Making Over Third Grade!: This Week in Review
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

This Week in Review

So, last week I don't know about you but I was peeling students off the ceiling. They were LOUD but really not much more than that compared to what some other teachers were complaining about, but still it FELT like chaos - controlled though it may have been...well I tried anyway.

We were struggling all week with the concept of division as equal groups. Funny how they were so much better at the missing factor this year than in previous years but division was still a struggle. Finally out of desperation I went out and bought 6 bags of marshmallows (2 bags to many) and we used them for Marshmallow Math. It was a hit!

First they all got paper towels then I literally just dumped a huge pile of marshmallows in the middle of every group of four students. I had students discuss the best way to count the marshmallows so that they all had an equal amount. It was fascinating to see some groups count by twos, some counted by 5s, some by 10s, and some made arrays as they counted and some made piles for their groups. After they each had an equal number of marshmallows (once they each reached 72 a piece - or all were divided) they added them all together and we discussed how they started with a number like, 256 marshmallows and then divided them into equal groups of 4 which gave each student 64 for example.
They then worked with their new individual totals to create different division problems. Students divided their marshmallows into equal groups, took photos of the new groups or arrays, in Educreations and wrote the division sentence and its related fact before moving on to another representation of another problem. By the end of the hour and half(!) - they even worked through part of their lunch recess(!) they were much more confident about what division was and how it worked. In addition to watching them work the entire time, fully engaged, and using academic vocabulary with me and their group peers was the fact that R. (a resource student who is content to sit on the sidelines and wait me out on EVERY lesson until his alarm goes off for him to go to RSP) was working diligently and was SMILING while he WORKED the ENTIRE time. Now that is a total win! In the end, the students took their marshmallows out to recess, or home, in baggies to eat later.

Since we have 2 1/2 bags of marshmallows left we may just have to do some fun math activity with them again before we go out for our winter break.

Yes, it is that time of the year as well! Each year I have had the kids make salt dough ornaments that they love making and decorating. I love seeing how happy they become when they are given the opportunity to create something. Working in a Title 1 site, art was something that was not done so this was THE art project for us in the first half of the year. I loved this project and felt good about how they always turned out until this year. What changed? Instagram came into my life. That site has deflated my confidence in being "cute" in the classroom. I mean have you SEEN the things that some of the teachers on Instagram post about their classes? No joke we are talking serious cute there! So, of course, I HAD to up the ante and make this project more. Right? Of course I did! I saw one teacher's class creations of beautiful 3-D Santas and trees and I thought "We can do that!" LOL I should NEVER think that when comparing classes. Kids are unique; they loved the idea of the 3-D but after walking them through the Santa (which I had spent tons of time practicing until perfect the night before) and tree designs. One - yes, you read that right, ONE student made one of these two designs.

The rest wanted to use the cookie cutters that the second graders (more on that in a moment) had used but at least they added 3-D details to their cookie cutter images. A large portion of my class actually used what I showed them about the Santas (they were really nice Santas!) to make snowmen. Snowmen! Of all things they wanted to make snowmen! You can never figure out kids. I don't know why I try, but I love them and their snowmen are adorable. I can't wait to see how they turn out after they are painted.

 So why were there second graders in my room this week? There is a second grade teacher at my school who teaches my kids all about Hanukkah and how to play the dreidel and I host her students to make Christmas ornaments. It is nice to have them in the room to work before my kids get a chance to make their's a nice incentive for my kids to stay on task and work. Bonus for me this year? One of my kids from last year came in and helped during her recesses and she took care of all of the second graders (except the first 4 kids) from start to finish! Amazing! I love my students (current and former)!

So, that was the week in review pretty much! Crazy! Unpredictable and completely harried, but I wouldn't have my life any other way. I LOVE MY JOB! 
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