Archive for October, 2010

How to Make Capes

We made these capes to celebrate Halloween in a way that promoted a positive school culture. You can read about the teacher costume contest and our celebration on the fifth grade blog. Here are the instructions if you want to do it with your students.

First of all, dress for success. Then you can follow these steps:

1. Cover each table with a garbage bag before students come in.

2. You can also set out a plate of colors at each table with one or two q-tips for each color.

3. When students come in, tell them not to touch anything.

4. Lay down the ground rules:

     a. No one can touch the paint until you say so.

     b. No one can get out of their seat.

     c. No one should mix colors.

     d. Paint is only allowed on the capes.

5. Pass out one piece of fabric for each student to lay across the garbage bags.

6. Ask students to complete the 5th Grade Cape Making Worksheet.

7. Tell students that they can start working when you initial their worksheet.

8. Initial each worksheet when it is completed to your satisfaction.

Let the fun begin!

When students are finished working, you can hang the capes on a clothesline.


October 31, 2010 at 12:09 am 2 comments

The Ultimate Battle between Good and Evil

We don’t allow fighting at our school – not even play fighting. But if people are going to start posting bad math facts like the villains during my school’s Halloween Smackdown, it’s on.

The grade level chairs go head to head…

October 30, 2010 at 11:18 pm 1 comment

Halloween Smackdown 2010

I wrote to you about the epic costume contests of 2008 and 2009.  This year AIM Academy had a great showing from every grade level team AND the administration! You can see the fantastic ideas below. I won’t ask you to vote because everyone looked so great!

The fifth grade team dressed as super heroes. There was Punctuation Girl, Super Mad Scientist, Baby Read, Multiplication Maven and Fraction Girl.

The students painted their own capes to celebrate what makes them super! I posted directions as well as more pictures on the 5th grade blog, but this is one cutie here:

The hallway was decorated with super heroes that had students’ faces.

The sixth grade team celebrated the fine state of Hawaii, which is where the sixth grade writing teacher used to live.

The students wore grass skirts, leis and sunglasses! It was SO cute!

And they decorated the hallway!

The seventh grade team decided to take a more serious tone. They all wore matching t-shirts.

When the eighth grade team heard the the fifth grade team was going to be super heroes, they decided to dress as villains.

 This resulted in the ultimate battle between good and evil. The eighth grade villains posted signs around the fifth grade classrooms with terrible spelling and incorrect math! It was outrageous. AND there was fog!

The administrative team dressed up as crayons.

They decorated their door too! 

And last but not least, we needed judges to decide who really won the contest. They even dressed the part in robes and everything!

I’m not going to tell you who won, but it was a great Halloween!

October 30, 2010 at 11:17 pm 1 comment

There is one clear winner here, people.

I recently asked you whether justice was served in 2009. Now we look farther back.

The year was 2008. Obama was running for president. The economy was tanking. Fidel Castro stepped down as leader of Cuba. And teachers at AIM Academy held their first annual teacher costume contest. One grade level dressed as characters from The Wizard of Oz. One grade level dresses as characters from James and the Giant Peach.

I don’t have a huge number of pictures to show you, but I know you’ll make the right decision.

The Wizard of Oz

James and the Giant Peach

Here is where you vote:

October 26, 2010 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Collaborating Makes Everything Easier.

This weekend my school network hosted a math conference in my city! It was incredibly exciting. My students got to show off for visitors; I met math teachers with tons of great ideas, and I got to share a unit that I’m really proud of. The collaboration reminded me that I’m supposed to be blogging, and one of the blogs I’ve been meaning to post is about collaboration.

This post was written by another 5th grade math teacher in my network, Keina. Keina describes the epic collaboration we did over the summer (hours of moving little pieces of paper around and eating Popeye’s). If you haven’t done something like this yet, it’s not too late. Just make sure you do it with a friend.

This summer Lisa and I sat down to create a deliberate long term plan for our incoming class of fifth graders. We started by looking at the standards that our school and district use to assess our students. 

For each standard we identified objectives that would help lead our students to mastery throughout different points in the year. 

An example of one of one standards is below:

5.M.1: Apply the concepts of perimeter and area to the solution of problems involving triangles and rectangles. Apply formulas where appropriate.

– I will find the perimeter of polygons.

– I will find the perimeter of quadrilaterals.

– I will find the area of triangles.

– I will find the area of squares and rectangles.

– I will find the area of parallelograms.

The points above are examples of potential objectives that would help lead our students to mastering 5.M.1.  We also thought critically about prior knowledge that students would need in order to master the standard.  For this particular standard students would need to add, multiply and identify different types of polygons.

After we dissected each standard, we created the units. Each unit incorporated an application of skills.  For example, within our addition and subtraction unit we incorporated perimeter and solving for a missing angle on a line, triangle, and quadrilateral to reinforce and apply basic computational skills. 

For some standards identifying potential objectives can be difficult but I would recommend looking to your state test or a state test that is even more rigorous than your own and finding several questions that you think assess the given standard.  Ask yourself, what would your students need to know to solve that question?  From there you can began to breakdown the standard and develop criteria for mastery. 

Developing a long term plan by starting with your standards can push you to look at what your students should know and how your students can be challenged based on standards. Planning in this way also ensures that you are setting your students up for success as you focus on what they need to know for the year

October 17, 2010 at 7:07 pm 2 comments

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