Parent Forum

Do students need to draw the bars when solving word problems?

Dear Sarah,

I am currently in the unit of Parts to Whole, teaching bar modeling.  Looking ahead, it seems to me that bar modeling is a big part of not only this unit but upcoming units as well.

My wondering and question: I have students who are looking at the problems and can figure them out by stacking numbers then using the renaming strategy which was what they learned in lessons before bar modeling.  Should I be encouraging all of my students to draw the bar model before stacking the numbers to solve the problem? How critical is it for them to bar model? Please know that I am not saying that I don’t want to teach it at all, but I don’t know how much I should be “pushing” those that either don’t understand it or those that feel like they can work the problems using other strategies.

Learning Math Facts

Math facts are simply the basics: addition, subtraction; multiplication; division. They are basic number combinations and calculations we do every day.  So why is it that learning math facts  creates such huge problems for teachers and students in our classrooms?

Common subtraction mistake when children are learning math facts.

Is it that some of us are just naturally better at math than others?  Perhaps.  The good news is you as a teacher can help anyone improve their math skills.  You might be wondering how.  Well, rote memorization alone won’t get us there.

Communicating Home

Often we share our students progress by sending home “Monday” folders with worksheets that were completed, test or quizzes taken the previous week, or maybe we have a site where parents can go and see the current grade in your class.  Are we informing parents on their child’s progress?  Does the grade or worksheet give an accurate picture of student growth?

I often challenge teachers to give feedback on an ongoing basis.  We should not only assess from the papers turned in but from what we are seeing, hearing and collecting on a daily basis.  Use journal entries or a table with your objectives (I can statements) to allow for a more productive discussion at a parent conference.  The following guidelines can help your conversation whether it be in the form of report card comments, parent conferences or the chat in the pick-up line.

-What area is the child is doing well? (Have pieces of work that demonstrate growth.)
-What area does the child struggle? (Show specific concepts not just a broad topic.)
-What are you doing in the classroom to help?(The learning does not stop after a chapter test. It is your responsibility to help the child learn it!)
-What can they do at home to support you and their child? (Parents want guidance on how to help.)

Attached is an article from the Wall Street Journal – 10.18.17 addressing the idea of a student-run conference.  This conference helps children communicate their progress while building the metacognitive process.  Would love to see this happening more in our schools.

Communicating Home

Many teachers ask how to help students record the renaming process in the addition algorithm.  What language should I use?

I learned to “make trades” or “borrow” when adding and subtracting that require renaming.  Is this still correct?

How can we help students understand conventional methods?

Powers of 10 (part 2)

My students are really struggling with multiplying and dividing with powers of 10 (especially division).
Do you guys have any suggestions for reinforcement activities/anchor tasks?

A journal entry from a grade 1 student. This student can draw it, write an equation, and give a number bond for the given task.

How might you further assess this student?

Give two questions you can ask this student to extend the thinking that is recorded here?

Math Facts

Hi Sarah,
Your name came up during today’s fourth grade math planning meeting, as all three of the teachers attended the Mathodology conference,  this past summer.  We were discussing math apps to practice the multiplication table, and they said you recommended Reflex, which I’m not familiar with.  Would you be able to help answer questions for an individual use?

Number Bonds

Can you picture spending several classroom periods on the number 5?  Specifically, breaking it down into parts, and putting it back together again?  Sounds like a lot of time, right?  But, spending this amount of classroom time to decompose numbers using number bonds,  allows students to gain a deeper, more flexible understanding of numbers.  You might be wondering what those periods would actually look like, how you’d keep your students engaged and learning for that amount of time.  In this blog, we will explore exactly that.

What are Number Bonds

Simply put, number bonds are the different ways we can break apart numbers. Number bonds are all about the relationship between numbers and quantities. The relationships of parts to a whole. Building the foundation for all mathematical operations. Building mental images of number relationships. While it sounds like a simple concept, it can be difficult for students to learn.  So, it is important to dedicate time for them to learn the concept.

Use of color and representation helps to connect ideas.

Math War

Who has the largest number? Students use cards to compare different representations of a number.

Number cards from mathodology coming soon!

Game for Make 10

Fish for Ten_website