Thursday, September 1, 2016

Unit 1: Place Value - How I Taught It

Place value is the first unit taught in most 3rd grade classes across the country and it's the one that a lot of students tend to not do so well on.  The kicker is, everything in the unit except for rounding is a repeated skill from 2nd grade.

Question:  Why are the students often so puzzled about the concepts?

Answer:  Duh, because they just came in from summer break like we did and they are still in summer vacation mode.

Third grade teachers often start the year off in panic because we are the new testing grade.  Our students have never taken standardized test before and many of them aren't phased by it.  We look at a tight scope and sequence and become panicked when students aren't understanding the skills because we think, "I need you to get this so I can move!".

Over the summer as I reflected on the previous year, I looked at the standards and decided that I needed to clump some things and change the order in which some things were taught.  I decided to pull out some priority skills and teach those whole group and teach the other things in small groups.

Our Unit 1 (in Georgia) consisted of 2 standards:  
3.NBT.1(Rounding) and 3.NBT.2 (Addition and Subtraction with Regrouping). 

However within those standards there is a lot of embedded skills that students need to know:
Embedded Skills for 3.NBT.1
Rounding to the nearest 10, rounding to 100, estimating sums and estimated differences (word problem form).

Embedded Skills for 3.NBT.2
addition with regrouping, properties of addition, missing addend, subtraction with regrouping, subtraction across zeros (WHO CREATED THIS SKILL),  missing minend, addition and subtraction word problems.

Ahhhh AND I only have 21 days to teach these standards.  Here's what I did:

I decided to not teach the skills in complete isolation but to embed them into each other.  It has been going great.