Math: Number Sense & Place Value

Are your students learning about numbers?  You can teach number flexibility by practicing a variety of strategies for reading, writing, and comparing numbers!

Here are some easy, practical ways to illustrate Number Sense and Place Value!

Inquiry and Curiosity

Rule #1 Curiosity comes first

"Questions can be windows to great instruction, but not the other way around."


If you're passionate about teaching INQUIRY and you care about your students' CURIOSITY, then I think you'll love this TED talk!

Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to spark learning



We are working on poetry in class this week; I just love quotes from A.A. Milne!

“But it isn't easy,' said Pooh. 'Because Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you.” 
― A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

Inspiring Quotes

Ever since I was a middle-school kid, I've always been drawn to quotes.  When I would find something written eloquently, something that spoke to my heart, I would write it down in a little journal.  Eventually, I had a 'diary' of quotes.  I just came across one of my all time favorites, and I thought I would share it.  When I first read it, I thought it was about education, then I remembered who Pearl Bailey was and realized her audience.  Either way, it's one I keep with my favorite quotes about teaching:

"I see their souls, and I hold them in my hand, and because I love them, they weigh nothing."  -- Pearl Bailey

Are you a quote collector?  If so, share a quote you like, one that inspires you, or one that makes you smile!

A Look Inside...

I was inspired to share my classroom this week by two people.  First, I happened by Mandy's Tips for Teachers --a great blog from a second grade teacher.  She posted pictures from the inside her classroom, and I thought, "What a great thing to do!"

Then, a colleague/friend popped into my room today and said my room always feels "very warm." This really 'filled my bucket' with a good feeling.  Thanks Jen! :)

So, I was inspired to share my very colorful classroom.

A view from the doorway: kids sit in groups of 4 or 5, Abenaki moons hanging from the ceiling, my desk off to the right.

My guided reading/guided math corner.  

From the door-sharp left look: dry erase board (front of the room.)  

My desk!

Reading corner and small work table (books are tucked in there and off to the right.)  
You can see our character collages up on the wall, and if you look closely there are some great dioramas on top of the book cases.

View from my desk: front board with math learning targets posted on the bottom left, greek/latin root posters above board, and Hopes and Dreams on the purple banner.
 This is a new arrangement: student book boxes, writing tools, and nonfiction text books.  Vacation table is visible in the corner of this picture.  Behind these bookcases is a large rug, where we meet for Morning Meeting and learning.  I love this new space!

Thanks for the inspiration to share!  Hope to see some other classrooms online! :)

Grab My Button!

Thank you for sharing my button on your blog!  Leave me a comment with your blog address and I will add yours to mine! :)

Here is my link: 
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The Learning Lab: Working on my Header and Blog Image

The Learning Lab: Working on my Header and Blog Image: So, I've been trying to figure out how to make a header.  In doing so, I played around with some names and images.  I decided on The Lea...

Working on my Header and Blog Image

So, I've been trying to figure out how to make a header.  In doing so, I played around with some names and images.  I decided on The Learning Lab--as a play on learning, science, and my dog (a lab!)
I'm in love with my iPad app ArtStudio.  It's really fun and fairly easy to use.

My first true love and inspiration--Oscar :)

Check out some of my ideas:

 Oscar in a graduation cap:

 Oscar in goggles... I still need to work on these:

Oscar in a lab coat--I'm going to work on a better fit!

Any other ideas on how to make him look like a "Learning Lab"???

Classification using a Dichotomous Key

Teaching science brings me such joy.  I love the whole process... from uncertainty to joyful discovery!  Teaching students how to sort and organzine objects is an important science skill.

When you began to discover the process of classification--your students' faces will light up!  It's fun--and interesting and challenging!

Literacy Scores--Freebie

Each week my class works on reading fluency pieces.  This week, I began assessing their progress with fluency rate, accuracy, spelling of high frequency words (from the text), and reading comprehension questions.  

Here are the tickets I made.  I'm giving the scores to my students, but you can use it for your own records!

Guess the Idiom!

This was such a fun and interactive way to share our learning about idioms!
1.  Students chose an idiom.
2.  We discussed the meaning.
3.  They illustrated the literal meaning.
4.  We hung them up on our hallway lockers with hidden answers posted below.
5.  We smiled a lot, as we listened to people try to guess the idioms!

Can YOU guess these idioms???

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Native American Abenaki Projects

Here are some of the projects we worked on this year!


  Tools for Hunting and Survival
  Beliefs and Customs Maps


Fire for Food





Making Clip art on Ipad

I decided to try my hand at making clip art.  I love drawing, but doing it on the iPad was a new experience!  Check out my new furball friends! 

Copyright 2013 Stacey Colegrove

 I am using this to review similes with my class next week!  

Resources to Teach Descriptive Language in Writing

I LOVE the book I Can Write Like That by Susan Ehmann and Kellyann Gayer.  

I used this text to create a fun lesson plan around the Red Clover Books we read.  

When in doubt... Dry Erase Boards!

It never ceases to amaze me... kids LOVE using dry erase boards and markers!  Just when math class was beginning to look like a bust, we pulled out the dry erase boards.  My kids really perked up and had fun showing various division strategies!

Using Text Features to Read Informational Texts!

Captured on Film!  
After teaching my class about the importance of text features, I caught two kiddos using the resource on their own accord! 

In guided reading and whole-class reading, we have repeatedly discussed the importance of text features.  They enable us to understand the subject, locate information, and even gain new understandings!  These include: headings, table of contents, diagrams, captions, indexes, and the list goes on!!!

 Here is an example of Print Text Features:

Native American Study--Using Semantic Maps

Fourth Grade students began their study of the Abenaki (Woodland/Algonquin Native Americans.)  To begin this study, each study filled out their own Semantic Map.  Students did a *think*pair*share--they did their own thinking, paired with a partner to added new ideas, and shared out as a large group.  I made a larger Semantic Map, which we kept up on the wall for the duration of the study.  

After this, students began reading about the Abenaki, highlighting interesting facts, and recording facts. They had several jobs to do with these texts.  They needed to collect facts, which they used to create posters or Keynote presentations.  They also chose one area of study.  Each student worked on some sort of a performance task to demonstrate their findings.  We had hand-made transportation equipment, 3-D topographic maps, large-scale drawn maps, clothing made for dolls, model wigwams, and the list goes on!  


This was such a great unit!

As an additional reading piece, students listened to and read many Abenaki and Pourquoi folktales.  Each student then wrote their own Pourquoi folktale.  

Click on the Image here to get your own semantic map worksheet--for free!