Today’s post will focus on some ways to start or increase parent involvement in your elementary classroom. Most of them center around ways to increase 2-way communication with them, while others are focused on how to utilize parents as volunteers within your class on a regular or by-event basis. When I was pursuing National Board Certification, I recognized parent involvement was an issue I could definitely work harder to improve, so I purposefully implemented these strategies.
Parent Communication:
Miscellaneous parent involvement tips:
Parents as Volunteers:
Perhaps you have some parents who you believe would be assets to your class. You may want to invite them to help you with various “chores” so you have more time to go about the business of teaching. Some of the items in the list below address parents who want to help, but can’t come in person as well as those you feel comfortable with actually being in the class at school.
Check with your school policies first. There may be specific “rules” and application procedures. FERPA is of utmost concern regarding parents and your students.
Non-classroom volunteers might help to:
In-person volunteers:
In-class tutorial help with individuals or pairs of students:
If you are lucky enough to have a parent who would be helpful with your students, I would recommend providing them with a dedicated space to pull 1-2 students. Give them a seating chart, list of students’ names and what to help with, materials to use (sight word lists, facts cards, etc.). You may even need to meet with parents prior to tutoring to “train” them in how you would like the help. Just like with students, you model the procedures and expectations first so there is no doubt what their role and strategies are. The key is being organized so when a parent shows up, they know immediately what to work on and won’t have to interrupt you.
With the above, consider how to address the following (cell phone use in the classroom, bringing a child with them, their schedule / how long to stay, dress code . . .). Believe me, I’ve had to deal with all of these, and I learned it’s better to tackle before hand at a “volunteer orientation” than after the fact.
Readers . . . what are some other parent involvement tips you’d like to pass along? You are invited to share your comments.
Welcome to my new subscribers . . . . and have a GREAT week!
]]>Welcome Back! Here are a few links to some of my previous posts regarding teamwork, student engagement, literacy and math. You might be interested in these to help start your journey this year. And in case you didn’t see it, I have an easy link to most of my own free resources. Click here to get it now, but it is also available in the black bar above. Have a great start to your year and Enjoy!!! Please invite some of your new teachers to check out my blog! Also check the categories list on the website (side bar if using a monitor, bottom of the webpage if using a phone). The search bar might also help you with what you are looking for. Have a great start to your year!!
Some other tips to get prepared for your literacy lessons:
General welcome back tips:
In this post, I will focus on some strategies for multiplying double digit numbers (whole and decimal): using manipulatives, the area model, partial products, and the bowtie method. I highly recommend helping students learn these methods BEFORE the standard algorithm because it is highly linked to number sense and place value. With these methods, students should see the magnitude of the number and increase their understanding of estimation as well as the ability to determine the reasonableness of their answer. Then, when they are very versed with these methods, learn the standard algorithm and compare side by side to see how they all have the same information, but in different format. Students then have a choice of how to solve (or to use two strategies to check their answers). Try my “Choose 3 Ways” work mat as bell work or ticket in the door. Get it free here.
Using Manipulatives: Using base ten pieces is helpful to see that multiplication means equal groups. Students build understanding at the concrete and pictorial levels first. The following free virutal manipulatives are from didax. The good thing about these is you don’t have to worry about having enough pieces for everyone!!: https://www.didax.com/math/virtual-manipulatives.html
Area Model: This method can be illustrated with base ten manipulatives for a concrete experience. Using a frame for a multiplication table, show the two factors on each corner (see examples below for 60 x 5 and 12 x 13). Then fill in the inside of the frame with base ten pieces that match the size of the factors. You must end up making a complete square or rectangle. This makes it relatively easy to see and count the parts: 60 x 3 and 5 x 3 for the first problem and (10 x 10) + (3 x 10) + (2 x 10) + (2 x 3) for the second. I’ve included a larger problem (65 x 34) in case you are curious what that looks like. The first 2 could be managed by students with materials you have in class, but I doubt you want to tackle the last one with individual students – nor do you probably have that many base ten pieces. A drawing or model would be preferred in that case. The point of the visual example is then to connect to the boxed method of the area model, which I have shown in blank form in the examples . . . and with pictures below. I also included a photo from another good strategy I saw on google images (sorry, I don’t know the author) which also shows 12 x 13 using graph paper.
