Math Empowers 2

Middletown Township Public Schools

SECOND GRADE - 2nd QUARTER 2016-2017

The 100th Day of School: February 16, 2017

Pending any snow days, of course. Here's an activity idea. It's an oldie, but a goodie.


  • Starting at 100, encourage students to find different ways to make/build 100 using base ten blocks, coins or ten frames.
  • Extend the task by having the students draw representational models of their findings

REMEMBER: The POWER of NUMBER TALKS

Remember, our daily math lessons do not always have to start with a VIDEO. Why not start with a Number Talk. Number Talks (or Math Talks) are one of the BEST ways to teach number sense and they are equally engaging to students. After all, the key to understanding math is to make sense of it. Simply "ask students to work out a problem mentally in their minds without written work. Students indicate they have an answer by putting up their thumb close to their chest. (Raising a hand held high can be intimidating for others.) Next, students share their strategies while teachers draw visual representations of these solutions.


The video below showcases Jo Boaler, a British education author, and Professor of Mathematics Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She explains, "Having kids solve problems in different ways teaches them a very, very important building block in number sense and mathematics. It teaches them the ability and willingness to break numbers apart or decompose the numbers and regroup them. This is an important foundational base from which all other mathematics builds." Furthermore, "Number Talks are the only quick pedagogical practice that teaches number fluency or automaticity at the same time as conceptual understanding of number."


Consider watching the video below. See Number Talks in action and GET INSPIRED to implement this Best Practice in your classroom.

From Stanford Online's "How To Learn Math for Teachers and Parents": Number Talks

CRA = Concrete...Representational...Abstract

Big image
Take a look at the image above. Identify which are letters and which are numerals? Now think of an apple. "Can a person truly understand an apple at a deep conceptual level without holding and tasting one?" Most people answer "NO" to both of these questions.


These are two powerful images that educators must keep in mind when teaching students key concepts, especially regrouping. Donna Boucher, author of Math Coach's Corner, writes about the importance of following the concrete, representational, abstract (CRA) sequence for math instruction. Please know, CRA is for all grades levels and should overlap. "It’s not all concrete, then all representational, and finally all abstract. [Teachers] ... have to connect the abstract to the concrete or representational or the symbols remain abstract." Furthermore, moving too quickly toward the traditional algorithm is a major cause of why students lack understanding with regrouping.


Bottom line, "Students must experience and interact with a concept to develop a true understanding." Donna challenges teachers to reflect on their current teaching practices and to asks themselves, "Are the students getting enough concrete and pictorial experiences with base ten blocks or ten frames? How well do teachers understand the standards, and how to incorporate CRA into their mathematics instruction. These are two of the most important ways [one] ... can improve student understanding and achievement."


Click to learn more about CRA. Also consider checking out this follow-up post which includes a video (embeded below) showing how to connect concrete learning with the abstract algorithm for subtraction with regrouping.

Subtraction with Regrouping

Got Rekenreks?!?!?

"Numbers are abstract, which is why many students have difficulty making sense of them. Incorporating a Rekenrek allows students to discover number and number relationships in a way that makes sense." ~Graham Fletcher

Watching this eye opening video and learning why using this popular DreamBox tool is such vital asset for teachers and students is strongly encouraged.

Got Rekenreks?!?!?

Thank You for Reading!

If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas to share, please feel free to contact me or your building Math Specialist. "We're all in this together!" :)


Valerie DeMatteo

Elementary Mathematics Specialist

Harmony Elementary School

Math Empowers - Grade 2 Representative