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What Will You Do for Family Math Night?

After previously being at a PTA meeting, one of our parents voiced her opinion that many times students brought home homework with which parents weren’t able to help them because they were unfamiliar with the content.  Since  our parents have been in school themselves, many math strategies and methods are available to teach students–to mention a few–ten frames, ladder division, open number lines, compensation, bring it down addition, window method for multiplication.  Because of this we set up five stations for our parents in addition to the stations for our students. We really wanted to reach our parents because isn’t that what Family Math Night is all about?

We had six parent stations to teach parents what their children were learning at school–ten frames, addition strategies, subtraction strategies, multiplication strategies, division strategies, and technology.  The technology station gained much traffic due to its popularity.  We had a lap top d and an Ipad displaying websites and apps that parents could use at home to teach their children.  Many times when parents are sitting with their children in any waiting room, they hand their children cell phones to occupy them.  To capitalize on this, why not show them educational ways to occupy their children’s time?

For our students teachers developed all types of math stations.  We had three K-2 tables, three 3-5 stations, an estimation station, a technology station, and a music and math station.  The K-2 tables included dominoes and equations, ten frame games, and legos with number bonds.  The 3-5 tables included combinations with outfits, clock fractions, and measurement with paper airplanes.  Our technology booth for students was also a big success as students explored different math websites on laptops.

To encourage parent attendance, we served dinner, had door prizes, and announced  our 100th Day of School dress up winners.  We hope for even more attendance next year.  Pictured below are some of the stations and activities.

Clock Fractions

Cutting Clock Fractions...Notice the 100 Silly Bands

Estimation Station...The closest guesser wins the jar.

Estimation Station

Equations with Dominoes

Addition/Subtraction Tic Tac Toe and Take Home Base Ten Block Baggies

The addition/subtraction tic-tac-toe boards and take home base ten blocks shown above are present at a parent table.  We have an over abundance of base ten blocks at school. We have about 10 LARGE plastic containers of them that are not used in addition to the ones in teachers’ classrooms.  Since we have so many, we decided to send some home with parents.

Legos with Number Bonds

100th Day Dress Up

Ten Frame Station For Parents

Multiplication Booth

Technology Station

Math Websites Station

100th Day Dress Up

On the Hundredth Day of School, we decided as a staff to all dress up with 100 objects on our clothing.  I managed to get some photos of the most imaginative outfits.  Sorry some of the pictures I took without realizing I didn’t have on my flash.  We had a contest among the staff and then we had additional contests  for the K-2 students and for the 3-5 students.  I nominated a committee to judge the contests.  We announced the winners of the dress up that evening at the Family Math Night.

Accessories with 100 coins

How Creative!

100 barrets on a necklace

My T-shirt with 100 google eyes

Banana tree hat

Banana tree with 100 bananas and a monkey on top

100 bracelets

Finally I’m Back

Well, to update you all, about a week and a half ago my computer displayed a blue screen.  My laptop was so proud of its blue screen, it stubbornly decided that is all it would display.  The next morning I had my computer all ready to go out the door, and I locked myself out of the house since I was carrying so many things in my hands.  That’s the first time I’ve done that since I’ve moved into my house a year and a half ago.  At least I had my cell phone with me and I was able to call a locksmith.  While I waited in the car about 2 hours to find a locksmith and then wait on him to come unlock my door, my feet started feeling numb.  I just decided that I would chalk the day off to taking my computer in to be fixed since half the school day was gone anyway.  After describing my problem to the computer repair technician, he  said, “Yeah, we call that the blue screen of death.”  That was encouraging. :/   So, after waiting a little over a week, I finally have my old couch companion back minus its programs, but gladly with all files in tact. YAY!  I guess the technician heard my laptop singing….”if I only had a brain” because it came back with a brand spanking new hard drive!

100th Day of School Dress Up Letter

Here is our hundredth day of school dress up letter that we sent home to parents to let them know about our festivities.  I am posting it here 100thDayofSchoolDressUp in Word format, so you can easily adapt the wording to fit your needs.   I am going to adapt Mrs. Saoud’s rubric from Primary Graffiti for the judging of the dress up contest.  We will reveal the winners of the contest at our Family Math night tomorrow evening to encourage parent and student attendance.  I will be posting pictures of this soon.

You Will Want to Bookmark This Freebie!

