Saturday, May 10, 2008

Using Space Off the Page

Good Morning,

This morning I am struggling with many ideas. I know that smartboards can be a powerful tool to show math representations to students. One of our schools is going to concentrate on teaching math word problems. I know from past research that the rectangular array method is a wonderful tool to understand, organize and communicate word problems. In fact the rectangular array method is a wonderful tool to understand, organize and communicate many math ideas. It is also a wonderful differentiation tool allowing students access to more abstract ideas.

Now that we have a plan (model and use the rectangular model.) I set about adding it to some of our math pages. Here are the struggles I am facing and how I solved them.

1. Too much on one page. A page filled with rectangles will not help a struggling learner. There is too much information to process. It is also very difficult to make them all fit nicely.

2. We want students to own their own learning. Having every model there might make the math too easy. At some point, when they are ready they should draw their own rectangles. Kids grow and learn at their own pace. How do you have the representation ready if they need it, but not use it if they do not?

3. Making connections and being able to transfer knowledge is a big part of learning. How do you help kids understand WHEN drawing rectangles might help them better understand a problem, organize their thinking and give them a tool to communicate their thinking? How do you help them own this method?

Watch the video and see how I attempted to answer some of these questions. Please write comments in if you struggle with these ideas as well or have any ideas. video

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