Sunday, April 27, 2014

Elapsed Time Freebies

Hello darlings!  If you read Jamie's last post, you know that we just finished our Time Unit in third grade.  Jamie has some FABULOUS resources so make sure you check out her post!  I just wanted to share with you a few quick ideas to make your time unit more interesting.

Below you will see my Time placemats.  They are simply one clock outline copied onto a large piece of construction paper and then laminated.  These were created by my good friend Kelly when she taught with me over 7 years ago, so yes, they last!   I made you a new one here since I don't have her original.   These mats are awesome because I can quickly move around and see who gets it and who is still confused.    We also used them for "leap frogging" the elapsed time.  Kiddos could draw on the clock itself.  I LOVE the handheld clocks that some companies sell, but I feel that kiddos rely too much on physically moving the hands and when we ask them to do it on paper it doesn't transfer over.  I use the handheld clocks for my struggling kiddos who need that concrete example.  Most of my third graders are cool with the pictorial representation.

These kiddos are working on telling time with the "Time Code"- quarter after, half past, and quarter til.  We divide the clock into fourths and I show them that 1/4 of 60 minutes is 15 minutes.  (60 divided by 4=15)  We talk about how 15 minutes is a quarter of an hour.  I make the distinction that this is NOT like a quarter of a dollar or 25 cents.  That would be 1/4 of 100.  Click here for the Time Code Freebie and Brochure.

After I am confident that my kiddos can tell time, we move onto Elapsed Time (which of course I spelled wrong on the anchor chart...)  We start off with the leap frogs  and then we move onto timelines.  In our Singapore Math Program, kiddos also have to convert minutes to hours.  We do this by subtracting out 60 minutes until we can't subtract it any more.  Of course my advanced kiddos can divide by 60.  

TO apply this to real life, I bring in a bunch of DVD's and set them around the room.  Kiddos then go around and convert the run time into hours and minutes.

A fun review game my students play involves Cell Phones.  Each kiddo gets his/her own cell phone for the day.  They were WAY TOO excited about this, considering it was just paper!  But hey, whatever works!  I have seen those adorable games that involve making wrist watches and then having kiddos walk around and tell the time on each person's wrist.  I took that concept and updated it.  

I don't know about you, but I don't wear a watch.  I always look at my cell phone to tell the time.  Click here to download the FREE game.  

Give each student a cell phone and a recording sheet. Students must walk around and exchange cell phones. They record the time on their recording sheet, but they can’t move on until the person who owns the cell phone agrees that the time is correct. 

This game can also be played as SCOOT. Place one phone on each student desk. Students SCOOT from one desk to another, recording the answers on their sheet.

Do you see anything weird about the picture above?  I am glad my kiddos have learned to work cooperatively with everyone.  Go Cards!!!!

I hope this post proves to be useful to you.  We always love to hear about people who use our stuff or got a great idea from a post.  Comments are ALWAYS welcome! It helps us to know we are not just writing a bunch of stuff for nothing.  =)


Friday, April 25, 2014

It's About TIME!

Hey lovely followers and readers! How's it going? Well we made it to Friday! So this has seemed to be a crazy week. I sat at lunch with my wonderful teammates and told them how I felt like this has been the longest week we have had since Spring Break (3 weeks ago), but yet tomorrow is already Friday. I have had a hard time keeping my days straight this week. Maybe this wonderful test prep is getting to me. I wasn't going to post this week with all the craziness, but I think I have found an addiction to it. I would feel like I am letting you wonderful people down, so I just had to. Plus, I am feeling it is about TIME to get back into the swing of blogging weekly, if possible.

Speaking of time (as you can see, I try to use puns as much as possible), we just got done with our time unit and took the common assessment on Wednesday, so I thought I would share some things that I did with my kiddos.

I started out by telling time to the nearest minute, and immediately I found that my kiddos struggled with telling time if the hour hand was really close to the next hour but not quite there (ex: 11:55). They always wanted to say 12:55, since the hour hand was basically on the 12. This became a big frustration for me. Therefore, I had to take several days to review telling time to the nearest minute, and every time we were going to tell time, I would tell my kiddos that I would try to trick them. Also, in addition to telling me the time, I asked them how they got their answer (showing evidence). This really helped with the kiddos who struggled with telling time when the hour hand was so close to that next hour.

Once my kiddos were able to tell time to the exact minute, we moved on to elapse time. Instead of jumping straight into hours and minutes, I started with telling time to the next hour. This really helped them to see how once the big hand got to the 12, it was the next hour. Then I moved into doing elapse time with just hours. Following came elapse time with minutes, and we finished up with hours and minutes.

