Tuesday, February 2, 2016

CCSS: 4th Grade Math - The Relationship Between Multiplication and Division

Common Core State Standard: Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic.

Specific Objectives: Using base-10 blocks and calculators, students will determine how multiplication and division are interrelated through building, drawing, and explaining.

Vocabulary Terms:
Division (to divide): sharing or grouping a number into equal parts.  
Dividend: The number being divided.
Divisor: A number that will divide the dividend exactly.
Quotient: The result of division. 
Multiplication (to multiply): A mathematical operation where a number is added to itself a number of times. 
Factor: A whole number that multiplies with another number to make a third number.  
Product: The result when two numbers are multiplied.

Materials needed by Teacher: Paper for drawings, base-10 blocks, placemats, colored pencils, mini basketball and net.

Materials needed by Student: Paper for drawings, base-10 blocks, placemats, colored pencils, and calculators.

Plan A
      • Introduce multiplication and division with literature connection (5 min.).
      • Discuss prior knowledge by having students share what they know about multiplication and division. (5 min.)
      • Have students find a partner; pass out base-10 blocks, placemats, and calculators. (5 min.)
      • Use the overhead to model how to build, draw, and solve multiplication and division questions. Explain each step to students. (10 min.)
      • Provide questions for students: 11 × 4, 17 × 22, 23 × 34, 18 ÷ 3, 32 ÷ 4. Have each student draw their own replica of what they built with the base-10 blocks. Have students explain their process after they complete each question. (15 min.)
      • Assess students by observing and collecting their drawings, and asking questions for understanding during the activity. Have them check answers using calculators.
      •  Review this concept by playing “Basketball Math”. Split the class into two teams. Set two desks up with the base-10 blocks and placemats.
      • Call the first two-team members to the desks. Give them a multiplication or division problem and have them build. The first one with the correct answer is invited to the free throw line to take a shot for a point. The team with the most points at the end wins. (20 min.)
      • Encourage students to practice the concept by teaching someone at home.
Plan B
      • To extend to a higher level of thinking, give students division questions where the quotient has a remainder.
      • Have students build, draw, and explain their answers to the question. Have them check their answers with a calculator. (15 min.)
      • Have students create their own definition of a remainder based on their observations. (5 min.)
      • Play “Basketball Math.” (20 min.)
Plan C
      • To simplify, show students how multiplication is actually repeated addition and how division is grouping a number into equal parts. Use graphic organizers on the whiteboard for a visual. (10 min.)
      • Ask multiplication and division questions using single digits. Have students build, draw, and explain their answers to the question. Have them check their answers with a calculator. (15 min.)
      • Play "Basketball Math." (20 min.)

Discussion and Closure with Students: Answer any of the students’ questions. Make sure that they understand the concept. Have them draw a picture of an object that they own being multiplied or divided. (10 min.) 

Published in the December 2014 Edition of the MEA Voice (P. 20)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Who Stands for Detroit Teachers and Parents?

I stand with Detroit teachers and students because they want their voices heard! They are demanding solutions and reform to plaguing issues that attack the human and civil rights to a public education. They are protesting by staging citywide “sickouts” for safe working and learning environments because the policy makers in Lansing were not listening, taking action, or giving them the attention they deserve.   

Mushrooms growing out of walls, leaky roofs, rat feces, standing water, crumbling stairwells, black mold, three-inch-long cockroaches, and kids have to wear coats just to stay warm in overcrowded classrooms with little or no heat. According to Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan, these schools are literally falling apart. We may find better facilities and learning environments in third world countries.

These miserable conditions are unacceptable and disgusting. Who should be held accountable for these issues, which are the cause for these “sickouts”? Financial deficits created by the constant changes in leadership, which includes state control and multiple emergency managers, are to blame for these issues.

Emergency managers are appointed by the governor rather than elected by the public. Darnell Early is the current emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools. He recently filed a restraining order and preliminary injunction to condemn and take punitive action against teachers in order to forbid the “sickout” protests.

Legislation to forbid the “sickout” protests will not solve these issues. Basically, it is just a way to push educators to the side and ignore their voice. Policy makers in Lansing need to visit the Detroit Public Schools in order to collaborate and listen to the caring and hardworking teachers rather than publicly punish them. We need to value their voice.

These types of unacceptable learning environments are an attack on a student’s human and civil rights to a public education. Teachers and students should not have to work and learn in these conditions. How are students expected to get an education in these appalling, deplorable, and toxic classrooms?  

Images surfaced on national and social media outlets shocking the public while showing them the reasons for the current protests. These images make me sick to my stomach, and I could not be more disappointed. I have never seen schools that look like this.

 Educational excellence is at risk. This is a state of social crisis that needs to be resolved. This is a cry out to policy makers to do what they can to fix the Detroit Public Schools.

