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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Math Anchor Charts

Hi, my name is Whitney and I'm a math junkie.  There. I said it. It really just feels a lot better to get that out there. My dad always tells me that no one is normal and everyone is a nerd about something.  I'm 100% sure it's to make me feel better, but there probably is a little bit of truth too.  Well my "nerdy" self loves math.  Being asked to solve a math problem makes me giddy inside.  For reals. I try really hard to act like I don't enjoy it, just so I can "fit in." But who am I kidding?  Coming up with solutions to math problems makes me feel better than any mountain climber who has just conquered Mt. Everest.  I wish I were kidding.  Really.  If there were a Math Junkies Anonymous, I'd totally be the leader of my local group.  Totally.

Because I'm a math junkie, I love learning more about how to teach math.  At my last math workshop someone said something has has stuck with me haunted me for the last month:


Whoah. Pretty sure I haven't been able to stop thinking about that quote since January....  This math junkie was put in her place.  There is still so much that I need to learn about teaching math.

I've always used anchor charts in a MAJOR way in both literacy and math.  We always start off the year charting ways to use our math tools during our math mysteries time {Math Mysteries is what we call our math story problem or CGI time.  You can read more details about that in this blog post.}

Then, we chart the expectations that I have for my kiddos during math mysteries.  This is super important for me to do at the beginning of the year because it helps set the routines and what I want to see from my kids' work.
Darn Promethean Board pole has hidden #5.  But it says, "Use efficient strategies." Grrrr....

Once my kids become more fluent with math mysteries and I see that they are trying to use equations to show their thinking, we start the Math Symbols chart...I chart these with the kids during our share time as we "discover" friends who are using symbols in their work.
This picture is a little older.  Just recently, someone else figured out the need for the division symbol, so we have just added that one to our chart! Woohoo!!

The flip flop chart? That's our commutative property anchor chart.
This usually comes about from the kids too as we are doing true/false equations during our math wall time.  I will write a true/false equation during math wall like 2 + 3 = 3 + 2 and ask the kids if it is true or false.  Sometimes it takes several days, weeks, or even months before the kids realize on their own that it's always going to be true if you just switch the numbers around.  It just depends on my group of kids.  This year's group figured commutative property out super early and have been using it to help them solve their math problems faster!

And these are just a few of our anchor charts we've done so far this year.  But I'm learning that there is So.Much.More I need to be giving my kids.

One thing I've not fully understood until this year is how to use the Standards for Mathematical Practices.  How can I expect my kids to be using these standards for math if I don't even know them very well? My kids can't learn what I don't know. We have been studying and analyzing these standards in our monthly math workshops.  And I've been thinking about how to use these standards to set more specific goals for my kids.  And because I'm {{{obsessed}}} with anchor charts, I used the information we learned and created some Kid-Friendly Standards for Math Practices.  It has standard posters and then "I Can" posters that can be used for anchor charts.

I have already charted out Standard #4 {Model with math} with my kids and it has totally changed their thinking and purpose during math mystery time.

I started by setting our goal for the week, "I model with math."  I did not write anything but the title on the anchor chart until sharing time.  This gave us a chance to see how our friends were modeling with math and record it on our chart.  My firsties that got their "modeling" posted on our anchor chart were so proud.  Still, several weeks later, they are still claiming their modeling on our anchor chart as "the one I shared!"

My firsties quickly started using the phrase, "Model with math" during our launching time at the beginning and during our share time at the end of math mysteries.  They are able to look at friends' work that is shared and tell how they modeled with math.  They are able to differentiate drawing illustrations and modeling with math.  They are more focused in how they show their thinking.

Next week I plan on focusing our math goal on attending to precision {read it HERE}.  I sure do have lots of kiddos who are making silly counting mistakes, using the wrong symbols, and not focusing on the math vocabulary in our story problems...and we need to fix that!  I'm hoping I have fast results with this focus like we did for modeling with math.  Stay tuned...

This math junkie loves a good anchor chart and I can't wait to start charting more of our math goals!