ePIc Week of Pi Day 1 – Lindsay Perro’s Favorite Pi Activity

Epic Week of Pi Day 1

Welcome to the 4mulaFun ePIc Week of Pi! All this week we’re going to have posts from teachers about how they celebrate Pi Day in their classrooms, giveaways and freebies, plus an ePIc Pi Giveaway of over $314 worth of goodies! To start us off this week, Lindsay Perro is sharing her hands-on cylinder activity. At the bottom of the post, enter Lindsay’s giveaway and the ePIc Giveaway!

Lindsay Perro's Favorite Pi Day Activity

Lindsay PerroHello 4mulaFun readers! I’m Lindsay Perro and I’m so happy to be kicking off this Epic Week of Pi! Pi Day is a holiday that only true math nerds like us can appreciate! My favorite activity to use in my classroom for Pi Day was a hands on cylinder activity. Before we got to that, I kicked off class by having students fill out a graphic organizer with some cool facts about Pi. They were then given a printable page that has the first few hundred digits of Pi. It was always so neat to give them this page because I don’t think many really understand just what it means for a number to go on infinitely!

Hands-On Pi Day Cylinder ActivityFor the hands on activity, I brought in a variety of cylinders for students to measure and find the volume of. It was a nice break from traditional worksheets and kept the students engaged since they had to actually measure everything themselves. Some of the items I brought in were a paint can, a soda can, a flower vase, shampoo bottle, etc. You can grab this activity here! In case you are unable to gather these items, the resource contains a sheet that provides students with circles to reflect the bases of the items and gives the heights.

In honor of the Epic Pi Day this year I’m raffling off a mini bundle containing my Pi Day Cylinders Activity, my Area and Circumference of Cylinders Coloring Worksheet and a $10 TPT Gift Certificate. The raffle closes Friday so be sure to enter below!

Hands-On Pi Day Cylinder Activity Raffle

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Epic Pi Giveaway – Over $314 In Prizes
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The Ins and Outs of Exit Tickets

What are Exit Tickets? How can I use them in my classroom? Read more about the ins and outs of Exit Tickets and how to use them in different methods for each of your students.

What are exit tickets? How do you use them in your classroom? What benefit do exit tickets have for students? How do you grade exit tickets? Each of these questions are concerns that I hear on a regular basis from teachers who know how much I LOVE using them!

I started using Exit Tickets in my classroom in 2011 on a random basis to quickly assess students skills. I took these as a pop quiz for students and graded every single one of them. I learned that doing them this way students HATED them! They seriously started fearing the possibility of an exit ticket showing up because it was a quick assignment that they knew was going to be graded. That was the LAST thing I wanted to do as a teacher. Many of my students are already filled with math and/or testing anxiety and this just made it worse.

What is an Exit Ticket?

An exit ticket is a valuable learning tool that teachers use to quickly determine a student’s level of understanding on a given topic. Exit Tickets are typically a sheet of paper containing a question (or questions) about the material that has been taught that day. The benefits of an exit ticket outweigh any negatives that I have seen. With the short nature of an exit ticket it allows you as a teacher quick assessment on the skill that has been taught. I totally ditched warm-ups in my classroom and replaced them with doing exit tickets at the end of class because I was able to get more information from my students this way and use those valuable first few minutes preparing our Interactive Notebooks.

Different Types of Exit Tickets

Over the course of the past few Exit Ticketsyears I have used several different types of Exit Tickets to keep things fresh in the classroom. Some of the exit tickets have been computational, a word problem that students must decipher and compute, OR an open-ended response where students must demonstrate their own thinking and express their process to get from the beginning to the end. The good thing about any of these is that they are easily turned in and checked at another time. As you can see on this open-ended exit ticket there is also a stoplight that allows students to also give input on where they think their level of understand is based on the red, yellow and green of a stoplight.

Post It, Prove It Exit Ticket StrategyAnother type of exit ticket that I created was the Post It, Prove It. I enjoyed using this method quite often because not only did it change things up for students but who doesn’t love Post Its? Not only do students get to prove their answer in a given amount of space but it also allows for confidentiality when they put their names on the back underneath the sticky part of the Post It. If you would like to prepare ahead of time you can also pre-print the question on the Post It.

Another source of exit tickets in the classrom is to use Task Cards. Mary from Teaching with A Mountain View has shared how she used them in her classroom where every student recieves the same exit ticket and then leads into a class discussion.

