In the beginning of the school year, I created Place Value Basics. This was meant as a daily review to get students thinking quickly about some of the basics we learn. It was a big hit! My students went from doing it in 40 minutes (I know, but they needed the time) to around 8 minutes. Pretty good, right!?
Well, they had been bugging me to change it up. THIS is a good sign. So I came up with Multiplication and Division Basics. As some were still having a bit of trouble with Prime Factors, I kept in on this version.
Each year I teach this before Winter Break. Then after this, we head into fractions. Fractions take up all of the 2nd Trimester and by the time 3rd Trimester and the State Test roll around, students have forgotten how to multiply and (deep sigh here) divide. The problem is they have a shaky footing on these concepts before hitting fractions. I know, I’m the teacher… I should go with what they know and base lessons around them. Yes, in an ideal world that is happening. However, the pressure to do Benchmark Assessments and my district’s pacing (don’t get me started on that), and prepping them for the next grade are all too much for me – and them I suspect.
I have seen a great success with my students and the Place Value Basics. I am hoping that they can have the same success with this. How long will it take us in the beginning? Ugh, I hope not the 40 minutes! It’ll take us a while the first week or so, but in time they will successfully complete it in 8 minutes or less! Again, I will start off doing this whole class.
Last year I was introduced to a great website called Which One Doesn’t Belong by my friend, Nancy Minicozzi. The site is full of visuals in which students must decide which of the 4 images doesn’t belong.
Looking at the following, which would you say doesn’t belong?
Based on your perception you may have said the heart because it is the only one that is NOT a polygon. Or perhaps you thought the star for the lack of the red outline. Possibly you were drawn to the green arrow as it is comprised of two different shapes. Or maybe it was the last shape because it lacked a color on the inside. No matter what you thought, you were right.
This is a fantastic, low-risk activity for students to participate in. I have done it a few different ways. I have had students study the image and then move to different parts of the room. While gathered there, they talk about why they chose the image they did. Other times I have used tools like Padlet for them to record their thoughts. No matter what method I use, they enjoy the activity.
This year I have 1 non-English speaker. At first, he was reluctant to participate, but now he regularly raises his hand to explain why he chose the image he did. I also have students moving from table to table because they can see how the different images don’t belong.
In addition to the low-risk appeal, I am able to teach my students how to have conversations. We begin sentences with, “I agree with…. because…”, or “I disagree with… because…”, or even better, “In addition to what … said…” Quality language, thought process, and communication skills that are being utilized daily.
This week I wanted a fun review of the objectives that we have learned in Math thus far. So my ‘brilliant’ idea was to create 5 mini BreakoutEDU games for the students to rotate through. I have 5 tables groups, thus the 5 mini games. I went through our math program and copied some challenge problems for the students to solve. I gave them 5 minutes to complete each game.
Yes, one of the breakout boxes is a backpack! This was their first exposure to BreakoutEDU. At first, they thought it was going to be easy. A few decided that they would just ‘mess’ with the locks. They soon figured out, it wasn’t so easy!
So during the first round, only 1 of the 5 groups was successful. The other groups were disappointed that they didn’t succeed. I also think they thought it would be much easier than it was. The next round was a bit more successful: 2 groups succeeded. I even had one group that went 3-2 for games. All in all, 11 of the 25 games were successful. Not bad for our first try.
At one point, one of the groups that hadn’t cracked any locks asked if we were going to do it again on Monday. I was a bit nervous that the lack of success with this group (based on the kids in the group) was proving to be discouraging. However, when I answered no they were disappointed that they WEREN’T doing it again on Monday! They went on to tell me how much fun it was! This will be happening again this year.
Last year, I began using Jon Corippo‘s 8 p*ARTS . I saw great success with the repetition. As a result, I thought I’d like to do something along similar lines with Math. Now, I will admit, what I came up with isn’t nearly as fun. However, the repetition is there. This is for 5th grade and can easily be modified for other grades. Here’s what I came up with.
Place Value Basics
- Today’s Number – Have the student of the day decide on the day’s number anywhere from billion to thousandths place. However, the number must be at least to the tenths place.
- 10 times greater – Take the original number and make it ten times greater.
- 100 times greater – Take the original number and make it one hundred times greater.
- 1,000 times greater – Yup, take the original number and make it one thousand times greater.
- Add 10 times greater and 100 times greater – add the numbers.
- Write a number that is GREATER – Have students change ONLY a digit that is AFTER the decimal.
- 1/10 times less – Take the original number and make it ten times less.
- 1/100 times less – Take the original number and make it one hundred times less.
- Subtract 1/10 and 1/100 – subtract the numbers.
- Write a number that is LESS – Have students change ONLY a digit that is AFTER the decimal.
- Prime factors of the first 2 digits of the whole number – Only take the numbers in the ones and tens place and find the prime factors.
An example is given on the second slide. This should be done daily, with an assessment each week. The first week or two should be done as a group until the class understands what is expected. Once they ‘get the hang of it’ all that is needed is the number and the students can do this independently.
While our school didn’t win, we had a lot of fun! I have never seen my students so focused and determined. One student asked if I could assign MORE challenges! Yes, MORE! How awesome is that?
In the midst of it all, we were challenged to participate in a Fai-To! This is where our school and another go head to head. Considering that our Internet went down twice in the past week, I was pleased to learn that we WON the last Fai-To!
There aren’t many classrooms at my school using Mangahigh, so to have 136 points is pretty big for us.
To top it all off, I had an IEP for a student on Friday. The parents commented how much the student, who struggles academically, enjoys Mangahigh. The student often asks to try, “Just one more time,” in order to achieve a higher score, beat another student, or gain another medal.
Just another reason to love this program! And to all the winners, congratulations!
We have been working on division with and without decimals. To help my students gain experience with the computation, I found a game (Four in a Row) in Georgia Math. They enjoy the game, but you always have those few who get board because it’s too easy. And yes, I had some of those. However, these 3 boys didn’t complain. Instead, they asked if they could make their own.
Credit: J-Jey, Julian, and Adan
The boys chose the numbers and did the division to fill in the boxes with the quotient. This week, the rest of the class was able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. It was a hit.
Now, this same group has decided to recreate another game. It was a multiplication board game, also found in Georgia Math. They are pretty excited.
Why was this so important? First of all, we talk about differentiation but aren’t alway great at it. This allowed my more proficient students to be challenged yet work on the same goals as the rest of the class. Secondly, and more importantly, my students took control over their learning and thought of a way to challenge themselves. What a powerful lesson for all.
Recently I wrote about jazzing up Math class. I was going to have them use real world situations to make the learning more relevant. After writing Ugh, Math, John Stevens suggested having the students come up with the questions. The idea being that they will come up with better questions than I could.
We looked at different candies. Here were some of their questions:
- How many of each candy are there?
- How much protein in each candy?
- How much calcium in all the candies?
- How much does the bag weigh?
There were some pretty great questions that would require a lot of math. We started working out how much the entire bag weighs. We are basing it on the weight of the candy.
John was right, the questions were better and I had instant buy-in to boot! I will definitely be doing more of this.