Let me think...
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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

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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.

Learning is sometimes hard!

Math is all around, all the time.  We learn from our math instruction, but also from each other and from resources available.

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