Archive for July, 2013

Must have Math Workstations: Math Word Problems (Part 1)

Posted on July 31, 2013. Filed under: Common Core, Math Centers, Math Workstations, Mathematical Proficiency | Tags: , , |

Problem Solving is super important. Students need to have many opportunities to engage with problem solving throughout math workshop. Remember that it is not about the key words but rather the problem types!  Here are 5 ideas for the problem solving station.

#1 Do Word Problem Sorts where students have to sort the problems by types

#2 Have students solve problems using templates to scaffold their thinking

(example 1)

(bookmarks of models)

#3 Use math mats at all grade levels (students can make up all types of stories from addition/subtraction/multiplication/division/fractions and rations) (also look here under the different calculations for more mats) (and check out my math mats board) (also PROBLEM SOLVING BOOKS – CCSS ALIGNED BY GRADE)

#4  Definitely use CGI Resources (Just google CGI Math)

# 5 Use Math Playground Bar Diagramming Videos and Thinking Blocks Practice

P.S. Be sure to check out my Word Problem Pinterest Board for More ideas

P.S.S.  More Great Resources!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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4 Must Have Math Workstations: # 3 The Digital Workstation

Posted on July 30, 2013. Filed under: Common Core, Digital Learners, Math Centers, Math Workstations, virtual manipulatives | Tags: , , , , |

July 30, 2013

The students that we teach are known as “Digital Natives” by Prensky (2001). We on the other hand, are referred to as the “Immigrants.” They were born in the 21st century.  We were born in the 20th century.  We teach the way we learned.  So, many of us are still using 20th century ways to teach in the 21st century.  I am not suggesting that we throw out all of those ways.  But, WE MUST add to them.  We must expand our own repertoires of teaching.  We must learn some new ways.  We must step into the 21st century.

I had the honor of working with Heidi Hayes Jacobs for years at Columbia during the summers. She would always tell teachers to upgrade just 1 thing in their classrooms-  Just 1.  I think that works.  That way, we don’t become overwhelmed and and simultaneously we don’t underwhelm our students with our teaching.  Learn just 1 new thing that reflects that we live, learn and teach in the 21st century.

Here are 5 great sites to get you started!

#1: Have the students watch or make a glog: (check out the glogopedia to get ideas)

#2: Have the students watch or make an animoto as a hook into a lesson.

#3: Play games on Math PlaygroundCyberchase, BBC, Johnnie’s Homepage,Harvey’s HomepageMath Play

#4: Use virtual manipulatives (NLVMGlencoeMath Playground)

#5: Show education video clips to teach a concept (teacher tubeschool tubelearn zillionMath Playground) 

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Must Have Workstations: The Vocabulary Math Workstation

Posted on July 17, 2013. Filed under: Common Math Errors, Math Centers, Math is a Language, Math Workstations | Tags: , , , |

Math is a language!  If we want our students to speak it, we have to teach them the words.  So, have a vocabulary math workstation.  In the vocabulary math workstation you are trying to get students to own the vocabulary through games and activities  and math journal activities. Remember in the CCSSM students are evaluated on whether they are using everyday words or math words.  So, instead of number and answer…they should be saying factor, divisor, addend and quotient, sum, difference, product.  Be sure you speak math to your students, require them to speak math with you and each other and give them ample opportunities to practice the words.

Granite Math Vocabulary words are great because you can cut them up and play matching games with the words, the examples and the definitions.

Math Spelling City – There are several activities to do with the CCSS math aligned word lists! – Make crossword puzzles and word finds.  Crossword puzzles are great and academically rigorous because you are giving students the definition and asking them to tell you the word.  Also, give them word finds, not just to find the word but to find, define, use it in a sentence, and give an example.

Set up tic tac toe games where the students have to choose a word and illustrate and define it.  ( -test saavy)

Have students do interactive math journal activities with the words.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki


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4 Must Have Workstations: Fluency

Posted on July 16, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The CCSSM has designated grade level fluencies.  You should make sure that you have a workstation for the fluency of your grade level.

k- addition and subtraction within 5

1- addition and subtraction within 10

2- addition and subtraction within 20 and 100

3 – addition and subtraction within 1000 and multiplication and division within 100

4 – addition and subtraction within 1,000,000

5- multi-digit multiplication

So, the fluency is the wrap-up of the concept at that grade.  It reflects a trajectory of learning to that level.  Although students work with various number ranges, these are their fluencies.  They should know these with ease.  They should have speed and accuracy, flexibility and efficiency within these designated levels.  Have several activities that allow students to practice their fluency level, and also include the fluencies for the levels before them.  So for example, many 2nd graders don’t have fluency – I mean a 3-second recall of facts, flexibility and efficiency within 10.  Many 3rd graders don’t have it within 20 or 100.  So be sure you provide many opportunities for students to practice everything they need to know up to the current grade level.

Be sure to look for ideas on my Pinterest addition, subtraction, multiplication and division boards.

Here are a few suggested activities that go across grade levels:

1. Have a fluency folder for every child.

2. Work with flashcards – but not just reciting fact but organizing them by strategies (do this for all facts….add/sub/mult/div (see strategy posters add/sub   mult/div)

3. Play board games and cup games (read this)

4. Play computer fluency computer games  – nctm  mathplayground  mathplay more fluency games

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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The answers to the question about July 4th

Posted on July 6, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

First Question: The U.S. is 237 years old this year!

Second Question: If we read on the internet that the U.S. was celebrating its 232nd birthday, the year would have been 2008!  Ahhhh…we have to read it very carefully…



Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Successful Strategies for Guided Math Groups: Nonlinguistic Representations

Posted on July 6, 2013. Filed under: Assessment, Common Core, Math Centers | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Marzano (2001) found that nonlinguistic strategies move student achievement.  This is exactly aligned with the mathematical practices – using models, representations, sketches, drawings, diagrams and pictures to name a few. Make sure that in each unit of study you use these items.  Here are a few examples to get you started (there are lots more on my Pinterest boards).

Math Sketches

Flip Books

Tape/Bar Diagrams

Math Mind Maps

Thinking Math Maps

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Happy Fourth of July!

Posted on July 4, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

First of all, Happy Fourth of July!

Now two math questions:

1 -How old is the US today?  

2- If I read on the internet that the US was 232 today…what year would that post have been?

Enough math, eat well, be well and as always Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki


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