Monday, March 24, 2014

Monitoring for Meaning with Math

I recently revamped my fractions unit using our UbD template.  It was crazy how long it seemed to take me (this will get easier right?!).    I really find that incorporating literature and thinking strategies into our math units is so beneficial.  For this unit I really focused on Determining Importance and Monitoring for Meaning.  We also used the books Give Me Half, Apple Fractions and  Jump, Kangaroo, Jump! as guides for our lessons and discoveries. 
Our essential questions for the unit were: 
•Why is it important to identify fractions (thirds, sixths, eighths, tenths) as representations of equal parts of a whole or of a set?
•Why is important to label fractions (thirds, sixths, eighths, tenths) as representations of equal parts of a whole or of a set?
•Why is it important to compare fractions (thirds, sixths, eighths,tenths) as representations of equal parts of a whole or of a set?
•What is a fraction?
•What do the parts of a fraction tell about its’ numerator and denominator?
•If you have 2 fractions, how do you know which is greater or has more value?
•How do you know how many fractional parts make a whole? 

I used this anchor chart to help with the students understanding of Monitoring for Meaning in math. 
 We talked about Monitoring for Meaning a lot for the first few days.  "How do I know if my answer makes sense?"

I like the M&M visual as students seem to love it have been very effective and I can just say "Don't forget..." and the students say "to look for our M&Ms!"

We will hopefully wrap up this unit before we head off for Spring Break, but I think the extra time we have spent focusing on our thinking strategies will help us through other units.  


  1. Shannon,
    I love how you creatively integrated Monitoring for Meaning into your Math fractions unit. Your use of the M & M's definitely caught their interest and is easily accessible. Did you find that they comprehended and applied the essential concepts better this time than other groups had in the past?

  2. Shannon,
    I just love this visual. It has so many components that vary from abstract thinking strategy key words (infer), to directed actions (solve problems in multiple ways), to directed questions (can you explain your thinking to others?). I realized when I looked at your work that I need all these levels - and so do my kids. Thank you! I am inspired to create a piece much like this and see how my kids respond.

  3. Shannon,
    What a creative, age-appropriate visual to capture their attention! This is very timely for me. Wrapping up our All About nonfiction units in both reading and writing (over the next two weeks) I've decided to focus on Monitoring for Meaning. As Val mentioned in a previous post, it's best if these strategies are taught explicitly, though they are used simultaneously. Kids think they know the answers(!) so getting to stop when they don't understand, or if something contradicts with what they "think" is difficult. We always talk about whether we are confused or if something makes sense, however, I like your deeper guiding questions and think I'll borrow them: What am I trying to find out? Can I explain my thinking to others? Thank you!