Saturday, May 21, 2016

Five for Friday - On Saturday, of Course!

May is officially kicking my butt!  With three four-day weeks left, the end is in sight, though.  I can do this! There are so many things going on, I don't have enough time to blog about them. Thank goodness Doodle Bugs Teaching hosts Five for Friday. Otherwise, I'd never be able to make time for blogging at all!

Here are my five random things from the last week (or so).

Our ABC Countdown is sometimes a joy and sometimes a "what was I thinking?!" Ice Cream Day was a mixture of both. The kids had a ball mixing and shaking their ice cream bags. I had the brilliant idea of using containers instead of bags so their ice cream would be ready to eat once it was mixed. This worked well until two of the students gripped the containers so hard that either the lid popped off or the container cracked. Once the ice cream mixture leaks into the ice and salt, there's nothing to do but start over. Sigh. The experiment itself was only partly successful as some students' ice cream never actually solidified. However, a good time was had by all and most agreed it tasted good anyway. We also had a great discussion trying to figure out what went wrong. A little science, anyone?

The fantastic Mrs. Parker, our Teacher Assistant and resident Science Guru helped us out!

The wonderful Mrs. Carter, a former TA at our school, also gave us a hand.

Shake, shake, shake!

I love it when I see evidence of kindness and caring in our classroom community! Over the last few weeks, we've been writing compliments to random classmates and posting them on their cabinet doors. One of my students did not receive a written compliment this week to put on her cubby. The student who pulled her name forgot to write it and then was absent the next day. When Chloe saw that she didn't have one, she took it upon herself to fix it.  When I read this, I felt warm and fuzzy all over. 

I posted this on Instagram earlier this week while I was working on the flyer. Isn't Scrappin' Doodles' clip art adorable? I'm so excited about our Second Grade Book exchange. I did this over the last two years, but this year four of my colleagues are taking part and it's turning into a big event. We're asking students to bring in gently used books that they no longer want. We'll collect the books over the course of a week. The day before the exchange, we'll count the number received and divide by the number of students to determine how many books each child is able to select. Last year, each of my students was able to choose four books! Since many of my students have no books at home, this is a great way to help them keep reading over the summer.

This year, another colleague, the amazing Maria, convinced me to reach out to the community, as well. My students decorated boxes and I made up a community flyer. I've been going around asking businesses to collect books for us. Our incoming PTA president is going to reach out to our church partners for me, too. I can't wait to see how many donations we get!  I'll blog about the event afterwards and let you know how it turns out.

We played Pinching Paper Clips to review subtraction from 100. Isn't it wonderful when you see them working together and talking about math?  Don't you wish it would last longer than ten minutes before you had to resolve an argument? Or is that just in my classroom? Sigh.

I got in some great relax time last weekend. It was a beautiful day for kayaking with friends on the Catawba River.

I wish I could do this every weekend!

I'm really bad at taking selfies. Can you tell?

Today, I'm relaxing by staying in my PJs 'til 3 in the afternoon (don't judge me), reading, and writing this blog post. But now, I really need to get busy. 

Until next time,

Monday, May 9, 2016

Math Tip Monday: Teaching Time in First and Second Grade

Welcome to the May edition of Math Tip Monday!  K's Classroom Kreations and I have enjoyed bringing you some great tips this year. I hope you've found some excellent ideas and resources to use in your classroom.

This month, we are focusing on tips for teaching time and money. I'd like to share some of the strategies that I've found effective when teaching first and second graders to tell time.

First, I'm going to recommend that you run, not walk, to find the nearest copy of Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics by Van de Walle, et al. and read the unit on teaching measurement. Trust me. This book is going to transform your teaching of mathematics, especially telling time. You will never again teach students to tell time by saying, "The little hand is on the one and the big hand is on the six."

Van de Walle opened my eyes to the fact that the reason so many kids had difficulty learning to tell time on the analog clock was that the two hands measured two completely different things. By simply telling kids to look at which numbers the different hands were pointing to, we neglected to teach them the function of those hands. The hour hand's function is to tell us which hour of the day we are currently in.  The minute hand measures how many minutes have gone by within that hour or how many minutes that are left before the next hour begins. 

To clear up that confusion, I teach students that each clock has two different number lines. Here's a poem that I wrote to teach students the difference between the two number lines and the job of each of the hands on the analog clock. It's included in my Math Poems for Fun and Understanding K-2.

With first graders (and as a review with second grade), we focus on the hour hand first. First, I remind students that we have been working with number lines in a lot of ways this year. Now, we will work with a number line that is shaped like a circle. With first graders, I use a ribbon or string that is numbered from 1 to 12. We begin with the number line arranged in a line as we count from 1 to 12. Then, I rearrange the ribbon into a circle with the number 12 at the top. I ask students to tell me if they've seen a number line like this before. Usually, at least a few of them connect it to a clock. After affirming their connection, I have them count from 1 to 12 again and tell them that when we read a clock, we are counting the hours in the day. Each day, the hour hand goes around the clock two times. There are 24 hours in one day.

As Van de Walle recommends, I try to start teaching students to tell time with a one-handed clock. You can easily make one using a paper plate. In the clocks below, I used Ashley Hughes' Build-a-Clock Clipart. I also use a hula hoop or a sorting circle with number cards 1 - 12 spaced around the circle.
We use only the hour hand at this point. We talk about how many numbers are on the number line. As I move the hour hand around the clock, we use a lot of language of approximation. It's "about 1:00" or it's "a little after 1:00" or it's "almost 2:00". One thing I want to make sure my students realize is that the hour hand is always moving and that it won't always point directly at a number. This understanding will help them later on when it's time to read 11:45 or 1:55.

After I'm sure that my students have a thorough understanding of the hour hand and it's function, it's time to introduce the second number line on an analog clock. First, I want students to understand that there are sixty minutes in an hour. We start again with a straight number line, counting from 1 to 60. Then, I introduce the 60 minutes that go around an analog clock. We count each minute individually at first. After that, we count how many minutes are counted by each darker line. We label the clock with index cards to show that you can figure out the minutes by counting by fives. I remind students that there are sixty minutes in each hour and the minute hand keeps track of how many minutes have gone by. We spend several days practicing with only the minute hand. I ask, "How many minutes have gone by?" "How many minutes until the next hour?"

Finally, we are ready to put the two number lines together and use what we've learned to read an analog clock. Whenever we practice, I always begin by reminding students of the two different jobs of the hour hand and the minute hand. We review the two number lines found on the clock. Most importantly, whenever a student identifies a time (whether correctly or not) I ask, "How do you know?" or "Why do you think that's the time?"

Once my students understand the different functions of the hour hand and the minute hand, they are easily able to read an analog clock. Many of my students in the second part of the year do not even need to use the resource on my classroom wall.

Needless to say, this is not taught in just a one or two-week unit. Teaching time this way requires an investment of... well, time. After introducing each clock, I usually work this into our warm-up time at least two to three times weekly. Students are also given opportunities to practice at math workstations throughout the year.

I hope you find this helpful. Make sure you check out all the other great tips from bloggers participating in our linky.