Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin

I love reading books by Grace Lin.  Both her realistic fiction and her retelling of Taiwanese folktales are beautifully written and beautifully illustrated.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was the first book I read aloud to my fourth graders last year.  All of them were mesmerized by the tale.  Her newer book, Starry River of the Sky reads the same way. The main character has a quest, and the plot is interwoven with other magical stories.

Rendi notices the moon is missing from his small village, but no one else seems to know.  A mysterious story teller comes to stay and eventually Rendi is inspired to tell his own story which may give more answers than he knows.


To find out more about my rating system for books, click here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Magnified Inch for Mixed Numbers

Last Monday, I shared how I used the Magnified Inch lesson to introduce fractions.  This week I am explaining how I extend the lesson for mixed numbers.

This came about, because so many problems for Common Core fractions required students to plot fractions and mixed numbers on a number line.  My students struggled with this, and I believe that when they construct the model with my guidance, it helps them so much more than just viewing a model an adult has already constructed.

So I redid the original Magnified Inch and then had them make a second one in a different color.  As you can see in the picture above, we added ones before each of the fractions.  I had them tape the two strips together to make a continuous number line.

(I didn't do this last school year, but I was thinking about extending this number line with mixed numbers up to 4.  I don't know that I would do this with every student.  I'll get back to you on that.)

It still didn't sink in for most students until we started reading the numbers left to right aloud as a class.  They could see the pattern in the numbers.

If any part of this isn't clear, or you have questions, please ask in the comments.  I hope you find this lesson helpful.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Quote of the Week -- July 27, 2014

Sharing a book is (almost) as good as writing one. ~ Seth Godin

I truly believe this quote.  As of today, I have 121 book reviews on this site.  I'm still reading and reviewing.  I usually publish on Wednesday.  Lately I have been making them more pinnable on Pinterest.  Here is my board Books and Authors.
Follow Mary Bauer's board books and authors on Pinterest.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mars Colony -- What would life on Mars be like?

Click here to download printable directions to make a 3-D scene.

Writing Prompt: look up a piece of technology that scientists are developing, but hasn't happened yet.  Write a story including this fact.

It's opening night! I've spent the last two weeks working with a group of teens who are putting on a musical about a colony on Mars.  The musical is written by family friends who are also directing.  I always learn so much when I spend time working on a production. 

Shannon West wrote Mars Colony 2054 after researching the true plans of Mars One to put a colony there by 2024.  She decided to set the musical a few decades later and keep the production science fiction: something that could happen if there was new technology.  (In other words, there were no little green men.)

This is a process I want my students to think about.  They can research a new technology and write a story from the facts they find.  The three-dimensional scene will illustrate the setting or maybe a scene from their story.  Here are the steps:

First, cut a square from a 9 X 12 piece of paper, by folding one corner to a point on the opposite side three inches from the bottom.  Cut off this three inch extra, but save it to create the scene.

Next, fold the square on the diagonal both directions and cut only half way up one of the diagonal lines. Do not cut the paper all the way through.

Now fold one of the flaps onto the other and glue them together.  You should have a triangular pyramid with one side open.
Now add the details for your scene.  I keep a paper scrap box around so that I'm not cutting up new paper for every project.
In addition, I will be giving away a copy of Coded Messages: Order of Operations July 25-28.  Students use what they know about PEMDAS to complete function tables and solve coded messages.

Freebie Fridays

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christmas in July at Teacher's Notebook -- July 25-27

It's Christmas in July at Teacher's Notebook July 25-27.  I'm participating by marking everything in my store 20% off.  They are giving double reward dollars during the sale.  Normally, for every $20 spent, teachers get $1 to spend on a future sale.  This weekend, buyers will get $1 for every $10.

In addition, I will be giving away a copy of Coded Messages: Order of Operations July 25-28.  Students use what they know about PEMDAS to complete function tables and solve coded messages.

Many stores will be participating in this sale.  I hope you find something great for Back to School.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back to School Freebies and Bloghop

I thought I would share in a single post the freebies I have created that I plan to use at the beginning of the year. 
The first assignment I have on student desks when they walk in the door is Time Capsule project.  Students fill out the questionnaire and write a letter to themselves the first day of school.  They receive it back the last day of school and compare answers.
I want a writing sample for the first week of school.  I keep this all year to see growth.  Click here for a writing prompt with printable stationery for students to write about one event from their summer.

My first math assignment is the Birthday Graph.  Students survey their classmates to create a bar graph of birthdays by month.
 In order to start establishing classroom climate, I have small groups look up the definitions of rights, responsibilities and privileges.  Then they list some examples.  I use this as a starting point for classroom rules.
At the end of the first day, I send home a questionnaire to parents.  I keep these forms at least until parent teacher conferences so I review any goals or comments parents had at the beginning of the year.
I have students create this name patterning project early in the year for a bulletin board.
 Another project appropriate for this time of year is the apple patterning page.


 After I have introduced the rules and routines, I use this organizer to quiz students on how the room works.  I don't necessarily do this the first week of school, but I make sure I have introduced these procedure and that they know how to follow them.

I hope you have a great school year.

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