Archive for September, 2011

Fall Math: Great Center and Guided Math Activities

Posted on September 26, 2011. Filed under: Classroom environment, Differentiated Instruction, Elementary math | Tags: , , , , , , |

Here are some great activities for fall.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Posted on September 20, 2011. Filed under: Elementary math, Multiple Intelligences | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Here is a song for teaching dividing fractions.

How does this add to our teaching?  How does putting this in our toolkit tap into spaces that digital learners inhabit?  This is simply a song that serves as a mnemonic device to the procedure.  You must make certain that along with things such as this that you teach students conceptually what they are doing.  Students should be given real contexts of dividing fractions and have to represent their thinking and explain it.  Along with that, then this type of song is an additional aspect of teaching and learning about dividing fractions. Remember to always make space for guided conversations in small guided math groups so that you can hear and see what individual students are doing!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Division Strategies and Algorithms: Great Guided Math Lessons

Posted on September 19, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Common Core, Common Math Errors, Digital Learners, During the Guided Math Lesson, Elementary math, Guided math, Manipulatives, virtual manipulatives | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Can you show your thinking about 250/50 in more than one way?  What about your students? Can they discuss this problem with numbers, words and pictures?

Division with Base Ten Blocks

Division with Virtual Manipulatives

More Division with Virtual Manipulatives (I would use real base ten blocks and then show the process with virtual manipulatives).

Area Model

Partial Quotients


Short Division (Notice the use of her language?  How could you help describe this process by using language that is descriptive of the actual place of the numbers?)

Be sure to look at all the Schultz videos on different strategies and algorithms for division (scroll all the way down).  Also take a look at the other posts on strategies and algorithms in this series on operations.  I always encourage teachers to do this type of work in small guided math groups so that students can get a chance to explain their thinking and listen to the ideas of others.  Also remember that the new math common core is encouraging us to build a repertoire of strategies and algorithms for the basic operations.  Of course, teach the traditional algorithm as well, but teach it with conceptual understanding as well as procedural fluency!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

More Multiplication Algorithms! Teach in Guided Math Groups

Posted on September 11, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Common Core, Elementary math, Guided math, Mathematical Proficiency | Tags: , , , , |

Here are more multiplication strategies and algorithms.  How many of these do you recognize?  Which ones would you add to your teaching toolkit?  Which ones would you use when?  Which ones seem more efficient in which situations? I think we should do this type of work in small guided math groups so that students can talk through their understanding and listen to others think outloud. A small group provides the space for “public mathematical thinking” and deeper discussion.  Take a look at these different ways of multiplying:


Doubling/Halving Method

Egyptian Method of Multiplication

Cross Hatch/Line/Mayan Multiplication

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Multiplying by 25


Also be sure to look at the Schultz Math Center Multiplication videos!

Try some out and be sure to write me and share your thoughts about teaching different multiplication algorithms in your classroom! Remember that the Common Core emphasizes that students should have a variety of strategies and algorithms for the basic operations.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Multiplication Strategies and Algorithms Part 1: Teach in Guided Math Groups

Posted on September 9, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Classroom environment, Common Core, Elementary math, Graphic Organizers, Guided math, Math is a Language, Mathematical Proficiency |

What’s 12 x 15?  How did you solve it? Now, solve it another way.  Look at these resources to see different ways.

Resource 1 

These are great scaffolded graphic organizers to use when teaching the lattice method.

Check out these examples.  How is the term “Multiplication Wrestling” a student friendly way of presenting this strategy?

Cluster Strategy of Multiplication.  What  do you think of this strategy?  Is it helpful?  Do you think it is efficient?  Do you think it would help your students?

Different ways and representations used to think about multiplication.

It is important to spend time in small guided math groups talking with students about their thinking.  Students need ample time to listen to themselves and others explain their mathematical thinking.  They should also do word problems where they use one strategy to solve the problem and check it with a different one. The Common Core places an emphasis on different ways of arriving at an answer and being able to represent and explain one’s thinking.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Great Illustrated Math Dictionary

Posted on September 8, 2011. Filed under: Classroom environment, Common Core | Tags: , , , , |


As a math consultant, working with students and teachers around the country, I am always looking for great resources.  The new Math Dictionary for Kids, The Essential Guide to Math Terms, Strategies and Tables by Theresa R. Fitzgerald is just what I have been looking for!  It is geared for students in grades 4 through 9 and filled with many useful math terms and strategies.  I especially like that it has its own Quick Reference Guided to Fractions, especially since  this is one of the areas of emphasis in the new National Math Common Core.


This book is kid-friendly.  I had my 5th grade niece take a look and she liked it!  Now, that’s the true test.  She liked that she could find and understand the “stuff.”  I like that about the book too.  I like that it is well-organized into topics that students need.  I like that it is color-coded.  I also really like the Learning with Manipulatives section because students and teachers often underutilize some of these great tools when exploring concepts.  Finally, the various charts of arithmetic and measurement are a good resource to have right on hand.


Overall, this is a very thorough and comprehensive resource for learning and reviewing mathematical ideas, terminology, definitions, and examples.  The pictures, diagrams, graphs and charts help everyone to visualize the math and have greater access to the concepts. Schools are always asking me, “What should we buy for math?”  I will now always include the Math Dictionary as one of the Must Have Resources!






Dr. Nicki Newton

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...