# Talk Like a Pirate Day Math Freebie with Tape/Strip Diagrams

I’m linking up with Krista of Teaching Momster for Math Madness Wednesday in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day…

“If I hear one more pirate joke I’m going to make you ALL walk the plank!”  That’s right teachers, international Talk Like a Pirate Day is just around the corner.  Friday, September 19th to be exact.  I actually really like silly holidays, so here is a math freebie to celebrate!  Students answer the decimal addition problems to solve the riddle.  But, these aren’t any old decimal addition problems, matey.  These problems are set up using tape/strip diagrams to build those algebraic thinking skills!

Students answer decimal addition questions (in tape/strip diagrams)  to solve the pirate riddle.  Designed for grades 4 to 6.

In my last post about tape/strip diagrams, I shared some ideas for using them in upper elementary math.  Here’s another idea.  Provide students with a tape diagram with a missing part.  Then, ask them to write what they would type into a calculator to find X.  It isn’t as simple as you might think!  Depending on the location of the unknown, X, students must form an equation that will get them to the right answer.  Give it a try…

Put a spin on your math lesson–Don’t ask your students to just SOLVE the problems, ask them to tell you what they would type into a calculator to get the correct answer! This is a challenge when students are working with unknowns in different locations. Try it. It makes them think!

Fair winds my fellow pirates!

–The Pensive Sloth

Shameless plug–If you need some tape/strip diagram worksheets or task cards, I’ve got some for adding and subtracting decimals to the tenths and hundredths place.

# Fraction Boot Camp–Preparing for the STAAR Test

With our state test approaching we are reviewing concepts from earlier in the year to make sure we’ve got it!  Fraction Boot Camp was one way our class prepared this year.  Here’s how Fraction Boot Camp worked in my classroom:

STEP 1–Write fraction standards on chart paper, set class goals, and plan a class celebration.  Our class decided on 85% for each assessment as our goal and that we would celebrate with a picnic outside on a nice weather day when we met our goal.

STEP 2–Review each skill with a mini-lesson, have students complete a few ‘number problems’ to make sure they understand, then give partner time to work some word problems while meeting with a small group who needs a little extra help.  Number problems are simply working with the numbers.  I need to know that my students understand equivalent fractions with mixed numbers and improper fractions prior to giving them lots of word problems to solve!  Check out CC Sheets.  It is one of my favorites for number only problems.  Because I teach the TEKS and not CC, I search by skill rather than standard and grade level.

STEP 3– Assess and report class averages on the chart.  The kids love to see their progress posted in the classroom.

Valentine’s Day fractions matching game for equivalent fractions, including mixed numbers and improper fractions

This year’s Fraction Boot Camp was a big success!  Our class averages were in the 90s each time and we got to celebrate with a picnic outside.   We also played some fraction games and you can find those here!  There is a winter set, Valentine’s Day set, and St. Patrick’s Day shamrock set.

St. Patrick’s Day/Shamrock Theme Game–Students sort fractions by finding equivalent fractions and matching them to the simplified (or reduced) fraction.

Fun heart themed fractions games to help students practice matching equivalent fractions, including improper fractions and mixed numbers.

Fun winter-themed game for students to practice equivalent fractions, including improper fractions and mixed numbers!

# Anchor Chart Thursday–Mean, Median, Mode, Range

I found this really nifty song on Pinterest, though I don’t remember where so that I can give credit!  But, I thought I would share it.  It has helped my kiddos a lot with remembering what the ‘landmarks’ represent.

Hey diddle diddle

The median is the middle

You add and divide for the mean

The mode is the one that appears the most

And the range is the difference between

Math anchor chart for landmarks–mean, median, mode, range

Also, I discovered the greatest site for math practice worksheets.  If you are looking for basic problems, like those not all dressed up in word problems, so that you can know your kiddos have mastered a skill, you’ve got to try THIS SITE.  I’m a Texas teacher and do not use Common Core, so if you are in Texas, don’t search by standard or grade level.  Just look at the skill because it is taught in different grades.  I used the Mean, Median, Mode, Range set with my 5th graders even though it is listed as a 6th grade set.  The great part about this site is that all of the sheets are organized the same way, they come with answer keys, and there are 10 versions for each skill!   This is perfect for small groups because if the student didn’t understand whole group, you can re-teach in small group and have something for them to practice.  Love it!  It must have been created or organized by a teacher because it is super classroom friendly.  Happy teaching!