## Monday, September 29, 2014

### "Math Spies" Returns

I'd like to invite you to a math problem-solving website I wrote called  Math Spies. I started it more than three years ago, but then took a break that ended up being over a year.

Last year my students were using it and started clamoring for more problems. The first problems took longer for me to write and post than it did for my students to solve. I decided to make a change in format.

I plan to do a question a week each Wednesday morning for the school year. I just completed a set of questions about probability called The Case of the Corrupt Carnival.

I moderate comments for websites I use in my own classroom.  I do read and post relevant comments.

I'd love to have you try the problems with your students and let me know what you think. It's free.

## Sunday, September 28, 2014

### Quote of the Week -- September 28, 2014

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
-- Will Durant

Have a good week,

## Friday, September 26, 2014

### Guess the Order Freebie

A few years ago, I taught probability to sixth graders and there was a game like this one in the curriculum.  The objective of the lesson was the theoretical probability of a sequence of events.  This is well above what my fourth graders need to know.

Students cut out the four cards at the bottom, shuffle, and place in a single pile face down.  They record the order that they think the cards will be turned over.  Then they write down the number they guessed correctly.  The trick is in figuring out what is a likely outcome for this game and what outcome is impossible.

I hope your students enjoy experimenting with probability in this way.

Update November 2015
In this packet are seven “carnival games” students will evaluate based on likely and unlikely outcomes. I have included a tri-fold page with the words “likely, unlikely, and impossible” so all students can respond at the same time in class discussion.

## Wednesday, September 24, 2014

### Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus

Based on a true story, Margi Preus details a teenage Norwegian boy's resistance activities during the German occupation of Norway.  Espen begins delivering illegal newspapers and gets deeper into spy activities over the five years.

Margi Preus includes the resources she used to write as well as information about Norwegian Erling Storrusten whose life was the basis for the book.

I shared this book on Dilly Dabbles Book Share Wednesdays.

## Monday, September 22, 2014

### Drama Games for Brain/Movement Breaks

Frequent readers know I have an afterschool drama club.  I also find ways to incorporate theater games in my classroom.  Students get to practice public speaking and inventing stories.  Some of the games are just good for those little bits of time between activities or to break up a long stretch.

The machine game -- students act out a part of a machine with a repetitive motion and a sound effect.  They can become a part of an assembly line by working with a small group of students.  I have played different versions of this game.  Here is one called Conveyor Belt.

Super glue -- students pair up and must pretend that they are super-glued together at a particular part of their body (elbows, shoulders, toes.) They must move from one side of the room (or field) to the other keeping that part connected to the partner. Here is the pin and a link to more resources.

Catch -- the whole class stands in a circle and tosses a bean bag.  The first round, the person with the bean bag introduces himself.  The second round, the person with the bean bag calls out the person she is throwing to. Other suggestions for this game can be found on this site. http://dramaresource.com/games/icebreakers/catch-my-name

I hope you enjoy these resources with your students.

## Sunday, September 21, 2014

### Quote of the Week -- September 21, 2014

Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.
-- Doug Larson

Have a good week,

## Friday, September 19, 2014

### Is It Fair?

The last few Fridays, I have been sharing freebies I use to teach probability.  This week I want my students to apply what they have learned to evaluate a game.  They will decide if the game is fair and support their claim with evidence.

On my math problem-solving blog, Math Spies, I have been sharing several probability problems like this one.

I invite you to stop by.

Update November 2015

In this packet are seven “carnival games” students will evaluate based on likely and unlikely outcomes. I have included a tri-fold page with the words “likely, unlikely, and impossible” so all students can respond at the same time in class discussion.

## Wednesday, September 17, 2014

### Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Lunar Chronicles

Imagine fractured fairy tale meets science fiction and you have the Lunar Chronicles.  In this first book by Marissa Meyer, Cinder is a cyborg mechanic.  Her stepmother is nasty, but not her biggest enemy. Queen Levana from the moon has that title.  Cinder runs afoul of her at the Emperor's ball.

The Lunar Chronicles are filled with strong female characters.  Scarlet (Book 2) is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.  I recommend this series for middle school and above.

