Monday, February 9, 2015

Differentiated Fraction Tasks {And FREEBIE Computation Challenge}

If any skill will be the death of me, it is definitely Fractions! They are so hard for 5th graders to wrap their heads around. And the standards for 5th grade? Gah, I remember learning some of these standards in middle school! But, unfortunately, they must be taught. In order to make Fractions a bit more tolerable, I created Fraction Tasks and Challenges resource with a CHOCOLATE theme! I mean, who doesn't love chocolate?

Not only are they Chocolate themed, but they are also of BOTH worlds! Here is an example of a task for comparing fractions. P.S. These two tasks are available for FREE in the preview file of this resource....but that is not the only freebie..keep reading for another freebie.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the levels:

•Level 1: This level is the simpler level. This level may contain simpler numbers (Examples: like denominators, smaller factors, etc), models, equation scaffolds, or thinking prompts. These levels would work best for 4th grade students or struggling 5th and 6th grade students.

•Level 2: This is an on-grade level task or challenge that is geared toward 5th grade standards. This level would work with below level 6th graders or advanced 4th graders.

Here is why I love these tasks so much! Each task includes multiple steps and requires the students to prove their answers with models, equals, and explanations.

The tasks are great at helping students practice organizing information presented in lengthy tasks or word know, the ones that make teachers cringe when we see them on standardized tests.

This pack includes so many Fraction skills! Too many to list out, so here is a shot of the Table of Contents with all the tasks and skills listed.

If you think this resource may be helpful to you, check it out by clicking here.

Now, for the freebie! We are knee deep in Fractions now, and my students are getting a tad bit (read: A LOT) confused when it comes to all the steps and different models/algorithms. We have a mid-winter break coming up, so I created a Fraction Computation Challenge for them to complete over the break. Take a look!

I left off any reference to a break, so you could use this challenge at any time of the year. Click here to download your copy!

What is the skill that you dread teaching or that is the most difficult for your kids?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Math is Real Life {5.NF.3 Freebie!}

It's the first Wednesday of February which means it's time for our monthly linky - Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!
If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs - feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!


A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by
This is probably the oddest freebie I will ever share on my blog, but it matches my post and it would spark an interesting conversation in the classroom, so here goes!

My sons love Spam. The thing with Spam is people either love it or hate it. Well, my kids could eat it every day of the week if I let them. The other day I was making them some Spam as an afternoon snack. While it was cooking, Blake (my youngest) was counting the Spam that was cooking and trying to determine how much each person would get if we split it equally. There were 13 pieces of Spam and 4 people. At first, he said each person would get 3 1/2 pieces, but we worked together to figure out that the leftover piece would need to be cut into fourths not halves. He was really proud of himself when he discovered he had solved a 5th grade math problem (5.NF.3)!

Here he is:

And here is a a Spam freebie for your students to practice this skill and standard. Click on the image to download.

Do you like Spam? Love it? Hate it?

Don't forget to check out the other MIRL posts below! Check back over the next few days - more will be added!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Preparing Students for Online State Tests

A few weeks, my team and I were told that there was a possibility that our 5th graders would be taking the state test online this year. Yikes! I immediately knew that I needed to up my game when it came to getting my students on the computer for assessments. (Note: I do not have 1:1 devices. Instead, we have a handful of computers and tablets to use.) After asking a few teacher friends, I was introduced to I spent only a few minutes checking it out before I knew that this was a game changer and exactly what I needed to prepare my students. I wanted to share some of the features of this website that I love and take you on a quick walk through the website.

After registering your students, you will need to find or create assignments for them. This post will focus on using the assignments on the website already.

You will begin at your home page. I already have a few active assignments in progress, as you can see.

 To find assignments, click on the Assignments Library from the Assignments menu.

From there you will have a few search options. You can search by topic or CCSS code from this screen.

I prefer to use the Common Core Hierarchy Search Option. From there you can click on the links to find the grade, domain, and specific standard that you are looking wanting to assess.

For this search, I clicked on the Reading Standards for Literature Domain (versus a specific standard). Here are some of the 75 choices (how awesome to have that many to choose from!) that pulled up. From this view, you can see the title of the assignment and the specific standards as well as the subject, grade, and tags.

Once you decide on an assignment, I always prefer to view the assessment from the Student View. Here are some shots from one of the assignments. I love the variety of questions available through the assignments (multiple choice, highlight the sentence, arrange the sentences, and there are so many other options available on this site!)

Once you have decided on an assignment, you will need to "Save" the assignment from the Teacher View. This will ask you to confirm the change from Draft to Active. Making it active will put in your Assignment Library.

Once you confirm that you want it active, it will then give you option to Assign this assessment to your students.

After clicking Assign, a list of your students will pull up. You can send the assignment to all the students or send to as many students as you want. This will enable you to differentiate your assignments. (It must have been super late when I set my class up---Can you see what I named my class by accident! haha)

Let's take a quick look at how it looks after your students submit an assignment to you. Once you are ready to view the results of an assignment, you will click on the "Report" button beside the assignment on your home page.

This screen will pull up as default, which is the Grade by Student. You will be able scroll down the list and see the score that was automatically scored (everything but the questions they have to type in). I love that you can also see the total time spent.

