Math Exlemplars (Problem Solving) Part II

So today was Day 2 of my math investigations. As soon as we got into class, the kids ask, “When are we doing math?” They get so excited over working together and creating a poster to show their work.

Day 2
Teaching Point: Mathematicians will do a gallery walk to observe other students investigations and then make revisions to their own investigation.
Time: 75 minutes

Now it is time for the students to have their gallery walk. We put the posters on desks and the students get to walk around the room to look at the math posters. I try to put the same amount of posters on each table so that students can just switch tables once or twice. I have tired the gallery walk other ways but, it can get very chaotic. (You can put the posters where ever you want. If you have the wall space, hanging the posters up works really well.)

The students walk around the classroom with their partner, a pencil and post-its. I give the students as many post-its as posters they will view. So today my kids viewed 4 math posters so they were given 4 post-its.

Now comes the hard part. This takes a lot of practice! They discuss what they noticed, what they liked or what they didn’t understand. My students discuss the math on the poster and talk about glows (what they did well) and grows (what they need to work on.) The partnership has to come to an agreement on what they will write on the post-it. Each partnership can only place one post-it with comments on each math poster they discuss. Are the comments all great? No. But it’s a work in progress.
I have really noticed a difference in my kids math talk. They are using words like strategy!

Here is one of the comments that a partnership wrote:
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As the kids are discussing the posters, I try to coach them on the type of comments and questions the students write on the post it.

Next the students go back to their investigation and read the comments left by their classmates. Kids will run up to you with comments they feel are wrong, but you have to do mini lessons on how to write comments and give good feedback.

After reading the comments, the students use a different color to revise their work. This will be MESSY!! But you can see a lot of learning going on.
Here are some of the revised math investigations
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Day 3 will be on Monday. This part is called the math congress and it is basically a big share. You choose about 3 posters that show something you want to highlight to the class. It could be a strategy used, organization, or how the poster was labeled. You highlight something that you want the rest of the class to pay attention to. Often times, I will choose a poster with a wrong answer and highlight the organization or the math vocabulary that was used. This way the students know that even though it’s important to get the right answer, other parts of problem solving are also important. This also gives the struggling students the chance to be highlighted.
The students come up and explain the part you thought was great.

If you want to see the rubric I use or the conference sheet I use, look back at Part I.

Have you done this in your class? Is this something you might like to try? Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Rachel

Math Exlemplars (Problem Solving) Part I

I love math! I love teaching math and reading about math. I wasn’t always a math person. I used to be a reading/ writing person. I even have my Masters with a certification in reading. But somewhere along the way, things changed (Thanks Gael!)

I love teacher different strategies and seeing the light bulbs bling on when a student finally gets a concept. I love using dry erase boards with my kids for quick assessments and for fun. I love using math videos in the classroom. It makes me 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

One thing I love doing with my kids is Math Exlemplars or as I call them, Math Investigations. Have you done this with your kids? The minute I say we are doing a math investigation, the cheers start.

For this investigation, I took it easy on the kids. We just got back from spring break. Looking back, I probably should have chosen a more challenging problem.

To start, you introduce a challenging word problem to the kids.
Emersion Work:
Time: 10-15 minutes (sometimes a bit more)
-Read the Math Investigation to the class
-Review problem
-What do we know from the problem?
-What do we want to know? What is it asking us to find?
-What do the following words mean…
-How does this problem relate to the math topics we have been leaning about the unit?
-Students try to solve the problem on their own for 10 minutes. (I usually give a little more time.)

Sometimes I am so surprised over the words the kids are unsure about. The words from today’s problem were poked and bulb.
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After the students solve the problem independently, you pair the kids up by like strategies. They don’t necessarily have to have the same answer, but they should have the same method or strategy.

Day 1:
Teaching Point: Mathematicians will solve a math investigation by discussing and working out strategies with a partner or group.
Time: 75 minutes (or however long you have. :))
-After the students are paired up by strategies, review the problem again.
-Students work out the problem together. This promotes the Mathematical Practices. It is great to walk around the room and hear the kids arguing over whose answer is right and why.
I give the partnership one piece of paper so they can work the problem out together.
I also give each partnership a rubric to refer to while working on the problem.
Once the students feel they are finished, they create a math poster showing how they solved the problem
-As the students are working, I walk around the room and ask guided questions: Why are you using this strategy? Does this make sense? What in this problem told you to…? and similar questions.

Here is the rubric (Thanks Lauren.)
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Here is the conference note sheet I use (Thanks again Lauren!.)
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Here are some of my kids’ posters. It’s amazing to see the different strategies.
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Come back tomorrow for Math Investigations Part II – A gallery walk and making revisions.

Leave a comment to let me know what you think. Have you done math investigations with your kiddos? Do you think this would be something you might try?

Using Math Videos

Do you use math videos in your classroom? I love to use math videos and other videos to keep my kiddos engaged. Sometimes I feel more like an actress than a teacher. Hey, but whatever it takes…
I love watching my kids as they see a link for a video or movie on the smart board. Their eyes light up and they start whispering to each other, “A video, a video!” It’s just so cute. It makes me smile to see the excitement.
Two of the videos that my kids love are on fractions. As soon as they see the video they stop talking (which is a feat in itself. I mean they almost never stop talking!)
They even request to watch this video during snack. They eat, listen, sing, and dance. Can you picture 32 second graders singing and dancing to videos on fractions and then yelling, “Again! Again!”

This first video made the kids laugh.

The video below was the absolute favorite!

I use this video with my small groups, even though all the kids like it. My students will sing this all day long!

What videos do you use in your class during math or other subjects?