Week of Inspirational Math
Every year I start the math period demolishing my students' stereotypes about being or not being a "math person" with the help of Jo Boaler's "Week of Inspirational Math". I find it is important to make my students understand that everybody can learn math, that math surrounds us, and that making mistakes is part of the process of learning. I want them to have a growth mindset about learning, and to understand how their brains work. I also want them to have fun, investigate, wonder, and find more than one way to get to the answer. I want them to use models, and think like mathematicians. That prepares the ground for successful growth of their math skills, and is a fantastic way to make my students feel confident to tackle any mathematical challenge. Check out the Youcubed website, and the resources for parents here:
Once we finish the Week of Inspirational Math, we begin every morning with some number talks. Number talks change along the year, but to give you an idea of the process of a number talk, I will give you a brief example: I post a series of related simple equations and I ask my students to look for patterns on those equations. At the beginning of the year it is normal that my students find very simple patterns, and focus their attention on only one equation at a time, but with guidance and practice, they soon become comfortable with seeing interrelations between equations, movement of quantities, and mathematical processes that in the future will help them make mathematical claims that will lead them to the rules we all learned to memorize when we were kids. I find this approach more organic, and immensely more effective in understanding math, as my students find agency in their discoveries and learn to be flexible and to play with numbers. However, number talks don´t end with numbers, along the year we will work with shapes, measurement, fractions and more! To learn more about number talks, check out this blog post in Scholastic
To learn about our Math Fridays, check out the Camp Volunteers page, and join us for fun mathematical games that will challenge your child´s mind while having a lot of fun.
Go Math Curriculum
The core of our math learning will be done through this district wide resource. In third grade we will go through 11 units that will cover addition and subtraction, multiplication, division, data, fractions, measurement and geometry. Each student will have one workbook per unit, that contains a pretest, mid-chapter checkpoint, and end of chapter checkpoint, along with the individual lessons. I will remove the quizzes from the books before handing them to my students, and they will be placed in their goal binders after being completed and graded. You will notice along the year that some, or in some cases many of the activities and problems in the workbook appear undone, the reason being that, during my math block I will use some of the activities in the book to practice in the classroom using whiteboards and markers instead of the workbook, and other times we will use other resources to learn certain skills. Regardless the tool, your child will finish the school year with a strong mathematical content knowledge on the areas highlighted on the common core standards for third grade.
Common Core Standards and Mathematical Practices (source: corestandards.org)
In Grade 3, instructional time should focus on four critical areas: (1) developing understanding of multiplication and division and strategies for multiplication and division within 100; (2) developing understanding of fractions, especially unit fractions (fractions with numerator 1); (3) developing understanding of the structure of rectangular arrays and of area; and (4) describing and analyzing two-dimensional shapes.
Operations and Algebraic Thinking