Monday, March 30, 2015

Number Line (a.k.a. Measuring Tool)

Math efficiency - what a never ending and massive goal to reach.  We chip away at it day by day, because moving drawers and tally makers to more efficient strategies is not an easy task.  When they start forgoing tallies for number lines, for example, it's a BIG deal and worthy of a shout out on Facebook.  (I've been known to do this on occasion.)  

For certain every year my mathematicians are grasping the number line better than the year before, which hands-down has something to do with the fact that I'm teaching it better.  It's amazing how that works.  

This year my number line Aha! moment came when I realized it's a model that's useful in various contexts, which of course leads to more meaningful connections.  Here are three ways my mathematicians are using the number line in our measurement unit.

Little did I know until I was in the midst of things that I was actually incorporating a few of the Practice Standards.  (Imagine what I could accomplish if I used them with intentionality.  Oh my.)   

Practice Standard 5: Use appropriate tools strategically.

I can't help but think that some of the dots are connected more securely for these mathematicians after strategically seeing and using the number line tool in a different context from what they're accustomed to.  

Practice Standard 7:  Look for and make use of structure.

They're also being exposed to the patterns that repeat themselves and hold various mathematical concepts together.  Math concepts should be integrated, not isolated.  I can honestly say I'm not nearly intentional about solidifying those connections as I could be, but this year's Aha! moment is helping.

I keep thinking that one of these years I'll have this math thing down.  I'm pretty sure I'm missing the mark in a myriad of ways, but I'm holding on to the idea that I'm moving in the right direction.  There's hope.

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  1. Wow!!! Love this post! It is making me rethink number lines And how I can teach with them more effectively next year!

    1. Em, it seems like I'm constantly wondering how to teach them more effectively. I think I'm on the right track, but I still feel like there's so much to learn. :)

  2. You may say that you are missing the mark in many ways, but I say you are hitting the mark wonderfully! You have a way of taking a concept and applying it to other areas in ways your students obviously understand!
    Conversations in Literacy

    1. Lori, I'm trying to do that. Sometimes I actually pull it off. Thank you for believing in me.

  3. Your clock picture happened at just the right moment for me - we have not touched on time at all this year, but I need to for year end assessments. Thanks for the idea to get me started. Sara

    1. Sara, you are so welcome. I'm glad the timing was right!