Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy New Year!

This week's Big Fish

Math in River Class

Both first and second year students work on CGI math problems. Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) is a professional development program that increases teachers’ understanding of the knowledge that students bring to the math learning process and how they connect that knowledge with formal concepts and operations. Developed by education researchers Thomas Carpenter, Elizabeth Fennema, Penelope Peterson, Megan Loef Franke, and Linda Levi, CGI is guided by two major theses. The first is that children bring an intuitive knowledge of mathematics to school with them and that this knowledge should serve as the basis for developing formal mathematics instruction in primary school. This thesis leads to an emphasis on assessing the processes that students use to solve problems. The second thesis is that math instruction should be based on the relationship between computational skills and problem solving, which leads to an emphasis on problem solving in the classroom instead of the repetition of number facts (e.g., practicing the rules of addition and subtraction).

In Dee's math group students have been working on CGI problems as pictured above and to the right. Students are asked to demonstrate in pictures or in number sentences how they solved the word problem. Sometimes students' names are used in the word problems along with their favorite things. This helps keep the math interesting and the children motivated. Problems include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

In Ruth's math group students have been playing Ten-Frame Trains as pictured above. The application of ten-frames can be found in the work of researchers such as Van deWalle (1988) and Bobis (1988). Students have fun playing a variety of games associated with the number ten. Children learn a variety of strategies whilst playing the assortment of activities.

Students in Ruth's math group also had a listening exercise using a hundred chart. They were given verbal and written instructions to follow. Words to listen out for included before, after, between, digit, plus, minus, more, less, odd, and even. The completed design on the hundred chart should represent a letter of the alphabet, a number, or an object. Children are motivated to complete the exercise in order to discover what the final picture will look like. 

Both math groups enjoyed some time on the iPads. Second years worked on DreamBox, and first year students enjoyed a variety of math apps including Slate Math, SumStacker, and Acorn Multiplication.