Posts Tagged ‘real world’

Publishing, sharing and celebrating student work is an integral part of reading and writing workshops. Students share books they have written, they blog about the books they are reading, we host author’s teas and poetry slams to which we invite families and friends to celebrate our hard work. We acknowledge having an audience and a community as something that is critically important in literacy.

A few years ago, as I was thinking more about communities of mathematicians and writing Math Exchanges ,I decided to think more about publishing, sharing and celebrating students as mathematicians. One thing I worked on a lot was having a way of sharing and celebrating our work within our classroom community of mathematicians. We created a Multiplication and Division Museum and brought in all sorts of items that encouraged mathematizing. Students spent time in the morning and during the math workshop writing story problems about these items and publishing them for their fellow mathematicians to think about.

In the picture above Felisa, Blanca and Sandy wrote about some sticky notes that someone had left on the table. In Spanish (this was a Spanish immersion classroom) they wrote, “Each package of sticky notes costs $1.50. How much is 10 packets?” Below Max responded with his strategy to the girls’ problem.

The students loved this interaction. I remember how excited Felisa, Blanca, and Sandy were when they saw that they had a response to their work from a fellow mathematician. They raced to the Multiplication and Division Museum to read what Max had written for them.

Later we took some of this sharing and publication of our work to the internet, using Voicethread to publish our mathematical ideas and reach (and receive feedback from) a wider community of mathematicians. “Hey, Antonio!” yelled a thrilled third grader, “your mom posted a comment on my story problem!!”

This year I’m hoping to continue learning about the process of sharing, publishing and building communities of mathematicians inside and beyond the classroom walls. How are you doing this in your classroom?


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The grocery store is one of my favorite places for mathematical inspiration. I’m always finding interesting opportunities for mathematizing that I can bring back to the classroom to share with my students. The more I share my mathematical life and thinking with my students, the more they see math in their world and bring that in to the classroom.

I’ll be sharing some of my real world math pictures here on the blog. Sometimes I put these pictures in my morning message to students and simply ask,  “What math do you see?” Other times I use the picture when writing story problems for our small group math exchanges. Here are some story problem ideas I used with small groups of second and third graders in my class.

  • At a birthday party I want to give everyone a fork, a spoon and a knife? How many people will I be able to give utensils to if I buy this box?
  • I invite 40 people to a party. Each person will need a fork, a spoon and a knife. How many of these packages of utensils do I need to buy?

 What other questions would you pose?

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