This blog will connect Primary Gifted Program instructors for professional learning and problem-solving.
Once again I am astonished at the concepts in this book considered on target for my students and the exciting fact that they would be able to grasp and comprehend them! I like the idea of integrating life lessons such as sharing in Chapter 14 (pp.132-141) and the depictions of students in wheelchairs (p. 134, 152, 166), with glasses (p. 128), and in all shapes, sizes, and colors with fun names such as Venus, Ashton, McKenna, and Micah. Chapter 16: When are We Going to Get There? should be standard math fair for all students. No more constant quizzing of mom and dad from the back seat on family trips. Just give kiddos the info and let them come up with their own answers! Math problems concerning calculating amounts of time, speed, and distance have never been my strong suit, so I find that the distance machine (p.142), the “Amount of time machine” (p.154) and the speed machine (p.168) cleverly depicted and concisely and straightforwardly explained to students about how to create and use various basic algebraic formulas according to information given in a problem.
While I didn't really have any "Ah-has," I like how there are several chapters in this section that deal with answering "real life" questions about time and distance, such as "when will we get there?" Here, I'm referring to chapters 15 (How far away is it?, p. 142), 16 (when are we going to get there?, p. 153), and 17 (what is my speed?, p. 166).I also like how conversion of units of measurement are constantly brought up -- again, in a "real life" kind of way -- not just here's the formula, now do the problem. In addition, students are encouraged to do mental math which, in my experience, gifted students love to do.
In response to Eleanor: You bring up a good point about gifted students enjoying mental math. Part of the make up of our primary students, who are identified as gifted in math, is their ability to think in abstract terms and their mental agility in handling new ideas. I like to think in terms of manipulatives, diagrams, and drawings when dealing with math, which may be completely unnecessary for some concepts for this group of students!
Session 2-Question 2Well, since I am still in my “Canadian mode”, and the country is currently under an extreme heat alert, I came across the problem in Chapter 13, problem # 2 concerning temperature and had a Nanette “Ah-ha” moment.Since Houston has such mild winter temperatures, compare a city in another country that uses Celsius and has very “winter” temperatures. Chart, or graph, the extreme differences, say the entire month of January, and compare. If one is really “math inclined”, you could go one step further and convert precipitation…rain versus snow…using the metric system. That thrills me not!Another “Ah-ha” moment for me….I Googled various Canadian and European cities for temperatures…all were in Fahrenheit. Used Google Canada, or Google France, and temperatures were then shown as Celsius. Wow!
I feel this has been addressed in Session 1, and I agree with FMoore that Zaccaro continues in Session 2’s chapters, to address real life problems and lessons. His sense of humor, his graphics, and his very “hip”, youth oriented, savvy vocabulary continues to resonate a welcoming and inviting feel.
No real "ah has' for me either since the chapters are pretty similar - same layout, just different math problems / concepts. I "read" each chapter with part of my brain peculating on how the problems could be combined with technology. Judy C & I know from experience that our kiddos are willing to try most anything if an iBook is involved. The Captioner (http://bighugelabs.com/captioner.php) which turns a picture into a comic strip is tailer made for this book since it's full of cartoon type pictures. Kids could all a "speed" caption to a picture of an animal in "When are We Going to Get There " pp. 153 - 165 or "What is My Speed- pp. 166 - 178. What's my speed could also encompass space ships, rockets, racing cars, submarines or anything else that goes.
In response to Of Life, Education, etc…, you are right on about the PGP students being willing to try anything on a MacBook, and they know how to use them as well as any of my intermediate students. Your ideas for using the Trading Cards software (in Question 1) and using Captioner are terrific ideas for integrating technology into these math lessons. It would be useful to have a collection of the various suggestions all are contributing when we actually begin to use this book with our students.*Homophone mishap in second paragraph of FMoore’s first posting for this question - “fair” should be “fare.”
In response to FMoore's response to Of Life, Education, etc...While I think this blog may be intended as our collection of suggestions on using the book, the analytical part of my mind wants a list by chapter/concept! How do you think we could do this? Wiki?
Wiki, or the Wall Washer that those of us who went to the Barnes and Noble gathering started.I agree, I'd like a chapter by chapter list of ideas too - it appeals to the Virgo in me.
KHarrell - I don’t have too many AHA’s…even though I am now being a little successful at the math…I still have such an aversion to math that this is a REAL challenge. I am still in awe that students in PGP would be able to grasp these concepts…some of them I have to think about…it’s like the puzzles that we do…sometimes the students have to explain them to me. I looked at chapter 13 what are these strange numbers? I never understood negative numbers, but I know the GT students figure the concept out early. As I went through the chapter…I thought of the students creating a time that they would have a negative number as an answer (the lunch account) and creating a video to share with other students. I think if they could come up with a creative way to share the concepts they are learning, it would be fun to have a “math day” where they could bring a friend to challenge – or meet with a buddy.In response to FMoore and Life…. I agree that we need to come up with some activities to create the math on the macs…anything with a mac and the PGP kids are on it! In response to Eleanor – I agree with the use of “real life” as very important. This brings it right home to the kids. I think they will relate to everything in the book.
I like the idea of a chapter by chapter list of ideas available on a wiki, which would be Internet accessible and easy to add to and edit for all PGP teachers. We need our wiki guru – KHarrell - to get us up and running!
There were no real a-ha moments for me. It is kind of the same as in the first chapters. I love the layout and the kid-friendliness of these concepts. I'm also amazed to think about primary level kids being able to answer some of these questions. The concepts seem advanced, but the way they are presented is perfect for our PGP kids (and their old librarian teachers!)
