Homework: Thursday, February 4, 2016

Math: SPB 7.3 if not finished.

Reading: Read 30 minutes

Writing: Try creating 3 to 5 haiku of your choice. See directions below.

3 lines of poetry total

No rhyming

Try to create a strong sensory impression (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing)

Try to capture an observation about nature or human nature. (Deeper thinking here.)

Line 1: 5 syllables

Line 2: 7 syllables

Line 3: 5 syllables


Sample Haiku:

The beautiful sparrow

pulls night over us like a blanket,

along with their sweet dreams.


Hello, Ant! You are

very strong. Can you survive

my thumb? I guess not.


An old silent pond…

A frog jumps into the pond,

splash! Silence again.


Light of the moon

Moves west, flowers’ shadows

Creep eastward.

Multiplication of Fractions is Happening!

mult fract mult methods


Photo Credit Jim Bentley


I’m working on getting chapter 6 finals graded today and this weekend. Initial results look very good! :)

Your kiddos are doing some SERIOUS thinking, and I want to share with you the maturity and growth I’m seeing in EACH child is showing SOOOOO clearly in class. We are thinkers…not just doers.

That said, I wanted to share with you an image.

When we start multiplying fractions, we want to understand what it means. If we take 2/9 of 27, we want to take a part of 27 and not the whole amount.

On the far left, you see 9 groups. The blue counters represent nine groups of one. If we equally share 27 amongst the nine groups, we see three counters in each group. I circled the groups to show they were together and arranged horizontally.

If we take 2 of the 9 groups, we see that 2/9 of 27 is 6.

The middle example shows the traditional algorithm of 2/9 x 27. By decomposing 27 into 9 x3, we’re not only reinforcing multiplication facts, we’re also showing that an equivalent form of one, 9/9 in this example, can be removed from the fraction leaving us with 2×3/1 which is 6.

The final example on the far right shows a method that might be familiar to many of you. It’s called “cross cancelling.”

We looked at this method today and tried to mathematically explain what it means to “cancel” or “cross out” a number and replace it with a 1 or a 3. Most students were not sure what was happening and for good reasoning.

While this method can yield the right answer, it does not explain why. It does not give a mathematical justification when looking at the syntax.

During a three year professional development program focusing on math, I learned that teaching “cross cancelling” is not the best practice to get students multiplying fractions. Syntax-wise, it’s confusing to look at. It does nothing to explain where the 27 or the 9 “went to.” They’re both just “gone.”

PLEASE, if you are helping your child at home with math, emphasize thinking and explaining and justifying each step over producing the right answer. You will help your child so much more in the long run if they understand what they do and why they do it.

We have emphasized “decomposing” numbers all year. 27 can be “decomposed into two factors: 9 and 3, and students know factors are numbers that are multiplied to produce a product. PLEASE emphasize with your child how to use the proper academic language and to show their work carefully and neatly.

Why the emphasis on syntax and deep understanding over just producing an answer? I’ll share with you a TED Talk from a high school math teacher to help explain.

Please, if you have questions or comments about any of the ideas in this post send me an email or give me a call or text. I’d be more than happy to discuss why we use multiple methods and emphasize concepts and process or memorizing steps to yield the right answer.

Homework: Thursday, January 28, 2016


(Don’t know who that is? Google him! :) )

Math: Big Book Lesson 7.1 Finish Q’s front and back. MY GROUP: Lesson 7.1 Q’s 2, 4, 6, 8, 10

Reading: Re-read Chapter 4 Journey To Topaz

Writing: Make a list of what you would pack in 2 suitcases the size of your desk. ONLY a list. Not a paragraph.

Field trip permission slips due ASAP.

Leadership Camp Falcon slips due ASAP.

Mission Springs Intent Forms due ASAP.

Homework: Thursday, January 14, 2016

Math: Independent Group finish BIG BOOK lesson 6.9 front and back only.

My group finish SPB 6.7 Q’s 2, 4, 5, 9, 10 and 1 & 2 on the back.

Reading: Read 30 minutes. Finish INB Session 2 paragraphs. THREE: interpretive question & mood & tone questions.

Remember what we said about mood: It’s how YOU feel when reading a passage. Tone is how the author Treats a topic.

Show your parents the two Mary Poppins trailers with different moods and tones by clicking HERE. One is a “parody.” One is a serious movie trailer trying to advertise a film to people.

Show your parents the remix 10 Things I Hate About Commandments. What’s your mood when watching it? What’s the filmmaker’s tone when he made it?