April 24, 2017

We are on to fractions! We've created a working model to help us get rolling with fractions! Twizzlers come in lots of colors these days! We've cut our own set of fractions using colored twizzlers. It has been very beneficial in working on equivalence. It's a difficult concept to understand, that lots of different fractions actually can be equivalent to one simplier fraction. It is the flexibility of thinking that helps us realize that math is a way of thinking. This has been very hard for my students, the flexibility of thinking. We are working on this, we are constantly looking at patterns and the ways numbers relate to each other. I work to tie this to multiplication and division, to find an organic way to cement these patterns into their mathematical toolbox. Meanwhile, the twizzlers have made math fun and fractions more interesting for the students - as they never know when we'll get to eat some!

April, 2017

We strive to continue to become more flexible thinkers and work on using what we know about mathematics to solve problems! I am working on becoming better versed at using more open problems help kids understand how mathematics works more deeply. Ask your student about our M&M days! The students came up with several methods, some very novel and interesting, to deal with a bag of M&M's. One thing is for sure, they didn't want Cheryl to enjoy it alone!

We are moving on to conquering fractions! We look forward to eating our way through our the many aspects of learning about fractions and working operations with fractions! We'll continue to work on learning to work flexibly with mathematics through the study of positive numbers less than one! And, be on the lookout for open problems where we can flex our fractional knowledge!

I have been trying a bit different approach to homework, and I continue to work at tweeking it. For example, this week we will be working the Think Tank problem here at school, as an open problem with many different ways to solve it. The Jumpstart format allows kids to keep practicing some skills we have learned, as well as pushes them with problem solving and using data. Please encourage them to bring any questions they may have to class, and we can go over them together. I'm finding that some great learning is coming from questions and mistakes!

Dec 30th, 2016

We were able to wrap up our continuing number sense study of addition and subtraction through flexible thinking and two-step problems. In class, we have been doing lots of thinking, problem solving and ways to manipulate problems to turn them into problems that are easier to solve. It has been more motivating and challenging to the students than just standard algorithms and facts. And, it is my intention to help them grow a more mathematical brain! But.... I continue to remind them that standard algorithms are extremely useful and knowing the facts makes basic math move along more quickly so they have the opportunity to do more higher level, interesting math work. They have heard me say a million times that, yes, you can live without knowing your facts. But..... they will make your life so much easier once you have them! Your student may need your encouragement and assistance in this area, there is some serious resistance to this idea.

I've suggested using Reflex math, on the computer, in order to practice and master their basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Many students showed dismay at that idea, so we brainstormed a multitude of ways to practice facts at home, including flash cards, running fact pages off the internet, looking into other computer/tablet math games, having parents quiz them while in the car or running errands, and so on. Ask them how they are planning to practice - and find out what their plan is. Help them work their plan. Learning their remaining facts needs to be a homework goal for students. In class, I plan to continue to focus on problem solving, number sense, flexible thinking and mental math through the topic we are covering. I use Singapore styled math lessons, which 2/3 has also been using. When we return in January, we will be starting off looking for patterns and relationships through multiples and factors - and hopefully will be able to prove to the students that there really aren't that many facts they are missing once they see the connections! We'll be moving right into multiplication and division from that point. I hope to have the students working lots of real-world, multi step problems using a process called bar modeling to help them have a visual model of the problem at hand. This visual model is a fantastic way to visually process more difficult problems. I have found it to be extremely helpful, even to myself!

Oct. 10, 2016

We are pushing through our place value unit! I am so happy with the understanding so many of the kids are bringing to the subject. We are going to try a standard homework, one that spirals through curriculum that we are currently working on as well as things the students have done last year. I spoke with my students today about doing a column of homework each day - knowing they could work ahead, if needed. I would encourage them to not get behind with it - we will try to check it each day and work through any problems. They may forget how they did some of last year's content, encourage them to give the problem their best try! We will be doing some project based learning with larger addition and subtraction problems, using manipulatives to really understand deeply how place value affects regrouping in these types of problems very soon! Building upon our learning and understanding is crucial to moving forward! Keep working hard, making and fixing your mistakes!

We are on to fractions! We've created a working model to help us get rolling with fractions! Twizzlers come in lots of colors these days! We've cut our own set of fractions using colored twizzlers. It has been very beneficial in working on equivalence. It's a difficult concept to understand, that lots of different fractions actually can be equivalent to one simplier fraction. It is the flexibility of thinking that helps us realize that math is a way of thinking. This has been very hard for my students, the flexibility of thinking. We are working on this, we are constantly looking at patterns and the ways numbers relate to each other. I work to tie this to multiplication and division, to find an organic way to cement these patterns into their mathematical toolbox. Meanwhile, the twizzlers have made math fun and fractions more interesting for the students - as they never know when we'll get to eat some!

April, 2017

We strive to continue to become more flexible thinkers and work on using what we know about mathematics to solve problems! I am working on becoming better versed at using more open problems help kids understand how mathematics works more deeply. Ask your student about our M&M days! The students came up with several methods, some very novel and interesting, to deal with a bag of M&M's. One thing is for sure, they didn't want Cheryl to enjoy it alone!

We are moving on to conquering fractions! We look forward to eating our way through our the many aspects of learning about fractions and working operations with fractions! We'll continue to work on learning to work flexibly with mathematics through the study of positive numbers less than one! And, be on the lookout for open problems where we can flex our fractional knowledge!

