Week 10: Call to Action (Option 2)

25 Jan 2018 4:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Choose a strategy (Choral Counting, Open Number Sentences, True/False Number Sentences, Always/Sometimes/Never) and try it out. Plan with colleagues, if possible. Be deliberate about your choices; make sure they reflect your mathematical goal for the lesson. How did it go? Share.


  • 25 Jan 2018 9:53 PM | Anonymous member
    Our class uses strategies on a daily basis. The one spoken of in the chapter that we use the most would be choral counting. We do this every day. I begin my year with teaching multiplication and division, but for Third Grade, we must practice it daily. We have number strips in which we look at the numbers as we count up and down skip counting to learn our facts. This is helping the students to memorize the numbers in counting, but I find if we visually write them on the board, they learn them too. When the numbers are written, the kids can see the comparison, such as times 2 and times 4. They can visually see that they take the answer to times 2 and double it, and they have the answer to the times 4 fact. So, in combination in learning strategies such as arrays, number bonds, and tape diagrams, the choral counting is essential too. We often count for various reasons. We just completed measurement of time. We did a lot of counting here as well. This taught the students counting to figure out elapsed time. We used the clock, number strips, the hundred's number chart, and number lines, as a few to find the answer to these word problems. I find thru repetition of counting, kids learn how to count, but visually the students can see the comparisons, therefore learning strategies easier to learn the concept.
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  • 27 Jan 2018 4:54 PM | Deleted user
    In first grade I am working with my students to build foundational math skills and counting is one of them. Each day we do calendar math and practice counting by 1's, how many days in school by 5's and 10's and recently skip counting by 2's. This daily practice helps them build skill. With choral counting I see students stop and look at a peer if they confused with where they should be. We also use number grids for choral counting and that is very effective in my classroom because students can work at their own pace when being asked to find a number.

    In the future using other strategies with young learners may be just as helpful as choral counting and that would be one thing that I would want to explore more in my teaching.
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  • 28 Jan 2018 10:20 AM | Anonymous member
    My Ed Tech and I have been noticing that many of our students have difficulty seeing that any digit added to a “ten” becomes the digit in the ones place while the tens digit stays the same.. They want to count on every time instead of knowing there is a pattern.

    We decided to try a choral “counting” activity to see what the kids would notice. I started the count and the kids joined in telling what would be next as I recorded what they said in one column. (This could be done in two columns and then the ones place going down the column would be counting by evens and odds...)

    10+0=10 40+0=40
    10+1=11 40+1=41
    10+2=12 40+2=42
    10+3=13 40+3=43
    10+4=14 40+4=44
    10+5=15 40+5=4
    10+6=16 40+6=46
    10+7=17 40+7=47
    10+8=18 40+8=48
    10+9=19 40+9=49

    After recording two “counts,” we asked the kids what they noticed. The activity went well and the kids had many things they noticed that will help them be more automatic when adding digits to “tens.”

    “The zero in the ones place is like saying it’s ‘a ten’.”
    “The tens digit stays the same and you just add 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9.”
    “The column of the ones place counts 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.”
    "You keep the ten and put the digit being added in the ones place where the zero was."
    "It's a pattern!"

    I was really pleased with the participation and the students’ thinking. Although “choral counting” is something I have done in the past, it was simply rote counting. I found choral counting coupled with discussion about patterns very effective. I will be making Choral Counting a more regular routine in my classroom.

    I liked the following quote: “This activity is targeted to help children learn how to apply computational strategies, notice and use patterns to make predictions, and reason through why patterns are occurring.”

    We dd go on to have the kids try to transfer what they noticed and apply it to computation and using the number line. We found it to be too big of a jump just yet, but could see how it will happen with practice!
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  • 28 Jan 2018 9:36 PM | Anonymous member
    I teach high school but I was intrigued by choral counting. My grandson is here so I figured he was a good candidate. They have not been doing this in his class. At least I don't think he has been. It can be difficult work getting him to tell me what they do in math. I asked if he could count by 5's. He said of course and counted starting with 5. I tried a choral count with him and said we were going to start at 7. He told me I was ridiculous and that everyone knows that when you count by 5's you start at 5. Try as I might, he would not play. I find it interesting how rigid students get. I am going to try with my high school students tomorrow. We will count by 3/4. I will update my post later. Wish me luck. They hate fractions.
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    • 01 Feb 2018 11:57 PM | Deleted user
      Hi Ellen,

      I can't wait to hear how that goes. Let me know if using money helps (adding 75 cents instead).

