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Glyphs - A Form of Graphing

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Sometimes I think that teachers believe a glyph is just a fun activity, but in reality glyphs are a non-standard way of graphing a variety of information to tell a story. It is a flexible data representation tool that uses symbols to represent different data. Glyphs are an innovative instrument that shows several pieces of data at once and requires a legend/key to understand the glyph. The creation of glyphs requires problem solving, communication, and data organization.

Remember coloring pages where you had to color in each of the numbers or letters using a key to color certain areas or coloring books that were filled with color-by-numbers? Believe it or not, those pages were a type of glyph.

For the snowy season of winter I have created a snowman glyph. Not only is it a type of graph, but it is also an excellent activity for reading and following directions. Students finish a snowman using eight specific categories. At the end of the activity is a completed snowman glyph which the students are to "read" and answer the questions. Reading the completed glyph and interpreting the information represented is a skill that requires deeper thinking by the student. Students must be able to analyze the information presented in visual form. A glyph such as this one is very appropriate to use in the data management strand of mathematics.  If you are interested, just click under the resource cover page.

A Go Figure Debut for a Teacher Who is Anything but new!

Anne is an elementary teacher from Texas with over 32+ years
of experience. She believes in making lessons fun and engaging but at the same time keeping them tied to the curriculum. She differentiates by using task cards as this gives students a chance to get up and move about the room. She does many hands-on math and science activities with her students! 

Anne implemented, "Scientist of the Week" into her classroom with great success! She wrote more about this activity on her blog called Believe to Achieve  (September 30, 2016 post).  It is an easy and fun way to make sure there is science, using the Scientific Method, each week in your class! Check it out as this might be a fun activity you can add to your classroom!

For fun, Anne loves to travel! Any beach is her little slice of heaven! Growing up she lived in ten different states in the United States as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Germany; so, I guess the love of traveling is in her blood!

She also loves spending time with her husband and two grown children! Often times, she will grab a Starbucks and then shop the aisles of Target! On a hot day, she declares that there is nothing better than a 7-11 Slurpee! Of course she has the app so every 7th one is free!

Presently, Anne has 200 items in her Teachers Pay Teachers store (also called Believe to Achieve).  They focus primarily on math and science resources for the elementary grades. Of the 200 resources, 21 are free. Since I am always working on money with my grandchildren, I especially like the free one about counting money. It is a colorful set of 24 task cards that focuses on counting U.S. bills and coins up $10.00. Included are a recording sheet and an answer key!

If you really want to save time, Anne has a math bundle for third grade that is eight months of no prep, grade 3 math for September to April! That's a year's worth of math! Each month features 30 pages plus a bonus activity! It includes a table of contents and those ever important answer keys! All you have to do is print them out and then use them! It couldn't be any easier.  AND….you save 20% (that's $8.00) by buying the bundle instead of the individual products!! 

I believe students will enjoy Anne's fun filled activities because she takes the time to make them simple for you to use.  Take a few moments to check out her store and use the custom categories on the left of her store's home page to make your search easier.

The Long and Short of It - Division

The topic of long division has come up a great deal lately; so, I thought I would again post this article which was seen originally in September of 2014.

My remedial college math class is currently working on fractions. (Yes, many college students don't understand them!) When we discussed how to change an improper fraction to a mixed numeral, long division came up. I showed the class a shortcut I was taught many years ago (approximately when the earth was cooling) and none, no not even one student, had seen it before. I wonder how many of you are unfamiliar with it as well? First let's look at long division and how most students are taught today. We will use 534 divided by 3.

Now if that doesn't make your head swim, I don't know what will. Everything written in the third column is what the student must mentally do to solve this problem. Then we wonder why students have trouble with this process. There is another way, and it is called short division for a reason. This is the way I learned it.......
I don't know about you, but I would rather have my students doing mental math to solve division problems than writing everything out in the long form. And the paper and frustration you will save will be astounding! So what will it be.....long division or short division?

Divisibility Rules Resource
As a Side Note: Since many students do not know their multiplication tables, reducing fractions is almost an impossible task. The divisibility rules, if learned and understood, can be an excellent math tool. This resource contains four easy to understand divisibility rules and includes the rules for 1, 5, and 10 as well as the digital root rules for 3, 6, and 9. A clarification of what digital root is and how to find it is explained. Also contained in the resource is a dividing check off list for use by the student. If you are interested, just click under the resource title page.

Let's Pitch Paper!

My college students love, love games.  I found one on Pinterest which I adapted for the new class I am teaching called Conquering College.  In this class, the students have a reading quiz over an assigned article about every three weeks, and I am always trying to think of new ways to review. I tried the game, and it was a "hit".  It is called "Pitch" and here is how you play it.

1) Divide the class into two teams and assign them two pages of the article to review.

2) Each student is to write a question about their part of the article on half a sheet of paper.

3) Select two captains to come to the front of the room.

4) Have students crumble up the paper and throw it, trying to hit the captain of the opposite team. (I have team #1 throw; then team #2. I also have four questions that I throw into the mix.)

5) The captains mix up the questions and place them on a table. They then go to board to keep score.

6) Alternating between teams, one by one, the students go and pick a question, which they must read aloud and answer correctly for their team to get a point. If the student is unable to answer, the question goes to the other team for them to answer.

7) The captains are the last students to answer a question.

The first time we played, the two teams tied so both teams received a small candy bar. The students LOVED it!!!! They were not only engaged, but they were having fun. I was surprised when they said things like, "That isn't a good question because it can be answered with a yes or a no. Or that is a well written one." I think the next time we might make airplanes and call the game "Crash Landing."

I shared the game with other faculty members, and here is what a chemistry instructor wrote me...

"I have done 'muddiest point' with my chemistry students and had them ball up and throw their papers at me...even my double section which has 62 students. I got bombarded with blue paper as the students tried really hard to hit me. It was hysterical!!!"

So, now it is your turn. Maybe you will have a "pitch" battle or just maybe, the teams will "pitch" in and help each other.