What's going on in Room 125?

Weekly Update: 3-3-15

on March 3, 2015


Here is a delayed (or early) weekly update!
Three items:
1. Touch the World
2. PARCC testing
3. Math Instruction
Touch the World
Touch the World is Friday (March 6)! Please, please spread the word! We have been preparing at school by practicing our dance for the performance, collecting recyclables for the instrument creation station, enlisting volunteers, and making and hanging signs to promote the event. While the event is optional, it would be awesome for everyone to be there as it is a great opportunity to have fun as a class outside of school. Please let me know if you can not make it, as this will influence some of the things we prepare.
In order to support our school project, we need to sell a lot more tickets. Please share the link with everyone you know! 🙂
PARCC Testing
State testing starts next week for 3-5 grades. Our class will be affected in a few ways. Some schedules will change to accommodate switched specials times. Right now, it seems 2nd grade is most affected. In the afternoons I will be supporting testing with 3rd grade. So, our classroom’s schedule and teachers will be different (mainly paras will keep things going as close to usual as possible with support of another adult in the building). Prepare your children to “go with the flow” and support the 3rd-5th graders.
Math Instruction
 I realized it’s been a while since I’ve sent home some math tips for my weekly update, so I wanted to write this week about the “concrete-representational-abstract” sequence for teaching math concepts. This sequence can be used to teach virtually all math concepts and helps students develop more concrete understanding when solving problems and using math. The sequence is fairly self-explanatory and uses these general guidelines:
  Start with concrete methods to teach a concept. This means real objects.
  Once students are proficient using objects for a skill, move to representations. This means using pictures (e.g. to represent the objects and problem).
   After students are able to demonstrate skills with representations, then we can work on the abstract. This means using numbers and/or words (e.g. how the problem is written.
    Below are some ideas for what this may look like for three different math skills. The CRA sequence is a great tool to have, though, because it can be applied to most operations and skills. If you have questions on how you can use the sequence at home, let me know!
Example 1: Counting
   Concrete: Place objects out and have your child point to each one while you/they say the number as they count. (Even if your child isn’t counting, this is great to do to work on one-to-one correspondence which is relevant in math, reading, and communicating!) If your child is having trouble touching one at a time, try varying the objects (each one is different) and/or using bigger or more spaced out objects. You may show the number you are counting on a notecard or in another manner.
    Representational: Draw or print pictures of the objects you used to count or other pictures and repeat the touching and counting. Again, pair this with the number you are counting.
    Abstract: Show the number and count out loud with your child.
Example 2: Addition
    Concrete: For an addition problem, count out a corresponding number of objects for each number. So, far 2+3 count out 2 pennies, legos, Goldfish, etc to put by the 2 and 3 to go by the 3. Then, count all of the objects to find the total.
    Representational Repeat what was done above, this time using pictures of the objects or other pictures. An advanced form of this is having your child draw a picture to represent each number, for example 2 circles to represent 2.
    Abstract Solve the problem without pictures or objects.
Example 3: Multiplication
    Concrete: Use plates to represent groups and place objects within the plates to represent the amount in each group. The multiplication problem can be approached as something like “2 groups (plates) of 3 objects (pennies on each plate) equals 6 objects total.”
   Representational: Draw circles to represent the plates and smaller circles or dots within each group. Follow the same procedure as above.
   Abstract: Solve without the pictures or objects.
For all operations, once students have a good understanding at each of the three levels, work on fluency by practicing math facts repeatedly and quickly.
Do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions, ideas, or concerns. I know a lot has being going on with new students, testing, Touch the World, field trips, and school events. We’re really getting ready for all the spring fun! Let me know if anything is unclear.
Thank you! Goodnight!
-Ms Wales

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