Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week Eleven - Nov 12-16, 2012

This week was probably our best week by far!

My team and I decided to try a new schedule.  I teach 3 fifth grade math classes.  Instead of having a rotation where I teach all classes in one day we decided to try a schedule where on Monday I teach my homeroom Math ALL day.  Tuesday I teach another class math all day, Wednesday I teach another class math all day, and Thursday and Friday are our regular "normal" days where we see all three classes in one day.  We figured it would give us more time to really do projects and delve into information (especially in their reading and Science classes).

The schedule worked out AMAZINGLY and now we're going to implement that schedule every week!  For the first part of the week we finished learning about fractions.

One activity I did was give groups of students a plate full of M&M minis and they had to sort the M&Ms and write a fraction for the amount of each color and a fraction for the primary colors and secondary colors. Then they had to simply the fractions.

We then took pattern blocks and used an activity I found on The Teaching Channel (www.teachingchannel.org) and the kids really loved this and found it very challenging!

After that I had asked the students to bring in lemons and sugar because they had to make homemade lemonade.  They were split into groups and each group was given the same amount of lemons.  I cut the lemons and they had to squeeze them into measuring cups and write a fraction for the amount of lemon juice they had collected.  That was what we kept the SAME for every group.  Then I gave them the freedom of choosing how much water and how much sugar they wanted to add.  The only catch was they weren't allowed to taste the lemonade!  It was very interesting to see their thought process and how some groups added way too much sugar or not enough water.  When everyone had written the fractional amount of water and sugar they added we then all tasted our lemonade at the same time.  It was hilarious to watch their faces as some of their lemonade was very sour or way too sweet.  The group with the best lemonade got to take cups of their lemonade to the office staff to let them all try it while the other groups were given the opportunity to "fix" their lemonade.  The students LOVED this activity.

The final activity we did was I gave each group four sticky notes.  They had to write four different fractions.  Each fraction had to have a different denominator and the denominator couldn't be larger than 9.  Each fraction also had to be a proper fraction.  After they made the four fractions they had to order the fractions from greatest to least using the strategies they had learned in class.

The next day after doing all the activities we took our Fraction Exam.  Keeping in mind I had not even spent ONE day on test formatted questions, I was so nervous.  I had never taught a complete lesson without ever showing the kids a test formatted question.  Well, I will tell you this, I will NEVER teach test formatted questions again!

Last year on the exact same Fraction Exam (when I wasn't flipping) I was at 78% passing, with 23% commended.  THIS year WITH Flipping my Class, I am at 100% passing with 75% commended.  I was sooooo excited.  I cannot even explain it.  It just proves that when you just teach the skills the way their supposed to be taught, the test just comes right along with it.  I was also thrilled to have the highest scores out of our 5 elementary schools!  It was a great week for sure!

We also got our iPhone 4's this week!  In June I helped fill out a $100,000 technology grant for the flipped classroom!  Well we WON the grant and with the money purchased and iPhone 4 for every 5th grader with pre-installed Verizon data.  The data plan is filtered (like our school internet), and the phones can't call or text. The kids are LOVING them and the interaction is incredible.  I can't wait to use them more and more in my class!