Five For Friday: Number Bonds & Bar Models

Hooray! Fall is here ... the leaves are falling, pumpkin lattes are plenty, and soon I can stuff my face with some cornbread stuffing (such a good comfort food that is way MORE than just a side dish). Oh, and let us not forget that it is F-R-I-D-A-Y (happy dance time)!!!

I am linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for some Five for Friday Fun!

Today, my entire district had Pupil Free Day for our new Math curriculum: Math in Focus by Singapore Math. Talk about some rigorous Math right here! Everything Singapore Math has you do is always thinking outside of the box. It makes you step out of your comfort zone and seriously put your brain into overdrive. 

There are 4 non-negotiables in Math in Focus. Today we focused on non-negotiable #2: Visualization. Singapore Math starts students with something concrete, like a manipulative to allow students to grasp the concept of the standard and skill you are teaching. Then, they make you visualize the math in your head and sketch out your visualization so that you are able to explain your thinking and process. (Again, there is no right or wrong way in Math of "getting the answer" as we all think differently.)

 BUT ... Singapore Math does introduce some aids to help us better organize and understand a concept. Today, we revisited number bonds (which originally we all thought was torture but now that our kids have learned and mastered these babies, we all love it!) & bar models. My notes look messy, but there is some good stuff behind this crazy madness! You are constantly applying learned skill and adding to it on the following lessons. 

Bar Models for multiple step problems

Visualization 1: Rounding Roller Coaster by my awesome grade level leader. 
You make a visualization for students to think of rounding like a roller coaster. Digits with 1-4 "roll back down" to its original number because it can't propel forward. Digits 5-9 "roll forward" to the following number. I then shared my "Rounding Rap" from Project GLAD with my team to reinforce the rounding rules.

Visualization 2: Modified Circle Map for a Word Problem.
Another great idea by another one of my teammates! My table totally rocked at today's training... just sayin'! Students will be asked to "chunk" the word problem like we do when we learn to read new words, but they will use bar models for visualizing what they are being asked to do.

Visualization 3: Number bonds to find the missing digits. I should've color coded this so it was easier to see what I did. Oops!

Visualization 4: using a piece of string or ribbon for number lines. 
You hang a piece of ribbon on the whiteboard or wall space. Then you give students different post-its by starting with a midpoint, starting point, and end point. Then you hand students different numbers on a post-it so they can visually see where each number would go on the number line and if it's closer to the starting point or end point.

(Found this on Pinterest ... I am sorry I can't find the source to give credit to!)

Mental Math by decomposing numbers in number bonds. Chapter 2 (8 lessons total) in Math in Focus is all about mental math. Students are decomposing numbers with number bonds left and right to get their answers. The traditional way of computing numbers and solving them isn't even introduced until Chapter 3 (adding multiple digits with regrouping) and Chapter 4 (subtracting multiple digits with regrouping).

I'm not gonna lie, I didn't understand the point behind this mental math chapter or why it was SO long. But after today's training, I see how much time the students will save in Chapters 3 and 4 being able to conceptualize and mentally add without using their fingers ALL the time. Again, there is a method to this crazy madness I tell ya!!!

I finally got my business cards! Aren't they "LoveLi"? I asked my super awesome blog designer, Becca from Jumping Jax Designs to make me some business cards with my classroom website, school e-mail, and Remind 101 # for parents to have handy. I included a magnetic clothespin (washi taped in blue and white stripes, of course) for parents to hang on their refrigerator so they had the information when they need it.

Originally, I wanted to hand these out at Back to School night. BUT, because we don't live in a perfect world, I was not able to do that. I wanted to wait to see if I would remain a 2/3 Combo teacher or become a regular 3rd grade teacher before I put some information on the card and handed them out to parents that later I would no longer see. 

I have been SUPER sick lately from my kiddos coming to school with their colds. I even lost my voice and sounded like I chain smoke all day on Wednesday. So, what do I find Thursday in my teacher mailbox? A handmade card from ALL of my students! They got together during recess and instead of playing, they sat under our school's tree and made me cards. I am SO touched by their gentle souls!!!

Here are 2 that made me laugh out loud because it was SO cute! 

Card #1: " I am the BEAST tehar in the wrod" + a Hello Kitty. My heart melted! I gotta make sure this sweet boy learns his sight words before he leaves my class. LOL!

Card # 2: "Ms. Li, the best teacher in the wrold"
This one made me laugh because this boy writes how he's lucky to have me as his teacher, "even though I am a Giants fan".  Double LOL! We can't be perfect, right?!?

HP Envy 4500. 

Being a BIG tech geek myself, I have read on other fellow teachers' blogs about the HP Envy 4500 printer. I have been wanting it for a while, but I seriously just bought a printer in June. It was also an HP printer, but it WASN'T wireless & it DIDN'T have insta-ink.

Then ... (harps playing) thanks to my awesome Target Cartwheel app, I saw it on discount for half the price. I think I got it for $49.99 + 5% off with Target card. Seriously? It is amazing!

It not only is sleek in size and design, but it is quietER (not quiet, quietER) than most printers. I think my favorite part however, is that it is wireless. I can print from my upstairs living room, my own room, the kitchen, or even from my phone as long as it is connected to my wireless network. It is seriously so convenient! To make things better, it even "senses" when you are running out of ink and allows you to sign up for insta-ink. It is NOT based on the amount of ink you use, but rather the number of pages you print. I enrolled in the 300 pages service for $9.99 per month. They don't charge you for your first pack until you install it. Any unused pages, roll over to the following month. It's pretty nifty! The amount of ink you get, depends on the service (number of paper pages) you select. No more running to Office Depot or CVS for late night last minute ink shopping. 

Leyla headphones: Bauble Bar edition by Frends

I went to Seattle with my mother this past weekend and decided to splurge on some headphones to watch movies and listen music to. I was tired of the ones that come with my iPhone where you stick it in your ear. It was always way too big and bulky and it never fit my ear. 

I was going to get the Beats by Dre until I did some research and found the Frends headphone. I didn't want anything bulky, so I got the smaller Leyla one.

Nordstrom is where I purchased mine. They are the Bauble Bar edition. For those of you not familiar with Bauble Bar, they make some great jewelry and this limited edition version came with a pair of earrings by Bauble Bar. I am SO in love with the white with the rose gold. It matches my iPhone perfectly! 

The best part about these headphones? The earbuds portion are interchangeable. No more sticking to one design or pattern. In fact, on their website, they claim that they want you to think of their headphones as another accessory; thus allowing you to coordinate it with your outfit and mood. 

For an indecisive person like myself, this is the solution to my problem! Aren't the rose gold/mother of pearl finish so beautiful? I got so many compliments in the airplane and airport about my headphones. 

Oh, did I mention that they also have noise reduction where when you listen to music or play a movie it eliminates outside noise? (My momma did not like that, as she wanted me to have conversations with her during our 2 hours plane ride).

Wow ... what a long Five for Friday! Can you believe that it is only 3 months until Christmas and even less for Winter Break? I get 3 weeks this year. My countdown is on! Happy weekend ya'll!


  1. The maths day sounds like it was really useful. I need to learn more about Singapore maths myself. Also - those headphones are amazing!
    Growing Little Learners

    1. Yes, Singapore Math seems challenging at first, but I am hoping in a few more years my school and district will see the change we all want in our students' thinking about math. And yes...my headphones are SO amazing =) I carry it with me everywhere!

  2. Gotta love number bonds! Those cards are too cute...best teacher...I love it!

    1. Yes, number bonds .... the kids could do them forever. LOL!

  3. Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it u

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  5. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u.
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