Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pencil Flags: Multiplication Facts
I am always trying to encourage my kiddos to use multiplication strategies and help them become fluent with the basic combinations or facts. I came up with the idea to make a little pencil flag with multiples or multiplication facts on the flag. This may help students take advantage of those spare moments in the day. My kiddos LOVE the flags! Some students started voluntarily writing the facts from their flag in their math journals-----go figure. I have printed them on colored card stock for extra durability. As my students pass a level, they will get another pencil & flag with their new level. I even have a Way to Go flag when they complete all the levels :) So far this has really sparked motivation in my kiddo. Click here to check out my Pencil Flags!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Differentiated Word Problems

My kiddos are currently working on multiplication. They know their basis division, but we really haven’t started larger division yet. Not wanting to teach multiplication in isolation, I developed some multiplication and division word problems. The division word problems are basic fact, but still made my kiddo decide if the problem was multiplication or division.
I used these cards in conjunction with an array graphic organizer I created. Since my prior multiplication and factor teaching is so array based this array visual just makes sense. I have used this organizer for a couple years now, and have gotten good results out of my students.
I talked to my kiddos about how most multiplication and division word problems had two things that went together such as: fences & dogs; kids & slices of pizza; football players & touch downs; trees & leaves; books & backpacks; etc. I let them give a few examples too. We went on to discuss that one of the two things was the “group” and the other was the thing “being grouped.”
We read some of the multiplication and division word problems I created looking for only for the two things that went together. Hint: they are usually by the numbers, but not always.
We sorted the cards by their question. Was the question asking: # groups; # per group; # in all. We did a few together whole class, and then I gave each small group a few to sort together. Once they agreed, they placed it on a large anchor chart.
We were ready to start solving problems. Each student created an array foldable to put in their interactive notebook. I gave it student a record sheet. The record sheet has a spot for them to record the # groups, # per group, # in all. We read each problem once looking for the two things. On the second read, we found and recorded the info from the problem. Then, we made an equation and solved it.
After we worked several together, students walked around the room working the problems I had hanging from clips from my cabinets and walls. They were allowed to work with a buddy and at their own pace.
I have made three different levels to differentiate. I have placed cards on my front wall under my white board, on the side on my cabinets, and in the back on my wall. I told my students the cards are in the front are hard, the card on the side are harder, and the cards in the back are the hardest. They get to pick where to start-self differentiate. They like these terms. It makes them feel successful when they solve their problems. One year, I had a student request an even harder level; he called it insane. Click here to check out my differentiated word problems.