Thursday, August 1, 2013

Throwback Thursday: A POWERFUL Tool--Math Made Its & a Great Giveaway!

Thanks again to Cara from The First Grade Parade for this opportunity to share a throwback post this Thursday!

I wanted to share this throwback post because it discusses a powerful tool that Courtney and I both use with our students very early in the year and throughout--one that we highly recommend. Even though I wrote the original post, Courtney has also experienced great successes in using this tool with her students.

***** Originally Posted March 18, 2013*****

A POWERFUL, POWERFUL tool! I cannot say it enough... 

The common core standards for mathematics not only call for a change in WHAT concepts are taught at each grade level, but HOW they are taught as well.  In the past, many second grade teachers may have been taught the traditional algorithm for adding and subtracting.  A HUGE shift in the focus is NOW essential at this level.  The primary focus should be in helping students develop a strong sense of number and exposing them to strategies for addition and subtraction that are strongly rooted in their understanding of place value. 

With all of this known, if not the traditional algorithm for addition and subtraction, then WHAT? 
My personal experience with my second graders, in helping them develop a strong foundation in place value, has taught me how powerful and capable their young minds are.  From day one of second grade, students have been immersed in making sense of the WHY, not simply the HOW.  I believe one of the most POWERFUL tools in helping do this has been the introduction, instruction, and application of the open number line.  Almost a school year's reflection has brought me to this conclusion.

I began to use the open number line with my students after coming across an INVALUABLE resources titled, The Number Line: Learning to Think Mathematically with the Number Line (A Resource for Teachers, A Tool for Young Children) by Jeff Frykholm, Ph.D.  This resource concisely explains the theory and rationale for using an open number line with young children and provides a series of lessons that can be followed in sequence. Differentiation options are included as well.  All I really needed was this resource to get started, that's it! It is available at Thinking Mathematically for $21 (hard copy) or $15 (download).

So our journey with the open number line began...

The concept of the open number line was introduced to students the first week of school.  They immediately began to explore its use with a "life-sized" number line constructed with Command hooks, clothesline, number cards, and clothes pins.  Students interacted with the life-sized number line as various numbers were place on the line and justifications were given for their placement.  

I also used various lessons in the text and supplemented with additional lessons modeled after those presented.  This provided practice for students and began to build their understanding of the tool.

Gradually, it was time to apply the tool when presented with "situations". 


Now, after extended use of the tool, I truly feel that it has been internalized as one of various strategies for approaching and making sense of problem situations.  I have tried to pinpoint when students became so proficient with its use (not all of them at the same time, of course), but I have not been able to do so.  I think it was magic! Ha! 

 A student created "situation" and her solution... :0)

If you haven't already, I STRONGLY suggest you introduce this tool to your students.  No frills, no catchy phrases, no cute graphics, no bells and whistles--just cheap and conceptually sound!  Put the POWER in your students' hands--furthermore, their minds!

Monday Made Its -- Math
If you haven't already, don't forget to check out these math Monday Made Its FR--Money Bags and Problem Solving Discussion Fans

A Great Giveaway!

We are giving a shout out for Stephanie over at Principal's Principles! She is having her very first giveaway--so enter for a chance to win her Back-to-School and Open House Organizational Packet.  Good luck!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Fly on back tomorrow for Favorite Pin Friday!

All the best!

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