Monday, April 30, 2018

Listening In and Number Lines


We were near the ending of our math workshop.  Last week we looked at using a number line to help us show different ways to make a total money amount.  We named our work, Ways to make 35 cents.  This wasn't my own idea.  I'm in love with the resource Math in Practice A Guide for Teachers and was using an activity and paper from this resource.  

We took time to notice the number line.  It started with 0 and ended at 100.  There are lines in-between but not 100 lines.  I heard students trying to count lines using skip counting by 10.  I then heard some students trying to count lines using skip counting by 5.  I modeled how to show one way to use the number line to show ways to make 35 cents.  Together we used the number line to model two different/more ways to make 35 cents.  

I wanted to show how to use number bonds to show different ways to make 35 cents and starting to shift our work.  I mentioned the number line is one tool we could use to show ways to make coin collections and a student who needs extra support sometimes asked, "Can we put this in the math area?"  I was confused at first.  I wondered why she would want to put the paper she worked on in the math area of our room.  Then I thought a bit deeper and asked her if she would like papers like she used today in the math area.  She said yes, blank ones.  I confirmed blank papers on the shelf with our graph paper and ended my thinking with some inflection indicating I was changing this phrase to a question.  

She was so excited to say, "YES!"  I stopped right there.  What a great idea and was puzzled why I hadn't thought about this before.  It's a great math tool - a graphic organizer that can be tricky to draw for some students.  I had previously taught them how to use open number lines as a tool to show skip counting, adding and subtracting and now I'm thinking the structure of the lines on this graphic organizer and having them show increments of five might really help support some mathematicians.  Maybe an open number line is overwhelming for some students.  I'm so excited this student spoke up.  It's made me stop and think about different math organizers I could put in our math area to support them for different units of study.  It's made me stop and think about scaffolding number lines.  It's made me stop and realize it's important to have these  graphic organizers accessible for when the students want and find a need to use them.

Our days can get very busy this time of year and filled with to do list and agendas.  These few minutes reminded me to stop both the to do list and the agenda and listen.  Listen to the sweet wisdom of a seven year old.  It could be a game changer.

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