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Saturday, September 7, 2019

My Favorite New Counting Videos

About 5 years ago, I started a very popular series on my blog called Teaching Math with You Tube Videos.I have posts about







Teen numbers

Area and perimeter

Addition facts

Subtraction Facts

 They are a great way to get a little movement break while still working on important math concepts. These little movement breaks have been super important as we have transitioned from summer vacation back to school 5 days a week. 

I try to keep these posts up to date and have deleted and added videos to each of them a few times a year.  They still get lots of visits each month and are a great way to have all the content from one topic in one area.  The creators of these videos have done an awesome job creating new content and I just wanted to share with you some of my new favorites.  Some of these are brand new videos that were released this summer and a few are new to me favorites.

Counting With Grandma and Grandpa

This is a new series of counting videos and my students love them!  The first one counts by 1's to 100

This one is a counting by 5 video with Grandma and Grandpa at the beach

Counting by 2's with Grandma and Grandpa on the farm

Counting Songs for Bigger Kids

My students have been loving using You Tube math songs for brain breaks since Kindergarten.  By the time they get to grade 2, they have seen most of them plenty of times and are ready for some harder counting series.  These videos are becoming much easier to find!

Do you have any favorite new counting videos? Please share in the comments below!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Hailstone Series Numbers

We are on day #5 of back to school and I wanted to share a fun lesson with you all today.  We start each year with the Week of Inspirational Math published by You Cubed.  We have been starting the year this way ever since I read Mathematical Mindsets and it has been a great way to jump into a new year and set classrooms up for success.

If you have used Week of Inspirational math in the past, you might know that each year they release a new week.  The week consists of math tasks most of which are low floor high ceiling and videos about having a positive math mindset.  This year, instead of releasing a new week, they re-did the website and it now allows you to pick and choose tasks, videos and other inspirational math options.  I have been working with classroom teachers to take turns picking and choosing old favorites and trying out some new tasks.  Yesterday when I was doing a quick browse on the Week of Inspirational math page, I found a task about the Hailstone series.  This is a series of numbers that I have explored with students in the past but one that I haven't revisited in quite a number of years.  I decided to try it out in my third and fourth grade math class.  

If you are not familiar with the Hailstone series, let me give you a quick summary.  You can start with any positive integer (counting number).  If the number is even, you cut it in half (n/2).  If the number is odd, you triple it and add one (3n+1). Mathematicians have found that you can start with any number and follow these steps, you will always end up with 1.  They have not found a number that this doesn't work for yet, but they also haven't proven that it works for every single number.  This means it is kind of an unsolved mathematical mystery which is an angle that my students always seem to find very intriguing.  The reason it is nicknamed the hailstone series is that the numbers go up and down similar to the way hail is formed in a thunder cloud. 

I started the class by asking kids what they knew about hail.  The kids were quite surprised by this question and quickly engaged with their classmates on a discussion about what they thought they knew about hail.  After sharing as a group, we watched this quick video clip about how hail is formed.  Because they had already had a chance to activate prior knowledge about hail, they were very interested. 

I then spent a few minutes engaging kids in a review of odd and even numbers and did a quick number talk about strategies for cutting numbers in half.  I then explained how the hailstone series worked and we tried it out for a couple of single digit numbers.  Once kids understood how it worked, I had them try a number in pairs.  We had kids coming to the board and adding their ideas to the ones that were already up there.  We came back together after a bit and kids got to share what they noticed.  They were very excited to take what they noticed and try it out on a few more numbers so we made some time for that before wrapping up class for the day.  This is the type of problem that was a great review of important math vocabulary and worked on computational fluency all in the context of exploring a larger mathematical mystery.  It was engaging and motivating for my students, I knew I wanted to repeat it later that day for grades 5 and 6. 

In fifth and sixth grades, we had even more fun and excitement because we had to spend less time reviewing things like halving, odd and even and were able to jump into the actual series faster.  They are also much more fluent with computation and were able to generate numbers faster.  They noticed SO MANY mathematical patterns and were making and testing conjectures left and right.  After exploring the numbers to 11 as a group and in pairs, some kids were excited to continue going in order while others wanted to jump around.  I gave them the option of either and they had so much fun playing around with math.  They worked so hard and were so engaged and excited.  At the end of class, I heard one boy say to another, "I am going to work on this all night.  Why don't I facetime you and we can do it together!".  Music to my ears.

This type of problem isn't done after one class period so we put some of our work up on a bulletin board in the hallway where kids can keep exploring this series and adding to our work over the next few weeks during math menu time or even at home!  We listed the series of for the first 15 or so numbers on chart paper, leaving room for kids who were going in order to add to it later.  We also decided to add index cards for those numbers kids did out of sequence.  I can't wait to gather them around this board in a week or two and see what new understandings emerge!  They have some big questions they are still working on answering and for now I am quite content to leave them unanswered and to let them keep exploring!
A big thank you to You Cubed for putting the Week of Inspirational Math out there and working so hard to promote positive mindsets.  Jo Boaler, the creator of You Cubed just release her newest research on mindsets, Limitless Mind!  I think this would make a great book study!  My copy is due to arrive this evening and I am sure it will inspire me to do more with my students.  

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Countdown to SUMMER!

Hello friends!  First blog post in 10 months!  The time has just gone by so quickly this school year!  After the hardest year of my teaching career last school year, I am just wrapping up the best school year I have ever had.  Life lesson: The principal you work with can make a BIG difference in your happiness, productivity and general well being.  

My kids are getting older and I always imagined I would have more time to devote to my blog and online lesson plans.  The reverse has actually happened.  Instead of being home all the time with early bedtimes, we are on the road so much for school and sport activities.  Summer break is only a week away and there is so much I want to write about so look for a much more regular posting schedule this summer!  

Our last day of preschool thank you gifts!  We went with a handwritten thank you note from my daughter, an assortment of beautiful purple flowers and our favorite spring/summer hand soap, Mrs. Meyer's clean day in Lilac! I ordered extra in my last shipment from Grove Collaborative and will be using these in many thank you gifts this spring!  Small, inexpensive, smells great and consumable! Want to add a little something extra? Slip a gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers or Amazon in there! 
My youngest just wrapped up her last day of preschool today which was fun and exciting and emotional.  All my kids will be in full time school for the first time this fall and that makes me super excited and nostalgic all at the same time. 

Despite a super successful school year, I have been feeling like the daily grind of life has really been wearing down my gears this year.  I have been working hard at being more intentional about how I spend my time and making sure I am finding time for the things that re-charge me (like blogging!).  I have been using some of my Audible credits to listen to some books on productivity and personal growth.  I have recently finished Deep Work, Girl, Wash Your Face, Girl, Stop Apologizing, and Getting Things Done.  Next up on my list are The Power of Habit and Stumbling on Happiness.   It's amazing how much more reading I am getting done with Audible!

I do plan on some summer teaching/math reading as well but still working on exactly what I want to read next!  I am super excited for Jo Boaler's new book, Limitless Mind but that is not out until September 3rd.  Look for a book study on that in the fall!  In the meantime, if you have any summer teacher reading recommendations, leave them in the comments below!