## Monday, May 11, 2009

### Anatomy of a Math Class

As you all know by now, we do lots of different activities in math class. Math is NOT just working in our math books, and it certainly isn't everyone doing the same pages at the same time. Math is definitely an area where S-K children shine - we take care to properly assess children to find out where they are, group children with similar skill sets, and allow students to travel at their own pace.

This is one example of a day in the life of my math group:

We started today's math lesson with something to think and talk about. Recently, we've spent several weeks on developing understanding of fractions. Today's lesson was a bit of a review - how to make improper fractions into mixed numbers. It is important that students can articulate how to do a math operation in a simple and clear way - it helps them clarify what they've learned, and it may be an "ah ha" moment for someone else!

We partnered up and talked about the problem. How DO we explain to someone how to convert fractions?

Then partners used manipulatives to work out a set of problems in game form. If children think a game is fun, it is easy to "sneak" in learning. This particular activity had students use 2 colors of UNO cards. They flipped two cards (a yellow and a green, say) with the yellow being the numerator and the green being the denominator. If the fraction formed was proper, they simply said "proper fraction". If the fraction was improper, they needed to convert it to a mixed number. A total of 10 problems were solved this way. Here, Beatrix and Lukas are working out a problem using little chalkboards.

After all of the cards were flipped and fractions converted, we followed up with some silly fraction stories. I'm using a wonderful resource called Funny and Fabulous Fraction Stories. This particular exercise had the children add fractions with like denominators, and then convert all improper fractions in to mixed numbers (if necessary). It was a good way to reinforce the concepts we had discussed and played with.

The last 15 - 20 minutes were spent working out of our Singapore texts. The teachers are constantly circulating, offering help and assistance when needed.

There you have it - a peek into my math class. Hope you enjoyed the look!