Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Math PEN PALS!

Are your students BEGGING for pen pals?? Since the start of the year I've had SO many students come ask..."Mrs. Ippy, uh, can we have pen pals this year?" Unfortunately between the assessing we teachers are doing and the content we must cover pen pals tend to fall low on the list of priorities.

HOWEVER, speaking of testing...I was doing some reflecting on the state standardized assessment our state requires for the 3rd grade. Many practice questions from the math portion of that test required our littles to read a story problem, read a fictional student's thought process, then analyze whether or not the fictional student was correct. WOWZA! That's a lot for a 9 year old! So, to get in the practice of this business I thought up a crazy idea that would kill 2 birds with one stone...that is, the math error analysis & having pen pals! ;) 

The idea is math pen pals!! I talked to my teaching buddy across the hall and ran it by her first. The idea is that my students will read a 2-step story problem, and solve using the 5 step formula we've been practicing. Then, my students will write a constructed math response explaining their thinking. (See my anchor chart regarding a math constructed response below!) While my students are busy solving during our math workshop, her kiddos are doing the same, except with a completely different 2-step story problem. After our students both solve and write their responses, we switch papers.   


I copy these pages double sided so that the original students' thinking is not lost. My class will read the story problem and the original student's thinking. Then, they will flip the page over, solve on their own and write a letter to their pen pal explaining whether or not they agree with the first students' thinking! 

I am SO excited to give this a whirl! My class and my friend's class have both responded to the first story problem...can't wait for them to read and respond to their peers. I know that this isn't the traditional pen pals my students were hoping for...but hey, teachers make it work! 

I am thinking about making bundled sets of these, because, really, this whole pen pal concept could be used with ANY math content (not just 2 step story problems). My plan is to eventually add it to my "writing about math" component of my math workshop.

Interested in trying this out in your own classroom? Check out my FREE sample here! :)


Would you be interested in a resource like this?! Please..any feedback is appreciated!!

16 comments :

  1. Love this resource. Such a great idea.

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  2. This is a unique idea. Good luck solving.

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  3. Novel idea to support children to develop problem solving and reflective thinking skills. Thank you for kindly sharing the resource you produced! I look forward to using it with the children I work with!

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    1. Great, thanks!!! Hope your kids love it as much has mine have! :)

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    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate the feedback and look forward to making more math pen pal resources! :)

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    1. Thank you! My kids have really enjoyed it!!

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  6. This is a fabulous idea that would work for any content area, and it's great for interacting with the school outside of the classroom. I can't wait to try something like this with my English classes!

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    1. My thoughts exactly! You'll have to let me know how it works out for you! My kids have really enjoyed it! :)

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