Students enter my room after lunch knowing that they pick up materials at the "Common Table" on the way in. I use this table throughout the day to maximize instructional time. Instead of students passing out papers, this strategy encourages students to be responsible, and pick up their own materials upon entering the room. I believe there is a symbolic aspect of this task, it prepares them to learn. This is a routine that we've practiced since Day 1, and the students expect materials to be on that table for them. I use this procedure for morning work, and as many assignments as possible. I also use another table near their mailboxes to place announcements and homework which the students have to be responsible enough to pick up, therefore holding them accountable.
Today's "Skill Refresher" is designed to be sure that students are able to use a ruler proficiently, and measure to the nearest 1/8 of an inch. Students measure an MP3 player because I know they'll love the technology inclusion. You can use any shape, but make it something more meaningful than just a line. By using a real world shape, the students have a context as to why we might need to measure it. I got some great moments here of extended thinking; the students connected that we would need to fit this in a box or a pocket. As simple as this may seem, I need to make things very simplistic for many of my students this year. I have had to adapt my teaching, and teach at a much slower pace than I had anticipated based on students' needs and scores. I need to make my students feel very successful before challenging them.
I reference the anchor chart to explain the sections of the ruler. About 85% of my students measure the object accurately. I still have some concerns though as this skill is truly below level, and I notice that some students still aren't using the first line on the ruler, or are using centimeters to measure. I would not have anticipated this of fifth grade students.
The purpose of this lesson is to connect the number line to line plots. I created an InterActive number line on my built-in bookcase. I covered the bookcase with fabric to hide a ton of teacher resource materials earlier this year; the fabric lifts up at the bottom. I found some left over mounting tape and stick that onto the fabric. I then stick vibrant post-it notes on the mounting tape an 1/8 intervals, using two colors; the pink represents the most recognized parts which were 0 and 1. I then use blue for the "unknown", which should be known. After this next section will will use the number line together, and label it.
To transition between the warm up and the guided practice, we discussed the relevance of line plots. We recognize that there really is no use for a line plot in real life, but rather more use for a ruler. (We have previously reviewed how to use a ruler correctly as well.)
I present students with a word problem about cups of milk leftover at a coffee shop. We work through creating a line plot for the points given to determine how many cups of milk are left over. Each step is labeled, and completed with wait time.
I give students a few minutes to begin, but then quickly bring them back together to point out that I see students attacking the problem two different ways. I did this so that I could see who was still struggling at the initial stages. Once I assess this, I model for students one way to solve this problem by "matching up" numbers like 1/4 + 3/4.
I stress to students that they can also solve it like this: 2 x (1/2) etc,.... Both ways have been modeled in class thus far. We have also covered adding and subtracting fractions prior to this unit. My students are still weak in this area though, and it's showing now.
Scent is a positive trigger for memory, which is another reason why I chose to use coffee. A memory paired with a scent can be triggered. Even reading the words perfume and coffee can trigger memory. This can also play into author's word choice as an ELA standard too. Now, hopefully not many of the students have tasted coffee, but they probably have been in and out of coffee shops. From the video, you can see that some volunteered that they have tasted coffee before.
Throughout the independent practice., I reference my students as employees at the coffee house, and being held accountable to their boss. I am asking them to "purpose the task". "Why would your boss need this info?" This task not only incorporates a real world situation, but also employability skills. This brings about full circle the level of respect that I have implemented in my classroom. I deliberately chose an "adult" scenario, based on my experiences working with my students this year. My students are very eager to work on a problem that involves them as employees, as well as working with an "adult" drink - coffee.
Using the topics of having a job, and coffee in and of itself, actually showed my students that I respected them enough to treat them like young adults. My students know that I taught first grade last year, and fifth the year before, and various levels over the past few years. When they notice something that I definitely wouldn't have given first graders, then I usually get their "buy in" quickly.
During independent practice, a few students struggle. For example, I scaffold instruction for one student by listening to her walk through steps until she is near-frustration (not frustrated), and then I re-state the problem she's trying to figure out. She is not understanding how to match up the fractions. I write 5/8 + 3/8 = 8/8 on her paper. She is still having difficulty, so I try 5 + ? = 8. That was an aha moment for her. I'll return to her work later to see how she explains her thinking, to check in on where her thinking has gone.
I also have two girls working together who collaborate exceptionally well together, and both solve the problem two different ways. I plan on showcasing them during the Close to this lesson. I am not only proud of them solving the task successfully, but exchanging ideas in their Math Turn and Talk.
I have students write, using as many vocabulary words as possible listed on the Math wall, to explain and justify how they got their answers. As it was, time ran out, and we continued to work on this, and then share out in an Author's Chair our responses. Students have to understand things twice as well in order to explain things clearly. By reading writing aloud, students can find errors that might otherwise be missed. I would also allow students to read aloud their writing to their table partner before the entire class in order to engage in a more comfortable format prior to this low-stake writing task. (This accommodates lower level learners, EC, and ESL students.)
During this time, I also have one boy who didn't understand what an interval was. We used the interactive number line to demonstrate what an interval was.