Using Wrong Answers

Wrong Answers? Yes! Allowing your students to improve from the wrong answers that they or their peers give will allow for a further understanding of the material. Meg from The Teacher Studio has discussed how she did this with her students and not only were they intrigued by this strategy but it also allowed them to dig deeper into their learning.

Another teacher that uses wrong answers to her benefit is Greta from MathInspiration. Check out her video as she explains the details of how they benefit the students in her classroom.

Grading Exit Tickets

Grading Exit Tickets is a uphill battle at times. There is a benefit to not grading as it allows you to get students to openly express their answer without fear of getting something wrong. When I am grading I typically use a rubric that allows students to be evaluated based on the standard and their level of mastery.

Sherrie from Middle School Math Rules talks about how she grades exit tickets in her classroom. The checklist that she uses could easily be my Formative Assessment Data Trackers. These allow for beginning, middle and end of the year assessment of each standard.

Looking for Templates

There are many different types of freebie templates on Teachers Pay Teachers and blogs. One of the latest that I have found is by Shayna of Science Teaching Junkie. You can also grab my Editable Stoplight Exit Tickets available in multiple formats.

How are you using exit tickets in your classroom? What benefits have they provided for you and your students?

Fly on the Math Teacher’s Wall: Fraction Misconceptions Blog Hop


Thank you for joining me today as part of the Fly on the Math Teacher’s Wall Blog Hop. If you have been going through the hop you probably arrived here from my buddy at Lessons with Coffee. If you are just starting the hop that is fine because we all link in a circle and you will get to hit all of the posts! The link to the next blog will be at the end of this post for your convenience.

Mulitplication of fractions is Multiplying Fractionsa concept that while introduced in fifth grade is still a struggle with many students in middle school. Many of my students came to me understanding the process to just mulitply the numerators, multiply the denominators and then simplify. While this is the “process” to get the answer this doesn’t help students understand the reasoning why they should do this.

I will admit that when I first taught the concepts when I was teaching fifth grade, I was just as guilty of only teaching the how and not the why. Over the years of teaching, and many math conferences, I learned the importance of why in education. Students who learn the why and are able to prove the reasoning behind the process will not only further understand their learning but as the concepts are built on in further years they will have a solid foundation.

So what is the why behind multiplying fractions? To figure this out we must help students relate fractions to ratios. We are comparing parts of a whole in a fraction. Using 2/3 x 1/4 as an example we would be finding what 2/3 OF 1/4 is when mutliplying.

To help cover this in class I have provided students with a fractional part of a cookie cake (fake of course- then as they work they get a cookie to snack on). They have to determine how break the cookie into equivalent sections. As you can see in this task card (a relatively simple one), students must first identify the amount of cookie cake that is remaining (1/4 in this case). Then as they continue reading they will see they are sharing it with 2 friends. This alone might stump students because they need to also include themselves so they are going to break it into thirds. Therefore 1/3 x 1/4 will show them the fractional part of the original cookie because each kid will receive 1/3 OF the leftover 1/4 of the cookie cake. Not only does this problem give them relevance to multiplying fractions but it also makes it something that is easily relateable to real life and therefore a connection can be made.

Struggling wtih Multiplying Fractions? That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles not only focuses on multiplying fractions but has students understanding the why of how fractions cause quantities to reduce in size.Now I think that I need to make the task cards so that I can share them with you so be sure to come back soon because they will be ready for you to use with your students! WOO HOO! The task cards for That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles are now complete! You can grab your set here!

Looking for the next stop on the Fly on the Math Teacher’s Wall Blog Hop? Check out my buddy at Hodge’s Herald for her take on Fraction Misconceptions!

Deep In the Heart of Texas Blog Hop

Deep In The Heart of Texas Blog HopWelcome to the “Deep in the Heart of Texas” blog hop!  Over 40 Texas teacher bloggers have joined together to share what we love about our state as well as ideas and freebies that we love.  You will also have the opportunity to enter to win TpT products and/or TpT gift certificates by entering using the rafflecopters included in each post.  Down at the bottom, you will see all of the blogs participating in the hop.  Just click and you will be taken to their posts.  We hope you love what you find.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

