Math Empowers 2

Middletown Township Public Schools

SECOND GRADE - 4th QUARTER 2016-2017

Building Conceptual Understanding in Mathematics

SUMMER READING Recommendation:

In Number Sense Routines: Building Numerical Literacy Every Day in Grades K-3, author Jessica F. Shumway shares a series of routines that she designed to help young students internalize and deepen their facility with numbers. Her book includes dozens of classroom examples that illustrate how the routines work, how children's number sense develops, and how to implement responsive routines. Conversations among students engaging in number sense routines are also included. Just as athletes stretch their muscles before every game, mathematical thinkers and problem solvers also benefit from warm-up exercises. Time will be well spent using these quick five-, ten-, or fifteen-minute experiences at the beginning of math class and both students and teachers are sure to benefit.

Got Rekenreks?!?!? School Specialty Does!

Are Rekenreks included in your School Specialty/Math order for next year? If not, ordering is strongly encouraged. According to Graham Fletcher, "Incorporating a Rekenrek allows students to discover number and number relationships in a way that makes sense." Furthermore, Rekenreks are a popular DreamBox tool. Having the actual device, readily available, to demonstrate the virtual version of this manipulative on DreamBox will prove to be a true asset.

The GO Math! Lesson Resource Sheets have been UPDATED

Have you visited the GO Math! Lesson Resource Sheets lately? They have a NEW look and several NEW components such as a column for Number Sense Development, Printable Center Activities, tabs for Interventions, Teacher Videos and more. The vast resources collected here will provide support as you deliver instruction through the Ideal Math Lesson. As always, please feel free to share great ideas, videos or activities that you discover along the way either with or your building Math Specialists.

The Importance of Formative Assessment

"Formative assessment is designed to make students’ thinking visible. Teachers can gather information from observing and listening to students explain their reasoning and then make informed instructional decisions that go beyond students’ initial responses to explore their underlying reasoning."

The article, The Importance of Formative Assessment , outlines why formative assessment is such an important part of classroom instruction, what it looks like in the classroom and what the teacher's and students' roles are during formative assessment. Click the link to learn more.


A number string is a set of related math problems designed to foster student thinking and strategy building. Problems are presented, one at a time, and students mentally solve and share their strategies with the class. The teacher records, draws models, and facilitates conversation about such. They can be used daily or weekly and be used whole class or even small-group. Click here to see some number strings and even post your own.

What is The difference Between Number Strings and Number Talks?

Number Strings & Number Talks are both extremely powerful routines that draw on the same critical teacher practices: facilitating discussion and representing student strategies. However, as indicated in the image below, they are different, particularly in the sequence of problems and the use of models. Click here to learn more.

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Questioning Techniques to Assess Student Understanding

Research has shown that questions requiring students to think meaningfully are not asked enough; most questions asked of students simply require the recall of facts. It is important for teachers to refine questioning techniques to properly develop students' reasoning ability. This is critical under the Standards for Mathematical Practice. Stating the "correct" answer is not enough any more; the explanation to how that answer was obtained is key. So, how can teachers shift the way they question to elicit such types of answers? Try asking questions that encourage a range of responses, such as what do you notice? Give students time to think before calling for a response, which should allow their thinking to develop further. Encourage students to ask each other questions and respond to one another. Ask students to speculate by proving "What if... ?" questions. Most important, try to avoid judging students’ responses. "Ask open questions that permit a greater variety of responses and reply to students with comments that do not close off alternative ideas. For example, “Thank you for that, that is really interesting. What other ideas do people have?” To learn more ideas on questioning techniques that encourage meaningful thinking, click here.

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