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Math

Math is a subject that many parents feel comfortable with. It’s not as subjective as reading and writing; most of the time it’s either right or wrong. But the math your student will learn, and how they will learn it, is not quite what you are used to.

What’s different

Your student will learn math using digital tools. The two main software tools we use are Khan Academy and MobyMax.

There are a few unique features about this approach that you will notice:

Why do this?

Some parents see using digital math tools as a big change from the paper math book. Some even think about asking for a paper math book. We are most comfortable with what we know. But math is one of the absolutely best use-cases for technology.

Think of how many times students have worked on a math worksheet, diligently solving all 20 math problems, only to get to school the next day and find out they did the entire page wrong! Or a student that has absolutely no idea how to begin, so they leave the page blank.

Technology solves this problem by providing instant feedback. If a student gets the first problem wrong, they can look over the solution, look at a hint, watch a tutorial video. They can teach themselves how to improve, or learn that they need to ask someone for help. This speeds up the pace of learning. Students who use digital math tools diligently typically learn much more than a year’s worth of math in a year. Our class average growth is sometimes near two year’s worth of math improvement in a single year! And it’s not uncommon to see our class performance near the top of the list in our district.

How it works

The math block in Room 130 is about one hour long. Here is a typical day in math:

  1. Math Skills Warmup. Students will use MobyMax Test Prep Math to review math from the year before. This will help students fill in gaps in their learning.
  2. Fact Fluency. Students use MobyMax Fact Fluency to work math facts for about 4 minutes daily with the goal of mastering all math facts up to division.
  3. Math mini-lesson. We will usually work on a whole group problem of the day in order to learn a new skill.
  4. Independent work or small groups. Students work independently, or in groups, to practice the skill we just practiced in class. Students that are working ahead will start something new. Others may try to finish something from another day. In this way, students are usually working at their own pace. Skills not finished in class can be finished at home or on another day. I’ll ask students to work on math for 15 minutes a night at home Monday through Thursday.

Getting a grade

Students earn a grade in math based on two types of assignments.

How to help

Parents can help their student with math in a number of ways. First, check to see that your student is working on Khan Academy or MobyMax Math each night. If you student encounters a problem during the work, never give the answer. Always answer a question with a question: “Mom, I don’t understand this.” “Okay, where can we look to get some help?” Both software tools have hints, tutorials, and videos, and Khan Academy also shows solutions for correct answers.

About math facts

Not knowing math facts becomes a significant problem by the middle of the year when the class is involved in column multiplication and long division. If your student is not making fast enough progress mastering math facts using the 4-minute class time, you might need to have your student practice math facts at home, too. Your student can access MobyMax Fact Fluency from home, or you could practice through quizzing by you, flash cards, electronic learning games, the Internet, or computer software.

Learn together!

Remember, you won’t always remember everything from fourth grade math at first glance; the brain remembers easily what it uses most. It’s okay to admit that you haven’t done this in a while. Take the opportunity to learn the math together. Show that you value curiosity, hard work and a learning spirit!

Resources

15 Responses

  1. […] Math: Today students practiced estimating adding and subtracting decimals. Homework is to complete journal p. 87 and either worksheet p. 52 or p. 270. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Wednesday, January 17 on Jan 17, 2007 at 6:57 pm

  2. […] Math: Students developed personal references for a centimeter (width of pinky finger) and meter (distance from shoe to hip, for me), then measured several objects using their personal references and then rulers or meter sticks. Homework is to complete Math Boxes 4.8 and StudyLink 4.8. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Tuesday, January 31 on Jan 30, 2007 at 6:53 pm

  3. […] Math: We reviewed converting metric measurements into meters, centimeters and millimeters. Homework is to complete Math Boxes 4.9 and worksheet p. 62. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Wednesday, January 31 on Jan 31, 2007 at 6:27 pm

  4. […] Math: Today most students practiced adding and subtracting decimals, and some reviewed metric measurement and metric unit conversion (meters to centimeters, millimeters to meters).   […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Thursday, February 8 on Feb 8, 2007 at 7:47 pm

  5. […] Math: Students played “multiplication wrestling,” which is a game to practice multiplying using the distributive property.  Homework is to finish journal pp. 116-117. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Thursday, February 22 on Feb 22, 2007 at 8:03 pm

  6. […] Math: Today students practiced the partial products method with two digit numbers (52 x 48) by solving number stories. Homework is to finish journal pp. 128-130. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Tuesday, March 6 on Mar 6, 2007 at 6:08 pm

  7. […] Math: Students learned the standard method of multiplication, which is the method most parents and adults are familiar with. Homework is to complete a multiplication worksheet using this last method. Students working in a small group with me today have the option of using any method for the second row of problems; completing the last row of problems is optional.  […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Tuesday, March 13 on Mar 13, 2007 at 9:44 pm

  8. […] Math: Students practiced multiplying three digit numbers by two digit numbers by playing Multiplication Top It Race to 500,000!   […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Thursday, March 15 on Mar 15, 2007 at 6:12 pm

  9. […] Math: Students completed a multiplication MiniQuiz and took part in Math Skills.    […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Friday, March 16 on Mar 16, 2007 at 4:35 pm

  10. […] Math: We reviewed division by playing a math game. Homework is to complete five division problems, checked and signed by a parent. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Monday, April 23 on Apr 23, 2007 at 5:19 pm

  11. […] Math: We practiced multiplication and division number stories. Homework is to complete Journal pp. 150, 151, 153, and 154. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Tuesday, April 24 on Apr 24, 2007 at 8:55 pm

  12. […] Math: None today due to Author’s Day. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Wednesday, May 9 on May 9, 2007 at 5:44 pm

  13. […] Math: Students used fraction cards to located and name equivalent fractions (1/2 = 2/4 = 3/6). Homework is to finish Journal pp. 357-357. Science: We took notes in our minibook about how the earth moves (365 days for one revolution around the sun, 24 hours for one rotation) and how the moon moves (about one month to rotate and revolve around the earth). […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Monday, May 14 on May 15, 2007 at 4:36 pm

  14. […] Math: We finished working on the equivalent fractions chart (pp. 356-357). Homework is to finish Journal p. 205 and StudyLink 7.6. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Tuesday, May 15 on May 15, 2007 at 4:50 pm

  15. […] Math: None today due to a three-on-three basketball tournament assembly to get ready for the Relay for Life basketball game tonight. […]

    by The Fourth Story » Blog Archive » Class activities for Thursday, May 17 on May 17, 2007 at 6:13 pm

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Welcome to the online home of Room 130, at McGrath Elementary School, the fourth/fifth grade classroom of Mr. Howd. This site is both our classroom website and our class blog. How to use this site An online planner. Visit the home page of this site to get daily news and activities from Room 130. You’ll […]more →