Saturday, October 25, 2014

You Better HOP Around!: Fly on the Math Teacher's Wall--A Math Blog Hop!

Welcome to another wonderful math blog hop!  This blog hop is devoted to place value and will not disappoint--so after reading this post, take a hop around to see what goodies you will find!

Place value--a huge topic, and such an important concept for ALL ages!

As a second grade teacher, place value is at the heart of much of our explorations in math throughout the year.  Since I cannot possibly put everything I feel to be important about place value into this post, I will focus on some MUSTs in helping my students understand place value and build a solid foundation for what will follow.

We as teachers know the power of 10 in our number system and how an understanding of 10 is a ESSENTIAL for building an understanding of hundreds, thousands, and so on.  I make a point of mentioning the power of 10 to my students DAILY! Any chance I get, I recite the words, "Ha--the POWER of 10!" in a sinister witch-like cackle.  They always chime in afterward! :0)  In the beginning of the year, it's a mixed bag as far as students' understanding that 237 has 23 tens and that 23 tens is the same as 230.  I like to use various prompts for students to agree or disagree with that require their use of 10.  Here is a picture of our Bright Ideas board and the first math prompt I gave this year (the board is used for all content areas). You can see the diversity of understanding with some thumbs being in the middle to show an inability to decide.  Prompts such as these bring with them wonderful discussions and students must justify their thinking.

When I say tools, I mean beans, linking cubes, straws, ten frames, base ten tools, place value arrows, place value discs, an open number line, etc.  Representing numbers in multiple ways is a MUST!

At the same time, I feel it is also important for students to understand the power of different tools as well as their limitations.  An example--from the very first day of school, we do Daily Math (includes a number of the day) as a large group (this eventually leads to work in guided math rotations).  We begin with two digit numbers and eventually progress to three digit numbers.  In the beginning we use ten frame tools (small individual ten frames) to represent numbers.  The ten frame is a familiar tool used in kindergarten and first grade, so this is a great place to begin.  As we venture into representing greater numbers, students begin to understand the limitation of using ten frames for representing and drawing ten frame models.  The tools become less efficient/appropriate in this way, so a different tool is introduced (base ten tools).  We talk about each tool, their benefits and drawbacks.  We NEVER say a tool is BAD---or that it is WRONG to use a particular tool, but I feel it is important for students to understand the differences between tools and their effectiveness/applications.  Furthermore, I never begin using a tool with students, such as base ten tools or place value discs, unless they have a conceptual understanding of each disc's value.

Tools are ALWAYS readily available for students to use during guide math rotations--they never need to ask for permission.  Tools are also housed in our guided math area for easy access during small guided math groups. Please enjoy the following freebie tools that are posted under Workstations & Games on our navigation bar.  In addition, I have shared an open number line post from our other blog, Hoots N' Hollers, that you may be interested in. Enjoy!

A Powerful Tool: The Open Number Line 

PLEASE NOTE: Courtney will be sharing a new place value tool she has just added to her classroom. Look for her post about Digiblocks in the near future!  

When I say "talk it" I mean constantly talking about numbers as a composition of digits that have value.  When we add 36 and 45, we are adding 3 tens and 4 tens--6 ones and 5 ones.  We talk it!  This eventually leads to reciting our addition of place values or composing/decomposing when mentally adding .  As a kid, this is one thing that was never done, at least to my recollection.  The algorithm was the focus, and an understanding of place value and talking about digits and their values was not at the forefront. Undoubtedly, there were those that understood what was going on when using addition and subtraction algorithms at a young age, but for those of us who struggled there was a lack of conceptual understanding beyond the steps we took to solve.

One thing I require in all place value game play is the use of callouts so that students are continually focusing on the value of each digit in a number. Feel free to download this fun place value game that my students play--More, Less, or Trade?.  Hope your kids enjoy it as much as mine have over the years!

