Today and tomorrow I'm spending time at the annual Ohio Council Teachers of Mathematics state wide conference. This year it is right here in Columbus, Ohio. If you are looking for local professional development for grades K-12 this is a great find and something you might want to attend next year
Today I spent time thinking about geometry with Linda Hallenbeck discussing the spatial reasoning and the important role it plays in mathematical thinking. When we look at shapes we could have children sort rounded shapes from each other. We could have children sort polygons from each other. If we look at polygon attributes for sorting we are only looking at sides and angle-arity. When we talk about shapes in kindergarten we are reasoning at the beginning stages. Another important aspect of spatial reasoning is the orientation of shapes which creates flexible thinking. Linda also shared we shouldn't reference pattern blocks by color when working with students. It implies color is an attribute associated with the a specific shape. Also, working with different shapes all the same color helps children focus more on the geometric attributes.
We talked about the difficulty children can have understanding a square is a special rectangle. Linda shared this analogy she uses. There are five people in my family. We are all Hallenbecks. I am a special Hallenbeck, I'm Linda Hallenbeck. I transferred this idea to the confusion with an oval and an ellipse. One resource Linda shared worth investigating as we all move to the Common Core is a flip book from Kansas.
Another great session I attended today was with Debra Rucker and Karen Boreman the developers from the Developmental Math Group. I know these ladies from my previous school district and it was nice to hear their wise wisdom about mathematics. Their focus in mathematics is with visual models. They shared several tools they have developed to make mathematics visual for children. Here are some tidbits I picked up during their session.
-Visual models are needed to connect words, symbols, and quantity
-Visual models change how you look at numbers
-Number sense is being flexible
-By definition teens are a ten and some more
-To fluently add and subtract students must show the commutative property
-A child won't count on until they see a number as a unit
-Putting things in a row makes counting easier, provide tools
Looking forward to a good day of learning tomorrow.