Monday, October 3, 2016

Pondering Math Representations {Math Monday}


When I saw this drawing last week, I wanted to jump for joy because I was looking at an example of how a student was able to make sense of a problem.  We often encourage our early mathematicians to draw as a way to make sense of their math work.  With time and as their computation skills improve students want to dive right into working with numbers and quite often they don't understand the problem enough to make sense of what to do with those numbers.  I also think as students grow drawing is seen as something younger students do.  

I loved how E was able to connect these three numbers as one; a sum.  His drawing made me think about bar models and wonder if we tried to draw  the problem with a bit more reality could bar models make more sense.  A couple of years ago I tried to jump right into modeling and encouraging students to use bar models as a way of making sense of their math problems.  It was challenging and harder than I thought.  I knew better but the district resource made it look so easy.  I'm wondering now, if we encourage more drawing prior to introducing bar modeling would there be a deeper understanding and easier transition to using bar models as one problem solving strategy.  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Linking Math and Reading for Clarity {Math Monday}

When I started teaching, estimating was frequently done; maybe weekly to help build number sense.  As standards and time have changed, it seems the love classroom teachers and students once had for estimation has faded.  I don't think I realized how much it had faded until today during my mini lesson.  

I was measuring a crayon box to demonstrate how you can use a physical unit, a centimeter cube and use multiple copies of the physical unit to find the length.  I placed random spaces between the centimeter cubes and we discussed right away how the gaps of space weren't supposed to be there.  I was then able to introduce measuring by starting at the endpoint/beginning of an object.  As I switched to measuring the width of the crayon box, I asked my students to make an estimation about the crayon box width.

Several students asked me what the word estimation meant.  I saw several faces with a puzzled look.  My student's expressions showed a look of questioning and wanting to understand more.  I then made a connection to our work in reading and their looks of puzzlement went away.  Estimating is like predicting as readers.  It's so important we take the time to make connections between subject areas/disciplines.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Writer's Notebooks inspire Math Journals {Math Monday}

As I reflected this summer about my math journals, I realized they had really become a math problem solving journal.  I had gotten away from student reflection, quick writes, and questioning that were once part of my math journals.  I wanted to make some changes and started tweeting with my friend Kassia, @kassiaowedekind as our conversation progressed another friend Kristin, @MathMinds joined in and our conversation went with how to set up the math journal.  

Kristin shared she has spiral and composition notebooks, she wants the students to have choice and to quote our tweet - "I just really wanted them to own it and not have the journal be something they saw as something they did for me."

I instantly thought about setting up writer's notebooks and how we let students decorate them for ownership. I then thought I could do this for our math journals! It's important to show student's how numbers are used daily and to make connections between them and numbers in our world. I knew over the years I had done a lesson maybe called Numbers and Me and started looking through a few resources.

In Minilessons for Math Practice, Grades K - 2 (intermediate friends there is a version for you) by Rusty Bresser and Caren Holtzman there's a lesson called Fit the Facts which was the perfect entry point for personalizing our math journals. I didn't want my young students just grasping at numbers to use and wanted them to have some preplanned options. Fit the Facts really helps students think about the reasonableness of numbers in context. For homework, the students found out numbers for their age, grade, address, height, miles away from school, favorite number, siblings, and pets. The goal for the class discussion for each student is to offer a student's numbers only, read them and then try to reason the best one for each sentence.

After discussing three student's Fit the Fact information I modeled ways students could pick 3 - 5 ideas from their homework to use to illustrate the front cover of their math journal. I also shared they could add one or two new ideas they have for numbers in their lives. It was so fun to watch their excitement as they personalized their journal covers and thought about numbers in a fun personal way.

Minilessons for Math Practice is great resource from the Math Solutions group.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Amplify Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom

There’s been a lot of discussion this year around Amplify!Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom by Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke and I’m so glad I included this in my stack of summer professional reading.  This book focuses on constructing and sharing knowledge using technology.  This book kept reminding me about the possibilities for student ownership and how independent students can be with some guided initial instruction.   There are so many nuggets within this text; ideas to try tomorrow, sample anchor charts, ideas for using technology within literacy learning, and ideas to help you as a teacher learn more to help your students.  This book is a must read because it's about creating, sharing, and empowering our students.  Their voices, ideas, and thoughts need to be shared beyond our classroom walls.

These are the nudges I found for the upcoming school year.

-        try to make a vlog myself and with my students

-        technology instruction can be framed in the a workshop format

-        model online reading and offer guided practice

-        expand our blog audience sooner and bigger

-        do a mini lesson on symbols to know, creating an anchor chart

-        combine technology with normal ideas I have to curate learning

Here are some quotes that are sticking with me and might interest you in looking at this book more.

- “Connecting with an audience is essential.”

