We need to teach addition facts. We need to teach kids about the inverse operation relationship between additional and subtraction. We need to teach critical thinking skills. We need to give kids manipulatives. We need to work on problem solving and deducing information from other information. We need to, we need to, we need to. What we really need to do is focus on integration.
Do you ever feel like the to-teach list is longer than the hours in a day?
We all do, because it’s true! There are so many things that students need to learn and practice. And we know they need to learn and practice these things multiple, multiple times in order to master them. That means it takes that much more time. So what is the solution, how do we get it all in? Integrate! Integrate! Integrate! Every activity you do should cover multiple standards so that students get a chance to practice and apply as many skills as possible as often as possible.
Can you give me an example of what integration in Math?
When we hear integration, we generally think about ELA. It’s easy to integrate in ELA. We write about what we read. We read articles that relate to science or social studies. We apply grammar rules and spelling patterns when we write. But how do we integrate in Math?
One of the easiest ways to integrate in Math is to apply knowledge. Any time that you are working at the application level, you are bound to be using multiple skills. For example, when my students work on their Additional Tiling Puzzle, they are applying what they know about addition. They also need to apply that inverse relationship, or what they know about subtraction in order to work backwards on some puzzles. They need to use critical thinking, problem solving and deduction in order to know where to start and how to work things out when they get stuck. That’s integration folks. Multiple skills working at the same time.
Another way to integrate in Math is to work on projects. For example, in my Holiday Recipe Math Project, students focus on elapsed time and rounding. However, they are making a budget, so that is also problem solving with addition thrown in. They are also finding a recipe, so there’s an ELA connection. The recipe should relate to a holiday, that’s a Social Studies connection. Not to mention all of the skills that get added in if you can actually have the kids cook the recipe! Measuring, heat, time management, cooperation, reading a recipe, etc.
So the take away here is that when we begin to feel overwhelmed, we need to stop and think about how we can cover multiple things in a single activity. When you do this, do you know what you find? You generally end up with activities that are much more fun than a worksheet. And that means that engagement goes up and your students remember more of what they’re working on. Win win! Want another win? Both of the activities I mentioned in today’s blog post – Addition Fact Tiling Puzzle (printable or digital) and Holiday Recipe Math Project – are available for FREE from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Enjoy!