Posted in Math

Upside Down and All Around: The Hundreds Chart 3.0

It seems that my first two posts on turning the hundreds charts (grid) upside down has generated a good bit of buzz.  I really appreciated all the feedback from teachers across the country and from the teachers in my own building (special thanks to Andrew Stadel and John SanGiovanni)!  What I thought was going to be a one shot blog post deal has taken on a life of its own.

The great part about being a lead teacher is being in a large elementary school (750 students) with lots of teachers who love to volunteer their classrooms up to me to model and try things out with their students.  So when I pitched this idea to my grade 1 team they were eager to have me try it out.  At that same meeting I came up with the idea of using Steve Wyborney’s digital hundreds chart version to make this into a math routine.  I was able to modify his original hundreds chart into several different upside down versions to use in my routine.

So, the very next day I went off, ipad and tripod in hand, to video myself on my first attempt to Spencer Taylor’s first grade classroom.  Spencer has a group of first graders who have many special needs (a quarter of them already have an IEP) as well as 1 or 2 students who are English Language Learners.   I knew that in our first grade classrooms had spent a good amount of instructional time with place value and using the hundreds chart early in the year.  From our planning the teachers decided to again revisit and expand on their instruction in place value to addition and subtraction in this upcoming marking period (we are really going to focus on those 1.NBT standards).  Spencer warned me that he wasn’t sure how they might respond but, undeterred I forged ahead!

I began by exposing only the 1 and the 100 on the board.  These are what I call the “anchor numbers”; numbers that help students make sense of the board and the arrangement without showing them the entire board.  Then I turned 9 other squares white.  With the students I first just had them simply NOTICE and WONDER about what they saw.  The students quickly able to see that these numbers were in a different place then they were used to but, as you will see in the video, they adapted quickly and were not phased by the change.  Next, for the routine we played a game of the class against me.  I told them that for every  number on the marked spaces, that they could identify correctly they would get a point and for every number that they incorrectly identified I would get the point.  Throughout the idea was that the student identifying the number had to explain to the class how they used their math thinking to determined the solution.

Side note….the video quality is not fabulous (sorry) as the lights had to be off to see the blue outline of the boxes on Steve’s chart.  

What I saw from these students during the short routine was a tremendous amount of thinking and reasoning!  I also saw how easily they could reason through the changes given their knowledge of numbers and patterns. This has spurred me on to think about creating lots of different number charts (with numbers in different locations) and building routines around them to build number sense through reasoning with patterns.

Side note…I would love to create a program where you could have a board with 100 or 120 spaces, fill the smallest number you want into one cell and the largest number into the last cell and then the board would automatically populate so you could use it like the board I modified from Steve or this Classworks board. If this is a skills you have contact me so we can make this happen!  In the meantime I’ll create some different boards on this page and start posting them for teachers.

Something else you might notice from the video is that you will see me try to redirect them to talk to their classmates instead of just me.  Students tend to just respond to the teacher but it is very important for them to communicate with each other instead of just the teacher.  This is something that could easily be built in this classroom through routines and activities.

Even after a successful routine with this group of first graders, I realized that this journey was taking on a life of its own.   First, I’m going to call change the routine name to Number Chart Routine.  My plan is that the boards will have many different configurations.  They may be right side up or upside down, sometimes they will end with 100 and sometimes they will go way beyond that into digits in the thousands or even start below 1 with decimals, fractions, negative number (yes even elementary students can understand that concept), etc…   For now, until I can figure out a way to automate the chart as I mentioned above, I will just begin by creating more variations on the board for teachers use and archiving them here on my blog (and on my school’s google page) for anyone to use and modify for FREE.

Here is the link to the folder that I’m going to continue to add versions of the Number Chart Routine.  I created 10 number charts to start with (5 regular and 5 upside down).  I will be adding more over the next few weeks.  Be sure to drop in again and make suggestions of other variations that you would like to see created!  This post will also be added to a new Math Resources page titled Number Chart Routine.

So…after all of this I hope you will dive in with me and try out this routine and share your experiences, thoughts, and feedback!

Posted in Math

Turning Your Math World Upside Down!

UPDATED!! After this post went live last night, I had some fantastic feedback and thought I would make a few revisions.  Andrew Stadel (Divisible by 3) suggested that I reverse the direction so that 1 is in the right hand column more like a coordinate plane.  What a fabulous idea!!  SO…below you will now find those links instead of my original ones!  

I bet you are wondering what this post is all about!  How could I possibly turn your math world upside down?  As elementary math teachers we tend to use hundreds charts  to help students see patterns as well as a math tool.  Most of you probably use a traditional 1 to 100 chart or a 0 to 99 chart.  My complaint about the hundreds chart has always been that when you start using as a tool to teach patterns in adding and subtracting, well it seems to be visually backwards…

Think about it…on a hundreds chart if you add 29 + 10 you start on 29 and go DOWN one line to find a sum of 39.  Moving down feels like taking something away not adding to something.   The same is true when you subtract you are actually physically moving UP!  No wonder our kids are so confused!!!  Think about this…on a graph 0 is at the bottom of the graph or on a coordinate grid and the scales moves up.  The same is true for a thermometer.

So, why do we do this to kids.  Why not turn that chart upside down????  Check out the image below…now add 29 + 10 again.  Notice that now you move up, just like a graph, or a thermometer.  I just ask you to think about it.  I know that you’ve probably been using that traditional chart forever but maybe this might help our students.

To get you started I am giving you some links to some basic Upside Down Hundreds Charts I have made.

1-100 Basic Upside Down Hundreds Chart LR 2.0

0-99 Basic Upside Down Hundreds Chart LR 2.0

1-120 Upside Down Chart (Grade 1 CCSS) LR 2.0

1-200 Upside Down Chart LR 2.0

Decimal Hundredths Chart LR 2.0

Let me know what you think of this!   I’d love some feedback…do you like this idea, not like this idea, or if you try it out I’d love to hear how it worked!

Posted in Math

Need to jump start your math the day after the Super Bowl? Then read this…

I’m sure if your reading this then either the Super Bowl is over and your are waiting for This is Us to come on or… you are passing time during the commercials surfing your ipad!  If you are like me…I’m always in search of a way to get my students “into learning” after a late night watching the Super Bowl by incorporating some of the game into our learning.

I have created a new math routine called, Reveal a Graph to help teach students how to really “read” graphs and data and peak their interest in numbers and math.  Tonight I created 2 additional Reveal a Graph routines that incorporate the Super Bowl.

The concept behind my routine comes from a Dan Meyer video I watched on ways to get kids really engaged in mathematics.  Dan suggested taking a graph, covering parts of the graph and having students notice and wonder with it before giving them the entire graph and a question.

In my 22 years of teaching I have noticed that students do not really “read” graphs.  They simply read the question and start searching for the answer.  This routine will force your students to really “read” all the information on the graph and think about it before answering a question.  Better yet…with each routine I ask kids to come up with questions they can ask and answer about the graph BEFORE I give them a question.  Most of the time my kids will come up with the question I was going to ask without me even posing it!

Know that these graphs can be used across the grade levels as long as your students can understand the information in the graph.  I am often intrigued to hear how the responses differ when I use the same graph with students in primary grades and then use the same graph in the upper grades!

So…if I have peaked your curiosity go to my Reveal a Graph Routine page to watch my short video and access the files.

PS… Here is a direct link to the the 1st Super Bowl Reveal a Graph and the 2nd Reveal a Graph that includes the Super Bowl!