Sunday, August 17, 2014

Getting to Know Me! (Linky)

I am linking up with Stephanie over at Falling into First for my first linky of August.  Here are a few things about me!
My name is Tina Parker and for the last 13 years, I have been teaching first grade. This coming school year I am not only changing jobs (elementary interventionist K-5 in both reading and mathematics), but also changing districts to take the position.  

I am married and have three very active children.  Madisyn is 8 and enjoys swimming, gymnastics, going for bike rides, and loves all animals. 

Easton is 5 and will be starting kindergarten in a few weeks.  He enjoys going for bike rides, teasing his sisters, and anything that involves planes, trains, and automobiles.  

Addalyn is 3 going on 14 and this one keeps me on my toes.  She is lucky she is cute ;).  She loves playing house, dolls, anything sparkly, and the colors pink and purple.  


My Children.  Neon colors. Mr. Sketch markers. Creating my own classroom materials. Going for walks with my family. Watching my children growing up. Meeting new people through blogging, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  PowerPoint.  Flash drives. The sport of swimming. 



I cannot stand sitting still so I would need a job that would keep me moving.  Maybe working for the post office.  I love sorting out papers and I could get a workout all day!  


Quiet.  Perfectionist. Workaholic


"I would love to extend the school day.  My first graders can handle more sitting time...said no teacher EVER!!"



I am not big on celebrating my birthdays, but I would invite my immediate family, my great-grandpa Charlie, and my brother in law, Chuck.  Both are passed, but I would love for my family to see them one more time :)


 Organized Chaos

I would love the ability to heal those who are sick or hurt..... 


" You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream."
-C. S. Lewis-


 Strawberry Wine by Deena Carter......  no lie!!



Both, but if I had to choose then I would say a night owl.  Once my children are in bed, my work motivation kicks in and it is hard to stop!! 



 I absolutely love my Math intervention products!  I created these products for our math intervention time and I cannot believe how engaged each and every one of my students are during these lessons.  The best part is that the lesson plans are included!!
Math Intervention Building Number Sense (with lesson plans)

My Math Intervention (with lesson plans) product

I am an extreme perfectionist.... I am very hard on myself and what I expect of myself.  This can be a very strong weakness, but does work for me most times in this profession!!
Thanks for taking the time to get to know me!

Math Talk.....The Big Math Trend Making a Difference (If you do it correctly) PART 3 of 4

This post contains part three of a four part series about how you can incorporate Math Talk into your classroom in quick and easy way.  I have been posting two months at a time to help you ease your students into becoming great math communicators!  If you missed my first two postings then you can read PART 1 HERE or PART 2 HERE. 

At this point of the school year your students have the expectations and routines understood so now it is time to put those routines in action.  I like to challenge my students in a variety of different ways by using one problem, but multiple strategies we have already practiced.  I use story problems that I create myself to facilitate the Math Talk lessons.  This way I can really focus on a certain type of story problem (result unknown, change unknown, start unknown, doubles, doubles + 1, and so on).  Story problems also give students math vocab exposure to help with story problem comprehension. 

 I created these headers and placed them on the front dry erase board.  All of these strategies were the ones my first graders were practicing, but you may want to create your own based on the strategies that your students will be learning.  All of these strategies could be used with both addition and subtraction with numbers up to 20.  I say this because you really do not want your students practicing inefficient strategies.  The circle drawing and counting on box strategies are not efficient with numbers over 20, but works well with numbers up to 20. 

I set my Math Talk lesson a bit different than others may.  I choose 5 random students to work on one of the strategies at the board (do NOT only choose your high students to go to the board.  Student errors on the board create wonderful learning opportunities during the questioning portion of the Math Talk lesson).  The other students in the class will be working on the problem using each of the strategies.  Once the students at the board are finished then they will quickly and quietly go back to their seats and start working on the sheet as well.  I love this method because all the students are engaged for at least the first 5-7 minutes.  My quick workers take about that long to finish showing all five strategies and my struggling students at least are attempting or finishing up the circle drawing and maybe the counting on box strategies.  This is valuable time for me to walk around and take note on student work and to guide students that may need it.  You would be amazed how engaged these students are during this time.  If students finish early I will have them turn the paper over, look at the strategies on the board, and write down questions you will have for each of the strategies.  It is honestly almost too easy!! 

