Math Empowers 5

Middletown Township Public Schools

Fifth Grade • 2nd Quarter • 2016-2017

The Importance of Visual Mathematics

With fractions taking the spotlight in the 5th grade curriculum as of late, it is important to know that there is a myth in education that visual mathematics is for lower level work or struggling and younger students. Studies have shown that when students learn through visual methods, they gain a deeper understanding of the mathematics. Visual methods of teaching mathematics allow the students to see, understand, and extend their mathematical ideas. As mathematics gets more difficult and complex, grade by grade, it seems that there is less time to incorporate these visual models into lessons. However, it is important to make time to show these methods and encourage the use of visual models. With this idea in mind, you can see why GO Math! ©2015 introduces adding and subtracting fractions with fractions strips first.

Jo Boaler, and her team at Stanford University, have made some parent and teacher recommendations for incorporating visuals into math. Celebrate students' visual approaches and replace the idea that strong learners memorize and calculate well. Show students that great math performance is not linked to how fast it can be done, as speed is not always necessary for higher level math. Strong mathematics learners think deeply and make connections, which may not always be done fast. Encourage the use of finger-counting; strong mathematics learners have well developed finger representations in their brains that are very useful throughout adulthood. Lastly, there is no math concept that cannot be illustrated or thought about visually. For ideas about how to teach certain topics visually, please see this document.

100th Day of School - February 16th!

What does your class do to celebrate? :)

Looking for some Tier I Intervention Ideas? Try DreamBox AssignFocus!

Reminder: DreamBox Learning added a new feature this school year, called AssignFocus. This feature allows teachers to create focused assignments for their entire class, a group of students, or even one student. This feature engages students strategically with differentiated lesson(s) the next time they log in. These assignments take into account each student’s prior knowledge, demonstrated proficiency and readiness for learning. AssignFocus can be used for many different reasons, one of them being for Intervention purposes. DreamBox data will provide a guide to picking the student's intervention goal and provide a way to work toward meeting this goal.


To use DreamBox for Tier I intervention purposes, log in to your DreamBox account. Click on your class. Choose the student from the left-hand margin you want to analyze. In the middle of the page, the "Standards" title will show you what standards and clusters your student is proficient in. You can use this page for assistance in choosing an intervention goal. To give the student an assignment, click on the "AssignFocus" title in the middle of the page. In the upper right hand corner, click "Add Assignment." Here is where you can choose the grade level, domain, and standard or cluster to assign. Each assignment shows where the student will start in this standard or cluster; either "just started," "in-progress," or "review." DreamBox also provides a preview for each type of lesson on this page; use this to demonstrate how to complete the assignment. You can give up to 2 assignments at any one time, both of which will be due within 7 days of assigning.

For more information on AssignFocus, watch this short video, or contact me or your building Math Specialist.

Thank you for reading! :)

Have any questions, comments, or creative ideas to share with your fellow 5th grade teachers? Please email me or your building Math Specialist. “Alone we are strong...together we are stronger.”



Ashley Connors

Elementary Mathematics Specialist

Navesink Elementary School

Math Empowers - Fifth Grade Representative

connorsa@middletownk12.org

@MsConnorsMTPS