Monday, January 30, 2017

Tournament Checkbook: Leveled Addition and Subtraction Activity

Dear Squire,
                    Of your many duties in serving Sir Francis the 3rd, attending your knight at the tournament shall be both exciting and educational. Sir Francis is allowing you the honor of keeping record of his expenses while at the tournament. Keep track carefully, lest you make a mistake. While there are many dangers in the knight livelihood, expense mistakes are of the most deadly of sorts.

                                            With upmost regard,
                                                                  Captain Pierre

Find it here!

Welcome to the Tournament, Squire! Perhaps one day you will be the knight battling for fame and fortune, but this day, the checkbook is yours to hold and keep. Sir Francis starts out with a certain sum and along the storied journey, you must keep track of expenses won and lost. In six instances picked out from the story, you must know when to add and when to subtract!

(On level does not have the problems underlined. For your struggling students, information in the story is underlined. For advanced students, the numbers are changed to be more challenging and will cross into the hundreds place.)

Fear not, Squire! At little help, you say? Why certainly! There are three levels to this activity in which you may choose according to your comfort level. If math is at times a struggle, you may use the register page with the numbers already included. Simply locate in the story where underlined and identify whether to add or subtract and complete the transactions.

(The on-level register is blank and must be completed using the story. The pictured one above is for struggling students who must identify whether to add or subtract the numbers from the story. For advanced students, the starting point is higher.)

Math is no problem of yours? Fill out the blank register and find the clues in the story in order to know what and when to add or subtract.

Too simple, is it? Well, my dear Squire. We are ready for that as well. This is after all, practice for your future glory. Did I say your knight started at that lower amount? It is in fact higher, and so are the numbers you will be dealing with in the story. Over the hundreds place you delve! May it be more challenging to your abilities!

Alas! Your squire friend has made a terrible error! Save him from the wrath of his knight, Sir Henry, by locating where the mistake is and completing the rest of the problems correctly! Need more of a challenge? Seek out the addition error on a different worksheet and also look closer for a tricky change of mathematical signs that will the change the outcome of the expenses.

More information to start out your tournament journey is just a click away.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Decomposing with Addition Notations

With so many ways now to add, I find it nice to have a consolidated page for some of the methods being used. I have my favorites which I tend to focus on, but let's jump in from the beginning. Well, from the beginning of addition in my third grade class that is.

While students come to my class with different methods to add already, we start playing with number lines. Number lines are versatile and easy to adjust to a student's level. Building to friendly numbers is key at first until students are able to comfortably add combinations of tens across the hundred line. Switching addends to start is a great way to get students thinking of how to solve a problem and reinforce the commutative property. It could be a lot easier to start from the second addend.

From number lines, we head on to arrow language. I love arrow language! Number lines are great, but can take up so much space. Once students understand the distance with addition on number line jumps, using arrows to represent partial sums is a much more concise notation.

Check out arrow language worksheets here.

Decomposing is so useful in math! Here are a few notations for solving addition with decomposing. You'll notice arrow language is one of the notations as well. After trying out different notations in class, students are free to choose the notation that fits them best for solving addition. We do work towards more efficient uses of the notations though, so students will not get stuck with a long, cumbersome notation.

For a free video explaining these notations, check out Decomposing: Addition Notations. It also comes with the files for the examples talked about in this post.) The video also compares these notations to the traditional algorithm.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Medieval Feast Fractions Project

Hear ye! Hear ye! The King has called for a feast for visiting royalty. You have received the honorable task of setting the table with the correct amount of food items and cutlery using fractions of a group!

I can't imagine what it must have been like to serve or attend a medieval feast; the staggering amount of food, jesters and jugglers entertaining the crowd, everyone finely dressed, and of course, the poor cooks and servants who had to deal with it all! I get stressed with all the details for just a few visitors for dinner nowadays!

The inspiration for the Medieval Feast Fractions Project came about from the need to incorporate a review fraction project into a medieval-themed year-end review game.  Hours were spent combing through sites on the internet for medieval-themed resources for my unit. I came across some wonderful resources from Skipton Castle which included the banquet and kitchen scene below. I hadn't been able to incorporate it yet with my unit, and so, the Medieval Feast Fraction Project was born.

First things first, I needed medieval feast clipart. Not so easy to find! So, I delved into creating my own clipart. Yes, you heard me right! Am I an artist? Nope! :) Wow, what a daunting learning project that was! I am very impressed with clipart artists and their ability to create beautiful things from a blank page!  I'm not the kind of person to just learn for learning sake. I need some sort of project to justify in my mind the amount of time and effort needed to learn how to draw on the computer. This project seemed like the perfect time to give it a try. All in all, I am proud of the set, especially the pig and swan. I feel like I have checked an item off my bucket list.

Onward to the project. The King has called a feast and needs the table to be set according to a specific amount of items. Students first find the fractions of each group of items for the table on a separate worksheet.

Next, students write the finalized answers on the project page and collect the correct amount of clipart to add to the king's table.

Note: In order to fit on the table (a single sheet of 12 x 18), the clipart needs to be trimmed closely to the edges of the items. No need to cut out the individual silverware pieces or apple stems, just get in nice and close. There is also an option to create larger table space by overlapping two 12 x 18 sheets in which the clipart doesn't need to be trimmed. Personally, I think the trimmed look is best, but classroom necessity rules all!

