## Four Investigations and a Question

Enjoy our four consecutive days of investigation lessons, plus one BIG question: “Why the investigations? Are they worth the time invested?”

## Back-to-School Night

We’re hosting Back-to-School night tomorrow. Here are our editable slides that can be either projected or printed out for parents. Break a leg!

## Starting the year: Logic, Fractions and Similes

Reminding ourselves of our goals: Higher achievement for all by slowing down the curriculum. Aiming for visualization and conceptual understanding over memorization. Providing challenge for fast learners, by going into more depth. Making math interesting and even fun. 1. Starting With Logic Puzzles We started the year with several days of logic problems, much like …

## Our 5th Grade Math Blog — Version 2.0

Welcome Back!    Here we go – Year Two of our blog. (You can read more about us  here.) We’ve had a great summer, and approach our second year of blogging with the hope that we can improve on what we’re doing.  Of course, that’s the thing about teaching — you never feel like you’ve ‘solved …

## Nearing the end… How are we doing? Self-assessment time for us.

It’s time to look at recent quizzes and evaluate the progress we’ve made this year. Why is it we teachers remember the slips, the failures, the lessons that didn’t work? We’ll try to be honest with ourselves here, and evaluate our outcomes so far for the year. We’re evaluating the three concepts we feel are …

## Problem-solving beats vocabulary

Sorry we’ve been incommunicado for a while! In the last month, we’ve had one week of outdoor education (camping), one week of spring break(yay!), one week of standardized testing(no comment) and a week of school-wide theme-based learning(fun). The trick is not to stress about curriculum 🙂 All those other things matter! If we are measuring …

## Teaching Angles

We are surprised every year (re-surprised?) at the most common mistakes fifth graders make around angles. What’s NOT surprising: The difficulty of choosing WHICH of the 2 numbers you encounter on the protractor… Is is 60º or 120º? What IS surprising

## The Case for Withholding Algorithms (For a While!)

In 1998, Tom Carpenter and his colleagues documented grades 1–3 students’ use of invented strategies and standard algorithms. The vast majority of students in the study used some invented strategies. The researchers found that students who used invented strategies before learning standard algorithms showed better understanding of place value and properties of operations than those …

## Decimal Multiplication – a Visual Approach

Our 8th grade teachers tell us that of the most confusing ideas for students is the difference between linear units (the sides of a rectangle) and quadratic units (the area of a rectangle). Students routinely confuse x,  x-squared, and x-cubed, without realizing what each represents. This concept SHOULD reach back to a conceptual development in …

## Teaching Decimals with Decimal Squares

The most visual, most fun way to learn decimals is with decimal squares. We use decimal squares we bought from https://decimalsquares.com  several years ago.  They show decimals in tenths, hundredths and thousandths, and the equivalencies are obvious. (see below) The website has fun interactive games, too, but you need to download the Shockwave app to …