Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break

Spring Break WOOOHOOO!  I calculated it out and with our snow days (and I was gone for a few days) in February I worked 14 days.  In March, I'm working 12.  So really Spring Break is just another few days off... then I'm off to a week long conference the first week in April and when I come back we start testing.  Teacher PANIC!  I'm the luckiest teacher and have a great group of students this year (as I do every year!) so I know they will do their best, but as you know it's still nerve racking!

I had lofty goals for this spring break week that I am working on.  Starting tomorrow. 

But during my laid back, still-wearing-pajamas-and-blog-hopping at noon morning afternoon, I ran across Fifth in the Middle's lovely blog post for teacher blogs by state.  I think I'm behind the gravy train on this (that's not news!) but I went ahead and linked up and checked out some more blogs!  What a great idea!  You can link up to it as well with the link on my sidebar that looks like this:

I'm not from Kansas originally, so it feels weird to say that I'm a Kansas blogger!  Also, not great at the blogging thing, so maybe I'm just a Kansas Blogger Imposter.  That should have been my blog name.  Rats.  I honestly don't know how all you blogger maniacs are keeping up with everthing- but I do love learning about it all!
I did do one productive thing so far this Spring Break- and that was finish up my Crypto Challenge poster set.  We play the Crypto Challenge in my classroom every week and it is a super challenge for the kids- especially those that love math and want to stretch their brain muscles! 
If you've never played the game Krypto, you can find it for $12 on Amazon.  It's not sold in stores anymore, so it can be hard to find.  I love the game and it does serve it's purpose sometimes in the classroom, but sometimes we don't have time for a whole "game".  I went to a great Greg Tang conference a few years ago (holy cow he is a math WIZ!) and he could come up with solutions INSTANTLY.  It blew my mind.  That's why I put the posters together.  Students put a new Crypto Challenge up each week and then turn in the equations they made.  In the past I've offered this as an "extra challenge/extra credit" but now I'm switching it to a center activity, so I went ahead and made 30 beginner posters and 5 intermediate posters.  We can put different numbers up every week, but I wanted something already made and easy to grab-n-go.  Make it a student job each week and it's done for you!
The posters at my TpT store look like this:
The rules are super easy- using the 5 numbers on top only once, students can use any operations (add/subtract/multiply/divide) to get to the target number (in this case, 8).  So for instance, students could turn in :
I find the Crypto Challenge super hard to do, so lots of my students beat me to a solution.  The best part is they don't all get the same solution, so it challenges them to come up with more.  See who can get the most!  See who can get it first!  Play like Boggle and knock each other out!  So really, it could be set up as a game or a center...or just a fun math challenge in the classroom.  The other thing that is fabulous about it, is that the students naturally differentiate the activity.  Some students will naturally stick to the basic math operations, but others will start grouping numbers with parentheses, or try harder equations to manipulate the game.  Makes me smile!  Either way, we love it in room 112.
Off to dig into a wonderful book- since I've already committed to working on my lofty goals tomorrow...


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