Pitching in and Sharing- Place Value with Meaning

Hmmmm, Something is amiss here.

I bet you’re feeling the same way the kids feel when they walk in, see a substitute, and think: What have you done with the person who is normally here when I arrive?!

By now you have figured out that Jennifer is off doing an assortment of fun things, and some of her Blog Friends have stepped in while she is away. Today it’s my turn. I’m Kim from Finding JOY in Sixth Grade… and I’ve never shared a post on anyone else’s blog before. The thought always made me nervous. But when Jennifer asked me to chat a bit at 4mulaFun, I decided to set aside my fears and just jump in and say Hi. So…

My favorite Janda Manatee font by Kimberly Geswein can be found HERE

Jennifer gave me the freedom to write about whatever I wanted (as long as it was related to math, I’m assuming). So, I am taking the easy way out and talking about HER and how getting to know her has influenced the way I teach math to my students. Here’s what I have learned about Jennifer…

1. Jennifer is passionate about math. She truly loves making products and activities that help other teachers teach math in a way that makes sense for kids. I appreciate that about her. She simply enjoys what she does. When I have spare time, I usually eat ice cream and watch meaningless TV. Jennifer, on the other hand, has been filling her time making grade level math units. I already have this one and I can’t wait for more!

2. Jennifer knows that we don’t all learn in the same way. Just like we do for our students, she considers the needs of her audience. Keeping in mind diverse learners (like me!) who really need to SEE things, Jennifer posts videos on YouTube so that you can watch her explain how to effectively use notebooking in your classroom. If you haven’t seen it already, click the graphic below to go to a great video on setting up Interactive Notebooks…

3. Jennifer has amazing ideas for Interactive Math notebooks. Her flippables are a huge hit in my classroom and I want to share with you the way we use (and re-use!) her flippable for place value…

We made the place value pockets in my class and added them to our math notebooks. We discussed the concepts and talked about what “place value” really means. For many of my students, the kinesthetic component of notebooking really helps to cement their understanding.

The following week, when we were reviewing for a quiz, we used these same pockets in the form of a game. The goal is to beat your partner by placing the numbers in the pockets and “making” the number with the greatest value.

Students worked with two or three partners for this activity. The first player rolled 2 dice. This determined how many “places” they would need to fill–and how many “number cards” each player would take. The person who rolled the dice also chose the place in which the number would end.

In this example, Carly rolled a (total of) five. The number must
include at least one decimal place… and she chose to have the 5-digit number
end in the thousandths place and the game began.

Now here’s where strategy comes into play. Five numbers cards are chosen from the pile (the game comes with lots of numbers–perfect for this game) and the cards remain face down. Selecting one card at a time, the student needs to place the cards strategically to result in a number of the greatest value…

First up was a 0. Smart choice to put it in the thousandths place.

Then a 4. Not large enough to “use” in a higher place, but a lower number would be better in the hundredths place… so she aimed for the middle!

Ah. The next card was a six. Not an 8 or a 9, but it could be worse, so the choice was made to place the card in the ones place.

Uh oh. That pick was a 3. Best to fill up the hundredths place and hope for a large number for the tens place.

WooHoo. An 8 is a good choice. Perfect for the tens place. It’s looking good!

But… Let’s see what how her partner, Sam, arranged his number cards…

Now, to win, the person with the number of greatest value has to read the number correctly to win the round. Sam read “eighty-nine AND three hundred thirty-nine thousandths… and won the round!

To me, the mark of a good product is versatility. And this one is designed so that there are opportunities for whole group, partner work, and independent review. I’m sure there are other ways to use this set as well, but this was a favorite with my sixth graders.

I enjoyed visiting at 4mulaFun today. It was fun being able to hang out with “the math kids” for a bit. And the next time you’re in the neighborhood, I hope you’ll stop by Finding JOY in Sixth Grade and say hello…



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