Archive for May, 2011

This Ruler Practice Rules! Great Center Activity

Posted on May 29, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Common Math Errors, Digital Learners, Elementary math, Math Centers, virtual manipulatives | Tags: , , , |


This is a great site for students to practice reading a ruler.  See this great link!

Did you know that:

The standard English ruler, or Imperial ruler, is divided into inches. Each inch is divided in half. Each of those halves is divided in half to give you quarters. Each of those quarters is divided in half to give you eighths. And each of those eighths are divided in half to give you sixteenths. Some rulers will even show you thirty-seconds and sixty-fourths.

In this great game you can use adjust the “Increment Levels” so that students can practice measuring different sizes.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki


Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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More Base Ten Block Magic: Building Understanding One Block at a Time in Guided Math Groups

Posted on May 27, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Differentiated Instruction, Elementary math, Guided math, Guided Math Introduction, Manipulatives, Math Centers, virtual manipulatives | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


See these great resources to teach operations with base ten blocks in small guided math groups!

Visualizing Algorithms

Exploring Decimals

Visualizing Multi-digit Multiplication

Picturing Multiplication

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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The Magic of Base Ten Blocks: Develop Conceptual Understanding in Guided Math Groups

Posted on May 25, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Differentiated Instruction, Digital Learners, During the Guided Math Lesson, Elementary math, Guided math, Guided Math Introduction, Manipulatives, Math Centers, Multiple Intelligences, virtual manipulatives | Tags: , , , , , , , |


This is  a great site that shows you how to use base ten blocks to develop conceptual understanding of the operations.  I would do all of these activities with the students in small guided math groups with real base ten blocks. I would then hold small guided math sessions at the computer so I could use this site to teach at the pictorial level.  Finally, I would have the students work with this site during center time.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Problem Solving Journals

Posted on May 18, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Classroom environment, Graphic Organizers, Guided math, Math is a Language, Mathematical Proficiency, Problem Solving | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


Here is a great site that talks about using problem solving journals in the primary grades! 

Setting up the notebooks.

The first few weeks.

In terms of the Share and Compare protocol that she mentions (scroll down to the bottom of the page), I want to emphasize a few things.  First of all, the warm-ups, I would use to get the students to practice their mental math and STRESS STRATEGIES!  We want all of our students to gain strategic competence throughout the year.  Next, in terms of the problem of the day, remember that the research says to teach the problems according to the continuum Addition/Subtraction- Join, Separate, Part Part Whole and Compare.  And be sure to note the 5 types of multiplication and division problems for the upper grades.   Students should be very familiar with each problem type, depending on the grade. (Note that these are now part of the New Math Common Core -see the appendix). 

I really like the idea of a mathematician’s chair as a standard routine for sharing the journals.  You could really dress up this chair with numbers and symbols to make it very inviting.  I would also get a cheap microphone from the dollar store, Walmart or Target so that when students sit in the chair, they can use the microphone.  The microphone makes magic happen!  The students really get into the discussion. 

Finally, the idea of taking time to compare their strategies is of utmost importance.  This often gets skipped, but it is a crucial element in this structure.  You want students talking about the different ways they solved the problem.  Remember, problem solving discussions should be “facilitative rather than prescriptive.”  You don’t want to tell the students how to do it, you want them to develop a variety of strategies and then  YOU faciliate those discussions.  You can definitely add to them, but let go of “This is how you do it.” Rather embrace, ” How might you do it?”

Even though this is on a kindergarten blog, the structures are good for any grade. Also, notice the way that she introduces the notebook, the manipulatives and open-ended problems.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

P.S. Be sure to see the other posts in this blog on problem solving and word problems.

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More Graphing!

Posted on May 13, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Elementary math, Graphic Organizers | Tags: , , , , |


These are great graphing activities.  I would make a large graph as a whole class and then have the students do the individual ones.  Remember that a bar graph has 5 parts:  the title, labels for the x and y axis, the categories and the scale.  Make sure that your students fill in the missing parts on these graphs!  Be sure to have your students take the lead in analyzing the data.  Have them comment on their noticings before you ask very direct questions.  Focus on the language…more than, less than, equal to etc…

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Great Math Center Vocabulary Activities!

Posted on May 12, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Digital Learners, Math Centers, Math is a Language | Tags: , , , , , |


Here is a great site that has tons of math vocabulary by grade level.  The vocabulary is divided into different categories like algebraic thinking and geometry.  Under each category students can take a spelling test, a vocabulary test, play teach me games and flash cards.  Check it out.  It would be a great math center activity.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Great Balanced Assessment Tasks

Posted on May 11, 2011. Filed under: Assessment | Tags: , , , |


Here are some really rich assessment tasks  developed for elementary through secondary students.   They were developed by a core group of universities funded by an NSF grant in 1993, with Harvard as the lead project team.  They have been translated and used world wide.   The project stated that these tasks were to:

  • Help students become proficient in demonstrating their mathematical knowledge through developing their critical thinking and mathematical actions. These actions include the ability to conceptualize or model a problem, to do the necessary mathematical calculations or transformations, to recognize and generalize results, and to communicate their solutions and understanding of the concepts.
  • Provide teachers with a strong working model of what good assessment looks like, and how it can be used effectively.

Try them in your classroom. Here are the primary tasks and here are the elementary tasks.    I suggest that schools choose specific tasks for grade levels and try them out to assess the thinking of the students on that grade.  Be sure to let me know how it goes.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Early Childhood Assessment in Mathematics

Posted on May 10, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Elementary math | Tags: , |


This is a great tool for assessment in the primary grades!  What do you think of this framework? Which frameworks do you use?

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Great Math Common Core Site! Guided Math Group Activities and Centers

Posted on May 8, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |


This is a great site for getting started with the Math Common core.  They have links  categorized under each of the domains and the specific standards.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Have a Spring Math Fair!

Posted on May 4, 2011. Filed under: Mathematical Proficiency | Tags: , , , |


Everybody does a science fair!  How about having a math fair?  A math fair is an exciting opportunity to showcase “hands-on” “minds-on” math activities where the whole family can get involved.  Each class picks a project that is framed around math and displays it at the fair.  Students and teams can also have entries. You might want to set up the areas in terms of the New Math Common Core domains! Here are some links that discuss math fairs.

http://www.mathfair.com/

http://www.mathfair.com/puzzles.html

http://www.mathfair.com/resources.html

http://www.galileo.org/math/sumtalk/

http://muneducmathfairs.blogspot.com/

http://math.youngzones.org/MathFair.html

http://www.nhcs.k12.nc.us/gregory/mathfairlinks.html

http://searchwarp.com/swa124771.htm

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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