Mr Weis’ Classroom Blog

April 12, 2010

Monday, April 12

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 6:42 pm
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I didn’t get blog posts in for Wednesday or Thursday last week, so I’d like to start by giving a few links related to the math that we did.  In Mathematics last week, our focus was on the Order of Operations.  Order of Operations refers to which step to do first in a math problem.  The basic steps include Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction.  Students are first introduced to parentheses in 3rd Grade Everyday Math, and they are a required Grade 4 Standard, but in 5th Grade the complexity and length of problems begins to increase and add on to simple 2 step number sentences with parentheses.  In order to help remember the order and names of the steps, students first learned the mnemonic Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.  Later, students developed their own Order Of Operations mnemonics and added an illustration to them.  They will appear soon on the wall outside the room.

As part of our work in Mathematics last week, the students also worked with some websites with activities using Order of Operations.  In class, every student got a chance to first direct the computer which operation to do first in a singular equation.

After correctly solving 10 questions, students bank time and are given a chance to zap the correct operation first as multiple operations fall from the top to the bottom of the screen.  Make sure to click them quick, but stay using P.E.D.M.A.S.

Some other games I found include a simple Flashcard Problem Quiz, a Connect 4 Game in which you must first do an Order of Operations question correctly, and a puzzling game called Speedmath in which you must correctly identify what operations to add to an equation to get the correct given final answer.

In Vocabulary this week, the roots are cess/ces/cede (to go), ten (to hold), and lit (letter).

In Reading, we will finish up the book Sign of the Beaver this week.  Students will be given final project guidelines on Wednesday and will have a week and a half to complete their project and turn in all completed chapter worksheets.  Today students worked on finishing up their own first set of questions that they will pass on to each other to answer.  Students were directed to write a variety of questions based on their reading including Word Analysis, In-Your-Head, In-the-Text, Major Conflict/Resolution, and Character Development/Trait questions.  As students transition into literature circle groups, they will be called upon to use many of the active reading strategies we have used in class and their discussions will be primarily drawn from their own unique questions.

In Writing, we are continuing our work with Musical Metaphors.  Students used a graphic organizer today to clarify the Tenor, Vehicle, and Ground of their metaphor and then began to brainstorm some lyrical words, phrases, and sentences to support their metaphors in their Spring Break poems.


  1. Vocabulary:  Sort
  2. Mathematics: Study Link 5-10.  BOTH SIDES
  3. Language Arts: Finish Sign of the Beaver Chapters 21 and 22 page.
  4. Reading: Read for 25 minutes and fill out Reading Log.

Mr. Weis

P.S. Math homework today involves a review of pie charts.  Follow this link for an interactive digital pie chart.


March 25, 2010

Pondering Prisms

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 8:45 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Lately in Math we have continued to explore geometrical figures.  This week we focused on finding volumes of different types of prisms.  The basic formula we have used for finding the volume of a prism is to find the area of the base (B) and multiply it by the height (h).  Our standard formula for finding the volume of a prism is therefor V = B x h.  When working with rectangular prisms, we just multiply the length, width, and height together to get the volume, but when working with a triangular prisms, we make sure to figure out what the correct area of the triangular base is first. Here is a link to a page that tells a little more about prisms and offers a visual basis for the volume formula we have been using.  Our next step in our geometry unit will be to discuss the concept of surface area.

Even as we have moved on to volume, some students are still having a little difficulty properly finding the area of the bases of prisms and are getting confused between finding area and perimeter.  Here are a couple tutorials that come with some activities for differentiating between finding area and perimeter.

In Writing we have been working on constructing conclusions and on building in transition words and phrases into our essays.  We will continue writing in the Response to Literature genre after the Spring Break, but we will shift from narratives to poetry as the subject matter from which we will write.

In Reading we are continuing to read The Sign of the Beaver.  The major focus has been on building active reading engagement skills and strategies.  After starting to move into group work earlier this year, I realized the students first needed a more robust foundation on building reading and discussion strategies in order to help let them get the most possible out of their discussions.  Lately we have been working on creating, classifying, and supporting answers to different types of questions.  I am gradually giving the students more and more control over the specific questions they are to answer after reading each chapter.  The students are now correctly developing many types of questions including in-the-text detail, in-the-text summary, character trait, minor and major conflicts/ resolutions, in-your-head, and word analysis questions about both vocabulary clarification and figurative language use.  It’s exciting to see the many types of questions they create and where they will take our future discussions.


  1. Vocabulary: Finish packet and study
  2. Mathematics: Volume of prisms Study Link 9-9
  3. Reading: Read for 25 minutes and fill out summary section in Reading Log, get Reading Log signed

Mr. Weis

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