The governor and state legislature need to take action by providing new leadership and financial resources to solve these problems and end this crisis. These tragedies can never happen again. Inadequate school systems are not “Pure Michigan”.

Community and religious leaders need to take the side of the Detroit teachers and students who have protested these conditions. We must all standup and make our voices heard. There are no parents in Michigan who want to send their children to schools that look like this.

Teachers and Detroit Public School Leaders will have their day in court this week. These teachers should be applauded for rising against the system and bringing these issues to our attention. However, some people disagree.

According to Greg McNeilly of the Detroit News, these strikes are disgraceful, unacceptable, and criminal. Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan because they force schools to close for the day due to high absences. There are possible penalties such as fines and termination that could be assessed to these teachers.  

These work stoppages are not intended to hurt the students. They are not meant to send kids into the impoverished streets of Detroit. They are not meant to hinder academic achievement.

The teachers are standing up for the students and parents of Detroit. They are on the same team. Sometimes laws need to be broken in order fight for what is right, but in this case, they have not been. This is the only recourse educators have in Michigan to use their voice. They are calling in sick using a contracted given day off. 

Enough is enough. These teachers need our support in order to have an impact with policy makers in Lansing. Detroit deserves better.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

5 Reasons Why Michigan is the Epicenter of the Auto Industry

Students were involved in a great idea for Genius Hour which developed into a quick problem-based learning activity. After posting the question, "Why is Michigan the epicenter of the auto industry?", students researched different aspects of the auto industry and the history of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). 

Students presented a short, creative, and unique answer to the prompt. Summaries of these responses were then shared in this blog post on our classroom website in addition to social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.   

5 Reasons Why Michigan is the Epicenter of the Auto Industry

1. Michigan is home to the major auto companies known as "The Big Three": Ford, General Motors (GM), and Chrysler. Detroit is also known as "The Motor City".   

2. Our state produces most of the cars in the United States and ships them all over the world. Many of the specific parts used to build cars are also made in Michigan. 

3. The "Assembly Line", which allows for the mass production of cars, was developed in Detroit, Michigan by Henry Ford. This made cars affordable and changed transportation forever. 

4. Many people are fortunate to work in Michigan's auto industry in order to support their family. The success of Michigan's economy is closely linked to the success of Michigan's auto industry.  

5. Michigan's role in the auto industry inspires students to be inventors and innovators in order to improve our society. "The Big Three" have been very supportive of education in Michigan. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

JCMU Adds Valued Program to Portfolio

EAST LANSING, MI – JCMU’s administration is excited to announce that the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU) will be organizing the Michigan-Shiga High School Exchange program for summer 2016. The staff looks forward to utilizing its skills and resources to steward this esteemed international program.

The Michigan-Shiga High School Exchange Program began in 1990 to promote international relationships between American and Japanese high school students. For two weeks during the summer, 15 American students have the opportunity to travel to Japan and live with a host family in Shiga prefecture.

There, the participants meet with a Japanese student partner, experience Japanese high school classes, and participate in unique cultural events within the surrounding community and their host family. The program also coincides with a Japanese high school student cultural festival called a bunkasai, in which the Japanese students organize activities involving sports, dances, games, and music.

In September, the Japanese student partners travel to visit their American counterparts’ home, attending high school and living with their family in Michigan for two weeks. JCMU is proud to coordinate this exchange, especially as cultural experiences are often lifechanging for students.

Participants in this program will be enriched through exposure to Japanese culture and experiences that will later prove valuable during their college application process and future career paths. There are a variety of fundraising and scholarship opportunities for prospective students, and they also travel together with chaperones that help them during their time in Japan.

No Japanese language skills are required for applicants. Students interested in this program can receive more information and download and application packet on the JCMU website (http://jcmu.isp.msu.edu/).

The application deadline for the program is Friday, March 11, 2016. For inquiries or further information, please contact the JCMU office in East Lansing at (517) 355-4654 or by email at HS@jcmu.org.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Change of the M-STEP Due to Public and Teacher Feedback

