Don’t you love when you are able to go to a conference that your district pays for you attend??? Don’t you love when you walk away from the conference with ideas of what to implement into your classroom the NEXT day? Don’t you love just SITTING AND LISTENING to all the ideas, knowledge, and information of the presenter?? No getting into groups, talking with the people at your table, and then picking one person at the table to share what was discussed with the rest of audience.
On Thursday and Friday I attended the Math Counts Conference in Chicago!
The first session with Greg made me rethink everything I ever learned and was taught about quality math instruction. Very overwhelming, walked out with a headache…but in a good way! If you ever learned about grouping numbers in different bases, they you know exactly what I am talking about! Greg believes that students must learn to think ABSTRACTLY when they are in elementary school. He asked us to think about our best math students. Why are they so good at math? Because they can think quickly and abstractly! Lots of times, they don’t even know how they got the answer! Instead of rote memorization or using strategies such as “doubles plus one” to learn math facts, Greg teaches that it is much more efficient to think about numbers in groups. For example, when kids see “8 + 7,” he wants them to break apart the number 7 and think 2+5, make a TEN. 8 + 7 is a messy number to work with, but making a group of ten allows you to solve the answer quickly- it is easy to work with a group of ten. Greg encourages teachers to still concretely teach math concepts, but push student to use higher order thinking and THEN the traditional algorithm.
Greg also emphasized that teachers need to spend more time on mental math. If teachers do not teach mental math (or can’t do it themselves!), then they teach kids to rely on the visual. When we spend time on teaching kids to solve problems quickly in their heads, then they will develop strong mental math skills that are needed for higher, more complicated math.
If you are looking for an engaging way to help struggling students yet challenge others, check out his new website: www.gregtangmath.com. I actually just signed my class up last night! I spent over an hour looking at all the different components of this site. There are worksheets that support the common core standards for operations and algebraic thinking (partials algorithms) and operations in base 10 (place value algorithms). I really liked the color templates of the math games, which I plan to laminate and have my students use during the math work stations block of guided math time. Greg talked in depth about his new program, called Kakooma- a fun way to get kids working with numbers and learning to break them apart- which can parallel to the strategies that you are teaching in class. My boyfriend has already implemented this with his fourth graders and it is quickly gaining more popularity than www.xtramath.org with his students!
Can you recognize this lovely lady??? It is Kim Adsit! I felt like I met a celebrity! I was nervous to go up and introduce myself, but she was super nice and so friendly! She even said that she knew who I was- how exciting!! Her enthusiasm was contagious! The audience was laughing and smiling throughout her whole presentation.
She was also an AMAZING presenter!!! The room that she presented in was COVERED in student created bulletin boards. Everyone was walking around and taking pictures of her samples- obviously I was one of them! I loved Kim’s presentations so much because she shared a plethora of actual student work samples!!! I listened to other presenters who were really missing this piece and left a lot of question in my mind. Kim really did “show and tell” exactly how she implements her ideas with her students.
Even though I teach third grade and her presentations were geared more towards Kindergarten- First Grade, I still went to several of her presentations because she really does have such a talent of sharing her ideas in such a positive and upbeat manner. Thank you for making this such a wonderful conference to attend, Kim!!!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!