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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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