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      • 25 Feb 2018 12:07 PM | Anonymous member
        When I saw the section on Choral Counting my first thought was counting by 5's, but as I read I saw the potential for my middle school students. There are so many activities I want to try and so little time. I, too, plan to count by 3/4s. My students do well relating values and money, so I really like the 75¢ suggestion. I wonder if they will make that connection on their own. My students also struggle with elapsed time, so the activity on page 253 will be used this week as well. When it comes to time many of them try to work in base 10 rather than 60, so when they borrow they have 100 minutes. Oh, and at some point we will trying something like starting at -2.2 and add 0.3. I have students that struggle with positive and negative values and this will be a nice way to visual the progression of values as they think, say, hear, and see the numbers. If we stand up while we are doing this, we can get movement involved as well.
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        • 04 Mar 2018 10:57 AM | Anonymous member
          Okay, so my 8th-grade students and I have done several Choral Counting activities and we never got to the more complex numbers I had planned to use. The good news is that the students had a great time looking at patterns and making predictions as to the outcome if we used other numbers. We started with 10 and added 8 each time. We then started with 10 and added 4. They saw that each resulting number was an even number and then we added the sum of the digits and found patterns there. If the counting number was 56, then the sum of the digits was 11. This would throw off the pattern until the students thought to add the sum of those digits and got 2. The students wanted to know what would happen if we added an odd number each time or if we started with a number other than 10. We have used the activity for four days thus far and we are not done yet. They still have more combinations they want to explore.

          I did find after the first day that my students need to write their answers on paper first before we could do Choral Counting. The processing time was different for each one, but once they had their list of numbers written done they could all be heard loud and clear.
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    • 04 Feb 2018 10:16 PM | Anonymous member
      Good luck!
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  • 29 Jan 2018 7:16 AM | Deleted user
    Choral Counting is one of the ways we begin our math class each day. We use many other strategies but the one I haven't used enough is, Always/Sometimes/Never. I decided to use this one to begin our last few math classes. I loved the conversations that occurred throughout this process. The class loved it, too!
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  • 30 Jan 2018 9:47 AM | Anonymous member
    In fourth grade we use choral counting a lot to get things rolling in the morning, usually multiplication or division facts. I find that it works well because they know what to do and what to expect. I did try to use it in a different way recently. We did some work with patterns, specifically multiplication and division patterns. They were given a few minutes to figure out what the pattern was and what the next few numbers were, then we would orally continue the pattern. The one that they found to be fun and tricky was a pattern where the numbers were doubling: 2,4,16, etc.
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  • 01 Feb 2018 5:37 AM | Anonymous member
    I use choral counting almost daily with multiplication and division facts. A few years back a student asked to do the counting backwards. It's great since it gets really thinking. One way I have them practice is to be in partners - write the numbers if need be - and then practice backwards counting. Then we come back together as a group to say the facts as a group.
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  • 01 Feb 2018 9:52 AM | Anonymous member
    This week in third grade we worked on open number sentences and true false number sentences. My goal for them was to be able to analyze these sentences and reason about them before just jumping right in to solve them. This was a challenge!

    Some of the things we discovered is that often the number sentences do not need to be "solved" to prove equivalence or not. If you can reason about whats on each side of the equal sign you can see which one is more or less or equal. The discussions this week were rich and deep and I have not been more proud of my students and their mathematical thinking.
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  • 02 Feb 2018 12:45 PM | Anonymous member
    I experimented with Always, Sometimes, Never with my 6th grade class this week. They were given a set of cards with statements such as: When you multiply two numbers, you always get a larger number. They worked in teams to sort the cards, then did a gallery walk to see how other teams sorted the statements. They were instructed to turn cards on other team’s sorts sideways if they disagreed. A discussion followed with lots of great specific math vocabulary and reasoning to defend their answers. They love to argue.

    My next step was to choose one statement and write a mathematical claim, so we brainstormed what do good writers do. The came up with a thorough list that included: Use diagrams. Explain their thinking. Use equations. Check for accuracy. Use specific vocabulary.

