A few ways to use mini whiteboards and a great way to clean them!!
Do you use mini whiteboards in your middle school classrooms? I love them!
I've never purchased them, but I remember when I had them made, when I was teaching elementary school. Other teachers at my school and I went to the local Home Depot, bought the large white panel boards, and the Home Depot people cut them to size!
It's been more than 20 years since I had them made, but I believe we were able to get thirty-two 12 x 12-inch whiteboards from one panel, and it cost less than $20.
Then I used blue and green electric tape to tape the edges so students wouldn't get any kind of scratches from the unfinished surfaces.
After several years, I retaped them with colorful Duck tape, to make them a little more pretty:-)
Using Mini Whiteboards
1) Mini whiteboards are a great way to increase student engagement.
When each student has their own marker and whiteboard, they are more likely to participate - they like the color of the markers and the space to do just a couple problems.
Even those students who often hesitate to participate are more likely to engage when they're using their own whiteboard.
2) Mini whiteboards are fantastic for fast finisher activities.
When students complete a whole-class activity at different times (like Footloose activities), they can grab a whiteboard and do something like practice with Order of Operations flashcards (these are awesome, by the way... they make for great, quick, differentiated practice).
With the whiteboards, markers, and erasers readily available, the kids are perfectly happy to grab a whiteboard and marker and get practicing:-)
Algebraic Expressions in 6th Grade Math
Translating between words and math in 6th grade - sometimes this can be easy, but some phrases can definitely be tricky!
By the time we start 'officially' translating between words and algebraic expressions, we've already done some translating to numerical expressions through our daily spiral review.
To connect translating words to numerical expressions and translating between words and algebraic expressions, we take some more time to translate between words and numerical expressions. We use an organizer to list the key words that typically signal the different operations. (I use the same type of circle organizer I use for my "Memory Wheel" templates.)
We typically include the following math terms and phrases, as you can see in the organizer:
Great End of School Year Activity!
This post was taken from my old blog and revised...much more detail added:-) Originally posted in June of 2014!
Tessellations in middle school math - one of my all-time favorite activities! I especially love using tessellation activities at the end of the school year....art projects like these keep students engaged:-) We normally take a several days to work on tessellations...sometimes more, depending on how much time we have.
First off, what is a tessellation? I show students a few examples and ask what they believe a tessellation is. They typically come up with the idea that a tessellation is the repeating of a shape or shapes in a pattern. I usually have to add the idea that there are no gaps or overlaps in a tessellation.
Tessellations with Regular Shapes
We start with using regular shapes, so students understand the idea of tessellations in general.
We were fortunate to have pattern blocks of hexagons, triangle, squares, etc. in the classroom, so students could use those to trace and make their shapes as precise as possible.
After using regular shapes, we extend to creating Escher-like tessellations. I share several example of these with students so they can study them and see the different types of animals, objects, etc found in them.
How to Teach Decimal Addition and Subtraction
How do you teach adding and subtracting decimals in upper elementary or middle school math?
In 6th grade, my math students have typically come to me knowing the 'rules' for adding and subtracting decimals.
However, when the number of digits in the numbers they're adding or subtracting aren't the same, they don't necessarily line the numbers up the way they need to...even though they 'know' the rules. Why is this?
I believe it's because they really don't understand the point of 'lining up the decimal points.'
My belief is reinforced by student comments I collected one year as we began our decimal operations unit.
I asked my 6th grade math students to solve 35.2 + 7.489 and then explain why their answer made sense. These are a few of their responses:
Of the 120 students in my classes, only 8 said the answer made sense because "35 + 7 is 42" or because "I estimated" or "when we're doing addition, we know we end up with a bigger number."
I don't want to assume that students who didn't write this didn't think about those things at all, but to the majority of students, their answers "made sense" when they followed the rules - even if they didn't remember the rules correctly.
Hey there! I'm Ellie - here to share math fun, best practices, and engaging, challenging, easy-prep activities ideas!