For the boxed area model, break up the factors by place value. If multiplying with a one-digit number, you only need 1 row. If multiplying 2 digits by 2 digits, you need 2 rows. 3 digit by 2 digit would need 3 columns and 2 rows. Then multiply each part together and add the partial products. For double digits, the adding can be done vertically or horizontally (using mental math).
With this model, students get to practice multiplying by groups of 10. As shown: 60 x 3 . . . think of 6 x 3 = 18, then multiply by 10 (add a zero) to get 180. For 60 x 30, think of 6 x 3 = 18, then multiply by 100 (add 2 zeroes) to get 1800.
Partial Products: This model produces the same partial products as the area model, but in a more algorithmic looking format (vertically). Students take apart the factors, but instead of combining multiplication with regrouping / adding within the problem, all of the products are listed below, lined up in columns of course. Again, this method helps students think of what each part of the multiplication problem means, with heavy emphasis on place value and realizing that in the problem 65 x 3, it’s not 6 x 3 but 60 x 3. For students, using lined notebook paper turned sideways helps keep columns lined up – or graph paper helps too. Examples:
Bowtie / F.O.I.L. Method: In case you have seen this model ciruculated on Pinterest, you will see the same information as the area model and partial products, but the visual of the lines on the bowtie might help make sure all factors are multiplied. Break apart the factors by place value and put one across the top and the other across the bottom. Then start at one corner, follow the lines, and multiply the two numbers at each end of the line together. Stop when you get back to where you started. Add all of the products together.
The F.O.I.L. method is a term students will hear more in algebra regarding multiplying binomials, but it applies when multiplying two double-digit numbers together also. F = First (multiply the first two numbers in each set of numbers); O = Outside (multiply the two outside numbers); I = Inside (multiply the two inside numbers); and L = Last (multiply the last two digits, which are the ones).
Have a great week!! Next post will be place value regarding division.
Interested in tutoring individual or small groups of students? You may be interested in Varsity Tutors. You can choose your hours and the students you would like to work with. See the link with my picture. If you are interested, use this link and each of us gets a little bonus!
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Place value understanding is critical when solving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. Add fractions and decimals to the mix too! This post will focus on building on parts 1 and 2 (counting and composing and decomposing numbers by place value) to add and subtract whole numbers and decimals.
Virtual Manipulatives for Place Value:
Here is one of my favorite free websites for all kinds of virtual manipulatives. You will defintely like the base ten and place value disks. Both of these include options for decimals. The 0-120 grid is also great! You can add different colors to the numbers using the paint can.: https://www.didax.com/math/virtual-manipulatives.html
With the above manipulatives, students can practice these basics concretely and pictorially; then transition to solving them mentally:
Addition and Subtraction:
Next post will be ways to emphasize place value when solving multiplication and division problems. If you have some ideas to share, please feel free to comment.
I appreciate all of my faithful followers the past 5 years! Thank you for viewing and passing this along to other teachers or parents. I hope you all have a restful holiday break!!
]]>Students know how to count orally, can subitize, can count on one more, know ordinal positions, and have cardinality (know that the last number counted is the number of objects). These are usually prerequisites with number sense before introducing the symbolic representation and base ten understanding. Our system is based on the repeated groupings of ten. This is a follow up from my last post (Place Value Part 1 — counting).
There are two levels of understanding place value symbols.
This shows 23 and 32 are not the same amount even though they use the same digits. Conversely, this same understanding applies to decimals. For example, .4 is the same value as .40.
Here are some ways to help students develop place value competence. Below this section are activities to help teach and practice:
A clear understanding of these three guiding concepts of place value are very important and you will do well to thoroughly help students experience them before embarking on number operations.
Some activities to help with the above:
Organizing:
Partitioning:
Relationships:
Use a 100 chart. Select a number and find what ten more or ten less would be — also 1 more, 1 less. Use the chart to show ways to count by tens other than the traditional 10, 20, 30, etc. Try 27, 37, 47, 57. Practice counting forward as well as backwards.
Important tip when using base ten manipulatives (from personal experience):
When students are using base ten pieces, don’t allow random placement of the ones on their work mat. Why? This often means a student may not have the correct amount because they miscounted their “mess.” It also means the teacher has to spend more time when circulating the room to count their “mess” to check for correctness.