I Love Texas
Hello y’all! My name is Jennifer Smith-Sloane (aka 4mulaFun). I am a born and raised Texan and have lived in several different places although many in the same local area. I was born in Dallas and lived in (small-ish) suburb called Rowlett for the majority of my life. I started college in Abilene before moving off to Commerce. Once I graduated I moved to Garland and settled there for awhile. I spent a stint of time in Austin and miss it terribly. My husband and our three dogs now live in Arlington where we are renting a home while he is working on his Associates degree in Nutrition. We aren’t sure where we will eventually settle but for now we are enjoying life.
Being that I have only lived in Arlington for less than a year the best thing about my town is that I am right in the middle of it all! We are roughly 30 minutes from Dallas and Fort Worth so it makes it really easy to get up and go somewhere to do something. I am also about 45 minutes from my parents and then only 20 minutes from my awesome cousins! Arlington (and even Mansfield) really are awesome towns and I would love to call this home forever!
While I am all aboutReal World Connections in Math using Solve and Snips interactive learning in my classroom and LOVE using Interactive Notebooks, my favorite lesson of all is when I get to see my students communicating the language of math! Yes, any time they are using their vocabular words CORRECTLY it makes me swoon! This was part of the reason behind me creating Solve and Snips (R).Not only was I getting my students to problem solve and self-check as they were going but they were discussing with their neighbors how they solved a problem and thus they were using the terms they had learned during the lesson. Be still my heart!
Since 2010 I have used Interactive Notebooks in my classroom. I absolutely fell in love with them as I grew in my learning about them and started to REALLY use them correctly. To help save my sanity when it came to assembling and creating flippables for my classroom, I created a set of templates that I could use over and over again but also had simple and easy steps that I didn’t need to repeat. My steps are: Cut on the DASH and fold on the BOLD! Yep, that easy!


I loved creating theGrab this FREE Editable Flippable Template to use today in your Interactive Notebooks for any subject! templates that I have readily available at any time and my FAVORITE FREEBIE right now is my Editable Matchbook Template that you can grab in my store. It is simple and easy to use and perfect for so many things.

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Click on the buttons below to visit some other awesome Texas bloggers!

Fun Games for Reinforcing Math Concepts

Fun Games for Reinforcing Math Concepts – a round up of games and fun activities that reinforce math concepts and more!

Math can get a bit tedious, for both students and teachers. So what can we do to break up the average mundane class period? Have some fun! How can we have fun and still reinforce concepts – with games!

Here’s several games that reinforce different math concepts for almost all ages. You can find even more on my pinterest board!

Ratio Rumble is an online game that has students build their own potions using equivalent ratios!

Ratio Rumble is an online game that has students build their own potions using equivalent ratios!

The Game of Pig requires students to use mental addition strategy skills! It’s available to play both online and as a physical game.

The Game of Pig requires students to use mental addition strategy skills! It’s available to play both online and as a physical game.

Contig is played with three dice and a game board – students use operations to take the results of their rolls and make new numbers to mark off on their game boards.

Contig is played with three dice and a game board – students use operations to take the results of their rolls and make new numbers to mark off on their game boards.

This card game exercises mental addition and subtraction skills at a fast pace.
Inspired by a game on Survivor, Grudgeball is a great review game that kids beg to play!
Inspired by a game on Survivor, Grudgeball is a great review game that kids beg to play!
Bagel, Pico, Fermi requires students to make deductions through the process of elimination while reinforcing the concept of place value.
Bagel, Pico, Fermi requires students to make deductions through the process of elimination while reinforcing the concept of place value.
Integer War helps reinforce what integers are and how to solve integer problems quickly.
Integer War helps reinforce what integers are and how to solve integer problems quickly.

Tenzi is a very versatile game for covering many learning skills – even speech! There’s actually no one way to play – there’s even an add-on pack with instructions for 77 different ways to play Tenzi!

Tenzi is a very versatile game for covering many learning skills – even speech! There’s actually no one way to play – there’s even an add-on pack with instructions for 77 different ways to play Tenzi!

Set Game practices pattern finding skills – players must discover the different “sets” of same or different tiles depending on their shape, pattern, and color.

Set Game practices pattern finding skills – players must discover the different “sets” of same or different tiles depending on their shape, pattern, and color.

I hope these games give you a good starting point for your classroom! You can even come up with your own games, especially with a large amount of dice!

Do you already use games in the math classroom to reinforce concepts? What games have worked for you?

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Fun Games for Reinforcing Math Concepts – a round up of games and fun activities that reinforce math concepts and more!

