Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Laptops Take Over Fact Station

Student uses laptop during fact station

Laptops Transform Fact Station
This year Tabitha’s school purchased a classroom set of laptops for teachers to check out for their students.  We have always talked about how nice it would be to incorporate iPads or more individualized forms of technology at the game or fact stations, but money was the main obstacle.  This purchase caused Tabitha to be able to check out the laptops each day during math workshop.  She incorporated the laptops this week during fact station.  So far, students have used the laptops to play fact games such as Multiplication Grand Prix and other math games that build fact fluency.  To allow students easy access to these teacher-selected links, Tabitha linked the fact sites to her class website.  

Site used for fact practice

As this is still a novel change to the math workshop routine, we look forward to seeing the long-term impacts that this change has on student learning (mastery of basic facts) and engagement.  So far, however, Tabitha has noticed increased student motivation (engagement), resulting in easier management of student behavior during math workshop.  

Assessing Laptop Use Efficacy
So all these anecdotal assumptions about student learning are great, but where’s the proof (i.e. empirical evidence) that this change will lead to student learning?  Enter mobymax.com.   We are anxious to see its usefulness in the classroom.  The idea with having students use this site is that it will allow Tabitha to create student profiles→ students will play math games--> and the system will then track each student’s progress through the fact games-->the site provides Tabitha with data on student growth, and students can also view their progress.  Did we mention that the games are aligned with Common Core!?  Double yeah!  So, the hope is that Tabitha will be able to seamlessly implement this resource, via the laptops, during fact station.  

Student profiles reveal progress

We'll keep you posted! 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bar Graph, Line Graph, Line Plot, and Pictorial Graphs

During the week that we taught graphs, we chose to spend each day on a different type of graph.  Below are the lessons we used for each day. 

During the whole class lesson on Monday, students filled out their notebooks along with the anchor chart. Our focus on Monday was bar graphs but we filled out the complete anchor chart.

CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.B.3 Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.

Students were given an All About Me Quiz. Each day we focused on a different type of graph. We used the information from the quizzes to personalize the graphs for our classes on the anchor chart and for activities throughout the week. 
Our focus was on creating and interpreting line plots. Students used the SmartBoard at the teacher station to create line plots for different items on the All About Me Quiz. We then asked students different questions about the line plots and they answered on their white boards. At the independent station students played a game called Roll the Dice Line Plot. Students rolled a dice 20 times and recorded their results on a line plot. 

Smartboard notebook used to graph class data

The objective was pictorial graphs for Wednesday. Students created graphs on the SmartBoard and played Roll the Dice Pictorial Graph. 

The goal for Thursday was line graphs. 

We reviewed all the different types of graphs by looking at the class graphs we created on the SmartBoard. The played Roll the Dice at the game station and reviewed bar graphs.  
Smartboard notebook used to graph class data

Students also completed an Explain Your Answer worksheet at the independent station.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fractions: Common Core Edition

Hello, Friends!  Sorry for our long break from blogging, but we are glad to be back, and we plan to take the next few blogs to catch you up on how we ended the year.  

Shifting from State Standards to CCSS for Fractions
The fraction unit was a big shift with the adoption of CCSS from previous Missouri GLEs.  In the past, the first anchor chart pictured below was really all of the content that we were required to teach students over fractions.  Common Core requires more in-depth understanding of how fractions fit into the number line and compare to each other.  We split the requirements over three weeks and kept our anchor charts fairly similar for each week.  We obviously wanted the basic understanding of what a fraction is to be taught first.  Then we decided to teach equivalent fractions to make comparing fractions a little easier.  We really had to dig into the CCSS language to understand for ourselves what exactly was required for third graders to know.  

Week 1 Common Core Standards Taught:
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.G.A.2 Partition shapes into parts with equal areas. Express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole. For example, partition a shape into 4 parts with equal area, and describe the area of each part as 1/4 of the area of the shape.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.1 Understand a fraction 1/b as the quantity formed by 1 part when whole is partitioned into b equal parts; understand a fraction a/b as the quantity formed by a parts of size 1/b.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.2 Understand a fraction as a number on the number line; represent fractions on a number line diagram.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.2a Represent a fraction 1/b on a number line diagram by defining the interval from 0 to 1 as the whole and partitioning it into b equal parts. Recognize that each part has size 1/b and that the endpoint of the part based at 0 locates the number 1/b on the number line.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.2b Represent a fraction a/b on a number line diagram by marking off a lengths 1/b from 0. Recognize that the resulting interval has size a/b and that its endpoint locates the number a/b on the number line.
Strategies Used:
Anchor Chart:

Week 2  Common Core Standards Taught:
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3 Explain equivalence of fractions in special cases, and compare fractions by reasoning about their size.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3a Understand two fractions as equivalent (equal) if they are the same size, or the same point on a number line.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3b Recognize and generate simple equivalent fractions, e.g., 1/2 = 2/4, 4/6 = 2/3. Explain why the fractions are equivalent, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3c Express whole numbers as fractions, and recognize fractions that are equivalent to whole numbers. Examples: Express 3 in the form 3 = 3/1; recognize that 6/1 = 6; locate 4/4 and 1 at the same point of a number line diagram.
Week 2 Strategies Used:
Anchor Chart:

Week 3 Common Core State Standards Taught:

CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3d Compare two fractions with the same numerator or the same denominator by reasoning about their size. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.

Week 3 Strategies Used:
Anchor Chart: 

Reflecting on the Unit

Fractions are such an abstract concept for kids to grasp, that spending at least three weeks teaching them is crucial for their understanding.  We look forward to teaching this concept again so that we can focus more on helping diverse learners understand the concept now that we know what they are expected to learn :).  One thing that we plan to change after having taught this unit is how this really helped students with measurement.  Our students struggled when we taught them measurement before fractions.  They had a difficult time understanding where 1/4 of an inch is located on a ruler.  This year, we plan to teach fractions before measurement.

--Tabitha & ChloƩ