### And I’m finally back and running. Had to take a little break over the holidays to spend time with family and shopping. While I totally loved doing the shelf elf series and the Polar Express stuff, that totally wore me out. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and if you didn’t see it in time for this Christmas, I hope you look back and download all of them for next year!

### My school actually had to go back to school last Thursday, so I’m already back in to the swing of things. I’ve got several things I want to post about, so I’ll try to get them all typed up today and schedule them out over the weekend.

### After going over exponents right before break, we started this semester with numerical expressions and order of operations. I decided to do, what I call, swivel books. I’m not sure what else you would call them. lol! My intention was to get notecards, but when I went to Office Depot I found some really cute tiny notecards. they are probably about 3″ by 2 1/2″. Here is a picture of the swivel book……

### I gave each student five of the little cards and a brad. I started out letting them punch their own holes, but some were not punching them correctly and the holes were on the edge. I decided it was just easier for me to walk around and punch the holes for them. They put the brad through the hole and then punched it into the paper. The top card was were they were to write the numerical expression. Each additional card was used for each of the different steps in the order of operation. I went through each step and worked this problem with them. The students really seemed to enjoy making these cute little swivel books, and I’m sure they will be handy for referencing if they ever have trouble with the order.

### I know that the common practice is for teachers to teach the mnemonic “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” I usually do this, but last year on my order of operations post, I had a reader comment and post a link of an article about the bad of teaching that mnemonic. Their reasoning is basically because it makes students think that you go through and multiply every thing and then go through and divide, and the same with adding and subtracting. I completely disagree with the article’s thought on this. I think that mistake is made by students not because of the mnemonic, but just because it is one of those common mistakes that many students make. It is simply up to the teacher to discuss this over and over with their students. I always make a big deal about “doing whichever comes first.” Showing many examples and working several with your students will help eliminate this mistake.

### Here is a whole picture of the journal entry for order of operations……

### and the back side………

### And here is a cute freebie graphic organizer that I made for you to use with your students. My students couldn’t understand why I used a snowman. They said that Christmas was over and was almost Spring, and I had to explain that snowmen are a part of winter and that winter just started. lol. In my picture, I had misspelled parentheses. I corrected it for your download though. For some reason, I was thinking that it was spelled with an i (as in thesis).

### Click on the graphic below to get your adorable order of operation build a snowman!

Love the snowman for order of operations—not sure if it’s my computer or “operator error” but I can’t open the download for that. Heading to TPT to check out your store—-thinking this could be dangerous

Thanks for your help and for sharing great ideas.

Thank you so much!! I’m not sure why the snowman won’t download for you. If you want, you can e-mail me at fortheloveofteachingmath@gmail.com and I can try to send it to you or give you a Google Drive link.

Order of operations is a difficult concept for students to obtain, so I engage my students through an activity that leaves a lasting impact. I have found on the Internet that a teacher has created a hopscotch activity related to the concept. A website below provides a visual representation of the activity. http://www.rundesroom.com/2011/07/fun-with-order-of-operations.html. This activity helps students with the confusion of the steps of multiplication and division, and addition and subtraction. After they are familiar with the hopscotch, I present a task where I have an individual student hop in a certain order, so the other students will have to watch the hop sequences to create an order of operation problem. This idea will help and reinforce the students about the steps of multiplication and division, and addition and subtraction. In addition, I have provided several equation problems to help with these steps. For example, I have created an equation: 5 + 4 x 3 = 17. I instruct the students to simplify the left side of the equation, and it must equal the right side of the equation. Also, I tell them that the order of operations would help them to get the correct answer. This particular task has helped students especially my lower-level students to understand and appreciate the order of operations. At first, several students would want to break the rules of the order of operations to prove that their theory is correct or just forget to apply the rules. However, most of them would apply the order of operations and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Thank you for sharing such a great activity! Jennifer at Runde’s room has a lot of great activities and ideas!!

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