This morning after discussing the 50th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream Speech," I conducted our first Number Talk. Over the summer I took an online class from Stanford University that was titled "How to Teach Math." The instructor Jo Boaler did a fantastic job of explaining that math should be a creative and flexible subject. There were numerous discussions about growth mindset and how important mistakes are in the learning process, especially in mathematics. A core idea presented in this class was this grassroots curriculum created by Ruth Parker and Kathy Richardson involving discussions about how we go about solving problems.
This morning I displayed the above pattern, minus the stained glass border, on the board and asked the children to tell me how many objects they saw without counting one by one. These are the number models that the kids reported on. I record their number models next to a pictorial representation of their thinking.
3 x (5 + 5)
(3 + 2) + (3 + 2)
5 + 5
(3 + 3) + 4
(3 + 3) + (2 + 2)
2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2
4 + 3 + 2 + 1
3 + 3 + 3 + 1
The point of these discussions is to illustrate the many ways a problem can be viewed and solved. These math talks are impactful. You can literally hear the oohs and aahs when an unseen method is revealed and explained. My favorite solution was the top one in the list. One child saw each point of the star as an object, so his answer was 30. You really couldn't script that better. This is the kind of creative thinking that needs to be celebrated and shared. We need these student's to be looking at problems through many lenses. I think these math talks are going to be very successful.
After specials we started building our websites and blogs. This is done through weebly which also has an app that the student's have installed on their iPads. They are able to blog on their iPads and then push the entry to their website. Super cool. This afternoon we are going to set up our Evernote accounts. I plan to use Evernote to create interactive notebooks for math and science and reading journals that follow the Book Whisperer format.
It was a very full day. We are getting close to having all of our digital tools set up.
One student today said, "Mr. Lofgren I want school to be like this everyday."
To which I replied, "Ok."