Monday, February 24, 2014

Space Glogs Are Out of This World!

The students were asked to become experts in one of the many topics we study during space science. They were then supported in showing their learning using Glogster.

Some of the tech skills they learned and were asked to incorporate in this project are:

  • apply several different "troubleshooting" skills
  • discern between reliable/valid and less than reliable sources of information
  • create a new folder
  • use Google Advanced Search to locate copyright free images
  • save/download images from the internet into their student account
  • identify and save image URL in order to cite references
  • upload images to a website
  • hyperlink images and words
Here are two of our completed projects. More will be added to the blog as they are completed. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014


We have been talking a lot about perseverance lately. Students who are often successful aren't just super smart. It's not that their brains work better than other students' brains. They use strategies and they behave in certain ways that help them be successful.

Perseverance is a big part of being a successful person. You have to stick with it and keep trying if you want to be successful.

Brody has been working hard  to understand how to put decimals on a number line. I am so proud of his effort. He made a video on Educreations that showed what he has learned.

You will notice that Brody takes his time; he counts the equal parts in the whole; and he uses half as a benchmark. Brody, great job persevering, hanging in there, and figuring it out! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

PBS Digital Innovator

I entered the 2014 PBS Digital Innovator contest. 

Here is the short video I created as part of my entry. 

Thanks to all my students, past and present, for all of your hard work. You truly inspire me to be the best teacher I can be. None of this would be possible without you.

Fractions and Decimals Vocabulary

Have you learned all these terms?

Are you able to demonstrate what each of them means?

Use this slideshow to help you learn what each of the terms mean and figure out ways you can show your understanding.

Thank you North Central Washington ESD for the use of the Vocabulary Cards!

Mars is Visible in the East

We have been really lucky in the last few months with spectacular star gazing.

Venus made an appearance for several weeks in the southwest sky earlier in winter.

By ESO/Y. Beletsky [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Jupiter has been big, bright, and beautiful in the sky, and Orion has also appeared wonderfully in the south.


By Matthew Spinelli (NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I hope you have had a chance to see these gorgeous celestial bodies in our night sky. 

Mars is now also visible. It is said the next few nights are going to be some of the best viewing opportunities of the year. 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kid President

We continue to follow Kid President!

This is from the Kid President blog:

Thanks for supporting what we’re working to do as a family. Most of all, thanks for all the ways you’re all helping everybody feel like somebody. You are the best friends we could ask for here online.

Did you know he loves to receive art and messages from fans? 
Share your own KP fan art with us and email it to!

What is something YOU have done for someone else that "makes them feel like a somebody?"

What is something someone else has done for you that makes YOU "feel like a somebody?" 

Fabulous Fried Rice

Today we are making Garden Fried Rice with Mara. 

Mara asks us the safety rules and tells us some safety rules also. Mara tells the girls to wash their hand while the boys set the tables into groups. Mara goes around pouring grape seed oil into each skillet while Gurparam cuts up a onion. 

The ingredients to making garden fried rice are: “two teaspoon oil, ¼ onions, finely sliced, one clove garlic, chopped, one cup of garden veggies, chopped or grated, one Tablespoon soy sauce, one cup of brown rice, cooked, one egg, beat. That’s pretty much all you need for the ingredients. The materials are: knife, cutting board, graters, mixing bowl, Measuring spoons, measuring cups, and skillet. That’s all you need for the materials.

Silas stirs a egg in a bowl. Then, Yolibeth grinds a carrot. Evyn puts onions in a skillet. The third group is chopping onions. Some people are tearing up kale. Instead of tearing some people are cutting up kale. Some people are cooking onions. Mara is coming around with soy sauce. People chopped and grated zucchini. People put carrots and kale in the skillet. 

Brody stirs up some onion. Brian grinds zucchini.  Miranda scoops up rice and takes it to her skillet. Brody stirs zucchini carrot, eggs, kale, rice, onion, garlic, and soy sauce. 

Mara is turning the skillets off because she thinks it is ready. Soon we are going to eat it. Mr. Pahl said-“It smells good.” Mara and the paper passer outers are passing out cups so we can eat it.

