Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Good Questions for Math Teaching. Why Ask Them and What to Ask, Grades K-6" by Peter Sullivan and Pat Lilburn

Book cover
What a great resource!  This book is teacher friendly and super easy to use as a quick go-to resource. The first 15 pages are dedicated to discussing what Good Questions are, how to create them and how to use them. The rest of the book is dedicated to providing Good Questions in each of the 6 topic areas (money, fractions, decimals, place value, counting and ordering and operations) by grades bands (K-2, 3-4, 5-6).

excerpt from p. 34, Place Value for grades 3-4
excerpt from p. 40, Operations for grades K-2

Friday, February 20, 2015

Array model for multiplication

Students confused by the multiplication grid?  Doesn't make sense to them? Try this activity to introduce the idea of the multiplication grid before you give them one with the numbers.  This activity from Donna Boucher provides a visual of the array model of multiplication.

Donna Boucher,

Get the kids perspective on math fact practice

Bored with the same old math fact practice . . . frustrated the students still don't know their facts . . . try this!

By the end of grade 3, according to the Common Core, students should be fluent with their math facts.

  • K- add/subtract within 5
  • 1st - add/subtract within 10
  • 2nd - add/subtract within 20 (know single-digit sums from memory)
  • 3rd - multiply/divide within 100 (know single-digit products from memory)
We know from experience, however, that not all students are as fluent as they should be.  They need to practice their facts (after you have taught them to understand the meaning behind the symbols and strategies to solve unknown problems).  Here is an idea to help . . . 

Homework assignment - (thanks Dan Hupp for this idea). Have each student find a way they like to practice their facts and present this to the class.  The activity can be focused on a certain strategy (doubles facts, multiples of 3, etc) or on general fact practice. It can be a card game, practice sheets, interactive web based game, orally with an adult, etc,  but it must be a way the student enjoys practicing and is proving effective for that child.  Students can then present to the class (choose one or two per day to share) or in a small group.


  • Students will practice communicating about strategies used in the activity.
  • Students fact fluency will increase.
  • This will increase the variety of resources for your students to practice their facts.  Variety is the spice of life!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Should We Stop Making Kids Memorize Times Tables?

Interesting article by Jill Barshay from the Hechinger Report. Should We Stop Making Kids Memorize Times Tables?