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Welcome to my math blog! The purpose of this blog is to help you stay informed about our learning and experiences that have taken place during our math class. I have also included links your child (and you) may want to use in order to supplement math learning in 5th grade.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Inspirational Math: Day 1

We are beginning our year a little differently.  This year, I am following a week's worth of lessons that have been designed by the team at youcubed.org in an effort to inspire students in mathematics.  I loved the introduction to these lessons:

Today's lesson was focused on the student's mindset about math.  To begin, I showed the students a document that gave two misconceptions my 5th grade students typically have about math:

  • Math is not important.
  • Math is too hard.
We talked about the word misconception and why these two statements could be considered misconceptions.

From there, we watched the video that accompanied the Inspirational Math:  Day 1 lesson.  This was a four minute video that emphasized the fact that EVERYONE can do well in math.  After watching the video, I felt it was important to talk to my classes about Comfort Zone vs Courage Zone.  

I found this image at https://engagetheirminds.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/courage-zone/ I was thrilled to come across this graphic as my focus this year is to create a mindset in my students that encourages and fosters perseverance.  This connected to the video by pointing out how mistakes typically take us out of our comfort zone.  As soon as we make a mistake, we are suddenly insecure, but we have to learn that mistakes are, in fact, how our brain grows.  I had seen the following quote on youcubed.org, and it is a mantra that I want my students to embrace:

I then moved the kids into doing a survey through getkahoot.com .  In this survey, I asked students to think about the three following statements and tell me if they agreed or disagreed:

  • Having a growth mind-set for mathematics is important.
  • We can all learn math to any level we choose.
  • Self belief is really important.
From there, I felt it was time to move my students from their comfort zone into the courage zone.  To do this, I introduced them to a creative thinking activity called Which One Doesn't Belong.  I lucked into finding this website and was thrilled with the thinking that was involved!  The problem we did today was:

Basically, students worked in table groups to determine which number did not belong.  The beauty is that there are any number of answers that students are able to discover.  I loved hearing their thoughts!

Next, we visited estimation180.com.  We completed the Day 1 estimation.  Again, the students worked in table groups to determine a reasonable estimation in answer to the prompt.  This activity also required students to get out of their comfort zone, discuss their thinking with peers, and ultimately come to an agreement through compromise.

Our next activity was called "Four 4s".  Students worked together to find all of the ways they could use four 4s and the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to create equations that would ultimately have answers ranging from 1-20.  The kids really enjoyed this activity!  They were all working feverishly to find as many answers as they could.  By this time, they had the right mindset and were feeling much more comfortable being challenged!

To finish up our day, I asked the students to reflect on the three statements from our Kahoot:

  • Having a growth mind-set for mathematics is important.
  • We can all learn math to any level we choose.
  • Self belief is really important.
I asked them to choose the one statement that they felt had made the most impact on them and to explain why.  They completed this reflective writing using Google Classroom and turning in the Google Doc.

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