Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Playing With the Common Core

AL Abacus for Race to 100

This past Saturday, I presented at Math In Action 2013. This conference for K-12 mathematics teachers is hosted every February by Grand Valley State University.  My one hour session (view my PowerPoint presentation here) was Playing With the Common Core. Here's the outline of my lesson plan for the session: 

Objective: The learner will explore using strategic early number sense games as a context for intentional instruction.

Schema Activation:  (10 min) The role of context in intentional instruction. Read aloud the first page of Grandma Eudora's T-Shirt Factory from Contexts for Learning Mathematics. Briefly highlight within the story contexts for the 5 & 10 structures, use of a "T-chart" as a place value mat, and finally composing and decomposing two-digit numbers. Participants turn and talk about the role of context in instruction.

Focus:  (10 min) Review the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) Content Standards & CCSSM Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP) for grades K - 2, with emphasis on the SMP.

Activity: (20 min) Session participants explore and play the following Early Number Sense Games. Click on the link for a materials list.
Reflection: (20 min)  Reflect on the games you played and write your own scenario anchored in the context of one of the games you played. Special focus on the Standards for Mathematical Practice.

Don't leave learning to chance--you can center your instruction by setting up a scenario around a game that has been a common shared experience by the students in your classroom. This can be done with individual students, in a small group for intervention, within your mathematics workshop, or even whole group. Examples:
  • Race to 100: (Content Std: Count by 10 from any number; SMP: Mathematical structure) "Remember when we were playing Race to 100? Let's say I'm on 14. What if I rolled three tens in a row? Where would I land at the end of each turn?"
  • Part-Whole Bingo: (Content Std: composing & decomposing numbers; SMP: Problem Solving) "What if I just rolled a seven and all of the towers with seven are filled? What could I do to be sure to use all seven of my cubes?"
From a teacher perspective, write a short narrative scenario that you can use in your classroom related to both a CCSSM Content Standard, and more importantly, one or more of the Standards for Mathematical Practice that is anchored in the game(s) you explored.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Early Number Sense

One in five adults in the United States is functionally innumerate; they do not possess the mathematical competencies needed for many modern jobs.  (Geary,  Hoard, Nugent, & Bailey,  2013).
In the three sections of MTH 222, Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II, that I'm teaching this semester at Grand Valley State University, my students are learning about research-based games that help elementary students develop number sense and gain a conceptual understanding of place value. An article in the Education Week blog Inside School Research features the results of a longitudinal study published in the current edition of the online journal, PLoS ONE. The study found that number sense is a better predictor of students' later math achievement than counting or other speed-based measures. The authors go on to conclude that "first grade number system knowledge predicts seventh grade functional numeracy" (Geary et al., 2013). As teachers, we must be prepared to assess and evaluate our student's early number sense. And, more importantly, provide appropriate intervention experiences that immerse our students in rich experiences that expand their early understandings of the relationships between numbers.

So, tonight I was doing a Google search for games that promote number sense--in particular a game called Part-Whole Bingo from Contexts for Learning Mathematics Investigating Number Sense, Addition and Subtraction. I came across a blog post I wrote on 'Mrs. Coffey's Classroom Blog' a few years ago when I was teaching 1st grade at Edgewood Elementary school at Fruitport Community Schools. What a wonderful surprise!

Here is the photo I posted on that blog on February 26, 2010.

I'll be using this game, as well as a few others, in my presentation at the  Math In Action 2013 Conference this Saturday at GVSU and introducing it to my pre-service teachers in class next week.

Geary DC, Hoard MK, Nugent L, Bailey DH (2013) Adolescents’ Functional Numeracy Is Predicted by Their School Entry Number System Knowledge. PLoS ONE 8(1): e54651. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054651