Category Archives: 3-5

I’ll Rip Your Face Off: The Art of Defacing Manipulatives

It’s our fault. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We unknowing pigeonhole student thinking with the manipulatives we use. Take fraction tiles for example. Much to my disappointment, they come with labels and it kills me. Manipulatives that … Continue reading

Geometric Subitizing: A Different Kind of Number Talk

These Geometric Subitizing Cards have been in beta the past two years. I asked our buddy Joe Schwartz to take them for a test drive last spring and he reported back.  Joe’s all in. How do they work?  Let’s play… Last week I took them for … Continue reading

Making Sense of Invert and Multiply

As elementary teachers, we rarely have the opportunity to explore division of a fraction by a fraction.  When we do, it’s normally accompanied with Keep-Change-Flip or the saying “Yours is not the reason why, just invert and multiply.” Both are conceptual … Continue reading

I’m Placing a Hit on the Pseudo-Context

This robs students of everything mathematics should be… The “real world” connection The step-by-step procedure Circle the numbers you need to solve the problem The pseudo-context word problem. Lesson 19.2 infers that this unit is front-end load with procedures and formulas … Continue reading

The Progression of Division

Last month I posted The Progression of Multiplication hoping that a couple of friends and parents would find it helpful.  Well, here’s my stab at the progression of division.  I understand that there’s lots of ways to model division and this is only … Continue reading

The Post-it Holds the Mystery Number

There’s no denying the power of the Post-it.  Many brilliant minds within the #MTBoS have harnessed its’ power to help students make sense of mathematics and this week was no different. Only this time we infused them into a Marilyn Burns must have… … Continue reading

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The Progression of Multiplication

There’s a lot happening in elementary mathematics and it’s really tough for teachers to keep up with it all…let alone parents and administrators. I keep reminding myself that the turtle won the race. It’s my hope that in creating and … Continue reading

Get Your Model On: Modeling in the Elementary Grades

Dan Meyer’s work on mathematical modeling has been instrumental in shaping my own understanding.  I’m super thankful for Dan’s commitment to SMP #4 over the years. So when he recently posted that he was shifting gears, I was bummed.  It was like … Continue reading

Not Your Mom’s Flashcards: Conceptual Understanding of Multiplication

What’s the purpose of flashcards? There’s 2 answers I frequently hear and only one I agree with. Answer 1: help kids know/memorize their facts Answer 2: help students build fluency through the automatization of strategy I know how Tracy and many … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, Estimation, Fact Fluency, Games, Math Tools, Number Sense | | 25 Comments

When Student Thinking Hits the Wall: VNPS

First week back to school and I was chomping at the bit to begin working on my #1TMCthing. My quick backstory about Vertical-Non-Permanent-Surfaces (aka VNPS) I first found out about VNPS on Nathan Kraft’s blog which referred me to Alex Overwijk’s … Continue reading