As the end of the year is rapidly approaching the children and I are putting the final touches on a culmination writing project intended to capture their understanding, empathy, and connection to Oregon in the 1800's. Here is the invitation the children received...
Your Charge: You are invited to begin a conversation, through writing letters, between yourself and a child character from the past. You are to write to this child as yourself in 2016, and then to imagine writing back to someone else from the perspective that you have been dressing up as, or acting as, in the 1800’s.
· To learn his or her story and pass it on
· To have empathy for his or her experience of what life was like in the 1800’s
· To think about what questions you have about what happened in the past
· Gain greater understanding of why it is that people leave behind a place or people that they love
- What do you want to know about this child from the past?
- How did this child and his or her family survive off the land and overcome the challenges of weather, geography and climate?
- In what ways does your child of the past feel in awe of the wonders of Oregon?
- How did other groups of people at the time experience some of the same events as your child of the past?
- How can you represent at least 2 different perspectives through your letters?
Slideshow of Opening the Time Traveling Mailbox
This past week, on Monday and Tuesday, I attended a training on the new math curriculum, Bridges in Mathematics. It was a fabulous training and I am so excited by the refined and engaging approach to teaching math. I came back to class on Wednesday eager to show the children some of the new math strategies I had learned, that help to organize their thinking and build a deeper understanding of the relationship between numbers when multiplying and dividing. The new tool for their mathematical tool belts is called, a Ratio Table.
A ratio table looks like this...
The goal of our current and new curriculum is to expose the children to multiple strategies to support the children to develop mental math strategies, to build off what they already know, as well as to eventually understand the standard algorithm. We do not teach the standard algorithm for 2 and 3 digit multiplication in 3rd Grade. It is often brought up by a student who has already has been exposed to it so we talk about it as one of many possible strategies. It will be taught more directly in 4th and 5th grade. It is one of the ways, to solve 2 digit multiplication problems and, at times it can be the most efficient, depending on the problem. Often the children are able to use other strategies, such as partial products or the ratio tables, more efficiently and accurately.
A recent problem that I gave the children was:
25 x 14
The first solution offered by one of the children was to think of using quarters. The student said, "Well, I know that is like saying 14 quarters. I know that 10 quarters is 25 x 10 and that is 250. So now I know I just have to think about 4 quarters and we all know that is 1 dollar, or 100 so the answer is 350." All of this was done in his head.
Below is an example of Mr. Arensberg teaching, what is a called a number string, it is intended as a way to support the children to build their mental math strategies and to use what they know to solve more and more sophisticated problems.