Let me think...

Third graders are problem solvers!  When i was a child, I remember feeling worried about math.  I felt like there are all of these things I simply had to KNOW!  It wasn't until I was much older that I realzed it was all about connections, and that I could figure things out for myself.   I truly learned to love math and realized that I had loved it all along, through my interest in sewing, woodworking and other hands-on activities.  I hope my students develop that love much earlier.

Making connections among learning is what it is all about.  We talk about how understanding that 4 + 6 = 10 helps us think about

40 + 60, 400 + 600, etc.

Instead of simply stacking numbers, crossing out and regrouping and subtracting "the grown-up way", we try thinking about relationships.  If I know that 60 - 40 = 20, then it can help me think about 60 - 41!  It is just one less!  

I am a firm believer in that old Chinese (I think) proverb: "I hear, I forget.  I see, I remember. I do, I understand."  For learning to be meaningful, we need to be active and involved.  For children, this often means using what I call "good junk" (anything that can be used to model our thinking) or math tools like Base 10 blocks.


We have learners of different abilities in our room.  It is a big job keeping up with them!  In our Math Lab, there are a variety of activities for students.  For each unit in our curriculum, there are Choice Cards.  Students who are ready for an extra, more open-ended challenge work on these instead of or in addition to class work.  The cards include a variety of tasks, ranging from problem-solving to creating games, to performing a song about math! 

I also include activities I have gathered over the years.  There are games, practice sheets and tools I have found helpful in independent work.

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