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Guest Blog: Flashcard Learning

Today, we welcome Isabell Collet, creator and writer of a new blog called Flashcards Guru. Collet shares some tips and tools on using flashcards for learning with children. Flashcards are a strange tool in the world of education. We all used them to help us learn the times tables growing up, but for fear of encouraging rote memorization of information, many teachers do not support the use of flashcards today. Collet offers new insights on how to use this age-old tool to boost learning (rather than rote memorization) for children. If you are interested in learning more about flashcards, I recommend checking out her blog.

Flashcard Learning with Children

by, Isabell Collet – Creator of Flashcards Guru

Are you a parent? A teacher? An educator? Then I assume you are always on the lookout for new ways to teach and engage. Educational games and practices pop up constantly and it can be hard to weigh the benefits or to determine the right way to use a learning tool, simply because there is so much information out there and so many products competing for attention. My goal today is to help you untangle some of the information on the web surrounding this study tool.

Flashcards for children are quite popular as a playful means to introduce children to new words, images or concepts. This does not match the image many have of adult flashcards, which are often associated with meaningless drill. In reality, the concept of flashcards is the same for all ages and it is probably one of the oldest and most basic ideas: Repetition. What differs, naturally, is the approach we take to learning (or teaching) at different ages. Learning at a young age holds a more playful element. The great thing about flashcards is that you can introduce them to a child early on as a learning game, which over time might evolve into a natural form of studying.

How to go about introducing flashcards? As previously stated they are an all-age learning tool; even toddlers can ‘study’ with them. The traditional format is two sides with one asking a question and the other depicting the answer. A spoken word accompanied by a picture can be used to properly target language development in younger children. Repeating words to children so they mimic them is already the most natural form of early teaching; adding a pictoral clue offers great visual stimulation in addition to the auditory learning. When you are using flashcards with your child, you can add written words over time. Tying text to image can help develop skills in reading and writing comprehension. Once a child reaches a more advanced stage it is important to go beyond mere recognition of words and sounds and towards actual production and application of the word in question.

When flashcards are first introduced and later, once their application progresses, there are many ways to keep the process engaging for a child. A central element should be the choice or creation of the flashcards, something the young learner can easily become involved in.

How can we engage children through card creation? Card creation can be a great activity for older children. It can help them understand how to go about building their own learning tools later in life. It is also a first step towards learning the material that will be covered with the flashcards. Children can be involved in the creation process in a number of ways. If there is no ‘required learning’ or you simply want to introduce cards as a learning game, you can ask for your child’s input on a subject to study. Encouraging kids to make their own choices allows them to take ownership over their learning. Once you have made a choice, you can get creative on the card creation process. Your child likes to draw? Allow him/her to draw the question side of the card. S/he is learning to write? Help them spell out the answer. When images are involved (and they should be wherever possible, because they enhance the visual learning flashcards promote) you can pick them with your child. Find images to color in or give your child magazines, newspapers, and/or coloring books to choose and cut out images from and add these to the flashcards.

As long as you are the primary educator and have a firm grasp of the subject matter and its boundaries, compiling flashcard material is fairly easy. Motivating a child to condense material covered in school into flashcards can be difficult, because it may seem like an arduous task. To facilitate the evolution from voluntary learning to required flashcard learning, start small. Children in elementary school won’t need to cover complex or even very detailed material. A first project that will encourage automatic learning is to ask your child to write down a few important words or sentences that s/he took away from that day’s/week’s lessons. Over time you will have a nice collection and a great starting point for your flashcards. When you have these pointers on what was important it will be fairly easy to add the details or expand to related concepts.

How to keep learning with flashcards interesting. One way to make flashcards engaging is to use them to play a fast-paced, quizzing game with other learners. Once the material has been covered by all children, quiz your child with a classmate, friend or sibling to offer more enticement to remember. In the digital age, there are also a vast number of apps available that introduce children to digital/mobile learning. The choices are numerous and you may be faced with the difficult decision on what is best for your child. Choosing the right app takes time and consideration. Ask yourself the following two questions: What is my learning goal? How would I like to reach it? The answers are important because they determine both the content and the features of the app you will download. A child learning about colors and animals will have different needs than a child studying for a school exam. If cost is a factor, be on the lookout for (temporarily) free apps or free trial/light versions. (Important: Consider that these apps will often contain ads that, while usually targeted at the young audience, may not be child-appropriate.) You should always open an app repeatedly and test it yourself – watching out for things like ads before involving your child.

