Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Using Benchmark Decimals to Estimate

Conferences are over, yeah!  I finally had some time to get busy and create one of the many ideas floating around in this brain of mine, lol.

Last week our 5th grade math lesson involved rounding decimals to the nearest benchmark decimal to estimate.  While many of the students caught on and actually thought it was fun, others really seemed to struggle.  Our book, however, only had one lesson on the topic.  This prompted me to create some additional materials to help supplement and provide those still needing help with additional practice.

I just posted this pack, "Using Benchmark Decimals to Estimate Sums and Differences Foldable & More" at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and at my Teacher's Notebook Store.


First up to a Tri-Fold Foldable:



Folded Up

Opened Up


Next up is a sheet containing a Jumbo number line and a mini number line:

Sheet straight from the printer

Have students cut on dotted lines.  Glue the Jumbo number line together.  Add the decimals.

I also included a larger two-sided sheet that explains the process in greater detail.

And last, but not least, is a two-sided worksheet (with answer key) for the students to practice the skill.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Parent - Teacher Conferences

It just amazes me how nervous I get before Parent/Teacher Conferences.  I have 14 of my 27 scheduled for this evening after school and my stomach is already in knots.  While I have never, in 24 years of teaching, had a conference go seriously wrong, I always seem to have that dread.  I worry about not having enough to talk about, too much to talk about, a parent 'blind-siding' me, etc.

I know that once I have a few 'under my belt' I'll feel better...

I was curious if anyone else feels the same?  Also, anyone have any clever or unique ideas you use to spruce up your conference?  I always have a Scentsy or candle burning, small dish with candy, Fall centerpiece at the table. 

Okay...back to anxiously :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Math Journals...Thoughts and Ramblings

I am so excited by the enthusiasm my students have expressed regarding their math journals.  They practically beg me to put a resource in...particularly a foldable.  Funny how 5th graders enjoy cutting and pasting.  I actually heard a few students cheer, when I said we were going to be putting a foldable in our journals one day last week :)  Usually the only cheers I hear is when I say it's time for lunch or recess, lol!

This is the first year I've incorporated math journals into my math class.  And like anything, I've learned a lot along the way.  When I decided to take the leap, I went out and purchased 53 - 17 cent notebooks from Walmart.  I designed a cover for the kids to color and glue onto the front.  I was impressed with how creative my students were.  Their covers were marvelous.  Those same covers, however, did not stick to the glossy notebook cover...who would have thought, right?  In addition, some kids have accidentally skipped pages, screwed up a page, etc.  All this, of course, throws the Table of Contents off and disrupts the flow of the notebook. thoughts for next year...

Buy paper folders (not the vinyl/plastic type) with brads and pockets.  The cover should glue nicely.  Pages can be added removed, order can be changed.  Pockets are already built in for 'extra tools' kids need to store.  Table of Contents will be a template I create, I will hole punch and put it at the front of the journal.

Additional problem and solution...

I had my kids assemble my Properties of Addition and Multiplication foldable and place it in their journal.  Unfortunately, with 27 students in each of my two classes, I can't always check to see if things are assembled correctly in a timely manner.  A few days later, I discovered a student trying to complete his work using the foldable as a resource...only problem was his resource was assembled incorrectly. 

So, my thinking, is that when you need a resource to be correct.  It may be best to use one with less assembly needed on the part of the student.  Or have the kids partner up and check one anothers.  I do, model and assemble with the kids, but this is apparently NOT enough for some students, as was proven by this kiddo.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Decimals Galore, Part 2

I have to say I am really excited to start our chapter on Working with Decimals next week.  I've created several more decimal foldables for our Math Journals.  The kids get really excited every time we add a new foldable.  Funny how 5th graders enjoy using scissors and glue, lol.

Our first foldable for decimals will be how to write a decimal in word form (cover, inside and assembled...2 copies per page):

Later in our chapter on decimals we will work on how to change a decimal to a fraction.  At that time, we will use the following foldable as a resource: (cover, inside, assembled--3 foldables per sheet)

 And finally, to coincide with our "Zero Can Be Your Hero" materials we will put two foldables "How to Divide Decimals by Powers of Ten" and "How to Multiply Decimals by Powers of Ten" in our journals.  (cover, inside, assembled--one of each per page)

Funny, I can hardly wait for Monday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


My 5th graders always seem to struggle when it comes to remember the three types of symbiotic relationships.  So, today I created a foldable for just that purpose.  It is somewhat of a 'mini-foldable' and has two foldables per page...this the two :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Water Cycle Foldable

My students are currently studying Ecosystems in science.  I created this nifty little foldable on the Water Cycle.  I can't wait to use it with them later this week.  If you want a copy of your own, please visit my TPT store or my Teacher's Notebook Shop.

Front cover:

Folded Up (outside):
Partly Folded (inside view):