I’m joining up with some AMAZING bloggers for a Bright Ideas blog hop!
Singapore Math. Perhaps you have heard about these new strategies for teaching math. But perhaps you are like me and have heard of it, but wasn’t too sure what it was.
This past Friday I flew to Honolulu with one of my grade level partners to attend a Singapore Math workshop from BER. It was so great! It was officially called “How to Use the Best Strategies from Singapore Mathematics to Strengthen your Math Instruction”. Here is the framework that was in our participant packet:
Our presenter, Cassy Turner, told us that just like we ask kids to read for 15 minutes a night to build fluency, we should be asking them to do math fact practice to build fact fluency, as well. In order to do that, we learned some fun Mental Math strategies:
- Magic Thumb – Say, “When I point up, count up. When I point down, count down.” Start at zero and students can count in multiples of 2, 3, 4, whatever. Kids will be good at first, but when you point down, they will have to think and it won’t become just a regular skip counting activity. It will keep them on their toes! To make it harder, start at a random number, like 24, and count up by 3’s.
- Number Strings – This is a fun way for kids to practice math mentally and also explain their thinking and find out where their math went wrong. Have kids solve and follow your verbal instructions in their heads, then write their ending solution on a whiteboard to hold up and show you. This is such an easy formative assessment in the classroom and a great warm up for math class. Can you figure out this number string in your head?
- Math Sprints – This is a way to re-think the Mad Math Minute! Give all kids the same sheet of math facts. They should get harder towards the end. Tell kids that they won’t finish, the point is to improve, not finish. Time the kids for a minute, then go over the answers together and kids write the number they got on top. Give them another one, and tell them the point is to beat their last score. Do everything again, go over the answers, and celebrate the kids who made progress (it should be everyone!). Then, instead of collecting these for a grade, have them crumple the papers up, walk around with a trash can, and each kids can throw their paper away. It’s not about a grade, finishing, or even doing better than your neighbor, it’s about personal improvement. Walk around and take note of how many problems the kids did – this is your formative assessment. I LOVE this strategy, because I have several kids who get anxious during fact fluency tests. This will make it fun, less stressful, and easy for ALL kids to be successful. Here’s a link to some official directions for Math Sprints.