## Snow Day Math: Data Management

We had our first Inclement Weather Day on Friday, November 1.  In my school, and I think this is true in many schools around here, we double up classes on a snow day.  Few children come those days and it’s a great chance for kids to try things out in another room, see old friends, and get to know or reacquaint themselves with a new teacher.  For a teacher it’s a great chance to get caught up on things. I worked on some necessary paperwork that has been bugging me. The teacher I partnered up with did some Running Records.

For the last 80 minutes of our day, my teaching partner and I had the students together.  We decided to have them gather data this year on Snow Days.  We wondered how many children were in the school that day, and what kind of information we could get from the numbers.  We sent teams of students to each classroom to ask how many students were in each homeroom that day. We then gathered together and reported our data.  We organized it all on a chart.  We had a great discussion about the numbers:  Which class had the most students? Which class had the least?  Which classes had the same?  We wondered if the numbers will stay the same for every snow day.  Were the numbers smaller than usual because it was the first snow day and the day after Halloween? We noticed that some of the older classes didn’t have many children in them and the younger classes generally had more.

We even calculated the total number of students in the school. My grade 3 students were able to do this!!  We had a great conversation about a strategy for adding up 20 numbers.  I think they’ll be able to do this independently next time…or nearly independently anyway.  I suppose that depends on how long we wait until the next inclement weather day.  I’m thinking now that we should figure out what percentage of the student population came that day.  We were a group of grade 1, 2 and 3 students, so percentages are above our curriculum expectations. However, I bet I can procrastinate house keeping for a few more hours by figuring out how to make some circle graphs of this data.  They should certainly be able to read those.

Our plan is to do this every time we have a snow day, then compare the data over a long period of time.  I wonder what trends we will see!   I’m excited to share this data with the children who were not in school on Friday and see what they notice about the data.

## Number Strings/Number Talks

Math was fine this week. We started doing more place value work while working on “The T-Shirt Factory” Context for Learning unit by Cathy Fosnot. It’s always an interesting one, but I actually didn’t do it with my class last year.  We weren’t ready for it until much later than this and when we were ready for it…I forget what we did instead.

This week was Halloween. That means an interrupted day on Thursday because of the Halloween Parade.  I anticipated a day of difficulty on Friday as well, and while we’re at it, let’s just admit that Wednesday wasn’t going to be easy either.  See how hard it is to stay on schedule?  That’s why we didn’t exactly stay on schedule with the unit.  However, I didn’t skip math any of those days – even the snow day on Friday!

I did a fun mapping activity with a Halloween theme one day when I was pulled out for a meeting, and we did a lot of work with the base ten blocks.  But every single day I made sure that we were doing a Number Talk.

During a Fosnot unit, there will be a lot of Number Strings.  But when I am not teaching a specific skill and want to review things that I hope everyone already knows or that I know they need to practice, I go back to Number Talks.  This week we used some from the Grade 2 section of the book “Number Talks” by Sherry Parish.  We started with single digit numbers and I found out on day one that most everyone understands commutative property.  I repeated a talk that would reinforce this with double digit numbers on the second day.  On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we talked about the “doubles plus 1/doubles minus 1” strategy.  These strategies are now displayed on our math wall so we can refer to them often.

This week, I am doing Number Strings to support the learning in the unit.  Because I can barely remember what day it is on most days I have to write my numbers on a Post-it note.  These will sit on my lap top all week or I will lose them.  I find it also has me thinking many times during the day about what we are doing in math, which is good for my brain.

Some of these are from the unit and some are from my head.  I know my learners well enough at this point that I’m sure we will need to do practice the skills that are in these strings multiple times.  They’ll be practicing them while doing the work in the unit as well.

I’m going to finish off my planning today by making my anecdotal record sheet for this unit.  (Just double checked and I already made one a few years ago! WOOHOO!