If the World Were a Village Continued…

So today our assistant principal was in my room and was asking the students about the project. Shout out to H if you are reading this 🙂  She asked one of the students what book this was based on and he responded, “If I Were a Village…” As I corrected him, the stars aligned and I was inspired.

If I changed it to if I were a village, we can extend the project to include fractions, decimals, and percents!

When I continued to think about what I wanted the kids to work on for this next part of the project, I was reminded of these infographics that I saw in my original if the world were a village research.

So Global Man was born:

Students will estimate the area of the man, convert their data from the orignial project to fractions, decimals, and percents, then color in the correct number of squares in Global Man!

Here is the project!



The Moment…

I had it today.

That moment.

That moment we all are waiting for.  The reason we all teach.

When you are working with a student… and… they GET IT.  You can see the connections being made and the (I’ll quote Oprah) ah-ha moment.

Here’s what happened-

A student was working on his proportions for his If the World Were a Village project.  He was doing the part of the project where they convert the numbers from the book out to figure out how many people that would represent in our classroom.

His first answer was 5.67.  He needed help on rounding that number to a whole number, so we went over it.  He seemed to get it, moved on, and I continued to walk around and work with other kids.

His hand went up again.  His second answer was 2.43.  I didn’t remember his first answer, so I was very confused when he said to me, “but the numbers are supposed to go 2, 3, 4.”  We talked more, and at some point I realized that his first answer was 5.67, then his second answer was 2.43, and so he thought that all of the answers had to have consecutive numbers and that answer two was out of order.

All of the consecutive number issues mixed together with the rounding questions, and I had one very confused student on my hands.

Thank goodness these problems were a whole number plus two decimal places because I pulled out the, “Well if you had $2.43 would you be closer to $2 or $3?”  Cue the moment of understanding.

“THAT’S why the first one rounded to 6!! Because $5.67 is closer to $6 than it is to $5.”


If the World Were a Village Project

Last week, I posted about the project I had created for the book If the World Were a Village by David J. Smith.  I was finally able to start the project this week and it is going amazing!

Here are the things that are going well:

1. A shocking amount of students, I mean almost every single student, seems to understand exactly how organized I want this project to be.  I have a packet of all of the pages for each student, all held together with a paper clip, that the kids get at the beginning of class and return at the end of class.  It is fabulous

2. With a few select exceptions, every single student is working nearly every moment of class!  They are engaged, they are working, they are asking questions!  It is so different from the “do these 10 proportion problems” and then half the class stares at their paper, a quarter finds some way to avoid doing anything, then a quarter actually does the work.

3. It is worth saying again- they are asking questions!  I am exhausted from running around all class, but the fact that they actually care about their work rather than spit something out on the paper and turn it in and forget about it.

4. They are appropriately shocked and awed by the data in the book that is supposed to shock and awe them.  It was amazing to see their guesses on how many people in the world speak English.  I got a lot of, “well they speak another language, too, but almost everyone speaks English, right?”  And after solving the proportion and figuring out how many people in the world are undernourished, a student who said, “WAIT.  This is real data?  There are really that many people who are starving right now?”  Yes.  What can we do about that?

Some things that I need to change:

1. Depending on the data set that they chose, some students have an insanely easy project and some have much more difficult projects.  For example, choosing the money section had students only graphing numbers that were multiples of 10.  So the pie graph was super easy since I had divided the sections into 10’s.  Others have many more crazy numbers and have to figure out a lot more for the pie graph.  Same goes for the proportions.

2. Hmm…. feel like I thought of more things today, but can’t remember them at the moment.  I guess there is only one for now!

One thing that has shocked me:

1. How? HOW? HOW? have some students never learned how to put a paperclip on a pile of papers?  I mean upside down, sideways, I never ever thought this could be a problem.  Middle schoolers, always keeping you on your toes 🙂

Here are some of the pictures of what we are doing:


#made4math- Scratch Off Unit Rates


I was so inspired by this post over at Sch00l Stuff and I knew I wanted to do my own scratch off assignment.  I will definitely use her ideas a little more next time, because I did them all myself this time and it is taking forever! So excited to use it in class, though. 

So I created the worksheet I wanted on unit rates.  The groups will need to find each unit rate and decide which is the better buy.  Then at the bottom of the boxes, I put the word correct or incorrect.  This is the part that I covered up with the tape and scratch off solution (2 parts paint and 1 part dish soap).  I did need a couple of coats of the solution.  I also just went with green paint instead of silver because that is what I had here at home.  Groups will need to decide which one is the right answer and scratch it off.

Unit Rates


#msSunFun- Awesome blog posts this week


For #msSunFun this week, we are commenting on other awesome blogs and then posting about it.

#1: Live. Teach. Create.-  Pop Quiz I had been thinking about bringint this idea into my class, and then I read this post about pop quizzes.  Love the popcorn pictures 🙂  I want my kids to know that just because we already taught the lesson and took a unit test on the material, you still need to remember it and use it in class.

#2: Hands on Math- Ant Trivia Awesome idea about proportions with fun facts about ants.  This arrives with perfect timing while I am planning my proportions unit! 

#3: Math = Love- Unit Rates Love love love this idea to cut out prices from the newspaper and have the kids figure out unit rates.  So excited to save my paper this weekend and do this with my students!

