Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Understanding Place Value

Here in our classroom we are working on understanding the patterns in place value. These kids have been working since they were really young to understand our base ten system, but have not often been asked to explain how it works. Today we began working to understand that...

the pattern that exists when moving to the left in a number is times ten. 


when moving to the left in a number, each digit is worth ten times more than the one to its right.

Listen as they begin to articulate this pattern:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Float Your Boat

Here at Skillin School we are working on a whole-school initiative to do some learning around Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. Students who demonstrate these attributes will be recognized. In our classroom this week, we have been diving into the idea of what cooperation actually means and what it looks like in the classroom. 

One activity challenged students to use cooperation to build boats that float out of given materials. The goal of the activity was stated clearly to the students: to work effectively as a team to build a boat that floats. They were given an additional optional extension challenge as well. Students could opt to find out how many pennies their boats could hold without sinking. All of the six boats held an incredible number of pennies. But more importantly, ALL teams were equally successful, no matter whose boat held the most pennies. I used the penny extension to show that success does not mean winning or holding the most pennies. Success means achieving your goals. In this case, no one group was more successful than any other because they all met the original goal.  In an often winning-focused culture, this is a powerful lesson. 

Student Learning Statements:

"Success is not whether you win or lose."

"Teamwork requires everybody's ideas."

"Success means achieving goals."

"Teamwork requires everyone to work together."

"Teamwork requires problem solving."

"Cooperation means everyone works together towards a goal."

"Success means you worked together to accomplish your project." 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mega Penny Project

Sometimes it can be difficult to visualize huge numbers. Today we took a look at the Mega Penny Project. which was put together by a group of folks to help students do just that. Students were amazed to see what one million, one billion, one trillion actually look like.  Check it out for yourself...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Noodle Math

In order to better study and understand place value, we have been using an activity called "Noodle Math." These large numbers and noodle commas allow us to create large numbers and have all kinds of great conversations about the value of numbers. It is a great "aha" moment when a student can see what happens to the value of a number as it physically moves around in a number. Today they could see how Lilly's digit, 5, changed value depending on where in the number she was standing. Lilly's value was equal to 5, 50, 500, 5,000, 50,000, and 500,000 at different points in the lesson.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Here we are doing a little energizer to take a break between learning routines and procedures. 



Thursday, September 3, 2015


Well, our room is ready! Materials are organized, shelves are stocked, bins are labeled, and floors are polished. There is just one thing missing from the picture below...
Do you know what it is???????

All of you, of course! 

About Me

My photo
I live in Cape Elizabeth with my husband, two daughters, and our cat Nessie. Our family loves to spend time outdoors together, camping, hiking, and gardening. Another past time of mine is triathlons. I have completed nine triathlons, including one Half Ironman. I loved swimming, biking, and running 70.3 miles! You might also find me cozied up with a good book in my free time. I have been teaching for 10 years in a variety of grade levels. Fifth grade is my favorite! The kids are capable of so much! I can't say I have a favorite subject to teach, but love getting students to think deeply. I enjoy getting kids to think critically and be creative in all subject areas. I often use simulations and project based learning to do this. Teambuilding and working on social skills in another major goal of mine. Teaching kids to work effectively together and use good communication skills will help prepare them for life after school.