Thank you to Isabell Collet for sharing tips and tools on using flashcards with children! It is always fun to have guest voices on EdGeeks!

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Basher Books Heighten Engagement in Science

I was recently working with a student who showed me a new book that she had gotten about physics. To be honest, I am not too interested in physics. I know that sounds terrible coming from a teacher, but hey…we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. That being said, this book was so colorful and the pages were so engaging that I wanted to learn more so I did some research and found out that the physics book was part of a really enticing series called Basher Books, created and illustrated by Simon Basher. Here is a quick glance at a few of the books in the series…

[amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=0753465973&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]0753465973[/amazon-product] [amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=0753468220&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]0753468220[/amazon-product] [amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=0753465965&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]0753465965[/amazon-product]
[amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=0753468204&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]0753468204[/amazon-product] [amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=0753465973&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]0753465973[/amazon-product] [amazon-product image=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=075346652X&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=edg0b-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ type=”image”]075346652X[/amazon-product]

The Basher Books website has a ton of information about the books, the book topics and extension materials and activities. The Basher Book Series contains books (and flashcards!) on a range of topics including science, math, music and punctuation. The mission of Basher Books is to breathe life into topics that are often taught in a dull way.

Below you can find a snapshot of the Basher Books Website. When you visit, make sure to click on the tab that says “Subjects.” It is a unique take on an interactive wordwall. Simon Basher does a wonderful job of using illustration to engage learners. “His illustration style is described as graphic surrealism; a synergy of European graphic design and Japanese character creation” (Taken from Simon Basher’s biography on the Basher Books website.)

You should also click on the “Downloads” tab where you can find great visuals available for download. Here is a screenshot.

If I were a middle or high school science teacher, I would have the whole collection in my classroom available for students. What a great find! Best part, the series was recommended to me by a fourth grader:)

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Math Tips for Graphing Questions

Here is a math tip for you. When you are confronted with a graph and a question that asks about what will happen to the graph over time, make sure to Extend the Graph! Graphing is a topic that follows students throughout the grades. Regardless of the skill level of the graph and graphing question, it is critical that the student takes a few extra moments to label and extend the graph.

Many students rush through graphing questions. Taking an extra few moments to stop and think about what the graph is all about can be the difference between answering a question correctly or incorrectly. Here is something you may not know, many graphing questions are as much about reading as they are about math. Many of the students I have worked with look at the graph and assume that the question is asking one thing, but skip over the reading.

How to Attack a Graph:

Here is how to attack a graph and graphing question:

  1. Check out the graph. Read the title and the axes carefully and ask yourself, “What data is this graph representing?”
  2. Find a way to write the numbers in the graph (See sample below)
  3. Read the question. Graphing questions often have a section above and below the actual graph. Underline the sentence that has the question mark in it and circle any numbers in the sentence.
  4. If the question asks you to think about what will happen to the graph in the future, take a moment to draw an extension onto the graph.

What Does it Look Like?

Notice how the question asks the student to predict how many cows will be on the farm in 2010. Here is the common mistake…it didn’t ask for 2009!

Taken from 2010 Grade 4 NYS Math Test (Book 1)

Here is how the strategy can help you get it right!

Taken from 2010 Grade 4 NYS Math Test (Book 1)

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Word Up! Using Vocabulary in Math

There is a common misconception (in many classrooms and homes) that vocabulary is something that supports ELA, reading and writing. Many people realize that vocabulary can also support content areas that are literacy or language-based, such as social studies and science. Unfortunately, too often we neglect to realize the important role that vocabulary plays in the development of mathematical understanding. Today, I am proposing that we treat math vocabulary as we would vocabulary for literacy! I’m talking charts, posters, word walls and even personal dictionaries. Our kids need to be speaking like mathematicians so that they can develop an understanding of mathematical language.

Why Is Vocabulary So Important?

Sometimes it is hard to see the “why” behind certain areas of learning. Vocabulary development is crucial for a number of reasons.