All it takes is noticing the student(s) who likes to organize their ones pieces. Their 5 pieces look like the dots on a dice or how it might look on a ten frame, or the 9 ones are in 3 rows of 3. As the teacher, you can show others how this is so helpful to you (and them) to arrange them in some kind of order. Knowing they get some choice in the order is key. And noticing how different students show the same amount in different ways is an ego booster to most students. Finally, it really does help boost students’ understanding of number bonds when they show 5 can be 4 and 1, or 2 and 3, or 2 and 2 and 1. That’s a two for one, right?
Enjoy your place value lessons — and share some you think would also be helpful!
Take care, stay safe!
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Place value is such an important math concept from KG and up. It starts with counting and recognizing amounts and in later grades plays a huge part in composing and decomposing numbers, multiplication, division, decimals, and yes . . . even fractions. Students need a solid understanding of it to estimate and compare numbers as well. Stay tuned for ideas and freebies below.
If you look up the definition of place value in a dictionary or math glossary it’s likely to refer to “the value of the place, or position, of a digit in a number.” But I think young students start off with a different understanding of numbers and may become confused. Does a child age 2 see their age and a quantity of 2 cookies in the same way?What about these numbers? – – Should I interpret these in terms of ones, tens, hundreds, tenths, hundredths, etc.? Does place value apply to these?
The examples above are actually referred to as nominal or nonnumeric because they are used for identification purposes and rarely have any meaning associated with place value. For example, the address above (1234) is most likely NOT the one thousandth plus house on Happy Lane.
So on the way to understanding place value, let’s look at ways numbers are classified and the basic heirarchy even before we expect them to use the written notation for numbers:
The message with today’s blog is to make sure young children have a firm understanding of the above before use of number symbols and teaching about “tens and ones.” I relate this to reading: Students need to develop phonological awareness about the sounds of letters and words before associating with the printed form (which is the study of phonics).
How do you accomplish the above?
Enjoy your counting lessons with your children or students. Use these to identify gaps in students’ concepts. Stay tuned for more development toward understanding of place value.
]]>As I mentioned in my last post (More Number Talk Ideas – Part 1), there are many ways to conduct Number Talks with your students. The last post focused on Picture Talks and Which One Doesn’t Belong (WODB). This week I am focusing on Estimation Mysteries and Data Talks.
Esti-Mysteries
Steve Wyborney has been super gracious to share his math estimation mysteries with educators via the nctm.org blog and through his website: https://stevewyborney.com/
What are they? Each esti-mystery features a clear container with identical small objects (cubes, dice, marbles, manipulatives, etc.). Students estimate how many are in the container, then proceed through 4-5 clues revealed one at a time in a ppt format. Clues give information dealing with number concepts such as even/odd, less than/greater than, place value, multiples, prime, composite, etc. With each clue, students can then revise their estimate to try to eventually match the actual amount revealed on the last slide. Different clear containers are used with each mystery to include ones with irregular shapes.
It’s really interesting for students to share how they arrived at their estimate, to list possible answers, then defend their choice. And of course, the rejoicing when/if their estimate matches the revealed amount!
Data Talks
You may have heard of the youcubed website (https://www.youcubed.org) which is partially commanded by well-known Stanford mathemetician Jo Boaler and her co-hort Cathy Williams. You will be amazed at all of the math resources and task ideas for all grades at this site. I witnessed another webinar hosted by these scholars regarding the increased need for data science. While professionals surveyed rarely actually use the algebra, geometry, and calculus learned from high school or college courses, there is definitely an increase in the need for data science / statistics as noted in almost everything we do. So youcubed has made it their mission to ramp up data science resources. One already in the works is “Data Talks” which provides some real-world, interesting, thought-provoking data presentations ready for class discussion. The link is right here: https://www.youcubed.org/resource/data-talks/
You will find graphs and tables of all types (some very creative ones), with topics such as these:
Before diving into the data presented, get students to notice first . . . “I noticed . . .” and follow analysis with “I wonder . . .” The “I wonder” questions promote ideas about trends and change in data. Here’s a sample graph regarding possible outcomes when adding 2 dice (graphic from google, not youcubed.org):
Possible noticing and wondering:
I highly encourage you to check these out! I will add the sites to my resource list (top bar of my blog) for easy access.
