Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What is new in math class?

I have introduced what I call a "Parking Lot." It is a place in the room where kids can leave comments for the blog. It is also a place where they can ask questions or make comments regarding class. Usually it will be a topic that he/she is not wanting to bring up in front of the entire class. He/she places the comment or questions on post-it notes (I leave a supply around the room.) and then places it on the the Parking Lot. I then bring up the topic the next day.

Then, each day after we go over homework I will check the Parking Lot to see if I need to discuss anything or re-teach a concept. Below are my first notes:

"Math was pretty cool today." Sommer M. 9/24 (I liked this one a lot!)

"I was so mad because somebody didn't do their homework." 9/24 (Classes earn rewards every fifth day when all work is turned in. This class had made it to day 6 when they had to drop back to zero days in a row!)

As time progresses I hope to have more student involvement with the blog. Baby steps!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Year - New Goals

Each of my three classes have been going very well. The kids are learning to utilize the three-ring binder system for note-taking and organization. Keep checking on them at home. Ask to see the binder once every few weeks and note any positives you see. They are more inclined to share and tweak the system if their attempt is viewed with praise.

I continue to email progress weekly. If you have not been getting reports please send in a printed email address and I will enter it into my computer. I send them out on Friday's before I head home.

I have taught 45 minute blocks of math for nine years. This year we have 85 minutes of daily instruction and it is awesome! We can cover the material in greater depth and they have been writing analysis and comparissons of their work several times per week. Since most math is getting done in class or power hour you may not be seeing the textbook too often. That is ok. However, a few minutes each night can be used to quiz over basic facts (42 divided by 7 = ?) and going over vocabulary. Division is a weakness and one that won't go away without constant practice.

We are surviving ISTEP week. Remember that going to bed early and eating breakfast has been shown to increase ISTEP scores by as much as 3%! Below you will find a few comments about math class from the kids who suffer with me everyday:

Alli R. - Mrs.Sharp Is the best math teacher I've had.She explains things very well.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What's Up in Math?

The kids did a fine job multiplying and dividing fractions. We introduced canceling which many found easier to do than simpliying the solution at the end. We will continue to use fractions throughout this semester and each Friday students will receive an extra fraction practice page to complete over the weekend to keep skills fresh. This will begin on Feb. 23rd.

We have been using number lines to learn about integers. We spent two days working in groups as we learned to add and subtract and problem solve using integers. Next up, multiplication and division of integers. We will be ready for the unit test on February 22nd. Students can earn extra credit by completing the coordinate graph they will will be given on the 19th. It is due by test day.

On Tuesday, February 20th, all sixth graders will participate in the State Math Contest. This is a 40 question timed test. Students will be allowed to use calculators and must complete the test in 30 minutes. The top five sixth grade scores will be submitted to the state. Absent students will need to stay after school on Monday, February 26th to make up this test.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fraction Cookie Lab

We survived the fraction food lab this week. We discovered several things:

* not all 12 year-olds read directions (I already knew this!)
* 3/8 cup butter is not marked on any stick (I knew this one, too!)

Students ate what they made, but with 30 batches of cookies very few turned out the same...very interesting. Many groups skipped reading all directions entirely and poured the oatmeal in with the other ingredients before bringing it to a boil...Lesson Learned! We also learned that we CAN apply those estimation skills in real-life...they were amazed!!! I was thrilled...mission accomplished.

Again, a big thank you to the Riverside Parent Organization for providing the funding.

Read on below for some student comments/observations regarding our math lab:

allie b. I loved making the cookies it was so fun. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for putting all your effort for buying the supplies and helping us if we REALLY need it like my group needed help on making sure we had the right amount of butter. Well, thanks again so much!!! I hope to do another one this year!

Kalie H. - I've learned that fractions are easier to figure out on paper than to figure out on a measuring cup or other measuring tools! That was only one of the things I learned from this lab experiance. To get the job done right our group cooperated. We didn't argue over who was going to stir or measure we just took turns. That's why ours turned out great and got first place in class!!

Andria S.- Thanks so much Mrs. Sharp!The cookies were awesome.Thats not the only good thing though!I also learned a lot about fractions.They are much easier to understand now.Personally I really thought that the lesson was a great expirience and good way to help us with fractions.My group was really good together, because we did not argue over anything....except the butter, and when Samantha dropped the oven top and broke it.Thanks again!We got 2nd in the class!!!!!

