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Celebrate Christmas with a FUN Math Project!

The week before winter break is always an exciting time in the classroom and it can be a challenge to keep students on task and learning!  Students seem even more energetic than usual and less focused on learning.  I'm always looking for fun and meaningful ways to integrate the holidays into my classroom to keep my students focused on academics.   My 12 Days of Christmas Math Project is challenging, yet fun, and allows students to practice problem-solving skills by calculating the cost of the 12 Days of Christmas and now includes a DIGITAL version in Google Slides for distance learning.



I start by having my students read the lyrics to the "12 Days of Christmas"(I like to play the song as they read along). I have my students highlight the gifts for each of the 12 days of Christmas as they read. Next, I give them the 12 Days of Christmas Task Page and review the three tasks they are required to complete. 

Task 1: Calculate the cost of each gift
Task 2: Calculate the total cost of all gifts given on each day
Task 3: Use the calculations to answer questions 






After we review the tasks, I give my students the 12 Days of Christmas price list.  There are two price lists options to choose from - whole numbers or decimals to the tenths place.  The two different price lists make this activity perfect for third, fourth, or fifth graders! You can also differentiate this activity in your classroom by giving each student the price list that suits their needs best.  Students can work independently, in partners, or in cooperative groups to complete the project.




Students use the recording pages to calculate all of the costs.  You can choose to let your students calculate the costs on paper or give them a calculator - I switch it up depending on my students. While they are working, I like to project a Yule Log video on the board and play holiday music in the background.

Answer keys are also included.  If you would like to share this activity with your students, you can find them here:  

Twelve Days of Christmas Math Project
DIGITAL VERSION
PRINT VERSION
DIGITAL and PRINT BUNDLE




Happy Holidays!

Give Thanks: Gratitude Activities for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is always a great time to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for!  In my classroom, I like to work on writing activities the week before the holiday to think about the people in our lives and meaningful ways to show our gratitude.




I've created an "I Am Thankful" poem template for students to share their gratitude and I love how simple and beautiful the poems turn out!  Students just need to come up with something or someone they are thankful for and write their ideas around that topic.  The most popular topic is FAMILY.  I model an example for them using my family to help them get started.

How to Use Book Talks



I love to read and I love helping to teach children a love of reading. I've found that just putting a good book in a student's hands is not always enough for all kids.  Some kids need a little more encouragement to pick up a good book and book talks are a great way to help kids find a book they will love to read!

Customize Your Google Classroom!



Wow. So much has changed in the course of just a few short weeks. Like most of you, I'm now trying to figure out how to teach my class remotely. Fortunately, I am beginning Spring Break right now so I have some time to work on it.

Like many people, when I have too much time on my hands, I tend to want to play and not work. I decided to make an effort to be somewhat productive and began to organize my Google Classroom.  While doing that, I thought it would be fun to create my own Google Classroom header images.  This caused me to have to research images sizes, converting pixels to inches, and playing around in PowerPoint. I love to create things in PowerPoint since I can use any fonts that I want, unlike Google where I'm restricted to using just Google fonts. (Google has many great font options, I just like to be different!).

Leap Day Fun!



Leap Day only comes around every four years so I like to give February 29th some special recognition in my classroom! We have some Leap Day Fun and my students read about it, write about it, math about it, and just have some fun with it too.

Four years ago, I created a reading passage with questions and a math activity all about Leap Day and Leap Year.  I've recently added some math questions, a writing activity, and a fun brainstorm activity of 29 "extra" things that students could do on the "extra" day this year.

What is Leap Day? First, I have my students read about why we have a leap day every four years. The reason ties in well with what we're learning about the relationship between the sun and the Earth in fourth grade too.

Classroom Management Makeover

At the end of each school year, I reflect back and choose one thing I really want to change and improve upon and I make that my own mini-professional development for the summer. This past summer, I chose classroom management. I've always been known for good classroom management and I've always had the ability to build good relationships with challenging students. However, in the past few years, this was getting more challenging. It could be that my patience was wearing thin (I was going through some personal challenges myself), the number of challenging students was increasing each year, the challenges were changing.  All of the above? None of the above? I couldn't put my finger on it but the reason didn't matter, if I wanted to be better at it, would have to change.

Book vs. Movie Ideas For You

In Language Arts, my students recently completed a novel unit using Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.  I used the 5th-grade novel unit from ReadWorks.org and it was fantastic!  The unit is broken down into 22 days with lessons on genre, predictions, plot conflicts, theme, relationships, gender roles textual analysis and a ton of vocabulary resources.  It was jam-packed with great lessons and student pages and best of all, it was FREE.  I use ReadWorks.org quite frequently as a source for close reading passages but have never tried their novel units.  I highly recommend that you try it out!  They also have a nice collection of paired texts and poetry!  It's an amazing resource!

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