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Graph Paper for Organization in Math

Great math teachers make sure to review student work, complete error analysis, and offer feedback. Error analysis is exactly what it sounds like…the process of going back through a problem and analyzing the error(s) to figure out what went wrong and how to get it right next time! In analyzing the errors of my own students in the past, I have noticed that organization plays a large role in accuracy in math. Students who lack organization, clarity and/or neatness, often make errors that are NOT due to a misunderstanding of the math, but rather a problem in keeping track of their work.

On strategy that I have had success with time and time again is using graph paper to support organization. Teaching a child to use graph paper is simple! It offers structure, while maintaining student independence. Graph paper helps because a student can assign one number or symbol to each box. This allows children to ensure proper alignment of numbers, which often yields a higher rate of accuracy. The best part is that it costs barely anything…all you need is something like this:

[amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=B00006IDSD&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]B00006IDSD[/amazon-product] [amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=B004NRP15K&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]B004NRP15K[/amazon-product] [amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=B00069DKZ2&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]B00069DKZ2[/amazon-product] [amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=B003LJX6VC&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]B003LJX6VC[/amazon-product]

Errors a student might make if they lack organization:

  • May not align numbers correctly when adding, subtracting, multiplying
  • May not align numbers correctly when working with money
  • May not align numbers correctly when working with decimals
Exhibit A

 

Exhibit B

 

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