Saturday, November 22, 2014

Number stories

Earlier this week we spent some time learning about addition and subtraction word problems. Students have been learning about subtraction language (flew away, broke, got eaten, etc). I really do love the way our new math program introduces subtraction to students. The seem to have a better grasp of it and it doesn't seem to send them away screaming like it did in the past. Well maybe not screaming, but crying definitely showed its ugly head on occasion.

Student creating visual representation of the
pirate problem above
One thing that I have found helps students internalize subtraction language is having concrete examples. We started earlier in the week with these types of examples and then began to work into visual representations. Students were given a word problem and together with a partner had to determine how they were going to solve the problem. Was the language telling them to use addition strategies or subtraction strategies. Once students decided on how they wanted to tackle the problem they worked together to visually represent the problem using Doodlecast Pro. I chose this app as I wanted them to have audio capability to record their thinking once we were done. Thinking about the SAMR model, the beginning of this lesson was just substitution, but the engagement factor of using the iPads definitely helped to keep the learning at the forefront.

As we continued on, students were then asked to record the math sentence that matched their thinking. As they finished, they used the record function of Doodlecast Pro to explain their thinking. This is a fantastic way to delve into the thinking of your students, especially your out-of-the-box thinkers, as it gives you new perspective into the thought processes they are using. I encourage you to give this a try. It has definitely opened new doors for me into how my students are tackling problem, something that I am not always able to discern in a whole group conversation. In the case above, I thought students would make the 9 muffins and then cross of 3 to find out how many muffins were blueberry but instead they used the addition strategy of counting on which they explained in their audio.

In addition to sharing their doodlecasts with me, we also used Air Server to project some of our projects and to share our thinking with the class. For students who are shy this has been a phenomenal way for them to share as they are often comfortable enough to create their audio with a buddy but are uncomfortable in front of the whole group. When we Air Serve they are able to play back their Doodlecast without the pressure of having to be on the spot in front of the group.

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