The Mathematical

February 2020

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Teaching Precise Math Vocabulary

Here are just a few of the ways to encourage (and require) students to use precise math vocabulary in the classroom:

Decimal Points
If you were to ask my former students what I'm MOST picky about when it comes to math talk, this would probably be it. 1.24 is not one point two four or one point twenty-four. Well, technically, it is, but my students know they need "permission to use point," which is granted only in specific (and usually hurried) situations. 1.24 is one and twenty-four hundredths.

Reading Fractions
If I student reads 1/4 as one over four, I usually ask them to rephrase it to either one fourth or a quarter. If a student tells me the "top number" of a fraction is one, I ask them to rephrase it to, "the numerator" is one. Same goes if they tell me the "bottom number" of a fraction is four. They rephrase it to "the denominator" is four.

Regroup and Decompose
I know this one is controversial, but they aren't borrowing any numbers, they are regrouping the numbers. This definitely causes a bit of a generational divide, as I grew up with the term borrowing and carrying, as did most of our students' parents. However, if we are really focusing on using math vocabulary to help our students understand the math concepts, they will learn to understand what "regrouping" and "decomposing" mean just as we understood the function of "borrow" and "carry." The only difference is that as they get older, they will understand that these terms are literal (and they are great for mini-lessons on prefixes, too!)

Improper Fraction and Fraction Greater than One
I'm going to admit that I'm still not completely fluent with this change, but did you know that the more up-to-date and accurate term for an improper fraction is a "fraction greater than one?" It's literal, and it's a great teaching moment. Since "improper fraction" is still used regularly in textbooks and other resources, I teach both terms and use them interchangeably.

Reduced and Simplified Fractions
This one is very similar to the one above. I still use both terms interchangeably and make sure that my students understand that we really aren't reducing the fraction or making it smaller, but putting it into its simplest form.


This is another important one. There are three DIGITS in the number 453. It's so important that students understand the difference between the digits and the number, just like they understand that letters are different than words.

Information provided by Teaching With a Mountain View.

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Numberless Word Problems

In essence, numberless word problems are designed to provide scaffolding that allows students the opportunity to develop a better understanding of the underlying structure of word problems. This link includes a collection of resources to help you learn about numberless word problems and help you start using them in your classroom.

There are also pre-made, downloadable problem banks available to get you started. Each problem bank includes 10 problems. In the notes section on each slide are sample discussion questions because numberless word problems are only as effective as the conversation you and your students have as you reveal each slide one at a time.

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Online Math Resources

Looking for a one-stop place to access a multitude of online resources? Use this link to access three different "boards" of math resources. These include online math activities and manipulatives, teaching tools, number talk warm-ups, discourse prompts, rich math tasks, and 3 Act lessons.
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Manipulative Monday - March 2nd

Save the date! Hand 2 Mind will be hosting a Manipulative Monday on March 2nd. The event will be held at a local restaurant providing elementary and middle school teachers an opportunity to explore math manipulatives while enjoying some fellowship and appetizers.

Look for more information to be posted in our Google Classroom.

Curriculum Associates Ready Mathematics Manipulative Kits

These manipulative kits are specifically designed to go along with the Ready Classroom Mathematics curriculum. Each grade level kit contains the specific manipulatives that are designed for all of the lessons. The kits can be purchased in whole or just by the specific manipulative needed.

Link to the website for more information. Remember that Coweta County gets a 15% discount on purchased items and has free shipping/handling.

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3 Ways to Reply When Students Say, "I don't get it. What are we supposed to do?"

Learn more about real-world problems to help teach and develop conceptual understanding with your students.
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The Challenge of Fractions

Students continually struggle with the concept of fractions. This includes the basic understanding of fractions, concrete representations and models, and basic operations involving fractions. Students often lack number sense and tend to use whole number properties to interpret fractions. To help with this, students should be taught the conceptual meaning of fractions. I've put together a small website that houses three modules that include activities, downloadable graphics, and short assessments along with a resource page. You are welcome to use this with your students to introduce fractions or use with students who continue to struggle with them. Link to website.
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Upcoming Professional Learning

High School Collaborative PL Session

Feb 4, 2020 - Werz - SD2, 4:00 - 5:00

All high school math teachers are welcome to join this collaboration session. We will be discussing math strategies and other information. Please bring a charged chromebook to the session. Meeting will start promptly at 4:00.

M Squared PL Session

Feb 6, 2020 - Werz - SD2, 3:00 - 4:00 (K-5) and 4:00 - 5:00 (6-12)

This is for 1st year or new to Coweta County math teachers. We will be discussing pacing guides, Milestones, and other information. Please bring a charged chromebook to the session.

K-2 Collaborative PL Session

Feb 11, 2020 - Werz - SD2, 3:15 - 4:15

All K-2 math teachers are welcome to join this collaboration session. Please bring a charged chromebook to the session. Meeting will start promptly at 3:15.

3-5 Collaborative PL Session

Feb 13, 2020 - Werz - SD2, 3:15 - 4:15

All 3-5 math teachers are welcome to join this collaboration session. Please bring a charged chromebook to the session. Meeting will start promptly at 3:15.

Middle School Collaborative PL Session

Feb 26, 2020 - Werz - PLC, 4:00 - 5:00

All 6-8 math teachers are welcome to join this collaboration session. Please bring a charged chromebook to the session. Meeting will start promptly at 4:00.

Upcoming Webinars

Problem-Solving: Developing Disposition, Competence, and Confidence

Feb 6, 2020 - Webinar, 5:00

Both task selection and lesson facilitation promote a positive disposition in all students toward mathematics, competence in doing mathematics, and feelings of confidence in their ability to do mathematics. In this webinar, participants experience firsthand an example of a task that is rigorous yet accessible to all students.

Register here. Cost: free

Empowered Problem Solving

Feb 10 - Mar 21, 2020 - Webinar

We'll begin by exploring why problem-solving is so important. Then we'll discuss how it would work in your classroom. From there we'll focus more on implementation including how to prepare to teach a lesson and what to do if it doesn't go as planned. We'll then address how to use problem-solving to build students' procedural skills and conceptual understanding. Finally, we'll wrap up the workshop by talking about how to merge these ideas with what you're already doing. See flyer for more information.

Register here. Registration opens Jan 24, 2020. Cost: $297

Making Sense of Math: Reasoning and Discourse

Feb 13, 2020 - Webinar, 5:00

Mathematically proficient students make sense of problems, reason abstractly and quantitatively, and are able to explain and justify mathematical ideas and arguments with precise mathematical language. During this webinar, participants will focus on strategies to engage students in mathematical reasoning and discussions to communicate their reasoning.

Register here. Cost: free

Strategies for Supporting Fraction Sense

Feb 20, 2020 - Webinar, 5:00

In this webinar, you’ll build an understanding of fractions as numbers and connections between whole number knowledge and fraction knowledge.

Register here. Cost: free

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Request a Visit

As you continue to reach towards achieving your goals, please utilize me as a resource. I would love to spend time with teachers and admin during your planning or instructional periods. If interested in a meeting, a class visit, or modeling, please complete this form to request a time. You can also send me an email anytime!
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Comments, Questions, or Concerns?

Please contact Michelle Clarke, Math Content Specialist, with any comments, questions or concerns.