This week’s resources all focus on supporting students and parents through the summer learning “gap”. Research done by Cooper, Nye and others (1996) shows that summer break has a negative effect “on learning and on the retention and acquisition of knowledge”, with the effect being “larger in mathematics than in reading and language”, and that “the negative effect of summer did increase with grade level” (research from Burkam, Ready, Lee & LoGerfo 2004). Encourage students and parents to decrease the effects of summer gap with the resources below!
Focus Areas #1 & #2: Engagement PLUS Critical Thinking!
Games, Games, Games!: Keep math fun! So many great games are available out there for kids to practice math in a fun way! Dice games, problem solving games, construction games, all give opportunities for kids to practice math while having fun. The best games involve kids with concrete materials (dice, cards, playing pieces), but there are many free online versions of the games below that can support families who cannot purchase games. A deck of cards and a couple of dice can get any family going for many summers – especially if they encourage their kids to create their own game with rules!
A “starter list” of games that kids can play (over summer and year-round!) loosely tied to strands (but games certainly cross over many strands in many cases):
Shape and Space Games & Activities: Blokus; Inverse; Eternas; Magformers; Jenga; Billiards
Patterns & Algebra Games & Activities: Mathological Liar; Mindtrap (or Mindtrap Riddles); SET; iota; chess
Probability & Statistics Games & Activities: Perudo; Farkle Frenzy; Sequence
Number Games & Activities: Farkle; Dominoes; Yahtzee; Skip-bo; Uno; Sudokus
Focus Area #3: Connections
Reading: There are so many opportunities for kids to read, and to read about math! Talk with your librarian or the Pembina Trails Media Centre about ideas for books, apps, blogs to make the reading and math connection. To start you off, here’s a blog post on fiction chapter books and fiction short stories that are “about math” for middle years students. Want a starter list of nonfiction books about math? Try this list.
Does Math Really Exist?: Have your students watch this video about whether “math is a feature of the universe or a feature of human creation”. It’s only 8 minutes long, but this could be a great jumping-off point to summer “noticings” they can look for – do they “see math” in the universe? In daily life?
Focus Areas #4 & #5: Professional Learning & Current Research
Summer Reading: What are you reading this summer? My book list is a long one, and I’ve also got a lit review I’m doing for my thesis exploration. I thought I’d share my summer professional learning reading list with you (it’s growing and changing as the days go by, so as of today this is what it looks like!):
1. Danica McKellar’s books on math (“Math Doesn’t Suck” and “Kiss My Math”) – I don’t like the way she sells math with sex appeal, but if I want to educate myself on what she’s putting out there, I’d better read these books!
2. “got data? Now what? – Creating and Leading Cultures of Inquiry” (by Lipton and Wellman) It’s the book math consultants received from the Province of Manitoba. I’m curious to see the approach, hoping I won’t be disappointed by an over-emphasis on quantitative data.
3. “Democracy’s Angels: the Work of Women Teachers” (by Llewellyn) I am writing a review of this book for an online humanities journal – keeping up my academic reading and writing skills!
4. First Steps in Mathematics – catching up on all the good stuff in the Number Sense, Operation Sense books
5. “Building Mathematical Comprehension” (by Sammons) This book builds on the “Guided Math” book Laney Sammons also authored.
6. “math expressions” (by Dr. Cathy Krpan) Some examples of multiple approaches to learning mathematics are within this recently published book.
7. “Visible Learning” (by Hattie) – this is probably re-read #7 for me with this book. This time, I’m picking apart the short (and, IMO, weak) section on mathematics.
8. Dan Meyer’s collection of 3 Act Math Tasks – I want to create a google doc that corresponds these tasks to Manitoba outcomes, as well as begin to upload some home-grown 3 act math tasks created by Manitoba teachers.
Focus Area #6: Ressources en Francais
En Vacances: Encourage your students’ estimation skills over summer! Check out this excellent “en vacances” video estimating distances using your thumb as the measurement tool. Of course, any and all of the games above are great summer activities too!