- “Technology is a tool, not a panacea for fixing problems.”

- “The simple act of giving ourselves permission to stop and watch opens our eyes to the rich fabric of learning in our classroom.”

- In reading about pairing media with text, “We explicitly teach them to watch with a wide-awake mind by noting and naming the differences between viewing for enjoyment and viewing to learn new information.”

- “Oftentimes we combine this structure with unstructured experimentation by allowing students some time to play with a new tool before the lesson begins.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mrs. Moody in the Birthday Jinx

Mrs. Moody in the Birthday Jinx by Megan McDonald is the newest addition to the Judy Moody and Friends series.  It was just released last week and I'm happy to add it to our classroom library.  The reader learns early on Mrs. Moody's birthdays turn out as something went-wrong-not-right.  Judy takes charge and rallies her father to make the perfect birthday cake and encourages her brother to make a homemade gift.  Judy is insisting things are handmade to show their mother they really do care; handmade is best.  This makes Judy my kind of girl.  

However, as you can predict things go a little wrong.  It actually becomes interesting to see how many things can go wrong and it's not always bad things happening it's just the reality of being a parent and your kids having needs or not liking sushi food for your birthday lunch.  One of the funniest mishaps was when Judy convinces her dad to make the perfect carrot cake.  He makes the cake and works really hard but it's a white cake not an orange cake.  Can you guess what vegetable he used instead of carrots?

Quite often children's books have a little nugget for adults to enjoy and this book had just what I needed to read and maybe someone in your life needs it too.  Mom is convincing Judy her birthday wasn't jinxed and things were okay.

"Noise is the sound of family," said Mom.  "And the best birthdays are full of noise."

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hundreds Chart Resource {Math Monday}

Last week I was doing some addition and subtraction work during math workshop and discovered a third of my class was having difficulty taking ten away from any given double digit number.  I was a bit surprised.  I started to try and figure out why but quickly decided it didn't matter.  What did matter is I needed to help my students become more flexible with numbers from 0 - 100.  I knew the perfect tool I wanted to use was a hundreds chart.  

I knew the perfect resource I had at home and hadn't really  used yet was, It Makes Sense! Using the Hundreds Chart to Build Number Sense by Melissa Conklin and Stephanie Sheffield.  Whenever, I want to understand math mathematics more as a teacher or have my students develop their understandings further I always go to a Math Solutions resource.  

It Makes Sense! Using the Hundreds Chart to Build Number Sense begins with a How to Use this Resource section which grounds a teacher's reasons for using a hundreds chart; we want to help students build a mental model of our number system.  The goal of the lessons provided in this resource is to give students chances to think, reason, and talk about numbers.  The lessons do build on each other and there are activities you can use to mirror or follow up a lesson with.  These would be great for small group work or independent work during math workshop.

I have some friends who are uncomfortable teaching math and I have some friends who love teaching math.  This book is for everyone.  Each lesson has these components; overview, related lessons, key questions, teaching directions, teaching tip, technology tip, differentiating you instruction ideas, extensions, time savers, and ideas for when to end the lesson.  This list looks exhausting but I promise the text for each section is short and sweet.  Another added bonus within this book are pages filled with teacher reflection for each grade level K-2.  I don't know about you but I'm always looking for examples for the specific grade level I'm teaching that year. 

This past Friday I did Lesson 2, Building the Hundreds Chart (Version 2) and my students loved it.  They were totally engaged in math talk.  I learned which students really struggled adding or subtracting ten because they waited and would only place their numbers when there was an adding or subtracting one situation.  I will revisit this lesson with a small guided math group or two this week.  Today we are going to do arrow math together and then I'm going to use it for the rest of the week as an option during math workshop.  I envision writing arrow math clues for each other in hopes of creating more flexible mathematicians.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty {Blog Tour}

I am so excited to be hosting today's blog tour for the book, Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty.  I wish I had had this book when my daughters were younger.  It's a book celebrating the different ways girls can be and are beautiful.  It encourages the silly, the imagination, the playful, the explorer, the handicapped, the creative, and the athletic.  Joanne Lew-Vriethoff is the illustrator and her vision for the text really make the reader see beyond sterotypical thoughts with her colorful, engaging, and active illustrations.  I would love to know if Stacy and Joanne had conversations over their collaboration.  I loved the page that states girls are graceful and they are playing all different kinds of sports.  I enjoyed the page referring to girls having a smart style and they are exploring bugs, building things with tools and creating potions.  Each page made me stop and think about how the text and images were sending a different message when put together.  As I finished the book, I wondered if there was going to be a companion book for boys.

Thank you Running Press for Kids for my review copy.  Make sure you stop by these other blogs to read more thinking about this beautiful book, available now.

9/3 MomReadIt
9/8 MamaBelly