Sunday, August 24, 2014

number lines + rounding

To kick off our Math classes, I show this awesomely hilarious video (of course - it's a beginning of the year staple): 
The kids then talked together to help them figure out why I would show it to introduce math. It was a pretty great conversation and they hit on a lot of the major messages: there are many different ways to learn in math class; you can't just give up if you don't get it; instructions really matter to help our understanding; etc. Then as their first journal entry, I simply ask them to answer the question What is math? Their responses can be very telling!
(There are a number of these and they're great and simple little brain breaks!)

The next day, I stood in front of the class with a long strip of butcher paper with a 0 and 100 at opposite ends and asked them to simply work in teams to create a math tool. That's it. They worked freely together for about an hour (I was surprised it took this long and was happy I'd reserved two blocks for this very open-ended task!) as I rotated to listen in on conversations. Some of their responses:

They got pretty creative and used a number of strategies to make number lines. Afterward, I asked each group to casually present their work to the class. We were able to focus a lot on their work as a team, with two big topics of conversation being What went really well for your group? and What was challenging about this task? I definitely have a reflective bunch this year!

The next day I used more of the workshop model with a very mini mini-lesson (which wasn't really me actually teaching but more guiding the kid's conversations to help them understand rounding to the nearest ten and hundred). I handed out a page of numbers to each team and asked them to show me in some way how they could be rounded appropriately.

The kids looked at the work of other teams in a sort of gallery walk, which gave them a chance to revise some of their incorrect numbers. This was definitely a great start-up to our cooperative math and workshop model format!

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