Monthly Archives: December 2016

Pajama Day Math

Today was Pajama Day and our class was full of school spirit.

I decided that Pajama day would be even more fun with some candy cane hot chocolate. Of course we all had to do a little math before we got to enjoy our hot chocolate. We combined our knowledge of rounding, estimating, multiplication, and volume to calculate what our class would need.

We noted that an actual 1cup was 250mL, but that the styrofoam cups we were holding would only hold 180mL. 

We ran out of time, so tomorrow we will finish our calculations for how much hot chocolate mix we needed. This will give us an opportunity to talk about how fractions are “part of a whole.” This is a concept most grade fours usually struggle with and something we will visit many times this year.

Using Patterns and Mental Math to Multiply

On Thursday and today we looked at the patterns we can use to help us multiply with numbers that end in zero. Today we talked more about WHY these “add zero” tricks work.



We did a “Number Talk” as well today. During our number talks we share different ways we get to answers using mental math (no calculators, no paper). Each number talk has a series of 3-5 questions that will help students link their thinking together as we work toward the questions with bigger numbers. ALL answer are accepted, as we learn from our mistakes. The goal of number talks is for students to learn other strategies of getting to an answer and to look for strategies that might be more efficient than one they used. Here is our train of thought and some of the strategies our students used…




Writing Personal Narratives

We have been working on Personal Narratives for the past few weeks now. We have been using personal narratives as a tool to work on many elements of our writing:

  • Using paragraphs
  • Using lots of detail to create a picture in our readers head (visualize)
  • Using adjectives (describing words) to add voice to our writing
  • Using transition words such as first, then, after, next, finally to organize and order our writing
  • Revising – This is when we make changes in our writing to add sections to improve our readers picture of what happened and to help them better understand how we felt. Revising is also taking out unimportant or repetitive detail
  • Editing – This is when we fix spelling, make sure things make sense, and check for capitals and periods

Currently, most students are typing up their finished product and we are conferencing about what they can do better on their next personal narrative story.

Check out all of the support resources for this and the marking rubric in the HUB.

Calculating how much toxic waste is in Hamilton’s Randle Reef

Last week in math, we finally found the solution to a tough problem we have been working through in steps.

As a result of our inquiry on clean water, students have been asking about the Randle Reef project.

Check out our problem:


Last week the students first calculated that the volume of our portable was 140 cubic meters.

We discovered that the toxic waste in the Randle Reef area of Hamilton Bay would fill 4964 portables like ours! YUCK!

This problem was great! We talked about linear measurement (metres), volume (cubic metres), the formula for volume, addition options, subtraction options, multiplication options, and division options. It has even opened the door to decimals and partial numbers which we’ll discuss further next week.

Many students are still using addition and subtraction when solving problems like this, but these big numbers are beginning to help them see why multiplication and division might be more efficient.

Of course with such large numbers, students are allowed to use a calculator once they understand which mathematical operation to use and understand how it will help them to solve the problem.