Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bar Modeling Resources

Thank you to all the parents that attended Parent University in October. We had a great hour together, learning about Singapore Math and its connection to the most current brain research on growth mindset. Parents had the opportunity to experience bar model lessons as they are presented to students, while practicing some of the same problems that the students work on in class. Bar modeling starts in 2nd grade in our math program, Math in Focus.

This is a great overview of bar modeling and the progressions through the years:
Math in Focus Bar Model Approach Explained

Here is a link to my Parent University Bar Model presentation:
Google Slides Presentation on Bar Modeling

As teachers work with students on word problems,  we use a core set of questions to guide our support of students. These questions help us to ensure that students are doing "the heavy lifting" when it comes to formulating a method to solve the problem that has been presented. These same questions can guide your efforts to help your child at home when they say, "I don't get this!" and/or "This doesn't make any sense. I don't know what to do!"
Our first instinct is to jump in and start telling them information; instead, if we use questions that support their own discovery of what they do know, we are helping them to be able to replicate the same strategies on their own.
GUIDING QUESTIONS to support growth mindset and combat "What do I do?" "I don't get this!"
What do you know? (I then usually rephrase what they are telling me they know. For example, "Oh so you know there have to be more balloons on Monday than on Tuesday. What else do you know?" And keep re-phrasing their answers.)
What do you need to find out?
What do you notice? What are you wondering? Anything you need clarified?
How is this similar to a problem you know how to do? How is this different?
How can you show what you do know?
Does your picture match the words?

Thinking Blocks is a great online practice site for Bar Modeling.
It is a great place for both parents and students to gain familiarity and practice with how to use bar models to solve the different types of problems, as outlined in the overview above.
Thinking Blocks to practice using Bar Models

Starting to think further about growth mindset vs. fixed mindset? 
Here is a great learning continuum for how effective our efforts are as learners. This particularly applies to learning in mathematics because so many of us (adults and children alike!) are hampered by our attitude toward mathematics and our mindset (i.e. outlook) when faced with a challenge or puzzle to solve.
As teachers of our children, we look for ways to model and encourage growth by naming habits that can be replicated across situations. For example, instead of saying, "Great job solving that!" we can name the behavior or effort that was successful, "You read the problem and thought about what you knew and didn't know. I see you started with a list of what you know and used a question mark to stand for what you didn't know."
Rubric for Assessing Effective Effort