Q&A #19731

Place value Reversals in First Grade

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From: Claire (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Aug 15, 2008 at 12:28:58
Subject: Re: Place value Reversals in First Grade

Hi, Anne -- If your students are still having spatial/directional issues in writing, there is a good chance that they aren't yet able to clearly distinguish 31 from 13 in written form. If that's the case, they just might need more time. We know children develop on their own individual schedules. Place value is a very powerful concept, which is just developing in first grade, especially if you are at the beginning of the year. Here are some things to help you determine whether it's a directionality issue: When presented with the numbers 31 and 13, do they consistently name them correctly? When asked to write the number 31 or 13, do they consistently write them correctly? If general directionality doesn't seem to be the problem, here are some suggestions: 1. Keep doing work with manipulatives (craft sticks bundled in 10s, base-10 blocks, Unifix cubes, etc), but connect that work explicitly with the written notation while you're using the manipulatives. Practice writing ___ tens and ___ ones, as well as the standard number form when presented with a collection of sticks/blocks. Then ask them to show the collection that corresponds to a given number. Can they create the appropriate collection when you write "45" as well as when you write "4 tens and 5 ones"? 2. Give them lots of practice with a 100 number grid. Discuss the patterns they see re the tens and ones. The structure of our number system isn't obvious to many children. They learn to rote count, but perceive every number as unique with no relationship to other numbers. Have them find the number on the grid that corresponds to a given collection of sticks/blocks. Reverse the process and have them create/draw the collection that matches a number you point to on the grid. 3. In all your work, get them to "talk math" themselves, explain how they know their responses are correct. Think-pair-share is a good way to do this. Math language is so important to building concepts, and children need to use it themselves, not just listen to a teacher using it. It's even more critical for the struggling students, who tend to have more language deficits. 4. Use multiple ways of representing the numbers, including several manipulative models, pictures, their drawings, numerals, words. That will help make generalizations about the number system, not focus on irrelevant details of one model. Also, you just don't know what model might just make things click for a specific child. I used to glue kidney beans to tongue depressors, 10 to a stick, and also glue 10 ten-sticks together with cross pieces, into a 100-raft. There's an interactive applet for base-10 blocks that you might try. http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/frames_asid_152_g_3_t_2.html Pennies and dimes are also good for practicing with place value, but only after they fully grasp the relative value of the coins; coins are more abstract, as you can't see that a dime is worth 10 ones like you can with the craft sticks. A few more web applets: Mend the Number Square http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/numbertime/games/mend.shtml Counter Square - more open-ended http://www.amblesideprimary.com:80/ambleweb/mentalmaths/countersquare.html I hope this is helpful. Please write again if you have more questions. -Claire, for the T2T service

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