  1. The wider your child’s vocabulary, the more easily he/she will know what the questions/directions are asking.
  2. The wider your child’s vocabulary, the more clearly he/she will understand the teacher’s lesson.
  3. The more words your child uses, the more words he/she will understand when they encounter them in both written and oral language.
  4. The more words your child uses, the stronger their written (long response) language will be when explaining their mathematical process.

Here is what I propose:

Teachers In School

You need some kind of system for displaying math vocabulary. The most obvious method would be a math word wall. You might also want students to have a personal dictionary, where they are in charge of writing new words for each topic. As you teach each unit, you should be introducing new vocabulary. Some of the vocabulary may be previewed at the start of the unit, and some should be introduced on the day when you will be first using it to discuss math. Each time you introduce a word, you should discuss the word as a class. Write the word on an index card or sentence strip so that it can easily be added to the word wall. Within your word wall, you may choose to color code (for topics) or organize the words into categories that support learning. The most important things are:

  1. You have the words displayed in a physical location in the classroom so that students may refer back to them as a resource throughout the unit of study or even the year.
  2. You review the words with students before adding it to the word wall
  3. You include some kind of definition and/or visual model/example for the word so that kids have an anchor (a way to remind them of the meaning).

What do you do at the end of the unit? Good question! Surely you can’t have a math word wall for each unit…that would leave no space for any other charts or word walls in your classroom. I suggest have a section for “All Year” words and “Unit Words.” The “All Year” words stay up all year because they are necessary for all or most units (ex: multipication, sum, measurement, unit, etc.) The “Unit Words” are more specific and change with each unit (ex: Geometry: dimentional, sphere, rectangular prism, angle, etc.)

Incentivizing

One great way to have students use vocabulary words in math is to offer incentives. I am in full support of using non-materialistic incentives to encourage students to be speaking more mathematically. For example:

  • “If you use at least 2 word wall words your explanation you get an extra point on your test”
  • “If you are able to use the word ______________ in an explanation today, you can sit on the beanbag chair while you do your math today.”
  • “Every time we hear the word _________, lets clap our hands twice” (word of the day)
  • “I am going to choose __________ to help me grade the math tests because he used the word “parallelogram” in his response.”

Families At Home

Just because you are not a math teacher, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be encouraging the use of mathematical language at home. Think of the home as a learning environment as well. You can and should do things to support vocabulary use at home as well. Here are some ideas for how to incorporate math vocabulary into your home:

  • Find a designated space that can act as a word wall and post words in a place where your child can see them while doing homework.
  • Make math an arts-and-crafts event! Each week come up with 3 new words to create by painting, cutting out letters, using alphabet magnets, using alphabet cereal, etc.
  • Don’t have enough space to post the words on your walls? Help your child make a book ring! A book ring is a binder ring that you can add index cards to. Just punch a hole in each card at the same spot and you will have a book ring. The child can even keep it in his HW folder to bring back and forth from school to home.
  • Make a graph of the math words your family uses. This will encourage other members of your family to be speaking mathematically as well.

How Do You Know Which Words Are Important?

This is a big deal! We need to know which words are important before we introduce them. Firstly, recognize that most curricula include lists of vocabulary words at the start of each unit. This can be a great resource. Secondly, lets keep in mind that this is a logical problem with a logical solution. The words we need to teach are the ones students don’t know. Sit with your class or child and ask them to circle the words they’re not sure of. You can even do this with a list at the start of a unit and use the circled words as a guide. Finally, here are some resources that can help!

MathWords

Illustrated Math Dictionary

[amazon-product text=”Math Dictionary for Kids: The Essential Guide to Math Terms, Strategies, and Tables” type=”text”]159363644X[/amazon-product] [amazon-product text=”Oxford Poly Index Card Binder” type=”text”]B0018190H4[/amazon-product]

 

Here is what some of my vocabulary tools might look like.

I might keep a binder ring or index card binder, adding cards for each new vocabulary word. I would probably have a table of contents on the front to help stay organized!

I would keep up an "All Year" word wall in addition to a "Unit Words" word wall.

This is an example of a "Unit Word Wall" for Geometry.

