Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bar Model Detectives - Vol. 2

Well, hello everyone!! Sorry I've been kind of MIA lately... I've been sick off and on since Thanksgiving, and am so over this winter gunk that's been going around. I swear I just come home and collapse at the end of the day! But I am thankful that I was able to catch up on some much needed rest over Christmas break.  And speaking of Christmas break, I was also able to meet up with a few local teacher-bloggers for lunch... It was so fun to eat and chat like old friends, even though some of us had just met for the first time that day! 
Nikki - aka Melonheadz Illustrating, brought these cute little gifts for us.  She is too sweet!

Nikki, Becca, Me, Rachelle

Natalie & Rachelle in the back, Nikki, me, Becca, and Lory in front
 We had so much fun eating and chatting! I hope to see these lovely ladies again soon.  It's so fun to meet other teachers who are so passionate about education!  

So, between sleeping and being sick, I really had planned on finishing this packet over Christmas break.... Obviously that didn't happen!  I think I only turned on my computer twice the entire 2 1/2 weeks!  It was nice to not think about anything!!  At any rate, my new bar model packet is FINALLY done and I'm happy to give you a little sneak peek!

If you are not familiar with the bar model, it is an AWESOME tool to use when solving tricky word problems.  It is very popular in Singapore Math, and also appears in many common core aligned text books.  The bar model is generally introduced in first grade as a part/part/whole model for addition and subtraction, and in subsequent grades, it extends to multiplication, division, repeated addition, etc.  It is such a POWERFUL problem-solving tool when used and understood correctly.  I will admit, I did NOT like it at first... I had never seen it before, it confused my students, and it just made teaching math HARD.... so I didn't spend too much time on it, and just quickly taught it and moved on... but then it popped up again.... and again... and again.... and I soon discovered that it was in each and every chapter of my math textbook, and it was clear that it was NOT going away... that's when the bar model detectives idea was born.  I needed to teach my kids how to use the bar model, and we needed to practice it more than once per chapter in order to really understand how to use it, and make it a more natural problem-solving choice.  

When I made my first packet, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to accomplish, and was surprised at all the positive feedback I got from other teachers who were so happy to have a tool to teach the bar model successfully.  I was also pleased with my students' growth as we practiced each week.... they went from NOT understanding the bar model at ALL, to using it as their preferred problem solving method whenever they were told to "choose a way to solve".  I quickly added even more pages to the original packet, and also added task cards to put in a center.  It was quite the labor of love to give the first packet a big makeover, and hopefully it made this new packet worth the wait!!!  You can download a free sample from each packet if you click on "preview" on teachers pay teachers.... here's a few of the worksheets for you to check out:

each page is included with and without a bar model picture... that way, you can choose if you want to have your students LABEL the bar model, or if they are ready to draw their own bar model ;)

if you're looking for a way to save paper, you can also use the smaller 1/2 sheets that include 2 different versions of the problem on each page. 

Both of my bar model packets are on sale until Tuesday night, but you can comment below to win one on Monday! Just leave me your email and tell me what you're doing on your day off tomorrow.  I'll pick a winner before I go to the PINK concert tomorrow night :) (yes, the concert that I was *supposed* to go to back in October... Pink apparently got sick and had to re-schedule TWICE! I keep saying I'm too old to go to concerts on a school night... Tuesday, please be kind to me!) Have a great week everyone :)

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