The librarian at school forwarded me this fabulous site with ready made smart board lessons!  Great for K-5 students.  There are many fun and interactive  lessons for math, geography, history, science, phonics, literacy.  Take the time to browse.

‘Naked’ Numbers But Not Before Discovering Patterns

The common core standards for first grade state that students must become fluent with adding and subtracting tens.  To promote fluency, students need to discover patterns and how they change numbers.  Only when students have examined patterns and become comfortable with them should they be given timed “naked number” problems to assess and improve their efficiency in recalling the patterns.  Finding the answer to a “naked numbers” problem needs to be merely a by product of knowing the pattern.

When trying to figure out how to teach fluency with adding and subtracting multiples of ten to first graders, I struggled to find resources to do this.  Because of the lack of resources, I developed these sheets for next week to lead students and their teachers into guiding discussions about patterns on the hundreds chart.  They are simplistic activity sheets but necessary.  I will be trying them out this week.  I am providing a link to them below.  If you would like to try out one of the lesson sheets, the preview file will give you a sample for free at TPT.

Discovering Patterns

Naked Numbers

Why Not Teach Math Like English?

When teaching English and especially spelling, we teach students the rules and patterns when certain letters are found together such as silent e makes the vowel in the middle of a word sound long.

• rat          rate
• not         note
• cod         code

Then we teach exceptions such as have and blue.

Why not teach math the same way?  When kindergarteners are learning their numbers many times they skip over or jumble the numbers between 14 and 16.  Could this be because they don’t understand our system for naming numbers.  Why not teach students the rules for naming numbers and then the exceptions.

• -teen means a ten and some more toward making a second ten.
• -ty means more than one group of ten

Four-teen means 4 and 10.  Fifteen means 5 and 10 and so on.  Then we teach students that numbers such as 11 and twelve are exceptions, and thir- teen means 3 and 10.  Thir- almost sounds like three so it is not as unusual as eleven or twelve.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that in English our tens and ones are backwards .  The four and teen makes students want to write the number as 41 because they hear the four first and then the ten.  In many other languages however the language follows the way the number is written so that it would sound like a group of ten and four when reading 14.

This example about learning number names can apply to kindergarteners, however we can help students understand the rule first and then teach the exceptions with many other math concepts.

How Can You Integrate Social Studies, Literacy, and Math

I must show off the finished product from the fourth grade teachers’ fabulous unit that they designed.  They incorporated persuasive writing with learning about goods and entrepreneurship.  The students created packaging labels and persuasive ads to compel others to “buy” their products.    The teachers brought in empty used containers for the students to decorate with their own packaging labels.  Then the students created commercial videos when they had completed their projects.  Although the teachers didn’t think to do this, they could have also included math by prompting the class to figure out whose product was the better buy.  Take a look below at some of the pictures of the students finished products.

How Do You Help Students Who Struggle with Number Sense?

While working closely with students in intervention groups in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades the obvious has dawned on me.  Students struggle with their understanding of many number concepts such as adding, subtracting, and rounding simply because they cannot count forwards and/or  backwards from any number.  Their understanding of patterns to count eludes them.  Maybe implementing the new common core standards helped me to see this more clearly.  Having your students simply count orally or  write their numbers as a daily activity starting at any random number, will help strengthen their number “common sense” as I like to call it.  Looking at number charts and identifying patterns as a matter of daily practice will aide in strengthening their number sense.

To build a solid foundation with students in grades K-2 and to intervene on behalf of some students in grades 3-5, I made a variety of number charts and puzzles for the purpose of helping students become strong with their sense of number.  Several of these charts begin ten numbers before a multiple of 100, and continue counting 10 numbers after a multiple of 100 is reached.  This is in order that students are able to practice identifying what numbers come before multiples of 100 which I have especially noticed my intervention groups struggle with.  My plan is to make the charts go to 1000, however it was taking me so long to build the number puzzles that I decided to complete charts and puzzles in sections. This first group goes to 310.  They are for sale on TPT now.  I am posting some examples of the charts and puzzles below.  Just click on them if you are interested in purchasing them.

Free Family Math Night Punch Cards

Since I am planning a Family Math Night in January, I thought I would share my PunchCardsforParentNight with you.  We will be having several stations set up for students and parents.  They must attend at least five stations to enter to win for a door prize and for the evening meal.  Hope you can use it for whatever family night you will be having.  I am posting it in Word format so that you can adapt it to suit your needs.  I hope that the formatting turns out okay.