Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Math News!

Math Update!

Parents,
This week, we have spent the last two days in meetings with our math consultant, Cassy Turner.  She met with grade level teams to talk about our successes with our new program, Math In Focus - and to help us look ahead as we plan our continued implementation.  It was good to hear her affirm how we're teaching math in our classrooms, and how engaged our students are with new vocabulary and problem-solving strategies. 

Please read the notes compiled by Peg Bailey at the "Parent Boot Camp" last night here at Breck. 


Singapore Math In Focus
Boot Camp for Parents
February 2017

Presenter:     Cassy Turner, consultant and trainer
                        Cassy@MathChampions.com

Big Ideas in Singapore Math:
Number Sense:  our goal for students is to develop a deep understanding of number
Making Connections:  we want students to see connections between mathematical ideas
Visualization:  mental models help students see the math
Metacognition:  we want to give students opportunities to “think about my thinking . . . .”
Communication:  How do I communicate and share my understanding?

For our youngest learners, they learn to tell a number story about a picture.  They learn to apply the concept of number bonds.  Students use manipulatives to understand math.  Math In Focus moves from concrete to pictorial to abstract. 

Strategies our students learn:
·      Make a ten
·      Using a tens frame
·      Make the next ten 
Where we start . . . 67 + 5  leads to a vertical algorithm  67
                                                                                               +5

Language of Math In Focus - parents will likely hear:
·      Decomposing – breaking numbers apart to make an easier equation
·      Subitizing - You can see a quantity and know the number without counting.
·      Regrouping/Renaming – trading ones for a ten, tens for a hundred, etc.


Bar Modeling – an essential strategy (visual representation) in Singapore Math In Focus
·      Drawing a picture to represent a problem increases understanding
·      Bar models support students in 3/4th grades to understand fractions
·      Bar models introduce students to the structure of algebraic thinking

·      Part-whole models (adding or subtracting parts to make a whole) – students are introduced to this in the early grades
Examples of problems:  Helen has 14 breadsticks. Her friend has 17.  How may do they have altogether?  - Or - There are 21 fish in a bowl. Fifteen are from students. The rest are from the school.  How many are from the school?

·      Comparison models  (How many more or fewer is one quantity compared to another?) Example of a problem: Grant buys 345 fruit bars. Ken buys 230 more fruit bars than Grant.  How many fruit bars does Ken buy?


Parents worked on creating a bar model for this problem:

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:pegbailey:Desktop:IMG_1114.JPGA farmer has in his pasture 63 farm animals consisting of cows, goats, and sheep.  There are twice as many goats as cows, and twice as many sheep as goats; how many has he of each sort? 
The bar models show we know the relationship
between goats and cows is 2:1.  This can be represented as 1 bar for cows and 2 bars for goats.  We know the relationship between sheep and goats is 2:1.  Therefore, there are 4 bars for sheep.  We know the total is 63 animals and we have 7 bars.  Therefore, 63 divided by 7 = 9.  If each bar represents 9, then we have 9 cows, 18 goats, and 36 sheep, which is 63 in all.)
           
This year, we are teaching computation to mastery – a foundation needed for the next grade’s work.  This year, some of the concepts are being picked up in science (such as measurement).  By the end of next year, students should be ‘caught up’ with the program, since this year we ‘backfilled’ some concepts and vocabulary since the program is new to all.

By the end of 1st grade, we want students to know their addition/subtraction facts by memory.
By the end of 3rd grade, we want students to know their multiplication facts by memory.
Parents are encouraged to play games and practice basic math facts.

We may want our children to get the right answer, but we also want them to know why it is the right answer.
Mathematical problem solving is central to mathematics learning. It involves the acquisition and application of mathematics concepts and skills in a wide range of situations, including non-routine, open-ended and real-world problems.

Resources:
Thinkingblocks.com – website and iPad
Thesingaporemaths.com
Xyla and Yabu iPad app

Monday, December 12, 2016

December Updates!

As we move toward our winter break, here are some updates on our work the past month.

We completed our study of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  We used Kidblog to manage our study.  I recorded each chapter of the book and included it in each of the 14 blog posts. The students then listened to the chapter while following along.  They were often asked a question or two that required a comment on the blog post.  While they were reading, I expected them to mark in their books when they came across an interesting vocabulary word or could make a connection with the text.
Finally, they completed an extensive Study Guide that broke down each chapter.  Your students can show you the blog posts and their Study Guides after break.

