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How To Create Global Learners With New Languages

     My students are growing into global learners. One thing we do is dabbling in new languages. I designed our Language Board as a template. All I have to do is insert the correct phrases for the English equivalents.

     We spend about six weeks on each language, including Spanish, French, and German.  We're fortunate to have students and parents who speak these Spanish and German and who love to help out. I also supplement with online phrase generators.  Can you think of another language that we might include?

     What do you do to develop global learners?

Growing Grade By Grade
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New Students...or Visitors?

     Wow, what a great science class today!  A parent guest-speaker brought in several live specimens for my students to learn about. They included a hissing cockroach, a millipede, a ball python, a corn snake bred to a reddish color - hence, his name "Lava" - 2 guinea pigs, and a gecko.

     Our very experienced parent presenter let students touch and enjoy and ask questions.  It was a great day for all of us!   Do you have guest speakers who come to your class?  Tell us about it!
Ball python

Corn snake bred to a reddish color.

Hissing cockroach

Growing Grade By Grade
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Where is Worksheet City?

     I've found a way to remind students that I expect certain behaviors during our most active, hands-on activities.  This works especially well when using science equipment or manipulatives. 

     I begin by reminding them that our manipulatives are "tools, not toys" and are to be treated with care and respect.  I then tell them that anyone who chooses to misuse materials or not follow directions will earn a one-way ticket to "Worksheet City". 

     This means that, instead of the fun, hands-on activity we're all engaged in, that person will have to do a boring worksheet or two to learn the same thing.   So far this year, no one has hopped that train and there was only one customer last year! 

     This is meant to be a low-stress, class-joke way of encouraging correct behavior while still having real consequences.  Do you have a similar system in your classroom?

Growing Grade By Grade
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The "Suds" Experiment...Not What You Think!

My kids loved this experiment where we asked, "Which dish soap makes the most suds?"  Through discussion, they decided that the most suds was the best cleaner.  Not sure if that's true, but I went with it!

     I put students in groups of four and every person had an empty water bottle. I provided four brands of dish soap. They had to decide who was using each brand.

     Their written directions told them to add 1/2 cup of water to the bottle and 2 drops (not 2 squirts) of one of the dish soaps I provided. They closed their bottle and shook for 15 seconds, then measured the height of their suds.  They recorded the data for everyone in their group for comparison.

     I love teaching kids how to analyze data. Analysis is basically making true statements about their conclusions. For this activity, I required at least two analysis statements. Their conclusion was to answer the original question.

     You can get a FREE copy of the Student Write-Up for the Suds Experiment by subscribing to my newsletter. It gives you access to my FREE Resource Library! The write-up has teacher information and a front-to-back student sheet. It looks like this.

     Yes, we had fun! We also followed the Scientific Method and it was a real-life product comparison activity. Who could ask for more? I found this great, almost free, experiment on Pinterest this summer, but I don't know who to, thanks to whoever posted this!

Growing Grade By Grade
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Make A Rules of Divisibility Flip Book

     It's time to learn the Rules of Divisibility as part of our study of factoring! We factored all of the numbers from 1-100. We discovered what makes a number prime or composite

     We combined what we discovered in a layer book. You can find directions to make the book here. Each page, or layer, has a number on it. When you lift the flap, you find the rule for that number. I used the last page to emphasize a "Major Math Concept", which you can see in the picture.  I try to drive home the relationship between factors and divisors.  

     The kids are actually referring to it frequently, which makes me happy!  

     Who else has used a tool like this for math?

Growing Grade By Grade
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A Simple Team-Building Routine With Big Results


     I learned this team-building strategy from a fellow teacher and adapted it for my 5th graders.  

     I call it "Triple H"- it stands for "Hug, Handshake, or High Five".  Every Friday as my students are lined up to go home and I'm telling them good-bye, each child and I share one of the three gestures - student choice.  OK, we also add fist bumps as a choice, but that ruins the acronym!   

     Triple H gives me a chance to let the kids know that even if we've hit bumps in the road during the week we are still a family and I care for them.  

     I've always been too focused on getting academics covered in the classroom and I really needed a custom or ritual like this. I'd heard that the single most important indicator of success for a child is the relationship with the teacher. A regular team-building activity or ritual would strengthen our classroom family. 

     I like that Triple H is not invasive, the student gets to choose what we share, and I have a moment with each individual. What has been surprising to me is the number of hugs I get! Both girls and boys seem to value giving and receiving a hug before the weekend. 

     We used Triple H for most of a year. I believe that my kids appreciated the weekly check-in. I was really touched one Friday when I'd been out for a meeting. I returned to campus right at dismissal and waved at a group of my students who were waiting for rides. Two students waved back anxiously and said, "We didn't get to do Triple H! Can we do it Monday?"

     Do you have a classroom custom like this?

Growing Grade By Grade
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The Order of Operations: A Global Collaboration Tool


     When I ask, "What is the order of operations?", many of my students chant, "PEMDAS!" or "Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally!"  While this is a way to remember the steps in the algorithm, this is one of those concepts where I want students to fully understand not just how to do it, but why we use it.
     We discuss examples of doctors, mathematicians, and scientists around the world wanting to work together to solve big problems, but coming up with different answers.  It helps kids see that, if everyone is on the same page, we have a common language and we can truly collaborate.

     This is why I call the order of operations a global collaboration tool. It's a globally accepted definition and the order in which all mathematicians calculate operations. It allows us to work together toward common goals.

     Download this FREE readable that helps kids understand more about the order of operations. It's full of information and classroom help.

Growing Grade By Grade
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Having Fun Learning About The Scientific Process

     Our first science activity of the year was "How many drops of water can you fit on a penny"?   We discussed the steps of the Scientific Method: 

  • Set a Purpose or Ask A Question 
  • Research 
  • Hypothesize
  • Experiment
  • Record and Analyze Data
  • Draw A Conclusion  

     Materials are inexpensive and readily available: 

  • napkin
  • dropper
  • penny
  • a cup of water to share at the table

      I like this activity for so many reasons. It quickly gives students experience with the Scientific Method, it leads to other questions, such as, "Why does the water look like a bubble? or Why does it take so long for the water to spill off the penny?", it gives them experience using equipment, and because they like it!  Happy Science!

Growing Grade By Grade
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