Two student examples are included to show how to set up the project without giving away the answers of how many of each item are to be used. The first is for the project on one 12 x 18 page and the second shows how to set up the project with the two overlapping 12 x 18 pages.

The king's feast is set and ready to go. I'm sure the guests will be most pleased with the banquet provided. Perhaps this teacher will enjoy a goblet full tonight as well. ☺

Find this project here and more medieval-themed resources at Morsel Tidbits.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dragon Profiles: Creative Writing

A Dragon Rider without a dragon does not bode well career-wise. Good thing you, as a Dragon Rider, have placed an ad seeking a dragon in the local news scrolls. Just your luck three dragons have applied! It is up to you to create the profiles with information on your dragons and come to a decision on which dragon will make you live up to your title.

Dragon Profiles: Creative Writing is my second dragon-themed writing assignment after Dragon Persuasive Writing- with OREO Format, which I blogged on earlier. Focusing on descriptive details and essay format, students write profiles for each of the three dragons that applied and for themselves as the Dragon Rider. Instead of writing first and then coloring the dragons, the order is switched with coloring first and writing the details second. I've found that my students wanted to change quite a bit of a drawing, even when it contradicted the writing, when writing before coloring. So, this time, color first, write second. The color rule doesn't apply to all subjects in my classroom, just when the illustration coloring details are necessary in the writing. Yes, nothing would ever be accomplished in math when coloring first, sad to say!

After profile satisfaction is complete, on to the paragraph writing it is! A handy full-color teacher example is just the thing to help students organize the profile details into paragraph format. Note: The teacher example combines a profile with a space to write the paragraph. The actual assignment for students separates the profiles from the writing paper.

For the essay format, students organize the essay in the order from the student prompt page. Starting with the dragon rider, working their way through the three dragons, the essay is finished off with the choice of dragon.

After the rough draft is written, edited, and revised, the final draft writing paper is ready to finish the process. It doesn't look like much at the beginning, but just add the profile of the chosen dragon from the profile page, and the journey is complete with a happy ending. Sky Fire writing page is included here only to show you how pretty a final page will look! 😉 It is not in the actual file for download.

As mentioned above, Dragon Persuasive Writing-in OREO Format is creative persuasive fun found in my TPT store at the indicated link above. I also offer up some pirate writing delight called Journey Around the World: Pirate Writing Project with tie ins to geography at my store as well and to be blogged on in the future.

To all you creative writers, I bid you good night and fantastic story adventures!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Pirate Treasure Hallway Hunt

The classroom is a wonderful place for learning. Teachers can be so creative in the many lesson activities completed in a classroom, but don't you ever want to get out of the classroom for some learning? This was my thought in creating the Pirate Treasure Hallway Hunt. A pirate-themed classroom would not be complete without a treasure map to hunt for treasure. In this activity, students have to use their treasure map to hunt for question clues with the ultimate goal ending at a treasure chest. (Note: Please click on the pictures to view in complete detail!)

Hallways are fun and not as quiet as you might think with all the group learning or volunteer projects occurring. Students will love getting out of the classroom for a different kind of learning experience. Of course, expectations must be set on behavior during the hallway hunt. Part of the management of the activity focuses on how to successfully implement the treasure hunt without a visit from your principal or other co-workers wondering why your class is interfering with everyone else's learning. ☺

So, how does this work? There are 42 review questions covering a variety of subjects in the early months of 3rd grade curriculum. You can see the break down of topics and subjects covered by clicking on the first picture directly above. There is also a blank question clue so you can sub out some questions to make the game more friendly to your classroom review.

The question clues are assembled with a numbered treasure chest on the front and the corresponding question clue on the back. Even numbered questions are presented on signs held by pirates, and odd numbers are on scrolls. Hang these questions clues around the halls of your school. I highly recommend laminating the clues. They last longer and are easy to store and pull out for next year. I provide a map of my school to my students to show where each cluster of questions are "hidden" so that they know how many to look for in a hallway. My school is split into four sections. The class sat in a hub area in the middle working on a pirate word search while I staggered sending out pairs to each section of the hall. I could maintain sight lines easily. Depending on your school set up, you might want to have some parent volunteers watch each hall.

Each numbered treasure chest has a letter on the front which helps decode a secret message too!

Students have a student folder with the secret message on top, the treasure map right inside, and the student answer sheet to complete problems. One year I tried giving out stickers after each cluster of problems was finished, but that was way too time consuming. I recommend students just color in the circles of the questions as completed to keep track of what has been answered. This also makes it easier to continue if completing the treasure hunt over a few days.

Once completed, I have the students show me their work so that I know answers are fully completed and not rushed before handing out the final clue. The final clue sends the students to find their hard earned and highly sought after treasure. I have my treasure chest full of pirate-themed items such as gold chocolate coins, pirate tattoos, pirate pencils, and class economy bucks hidden at the front office. Students have to say a special pirate phrase to the receptionist to get access to the treasure chest. A blank final clue is also included to personalize the final clue to your needs. All in all, it's a fun way to get out of the classroom and review with high levels of student motivation.

It's fun to get out in the hallway, but what if the hallway isn't an option? Try the gym if there are open times, or hang the questions in smaller chunks around the classroom during centers for a few days. 42 questions can be a lot for the classroom though, so if you are looking for a smaller version of this treasure hunt, you can check out Pirate Arrays Treasure Hunt at my TeachersPayTeachers store. The 19 questions are limited to arrays and can be easily completed in the classroom environment.