CGI Math Strategies & Freebie

I am linking up with Angie from Lucky Little Learners and Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second.  This month we are talking about math strategies, math games, and math FREEBIES. Woo Hoo!

My district has been going nuts over Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) for teaching our math common core standards.  CGI has been around for over 30 years, but now with common core, it's more important than ever to be listening to how our kids think about math and to be having conversations about their thinking.

Instead of diving into our curriculum in the first weeks of school, we instead take some time to explore what our students already know about math.  We pose real-world math situations and use manipulatives to see what our second graders can tell us.  It is so valuable to have them show and verbally express their math thinking...not only for themselves, but for their classmates.  Hearing the 5 different ways their friends solved the problem promotes valuable classroom discussions and sparks new connections!

One of my students' absolute FAVORITE activities for this exploration is Counting Collections.  We simply have gathered various small materials (coins, beads, Q-tips) in plastic baggies for the children to count.  Then, we find a spot on the floor and get to counting.  Counting?   Yep, that's it.  Simple.  But, very informative.

They count their items with a partner.  It takes some time, but it's amazing to watch what they do.  How many items do we put in the bag?  I try for between 50 - 100 items, but it doesn't really matter.  Getting to the exact number of items is not what's important.  It's HOW they counted that matters.  Are they grouping them by 2s?  Groups of 10?  Counting every single bead one by one?  Need a basket to hold your groups of 10?  No problem!  

Understanding how children think mathematically is so much more important to my classroom instruction that trying to simply give them the way to think.  We give them paper to show how they organized their items and record their thinking.

During these weeks of exploration, we summarize our thinking and learning by discussing the common strategies we used to solve our math problems.  Did Emma count on?  Did Abigail organize her items in an array?  Why did Graham use tally marks?  We post our strategies on our bulletin board.

We have created this mini poster of our common strategies for students to use in class and for parents at home.  It has really helped many parents with the new language of common core!  We send home the black and white version and also give our students a smaller half- or quarter-sheet version for easy reference.

If you'd like a copy of my Math Strategies Posters for your class {click here} to snag a FREE copy this month.  

Happy exploring!

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