@ KHarrell... When will this be up on a wiki for us? hehe! I do like that idea! We could post our kids projects that they do using these concepts. @Of Life... I like the idea of the kids using the cartoon to make their own problems. My kids love quizzing each other on things and this would be a fantastic way to do it!
Chapter 16"When are we going to get there?" Can we not ALL relate and connect to that famous question?Page 161... Refer to grade level states/landmarks learned and create math problems. Page 164.. Tortoise and the Hare.. Have students perform the play and add MATH to the show.Chapter 16 "How much does it weigh?" Let the students choose a cartoon animal from the book. Then do basic research and find the weigh. Next meeting and the students try to find weight in ounces. Well, in second thoughts, I think I would copy an assortment of the book's cartoon animals and have them choose from the set. tortoise, snake, rabbit, SMALL ANIMAL, to start the actiivity. Even extend to other days and show them an object and ask HOW MANY to weigh the same as their animal. The students could record all in a power point, journal, poster board, etc. The ideas are endless and can be short or extended.
When reading the chapter (16) on When are We Going to Get There, I immediately thought of all of the travel the students are doing this summer. This question is reverberating all over America right now. This unit may be a good starting point coming right back from summer vacation. The students may even come up with their own questions from their real life experiences to ask. This may even segue into some map skills. In Chapter 14 Let's Share the division pyramid is nicely illustrated for the students to visualize. Chapter 15 had many problems in reference to weather. That is a high interest area to kids. That would be fun to make the trading cards with weather pictures and problems to ask their classmates.
I agree with several who said utilizing the cartoon concept would be a great way for kids to illustrate their own problems. They could even use toondo.com to create characters actually thinking out loud on speech bubbles to problem solve. I liked KHarrel's idea of asking kids to think of their school days and actually find real life scenarios for using negative numbers. This could be done with many concepts in the book.
No major “ah-ha’s” for me, but I do continue to enjoy the challenge of working out solutions to these problems myself – and I do mean “challenge”! I wonder sometimes if some of the concepts might be too abstract even for our PGP kids. For example, as I recall back to my 2nd grade teaching days, when we introduced the concept of division, we did so by talking only about the creation of equal groups. We never really used the division symbol or had them write out division equations as are used in this book (e.g. on page 157 with the Distance Machine formula and on page 169 with the Speed Machine formula). Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to work with PGP kids for the last couple of years, so maybe I’m forgetting their capabilities and underestimating their ability to grasp new concepts that have not been formally covered during their regular instruction time. A couple of other asides: I thought it was odd that the author chose to mention the airplane crash death of singer Aaliyah on page 180. It seems to me that the celebrity of Aaliyah would have little relevance to our Kinder – 2nd graders. Also, I was disappointed that the author did not give any further explanation of the answer to question #3 on page 185 about a frog losing half his weight each day ever weighing zero as this is a challenging concept for primary students – gifted or not. I just feel it warranted a little “Einstein” elucidation.
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In chapter 13, on “strange” numbers, students are introduced to the concept of negative numbers. This is a very good thing. I was in seventh grade before I encountered negative numbers and got thrown for a loop. Introducing the concept early and repetitively can help other students not have the problems that I did. Chapter 13 on sharing is sneaking in the concept of division. Division is one of the last and most difficult mathematical hurdles for elementary students. Calling it “sharing” instead of division seems so much more humane. In fact the entire text of this book is like that: making math fun, clever and relevant to real life.
To Judy HME: I LOVE the idea of having them do a performance of tortoise and hare, adding math! Or making up their own skits, creating Mr. Rate, Miss Time and Mrs. Distance ...
In response to LBranon, I like your idea about having the PGP kids come up with their own problems to solve based on their real-life experiences. Once they have their problems prepared, maybe we could even schedule some Skype sessions between different school's PGP kids to "quiz" each other with their problems. I think the students would enjoy the sharing of their ideas and it could stimulate the kids to come up with the most challenging questions.
Judy,I have rabbit and turtle puppets! I see a performance in our future! We can invite the parents - we didn't do any "parent" events last year.
Not sure if this is worthy as an Ah-ha moment, but I particularly liked Chapter 11 on pages 104-105. Last year I had a PGP student who was extremely nervous about everything. While I can't say this book would have helped, it at least would serve to validate feelings that many of these students often experience.Eleanor, you bring up an excellent point about mental math. In an earlier post, I commented about the importance of drawing out their answers. You've caused me to relent a little. I think a combination of mental math and some explanations through sketches would be a better approach.MillieH, you bring up a good point about the importance of reading through the chapter ahead of time. Perhaps the details of a particular problem wouldn't fit the group. We'd either need to change the situation's details or be prepared to handle questions that might arise about the realness of the math problem.
Session 2, Question 2:Chapters/problems 10-18, I really enjoyed. Golden nuggets included… the problems didn’t take me as long as the first ones did… maybe because my math mind has been turned on instead of continuing to function in ‘sleep’ mode as it usually does. I also enjoyed becoming used to the format… for example, in Chapter 11, How Tall is It, I loved that I couldn’t wait to get to the Einstein Level to see if I was worthy of completing the problems without looking at the answer. I loved Ch. 12, Magic of Math: Making Smart Guesses. Probably one of my favorite chapters so far, and one that wasn’t as challenging for me. I love the word “guessing”… it gives permission for the learner to be wrong, and that’s comforting.
I think we could connect with MEXICO and Central American countries. They all use Celsius.. Turn to the internet and get the daily city/town temperature and the student can chart it for the month. Or just let the student choose a place in the world OR the teacher can choose and put the city names in a bowl and then the student chooses. This way the students could see a variety or range of temperatures.