Saturday, May 13, 2017

Math Stories

So I started doing what I call math stories in my classroom a few weeks ago and it is the absolute most favorite thing that I do in my classroom. I also polled the students and it is their second most favorite thing we do....the top vote was our Joke of the Day which I will blog about at a later time. This all started when we had a training on what our corporate office has developed for next year called Math Stories. At the training this reminded me of a book that I had purchased from a garage sale and used a few times but then forgot about it. The book is called Read It! Draw It! Solve It! Problem Solving With Animal Themes, Grades K-3

I use this a little differently than it is intended.  To begin I give the students their sheet (I double side these as we do 2 stories a day).  They do not begin yet.  I then give the students a set of manipulatives such as blocks or bears.  They then get 10 minutes of free play with the manipulatives.  At the end of 10 minutes we then begin math stories.  I explain to the students that they can use any strategy that they wish to solve the problem such as using fingers, the manipulatives, mental math, drawing a picture, or whatever works best for them.  

They know at the end that I am going to call on several students to explain what they did to solve the problem.  I then read the problem and let them begin to figure out the answer.  They can also talk with their table partner for ideas if needed.  I have my students sitting with a higher level students next to a lower level students.  We then discuss all the different ways that we solved the problem.  I make the students be very detailed in their answers.  They can't just say I used my fingers.  For example if the problem said I had 4 pieces of candy and my dad gave me one more.  Students will normally say I used my fingers.  I then ask "what did you do with your fingers"  I will then get "I put up 4 fingers and then I put up 1 more and counted them all together".  Again not good enough...I then ask "Why did you put up 4 fingers?" and they must tell me that they had 4 pieces of candy.  "Why did you put up 1 more finger?"...and they must say because dad gave me 1 more.  As time goes on you don't have to prompt them to go deeper with their thinking as they start doing it on their own.  This activity really gets the kids thinking about problem solving! 


You can see that in one of these the student tried to write that she used her fingers.  She did this on her own as I have not asked them to write down their strategies.  

We love math stories!  Super fun and super engaging!