Since I have 2 math groups, I did this a little differently with my 2 groups. With my lower kiddos, I gave them clocks and put them in a clear zip-lock bag. This way they can write with on them with dry erase markers. I have a system that I model on the Smartboard. I first ask if the minutes have changed. If they have, then we see where the minute started and circle that number on our clocks (ones in our bags) and put an "S" (for start). Then we see what number our clocks ended on. Then we circle that number on our clocks (in the bag) and put an "E" (for end). By making the jumps with our dry-erase markers, we count the jumps by counting by 5's, since we are counting minutes. We record our answer for the minutes. Then, we check our hours and do the same thing. However, instead of circling the start and end numbers, I have them star them. This seems to be a great visual, especially for my lower kiddos. My teammates told me about using a time line to help as well. I didn't do it that way this year, as I am still in the works of learning that way. Just like any other subject, I struggle with teaching something I am not quite comfortable, so I stuck with my usual "comfortable" way. Next year, I plan on sitting down and becoming the student for a bit and learning about the time line, because I feel like it may be easier for my kiddos to understand.

With my higher group, I do things a little differently. I taught them how they can add/subtract time. I showed them how we can set up our math problem and trade. However, instead of trading a 100, we trade 60, since there are 60 minutes within an hour. This was very complex for them to understand at first, but it took no time for them to get it. I also threw in some challenges, as this way doesn't always work. I showed them how if the hour in the start time was bigger than the hour in the end time, you couldn't subtract the time to determine the elapse time. Instead, they had to use the clocks to determine it.

Similar to my Fraction Frenzy Interactive Book, I created a time booklet to go along with my time unit. It includes telling time to the nearest minute, elapse time (hours only, minutes only, and hours and minutes), telling time using quarter after/quarter till and half past, and comparing events with AM and PM.

In addition to the booklet, I used my games for a review of the concepts as well. This is my "It's Spring Time" game, which involves telling time to the nearest minute.

Because of time, I placed the cards around the room, instead of using it as a game, and had my kiddos complete the recording sheet. Then we reviewed the answers, which the answer key is included. However, I created this game to get the kiddos thinking about time and clocks, not just telling time. One partner picks a card and puts it on his/her forehead without looking at it. Then the other partner reads the clock and then checks their answer. Partner one (one with card on forehead) then starts asking Partner two yes or no questions to try to determine what time the clock says (ex: Is the hour hand on an even number? Is the minute hand past the 6?). They have up to 20 questions they can ask. I plan to use this as a center for a review during MAP Test Prep Friday centers.

Another great game is my Beat the Clock game. This involves elapse time.

Are you interested in these games/booklet? Click on the game/booklet title and it will take you to my TpT store where you can learn more about them. You can download a FREE time game by visiting an old post: Monday Made It & Time Freebie.

Just like any other math concept, I always try to find websites that are useful for my kiddos to play during independent work time. I have created shortcuts for these websites on my student computers on the desktop. I put all my various websites into different folders to help keep them organized. The kiddos love this as they are able to review all of the concepts we have covered so far. Here are a few websites that I have been using with my kiddos:

ABCya-Telling Time-If you need a review of how to create the time. This is a great website to use. The game goes through stages. The first stage is where the kiddos have to create the time to the nearest hour. Then it goes to the nearest 5 min. and so on.

What Time Is It?-This is a great website to use with your kiddos who are still struggling to tell time to the nearest hour and half hour. I used this with my lower kiddos who wanted to switch the hour and minute hands.

Time Games-This is a website that has different links to other time websites, which includes telling time to the nearest minute and elapse time.

KidsNumbers-Time Games-Again, a list of various time games that range from time to the nearest 5 minutes to the nearest minute.

MathNook-Online Time Math Games-This website is awesome as it has free games that line up with the Common Core State Standards.

As always, I appreciate you stopping by! I hope you are able to use some of the resources above! Have a FABULOUS Friday and enjoy your weekend! :)

What do you do to implement time in your classroom? What is your favorite resource that you use? Please leave a comment below, as we LOVE people who give us some new ideas!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Math Facts...A Teacher's Continuous Frustration

Hello lovely people! You are almost there. Only today and tomorrow and then it's the weekend. We can do it!!

So I don't know about you but the biggest frustration that my team and I have found is kiddos knowing their math facts. Our 3rd graders come in (most of the time) not knowing their addition and subtraction facts, which leads into frustrations when we begin 2 and 3 digit by 1 digit multiplication and long division.

Every year, since my 2nd year of teaching, I have required my kiddos to complete at least 5 minutes of math fact practice a night. We started out by focusing on addition and subtraction at the beginning of the year and now moving into multiplication and division. has been the easiest way for me to keep track my kiddos' progress within their math facts, plus it's FREE. You can keep your class open until August (whenever the next school year begins) so your kiddos can practice their facts over the summer as well. You can also set up your student computers so your kiddos can just click on their name, put in their pin, and practice on student computers as well.

There are various reasons why this tool is amazing to me. However, one of the biggest reasons why I love using Xtramath is due to being able to see if your kiddos have practiced their facts.

This is part of my current class.

As you can see above, it shows different colored dots (these all mean different things) for each day my kiddos have logged on. I check this every morning to make sure that my kiddos have signed on and practiced their facts.

 Another benefit is you can also view which facts your kiddos are struggling with. All you have to do is click on one of the student's name (whoever you want to investigate) and a calendar will show up. You can pick whatever day you want to view (I always choose the most current day). This screen will pop up.

One of my student's progress on her multiplication facts.

