Sunday, March 3, 2013

My First Five for (Last) Friday Link-Up (Such Fun!)

(And with a title like that, I am a little disappointed that I am not teaching alliteration!)

I am often reminding students to follow directions. I have seen this lovely graphic on many blogs and I have enviously viewed lots of posts linking up to these collections each week. Silly me. All along, I thought everything had to happen ON a Friday. Abut those directions, Kim...
This past week, I was so excited to have a number of activities that could add up to FIVE on a Friday. When I went to check on the details to prepare myself for the link up, I was thrilled to find out that Doodle Bugs actually allows you a whole week to come up with all of the excitement. Woo Hoo! Oh happy day... or... week! Delightedly, I am already planning to link up some other time with events that have happened throughout the week.

For the record, though, this time all of these happenings did occur ON a Friday.

First up, we spent some day cutting up flash cards for our Mesopotamia study. Students often make their own cards for different areas of study--but we were running short on time and I wanted to add a few to our study. This is a communal time... we play music and chat and study together. 

Then it's time for a quick clean up. I know it's strange to blog about a trash receptacle, but these make me smile. I bought them baskets at Dollar Tree last summer (to match my room, of course). In my room, table leaders are responsible for getting everything into the recycling bin which limits the number of kids up and walking around. This system keeps everything manageable and I'm always impressed that they their work spaces are always tidy after projects. {Happy sigh!}

As we near the end of our study of Mesopotamia, we tried out a little cuneiform of our own on some miniature clay tablets. Pictured below are bird, ox, fish, grain and bowl. I’d like to tell you that I know which symbol is which… but I can tell you that the students DO know! And, yes, they are wearing plastic gloves… but that is a topic for another blog post!

Like most teachers, I have students who have a range of skills and struggles. Sometimes, students need to go back and add some math skills from previous years in order to use them as a foundation for new sixth grade learnings. This year I seem to have a lot of kids who do not have a real understanding of decimals… and they use the word “point” without knowing what they are saying. They can do operations with decimals, but they don't know what decimal amounts look like--or what those amounts mean.

I use manipulatives to illustrate mathematical concepts whenever I can. For decimals, we use money, rulers, stopwatches, base ten blocks--whatever we can find in order to demonstrate those big ideas that help students understand mathematics. After doing activities similar to the one below numerous times, I heard what is considered music to a teacher’s ears: “OOOOOoooooh, I get it now…” And I’m pretty sure that she does!

Part of our behavior program centers around the accruing of “free time” points which a special time that we call “social studies{wink wink}” using giant air quotes and big winks. After all, it is a time to work on getting along and being SOCIAL! Students earn points through acts of kindness, above-and-beyond-wonderfulness and compliments from other staff members. They need to accrue at least 15 points to cash in, but they can bank the points and carry them over to the next week if they agree as a group to do so. We keep track of the points on the white board, and it is a student's job to add on points as they are earned throughout the week.

Strange as it sounds, kids have actually improved their social skills because there are three rules for this time: 1) You can’t say you can’t play, 2) You must involve yourself in an activity with at least one other person, and 3) No inappropriate conversations or activities are allowed. Students can choose from a variety of games I have collected over the years. I find this is also a chance for me to learn a little about my students through simple observations as well! And on this day, they even helped me clean up the cupboard!

I don't know about you, but almost every child in my room is sick! We are going through boxes and boxes of tissues each day. It seems that we are filling the recycling bin... with tissue boxes! I am so thankful that I have not yet gotten "it," and I am determined to outlast the variety of bugs that have been circulated through my classroom. So far, so good! (Personally, I think that Starbucks has curative powers!)

So that's my first contribution to Five for Friday. Click HERE (or on the graphic above) to see how the week went in other places around the blog-o-sphere. It truly is a wonderful link-up and I just know you are going to love peeking in on some other classrooms!

And, as always, thanks for stopping by!

PS I love my Stitched Flags from Ashley Hughes. You can find them HERE on TpT!


  1. It looks as if you have had a fabulous week! I love the little tablets :) And, I'm so glad to see you using manipulatives when your kiddos needed them! This just solidifies my admiration of your teaching:)

  2. Love your activities and pictures!! Definitely worth the wait but I wish it was still Friday!! :)

  3. Hey Kim!!
    It looks like you had a great week! I love the idea of kiddos earning points for acts of kindness! I think I may add this into my room--the kiddos really do need some down time, especially with all this high-stakes testing, the kindness is an added bonus! (who knows--maybe I can clean some closets too haha :) I think this would be something that they'd (and I'd) be interested in--I'll keep you posted :)

    Here's to another fabulous week!!

  4. awe, love the Mesopotamia clay cuneiform! we do that each year but I've never provided gloves, haha, you are smart!

  5. I am way behind in your blog, I'm sorry dear Kim!!! Your room looks like it is full of fantastic happenings right now (well, last week because I'm behind!). I really love your trash receptacles and I don't think it's strange at all to celebrate them on your blog (or maybe we are just strange together!). Happy weekend Kim :) :)

  6. I love your rules for the "social studies" time. I need to try that! Your cabinet looks so nice and organized. Don't you love when you get something checked off that to do list?

  7. Hi! I'm your newest follower. I had the same problem teaching decimals last year. We used the base ten blocks too, but some of the kids just didn't get it...and then after much determination and hard work, the light bulbs went on.
    Doodling Around in 6th Grade

  8. What a wonderful blog post - looks like you had a busy Friday! :)

    I like your rules for social activities - I definitely need to implement that with my fifth grade kiddos!

    Just stumbled onto your blog - and I'm so glad that I did! :)

    Joy in the Journey

  9. I'm your newest follower. Such a fun clay project! Thanks for sharing.
    Hunter's Tales from Teaching


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