 

Interested in learning more about how to support math and vocabulary at home? Read more here:

Create a Poster…or a few

Organic Strategies for Test Prep: Math Short Response

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MoMath Museum of Mathematics

Yes, it looks like MoMa but it’s not…it’s MoMath! MoMath is an interactive math museum that is set to open in late 2012. What an exciting venture for New Yorkers and all of the travelers who pass through! One of the most common questions during parent-teacher conferences is “what can I do at home to support math?” This is it! MoMath will be the ultimate math-y experience for children in NYC. It will be a friendly space that offers exhibits and activities, which encourage individuals to see the connections between math and the world. The online museum shop is already selling neat math-y books, gadgets and puzzles like the Frabjous and the Skrube2I for one can’t wait to check out this museum. Here is a list of reasons why MoMath is so rockin’…

  • MoMath has a travelling math exhibit called The Math Midway
  • MoMath partners with Make: Online to write a weekly math-y column called Math Monday
  • MoMath is having a contest to see who can design the most creative Tee-Shirt…If you win, you’re design could be on sale at the MoMath shop! Enter Here

This is an Awesome Partnership!

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Organic Strategies for Test Prep: Math Short Response

Preface: This post belongs to a series of posts that discuss organic strategies for test preparation. State testing is always a sticky issue and I want to steer clear of the “stickiness.” This series of posts does not aim to discuss the controversial issue of teaching to the test, but rather aims to inform both families and teachers of options for more organic ways to approach test-prep in the classroom and/or at home by finding ways to integrate testing strategies into strong teaching.

Special Note: While reading, please keep in mind that my teaching has been done in New York City so my background knowledge lies mostly with NYS tests. While some of the specifics may differ from your state, I believe that the strategies and ideas will be applicable regardless of location.

What Is So Complicated About Math? The thing that I love and hate most about math is that it is such a large content area with so many distinct topics. This can be a good thing because there are so many different topics that everyone can be great at something! It can also be detrimental because since there are so many topics, if a student struggles with one, they seem to generalize it as “being bad at math.” We need to support students in realizing their mathematical strengths and in understanding that math is comprised of so many of the things around us. It is our job to make math possible for our students.

What Are Some Common Challenges When Taking the Math Test? Math tests are often made up of two portions: the short response and the long response. Here are some common issues that come up for students while taking the test.

  1. Show What You Know! Many students think they must only show work for the long response but this is not true! The more work students show, the better chance they have of catching a mistake and answering a question accurately. Of course there are problems that “we just know,” but we need to be careful not to let students use that as an excuse to get out of showing work for those problems that require it.
  2. Struggling Readers A math test can be daunting for a struggling reader. Many of the directions are wordy and students can lose confidence and shut down if they feel that they cannot read the directions. Word problems are also a large component of the test so we need to be sure to prepare our students for this ahead of time.
  3. Math Vocabulary Mathematical vocabulary is a huge issue for students, even those who demonstrate strengths in math. Words can get in the way of process in math. If you don’t understand what the question is asking, you cannot begin to solve it. We need to incorporate math vocabulary into our teaching on a daily basis.
  4. Double Checking Being careful is not something that is innate for everyone. Therefore we need to teach students how to be careful in math! Often times, students are able to retrace their steps in a problem and find their error when they double check. Many students feel like this is a waste of time, but it is not. We cannot afford to make it optional! Students must be double checking their work during class, at home and on the test.
  5. Using the Time Pacing is an issue for many students during a math test. Some students move very quickly and then sit around twiddling their thumbs for the rest of the time. Others zone out and cannot stay focused (partially an issue of focus and stamina) and do not finish the test. We can support students throughout the year by making sure we discuss what an appropriate amount of time is for each activity we do at home and in school. Giving auditory time warnings can also help. For older students, teaching them to wear a watch (and use it) is another helpful strategy. My greatest concern is with the students who race through the test and do not double check. This can be avoided with discussions at home and in school.

How Can We Help In regards to the 5 areas of challenge above, there are many things we can do in the classroom and at home to support our children.