    They moved to crafting a mathematical argument. They articulated their claim by tweaking and using precise language. They specified when it worked and instances when it didn’t work. Doubting the claim was a bit more difficult for them. They discussed their claims with other students and revised if necessary. They are currently working on finishing a final draft of their claims.
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  • 03 Feb 2018 10:35 AM | Anonymous member
    Chapter 10

    Always/ Sometimes/ Never
    I called this activity translating
    Students had to sort words into categories
    The categories were:
    Addition Subtraction Multiplication Division Parentheses

    They worked in groups of two and had to defend where they put words where they thought they belonged.
    As we shared out, they came to the realization that some of the words could be in two different categories depending on the situation, question, or context.

    Words like per, and of ,brought up a lot of discussion. Students sited Mr. or Mrs. Taught me that blah, blah, blah…… (, and I said, Ok, so I guess ten out of 13 is multiplication. And, I wrote a ratio on the board.
    Of course they responded no, that's not what I meant.
    I chanted my, don't do something because you were taught to do something in one situation. Look at what you are trying to figure out, look at the question, the problem. What do you know, what are you trying to figure out, what do you need to do to get that answer?

    I refer to subtraction and say, you were taught you couldn’t subtract a smaller number from a larger number, and now you know that you can. Your answer will be a negative number, but you can do it.
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  • 04 Feb 2018 3:18 PM | Anonymous member
    Recently, I have focused my math instruction around Geometry with a focus on identifying shapes and learning defining and nondefining attributes of shapes. My students have learned the attributes that always define the shapes and attributes that can chance but not change what the shape is. They can quickly identify that three sides and three angles make a triangle and they know that a triangle can never be a squre. I feel that using the always, sometimes and never strategy could take my students' learning to a deeper level and help them to have interesting and deeper conversations about shapes. Page 277 had some great examples of statements would be a great starting place for me. I haven't had a chance to try this yet but I look forward to trying it out this week to see how my students can apply their previous learning about shapes.
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  • 04 Feb 2018 4:20 PM | Anonymous member
    I have tried two strategies. The first being choral counting. I explained to the class that when I can't go to sleep, I skip count forwards and backwards finding patterns. As the children have skip counted by various numbers, I've recorded the multiples on the board and the children then are able to see the patterns that result. I then leave blanks for the children to fill in. They are excited to be able to fill in the numbers knowing that they've found the patterns.

    The other strategy I used was the "Always, Sometimes, Never." We just finished a unit on Area. Some children still are a bit confused so the partner and small group discussions about area have proved to be helpful for all.I've also created claims about graphing. It will be interesting to hear the discussions about these claims.I like the idea that the children will be working together to repair misunderstandings and advance the knowledge of their peers.
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    • 08 Feb 2018 9:31 PM | Anonymous member
      "repair misunderstandings" I like that and plan to use the word repair more. Thanks for the tip! :)
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  • 05 Feb 2018 3:55 PM | Anonymous member
    I tried True/False Number Sentences in my 3/4 intervention group last week. We have been working on place value using base ten blocks. I gave my students number sentences and had them predict whether or not the equation was true or false. I then had them use base ten blocks to prove/disprove their prediction. It was very interesting to see that they struggled to see the connections between the equations. However, as we worked through several examples, they were able to come to some sort of conclusion about the "rule" that applied to the equation. I felt that students were better able to verbalize why they solved the problem in a particular way.
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  • 07 Feb 2018 7:57 PM | Deleted user
    In Kindergarten we coral count on a daily basis. We count by ones to 100, by tens to 100 and by fives to 50 right now. I have started asking the student of the day to point to a number and we count on by ones and tens. I have found that because we count every day, the kids are able to tell what numbers come next, can figure out missing numbers in a number pattern and can count on from a given number when assessing a lot sooner than when we have not done choral counting consistanly in the past. We talk about number patterns and what they notice when we count. We talk about tens and ones (place value) and what it means to have 10 ones and 1 ten. We will soon be moving on to the 100's place. I think by choral counting every day we are always looking at numbers to help us understand that they are not only digits but that the digits mean something.