Once students SOVLE the problem and show their strategies then I will have those students that showed their work on the board come up to explain their strategies.  Students at their seats will be listening and then thinking of questions to ask each that student about how they solved their work.  This questioning takes practice and I will get into this part of Math Talk in the fourth and final posting later this week. 

This is an example (above) of how I modify my Math Talk lessons with my class.  I moved my students from one digit addition and subtraction to double digit addition.  I keep the same format for each of the lessons, but will change the strategies or the order of the strategies to make sure students are always looking at the strategies closely. 
To get started with Math Talk in your classroom then you need to come up with a list of strategies you would like your students to know and use.  After teaching at least one of the strategies, then you can start the whole group Math Talk.  As you teach another strategy then just add it to your list of strategies on the recording sheet.  Just make sure your students get used to explaining their strategies first to a partner, then small group, and then whole group.  Only take volunteers to explain in the front of the classroom.  More shy students will come around and volunteer after a while, but you do know they understand the strategies through their written work and then you can come up to them during work time to hear their explanations.  Hearing students explain their strategies is VERY important because you will be able see if they are solving the problem through procedural knowledge or true understanding.   

Here is a sneak peek of a product I just finished and will go more into detail in part 4 of the Math Talk posting.   This product will teach efficient strategies to your students and have activities to support that teaching.
Have a great week!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Math Talk…..The Big Math Trend Making a Difference (If you do it correctly) PART 2 of 4

This is part 2 of 4 of the Number Talk/Math Talk guide.  If you did not read part 1 of this series, click HERE 

Your students should have that critical understanding of quantity of number and basic Math Talk at the end of the first two months of school.  October and November will be a time to get your students used to your expectations and really setting up structure in your classroom. 

3 Key Components of Math Talk

1.You will need to build a cohesive classroom that encourages mathematics conversations that are safe, supportive, and risk free.  State your expectations before each math lesson.  In first grade I like to create learning targets to refer to and that are applicable to every Math Talk session.  Here are three examples I have created according to the needs of my students. 


2.  Classroom Discussions
When you first present each problem, ask the students to first try solving using mental math.  Mental math encourages students to build on number relationships to solve problems instead of relying on memorized procedures. 

When students come up with an answer, have them place their fist to their chest with their thumb up to show they have an answer.  Once they have an answer then they will put one finger up for every other strategy they come up with on that same hand.  This gives you an opportunity to challenge your advanced students and give more time for struggling students to come up with one answer.  This is a great time for you to walk around the group and ask questions to check for understanding. 

Clip art created by  Melonheadz Illustrating

Clip art created by Melonheadz Illustrating

Once the class have their answers and strategies, then I always give my students a chance to practice explaining their strategy with a partner.  I assign math spots in a circle arrangement on the floor and then I partner students up that are next to them.  They are grouped heterogeneously so I have some control of the learning process.   Group students that work well together and I would suggest grouping your high students with students that are more of the mid to higher math students, rather than with your lowest.

When I group my students, I will roughly rank (number order) my students from high to low according to overall strength in mathematics.  I will then divide my class in half and group my highest students in the class with the highest middle students.  My struggling students will then be grouped with the middle students.
Example:  10 students in my class (Don't I wish :)!)
Student #1 grouped with student # 6
Student #2 grouped with student #7
Student #3 grouped with student #8
Student #4 grouped with student #9
Student # 5 grouped with students #10

3.  Purposeful Computation Problems
The problems you choose to have your students work on need to guide students to focus on specific mathematical relationships.  The teacher is responsible for deciding what the learning target will be, choosing numbers that are in an acceptable range for the needs of your students, and making sure your students understand_____________________________________

Here is an example:
I always choose my Math Talk problems as a form of review or challenge of the previous day’s focus.  If we have been working on addition and subtraction to 20 and using circle drawings to show our work, then the next day I will have my students try to solve a similar type-problem using mental math, base ten blocks and leftover ones, and so on.  I do not want my students to become comfortable with one strategy.  Flexibility in thinking is a main focus I want my students to understand in mathematics.