I like to use this to have my kiddos create their own flash cards out of these problems. The red X's are the ones that this student struggled to answer within 3 seconds. The check marks represent the problems that she knows and could answer within 3 seconds.

It allows your to differentiate your kiddos so they can practice whatever math facts are suitable to them.
The different programs that you can place your students in.
At the beginning of the year, I always start my kiddos out with addition and subtraction. If they pass through those, then I move them to multiplication and division. I have had one kiddo pass all 4 levels this year, so I had him complete the Advanced 2 Second for all four operations. This is where he gets 2 seconds to solve the problem. He also graduated from that so he doesn't have to practice his facts nightly anymore. This really pushed some of my kiddos to practice their facts so they get the same privileges.

As your kiddos complete a program, Xtramath will generate a certificate to give to your students. You can print these out and present them to the students.

I love to make this into an awards ceremony. It makes the kiddos feel good and gain confidence.

Some of you may be wondering, "What do you do with your kiddos who do not have internet access at home?" Well at the beginning of the year, I had my kiddos do flashcards. However, as the year went on, I had some of those kiddos who I noticed weren't making gains. Therefore, I started making them fill out a math facts sheet. Some of the kiddos who complete Xtramath nightly and weren't making progress started completing these as well. I copy these front to back (1 sided to 2 sided) and make sure that the front is different from the back. They are to complete one half of the page a night. I just put a check mark at the top of the completed section. To keep my kiddos from just copying down the same answers from one sheet to the next, I keep the sheets that were completely filled out. This seems to be the easiest for me to manage with my kiddos who do not do Xtramath. (Click here to check out Math Facts CafĂ© where you can create your own math facts sheet.)

Besides Xtramath, I also used my groups and RTI time to give my kiddos the chance to practice their math facts. Throughout the year, I have my kiddos complete timed tests. I started out my year by using my Addition and Subtraction Racing School pack so I could focus on addition and subtraction. Click here to read more about my pack.

My kiddos created their cars and moved them among the lap cards that I created to place on the wall to show which fact they were working on. As soon as they passed both addition and subtraction, they got to move to the finish line. I started them out by completing a pretest (which is within the pack) to determine the facts that they needed to work on. Then I gave them flashcards for them to practice with at home. The kiddos who completed both addition and subtraction got to have free time while the rest of my kiddos were completing their timed tests.

Now that we are towards the end of our year, I now have started implementing Amy's Multiplication and Division Boot Camp so I could focus on multiplication and division. This works just like my addition and subtraction pack (Amy had the idea first). Click here to see what her Boot Camp entails.

I had my kiddos play the "Build Your Own Soldier" game two weeks ago when we did our stations. I laminated them so they wouldn't fall apart. To show them off, I placed the soldiers under the Smartboard in my room. Then I used a paper clip to put their dog tags of the drills that they completed on their hand. I thought they turned out really cute.

A close up of what the dog tags look like
After they pass a drill, they get to put their dog tag on their soldier

Soldiers lined up

A close up of one of my kiddo's soldier

Timed tests can be very hard to manage at times. They have to be checked daily. To cut down on the amount of stuff for me to check (check out my Checking Homework...A Time Saver post for more information on how to cut down on the amount of checking your kiddos' work), I have my kiddos check their own timed test.
This is the picture I was referring to from yesterday's post...Wordless Wednesday: Math Facts
As you can see, the timed tests and answer keys are in the cups, along with some pens. I call the kiddos up to check the drill number that they are on at the time. They get the answer key out and check the answers. They circle whatever answers are not correct or put a star at the top if they are all correct, put the cup back, and head back to their desk. Then they fill out their drill sheet. They love this as it gives them the immediate feedback so they know which drill to practice next.
In addition to timed tests, I have my kiddos complete math facts practice when they are playing a game with their math group and when they are at a math fact station for RTI. These come from the Addition and Subtraction Racing School, Multiplication and Division Boot Camp, simple deck of cards games, and websites.
As you may already know, I love to implement technology in my classroom anytime I get the chance. I try to place shortcuts to websites on my student computer so my kiddos always have resources that focus on the concept at hand. Here are some other great websites that I have used to help implement math facts:
  • Fact Monsters: Your kiddos can choose between the operation that they need more practice on and choose a level to practice those facts on. Tracks how many they have correct and contains milestones that they can reach.
  • Math Facts Pro: Your kiddos can choose between the operation that needs to be focused on. Your kiddos can then decide which grade level needs to be done (this will allow for differentiated instruction). The kiddos have the opportunity to click on the answer and it tracks the amount of time for each problem that is completed. Once the round is complete, your child can print out his/her progress. You can pay for an upgrade to get more options.
  • ABCya Math Fact Shoot-Out: This is a game where your kiddos get to practice math facts while playing basketball. Again, this is differentiated where your kiddos can determine the level and operation that can be practiced. It also tells you a report of the percentage that was done correctly.
  • Sheppard Software: This website has a ton of games and resources for basic operations.
How do you implement math facts into your every day routines? I would love any feedback you may have.
Hope the rest of your week goes well!

5-Star Blogger