Math Review Unit 1

We are halfway through our first big math unit on numbers. In order to review the students can look back at the earlier post on estimation. The other concepts on the unit test include standard and expanded form:

Identifying place value:

And using the “distributive property” to multiply. (This means breaking up a big number into the different place values as in 4×26=4×20+4×6)

Next the students can review identifying basic fractions and ordering fractions with different denominators using fraction strips.

Last, we have just completed learning how to order fractions on a number line, and how to show fractions with denominators of 10, 100 or 1000 as decimals.

That’s it! For extra practice on all these concepts there are some fun games to play on which is also available on the App Store. Make time every day for Math!


Estimation Strategies “Cheat Sheet”

We have been working on estimation this week – there are a number of different ways to use “mental math” to do it. Next week we will review and have a small quiz to check our understanding (only on front end rounding, compensation and compatible numbers). Using the “cheat sheet” below ry to come up with your own examples of these different strategies.

Mental math can be a challenge for some children as it involves the working memory and a strong level of comfort with the partner numbers (this is the part-part-whole concept taught in primary grades). If you think your child could benefit from regular math practice have a look at some of he suggestions in my previous “Math Practice” post.

Math Practice (so much fun!)

Many parents have asked me over the years what they should do to help their children with math at home.  The best answer, and the one I give most often, is that they should “do” math with them.  Numbers can be such a fun game to play – counting on, counting down, skip counting, measuring, shopping, time until, time since… there are so many ways that we use numbers in our daily lives that we could do out loud with our kids, so start there.

The next answer, which is less fun, is the fact that math skills (like language skills or music skills or anything skills…) have building blocks that need to be practiced and memorized even though doing so is VERY boring.  (If you have ever conjugated french verbs or repeated scales on the piano you know what I mean.)  Speed and confidence with math facts (multiplication or “partner numbers” for ten in particular) are the foundation of so much math development later on.

Basic practice can be simple games with flipping playing cards or rolling dice, but if you are still looking for something to hook your kids’ interest there are a few apps that I have put to the test and can recommend to you!

For free, there are a number of apps by the developer “made by educators” that were popular with my test group (Gr.3-Gr.7); so much so that we eventually splurged on a bundle to get the full version of the apps we liked.  These are the ones I would recommend most. There are some great options at the “lite” version and at the paid levels.  Crazy Times Tables, Math Y56 and Daily Monster Math Battle were our favourites.  (Bonus: the bundle comes with KS2 Science which is cool too.)

Also for free is this “Multiplication for Beginners” app with an adventure story line and a game-like design that scored points for fun as well  as actual Math practice time.

Another free game-like app for operation practice which we didn’t test a lot, but which might be useful: “Sumdog”.

“Bedtime Math” is a free app you can use if you are looking for a way to integrate regular “math talks” into your daily home life.  It starts off with a story or article that is usually interesting to read just on its’ own. Note that it uses American money and measurement, which do not translate to our Canadian curriculum, but there are so many questions to choose from that you will be able to skip the ones that don’t work for you.  Also, if the first question you pick is too easy you can continue to harder levels (wee ones, little kids, big kids, and my favourite – bonuses!)

Lastly, if you are committed to regular practice and especially if you have more than one child to use it, K-5 Splash Math could be useful.  There is a free trial which we liked, but the fee for users is $10.49 each month.  At that rate, you might want to get some workbooks instead!

Math apps aren’t all about games though – Khan Academy has one of the best apps I have ever used for videos and tutorials on many math topics.

Beyond apps there are many great websites to support math skills too.  AAAMath is one of the best – I suggest starting one grade level below and working through the concepts to make sure the building blocks are in place.

Do any of you grown-ups remember watching PBS programs years ago?  PBS is still providing great support for learning and education.  You will find a wealth of videos and lessons on their Math page.

Lastly, Math TV has free videos to watch on topics that range from basic to algebra to trigonometry and beyond.  So much to learn!

Most of all, don’t be afraid to “outsource” your learning.  Our children have so many more sources of information and opportunities to learn.  You can learn right alongside them – do you ever wonder what you would have pursued if the internet was at your fingertips? Follow those dreams, and bring your children along for the fun. Learning only really takes root when it happens with real joy!

Praying the Rosary

Every October, Catholics have a special devotion to Mary.  As our school is named after the apparition of Mary at Fatima, Portugal, we have even more reason to pray the Rosary for Mary’s intentions and interventions.  Father Mark has asked that the Grade 5 students in particular are familiar with the mysteries of the Rosary, and we have spent some time reviewing and praying them this month.  This is not the first time the mysteries have been taught, and many of my amazing students are already comfortable with them (even though there are 20!)

There are some wonderful sources online for information about how to pray the rosary, including the Rosary CentreDynamic Catholic and the Catholic Company, but if you only remember the three classic prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary and the doxology “Glory Be”) you will be able to say this special devotion anywhere, and at anytime.

Here are the mysteries in chronological order for you to pray at home:

These mysteries are the joyful events from the beginning of the life of Jesus.

  1. The Annunciation. Fruit of the Mystery: Humility
  2. The Visitation. Fruit of the Mystery: Love of Neighbour
  3. The Nativity. Fruit of the Mystery: Poverty, Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor
  4. The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Fruit of the Mystery: Gift of Wisdom and Purity of mind and body (Obedience)
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. Fruit of the Mystery: True Conversion (Piety, Joy of Finding Jesus)

These mysteries are the most recent addition, and if you are my age they may even be new to you!  They are the stories of Jesus’s life on Earth, literally “bringing light” to the people.  Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 2002), recommended this additional set. The original Mysteries of Light were written by George Preca, the only official Maltese Catholic Saint, and they were later reformed by the Pope.

  1. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. Fruit of the Mystery: Openness to the Holy Spirit, the Healer.
  2. The Wedding at Cana. Fruit of the Mystery: To Jesus through Mary. The understanding of the ability to manifest-through faith.
  3. Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Fruit of the Mystery: Trust in God (Call of Conversion to Messiah)
  4. The Transfiguration. Fruit of the Mystery: Desire for Holiness.
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist. Fruit of the Mystery: Adoration

1. The Agony in the Garden. Fruit of the Mystery: Sorrow for Sin, Uniformity with the Will of God

2. The Scourging at the Pillar. Fruit of the Mystery: Mortification (Purity)

3. The Crowning with Thorns. Fruit of the Mystery: Contempt of the world (moral courage)

4. The Carrying of the Cross. Fruit of the Mystery: Patience

5. The Crucifixion and Death of our Lord. Fruit of the Mystery: Perseverance in faith, grace for a holy death (Forgiveness)

These final mysteries are at the very centre of our faith – these are the miracles that transformed death into eternal life and Mary joined Jesus in heaven.

  1. The Resurrection. Fruit of the Mystery: Faith
  2. The Ascension. Fruit of the Mystery: Hope, Desire for ascension to Heaven
  3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit. Fruit of the Mystery: Love of God, Holy Wisdom to know the truth and share with everyone, Divine Charity, Worship of the Holy Spirit
  4. The Assumption of Mary. Fruit of the Mystery: Grace of a Happy Death and True Devotion towards Mary
  5. The Coronation of the Virgin. Fruit of the Mystery: Perseverance and increase in virtue (Trust in Mary’s Intercession)

At Our Lady of Fatima school we always add the Fatima prayer to the end of every decade:

Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins.  Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of your mercy, Amen.