Courtney C. Thank you so much. I love how they turned out. I will try this at home. I'm glad I picked a group I could work with and get it done with. This lesson taught me alot about following directions and making sure that I put the right amount in and how to not try to get it done quick perfection takes time. Thanks so much I think ours were the best (just saying).

Holly O. Thank you so much. I think that the turn out was awesome. We didn't follow instructions, but you no you have to do something so you no never to do it again. This lesson taught me alot of how to read the instructions and put in the right amount of things. My group had fun with the cookie lab we were also at times pretty serious. Thanks again...they turned out great.

Casey M. Thanks for letting us be able to make these wonderful cookies! I had soooo much fun making these. This was my second time making these in school, but not like this. I hope we can do something like this again in the future. Thanks again.....They were awsome!!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wow...has it been that long?

Ok, so updating the blog is something I haven't done in awhile. I'll have to break that habit...add it to my growing list.

In math, we have been happily working at mastering fraction concepts. We work on the skill as well as trying to build an understanding of what it might "look like." That is harder at this age, but we tackle it every day. I have been very impressed with their grasp of estimating fractions. Now we will try to transfer that "skill" to a real-world application such as purchasing enough building materials or buying enough ingredients for a recipe.

We have a fraction lab coming up at the end of this month. I have always done this at Lincoln and it is a huge success. We will take a recipe and then cut it in half with our fraction skills. Students will work in groups to then follow all directions (no help from me) to make No Bake Cookies. They will need to multiply by 1/2 or divide by 2. Either way utilizing their fraction skills. The butter needs end up being 3/8. We all know that isn't marked on the stick, so then their estimation skills will be tested. It is grand fun. In the past, I have used the FACS kitchen at Lincoln. We have a new twist this year with using bunson burners in the Riverside 6th Gr. Science Lab. Should be a fun time.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Making Connections

We have just wrapped up two units on decimals. We will spend the next three months working very hard to "make the connection" between whole numbers, decimals and fractions. The ability to understand and utilize fractions is a necessity for success in future math classes.

Any time you find yourself using fractions at home try to involve your student. Ask your child to help you read a recipe and complete the measuring. Allow your student to decide how many pieces the birthday cake needs to be cut into and let him/her execute that skill. If you find yourself measuring a wall in your closet to determine how large of a shelf to install, have your child hold the tape measure and determine the measurement, etc. The more "real-life" activities your child has to use his/her knowledge the better they will be at owning that information.

On Monday, we will begin studying the basics of fractions: factors, numerators, denominators, GCF, LCM, simplifying etc. Check out the corporation website www.plymouth.k12.in.us for our daily/weekly assignments. Once there, click on Riverside, then Homework, then Stars Homework. That's us...we are the "Stars." This information is updated every Monday and will show the work for all six academic subjects.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What is enrichment?

To me, enrichment means a chance to show what you know in a "different" context. Some students will be offered enrichment homework for chapters 3 - 7. Students doing enrichment homework for ch. 3 have aced their past two tests. These students are taught the same lesson and have direct instruction during class, then they work together in the hall to complete a different homework assignment. Students can earn enrichment for the next chapters by getting an A on this test. Students are not automatically in enrichment each chapter. It must be earned through consistent excellence in the classroom. These students will have the same instruction, quizzes and tests as their peers.

Upcoming Homework:

Oct. 4: Complete p. 110 #8-36 all, copy each problem. Enrichment students complete the 3-2 enrichment sheet and p. 11- 327-36.

Oct. 5: Comlete the 3-3 worksheet and p. 112-3 #4-7 all, #28 - 38 all. Enrichment students complete the 3-3 enrichment sheet and p. 113 #28-38 all.

Oct. 6: Complete p. 118-9 #11-33 odd, #34, #37, #39-47 all. Enrichment students complete the 3-4 enrichment sheet.

Oct. 9: Complete the Halloween Decimal cut and paste worksheet. Enrichment students may choose between the regular assignment or the 3-5 enrichment sheet.

Oct. 10: All students are to prepare for the ch. 3 test by: re-reading Ch. 3 using the SQ4R method, reviewing: notes, homework, quizzes and then taking the practice test that was sent home.


Oct. 12: First Quarter Benchmark Test - NO HOMEWORK - End of the first grading period. Report Cards will be sent home during P/T Conferences.

Oct. 13: Ch. 3 Test Corrections - when the work is done students will play yahtzee or T-Races in class.