Sunday, September 30, 2012

Plot and Place Value

Last week was Catholic Schools Week. It was crazy lots of fun. I am not sure how we survived all of the extra activities that took place. One of which included throwing a pie at the principal's face. Wish I had a picture of that one! My kiddos were wound tighter than a top. By the end of the week we were all ready for the weekend. 

Here are a few things that we managed to squeeze in.

We were studying plot all week and read "Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend". They just love Mudge. We talked about how the plot is "all of the action that takes place in a story". Afterwards, we charted the beginning, middle and end on dog bones (obviously), and completed a craft. I got the idea from Amy Lemons over at Step into Second Grade. Her stuff is fabulous and you will probably hear me talk about her all the time. She has so many creative ideas.

 Now... onto what has nearly been the death of me this school year.
DUN-DUN-DUN...Place Value.

Oh my gosh. We started the first week of school and have been working hard on it ever since. My kids were I was frustrated. They were frustrated. We were all frustrated. They were getting tripped up on value. I didn't know what to do to help them better understand the difference between how many hundreds, tens and ones, and their corresponding value.

I spoke with my mentor (the first grade teacher) about our frustration and she asked what manipulatives I was using. I had been using base ten blocks. I'm sure you have all seen these bad boys before...

 They're okay. While they take up a lot of space, they usually get the job done. They did last year at least. This year they weren't cuttin' it. Anyway, my mentor suggested using place value chips instead. Enter- these little gems...

They are much smaller (I can fit 40 in a tiny snack size ziplock), and they have the value  written on the chip. WHOA! Mine and my kids minds were blown. And wouldn't you know, they finally grasped the concept of value. We all did a happy dance and finally moved on towards another concept.

This coming week we are beginning regrouping (big gulp). I didn't teach regrouping last year until December. Partially because I was so afraid to tackle it... but we have a new math program this year and it is telling us to get a move on. So that's what we'll do!

Happy Sunday!

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