Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Reflecting and Planning Tools for Math Workshop

Days after the 4th of July and I am starting to think school.  I know, it seems early but I hate to be overwhelmed come August.  So, I've been thinking about the tools that are most helpful for math workshop. Today I am taking inventory of what I have ready for math workshop as I reflect and  research a bit about how I can introduce and talk through these tools more effectively.

Number Line
My kids learned so much playing with dry erase number lines last year.  I used the game Guess My Number to talk with my students about numbers and ordering them on a line.  After we played together as a group they were off to play with partners.  We used this game throughout the year while trying larger numbers (through 120), using specific math vocabulary like more, less, greater,  and less than.

Ten Frames
Another tool that my students relied on was the 10 (5 frame first then 10 and we used 20)  frames. Having a set of 25 laminated of each made it easy for kids to grab when they were solving a problem or for me to grab and place with other supplies to create  a game.  Grow and Shrink (video below) from Mininlessons for Math Practice  was the best for helping my kids not only practicing images for numbers but also taught them what addition and subtraction meant as they learned Grow and Shrink.

100 charts
The 100 chart was also a go to tool for may students and much of the work we did building the 100 chart, helped them to begin to understand how numbers are organized, how to notice patterns in those numbers, add more/less and later to think more about using it as a tool for adding 10 more and subtracting 10 less.  They enjoyed lots of openers "being" the numbers in our larger 100 chart we have in our room.

I have a great class set of rekenreks and have tried introducing them in different ways and allowing kids to explore them but my kids don't come back to them as often.  I have been researching some  ideas for how to introduce and incorporate them. I've learned a few things I'll try after reading through activities in the previous link. Some of the language and prompts I like are:
What do you notice about the rekenrek?
Think first about how you will move 6 beads in one move, 2 moves,etc.  Can you share that thinking?
How would you draw your rekenrek to prove your thinking?
How is the rekenrek like the 5 frame, 10 frame, 20 frame? How is it different?
Objects for Counting 
Annie counting cotton balls
Kids need lots of different trinkets and manipulatives for counting. Owning beads, buttons, stones, unifix cubes, tiny animals and any small inviting toy that they can count (they love counting legos too) helps them build practice counting, skip counting and building numbers and measuring with these non-standard items.

Number Balance: This year I bought a number balance when introducing the game: Equal Values from Well Played K-2. It was a great buy and started so many conversations and discoveries about the meaning of the equal sign.  I need to remember to pull it out as one of the tools we explore in the first few weeks of school and not just when we play the game later this upcoming year.

The geometry standard for first grade includes composing 2D shapes and noticing their attributes as well as partitioning rectangles and shapes in 2 and 4 equal parts. Geoboards allow kids to do this so easily. Kids love to use the rubber bands and make pictures thinking about shapes too!

Our students are learning what shapes are, how to build a shape from smaller shapes and are thinking about how shapes are the same and different.  They also can be creative and build lots of their own ideas from geoblocks. These are a versatile tool for kids creating and thinking during math.

Tens and Ones
Place value can be one of the harder concepts for my kids to grasp when we pull out the tens and the ones.  Each year it takes lots of time talking, experimenting, talking and thinking about place value for our kids to grasp it.    In first grade, students are building on their understanding of the connection between numerals, words, and quantities. They also move to a deeper understanding, where two digit numbers are composed of bundles of tens and leftovers.

Other tools that come in handy.... 
Dice, number cards, spinners, plastic containers, and zipper bags are all good to have on hand when you are ready to throw a game together.

Thinking back on all these tools has helped me plan and learn from last years kids.  (Thanks for your was a little long)! What tools do your students use that have been successful?  Are there digital math tools or apps that your kids come back to when learning or solving problems?