Friday, November 30, 2012

Subtracting by Counting UP!

I find it amusing that even though we are already into our 64th day of school some of my student don't know what to do with the signs +, -. Well actually they do know what to do with those signs but the indecision on which one to use is complex in some of their minds. I began using the Subtracting by Counting Up strategy. This is an amazingly powerful way to subtract. Van de Walle in his book "Teaching Student Centered Mathematics" explains it as students working on the think addition strategy for their basic facts can also be solving problems with larger numbers. The concept is the same. It is important to use join with change unknown problems or missing-part problems to encourage the counting-up strategy he explained. I have noticed that although we have done many 2.OA.1 word problems that when I use the terminalogy "how many fewer did Jack have than Bob" or when I use a problem like Korryn has 9 dolls and Kate has 3 more dolls than Korryn. How many dolls does Kate have? My students come up with some amazing ways to solve this word problem. Many got it right on target but many were more than a little confused. I have begun to use the subtracting by counting up strategy and I hope on next weeks summative assessment I will see more students "get it". Does anyone else have this sort of problem when adding words or creating a word problem. They can actually add 9 + 3 = 12 but it seems with the CCSS terminology they get confused. I have been adding one to three of these each week and hopefully next week I won't have to omit it. YIKES!

Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Assess in a Problem-Based Classroom

One of the things I have learned as we have begun our journey with CCSS is that assessment can and does happen every day.  It is an integral part of my instruction.  I have gained knowledge through my readings of Van de Walls' book Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics, I realized that in the past I  missed the point.  Now I see how assessment has allowed me to help my students grow and how these assessments have informed and driven my instruction.

Previously,  I used assessment in test form and now I use a task or problem which allows my students to demonstrate what they know. Since my classroom has become more problem-based I no longer focus on assessments that require recall, skill, or closed response items that send a message to my students that getting answers is valued. Now I am focused upon engaging discussions and proudly watch as my students problem solve in teams.  I realize that even lower-ability level students should be encouraged to use the best ideas they have to work on a problem, even if their way is not the same skill or strategy everyone else in the room is using.

Ticket Out the Door has been a useful tool that has allowed me to see what student are thinking and how their errors were made.  I am more capable of assisting them in learning and not controlling their learning.  I love the TOD because it gives me a snapshot of what each child is capable of, the diversity among students or groups has guided my instruction.  I am enjoying the new things I am learning this year in math.  So keep an open mind, be willing to bend in the winds of change, and enjoy your students as they work to solve real world problems.  They are seeing the revelance of math in their universe.  They seem excited and engaged this year.  I can see the change that has taken place within my classroom and I like what I see.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Common Core Expectations

What a wonderful resource for teachers! These little books put out by McGraw Hill "The Common Core, Clarifying Expectations for Teachers & Students."  Align, Assess, Achieve, LLC or is the place to go to when purchasing this handy little resource. 

Our principle purchased one of these for each teacher that did the planning in that subject. One of us plans ELA first grade, one ELA second grade, one Math first, and one Math second. I must say that honestly this book is the best resource I have in planning.  They provide the cluster, standard, suggested Mathematical Practices, Enduring Understandings, Essential Questions, Suggested Learning Targets, and vocabulary.  Along the very bottom right of the page is the 2.MD.7 standard listed, on the page it is clarified and described.  These books are a must have in my humble opinion.

Please excuse my blog's appearance.  It is under construction and within a week or so it will be looking spiffy.  Check out these essential books if you are entering CCSS.  I absolutley love mine.