I spent the day in math training... and I liked it! (Those of you who know me are laughing, right?) I have this overwhelming love of literacy. But, this year, I set a personal goal to improve my teaching in the area of math. Thanks to three of my colleagues, who are the fabulous facilitators for our math group, we had the kind of day where you leave wondering, "Why can't all of our professional development days be like this?". Another colleague in my building was brave enough to allow our whole group (15 teachers) to observe a math lesson in her room. It was such a powerful experience! I had a tremendous amount of respect for this teacher before today's observation, but I left feeling amazed, inspired and grateful for the chance to see her in action.
Our math group focuses on inquiry based teaching methods. We are trying to plan lessons and use teaching strategies that help students improve their problem solving skills and develop their mathematical thinking skills. During the lessons I've been working on, my role is to challenge the students with a problem and then use inquiry based questions that encourage the children to explore, explain and discuss their thinking.
My most recent lesson was based on the book The Midnight Farm. The story is about all the animals a boy and his mother see on a farm. I challenged my students to figure out how many animals the boy and his mother saw all together in the story. My students used the data collection sheet that I made (with their clipboards) to record the numbers for each animal as I read the story.
I asked my students to represent their thinking with a picture and to "prove it" with numbers. I also asked them to write down the mathematical strategies they used to solve the problem. You can click on the pictures below to download the forms I used. The data collection sheet is specific to this book, but the other two pages are generic enough to use for any problem.
That's it... my first math post! Happy Wednesday!