Clearing Teacher Clutter- Favorite Teacher Bags

Are you looking for a new teacher bag? Or maybe you know that you need one to meet different needs? Come check out these awesome different teacher bags that all have different purposes.We all know that having the right teacher bag makes all of the difference. I can’t count how many bags I have gone through over the years because there have just been that many. Some of them I got for free from various conventions or workshops and then others I have purchased either because they were super cute or because I thought they would serve the needs that I needed.

A few years ago I bought An amazing resource for staying organized in the classroom! LOVE THIS!my very first Thirty One Bag. I had seen many teachers using the Organizing Utility Tote and I knew it would be amazing. I have since bought two more of the exact same bag to use in various other purposes in my house and they ROCK! I simply added in a large file tote from The Container Store {or Amazon} and it made it super sturdy and there was no worrying about things getting bent or messed up. I love all the amazing pockets that it contains and lets everything have a place (my Flair Pens got their own pocket)!

Ballard Tote LargeTote bags seem to be the consensus with most teachers that I have talked to because they are easy to just put stuff in. Some other tote bags that teachers that I have talked to use are the Large Ballard Tote Bag or Teacher Bag by OohBabyInfinityeven the Large Deluxe Reversible Bag from OohBabyInfinity on Etsy.

Another style that I have heard from many teachers that they use is the Messenger Style. I’ve seen so Vera Bradley Messengermany Vera Bradley bags over the years (and even owned a small purse in my lifetime) that I know they are definitely good quality bags! I love the quilted style of them and how they are just cute! The prints change on a regular basis and so when you get tired of one you can easily purchase a new one and not worry about being out of style. They are moderately priced which is definitely good for a teachers budget.

The best tip that I can give you when you are looking for a QUALITY bag that works for your needs is to sit down and think about what you want from a bag. Do you need pockets? Do you want sectioned areas? Do you need a strap or are you okay with just handles (think about how heavy it can get)? Do you want it to be cute or just functional? Don’t scrimp on your teacher tote bag because if you do you will just be replacing it when it breaks and wasting money.

To help one of you get started with a teacher bag, I am giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to Thirty One Gifts! You will get to choose the bag that works for you and customize it to be your own.

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Manipulatives for Middle School Math

Using Manipulatives in Middle SchoolRecently I received a question on Facebook that asked: Hello, I am in need of other resources to use for my 7th & 8th math class. Do you have any suggestions of manipulative, programs, resources that you use? After teaching middle school for several years I decided to pull into my past and give a rundown of the manipulatives that I kept handy just for middle school math.

One of the first manipulatives that was purchased Hands on Equationsat my middle school while I was teaching 8th grade was Hands On Equations. I will say it took me a bit to learn how to use it myself as it wasn’t the way that I was taught but once I hooked on to the concrete way of balancing equations I was hooked! We even created balances in our interactive notebooks so that my students could continue to use this method at home when doing homework or studying.

Two Color Counters

Another tried and true manipulative that I used was two-color counters. Not only are these great to use as game pieces when playing with two people, they are great if you are playing a review bingo or even to work with positive and negative numbers.Geometric Solids

I absolutely loved using Geometric Solids in my classroom. There was no lesson on volume or surface area that we didn’t pull these out. Heck, we even pulled them out when we were discussing transformations across the coordinate plane and we anted to have different shapes that were performing these transformations.

Didax Algebra Dominoes Algebra Domino Links were something that I pulled out during intervention. I used these to help students break down the basics of algebra. We would use white boards to show our work and they would have to communicate to me what they did to determine their answer. This really allowed me to see the needs of some of my students who were low in multiplication and division fluency.

Centimeter Cubes can be used for so many different Centimeter Cubes manipulative type things. In the picture above my students are using them to create similar figures. We have also used them for fractions, probability, and even measuring when a student is struggling wtih the concept of a ruler. It helps to start with something they can manipulate before using the stick they could harm someone with out of frustration (it’s happened…)

Algebra TilesAnd near the end of the year I am always bringing in Algebra Tiles. I say the end of the year because when I taught 8th grade I was doing Pre-Algebra and then I moved to 7th Grade Math. In Pre-Algebra there were times that we did use them early on in the year (equations) but it was predominately at the end of the year when we were starting the introduction to Algebra after all of our state testing. I really like these because they are two colors on each piece and it allows for positive/negatives to be easily visualized.

What manipulatives do you use in your Middle School Math classroom? How do you use them? Please leave a comment below so we can have a grand list for those in need.