Another option is the Grade by Question. From this screen, you can view how your students did on specific questions.

If your assessment has constructed response questions, you will need to go in and score the response. You will click on Grade by Student, then on the students' name. You will then click on the question that needs to be scored (Question 5 in this example.)

When you are ready to score, you click on the orange button that says Scoring, Rubric, and Remarks. It will pull up a pop up menu where you can score the assignment and even leave remarks for the student. Love the option to send them remarks!

I have also been using this website to have the students type extended essays. I will try to post later this month or next about that option as well as other question types that you can create on the website.

How are you preparing your students for online state assessments? To see even more great websites that are great for prepping kids for assessments, online or not, click on the image to read my post at Upper Grade Memoirs!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Take a Peek at My 5th Grade Self Contained Schedule

I was recently asked about my what my schedule looked like as a self contained 5th grade teacher, so I wanted to share it with everyone.

Note: STEM, GAMP (Guidance, Art, Music, PE), MEDIA are the special classes that the students go to. We are fortunate to have a longer GAMP time on Tuesdays so we can meet with our grade level to collaborate and design units. Also, TDPE is a fancy name for recess...teacher directed PE. ;)

As you can see on a normal day (with the exception of Tuesdays), I have the following time for each subject:

Math: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Science and Social Studies: 40 minutes (But really only 30 because we go to the bathroom after Lunch, and I typically just start right into Literacy)
Literacy: 3 hours (I know it says 3 hours and 15 minutes, but we use the restroom and pack up before TDPE, which is recess.)

As you notice there is no RTI or re-teaching time on the schedule. I embed this into the daily schedule for each particular subject.

I would love to know how your schedule compares to mine. Is it similar or totally different?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fraction Pacing and I Can Checklist Freebie

Fractions..most either love them or hate them. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love the models and how the skills can sometimes be made pretty concrete. I don't live how all the skills build on each other and all the skills the students must have mastered to complete one problem. We recently started our fraction unit, and I spent some time breaking our standards down into "I Can" statements. But I took it a step further and also wrote I Can statements for all the pesky embedded skills. (You know those skills that the kids are supposed to come to 5th grade already knowing... ;) ) The end result was kinda scary! Take a look at all these skills...

After making the list (and getting over my feeling of being overwhelmed!),  I did feel prepared, organized, and ready to tackle teaching the skills. I made copies for my kids which they glued in their math notebooks. Each time we learn (or review) a new skill, they check it off the list. Ever so often, we read over the list as a way to remind them of everything they have learned and need to remember to apply to fraction problems. Here is a picture from a couple of weeks ago.

This is definitely keeping me focused and making sure I teach and assess all the standards and the embedded skills. Click here to grab a copy of the checklist.

If you are looking for fraction resources to help teach, I have plenty! Click on the image below to check them out!

Friday, January 9, 2015

5th Grade Reading Center {Easy & Free} & Free Your Time Hop!

Thank goodness it is Friday! The first week back from break is always the longest! I am here with a freebie that I hope will save you a TON of time. In addition to my freebie, I am participating in a blog hop with 14 other bloggers that I blog with over at Fifth Grade Freebies! Each one of us has a freebie for you today that we hope will save you some time! AND you can stop by the Fifth Grade Freebies Blog to enter for a chance to win THREE $25 Gift Certificates!

For quite some time I have wanted to create roll and answer games that my students could play in Reading. We have them for Math and Language already, and the kids love them. I love them because they are super easy to learn, play, and they are engaging. Since the directions never change, the students are able to focus on the skills, instead of learning a new set of directions. To read more about my Math Roll and Answer Centers and grab a few Math Freebies, click here.

This can be a 2, 3 or 4 player game. The students can even play this independently. The students roll two dice, add up their number, and then find their roll on the game board. They answer the question and initial their square if they get it correct. The students could write or discuss the answers with their partner. These reading roll and answer games were created to work with any text the students are reading. You can use it with a story or a passage. Take a look!
I created two versions: Reading Literature Standards and Reading Informational Standards. They are also available in color and black and white. Click on any of the images to download your copy today!

Now, head over to April in Performing in Education to grab another freebie and continue on the hop by clicking here, or on the image below!

Performing in Education

And don't forget to stop by the Fifth Grade Freebies Blog to enter for a chance to win THREE $25 TpT Gift Certificates! Click here or on the image below to go straight there!

Fifth Grade Freebies

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Math is Real Life {Financial Literacy Free APP}

It's the first Wednesday of January which means it's time for our monthly linky - Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!
If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs - feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!


A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by

For this MIRL post, I wanted to share with you a FREE app called Spending Tracker that I was introduced to through a Financial Literacy themed day at school. The students loved the activity that worked with this app, and I found the app to be so great that I downloaded it for my husband to use to keep track of his spending and budget.

Here is a shot of the app which can be download here through the App store.

You input your monthly income and your expenses for the month that you are in. It is so easy to use. You simply choose expense or income after choosing the month. Then you can select from the many categories (as seen above) of expenses. It will calculate your spending and keep a running balance. 

So fabulous for budgeting and keeping your finances in order! I know I love it!

Don't forget to check out the other MIRL posts below! Check back over the next few days - more will be added!!

To Teach is to Inspire...