Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More Think Math

I am just loving our Think Math activity!  Here are some of the stories my class has created this week.

A Star Wars fan?

I love that these last two examples show partial number lines.  I just briefly demonstrated using an open-type number line yesterday and showed how they could just include the numbers they needed without showing every number.  Apparently they DO listen to me from time to time!

One of the few students who chose subtraction.  She's one of my ESL friends; notice sell instead of buy.

Their stories can also show me students who may need some reteaching.  This friend arrived at the correct answer, but showed a 10 frame that is not a 10 frame.

This story just made me smile!  Almost everyone else stuck with the leprechaun/St. Patrick's Day theme.

I discovered this weekend that there are some teachers on Twitter who are sharing a similar activity using the hashtag #1stnumbertalks.  I can't wait to get connected to some other first grade classes!

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Problems with Problem Solving

After a very relaxing spring break camping trip, it's time to get back into "teacher mode."  I've been working on a few things these weekend, particularly for math.
Problem solving is one of my favorite things to teach, but some of my little ones are having difficulty with the process this year.  Although they can usually arrive at the correct answer, they aren't always able to explain what they have done or use another strategy to solve the problem. I have a few friends who still just want to write an equation and say "I'm done!"  (These are the same students who have been "tutored" to memorize facts without really understanding the operations.  A few can even recall multiplication facts, but have no real understanding of the concepts.) When asked to solve a problem in a different way, they may just show the answer in another format.  I've even had a student just write several other equations that equal the same number as the answer that had no correlation to the problem at all.
When we started doing more complex problems- ones that didn't just ask for simple joining or "take away", many of my friends seemed to have trouble visualizing what the problem was asking. Our Think Math activity (click here to read more) is helping, and we have spent some time working with CGI problem types. This week we will focus on going through the steps of problem solving BEFORE considering the numbers. I'm hoping this will help those students who are stuck on one strategy visualize and approach problems in a different way.
Here's the powerpoint I created to guide us through our lesson on Monday.  I'll be back later in the week to share how it went!

Link to Powerpoint

For more about how I've approached problem solving, check out this post, this post and this one from last year.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I think I might be a little bit addicted to Pinterest!  I have more recipes and craft projects pinned than I will EVER have time to try and so many teaching ideas that I have forgotten what I have on my boards.
This pin is one that I had forgotten:
From Scholastic

But the other day one of my teammates was talking about Think Math-asking students to write a story problem based on an answer.  As she explained what she had done, I remembered this pin.  So I got to work and created my version of Think Math.

My kids are loving it!  They were all upset on Monday because I hadn't put up the new answer yet.  (Hopefully they are enjoying it because they like writing the problems and not just because they can use Post-It notes.  What is it about first graders and sticky notes?)  
After I put up this chart I was inspired to spruce up my whole math wall.

Now I'm headed back to Pinterest for some fresh ideas for my writing wall!

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