I have been trying a bit different approach to homework, and I continue to work at tweeking it. For example, this week we will be working the Think Tank problem here at school, as an open problem with many different ways to solve it. The Jumpstart format allows kids to keep practicing some skills we have learned, as well as pushes them with problem solving and using data. Please encourage them to bring any questions they may have to class, and we can go over them together. I'm finding that some great learning is coming from questions and mistakes!

Dec 30th, 2016

We were able to wrap up our continuing number sense study of addition and subtraction through flexible thinking and two-step problems. In class, we have been doing lots of thinking, problem solving and ways to manipulate problems to turn them into problems that are easier to solve. It has been more motivating and challenging to the students than just standard algorithms and facts. And, it is my intention to help them grow a more mathematical brain! But.... I continue to remind them that standard algorithms are extremely useful and knowing the facts makes basic math move along more quickly so they have the opportunity to do more higher level, interesting math work. They have heard me say a million times that, yes, you can live without knowing your facts. But..... they will make your life so much easier once you have them! Your student may need your encouragement and assistance in this area, there is some serious resistance to this idea.

I've suggested using Reflex math, on the computer, in order to practice and master their basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Many students showed dismay at that idea, so we brainstormed a multitude of ways to practice facts at home, including flash cards, running fact pages off the internet, looking into other computer/tablet math games, having parents quiz them while in the car or running errands, and so on. Ask them how they are planning to practice - and find out what their plan is. Help them work their plan. Learning their remaining facts needs to be a homework goal for students. In class, I plan to continue to focus on problem solving, number sense, flexible thinking and mental math through the topic we are covering. I use Singapore styled math lessons, which 2/3 has also been using. When we return in January, we will be starting off looking for patterns and relationships through multiples and factors - and hopefully will be able to prove to the students that there really aren't that many facts they are missing once they see the connections! We'll be moving right into multiplication and division from that point. I hope to have the students working lots of real-world, multi step problems using a process called bar modeling to help them have a visual model of the problem at hand. This visual model is a fantastic way to visually process more difficult problems. I have found it to be extremely helpful, even to myself!

Oct. 10, 2016

We are pushing through our place value unit! I am so happy with the understanding so many of the kids are bringing to the subject. We are going to try a standard homework, one that spirals through curriculum that we are currently working on as well as things the students have done last year. I spoke with my students today about doing a column of homework each day - knowing they could work ahead, if needed. I would encourage them to not get behind with it - we will try to check it each day and work through any problems. They may forget how they did some of last year's content, encourage them to give the problem their best try! We will be doing some project based learning with larger addition and subtraction problems, using manipulatives to really understand deeply how place value affects regrouping in these types of problems very soon! Building upon our learning and understanding is crucial to moving forward! Keep working hard, making and fixing your mistakes!

Sept. 27th, 2016

We started the year with some open ended activities and messages from the Youcubed team, from Stanford University. I had the opportunity to spend a half day this summer with Cathy Williams, of the Youcubed group. Jo Boaler and Cathy Williams, of Stanford, are working to bring change to mathematics education. They are basing their research and ideas on brain growth and having a growth mindset in the area of mathematics in particular. Learning how your brain grows best and that struggle and hard work is good for your brain is a central theme. You can check out their message as well as some of their activities at youcubed.org.

Everyone is beginning with a study of place value. We will be looking at the patterns numbers exhibit due to the power of base 10! Your child may come home singing "Yay, the power of ten!!" And, I may just drive them crazy with the question "Why?" I want them to think deeply about why, not just knowing that a math trick that works. Why does it work? Students will be working on problems in a different ways, with more thinking! We will be focusing on how our numerical system is set up and why it works. Understanding place value and how it works will open up mathematics to deeper understanding. Once place value is understood, mathematical patterns and predictions becomes much clearer to students. Struggling with the big idea will help them learn more deeply instead of just memorizing how things work. They will better understand why! Practice and games will be used to build and hone skills that will be a foundation for movement into a study of operations and algorithms.

Students may struggle with their work sometimes, but ultimately, it will build a deep rooted understanding of our number system and how it works that will provide a great foundation for higher level mathematics. It will also build their confidence for further work in mathematics!,

We started the year with some open ended activities and messages from the Youcubed team, from Stanford University. I had the opportunity to spend a half day this summer with Cathy Williams, of the Youcubed group. Jo Boaler and Cathy Williams, of Stanford, are working to bring change to mathematics education. They are basing their research and ideas on brain growth and having a growth mindset in the area of mathematics in particular. Learning how your brain grows best and that struggle and hard work is good for your brain is a central theme. You can check out their message as well as some of their activities at youcubed.org.

Everyone is beginning with a study of place value. We will be looking at the patterns numbers exhibit due to the power of base 10! Your child may come home singing "Yay, the power of ten!!" And, I may just drive them crazy with the question "Why?" I want them to think deeply about why, not just knowing that a math trick that works. Why does it work? Students will be working on problems in a different ways, with more thinking! We will be focusing on how our numerical system is set up and why it works. Understanding place value and how it works will open up mathematics to deeper understanding. Once place value is understood, mathematical patterns and predictions becomes much clearer to students. Struggling with the big idea will help them learn more deeply instead of just memorizing how things work. They will better understand why! Practice and games will be used to build and hone skills that will be a foundation for movement into a study of operations and algorithms.

Students may struggle with their work sometimes, but ultimately, it will build a deep rooted understanding of our number system and how it works that will provide a great foundation for higher level mathematics. It will also build their confidence for further work in mathematics!,