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This summer I went through two weeks of an algebra training.  It was basically just the 3rd grade teachers from my district.  A local professor has developed an algebra program that has been super successful in 4th and 5th grades and so they decided to extend it down to 3rd.  I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of going, but the professor was fantastic and kept things engaging!  As we were planning how we were going to incorporate it into our classroom, I came to the realization that I was going to use a sign in board each day to also help build and refine many of these same concepts.  I had originally seen it with the kindergarten teachers at my old building.  They used the sign in board to review so many math concepts an really took the students far because they were able to introduce some concepts quick but almost daily.  They were beginning to grasp algebra!

The sign in board itself is simple.  On the board, you put up a question of some kind.  It can be non-school related, or it can be reviewing a concept or introducing a concept (in any subject).  Then students sign under the answer they wish to select.  You then use those numbers to build their math skills.  Please excuse my terrible phone picture taking skills.  I swear I checked and these weren’t blurry!  Also, my chalkboard leaves a lot to be desired and so there’s a ton of smudge behind most of the boards.

With this board I reviewed fractions.  We counted the number on each side.  We talked about the numerator and the denominator.  We talked about how we add the two numbers together to get one whole and how the total number of students is the denominator.  No, I don’t have 12 students ðŸ™‚

On this board, we again reviewed numerator and denominator.  I also introduced the concept of a variable standing for a number that we don’t know.

Here, we reviewed fact families and the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction.

Here we reviewed expanded form.

This board demonstrates how you can use multiple answer options for students to choose. We reviewed fact families and again reviewed the concept of a variable.  We used the variable to answer the question “How many more is 6 than 8?”

I’m going to continue to review 1st and 2nd grade math concepts throughout the year using the sign in board.  Many of my students still struggle with the subtraction expressions in fact families and many of them struggle when one of the numerals is a 0.  I’ve found that my students have some large holes in previous year’s skills so this is great way for me to review them.  I also combine some extended thinking opportunities for my high kids by using the variable and asking extended questions.  We will also continue to build fractions with the sign in board.