key to this activity (and the gumballs) is to limit the number of flavors your students can pick. The first time I did this activity I kept it open-ended to see where it would take them, but reeling it in helped my kids focus on just a few flavors at a time and focus on writing their fractions correctly. Those higher achieving students can always complete a second sundae in their math notebooks when they finish!
Cookie Fractions

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchens is a fun story about diving cookies so that all the kids can have an equal amount. This story is a great introduction to this activity where students have their cookie to divide and represent the fractions they create. I’ve made templates for halves, thirds, fourths, sixths, eighths, and tenths as well as a blank one. Students represent fractions both in numerical form as well as tracing the word form too.

Marshmallow Fractions 

I tried this activity a few years ago and I absolutely love how engaged my kids were throughout the entire thing! It was so easy to prep - you just need pink and white marshmallows (or use mini to large) and place them in the baggies that will represent different fractions. I prepped these ahead of time and even created a little cheat sheet that had the fractions I created recorded so it made checking their work even easier.

Fractions can be so much fun and I’m excited to share these activities that have been proven to keep kids engaged the entire unit! 

What fun activities do you plan for your kids for teaching fractions?

January 1, 2018

Ringing In 2018 | A NYE Craftivity + Writing Prompts

Getting Crafty

Craftivities really help engage our little learners because it requires them to interact with the lesson in a tangible way. It keeps them working and their brains thinking all the while taking in new skills. This NYE writing unit combines reflective writing prompts with a fun craft for students to create! 

Students will create a self-portrait of sorts using any coloring materials you’d like. I personally love using glitter on the 2018 glasses because it really adds a pop of detail and brightens up the bulletin board, hallway, or wherever you’d like to display them. The kiddos design their own party hats (can even be used in math with some kind of glyph!) and attach their writing so that the final product looks like their person is holding their new years resolutions writing. I love this activity every year because it’s a great introduction to writing after a long winter break.

 Prompt Variety

This unit also includes a variety of writing prompts that will be sure to get your kiddos thinking about the year ahead. There’s always so much talk about setting resolutions, or goals, and this is the perfect time to introduce, or re-introduce, goal setting. Resolutions don’t have to be cumbersome goals, but rather little goals here and there that are attainable within a reasonable amount of time. Have students think about the areas (both in school and out) where they would like to improve and the ways in which they can take steps towards achieving that goal.

NYE celebrations also look different for each family or culture so why not showcase this classroom diversity? Having your students share how they celebrated will be sure to be a fun discussion and sharing time upon returning to school.

These prompts don’t all have to be used as a whole group writing activity either. Simply place them into a reading center or use as morning work on those first few days back from winter break!

Sometimes students need a little prompting to get their creative minds working! I love this Counting Down To A New Year handout because it gets my kids thinking about specific details they can add to their writing about their new years goals. 

Lastly, reflection on our growth is important regardless if you’re a student or an adult. This worksheet has students reflect on the past, present, and future and how they can improve over time. It’s also a great way to show them that although they may not realize it at the time, growth does occur and one should be proud of those achievements. Have students think about where they started, how they’re doing on that goal now, and how they can stretch themselves in the future. Such a great conclusion to this lesson!