Till next time . . . Cindy
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I’m back after taking a couple of months off from blogging! I know some of you are already back at school, while others will be starting this coming week. I wish the best with all the uncertainties that still lie ahead. BUT most of you are back in the classroom this year, which is a good thing, right?
I am a big advocate of implementing Number Talks as part of a short daily math routine. Most of my previous number talk posts have focused on students sharing strategies for solving problems involving number strings and using known problems to stretch for new problems (such as 3 x 4 and then 30 x 4 or 10 + 8 and then 9 + 8). Today I would like to start a two-part post about other good quality number talk options which are also designed to elicit critical thinking.
Next post will be these two:
Tips for Implementing:
Picture Talks
This involves the use of pictures of objects with the purpose of telling how many and how they were counted (simiar to dot cards, but actual photos of objects arranged in rows, arrays, groups, etc.). A terrific way to practice subitizing, doubles, near doubles, equal groups for multiplication and division, fractions, as well as create story problems with them. Great questions for these picture talks: How many? How did you see them?
Many of them can be found on google images, but a good resource is via Kristen Acosta. I participated with her on a recent webinar and was hooked. I have tried many of these with my Zoom online students and they enjoy them because there are multiple ways to analyze a picture to determine how many.
Example of different ideas students might have on how to count this:
Which One Doesn’t Belong?
Inspired by the book (or vice-versa), you will see 4 images, numbers, letters, shapes, graphs, etc. To elicit critical thinking, the goal is to have your students select one of the images and tell why it doesn’t belong with the others. BUT, there are many possible responses — as long as the student can explain their reasoning. Follow some of the tips above and have fun exploring all of these free ready-made WODB images!
Image 1 thoughts to get you started:
Image 2 thoughts to get you started:
WODB designs: Submissions by many, but website created by Mary Bourassa
Which One Doesn’t Belong: 2D shapes from Miss Laidlaw’s Classroom (FREE on TPT)
Which One Doesn’t Belong: 3D shapes from Miss Laidlaw’s Classroom (FREE on TPT)
Which One Doesn’t Belong: 2D shapes for 2nd-7th grades from Jeannie’s Store (FREE on TPT)
Here are more of my egg carton images to get you started! Please share your experiences with these!
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Yes, you can even use ten frames to teach multiplication concepts! Here are my mini ten-frames with dot cards from 1 – 10: Click HERE to get a free copy. These are helpful to use, especially if you don’t have enough tens/ones blocks . . . or you prefer manipulatives that are slightly easier to manage. These provide a strong connection to place value, and the commutiative and distributive properties.
I recommend two sets of the cards (1-9) per student. Each set has multiple copies of the same number. They can be laminated, cut, and placed in a baggie for ease in handing out and storage.
Multiplication Examples:
After students get practice using these manipulatives (concrete), then proceed to pictorial models to draw them as simply as possible. This will give them a good foundation to apply to the abstract (numbers only) problems. I always pitch for the CPA progression whenever possible!!!
I will pause a while for the summer and just post once a month until school starts up again. Take care, everyone! But please don’t be shy. Post your comments, ask your questions, etc.
]]>Thanks for checking in on another multiplication strategy! The focus for this post will be on the equal groups strategy — looking at how students can efficiently use this strategy to help learn basic multiplication facts. My angle will be at the conceptual level by using concrete and pictorial methods. Be sure to see the links at the end for books and my free equal groups story cards.
Basics:
What things normally come in equal groups? Conduct a brainstorming session. I love the book “What Comes in 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s” as a springboard. After reading the book, let students brainstorm other things that come in equal groups. See the pictures below for some more ideas. After some internet research, I also made this attached list to use (in case you or your students draw a blank): click here: Equal groups pictures and list template
Use these lists to help students generate stories about equal groups. When students can create (and maybe illustrate) their own stories, they are much better at solving problems they must read on their own. This also helps students think carefully about what in the story constitutes a “group” and what the “groups of” represents:
Ways to show equal groups with objects and drawings:
Objects to use to show equal groups:
Teaching concepts regarding equal groups:
Activities to practice equal groups strategy:
Enjoy!! Many of you are now off for a well-deserved summer break. Use your summer time to catch up on my postings from this past year, or email me for more information. Also, feel free to comment on any article about your experience or additional tips.
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