Fraction Circle Fun

This is a great way to give kids experience with fraction pieces and end up with an adorable piece of art.  The idea for the fraction circle pictures comes from the book Picture Pie by Ed Emberley. The book has so many ideas of birds, animals, insects and plants that can be made from fractional pie pieces.

First decide what fractions you want your students to use.  Halves, fourths and eighths can be made from plain circles.  You can show students how to fold and cut the circles to get those fractions. 
If you want them to use thirds, and sixths it is much easier to start with preprinted circles. 

Click on the fraction circles for a pdf file that you can print for your class to use on this or other projects.
The students in Mrs. Q's class used white circles and then colored them for their completed pictures.  But I've done this in the past with circles printed on colored construction paper.

When the pictures are finished you can have them write statements about how many fractions they used for their picture. 

For example, for this picture the student  could write:
sun = 1 + 8/8 = 2 circles
flower = 1/2 + 2/4 = 1 circle
leaves = 2/8

Here's another example:
sun = 1/4
butterfly = 4/8
flower = 4/8
cardinal = 1/2 + 2/4 + 1/8

The kids had a lot of fun and gained some great experience with fractions.  
Thank you to Mrs. Q's second graders for letting me use their fraction art.  They are a very talented group of boys and girls.


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Stress Free Test Day

Well, you and your students have been working hard all year (or at least ¾ of the year) to master those standards.  With the big test just around the corner it’s time to teach your students how to relax. These ideas might help students stay calm and give their best during the test.

Make it a sweet day:  Researchers say the scent of cinnamon or peppermint can stimulate the brain.  These scents might improve alertness and focus. So let students eat cinnamon or peppermint candies while they’re testing.

Get moving!  The brain needs blood flowing in order to keep working so get your students moving before they settle down with the test.  Try a few minutes of stretching, jumping jacks or a walk around the room.

Show you lighter side: Lighten the mood with a few jokes.  Your students probably have a few they’d like to share too.  Laughter is a great way to relieve stress.

And finally…EAT!   Talk to your students and parents about the importance of eating a Healthy breakfast. Arrange for snacks to be brought in each testing day. Make sure they are healthy snacks (cracker, peanut butter, cheese, fruits, veggies, etc.)

These ideas are from

What do you do with your students to relieve test anxiety?

When the testing is over why not go to the beach!!! Your kids will love the activities in my Beach Day packet.

Day at the Beach


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Read Aloud Expectations

There’s nothing that brings a group of kids together like relaxing on the floor while listening to a great book. The year begins with a group of boys and girls from varied backgrounds and experience, but during the very first read aloud of the year they begin to bond as a class.
Read aloud time is important and in order to make the most of this time, you should establish a set of expectations.

-All students are included.  They do not get to opt out to do something else.

-Students are not kept out to complete classwork or as a negative consequence for behavior.  My read-aloud time was just as important to my academic goals as was my math and reading lessons.  I would never tell Mary she couldn’t participate in a math lesson because of her misbehavior, so the same held true for our read-aloud time.

-Students are expected to focus on the story and participate in read aloud discussions and activities.

-Depending on your class space, students must be in the listening area.  I always set up a corner of my room with a comfy, teacher chair and side table.  Students sat on the carpeted floor in the open space.  I liked for them to be close to me because it made the reading, listening and discussion more personal.

-Most years I allowed students to choose their own spot.  We had many discussions about making wise choices and sometimes sitting next to your best friend is not a wise choice.  And, there were some years when certain students lost the privilege of choosing their own spot.  Some students need more personal space so they usually ended up at the back of the group.  The back was also very popular with the boys or girls who had other things on their agenda than listening to a story.  I found ways to mix up the seating arrangements but still left them with some choice.

-Respect is shown to everyone during discussions.  Students need to feel that they can express their thoughts, opinions, and ideas without being teased or laughed at.

Here's a sign you can use in your read aloud area to remind students of the expectations: (click on the image for the free download)

Reading aloud to your class is an important part of your day.  You need to set student expectations for this engaging instructional time.

Happy Reading!


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