Thursday, February 28, 2019

Connected in the Classroom: Place Value Teaching Tool

Get ready for a lot of teacher-y stuff coming your way. As a young teacher, I am constantly on the hunt for good teaching strategies and resources. So, whenever I come up with a strategy or a tool, I love to share it!

Part of what intimidated me so much about teaching Grade 5 is the math. I know I can do Grade 5 math, but how do I explain these often difficult concepts to kids who don't think like me & understand math like me? I still don't have this figured out, but slowly and surely, I am getting more comfortable with all things fifth grade math.

My first task as a fifth grade teacher was decimal place value and I kind of wanted to run to the staff room and hide. Decimal place value? What the heck!? So, I did a lot of research - I read about how different learners understand place value and I came up with a plan. Knowing my group of students, I knew they needed something tactile that they could refer to again and again when doing place value work. So, I came up with a graphic organizer to support their learning. I will detail how I used it and share the graphic organizer below.

This is the graphic organizer (you can download it for free HERE). I printed copies for my students and laminated each Place Value Chart individually. I laminated the chart so that my students can write on their charts with a dry erase marker and get multiple uses out of it. I keep the laminated place value charts in a little file folder near the math manipulatives and the kiddos know they can use them whenever they need.

I was blown away with how well my students used their charts. They really relied on them as we were going through the lesson and were able to use them independently while working in their math book.

In the first part of my lesson, we went through the place value chart and talked about how each place value can be represented differently. We talked about decomposing numbers to read them aloud, or representing them differently in expanded form. The kids picked up on this pretty quickly, so we moved on to the next part of the lesson. 

I had several slides like this prepared, to practice writing numbers from expanded form. They picked up on this quickly. They needed my guidance for the first two but were pretty independent in figuring out the rest. After working on taking decomposed numbers and turning them into regular numbers, we switched it up and did the opposite. I asked the kids to give me numbers and we decomposed them into expanded form.

Guess what? My kiddos crushed place value and I think they did so well because of the place value charts. The charts really helped them situate the numbers in their places and understand how numbers are composed. This was also a great way to introduce them to '0' as a place holder.

If you have any great place value or decomposing decimals teaching tools, please share!

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