Report card season! Now, as a math coordinator, I don’t write report cards myself, so how do I know it is report card season? Because this is the time of year, when parents start to panic about their child’s performance and race to school to find out: what can I do at home to support … Continue reading Tis the season!
Much of primary math is about establishing benchmarks of 5 and 10, but have you ever stopped to wonder why those are good numbers to use? Here are a few reasons: Benchmarks of 5: We have 5 fingers (if we count the thumb!) on each hand, so a hand-y (ha!) benchmark to start with is … Continue reading Establishing Benchmarks of 5 and 10 through estimation
Probability is quite possibly one of the most important strands in mathematics and yet it is quite often left out of the yearly math plan at school. If it is covered, it is that one unit that gets crammed in before the holiday break! Even I admit, in years past, to grabbing that bag of … Continue reading Probability in primary
Why is place value so hard? Place value is the understanding that the place of the digit determines its value. So a 2 in the ones place is far different from a 2 in the tens place. It is one of the most important concepts to understand in math because it is the root … Continue reading Place Value Cards for Primary
When the BC ministry re-wrote their math curriculum, everyone (well maybe only like 90%!) complained and thought what’s the big idea?! But that’s just the point...it is all about big ideas! Mathematics has often been thought of as a skill-based subject (i.e. the old curriculum); it’s not. Mathematics is a set of connected, big ideas … Continue reading Hey! What’s the BIG idea?!
With summer almost upon us, I often have parents ask: how can they keep their kids practicing math facts over the summer without having a full out rebellion on their hands?! Well, KenKen is the answer! It is a brilliant math puzzle that helps build fluency in addition and subtraction facts, as well as multiplication … Continue reading Kindies doing KenKen!
My Talk on Talking Points My new favourite technique for getting students to communicate mathematically, in a way that requires them to reason and justify their thinking, is Talking Points! Over the years, I have used different methods as a way to elicit student thinking; however, I love the way talking points encourage each child … Continue reading Three Cheers for Talking Points!
Not a box! One of my favourite books is “Not a box” by Antoinette Portis. I love it because it reminds me of my own children who refuse to let us throw out boxes. They have all these great ideas of what the boxes can be turned into and although the mess drives me nuts, I'm always … Continue reading Not-your-usual-shape Lesson!
The other day, a Grade One teacher asked me to do a demonstration lesson on ordinal numbers. She wanted to see how I would approach it. I had to think for a moment because I have never explicitly taught ordinal numbers. Usually, by the time students get to me, they’ve already learned them. I just … Continue reading Ordinal numbers are anything but ordinary!
I went and asked a few Grade 5 students to tell me about odd and even numbers, and this is what they said: Student A: “3 is odd, 2 is even” Student B:“anything ending in a 0, 2,4,6,8 is even and anything ending in a 1, 3, 5, 7, 9” is odd. The students told … Continue reading Odds and Evens