Friday, September 25, 2015

Math on the Move

This week we worked on composing the numbers 6-9. Each day, I came up with a word problem to make the math applicable to my firsties. To give you a better idea of what I mean, here is one of the problems we did: Sam (changing the name for confidentiality of course) has nine dinosaurs. Some of his dinosaurs are Tyrannosaurus rex and some are Pterodactyls. How many could be Tyrannosaurus and how many could be Pterodactyls?  (I put my students' names in the problems because they LOVE it!) The boy I used for this problem LOVES dinosaurs, so you better believe the moment he heard his name, he was enthralled!

Before we started the lesson, I had set up white butcher paper on all four sides of the room. Then, after we read the problem, I divided my students up into four groups. I put one student from each group in charge. The person in charge helped guide the conversations and wrote what the group advised them to. Each group started by one piece of butcher paper. I gave the students about three minutes to talk about what they thought they should write or draw and why. When the three minutes were up, the leader was to write the group's ideas on the paper. Then the groups rotated to the next piece of butcher paper and repeated this process. Each time the students came to a new piece of paper, they would look at what was already written. This guided their conversation to what was missing and how they knew. The students rotated about ten times.

We then came together and discussed what was written and how the groups came to their answers. I loved how talkative my kiddos were and how students who rarely speak, were anxious to share their ideas. My students were all engaged and loved the changed pace of our math lesson. I love when my kids discover the answers for themselves! If you're wondering what I was doing during all this, no I wasn't sitting back sipping Diet DP, I was walking around observing and asking the students questions to guide their thinking.  When they teach each other and have valuable conversations, I feel that the concepts really stick! We call this a walk-a-bout and it could be done with any concepts. Get your kiddos moving by incorporating this idea.

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