Saturday, November 17, 2012

DIsguises, Snakes & Subtraction {freebie}

"Mrs. Bates, may I speak to you a moment?" my principal formally announced in the staff room the other morning. UT OH!!! What could this be about?

"I was notified that your room was not cleaned last night ........due to a loose snake," she finished with a grin.

Yep, my sneaky snakes got out again last week! One of my non-snake loving parents found Mini-Me when she reached into the back of a drawer. She proclaimed her surprise with a loud shaky exclamation appropriate for firsties' ears, thank goodness.

Striker is much more crafty and only comes out at night. The janitorial crew was so alarmed they left the lights on and hightailed it out of there. That snake is going to get a stern talking to when I find him because some of my parents have stopped volunteering due to their fear of snakes. Doesn't he know his thrill seeking is LESS important than my pilgrim art project getting prepped? And if I have to start vacuuming my own room he is going to lose his hide (that's a fake rock to hide under) for a week!

I read online that you can put painters tape sticky side up along the floor and sometimes the snake will get stuck. I am not sure I am desperate enough to try that. If he is stuck that means it would take some careful work to get him off unhurt and I really can't imagine me rubbing baby oil on a hungry grumpy corn snake.

Needless to say, a new snake cage is on order so this madness can stop.

On to some academics.
This week we worked on Subtraction. I focused on the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices and tried for the first time to have the students explain their process in written form.
#1. Students make a solution plan.
#5. Students use tools strategically.

I made this anchor chart to organize our thinking.
We have been practicing using the vocabulary of strategies and tools.

I asked my son Quinn to demonstrate what I call Bump (counting on with fingers.) We used this first with addition 2 + ?=6 and now again as a possible way to solve a missing part question like 6-?=2
The bumping part is key because young children often make the mistake of counting the starting number.  The bumping action gives them something to do as they say the starting number and the fingers up truly are the numbers counted on.

This is the son who broke his elbow. Notice how he has that one at a different angle. Interesting.

Okay, back to my class. Partners were asked to work together to solve Thanksgiving-themed word problems. This format is similar to the PBAs (Performance Based Assessments) my district used to do. Students were asked to:
1. agree on a strategy
2. pick an appropriate tool
3. write and draw about how they solved the problem.

I think this is a great start!  If you'd like a copy of the anchor chart and word problems click {HERE.}

 I'll leave you with some pics of our wonderful turkey disguise projects. I wish I could post them all!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!



  1. Love the anchor chart, and those turkeys----JUST TOO CUTE!!

    First Grade and Fabulous

  2. Those turkeys are just adorable! What clever disguises!

    Down Under Teacher

  3. Oh my! I wish we could have pets in our classroom! I don't know about snakes though!

    Those turkeys are super cute. I am going to have to do that next year!


  4. Love your anchor chart and WOW, your children are showing they really understand subtraction. I know how much preteaching it takes to get there. Great job and thanks for sharing!

  5. Great and icky story about your snake. I hate them. I love the subtraction anchor chart. Thanks for the video to explain the bump. As I read the chart I had wondered what the bump was. And your Turkeys are fantastic.

  6. I'm not allowed to have my snakes in the classroom anymore! Boo!

  7. Thanks for the chart & assessment. Love the turkeys! Go Giants!

  8. Jenn,
    Your BUMP method is one I have forgotten and plan to implement again! Thank you so much for the freebies! So glad to be a follower because your ideas are FANTASTIC!
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

  9. Love the turkies....I have a student who would love the SF Giants one!

    Chickadee Jubilee

  10. I love the 'Bump' strategy... I'm definitely going to give this a try!

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