Math Message

May Edition

"Variety Is The Spice Of Life"

Most of us enjoy the novelty of new activities that can break the monotony of our routines. In the classroom, novelty and variety can provide sufficient fun and excitement that will keep students motivated and engaged in learning activities, especially this time of year. The challenge comes as teachers find ways to implement activities that provide novelty and variety without turning the learning environment into chaos! Novelty is also one of the ten design qualities from Phil Schlechty. What are some ways to bring novelty into your classroom?

One idea is to change up your math stations and add something new. Consider trying a "Blendspace" if you haven't tried it yet this year to organize your stations. Perhaps adding humor, by showing a funny video or having students create a meme, infographic, or tweet that captures their learning that day. What about adding some fun to a station such as hiding fact cards in a plastic egg or as "buried treasure" in sand for students to find and solve?

Another idea is to give your students an A-Z challenge. Mrs. Butts at BCES is counting down the last 26 days of school with a fun letter idea each day. Read about letter C here. Teachers at OCT are participating in a "teacher" A-Z challenge by: C=connect with a class outside of the campus; D=Dress alike day; F=Favorite food day; J=Join a twitter chat, etc.

As mathematicians, maybe you can create a challenge involving numbers?


Have you tried blogging? Teachers have found blogging first and then starting a class blog to be beneficial. Later, students individually begin blogging. Summer is the perfect time to start! Be on the lookout for our annual district Virtual Voyage challenge! Here is some basic information from last year. Follow @msbearce or @AmyPinTx on Twitter for the newest info.!

Here are some powerful blogs from teachers and coaches in GCISD!

Ashley Read

Erin Gerdes

Brittany Chapman

Bridget Visser

Sarah Cordell

Gypsy Mishoe

Irene Boynton

There are definitely more great blogs out there. Please send me your blog so you can be featured in a future edition of Math Message!

Mathematicians at Work

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Calling All Book Lovers...

Looking for that great beach read...well, OK, maybe some great fiction might work better for the beach, but our math department is kicking off our next book study and you don't want to miss this book! Please join us as we have our face to face kickoff on May 18! Click here to order your book by May 6 and register for the kickoff session. You will have the entire summer to read the book. Starting in the fall, we will connect in multiple ways such as Twitter, Google hangout, and Google classroom, to discuss our take-a-ways.

Math Summer Learning

Last year, Math Mania was a huge success! Teachers came together for a day of math professional learning and were able to choose sessions based on interest and need. It was great to see teachers teaching teachers! We again are offering Math Mania, but this year it has been expanded to K-12! We will host this wonderful learning opportunity on August 3 at Grapevine High School's Technology Education and Career Center (TECC). Click here to register in Eduphoria. You will choose your sessions on Aug. 3. Here is just a sample of the offerings: Using Video Lessons To Enhance Student Learning (K-12), Think Through Math Quick Start (Grades 3-Alg 1), Number talks (K-2 and 3-4 editions), Using Ipads To Facilitate A 21st Century Classroom, Math Workshop, Formative Assessment, Blogging In The Math Classroom and so much more! Mark your calendars and don't miss it!

Check out this link for other math opportunities and for all district summer PD.

Number Sense

The four relationships listed below are important for students as they develop number sense. These may seem trivial, even unimportant, but if children do not have these basic understandings around small numbers, it affects their flexibility and fluency later on.

  1. Spatial relationship-this is about giving children a visual to go along with a number instead of just the abstract numeral. Common visuals include dot patterns, ten frames, dice, and rekenreks. Including quick images in your Warm up, playing games with ten frame cards and dice, and exposing your students to many different visuals are great ways to build number sense in this area.
  2. The relationship of one/two more and less gives children a concrete way to see that 9 is one less than 10 because a ten frame is missing one, or when using a rekenrek students can visually see that 6 is one more than 5 because you add 1 red bead to the existing 5 white ones. Working with ten frames and rekenreks are great ways to build number sense in this area as well as playing games where students have to find one/two more or less. Check out this great website for resources for all 4 of these relationships!
  3. Benchmarks of 5 and 10-this helps children develop an understanding of how a number relates to 5 or 10, which are considered "friendly numbers". This will lay a foundation for the friendly number of 1 when students begin working with fractions and decimals. Number lines, ten frames, and rekenreks are all good tools to use to develop number sense in this area.
  4. Part-part-whole-this helps children see that a number can be broken down into parts as children begin to decompose whole numbers. For example, 6 can be broken down into 5 + 1 so when students encounter a higher number such as 9 + 6, they can see turn it into a friendly number of (9+1) + 5 to solve more efficiently. Number talks, number strings or "bonds", and two color counters are great tools for developing number sense in this area.

So, why are these relationships important? If we jump straight to having children memorize their facts and skip these important understandings, we end up with older students only relying on their fingers or rote memorization to solve problems. Your campus should have a copy of Van de Walle's Teaching Student Centered Mathematics that provides additional information on each of these relationships!

How To Help Your Students Avoid "Summer Slide"

2016 Summer Math Splash THINK Challenge
Think Through Math will offer a special summer incentive to teachers and parents that enroll their students in the summer challenge. This is perfect for students who will be taking their ipads home over the summer and for those who can access computers at home, their local library, or a community center.

Summer Time Boredom Busters

Our wonderful instructional technology coaches, along with representatives from each of the content areas, worked to create a fun summer calendar of activities for students to complete. It includes activities in math, science, and humanities. They all include technology and some great community events. Your liaison will be getting the links and information soon, so check with her before the end of the month to get this awesome resource in the hands of your students and parents!