Organizing, wrapping up summer, and MATH!

This week seems to have FLOWN by!  I have been in my class a few times and it seems like every time I go back I feel the need to re-arrange the furniture and decorate something new.  It is a much larger classroom than I had last year and I am moving from Grade One to Grade Seven so I keep second guessing what Grade Seven should look like.  But {knock on wood} I think I got it yesterday.  I even settled down and photocopied a bunch of work.  I am proud of me.

Although last night I did go buy some new bulletin board borders {chevron and zebra - how could I not??} I also bought some black butcher paper so I can make some scrunched borders and cover the ugly purple one I have going on right now.

I went to a really good math in-service offered by the province of Manitoba. I learned a lot of things but the two that stuck with me the most are using base ten blocks {extended to makes a base 100) as a basis for making a dot chart or array model.  Dyslexic students benefit from this type of manipulative but so will any visual learner, myself included. Using the base ten dot model you can work with any math algorithm.  We practiced with long division and multiplication and it worked like a charm because it works with place value in a way that kids can understand.

You start with array model, move to vertical extended and then finally to vertical compact when you start working with them on, let’s say, long multiplication.  First you draw the array for 37 by 68.  There are 30x60 ten by tens {1800 or 18 one hundred blocks}, there are 60x7 ten rods, 30 by 8 ten rods {420 and 240} and then 8x7 ones {56 ones}. Adding them together you get 1800, plus 420, plus 240, plus 56 which equals 2516.

When they understand this the visual of groups of hundreds, tens, and ones and what they each represent you move on to extended model.


  X 68

     56 {8 times 7}

   240 {8 times 30}

   420 {60 times 7}

 1800 {30 times 60}



When our students finally master this we can move them up to compact model.


  X 68




 Even though we should be doing this throughout elementary school as we move into more difficult symbolic ideas we need to keep that visual with them so they can “see” what it means to use an algorithm instead of just know how to utilize it!

 That being said I also worked on part of my classroom Math Survivor.  I completed a few sets of challenges that I am excited about!

 Face Off is a dice game played in a group. Students work as a team to follow a series of steps to find the final answer as they follow instructions to double, multiply, half, switch place value digits and so on. It can be individual or against other teams. I suggest only giving each group one sheet at a time and have them challenge each other. This is how I am doing it.

Beat the clock is a series of problem solving challenges that asks students to use logic, prior knowledge, deduction, and collaboration to find answers to logic problems. The challenges include looking at one and two variable questions, probability, place value, as well as number patterns and more. I was excited to make my own logic problems!

There are three scavenger hunts. Groups are prompted to decipher the numbers using 5 to 7 clues. The third set of clues includes decimals.

The last portion of this download is the integer relay. Teams are challenged to match equations with right answers as they race to get their group across the finish line.

 These challenges are meant to be fun so some of the challenges you will find a review of early grade seven or late grade six curriculum.

As part of this post I am giving away three of the individual challenges from the Beat the Clock challenge for you to use and check out. 

 So, now that the sun is up and my kidlets are moving around I should go and get my school shopping wrapped up!  Later!