Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day in 5th Grade and Some Math to ADD to the fun!

I love when I can incorporate holidays with learning. It can be so simple and it makes whatever lesson I am teaching that much more fun for the kids and me! Right now in Math, students are learning how to make a fraction, decimal and percentage with a number. This *FREE* activity I found on Teachers Pay Teachers was perfect timing for us! I gave each student a baggie full of candy hearts (the one and only time I will give candy to my class!! I know, I am a boring teacher who advocates way too much for healthy foods and way of living, but it's ok..they still love me). So each student has a bag of candy hearts and they need to find the fraction of each color of hearts in their bag. Step one, of course, is to count the candies in order to find their denominator. Then they work to find the fraction, decimal and percentage. They also collected data to find the mean, median, mode, minimum and maximum which was an awesome review! I love, love, love this activity because it was so engaging and the class really had a great time doing it! No one grumbled or cared that they were practicing math! It was perfect!

I remember Valentine's Day being one of my favorite holidays as a kid! Switching cards in class and feeling the love all around was just awesome! So last year, I came up with a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day in a way that didn't take up too much class time and allowed students to still have some fun with it. What I did was assign each student with the task of creating ONE totally awesome Valentine's Day card for an unknown recipient. The way it goes is, each student brings in a card that they created which could be given to anyone in the classroom. Then, on Valentine's Day or today (Friday the 13th!) they draw a name from the box and present their card to that person. I absolutely love this because the kids have sooo much fun creating these cards. You can tell from the pictures below that they REALLY got into it! Maybe it is all the bright and fun colors, but just looking at these cards makes me feel happy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Introduction to WWII

This week fifth graders and I started our WWII unit! I love that I am able to write my own curriculum because I was able to split this quarter up into 3 different studies, all relating to civil rights (segregation in the south, WWII and Japanese Internment Camps and the rights of students with learning disabilities).

**Disclaimer!! I started out with learning about segregation because we march in the MLK parade at the end of January. So since students have learned, in depth about many civil rights movements and especially Dr. King's involvement, this march is much more meaningful to them because of the time we spend learning about it in the classroom. Otherwise, I would teach this in February for obvious reasons :)

And so we begin WWII! Specifically, the Japanese Internment Camps. Many adults are unaware of this injustice to our own people during this time and as I tell my students...we need to learn about history in order to make sure it doesn't repeat itself and to be inspired by how to go about making a change for the things we believe in.

Already, students were really excited to start this unit, I think because of their interest in war and history. For any new unit of study, I always start my introduction with which books in our classroom library relate to what we will be learning about. Sharing books with students and having them read about topics we can't necessarily cover in class is a great way to help create an integrated feel in the classroom and for students to gain even more information. From there, I shared with students a WWII timeline and craftivity that I created. We read through the timeline and then they completed the craftivity that depicts the Allies and Axis Powers. I am sure that they have a solid understanding of which countries were on either side now and it will be much easier to refer to each of these powers as we continue to learn about the war! I also love that I was able to decorate the room with their artwork. I placed some in the library and at the different learning centers.

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