Sunday, January 24, 2016

Minute Math Sessions for Parents

I have been thinking of how to better reach the families of my students and help them with using math strategies at home. There never seems to be enough time, but if someone is really worth it, then I just need to make the time for it.

With that in mind, I came up with the idea of a
 "Minute Math Session" for Parents 

This is a lightning speed, 15 minute tip session for parents. I am doing it during my lunch hour, and I hope that if this is successful, that I can turn over the strategy "showings" and have them as leadership opportunities for my students.
Here's my idea:

1. Parents RSVP for the event.

2. Parents will come to my room at the start of my lunch period on the day of the event.

3.I spend 2-4 minutes introducing to one or two math strategies we are using in the classroom.

4. Parents get a copy of the supplies/materials needed and get some hands-on practice time with me.

5. Ask Questions!

6. Parent take materials and leave.

The first one is this Friday - here is the one of the tips. 
You can click on the image too to grab the freebies!

 I'll post how it goes!

How are you reaching out to your families to help with math strategies?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My Life as a Mathematician

What is your math story? 

Over the summer I received the book, The Impact of Identity in K-8 Mathematics: Rethinking Equity-Based Practices by Julia Aguirre, Karen Mayfield-Ingram, and Danny Bernard Martin. 

It has been a really eye opening read where I am starting to think more deeply about my own math identity and how my past experiences have shaped how I teach math today.

If you stepped into my classroom today, you will see math talk posters, anchor charts, fancy math displays, and an array of math targets and goals for my 3rd grade students.  Math is a constant and a welcome necessity in my classroom and I am known by my students and other teachers as a person who loves math. I am even the Vice-president for elementary of an NCTM affiliate here in Michigan and love talking math on Twitter each week. 

My actions and thoughts today, however, are almost the complete opposite of how I felt about and approached math in middle school and high school. I always knew it was a necessity, but I just didn't get it. I didn't understand the "why". I did have all sorts of questions floating in my mind during a math lecture:

No one had ever told me that it was okay to ask these types of questions in math and since I was the type of student that did exactly as she was told, I never asked my questions. I always got decent grades in math, but because I never developed any true conceptual understanding I still always felt as if I was struggling.

My love for the subject began when I had to start teaching it to others. I felt the urgency to develop my understanding and really dig deeply into the concepts so that I would be able to help my students. When I started answering the questions I had been asking in my mind for years, math became a subject of beauty to me. The connections, patterns, specific vocabulary, and amazing reality of math in nature is fascinating to me. Understanding math at a deeper level has changed how I view my world. 

I work so tirelessly with the subject and continue to read about it and go back to school to increase my knowledge to understand multiple ways to help my students make math connections with their worlds. I want students to understand that math is about problem solving and question asking and pattern noticing- I also want them to embrace these aspects in order to truly become empowered.

I would not have written about my math identity without this book nor would I have started to think about math equity in the classroom. I loved this process so much that I would like to share it with others. I thought one easy way to get this started would be to start a Twitter chat!

Join me for the new #mathequity chat starting January 24, 2016 @8pm EDT. You do not need to have the book read in order to participate! Everyone has experience to share and I look forward to hearing your perspectives.

What is your math story? 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Making the Standards Come to Life!

Meet the 3rd Grade Operations and Algebraic Thinking Standards Players!

Collect them all!

I am a big fan of the common core math standards in general, but let's be honest, they are not written for students. Sometimes the language involved is confusing for teachers as well! 

 I have been thinking about how to make these standards more accessible to my 3rd graders, and decided to help make the standards come to life by changing the wording of each one.

I found some super cute sports-themed clipart (thank you Scrappin' Doodles!), gave each sports player a name, and worked on translating each Operations and Algebraic Thinking standard into relatable statements. 

I then connected each player to a particular standard.

For example, here is the Kid's Math Talk version of 3.OA.A.1-

Now, every time my students are working with word problems or groups of objects that relate to multiplication, I introduce this poster.

We talk about Alex and what we know about Alex and what we still need to work on in order to master Alex.

Talking about a name (and having the picture as a visual) instead of an abstract string of numbers and letters (3.OA.A.1) feels more comfortable, is more kid-friendly and accessible, and is frankly easier to remember.

Along with each poster, I have created mastery tracking sheets for student and teacher accountability.

Click here to download the preview that includes a freebie!

 I am going to make each of my students a binder that holds all of the mastery tracking sheets for the Operations and Algebraic Thinking Standards. This way pages can be added as the year moves forward. 

At the end of each marking period this will serve as a great reflection tool and at the end of the year students will have a reliable record of learning.

This is by no means the end of the journey to make the standards truly come to life for my students. I am still relying on productive struggles and strong math discourse as well as small group instruction and real world problem solving within math workshop.

Having player names, and characters to "collect" through the school year has, however, created an added layer of interest for my students.

Check out the pack below for all 9 Operations and Algebraic Thinking Standards for 3rd grade. (And a bonus NBT Standard!)

What are your thoughts about this approach? How are you making the standards come to life in your room?

Welcome to Kid's Math Talk, LLC!

Welcome to Kid's Math Talk, LLC!
My name is Desiree and I am super passionate about math education and best practices for students and their teachers. Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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