  • Demand that your child shows his/her work. To do this, we must offer some incentive for showing work clearly. For some, positive praise is enough. Others need a more tangible incentive, for example 5 extra points on your homework or a reward (I suggest something that is not materialistic like extra free time or eating lunch with a teacher.) Making the “show your work” rule a portion of the grade can really motivate students.
  • We know there is going to be reading on the test, so let’s prepare our children for it! Sometimes preparing a struggling reader means practicing reading math problems and directions, but other times it means reminding them that they CAN read it on their own if they slow down and read carefully! Confidence counts!
  • Whether you are a parent at home or a teacher at school, use a math word wall to teach and maintain vocabulary. The worst thing that can happen is that your child comes home and says “I knew what that word meant but I couldn’t remember.” Saying it once isn’t enough – the words need to be on visual display for long periods of time. Students can also be given incentives for using math vocabulary. You can make it engaging with a word of the week…anytime a student uses the word, the class gets 1 minute of free chat time.
  • Practice pacing at home and in school by openly discussing what an appropriate length of time is for each activity. It might be different for different children, but students should begin to be more independent with their pacing.

The following section, including the posters were created by a great friend and colleague, Jason Skeeter, who I deem to be a math expert. He has inspired many of my math posts thus far. Skeeter excels in offering visuals such as posters and charts, creating tactile and auditory tools for learning and in offering multiple opportunities to practice the same skill in different ways. Today’s post is a collaboration, and I want to thank Jason for all of his input at EdGeeks.com!

Building Independence

“My main push for all students has been around practicing skills that build independence:
– Work must be shown on all problems even if it is “easy”
– Work must be shown on all multiple choice problems
– Students must explain why an answer is correct or incorrect
– Students (who are high-level math thinkers) must write an explanation for why their answer is correct
These posters were created to help maximize independence and to strengthen work ethic. Feel free to click for download.”

How to be An Independent Worker Poster by Jason Skeeter

What Does Hard Work Look Like Poster by Jason Skeeter

Do you have other tips about preparing students to be successful on the math test and tying it into your teaching? Share your ideas on EdGeeks by posting a comment!

Check out the rest of the Organic Test Prep Strategies strand here:

Organic Strategies for Test Prep: Listening Comprehension

Organic Strategies for Test Prep: Reading Comprehension

Organic Strategies for Test-Prep

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Khan Academy: Helping individuals learn at their own pace

Khan Academy is a non-profit organization with the mission of “providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.” How do they do this? By providing an extensive library of videos which teach lessons in a variety of topics that apply to mathematics and science. Sal Khan, the founder of Khan academy has three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard.

I must say, Sal Khan has the rare ability to teach challenging topics by breaking them down into manageable pieces and using extensive modeling. His videos are short and simple to understand. The videos include both visual and audio representations of the material to build conceptual understanding. All of the videos at Khan Academy are free and once you have a login you can even track your progress. If you are a coach, parent or teacher, you have a login and can obtain information on the progress of your student(s). This can help you make informed decisions about next steps for learning.

Many of the topics that are focused on are appropriate for high school or college students, but there are also videos devoted to lower-level math such as basic operations or percentages. These videos can be used in a variety of ways to support education:

  • Administrators can encourage teachers to use Khan Academy in the classroom as a means of incorporating differentiation.
  • Teachers can use Khan Academy to differentiate learning in the classroom.
  • Teachers can assign Khan Academy videos for homework to reinforce or preview what is being taught in school.
  • Families can use these videos to reinforce lessons for struggling learners or to increase the level of learning for students who are not being challenged.
  • Students can use Khan Academy as a study guide or as a way to get extra practice in a skill or concept.
The library has pretty much every topic you could possibly think of related to math, science and finance. They are expanding to Art History and have the over-arching goal of covering as many topics as possible! My hope is that they expand to include a wider range of lessons for younger students, and possibly even branch out to literacy. Here is a screen shot from the library archives…and believe it or not, this is only one topic (algebra)!

Screenshot of Khan Academy Library

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If At First You Don’t Succeed…Try, Try Again. And Then Again!

The Power of Repeated Practice in Math 

Today I want to discuss the power of repeated practice for young mathematicians. We always say that to become a stronger reader, we need to practice reading. Somehow we often forget to apply this principle to math.

Many math curricula today have taken on the idea of the “spiral.” I actually love the idea of a spiraling curriculum in theory.  In essence it means that material is presented more than once and that mastery should not necessarily be expected the first time it is taught. If your child does not catch subtraction with regrouping the first time around, don’t worry…it will be back again at another point either this year or next. As in all curricula, there is a downside to the spiral. The material moves quickly and is not practiced again for a long period of time. For students who haven’t mastered the topic, it can feel new again by the next time it is re-approached. What can we do to solve this problem?

