January Fractions in Action: Interactive Notebook Vocabulary and Anchor Chart Error Analysis

We spend pretty much the month of January working on fractions.  Over the course of the month, we learn fraction vocabulary, equivalent fractions, fraction comparisons, adding, and subtracting fractions.  It is a lot for a fourth-grade mind to handle.  In my district, we use a math curriculum created by Eureka Math.  It is very similar to the New York State modules (EngageNY) that were created when the Common Core Curriculum was implemented.

I like the way Eureka lays out their modules, but the one item I don't care for is that I don't have the time to implement vocabulary knowledge with my students.  Vocabulary is used throughout the modules, I just like the ability to introduce the vocabulary as an initial lesson, and then reinforce it as we progress.  So many articles are being written about the need for a solid vocabulary in content areas, and this includes math.  So one way that I get around it is through my Intervention time. Although I know that intervention is meant to reinforce skills that students are not understanding, I do take time at the beginning of my units, and throughout my modules teaching ALL of my students regardless of tier about math vocabulary, and then reinforce concepts with anchor chart interaction.

Today I wanted to share a few of the items I use during this intervention time.  This is honestly when most of my students get the bulk of their interactive notebook work set up.  Because my students have this intervention time after our math block, I sometimes have them leave pages blank to insert vocabulary notebook pages.

One set of notebook pages that I insert is a basic vocabulary definitions page.  Students define the terms we will be using in our notebooks, and they use it as an easy reference throughout the module.  Sometimes, I even have the words repeated.  For example, compose and decompose are not new words for my class.  We have been using them since beginning the year in the place value module, but I don't think it ever hurts to see a repeat performance!

We spend time at the beginning of the unit putting together a hands-on kit.  This is a big help in getting a visual picture of equivalent fractions.

We do a lot of interaction with anchor charts.  I have students spend time in groups during intervention finding fractions that are equivalent to benchmark numbers: one-fourth, one-half, three fourths, one whole, and one and one half.  I teach students to write number sentences to prove this, but they also can use visual models like tape diagrams, number bonds or area models.  This continues throughout the unit as we learn how to use multiplication to represent equal fractions.  Usually, about once per week in the intervention time, I have students gallery walk the charts.  They are adding new fractions if they have discovered new equivalents, and they are also doing error analysis.  I ask them to look for fractions that someone has placed that are NOT equivalent to the benchmark.  Sometimes I will purposefully INCLUDE an error on the chart, and when found, students will justify their reasoning for the error and include a corrected fractions.  POWERFUL WORK!

I would love to know how you begin your fractions unit!  Share your thoughts and ideas!


Happy New Year! Welcome 2018: A Year of Wellness, Purpose, and Abundance!

Happy New Year friends! Welcome to 2018!! Have you made your New Years Resolutions yet? Have you broken them yet?  <LOL>  I LOVE the start of a new year!  As teachers we get to have a fresh start twice, and it's a wonderful feeling to know I can start another semester of school next week with fresh eyes, and a rested mind, body and spirit!

I'll be the first to admit that I'm horrible at making resolutions.. well making them is the easy part, it's keeping them that I always have trouble with!  So this year, I've resolved to focus on 3 things: Wellness, Purpose, and Abundance!

I"m going to start by just making a few changes to my lifestyle.  I know myself well enough to know that if I try to do too many things, I won't DO any of them.  I am an awesome planner, but sometimes I get overwhelmed by my plans, and then well, I don't do any of them.  Anyone else do that too?  We should make a TRIBE!

I'm going to start 2018 by:
1) Going to a yoga class once a week.  I'm hoping I can up the ante on this after a month or so and make it twice a week, but baby steps for me tend to turn into bigger leaps down the road, so once a week is the plan at the moment.  I'm making this blog my accountability piece, so once a month I'm going to post about my progress and focus.

2) Getting my steps in each day.  My goal is to get between 8,000 - 10,000 steps in each day.  I've been a huge slacker in monitoring my steps, but my mom just gave me her Fitbit tracker when she got an Apple Watch (Yes, the jealousy is real), so I'm going to hold myself a little more accountable.

3) Staying above the Wellness line and taking my vitamins and supplements daily.  Right now I am loving a new supplement I just tried called Ningxia Red.  It is made with wolfberries, plums, cherries, and tons of other things to keep me healthy.  It's all natural and so yummy. I drink 1-2oz a day, either straight or added to my morning smoothie, and I know I am doing the best for my health.  I also take a Super B vitamin about half way through the day.  Ain't no tired like afternoon teacher tired... am I right?  Taking the Vitamin B at lunchtime gives me the energy to keep up with my teens and their activities in the evenings.  Otherwise, I'm toast by 6:00 and I want to #watchallthetelevision.  Since couch potato is NOT in my wellness plan, Super B is going to stay my go-to energy supplier!

A second area I want to focus on in 2018 is my Purpose:

I'll be honest, I haven't quite got this one figured out yet.  I want to continue to help my parents, friends, and family in any way possible.  I want to find a church where I leave every week with a message to meditate on. I want to continue teaching my students, but I'm thinking there might be something bigger in my future.  Maybe a coaching position, or something where I can help teachers be better educators as well.  I want to coach people not only about teaching but about living a full life.  I'm not 100% sure about this, but I know that if I have faith... I will also have answers.

2018 is going to be a year of ABUNDANCE!  Not just financial abundance... because hey, we could all use a little bit more of that am I right?  But of an abundance of patience, kindness, and SELF-CARE!  I want to be like Oprah... and you get some.... and you get some.... and you get some......, but not at the stake of my own wellness and financial peace, and that is what I tended to do in the past. I want abundance for myself and others. I want the people around me to have full hearts.  I know this starts with what I put out into the world, and I only have that control over myself.

My self-care routine is going to include my wellness activities I talk about above, and the following:
1) Read an abundance of books
2) Try an abundance of healthy new recipes.. (have any you want to share with me?)
3) Gain an abundance of time for meditation and reflection
4) Give an abundance of time listening and cognitively coaching others

So I'm ready 2018... ready to hitch up my Big Girl Pants and tackle what you have to offer!
Anyone else ready to DREAM BIG this year?  Anyone ready to create a tribe for people to be accountable?  As I said earlier, I'm going to make this blog part of my accountability board, so feel free to comment and let me know how you are doing on your goals.  Let's make 2018 a great year, by being supportive of each other!


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