# Math Investigations 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:

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

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.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

# Math Investigations

Hi everyone,

I have 22 days of school left…YES 22! I am so jealous of everyone who is co close to their well deserved summer vacation.

At this time the kids are all starting to go a little crazy. Let’s not forget sitting in the classroom in almost 90 degree weather with no air conditioning! This is the time to do some great partner or group work.

I love math and so do my kids. 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!)

One thing I love doing with my kids throughout the year 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. Math investigations work really well at the end of the year also. This is the time of the year when you really get to see the skills and concepts that your students have mastered.

Reflecting back, I should have chosen a more challenging problem for my class to solve. So next week I know to bump it up.

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.

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.)

Here is the conference note sheet I use (Thanks again Lauren!.)

Here are some of my kids’ posters. It’s amazing to see the different strategies.

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?

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

# Guided Math: Chapter 2

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to our Book Study on Guided Math by Laney Sammons. I’m glad you decided to come back for our discussion on Chapter 2.

What do you think is one of the most important Foundational Principles of Guided Math is?

I think one of the most important Foundational Principles of Guided Math is Modeling and think-alouds, combined with ample opportunities for guided and independent problem solving and purposeful conversations, create a learning environment in which students’ mathematical understanding grows.
I agree that it is very important for teachers to model and provide think-alouds during math. We model and provide think-alouds during reading and writing throughout the day.

But for some reason, many teachers do not bring the modeling and think-alouds into math. Often time, because of time teachers accept an answer and move on. It is so important for students to realize that there is not just one right way to solve a problem.

I use the phrases “So I was thinking…” or “Watch me as I…” all of the time during math. I sometimes cringe over how many times I actually say these phrases during the day. “So I was thinking, there might be a different way to solve this problem.” After solving a problem, I also might say, “Watch me as I solve this problem in a different way.” It’s funny how sometimes your kids become a mini you. I hear my kiddos say these phrases all the time in class and at home.

I love when the students realize that you can solve a problem using more than one approach. In the beginning of the year, many of my kids would argue with each other and tell each other they were wrong if a different approached was used. Now, at the end of the year the students are so excited when they have a different approach than another student.

Growing up I. HATED. MATH! I admit it. The teacher would stand up in front of the room and show us how to solve the problem. There was only one way to solve the problem, her way. If you did the math a different way, you were wrong. I remember going home and my dad explaining a math problem to me. I would get upset and argue with him that he was wrong, it wasn’t the way my teacher solved the problem.

Another Foundational Principle of Guided Math that I think is important is Learning at its best is a social process. I think it is extremely important that students get the opportunity to talk about math. Many students lack vocabulary. Not only do students have poor vocabulary skills in reading and writing, but also in mathematics. Students need to work in partners or in groups as they work on problems. Working and talking with others helps students to develop vocabulary and math language. Students learn to listen to each other’s ideas and see the different approaches their classmates take to solve a problem.

Here are 3 different approaches used to solve the same problem.

One way I promote math being a social process is by working on math investigations or exlemplars. See my post on math investigations part I and part II here Part I and Part II.
My kiddos absolutely love working together to solve a problem and creating a math poster. As you walk around and listen or coach in, it is amazing to hear the kids discuss how they solved the problem and which approach they would like to present to the class.

Here is a picture of my chart for kids to refer back to when working in partners or when completing a math investigation.

It did my heart proud when my Superintendent was observing my math lesson and my kids shared some of their approaches. One partnership said, “We used the standard algorithm to show regrouping.” Another partnership said “We used a different way! We drew quick pictures with base 10 blocks to show regrouping.” My superintendent was impressed to say the least.

The majority of my kids love math class. Everyday they ask, “When are we doing math?” Come on! We do math at basically the same time everyday, plus it is on the flow of the day. The next question my kids ask is, “Are we doing math groups?” Now the other students say, “You know the answer, YES!”

I do think that my students feel that they are members of a mathematical learning community. Students share their work by going up to the Smartboard or presenting work to the class. I try to make every student feel that they have something to contribute to math class, that everyone can learn the concept.

Students work in partners everyday at some point during math. They still have some independent work but often have to share their work with a partner later. As I walk around the class, there are days that I hear the kids arguing, but when I get closer to them I notice that the kids are arguing about math and who is correct and why. We work together to share ideas and then see which approach works better and why. I try to establish that no one has a better idea in math, but sometimes one approach or strategy works better than others.

Here is a freebie for you! Click below to download the Frayer Diagram Interactive Notebook page.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. Do you think that your kiddos feel like they are part of a mathematical learning community?

Remember to hop on through to all of the other blogs today.
Don’t forget to come back next week when we discuss chapter 3 in Guided Math by Laney Sammons.

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# 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:

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

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