We also completed a thorough study of the West Region.  This fit perfectly with our Lewis and Clark study.  After completing the Study Guide, the students wrote essays about this amazing region.  We are teaching a three paragraph format with topic sentences for each.  I require two of the three paragraphs to cover the geography and history of the region.  We also had a states and capitals test for this region.

Our class loves to read! Thank you so much for your commitment to our Book Bingo program.  Two of our students are working on their third Book Bingo Chart!

In math, we have just completed our fourth chapter in our new Math in Focus series.  To review, the four topics covered so far have been:
1. Place Value
2. Estimation and Number Sense
3. Multi-digit multiplication and Division
4. Data Tables and Graphs
After break, we will begin an extensive Fractions unit.

As you read the comment cards, please note the following comment from Mrs. Bailey about the math markers:

Dear Parents:
At the end of this week, your child's first-semester progress report will arrive in your homes.  It's always a great time to reflect on all that our students have accomplished . . . both as learners, friends, and classroom citizens.  You may notice that there are several markers in the Mathematics section of the report that are marked as "not introduced".  As you know, we've shifted our curriculum to Math In Focus (MIF), which has a different emphasis in content and sequence.  We will be revising the math section of our progress report for next year, giving us this year to implement MIF and identify our priority learning objectives in the curriculum.  Please refer to the narrative comments to gauge your child's progress in math this year.

We have completed 10 Spelling Lessons and the students are doing very well on the tests.
In writing, we continue to craft weekly letters as part of the V.I.P. project.  The students are also working on writing personal stories based on our work with the Lucy Calkins writing program.
We took our first WordMasters test last week and our scores were across the board   Although I believe the students knew the meanings of the words backward and forward, the challenge of using those words in analogies is a very difficult task.  We are committed to working harder in class to practice analogies and really examining those "bridging" relationships.  The students have received the second list of words and the test will be at the end of February.

Have a wonderful winter break!




Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fourth Grade Math Update

Fourth Grade Math Update        abt_us_5.jpg        


In earlier grades, students learned the multiplication tables up to
10 × 10, and the related and division facts. Now, in Chapter 3, they will advance to multiplying and dividing multi-digit numbers. Hence, it is a good idea to revisit multiplication and division facts so that students recall them easily. Place-value concepts are used in multiplication and division. When students multiply or divide numbers with or without regrouping, a place-value chart is used to facilitate understanding in the beginning. Students should be able to multiply and divide using the vertical form by the end of the lesson.


Having mastered the skills in multiplication and division, students will apply what they have learned to solve real-world problems. They are also required to apply addition and subtraction strategies. Again, estimation (which students learned in Chapter 2) may be used to check that the answers are reasonable.
*From  the Math in Focus Teacher’s Guide









Friday, October 7, 2016

October News

Here are some important dates to remember:


*Math Night is Tuesday, October 18 at 6:30pm in the Chapel. For parents who
are unable to attend, the presentation will be videotaped and posted on the parent
page of our website.

*Picture retakes are Monday, October 17.

*Stand up Against Bullying on Wednesday, October 19!  It is “Wear Orange”
casual day for all.

*No school on October 20-21  (Faculty Workshop)

*Halloween is Monday, October 31!  We will have our annual parade of costumes
beginning at 8:40am.  Parents are invited to the Anderson Gym for the festivities.
Costumes should be school-appropriate (no weapons, scary objects, or face paint)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

                            Citizenship 

Have you heard?  Our C.A.R.E. focus for the year is Citizenship!  Each month we will discuss one of the important aspects of Citizenship.  To celebrate this, we are providing Citizenship shirts for all students and faculty.  These are to be worn for each Community Meeting.

Tuesday, Oct. 11th. is the first day to wear our shirts!!  Our Community Meeting will be the first thing that morning.  


Saturday, September 24, 2016



We are immersed in our first STEAM project!  Our first three sessions have the following challenge:

Each team is to design, create, and test a model of a wind turbine.
The challenge:  Which model can generate enough power to lift a cup of weights? 


Choosing from a variety of materials, groups began to create their models.  Our first session began with a safety demonstration and a description of the challenge. 

 The photos below show some early designs and a few tests of our wind turbines.  
 Stay tuned for our final tests.







Homecoming!



We were filled with Mustang Pride!!