Bringing Math to Life with Wipebook!
"Problem solving, effective communication, and the ability to collaborate are all skills that are valued in today’s workplace. During the training, teachers participated in activities where Wipebook Flipcharts were used to record mathematical data and also to share ideas with others."
What do Toasty Toes, Too Many Mangos, and The Old Truck have in common? They’re all children’s picture books that also allow students to experience the beauty and fun of mathematics. Recently, a group of 5K-2nd grade teachers in Spartanburg District 6 attended a professional development session on using children’s literature to teach mathematics. Two of the biggest challenges that teachers face are finding enough time in their day to teach everything and making math meaningful to students - by integrating language arts and mathematics, they can address both. During the session they were also introduced to the reusable Wipebook Flipcharts and how they could be used with instruction - teachers were very impressed!
Teachers began by listening to a read aloud and then engaged in math activities related to the book. This was repeated with two other books. Along the way, acting as their students would, teachers used ten frames, made counting collections, modeled and compared numbers, played math games, identified shapes within a book’s illustrations, constructed polygons with Geoboards and AngLegs, and participated in a Polygon Hunt. Teachers quickly noticed that these Math by the Book activities (Susan O’Connell, 2022) were very engaging, but also very thorough in covering the South Carolina math content standards. The Wipebook Flipcharts were used throughout the session to record both math content and teachers’ ideas.
More than Just Content
Teachers also have South Carolina mathematical process standards that they must teach to students. Many of these are not just math skills, but also life skills to help students succeed beyond the classroom. Some of these include:
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
- Use critical thinking skills to justify mathematical reasoning and critique the reasoning of others.
- Connect mathematical ideas and real-world situations through modelling.
- Communicate mathematically and approach mathematical situations with precision.
Children’s literature provides a perfect avenue for students to dive into mathematical content while also practicing these processes. Problem solving, effective communication, and the ability to collaborate are all skills that are valued in today’s workplace. During the training, teachers participated in activities where Wipebook Flipcharts were used to record mathematical data and also to share ideas with others.
Notice and Wonder
“What do you notice? What do you wonder? When we approach our world with these two questions, there is much to see, much to be curious about and ponder. Noticing and wondering is a way of looking at our world” (Hintz and Smith, Mathematizing Children’s Literature, 2022).
When we allow students to notice and wonder, all students have a voice, regardless of their life experiences. Children’s literature opens a door to new places and cultures that invites students to make observations and ask questions. Wipebook charts are a perfect tool to capture students’ noticings and wonderings in a non-threatening way. During the session, teachers collaborated to make Notice and Wonder charts about other children’s literature that could be used to teach math. Then, they were able to share their charts with peers. A frequent question was, “Where did you get these charts? They would be great to use with students.”
Tami Broomall, Math Director, Spartanburg District 6
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