My STEM Units

Thursday, June 19, 2014

STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Math Part 2

A few weeks back, I posted about using Math at home to help stop the summer slide.  It was by far my most viewed post.  That resonated with me.  Parents and teachers want to help their children over the summer, but might not know exactly how.  I have pulled more games out of my "bag of tricks" and made videos to help you "see" the learning.

Summer slide is the phenomenon where students lose concepts learned the prior year.  Experts have estimated that teachers spend over one month reteaching those concepts when school does resume.  Summer slide has also been targeted as a major cause of achievement gap in students. (click on the infographic to the right)

An article from RIFAccording to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association: "A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills."


There are many ways to work on math skills at home.  Playing games is probably my favorite. You most likely already have the supplies needed and can get started today!

1.  Puzzle Games:  Did you know you can use a puzzle to reinforce math concepts?  Students struggle with converting fractions, decimals, and percents.  Why give them grueling, boring worksheets?  I have adopted a phrase "if they can't do the worksheet independently, it won't help them.  If they can do the worksheet independently, they never needed it in the first place."  I prefer to play games!

This puzzle game is great for little and big kids alike.  The littles can work on fine-motor skills.  They can help count the connected pieces.  Bigger kids can do more math!  My students got to the point that they computed the difference every time the timer chimed.  I started this activity in pairs in the beginning of the year and by November, it became a permanent feature of my Math Rotation Stations.  Dollar stores have an assortment of 100 piece puzzles for $1.  (hint: if you put the tracker sheet in a page protector, you can use a dry-erase marker for repeated use)

2.  Math Talks:  If you thought some of my games on the last post required minimal supplies, this one will surprise you.  No supplies!  One of the newest trends in the common core classroom is Number Talks.  The teacher may pose a problem on the board and the students are asked to think about various strategies to solve it.  Some teachers have the students indicate how many strategies they have used by holding up fingers.  I found writing out the strategies was more helpful.  As I walk around the room, I put a star next to the strategies that I want on the board.  I am careful to choose different strategies.  After the students write their strategy on the board, they talk about how they used that strategy to solve the problem.

This concept still works at home.  Instead of pulling math problems from a book, pull from your everyday lives.  For instance, last night, my 1st grader gasped when I opened a new (big) box of cookies.  "Mommy, how many cookies do you think are in there?!"  As parents, we are tempted to give the answer to our children.  Instead, stop and ask them.  "I don't know.  Let's see how we can find out."  Talk out loud so they can track your strategy.  "If I look at the nutrition information, it says there are 5 cookies in a serving and there are 22 servings in this box."  I was going to say, "That means there are 22 groups of 5" but I didn't need to because before I could think aloud, my 7 year old shouted, "110 cookies!"  Again, we might be tempted to stop the process right there and just accept the correct answer.  Don't.  Ask "how do you know?" or "What was your strategy?"

Again, you can use Math Talks with all kids, big and little.  Use math in the grocery store, kitchen, driving down the road, anywhere!  

No comments:

Post a Comment