Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sticky Graphs

Good morning, everyone!  I know each and every one of you are excited about the weekend, but if you're like me, my weekend is filled with lesson plans and grad school work!  Being the procrastinator that I am, I think this is a perfect time to give you all a sneak peak into my mathematics formative assessment strategy of the week.

My kiddos are continuing to explore fractions through the use of fraction bars.  It really is amazing how a simple manipulative can help students grasp onto a concept.  If my teachers would have put these little babies in front of me in third grade, my entire world would have changed!  As a third grader, fractions put me over the edge because we used ZERO hands-on manipulatives.

 My students have also fallen in love with a game called, Roll a Fraction.  I came across this  activity from the Fractions Rock bundle over at Ashleigh's TPT store.  This super, simple set-up gets students excited about comparing fractions.  In pairs, the kiddos roll 2, 12-sided dice, create two fractions, and compare the two fractions using < , >, or =.  The student who had the greater fractions the MOST times, wins.  This class favorite will definitely be making its way into my math workshop station rotation.

Sticky Bars

 This was the most meaningful formative assessment I have experienced with my class s far this year. Here's the deal... Sticky Bars is a way to make students' ideas public and helps them see that there is a range of answers and ideas about a specific concept within the classroom. 

Here was my prompt to see what my babies had learned about comparing fractions this week... 
The kiddos were allowed to use their notebooks to draw models and expand on their reasonings.  Once they selected the student they chose as the winner of the race, they wrote an answer, anonymously on a sticky note.  They passed the sticky notes to me, and I arranged the diverse student responses into a bar graph on the whiteboard.  This activity helps students understand that their thinking may differ compared to the thinking of their peers.  The strategy also reinforces that learning requires the process of working together to construct a common understanding.

Here's where I put my spin on the assessment activity,  Once I posted all of the responses, I allowed students to share who they selected as the winner and why. I asked students to prove their thinking to the class in multiple ways: models, explanations, vocabulary, etc.  THIS. WAS. INTENSE.  I am so, so glad that I took this route.  My students were so engaged and I was able to see EXACTLY how they were thinking.  Misconceptions were identified, new strategies were learned, vocabulary was reinforced, and minds were changed.  Yes. My students convinced other students to change their thinking based on explanations.

So, I then took a picture of the original bar graph, took the stickies down, and gave students another sticky note.  I asked students to once again, choose the student they thought was winning the race.  I was interested to see which students changed their answers based on the explanations from their classmates.  The picture below showed the final graph.

 After a VERY meaningful discussion about fractions, numerators, denominators, halves, wholes, parts, and pieces, I broke out the manipulatives to show the solution. Students were able to narrow the winners down to Sean 3/4, Allie 2/3, and Luke 5/6 because these fractions were almost a whole.  What my kiddos needed to see and experience was that the missing pieces to the wholes were different sizes. Using the fraction bars helped my kids see that the winning runner needed to complete the smallest piece of the race.
 Give this assessment tool a try; I promise you won't be disappointed!  You can click below to grab a copy of my Sticky Bar Prompt.

Also, if you need some Valentine's Day math ideas for next week, check out a few of my resources below.  have a fabulous weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Thank you for sharing in-depth how you did the Sticky Graph! Love it! I'm your newest follower! Oh, and I can't believe you didn't get to do hands-on activities for fractions back when you were in school. Sad day.

    :) Ash
    The Rolly Chair