## Monday, September 15, 2014

### What Color Do You Feel Like Today? Three Color Themed Activities

My sophomore year of school, my English teacher had a question of the day that we would answer for attendance.  Her favorite question was "What Color Do You Feel Like Today?"  We could elaborate briefly. I use that question sometimes with my students during class meeting.

I also learned a related drama game that can be used as a brain/movement break.  Students start by walking around the room until a leader calls out a color.  They continue moving but changing the movement to reflect the color. This could be used as a way to transition activities. "Move from the carpet to your desk in a purple way."

Because students need to think about color in an abstract way, this activity could also be used as an introduction for my forever freebie Color Poems.

I developed the lessons in Color Poems to teach my students about figurative language.
Download Color Poems: Exploring Metaphors and Similes at Teachers Pay Teachers, or

I hope you enjoy these activities with your students.

## Sunday, September 14, 2014

### Quote of the Week -- September 14, 2014

The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it. -- Franklin P. Jones

Have a great week,

## Friday, September 12, 2014

### Is It Likely? Multiply

Last week I shared Is It Likely? Addition. Today's freebie is a similar activity except students fill in a multiplication chart.  I want students to consider what is likely, unlikely, and impossible to happen when rolling two dice and finding the product.

To download Is It Likely? Multiply from my Google Drive, click here. I plan to have students roll two dice and record their results to see the difference between theoretical probability and experimental probability.

This is the third of six posts where I plan to share freebies to teach probability.  I hope to see you next week.

Update November 2015

In this packet are seven “carnival games” students will evaluate based on likely and unlikely outcomes. I have included a tri-fold page with the words “likely, unlikely, and impossible” so all students can respond at the same time in class discussion.

## Wednesday, September 10, 2014

### Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey

Deadweather and Sunrise is the first book in Geoff Rodkey's new series The Chronicles of Egg.  I have only had a chance to read this first book, but I liked it well enough to find the others in the series.  I know upper elementary students will like this adventure series.

Egg's family disappears dramatically in a mysterious trip to Sunrise.  He is offered a home at the wealthy Pembroke mansion, forming a relationship with the daughter, until someone tries to kill him.  Thus begins Egg's adventures in pirate-infested waters. Egg must solve a family mystery while avoiding his enemies.

I just linked this review to Dilly Dabbles: Book Share Wednesday.  Stop by her blog and see what others are recommending.

## Monday, September 8, 2014

### Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I usually do book reviews on Wednesdays, but I read Quiet by Susan Cain this summer and learned so much personally and professionally.  I decided to devote a couple of Monday posts to introverts.  (For the record, I am an introvert.  I can be social when I need to be, but I need alone time to recharge.)

Last Monday I shared her TED Talk.  Today I want to share how I plan to implement what I learned in my classroom.

1. Susan Cain recommends a balance of activities that appeal to introverts and extroverts.  I have times where I expect small group work and other times where I expect students to work independently.

2. I want to intentionally encourage the different passions of my students.  Last year when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, some of us were over-the-top excited, but not everyone.  Introverts have deep interests in activities that may not be shared by others.

3. When I have students work collaboratively, I help my introverts by choosing pairs and triads.  If the group gets too large, they may not share.

4. Cain also recommends that I teach everyone to work independently.  This may not be my extroverts' strength, but they can learn from the introverts the value of quiet deliberate practice.

## Sunday, September 7, 2014

### Quote of the Week -- September 7, 2014

Don't use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.
-- Unknown
Have a good week,

## Friday, September 5, 2014

Last week I shared a freebie called Likely, Unlikely, and Impossible.  If you missed it, click here.

This week I want to start applying those words to mathematical situations.  Here's today's freebie:

To download Is It Likely? Addition from my Google Drive, click here. Students fill in the addition chart and then list numbers that are likely to occur when rolling two dice and finding the sum.  They also list numbers that are unlikely and some that are impossible.  You can extend this activity by having them roll two dice and keep track of their answers.

Hope to see you next Friday for another probability freebie.

Update November 2015
In this packet are seven “carnival games” students will evaluate based on likely and unlikely outcomes. I have included a tri-fold page with the words “likely, unlikely, and impossible” so all students can respond at the same time in class discussion.

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