Bridges Blog Archive for October 2015

New Looks for the Sea Star Quilt

In Unit 2, Sessions 12-14, first graders make a sea star quilt to focus on counting by 5s and 10s. This engaging project helps students become more efficient at counting numbers larger than 10. It also gives them opportunity to discuss the relationship between triangles and squares as well as to represent fractions as halves and fourths of a square. The quilt has an unexpected bonus: its versatility to connect to other curriculum.

Homework Expectations & Policies

When I first started teaching, homework every night was a MUST! It was an expectation shared by grade-level teams, parents, and administration. I think as team members we secretly competed at times to see who could assign the most homework.

Resolved: More Time for Work Places!

Extra Work Place TimeAll teachers start a new school year with resolutions for improving instruction. Mine is now to increase the amount of time my students have for participating in Work Places. I already appreciate Work Places. First, they’re fun! Second, they focus on particular standards. This combination of fun and focus means my students are motivated to work on necessary skills.

Finding Factors with a Technology Assist

Finding Factors with a Technology AssistOne of the hardest concepts for fourth graders to investigate has to be finding factors of whole numbers. This skill requires problem solving, incorporating both abstract and quantitative reasoning. It also requires a solid grasp of multiplication facts, a source of struggle for some of my fourth graders in the beginning of the year.

Creating a Classroom Climate Around Positive Math Messages

Stanford professor Jo Boaler is working to change attitudes about math education. She observes that many of us grew up with these convictions: