Saturday, September 28, 2013

What Will Math Look Like in the Classroom?

As the school year begins again, I'd like to revisit a few foundational posts to describe the Math In Focus classroom.  This year, both our students and our teachers have more experience working with these more rigorous standards and materials.  I have already heard comments about how the students are more prepared than they were last year at this same time.  Thanks to the hard work of both teachers and students, we are absolutely transitioning to the new standards!

This year, we continue to learn more about the standards and instructional strategies.  Our district inservice day focused on the Standards for Mathematical Practice.  We will spend some time talking about those in upcoming blog entries.

In the meantime, enjoy reading more about how math looks as we go into year two.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

School Year Coming to a Close... What to do?

Well, the school year is drawing to a close.  It has flown by, and in May time seems to go even faster!  Before you know it, the year will be over - summer will be here (maybe with some sunshine), and kids will be playing, resting, relaxing, and having summer fun.

Your children have become stronger in mathematics this year!  They have struggled through challenging problems, and had to "exercise" their brains.  Just as we do when we go to the gym... exercise is hard work, takes persistence, motivation and stamina!  You can compare the work your children have accomplished this year to a complete exercise program with a personal trainer, the teacher.

What happens when after we get into a great exercise routine, and then stop?  We get out of shape, lose our stamina, begin to get flabby, gain weight and our muscles lose their tone and strength.  Not a pretty picture!

How can you, as a parent, help your child keep their brain mathematically in shape?  Keep them engaged with math!  Keep them thinking mathematically.  Ask them to solve problems.  Ask them to engage with mathematics.

I am attaching a link to a school district in Connecticut.  They have mathematical calendars set up for children to work through by grade level.  What a fantastic resource for your family.  Thanks to Danbury School District math specialists for this great work. Many engaging, fun activities to keep everyone thinking mathematically over the summer and ward off the "summer slide"!

Families - if you work through these fantastic math activities with your children, just think how "in shape" your children will be when they return to school in August!

Summer Math Calendars

Happy summer!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

What Every Parent Should Know...

We all know that our children do better when schools, teachers, parents and children are actively collaborating and working together.  I recently ran across an article that speaks to this.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Addition Games - Friendly Ten!

To go along with our work with "friendly tens", here is a list of games for you and your children to experience.  Have fun!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Make it a Friendly Ten!

Make it friendly!  When you add two numbers, it is easy to make it a friendly ten.  Then, do your adding.  Let’s try this problem…
5 + 7 =
5 + 5 + 2 =
10 + 2 = 12
If you know that 7 is made up of 5 and 2, you can make a friendly ten (5 + 5), then add the 2.  Your answer is 12.

Our Math In Focus trainer was here for three days last week working with our classroom teachers, grades K-5.  We went to all of our six elementary schools where she did demonstration lessons, and the other teachers at that grade level viewed the lesson.  We had an opportunity to talk about the planning of the lesson prior to the demonstration lesson.  After the lesson, we had time to reflect and debrief, as well as ask questions, share what is working well and challenges.  

The first grade lesson, (thank you Glacier Valley for having us), was all about "making tens."  As this was a new concept for our first graders, the first step is to utilize concrete materials.  Children used a double ten frame and two colors markers working with addition problems such as 8 + 6 or 6 + 7.  The students are working on building conceptual understanding of making a friendly ten.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mental Math - Near Doubles!

Once your child knows their doubles, they can use that and count up or down to solve a problem.

If 4 + 4 is 8, then 4 + 5 is 9 (count up by one).
If 4 + 4 is 8, then 4 + 3 is 7 (count down by one).

See how everything is related in math?  Helping break it down for your child helps them make sense of mathematics.  Try these great ideas to support your child as they work to understand doubles and near doubles.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Mental Math - Doubles!

I love teaching children doubles.  They love it too!  Doubles are everywhere in real life.  Think about an egg carton, 6 + 6.  Think about the fingers on two hands, 5 + 5.  Think about a 16-pack of crayons, 8 + 8.   Once children see the pattern, they find doubles everywhere!

Practice in the car.  Practice on an airplane.  Practice as you go for a walk with your child.  Ask your child to explain how they figured out the answer.  Use a "million dollar question," and ask...
How do you know?
Are you sure?
Can you tell me more about how you figured that out?