Sunday, November 4, 2012

Math Investigations Questions

Okay, so I am taking this online course about Math Investigations.  I am soooo trying to stay positive.  I am not a big fan of "scripted" courses.  Granted, I feel that some teachers who are starting out, it can be a big help!  However, being that I seem to always have a different set of learners each  year, I feel that sometimes Investigations makes it a "one size fits all."

Don't get me wrong.  There are some good things about the program.  For those of you who have been following me for awhile, you know I am a big fan of students being able to explain their thinking, having different methods of finding solutions, and using manipulatives!  Investigations does go along with that.

But there are things they are sorely lacking in their program.  Not to mention, they only have second graders going to tens and ones places with Place Value (our standards go through hundreds and sometimes, I even approach the thousands, depending on my group!).  There are a few other things I could nitpick, but I guess my question to you is this:  Does your school use it?  How do you implement it?

I force mine into small groups, which means I have "math workshop" everyday (sort of) with my BUILD centers.  I pick and choose some activities and frankly, if it seems to complicated, I modify it or completely change it to something I've done before the program. 

Do you send home the math games for your students and families to practice?  How do your students do with math fluency?  I realize part of the series emphasis on fluency is by gaming...but my kids simply aren't learning it that way.  

If you don't use Investigations, is there another series you use?  I've heard of "Singapore Math," but frankly, I have no idea what it's like.  I think "Saxon Math" has fallen by the wayside, but maybe there are some out there that use it as well.

For now, I'm trying to be positive with my class.  I am trying to get my answers without being too negative (and it's only been 2 sessions!).  It's through Moodle, which is a new experience for me (I've previously used Blackboard).

Okay, well, on a happier note....I used Place Value War (Star Wars Edition) with my class and they absolutely LOVED it!!!!  It's now been put into one of our BUILD centers and I have a feeling it might stay there awhile.  Funny how a lot of my kids rooted for the "bad guys" to win!

So, that inspired me to make another game...this time to emphasize fact fluency since our school is emphasizing this right now with another program.  It's one our correlate came up with, and it'll be interesting to see the results.  We did a benchmark with the kids last week where they had facts flash up on a powerpoint for a few seconds before another came.  Some of my kids did okay.  Others just stared at the screen and said nothing.  The whole time.  I felt so bad for them!

So, since Star Wars motivated my kids to learn their ones, tens, and hundreds, I'm hoping maybe some more characters might help them with some of the facts I remember struggling with as a kid (like 9+6 and 8+7).  So, here it is:

 The students have to find the planet/city/bank robbery, etc. with the sum so they can find out where the superhero will save the day!  I hope they like it!  I figure I'll make a few more, with subtraction and other things we've learned, as soon as I find time.  Nothing like having the kids give you their honest opinions!

If you're interested, you can click {here} for TpT and {here} for Teacher's Notebook (it's on sale at TN!).  I'll let you know my students' reviews next week! :)


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