Thank you to our bloggers: Benjamin and Eli! 

Do you remember...

What healthy oil did we use?
What whole grain did we use?
What healthy protein did we use?
What vegetables did we use?

Near Earth Asteroid

Last night, an asteroid passed "closely" by earth. Watch the video to learn more.

You can also read more about this at National Geographic.

Learn more about asteroids and comets at The Planetary Society or from NASA.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fractions and Mixed Numbers

Thank you, Charlize and Kyle for making these tutorials. They are very helpful! Other students were working on tutorials as well. Hopefully they are up on the site soon. 

Convert Improper Fraction to a Mixed Number  

Convert Improper Fraction to a Mixed Number

Convert Improper Fraction to a Mixed Number 

Convert a Mixed Number to an Improper Fraction

Convert a Mixed Number to an Improper Fraction

Convert a Mixed Number to an Improper Fraction

Now it's your turn! 
Convert 32/8 to a mixed number. 
Convert 5 3/5 to an improper fraction.
Give your answers and explain how you got them in a comment.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fractions on a Number Line

Check out this video tutorial from Khan Academy on how to plot a fraction on a number line.

Plotting basic fractions on the number line:
Used with permission

When you're done with the video, go the website and try the activity!

Did you try the activity? How did you do?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What Did You Do This Weekend?

Sarah inspired me to make this video about my family's trip to the Nooksack River off Mosquito Lake Road to look for eagles and salmon. We live in such a beautiful place, don't we?

Well, what did you do this weekend?

Glogster in Space

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


With the start of the second semester, the focus in math has shifted from working with whole numbers to numbers that are less than one whole; also known as fractions.

The main learning objective currently is the Common Core State Standard 4.NF.2:

4.NF.2. Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators, e.g., by creating common denominators or numerators, or by comparing to a benchmark fraction such as 1/2. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with symbols less than, greater than or equal to, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.

 To make the concept a little easier to understand, students are using fraction models.

These models allow students to better visualize the fractions being used and to think about their size relative to other fractions and to one whole. This is especially helpful when students are asked to compare fractions or find equivalent fractions. 

This particular web based model is really nice because it allows students to move around on the number line. It automatically shows when there are other fractions that are equivalent to the one a students lands on.

Here is a picture of it. Click on the picture to try it out.

You can easily see at the top of the image that the student has chosen the fraction 2/3. Then if you follow the green line down, all of the equivalent fractions to 2/3 on the chart are indicated.

Comparing Fractions
It is easy to compare fractions with the same (or like) denominators. Let's use this example:

When comparing fractions with like denominators, the focus moves to the numerator. In the example above, both fractions are broken into 7 parts. The fraction with 2 parts shaded in is clearly smaller than the one with 5 parts shaded in. Therefore two-sevenths is less than five sevenths.

When comparing fractions with unlike denominators, one must really think about and try to picture the fractions. We don't always have pictures in front of us. It is okay to represent the fractions with a picture model, but it is also importnat to have mathematical strategies other than pictoral.

One strategy students have been taught is to compare fractions to the "benchmark" of 1/2. A benchmark fraction is an easily identifiable fraction students can use to help them identify or mark other fractions.

By representing the fractions with a model, students can easily draw both fractions and clearly see that the two fractions are equal to each other in size. When different fractions are the same size, we call them equivalent fractions. We will be discussing these more at a later time. 

In addition to representing fractions with a model, students should have a mathematical strategy they can use to solve problems. In the above example, one would first look at the denominator, or bottom number. Then, one would think about the numerator, or top number. 

The question one should ask is "Is the numerator more than half, less than half or equal to half of the denominator?" In this case, 3 is half of 6, so that tells us this fraction is equal to half. Let's look at another example...

Students can use pictures models or use mathematical strategies to compare fractions to one half. If a student is comfortable with these strategies, she or he can now use them to compare fractions with unlike denominators. 

Here is a video showing how to use these strategies to compare fractions with unlike denominators. 

Please comment! How is Fractions going for you? What have you learned? What are you still trying to learn? What strategy works best for you when comparing fractions?