Thursday, April 24, 2014

More Geometric Artwork!

Last week was state testing for us 
which made for a
LONG week!

I tried to lighten the load by doing some fun math/art projects.
This is the last one that we did.
We had just finished up our Geometry Unit,
so I made this as a culminating project.

Students had to use geometric shapes and terms 
to make a map of an imaginary city.

Here are some of their maps...

You can grab this fun activity in my TPT Store!

What have you done to lighten the mood during testing?
I would love to hear your ideas too!

Here is a great deal on some other math goodies from Educents.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How Big is a Billion Projects and a Winner!

The kids had fun during testing week creating these fun projects.
You can read the original post here and grab the FREEBIE.

And Congratulations to Jessica Ivey from Ideas by Jivey
for winning my
How Big is a Billion Giveaway!
She won these great books and a Starbucks card.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Making Math Magical Art!

I just love these little guys, don't you!
They're from my buddy Krista 
You can grab them here.

This is our big testing week.  Ugh!
In an effort to lighten things up 
(in a fun and educational way,)
We have been making some Math Art!

Yesterday we made these cute Quadrilateral Robots.
(We just finished up our geometry unit.)

I found them on TPT and knew they would be perfect for this week!

Students chose 3 colors of construction paper,
traced all of the quadrilateral shapes,
cut and glued, to make these robotic creations!

It took them quite a while to trace and cut the pieces.
(Just what the teacher needed to keep them busy!)
All pieces and details had to be quadrilaterals.
I think they turned out cute!

THEN I saw this post from my friend Joey over at
Perfect addition to our Math Magic activities!

They had to create robots that were symmetrical.
Some of them had a tough time with this.

I think hers turned out better than ours
(as they should!)
but ours are cute too!

Not robot related, but we have also been working on this idea 
that I found over at E is for Explore!

Their original idea was for the kids to draw out the designs, measuring with a ruler.
I added my own little twist to it and had them create a template in PowerPoint.
They still had to use the guides and ruler to measure the width of their lines, but they were able to draw and copy the lines, and insert the polygon shapes (all tech skills they need to know) on the PowerPoint page.  Then they saved and printed them.  It took a LOT less time than it would have to draw them out.  They are still working on them, but here are a few of their templates.

Then they chose 2 complimentary colors to create their pattern.
Here is my finished example.

Hope they finish them soon.

What are some fun things you do to break up the stress during testing week?

Here's a fun geometry game you can grab right now on Educents!

Optimizing Student Outcomes in the Home

Today's post is brought to you by Derrek from
Founded more than a decade ago, Mentoring Minds, the Critical Thinking for Life Company, develops affordable, effective learning tools that give students the skills to succeed, not just in the classroom, but in life. Experienced educators create K-12 print and online resources that integrate best practices for instruction, assessment, and learning for students across the nation. For more information about Mentoring Minds and its educational resources, call 800-585-5258 or visit
The Home-School Connection
In order to maximize student outcomes, effective teaching strategies must include the promotion of a fertile learning environment at home as well as in the classroom. While parents will always play the lead role in that effort, teachers and administrators can also help parents. Educators may serve as advisors to families on how they can best shape their homes into places where children are excited to continue their studies once the school day is over.
The classroom is only half the battle
While most students receive an overwhelming majority of their instruction in school, they still only spend about a quarter of their week there. That means there is a lot of time outside of the classroom that must be accounted for in order to ensure that students are getting the most out of their education.
Teachers and administrators can't go home with their students, but they can work with parents to help them better understand some of the things that can be done at home to promote further academic growth. Some of those things are simple, like making sure children get to school on time, while others are a little more complicated. Only by taking an active approach will educators be able to help students and their parents take full advantage of a child's time as a student.
Emphasize good study habits
Sometimes, all it takes to help a below average student catch up with his or her peers, or enable an average student to excel, is preparation. By coming to school each day prepared to tackle the coming lessons, students are already in position to realize their full potential.
Teachers can talk to their students about how to prepare for each day. Do they get up a few minutes early to go over homework from the night before? Do their parents give them short quizzes over breakfast or before going to bed? Was their homework and other school material organized at home in a way that will make it easier for them to access once school is in session?
Those are all simple questions that teachers can ask that should help students at least think about the kinds of things they can do to prepare for each day. They also act as a guide that students can take home with them and discuss with their parents. In fact, drawing up an actual checklist that details these skills and responsibilities, and having parents sign it on a regular basis to indicate everything has been completed, can make it easier for all the parties involved to create an effective home learning environment.
Parental involvement
Parental involvement is always crucial to how well students study when they are at home. However, it's nearly impossible to compel parents to engage in the many different activities that help promote active learning.
Nonetheless, there are certain things parents can do that are more effective than others. One of the best is to encourage parents to read to their children, or have children ask their parents to read to them. It doesn't necessarily take a lot of time--just a few minutes before going to bed or a quick trip to the library on the weekend--but it can go a long way toward improving student performance.
Culture is also an important tool in creating a better home learning environment. Simple things like playing different kinds of music, taking quick trips to a local museum and discussing politics, art and community events at home can open up a world of thought and ideas to children. Teachers should give their students information in the classroom, then encourage them to go home and engage in conversations with their parents about the topics being taught.
What are some things that you do to foster the Home-School Connection?
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