I provide LOTS of independent place value practice for my students during guided math rotations.  Workstation games and activities are cycled throughout the year.  Place value cube activities are one of their favorites.  I have included a link where you can learn about the use of place value cubes and download directions for making your own.  There are so many possibilities for using these little buggers!

I hope you have found something that will be of use to you as you help your students develop a strong foundation.


Feel free to sign up for the following giveaways!

The Number Line by Jeff Frykholm, Ph.D.

If you haven't already, read about using an open number line in my blog post referenced above.  Then enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Place Value Cube Activities Pack

Enter to win some great place value cube activities that can be used in guided math groups and as workstations/centers.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, HOP ALONG!!  Please take the time to visit Susan at The Math Spot!

A thank you also goes out to Brandi from The Research Based Classroom for organizing another AWESOME blog hop!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Makin' It Math! -- Mid-Month Linky -- {October 15}

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by for our brand-new monthly linky---Makin' It Math!  It's a linky dedicated solely to math made-its.  To learn more about the linky and how you can participate, click here!

I have been busy with several things...

Place Value Cubes

I have been making some new sets of place value cubes to start using with my kids this week.  They are so easy to make and are a fabulous tool for independent practice use while meeting with guided math groups. The best part is that you can customize them for your students' needs.  Feel free to download my free directions for making the cubes!  You can make up your own activities, or you may like the ones I have listed in my TpT store.

Low-Prep Halloween Math Games

I shared this made-it in our previous post, but this is my newest math made-it. I just finished putting a Halloween spin on some math games I have used in past years. These games are perfect for my kids' independent practice needs right now.  Thanks to Krista Wallden for her spookly clipart--so much FUN! You can check out the games in my TpT store, but you can also enter to win one of three two copies!  Good luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Using Tens: Ten Frame Fact Cards

These ten frame fact cards really help some of my kids visualize the using ten strategy of addition before transitioning to the use of fact cards with just numbers.  Download a free copy here!

We hope you will consider joining us by linking up your math-made its!

Good day!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Loved that Lesson Linky and Some Other Goodies...

This is the first time linking up with Meg from The Teacher Studio for Loved That Lesson--a wonderful linky opportunity to share those lessons we love.

One of the lessons I love to do with my kids at the beginning of each new school year relates to being mathematicians.  We always start by reading and defining the word mathematician, which is usually a new one for them.  Then we begin to think like mathematicians and ask ourselves what we do when we doing math.  This year my kids came up with a FANTABULOUS list of ideas given the simple prompt, We are MATHEMATICIANS! We...  Ideas were recorded on the SmartBoard and a door display was created to remain up all year long.  These can readily be seen for easy reference.

I was so pleased with their thinking!

We are mathematicians! We... 
  • think.
  • try different ways.
  • have fun with math.
  • work together.
  • use tools.
  • learn more every day.
  • never give up.
  • sometimes make mistakes.
  • check and re-check.
  • have really smart brains.
  • are problem solvers.
  • ask questions.
  • need tons of education.
  • study math.
  • get stuck.
  • use our brains.
  • have good test scores. 

I also loved the construction paper self-portraits they made!

To read about more "loved" lessons, stop on over to The Teacher Studio!

I also wanted to share a few goodies that may be of interest to you...

Teaching Math by Hart TpT 1000 Followers Giveaway

Fly on over to Teaching Math By Hart for a wonderful giveaway opportunity and help Kim celebrate 1000 TpT followers!

Low-Prep Halloween Math Games

I just finished putting a Halloween spin on some math games I have used in past years. These games are perfect for my kids' independent practice needs right now.  Thanks to Krista Wallden for her wonderful clipart--so FUN! You can check out the games in my TpT store, but you can also enter to win one of three two copies!  Good luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Linky on the Horizon!
Lastly, we have a new monthly linky on the horizon that will kick-off this week--Makin' It Math!  We hope it will bring along with it some wonderful math resources for many.  Stop back this Wednesday!

Wishing you the best for a wonderful week!