#4: Simplifying Radicals- Proficien-tree So so excited to try this idea!  Leaves get put on a tree every time a student demonstrates proficiency.  So fun for the students to watch the trees grow!

#5: Hoppe Ninja Math- Like Terms Art Projects Love these art projects they created for combining like terms.  Definitely saved for use later this year!

Solving Inequalities

I loved Sarah’s inequalities notes over at Math = Love.  I changed them a bit to meet the needs of my class and here is what I came up with:


So I used these notes with my class Friday, figured it wasn’t too difficult, and moved on to doing my favorite review activity.  I gave the students a problem to do, they did the problem on a quarter sheet of paper, then tossed them into the box in the center of the room.  Students who made the shot and had the correct answer won that round.  It is not something that we use to review every time, but it is fun every once in a while.

Then Monday, the students took the test over unit 2.  I had 4 objectives that I covered on that test.  Objectives 1-3 went awesome, but students across the board bombed solving inequalities.  It was clear that I had not done enough with them.  Unfortunately, we are in the middle of standardized testing this week, then an awesome team building day at a local camp, so I haven’t seen my classes at all since Monday.  Tomorrow, we will use this activity to go back over solving and graphing inequalities before everyone will do a retake of that section of the test.  Hopefully it will go better this time!

Formatting is a bit off due to the uploading, ugh. 

Here it is anyway… Solving Inequalities

And finally, here is a picture of me up at the top of the high ropes course with the kids today.  So much fun to just relax with the kids and spend a day doing team building activities.  I especially like that they get to see the teachers doing things like archery, survival, high ropes, rock climbing, etc where they might fail or might be nervous or might need support from the kids to get through.  It is something we do with our kids every year in October and I love it!

If the World Were a Village Introduction

Phew.  I just finished something that may be the biggest school project I have ever worked on.  I received the book If the World Were a Village by David J. Smith from my husband for Christmas.  I had heard of it and thought it was pretty cool.  I read it, then it sat on my shelf full of big plans for the future.  As I tried to plan what I wanted to do for my upcoming proportions unit, I found myself uninspired by the things I have done in the past.  Then I remembered this book and thought it would be cool to do something with the book for this unit.  I searched around and found a few people who had done a few things about the book, but nothing that was exactly what I was looking for.  So I started with a few ideas that I saw online and added what I had been thinking of doing with the book… then it grew… and grew… and grew into this insanely huge project that I have devoted every spare minute of the past week to.  I am proud of it, I am excited for it, I am nervous.  I have not done anything like this in the past.  I have no idea if it will totally flop or be the coolest thing I have ever done.  Stay tuned as I begin the project this week and update you on my progress!

In the meantime, I will attach the huge document containing every single thing I plan to do for this book.  Most of it is this huge project I have planned, but there are many pieces to the project, along with a few extra activities.  The idea for the hundreds chart came from Sara’s TPT page, but is a free activity.  Alisan @G8rAli was kind enough to email me what she has put together using technology, along with several other proportions ideas that I am so excited to look at next.  Instead of using her idea of using the easel.ly site (which I loved!) I changed it to creating a pictograph in Microsoft Excel since my kids have rarely used this program.  I also typed up a page that attempts to explain what my thoughts were for each page I created.  EDIT:  I totally forgot to give credit for the drawing portion!  I got the idea from Math-N-Spire here, but changed it from comics to meet my needs for this project.

Definitely buy the book because it is awesome.

Wish me luck as we get started on this project this week!

Here it is!!


Thoughts behind what I did

Graphing Inequalities Day 2

Today we began by doing a words-inequality-graph matching activity.  This went pretty fast and I was very happy to see that a few of my kids who struggle a lot were very successful on this activity!  Love it when kids like this can feel success instead of being frustrated yet again!

Here is a better picture:


Then we played a graphing dice game.


I took my regular dice and put stickers on each side, one for <, >, then < or = and > or =.  I don’t know how to do the fancy symbols on here 🙂  I also did double of two of them to fill the six sides.  I gave each group one of these dice and one regular die.  The students had to roll the inequality die to get the symbol, then the number die to get the number, then graph that inequality.  I had several students tell me that they loved it and it was fun!  Yay!


Graphing Inequalities Day 1

Today we had shortened hours because of state testing, so we did not have a lot of time in class, but we did get some basic graphing inequalities notes.

I started off giving each student 4 different colored post its.  I knew that the kids were in the interactive notebook groove when several of them immediately said to me, “Do we glue them in?” 

I had the kids draw pencil lines around the outside of the post it, so when we took them off, they would know the area that they had to write the notes in, and could put the post its back where they came from.  I then had the kids write the 4 inequality symbols down, one per post it.

Then under each post it, we wrote details about the specific symbol.  An example inequality, then two numbers that could fit into the inequality, then a graph of that example.


The kids loved the post its!

Whiteboarding on Desks

I read about using desks as a whiteboard over at my new favorite blog, School of Fisher.  Erika writes her instructions right on her desk with a whiteboard marker.  I decided to have my kids use whiteboard markers on their own desks today to do more equation practice.  I will not have the kids do this every day, so hopefully it will retain a bit of the magic becasuse we are breaking the rules. 

Tomorrow we begin inequalities and I am so excited for what I have planned thanks to the blogs I am reading!