Sunday, May 30, 2010

The end is near!

School is almost out! Three more half days and then freedom! I always look forward to the end of the year because it's so much more relaxed and the pressure is off after testing. Plus, it's more fun!! I decided to create a list of some activities that I have done at the end of the year and some things I've found that I'd like to try.

1. Make an end of the year scrapbook for Science and Social Studies units. I made a list of each unit we studied and the students used magazines and newspapers, crayons, markers, and so on to illustrate what they learned. I also have them write a couple of sentences about each topic they studied and what they learned.

2. Write a letter to next years class of third graders giving them advice on "How to Survive the Third Grade."

3. Have them make a list of their top 10 favorite activities or lessons from the school year.

4. Make a memory book filled with things from the school year. (Favorite subject, Best Memory, etc.) Have students create a page at the back to get autographs. This is especially nice for students who didn't purchase a yearbook so they have somewhere to get signatures at the yearbook signing.

5. Hold an awards ceremony for your classroom after letting the children vote on superlatives like (class clown, most likely to be president, friendliest, etc.) Another cute idea very similar to this one is to hold a Candy Bar Awards ceremony. See the complete list here. (Scroll down to Candy Bar Awards)

6.  Compile a powerpoint presentation or slide show of pictures from the school year to show your children on the last day. Let them drink soda and have popcorn as they watch the show!

7. Play an end of the year jeopardy to review skills from all subjects!

These are just a few cute ideas that I've tried and seen. I also like to do an end of the year survey to find out what students like most and least about the school year so I can do better the next time around! It's always helpful to have their feedback.

What activities do you use to end your school year?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Learning Your Facts!

Now that state testing has ended, I am trying to focus a lot on reinforcing basic mutliplication facts since it's so important to know them for skills in the next grade level and beyond. I was looking through the "Really Good Stuff" catalog and came across some multiplication tricks on posters and I thought I would share what I learned!

Multiplying 2's - Double the number (Duh...)

Multiplying 3's - I learned to put the multiples of 3 to the tune of Jingle Bells (3,6,9-12,15-18,21-24-27-30,33 Hey! I also discovered that children can use their hands to help them find a product of a 3 times table. Explain to students that each of their fingers are divided into three parts. If they are multiplying 3 x 2, then they count all the parts on two fingers.

Multiplying 4's - Double the number you are multiplying by two times. There is also this chant to teach them to remember 4's.

Multiplication has just begun
Four times facts are so much fun
4 X 1 = 4 Will you please go shut the door!
4 X 2 = 8 Let’s go eat some chocolate cake!
4 X 3 = 12 Put the books up on the shelf.
4 X 4 = 16 My you are so very keen!
4 X 5 = 20 I like to eat bread with honey.
4 X 6 = 24 Boogie down on the dance floor!
4 X 7 = 28 There is no food on my plate
4 X 8 = 32 There’s a stinky shoe, P- U
4 X 9 = 36 Here’s something that we can fix!
4 X 10 = 40 Explorers were looking for gold and glory
4 X 11 = 44 We want to hear the lion’s roar!
4 X 12 = 48 You know I can barely wait!
You will be- so surprised
How fast you learn to mem-or-ize

Multiplying by 5's - They all end in a 5 or 0.

Mutliplying 6's - When you multiply an even number by six, the number you are multiplying by will be in the ones and the tens place will be half of that. For example, 6 x 4    4 will be in the ones and tens number will be 2 so the answer is 24.

Multiplying 7's - There isn't really a trick for this one, but I heard that 7x6=42 is the hardest math fact to remember. Make a big glittery sign out of it so they don't forget it.

Multiplying 8's - I recommend making up poems or rhymes to remember the 8's. 8x8=64, Close your mouth and shut the door! 5,6,7,8!  56=7x8!

Multiplying 9's - The hand trick is the fastest and easiest way to remember do the 9's. Put your hands flat on the table in front of you. Your fingers represent the numbers 1-10. Bend the finger of the number you are multiplying by down. Then number of fingers to the left of the bent finger is your tens digit. Then number of fingers to the right of the bent finger is your ones digit.

Multiplying 10's - Take the number you are multiplying by and add a 0.

Multiplying 11's - Take the number you are multiplying by and double the digits. 11 x 4 = 44

Multiplying 12's - Take the number you are multiplying 12 by and multiply that by 10. Then multiply the tens digit in that number by 2 and add them together to get your answer. 12 x 4  (4x10=40) (4x2=8)  40+8=48

I also strongly recommend making pictures or stories to go along with the tough ones to help them remember. 

What ideas or tricks do you guys use??    

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Songs for Teaching Difficult Math Concepts

So, I know I have been horrible about posting lately! I have been going through some personal issues and therefore, blogging has been the LAST thing on my mind...

I gave our state standardized Math test today and it was a LONG, boring day! As I was walking around, I started thinking about songs. I have written several songs to teach math concepts this year and when a tune pops into my head, I just have to write it down. Here are a couple of I thought of today!

Relationships in Measurement

Tune: She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain


Kilometers and miles measure length, or distance!
Kilometers and miles measure length, or distance!
Kilometers and miles measure distance far and wide,
Kilometers and miles measure length!


Pounds and grams measure weight, or mass!
Pounds and grams measure weight, or mass!
Pounds and grams measure mass all around,
Pounds and grams measure weight!

Liters or quarts measure liquid, or capacity!
Liters or quarts measure liquid, or capacity!
Liters or quarts measure capacities of all sorts,
Liters or quarts measure liquid, or capacity!


Another song I wrote is helpful in teaching kids about the three types of lines. (Lines, line segments, and rays)

Types of Lines

Tune: If You're Happy and You Know It


A line has two arrows on the end. X X
A line has two arrows on the end. X X
A line has two arrows that keep going on forever.
A line has two arrows on the end. X X

A ray has an arrow and a point. X X
A ray has an arrow and a point. X X
A ray travels only in one direction
A ray has an arrow and a point. X X


A line segment has two end points. X X
A line segment has two end points. X X
A line segment stops, it only has two dots.
A line segment has two end points. X X

The X's mean clap.

I hope these songs are helpful. I like to put them in poweroints so the kids can easily learn the words as we sing along!