Teachers, parents, and students often felt powerless when it came to government-mandated standardized tests such as the Michigan Student Test for Educational Progress (M-STEP).
It was difficult for teachers and parents to understand if the amount of time spent on standardized testing was necessary and beneficial to students. Hours were taken away from teaching and learning time last school year in order to administer the M-STEP. This was a problem.
The M-STEP was also an online test. This took computer time away from teachers and students who needed them for instructional and learning purposes. This was another problem.
There were also technology problems such as software failures, which also ate up teaching and learning time.
Teachers across the state had issues with the M-STEP. Many felt that standardized tests were an unreliable and inaccurate measure of student growth.
Standardized testing increased stress and wasted time, creating a toxic environment that hurt teacher and student morale.
Educators argued standardized tests should not be on the cutting edge of education because it promotes teaching to the test, which can impede, rather than promote, learning.
Alternative assessments such as observations, performance tasks, and portfolios should also be used to measure and improve student educational progress.
Frustrated teachers and parents of Michigan finally demanded less time for standardized testing and more time for learning. They’d had enough.
Time for a Change
After listening to public opinions, complaints, and feedback, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) shortened the length of the M-STEP.
This shows the importance of teachers’ voices in education policy. As a Michigan Educator Voice Fellow, I play a role in the engagement between Michigan teachers and the MDE.
Teachers need to be respected as other professionals. They need to have a say in education reform efforts.
In Michigan, lawmakers seem to have accepted the importance of teacher input when developing education policies. Most states have projects similar to the Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship to teach teachers the best ways to make an impact on education in their states.
All teachers have valuable experiences and insights from the classroom that could be shared to help shape and influence education policy.
Support for Teachers Who Lead
The Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship provides support and training for teachers and administrators who want to share their experiences and insights with local, state, and federal policymakers. Fellows learn how to effectively engage policymakers and the public through blogging, social media, and public forums.
All teachers should start a blog and share their education stories and initiatives on social media. This would enhance the teaching profession in addition to building a stronger professional learning network (PLN).
Most bloggers do not get paid. They do it because they want to share their experiences. We can improve education with better communication systems. Teachers need to celebrate and encourage innovation in schools.
Teachers seem to be “sharing people” by nature. Better communication systems would allow more opportunities for teachers to connect, engage, and collaborate with each other.
New teachers need to have coaches and mentors to help them learn the ropes. Such collaboration can assist with professional development and improvement. All schools should create a professional learning community (PLC).
Edtech Help
The effective technology resources available for communication in schools are endless. There are Twitter Chats everyday allowing teachers to collaborate with each other and share their united voice. Voxer Groups are an excellent way to communicate within a PLC or PLN.
Technology resources can also be used to involve parents and community partners. Such a strategy can improve school culture by increasing communication about expectations and student progress. It is essential for teachers and parents to communicate and work together to close achievement gaps and improve attitudes in schools.

Teachers, administrators, and community members are all needed to play a role in education reform and policy decisions. Communication is the key to creating and maintaining high-quality schools.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

5 Thoughts on Ways to Save Money

My New Year's Resolutions involve the art of saving money. This is my goal because I try to keep my life simple. 

However, I love traveling, exploring, and trying new things. We give to the poor often and participate in many fundraisers. 

I need to savor my spiritual life more. "That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest." - Henry David Thoreau

The following is my response to an article by Jill Cataldo, Super-Coupon Queen. Click here to change the way you shop forever. 

1. Food: I always take water in my car and rarely stop for a drink unless I feel that I need a coffee or a Slurpee. Staying hydrated keeps you healthy and helps you save money.

I usually drink water at a restaurant. However, if I’m in the mood, I will get what I want and enjoy it.

When we go out for dinner, we usually have leftovers for lunch the next day because of the larger portions. I buy my own condiments.

2. Shopping: I do not like to pay for shipping and would do anything to avoid it. I do shop at farmers markets occasionally in order to save money and support local products.

I am always amazed at what you can find at the Dollar Store such as school and office supplies. We should probably shop there more for everyday products such as dish soap and shampoo.

I like going to Costco for free samples. We save money by buying everyday items in bulk. They also have good deals on clothing and eyewear.

3. Entertainment: I could easily get rid of my cable. We save money by getting basic cable, bundling it with our Internet, and not paying for a landline phone. 

I like watching the news, but it is depressing. When I have family and friends over, we like to watch sports or a movie. 

I’m not sure if I could just throw out my TV. However, we could probably get rid of at least half of our technology. 

I love going to the movies, sporting events, and concerts. I often buy tickets as gifts for family and friends. 

Advanced screenings are a way to see movies for free and theatres sometimes offer discounted tickets at certain times during the day. There are legal ways to get tickets for sporting events and concerts for free or at discounted prices.

I like being home, but I get that itch to travel. I have stayed in cheap hotels before and they are not worth it most of the time. There are ways to save money on good hotels that don’t have bugs living everywhere. 

 I could do without a motorhome, motorcycle, boat, camper, or RV. Never had the desire to own them. 

We have never scuba dived or surfed. However, we do enjoy snowboarding occasionally. It is expensive. 

I don’t collect anything expensive. Mainly sports cards from garage sales and postcards from my travels. We keep a scrapbook with our ticket stubs.

4. Transportation: I have owned my car for six years, and I am hoping to get another four years out of it. It is nice not having a car payment and worrying about leasing a car with mile limitations. 

To keep it clean, I usually go to a $2 car wash place because it is better for the environment than washing it in the driveway.

5. Home: We have a dishwasher. Mine as well use it until it breaks down. Washing dishes can be good exercise, but I am always in a rush and prefer to leave my dishes. 

Michigan weather is too crazy. I am extremely thankful for air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. However, in the fall and spring, we try to open our windows up for some fresh air.