Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vertical Math Conversations

One of my goals this year is to focus on "rich" math  problems.  We are discussing rich problems during my math professional development (PD) and discussing different strategies to help students think about problem solving differently.  During vertical grade level conversations, I was talking Shelly, a first grade teacher.  Shelly is super smart about math because she understands elementary math because she has taught 4th grade and is now teaching first grade. I always learn some new instructional ideas that I can take away and apply to my classroom.

She recently asked if our classes could be math buddies, so yesterday we joined her class to focus on measurement.  Both sets of students traced their foot and cut it out for their pattern.  My class loved this activity and was a little surprised when that was their morning seat work.  Then I let them know that we were going to have first grade math buddies-they were super excited!  Once we were in the first grade room, the students measured their foot by using cubes known as "units."  As you can see from the picture, the students were then challenged to find a set of feet that were between 40-50 units.  This was interesting to observe all of the different strategies that the mixed groups chose.  

*Some groups added all the units for one large unit. (picture above)
*Several groups used the 100 chart to add the value of each foot.
*A few groups added them together which was a HUGE step for first graders.
*One group split the feet into pairs and then added them. 

I am super excited that our 5th graders are going to have math buddies this year-let the exploration begin. 


  1. I'm so glad you did a post about math. I've been thinking a lot lately about the balance of literacy and math in our blogging community.

  2. Thank you for your comment I have also been working on balancing literacy and math. That is why your post really hit home with me this week also. Next week I will be posting my OLW reflection blog on math.

  3. 8 sPenyeI taught math just once, second grade - the year I began teaching. We had so much fun with math manipulatives, but math buddies would have been all the better with them along for the adventure. We once measured the perimeter of our building...fifth grade assistant would have made the whole process so much better. And I loved the video clip - happy faces!

  4. Two of my favorite people...working together! YAY! Tell Shelly I said hey.

  5. I appreciate your post about Math but I hope you will also post topic on social studies too.

  6. Thanks for your comments.
    Tara: Love the idea of measuring the perimeter of the building-what fun!

    Mary Lee: Thanks and I will such fun to make 1 & 5 connections

    Kristen: I will be posting more on SS however we are almost finished w/ these units in SS and will be making our science transition for the first time this year. With giving the science OAA, our focus will be on science until at least March.

  7. So fun to live in the moment with rich thinking! Looking forward to many more math buddy adventures!

  8. Your post inspired me to reach out to a 1st grade teacher about partnering my 3rd graders as math buddies. I'd love to hear more about what you're doing.