    I am going to try the true/false strategy with my students with some word problems. I will report back our conversations and problem solving strategies.
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  • 08 Feb 2018 7:11 PM | Anonymous member
    In my class my students are using choral counting on a daily basis. I have a group of students that are working on multiplication so they are using choral counting to help with multiplication facts. Then I also have students that are working on telling time. Those students have been working skip counting by 5's and 10's. I have found that choral counting has helped my students.
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  • 08 Feb 2018 9:28 PM | Anonymous member
    I took my 20 min. P.E. break to visit grade 2 to try Always/Sometimes/Never. VERY FUN!!! The students were in groups of 4 when I got there, ready to go. I thanked them for helping me do my homework. They were all very eager and receptive. I explained that I was looking for always/sometimes/never for responses and that they were working in teams. I asked them if they go to school always, sometimes or never. The overwhelming response was always, but soon one student piped up and said, "Not always. Sat. and Sun. there is no school and what if you're sick." Aaahhhhh. Then, I used the book's example: A number that begins with 9 is greater than a number that begins with 2. There were 4 groups. One group said, "Always." Two groups said, "Sometimes." One group said, "Never." They had their work spaces on divided papers. They were asked to prove their answers. Each group gave only one example (interesting). Half the students used 92 and 29. One group used decimals. Even after all groups presented their proofs and were given time to revise their work/claim, one group still claimed, "Never." They wanted me to give them the answer. I left to go back to pre-k saying for them to discuss it with their classmates. The time wasn't long enough and I will check tomorrow to see if there was further conversation among the students. The brief activity was very powerful and I gained a lot of knowledge about the students thinking. WOW.
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  • 09 Feb 2018 6:46 PM | Anonymous member
    I LOVE "always, sometimes, never," and just in recent years have discovered some great resources that do more than just a handful of statements on a given topic. Just this unit in Geometry, I gave an ASN on angles in triangles a few weeks ago. I corrected it but accidentally kept it for the duration of the unit, which I truly just realized TODAY! I plan to give it back Monday and will ask students to reflect on which ones they got wrong and whether they still agree with what they put, or if they feel differently, why?

    Monday is a second day of our unit review before our test, so I am hopeful this activity will go well. In the past, we've done ASNs and I've encouraged debates and students to come to the board or use mini white-boards to give counterexamples when possible. The mathematical conversations are always fascinating, and typically better than I anticipated!
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  • 10 Feb 2018 7:55 AM | Anonymous member
    First of all, I am loving this book as a resource. Every week, I try a new activity to engage the students and to encourage them to think more as mathematicians and less of students trying to fill in blanks in their workbooks. Last week, I distributed claims on paper that I had heard from students. Groups of three worked together to decide if these claims were always true, sometimes true or never true. It was encouraging to see and hear the interactions between the children. When brought together as a class, children defended their thoughts with words and drawings. I then asked the students to think but not express what each might have taken away from these discussions, what was learned. I have enjoyed seeing children teach each other through words and actions when not held to right and wrong answers. The children are engaged and more enthusiastic about playing with math.
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  • 11 Feb 2018 9:54 PM | Anonymous member
    I feel "always, sometimes, or never is a powerful strategy when developing a new conceptI've used always sometimes and never in a few instances.
    Is a square always a rectangle or is a rectangle always a square? This always gets kids on opposite sides of an argument. It is a comfortable subject and both sides are willing to take a risk to support their answer. Another area I have used this is when discovering rules of integers. Through using chips and number lines kids have naturally asked that always,sometime, or never question. "When you add a positive and a negative is it always positive?" This line of questioning allows kids to explore and develop the rules instead of me telling. .
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  • 25 Feb 2018 11:51 AM | Anonymous member
    Like others...I have also used "always, sometimes & never" in our geometry unit. For instance with the attributes of polygons, the concept fits well. I also do a fair amount of choral counting . It was especially helpful in our work in multiplication. All of these strategies help to get students involved and stay connected. Thanks for all of the connections!
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  • 15 Mar 2018 7:23 PM | Anonymous member
    My co-teacher and I like to provide a few statements and then have our students respond with Always, Sometimes, or Never(working in groups). We do this periodically throughout the semester for a week at a time for the first 15 min. of class. They love it so much that this is the time that we hear from most of our students as opposed to asking questions to the class at large.For our next round, we will utilize some of the example statements from p.277 of this book. This activity does provide loads of good practice with a variety of skills such as critical thinking, group dialogue practice, summarizing positions and using precise language, defending claims, listening to counter claims, readjusting thinking when necessary, and more.
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