Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fourteen: Creating Class Community and Introduction to Line Plots

There's always the quandary with regard to starting the school year math program. There's a temptation to jump right into the curriculum in traditional math teaching/learning ways, yet when you do that you don't build community and get to know one another well. You also don't create an invitation to math learning and teaching--a curiosity and relevance for the subject.

Therefore, I prefer to begin the year by introducing students to the main vocabulary, tools, and concepts we'll study all year long in student-friendly, engaging ways. I don't detour too much from the standards as if I do that, I don't have the time to reach the expectations set by system and state standards.

One early review and community building lesson at the start of the year is the introduction to line plots. Introducing line plots with student- and family-friendly data points leads to community building and also allows students to review/learn a math concept/skill that they can apply throughout the year as they study multiple concepts in math.

To begin this study, students and I will create a data chart that includes data about the following student information:
  • letters in first name
  • birthday month number
  • birthday number
  • favorite numbers between 0-12
Note that the information items I use at the start of the year do not include information that could create worrisome comparisons or share. Then we'll create line plots for the data. We'll display the line plots for review and discussion.

For homework students will create similar line plots to describe family members. The following day we'll likely review, share, and write about those family line plots as I introduce math writing and math talk routines and protocols.

Throughout the year, we'll revisit our line plot work as we create more and more sophisticated line plots related to measurement and fraction understanding and problem solving. 

We'll use videos like the one below to develop knowledge and also to teach students how they might access videos online via our class website and elsewhere to aid their math learning and study.