Firstly, it is important to know the strengths and areas for growth in your students or children. If you suspect that your child is struggling with retention in math it may be related to the topics moving too quickly. To solve this problem, I propose the idea of repeated practice! Support your children by giving them extended repeated practice in one area of mathematics before moving to the next.

Classroom Teachers (At School)

If you are a classroom teacher reading this, you might be thinking: “The material does move too fast but I don’t know how or when to fit repeated practice into my classroom!” I highly recommend using centers to differentiate instruction. Don’t reinvent the wheel, there aren’t enough hours in your day for that. Find an online resource with worksheets that you like and print some out at different levels. Split your class into groupings that make sense and set your students up to work independently. Perhaps you have 8 students working on multiplication facts, 8 students working on multiplication word problems and you are working with 8 students to re-teach them how to use manipulatives to create accurate representations of multiplication. Yes, this can be taxing and it takes time…but don’t our kids deserve it? And don’t you deserve to feel like you are making progress and that your students are walking away truly understanding a lesson? See if you can find time to try out centers in your classroom, even if it’s just once for 20 minutes.

Families (At Home) 

Classroom teachers have the unbelievably stressful task of fitting everything into one year, so if extensive repetition cannot happen in the classroom, make sure to offer it at home. Just as I advised the classroom teachers, I will advise families at home: Don’t reinvent the wheel! People have been doing this for years and there are a ton of resources out there that allow you to print out worksheets that will reinforce math topics.

Don’t know where to start? Here are a couple resources I find helpful. If you have further questions, feel free to post them and receive a prompt response!

  • SuperTeacher Worksheets a great resource for free printables with answer keys
  • SoftSchools has an option to generate your own worksheets and download the PDF
  • TLS Books is particularly useful for charts and graphs
  • EdHelper is a great resource (not only for math), but you need to pay to be a member

*Special Note

I am not an avid fan of worksheets because they often result in “busy work” in the classroom. In this case, I am recommending them as a supplemental resource rather than a replacement for curricular materials, manipulatives, etc. I am recommending them as a simple tool to reinforce what is already being taught by offering extensive repeated practice.

See samples from SuperTeacherWorksheets and TLS Books below

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Graph Paper for Organization in Math

Graph Paper

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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Math Games by Content Area

Pop To Win

Great parents and strong teachers have many things in common. One goal that many parents and teachers share is the desire to make learning fun for children. We want our children to take ownership over their education. We want them to want to learn. But making learning fun can be a daunting task.

Last year, I found a line of math board games by Lakeshore Learning that were broken up by content area and appropriate age/grade level. Many of the games have multiple versions meaning that you can teach students the same game with varied content. For example, “Who’s High, Who’s Low” has 4 versions: operations, money, fractions and place value. These games played a large role in my classroom. Firstly, they supported this idea of making learning fun for my students…even the ones who struggled in math. Secondly, my students loved these games so much that it gave me the opportunity to use them as a reward in the classroom. I thought it was such a fantastic reward…more learning!

Here is a list of the games that are available.

Multiple Versions:

(Ex: operations, money, time, fractions, place value, etc.)

Who’s High, Who’s Low?

8-in-1 Math Partner Games

Quick Pick Math Cards

Bingo

Pop to Win!

Money:

The Allowance Game

Shop ‘Til You Drop Money Game

ATM Action! Money Game

Making Cents Money Game

 Time:

Dino Time: 15-Minute Intervals Game

Atlantis Time Adventure: 5-Minute Intervals Game

The Lost Temple of Time: Elapsed Time Game

 

 

Fractions:

Treetop Treat Fractions GameFraction of the Pizza Game

 

Measurement:

How Long Is It? Measurement Game

Escape From Measurement Island! Game

Random but Fantastic!

The Math Star Word Problem Game

Division Collision

Multiply, Divide & Conquer Game

Place Value Mystery House Game

 

Here is what they look like:

 

Do you know of any other math games that can support learning both at home and in school? Share them by leaving a comment!

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