I’ve told you about our Learning Buddies, right? What?  I haven’t?  Man…what have I been doing?

Ok, so quick explanation: at our school, each class is paired up with another class–one from a primary grade and one from an intermediate grade.  We spend time together doing fun and fabulous things together, learning and growing together.  Sometimes we read, sometimes we write, often times we just play games together.  We are lucky enough to be buddies with a fabulous group of second graders from Mrs. Uhles’ class.  We love them and try to get together as soon as we can!

So…the afternoon before we left for Thanksgiving break, we had our buddies up to play some games together.  We had just finished a study on Ancient West Africa, and had learned how to play Mancala–which is an ancient African game–and we wanted to share it with our little friends.


We were able to find a way to play Mancala online, too, so we got to show our buddies how to use QR codes, as well as the new iPads!  Double fun.  🙂


Do you have Learning Buddies?  What do you do together? Tell us about it!

Math Warm-Ups Nov. 26-30, 2012

This week we had five whole days of school!  And even better, we had five math warm-ups!  Check ’em out!







This warm-up question illustrates just how authentic and real-life I try to make these.  This one really came from a conversation I had with a group as they were working on the problem I gave during work time on Monday.  It was just where I wanted us to go, and so presenting it as a warm-up made sense.  And when it can be suggested as a kid’s idea instead of mine–which it really was, anyway–that’s even better.




As they did these warm-ups, the focus was on finding common denominators to help them add.  Rather than finding the LCM, however, I want them to connect these to work we’ve already done with fraction-percent equivalents; they know they can double or halve certain fractions to make other ones.  Mostly we’ve worked with thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eighths, and tenths, but I threw that 25 and 50 one in there to see if they could transfer the thinking to a similar problem.  They could. 🙂




This one reminded (or introduced to some) us of important vocabulary of improper fractions and mixed numbers.  As we added these, they focused on changing the mixed number to an improper fraction, adding them, and then reducing it to simplest terms.  Notice how the last one has the fraction circled?  It was on this problem that someone figured out that we could add the whole numbers and then just add the fractions and put them back together.  Smart, huh?  Again–this was so much more meaningful that they discovered it on their own, than if I just told them that they could do that as a shortcut.




These problems encouraged my friends to focus on the strategy we had discovered at the end of the warm-up the day before, and also threw in some vocab we already knew (sums).  By the end of this conversation, there some kids who were smiling, which was nice considering all the frowns I’d seen early on in the week.  🙂

On a side note…sorry for the mess of the charts this week.  I ran out of chart paper and had to use the backs, too!  It’s resourceful, right?  Or just messy…not sure which. 🙂