Take Aways from Sam's Visit

February 9, 2016

Models--The Visual Representations

Sam reminded us to go to the visual diagrams, bar models, open bar models, number lines, etc. to illustrate thinking and prove strategies.

"Students should be able to articulate their models."

Our focus should be on their "process" rather than "product."

We heard Teacher Sam tell several students he wanted to see their models when they told him they had the answer.

If they are struggling at the symbolic stage, revisit the iconic.

"At the onset of learning, students should be able to see a visual." S.Strother

The Word Bank

Sam suggests using a word bank to encourage students to use correct terminology. Imagine how much easier this is for our students, especially second language learners if they are hearing the same basic math vocabulary from Kindergarten on!

Vocabulary words can be found in each of your Unit Overviews for your grade levels.

More Photos from our Sessions with Sam

An "Attention-Getter"

Sam used a simple counting backwards pattern to get students' attention and focus back together after he had given them a task......

1- Eyes on me when I get to zero

2-Stop talking

3- Show me with fingers, not mouths what I was counting by


(He counted by 2's, 5's, 10's, 20's, 100's, 1000's)

He asked them to tell what his number was and acknowledged all students for trying.

Sentence Frames

"I know 9 + 1 = 10"

"I also know 10 + 2 = 12"

"So that means 9 + 3 = 12"

Simple and Explicit Instructions

"Turn and Tell your partner what happened to that 3."

"Check your neighbor's work and make sure they have it just like I do on the board."

"Draw your model."

"Use the sentence frame to explain your understanding."

"I'll give you 14 seconds to do that."

"Count only when I touch the box."

A Quick Check for Understanding

Thumbs up if you think you could do it again .

Thumbs flat if you would give it a try, knowing you might not get it right.

Thumbs down if you're not sure, it's too hard, and you think you can't do it.

Wrapping It Up!

At the end of a lesson students were asked to share with a partner.......


"One thing I think I did a good job on today was........"

Lots to Think About........

We had some great sessions with Sam, everything from drawing around cubes to create units in Kindergarten, to deciphering decimals in 5th, and lots of note-taking!


I've highlighted just a few of the take aways here. I know you received some great grade/content specific information. Be sure to review and discuss with your grade level partner as you plan.


We also video taped as much as we could. All clips can be found on the Q-Drive under "School Pictures" then "Videos" folder, "Sam's visit 2-9-16." You may find that some computers will not play the videos, our MacBooks will.


Thanks everyone for a great day!