If you like these learning targets and teach the Math Expression Common Core Edition, then check out this product.  I have designed every single first grade lesson into learning targets/ I Can statements.  All have lesson vocabulary listed along with a teaching examples on every target.  You can check out this product here in my store
The next posting will be part 3 of Math Talk (Dec/Jan).  This is where it gets good!  Prepare to be amazed with what first grade students are able to do!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Math Talk..... The Big Math Trend Making a Difference (If You Do It Correctly)- PART 1 of 4

Earlier this summer I went to a math workshop by the one and only Greg Tang.  Now if you have seen him present before then you know he has no filter in his thinking or opinions.  Personally, I find him very entertaining and an mathematical genius.  At one point of the workshop he began making fun of "Number Talk" or "Math Talk," calling it worthless in the classroom.  He went on to explain that the kind of math talk he has observed has trained students into copying strategies of the "smart" kids and teachers praising any strategy......

Two months before this day I just entered a 10 page paper, an additional 10 pages of supplemental materials, and 45 minutes of video of how I conduct "Math Talk" in my first grade classroom to the NSF for the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching award .  When Greg Tang spoke those words, my heart sank thinking that now I would not have a chance at that award :(.  

But then I thought about it...... My "Math Talk" is nothing like Greg Tang's explanation.  The following outlines how I set up my 2013-14 first graders to become some of the greatest math thinkers I have ever taught.

I am going to guide you through a years worth of Math Talk to get the most out of your students (Mathematically) in a fun, interactive, and engaging way!!  I am going to focus on two months at a time so you do not have so much to take in at once :). 

I started the year with the whole group instruction to facilitate math talk.  Dot pattern flash cards are such an easy way to encourage math talk with the group.  The dot pattern below can be flashed to the class for 1-2 seconds and then hidden from view.  Ask your students to share how many dots they saw on the paper?  Then, once they share that number then ask each student HOW they saw the pattern (notice that the dots are trying to get students to think of 3 and 1 with then will relate to 3 + 1= 4).  Then ask other students how they saw the dot patterns.  The important part of this conversation is to show the students the pattern card once again and to ask them what patterns they notice.  Guide them with questioning to discover that there is 3 red dots and 1 yellow dot and then relate that pattern to the equation of 3 red dots and 1 yellow dot is 3 + 1= 4 total dots.  The vocabulary of using the word, total, is very important as well.

Use 5 frames with your students BEFORE 10 frames.  Once students "see" patterns of 5 and have those patterns written out into equations, then seeing patterns of 10 become much easier.

Once students have a strong understanding of patterns of 5, then move to using 10 frames.  Encourage and guide students to see number 6 as 5 and 1 more (5 + 1), 7 as 5 and 2 more (5 + 2).  Always relate the verbal to writing to bridge common gaps with learning facts.

10 frames are a great way to teach the understanding of teen numbers.  12 is 10 and two more (10 + 2), 13 is 10 and 3 more (10 + 3).  Remember to ask questions of your students to specifically guide them to understand AND apply the learning goal/target.
 I would suggest going through these dot patterns as a math warm-up DAILY (5-10 minutes) and then referencing them when working on math fact practice later on in the school year.  You can extend the understanding by showing two dot pattern cards at once to find the total and even adding white boards to further extend that mathematical thinking.

I created these ten frames myself using a table in PowerPoint and circle shapes.  I then saved them in JPEG form and done.  If you would like a copy of these 5, 10, and 10+ templates then just leave your email in the comments area and I will send them to you :). 

My next post will talk about where to go next with Math Talk in October and November.  Oh and for that Presidential Award (PAEMST), I just found out last week that I am once again a state finalist for 2014 and will have another chance at being a National Recipient!!!  My fingers are crossed because either I win this year or I will not apply again in 2016.    2012 was a disappointing national runner-up. 

Thanks and feel free to follow my blog to get the rest of this blogging series as it is posted!