Thursday, September 20, 2012

Translating Math

I did this one last week, but didn't get around to blogging about it yet.  This is an idea that I stole from @jreulbach in this post.  Translating words into math is a skill that is so important in math at any level. So I took her graphic organizer and just moved some things around a little bit so that I could fold it up in our ISNs.  I also added words that will indicate variables since the kids will be using it for algebra.  I ended up with this: (printed double sided: flip on short edge)



And put it into our ISNs like so:


As far as actually putting the words in, if I tried to just tell kids what to write I know they wouldn't have really listened all that much.  Instead I just took a sheet of paper and wrote out all the words.  Then I gave the kids the word page in a clear dry erase sleeve.

They had to read each word, decide where to put it and then write it inside the appropriate symbol.  Did they do them all correctly? Of course not, but that's ok.  I put it in the dry erase sleeves so that they could cross out words as they went along.  Some kids opted to do their work in dry erase marker and have me check it over before writing their answers on the foldable because they wanted theirs to be neat.  No problem.

We went over it at the end (in addition to me helping them as I walked around) and they just fixed any of the ones they had in the wrong spot.  Often I am actually able to give the kids a significant amount of one on one attention during activities like this (especially with small classes) so I don't even need to read the answers aloud at the end because I have worked individually and checked each kid's paper.

What I also enjoy about this is that I have seen some kids using their key words over the past couple days.  Also, as we have been working on problems and activities the kids have been coming across words that were not part of the list originally.  When this happens, I'll stop class for a second, discuss the word and have kids add it to their foldable.  I could add these words to the list for next time, but I actually really like doing it this because it shows the kids that our notes are ongoing works in progress.  We don't just create a foldable and then forget about it; it changes, gets updated, and gets used as we learn new things.

This is one of the ways to create an ISN that is valuable to kids.  I don't just have them stick papers in so that they are there, I try to really spend time on them and teach the kids how to use them as a tool.

A good idea to differentiate this would be to create different sheets of key words and do a jigsaw type activity.  Kids could move into homogeneous groups and work with a list of words that is at a good level for them and when they return to their original groups they could share all their answers so that in the end everyone ends up with all the words.  I think that I'll definitely do this next time.  I'll might even try to create the word lists now so that things are all ready to go when I need it next.

12 comments:

  1. This is brilliant, and interactive! I'm totally doing it tomorrow! (Or Wednesday depending on how long the commutative property takes us. :)

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    1. Awesome!! Thanks for the idea :)

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    2. This is my first time on Pintrist and I am so inspired by your ideas!!! I have spent the last hour and a half looking through all of your ideas and I can't wait to start.

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  2. Awesome! I love the graphics and letting them fill in the words. I SHOULD have done something like this weeks ago, but I didn't. I think I will be going back and having them make a page for it. Where did you get your dry erase sleeves?

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    1. Go for it! It's definitely one that comes in handy all year.

      I use these Smart Pals. I don't usually spend a lot of money on things like this, but I use them so much that I splurged on 20 of them. So I actually have some of my own and then a second set that my school gave me to use too.

      You can really easily just use sheet protectors too and have the same effect.

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  3. I used this today with my 5th graders. My class that is majority ELL has really been struggling with word problems and when I saw this last night (and then graded this morning) I thought BINGO! It took a while to really pair up the words, but we finally got there. Going to cross my fingers that it becomes something useful for them from now on.

    I don't use ISNs, but I'm really starting to see the benefit of it. Is it possible to start something like this mid-year? This is my first year of teaching, and I don't want to get myself stretched too thin (I get my kids for 90 minute blocks, so I'm using part of that time for math workshop) but I also don't want to sell my kids short.

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    1. I don't think that it's ever too late, especially in September!

      But I would suggest going with whatever you think you're comfortable with. You could create a foldable holder in their binders if that's more manageable for now or just focus on breaking down concepts into good graphic organizers and keep these all in a section of their notebook. Everybody implements ISNs a little differently so there are really tons of possibilities. Maybe sort through all the ideas you come across and start by focusing on a few that work best for you.

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  4. I used this today with my 7th graders, and it worked so well. This is my first year teaching math, but my veteran math teachers were all super impressed with this foldable. Thank you for sharing! We're starting algebraic expressions, so if you have any ideas that you would always use with your students, I'd love to hear about them. Thank you again for all of your posts. I check this site every day!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that :) What are you doing with algebraic expressions? Like evaluating them/order of operation type stuff?

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    2. Yes. We're currently working on evaluating them, which they're pretty good at if the expression is given to them, but they are still struggling with translating word problems into expressions with subtraction and division.

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  5. I just found your site last week on Pinterest and i've been on it for HOURS! This will be my first year teaching and I get to teach math! I'm super excited to use ISN's and you've done a great job of breaking it down! One question, is there a way to get your documents from somewhere else besides Scribd?

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  6. I stumbled on your blog while looking for ideas to help my little girl with her schoolwork. I am in love with your blog and your ideas! She is very hands-on and visual, so math has been very difficult for her this year. I am currently making all of my kids ISN's over the summer to make sure that they keep up for next year.

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