Test Prep: Assessments, Centers, and a FREEBIE

Here in Illinois we currently have just a week and a half until THE test!  It always seems to sneak up out of nowhere and I’m usually in a crunch to get in every last standard.  This year I decided to make a one-page assessment for each of the five math domains of the Common Core.  I gave these short assessments a few weeks ago to get an overview of which standards I could skim over and which needed more in-depth review.  I'm also using them to target specific students for intervention groups.   

As you can see from the above examples, my kids were pretty solid in Base 10 and Geometry, so we only needed a couple days to review those concepts.  They struggled a lot with some of the Measurement and Data standards, so I allotted enough time to go over those standards in depth. 

Line plots are always very tricky, but we had a lot of fun with these new task cards I made.  My students used vis-à-vis markers to complete the line plots of the various sets of data.  They scanned the QR codes to self-check their answers.  I do have this same set without QR codes as well.:)

My freebie for you is an assessment that’s included in my line plot task cards.  All my task card sets include a quick assessment that you can use in the center or later as a quiz grade.  I hope you can find it useful.  Click the image to grab it for free.:)

Geometry Apps and Activities for iPads

Geometry is one of my all-time favorite units to teach because it’s easy to make it hands-on and applicable to the real world.  My kids are OBSESSED with the new Cyberchase Shape Quest app by PBS Kids.  Their favorite game to play is Patch The Path, which uses 3D augmented reality.  Students need to use spatial reasoning and modeling to “patch” the path so the animals can get across.  I took a short video of one of my girls playing it so you can get the gist of how it’s played.  

They also love playing Hide and Seek, for which they must uncover specific shapes to find their animal friends.  This game is great for practicing and reviewing geometry vocabulary.  Did I mention this app is free?!  I highly recommend it!
Another activity I love doing with the iPads is taking pictures of geometry concepts around our school.  The kids used the free app Skitch to mark up their photos so it was clear which geometric terms were being represented.  
Then we made collages using the marked-up photos in Pic Collage.  They turned out pretty good if you ask me.:)
As with most math concepts I teach, I put a couple of QR code scavenger hunts up around the room for the kids to complete during centers.  This one has them identifying various polygons.
And this one, which is a FREEBIE in my store, has them identifying types of lines and angles.  The QR code on each phone leads them to the next term until the hunt is completed. 
I’ll leave you with some FREE geometry posters in case you haven’t grabbed these from my store before.  
Maybe some of these ideas can help get you through test prep season.;)

Valentine's Day Math Freebies

It's beginning to look at lot like Valentine's Day in my classroom!  Here are two freebies you can use with your upper elementary students to celebrate the holiday.

The first one is a mixed number/improper fraction matching activity.
The second one is a prime and composite number sort.  The students can self-check their answers by scanning the QR code.

Hope you enjoy!:)

Nonfiction Text Structures

For much of January we’ve been focusing on identifying text structure in nonfiction text (CC anchor standard #5).  I took my time reviewing one type of structure at a time so my kids could get a good grasp on each one.  Here they are during reader’s workshop with varying levels of animal books looking for problem/solution situations. 

I’ve found that animal books are great for teaching text structure since they usually include most of the structures—especially problem/solution and description.  Plus the kids love learning about animals!

Since we recently studied the human body in science, I created this text structure sorting activity to integrate a little science into our reading block.

As I was brainstorming ideas for a culminating project, I came across this post by Teaching with a Mountain View and just tweaked her idea a bit.  I let my kids choose any topic that they could write information about (most of them chose animals).  Their task was to write very short passages about their topic using each of the structures we studied.  They used books in our classroom library as well as some online resources to do their research.   

The kids decided that Prezi would be cool way to display their information and share with each another.  They ended up doing a fantastic job with this project and loved presenting their Prezis on the SMART Board.  Here are a couple of theirs.

Now that my kiddos have had the experience of writing using each structure, they’re much better at identifying text structure in their own independent reading.