Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.
The goal of mathematics instruction is to help our students become capable, confident mathematicians. That’s really pretty huge, when you think about it. We certainly need our kiddos to be able to compute precisely and efficiently, but it encompasses so much more. Our students need to understand how math is used in the world around them and be able to confidently explain and defend their solutions. They need to be able to represent their mathematical thinking, persevere with difficult tasks, and see the connections in seemingly unrelated math ideas. So when does all this deep thinking and communicating start? Third grade? Fourth? High school? How about Kindergarten. 🙂
Our school is fortunate to have access to the Exemplars program. If you are not familiar with Exemplars, they are amazingly rich problem solving tasks. Thursday, during my weekly visit with Mrs. Bryan’s Kinder class, they were trying their first Exemplar! Of course Mrs. Bryan did a great job of building the hype and telling the kiddos what hard math they were learning. Then, with great fanfare (I’m not kidding…), she revealed the problem. Look at the second picture to read the problem and see the finished product. This is tough stuff for Kinder babies, but somehow Mrs. Bryan never seems to make it feel that way. I love watching how these kiddos think and talk about their math work.
Students helped draw the representation of the problem.
The finished product!! Notice the tally marks and key.
Math workstation time. Using Teddy Bear counters with the number bond flashcards. Step 1…10 is the whole.
Step 2…the known part is 5.
Step 3…5 is the missing part!
Students model and write addition and subtraction story problems.
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