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Summative Math Project

Alisha McCorriston
March 02, 2015











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Math Anxiety Annotated Bibliography

Math anxiety is something many children face today. As an educator, I
believe it is essential to examine its roots to understand how children are
affected by it. This research clearly shows that a teachers attitude and mindset
influences childrens perceptions of mathematics. If an educator views
mathematics in a negative light, then this will most certainly affect their students
accomplishments in the classroomas research notes, students can then
internalize this behavior. In choosing this topic to research, I decided to
specifically explore the role of a teacher with regard to math anxiety, as well as
what creates math anxiety in children. This research definitely influences and
informs my future teaching practices.

Beilock, S. L., Gunderson, E. A., Ramirez, G., & Levine, S. C. (2010). Female
teachers' math anxiety affects girls' math achievement. Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, 5,
1860-1863. Retrieved from
As teachers, it is essential that we are aware of how our attitude affects
our students. The Department of Psychology and Committee of Education in
Chicago has published an article that focuses on just thathow female
teachers math anxiety affects girls math achievement. Numerous people
have anxiety surrounding math, and this can impact their achievement in this
subject. This study, completed by Beilock et al., shows that when female
teachers are anxious about their math abilities, it carries over negative
consequences for the math successes of their female students. After observing
seventeen first and second grade female teachers at the beginning and end of
a term, the researchers came to a few conclusions. At the beginning of the
school year, there was no relation between the teachers anxieties and the
female students achievements; however, at the end of term, it showed that the
more anxious teachers were about math, the lower the girls achievements
The article makes a valid point in saying that it is important to understand
that gender is a feature that early elementary students notice and commonly
hold beliefs about. Importantly, this study does not necessarily show that female
teachers with math anxieties are bad teachers; boys in these tests did not
perform at a lesser degree in this study. Children do not automatically imitate
adults of the same gender, but rather model what appears to be gender typical
and appropriate. With the large ratio of female to male elementary teachers in

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the states, it would make sense for the researchers to conclude that girls are
more likely to be influenced by their teachers anxieties than their male
classmates. I find these results particularly interesting for female elementary
teachers as it poses the question similar to the one the researchers pose: Should
education programs require more mathematics courses upon entry? Although
this is an intriguing question, I believe that instead of this alternative, teachers
deserve support and training to help develop a positive math attitude and to
combat their anxieties surrounding math.
Galla, B. M., & Wood, J. J. (2012). Emotional self-efficacy moderates anxietyrelated impairments in math performance in elementary school-age
youth. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 2, 118-122. Retrieved
from http://ac.els-cdn.com.proxy.hil.unb.ca/S0191886911004417/1-s2.0S0191886911004417-main.pdf?_tid=44a56942-c424-11e4-985600000aab0f27&acdnat=1425662257_3511e911ce0e2e59c9622d2a919f57b
Heightened anxiety can affect academic performance. However, as
Galla and Wood explore, not all children with high anxiety face the same
academic challenges. Although much research prior to this study explored the
effect of emotional self-efficacy on psychosocial outcomes, few looked at its
effect on academic outcomes. This study investigates whether individual
differences in emotional self efficacy have an effect on students anxiety and
academic performance. If students can regulate their negative emotions, then
perhaps their performance in academics is positively affected. As anxiety
impairments affect working memory and executive attention, the researchers
decided to focus their study on students perceptions of a standardized math
test. The researchers predicted that heightened anxiety would impair
performance on the math test, particularly for children who have low emotional
Children who participated in this study were between 5 and 12 years old.
Information letters and consent forms were sent home to their parents prior to
participation in the study. The participants completed questionnaires that
assessed emotional self-efficacy and anxiety, as well as the Multidimensional
Anxiety Scale for children. The results indicated that anxiety negatively affected
students performance on math tests. Students with high emotional self efficacy
were able to prevent anxious thoughts from affecting their assessment. This study
then suggests that high emotional efficacy can serve as a buffer against
I believe this study is particularly strong with regard to my research and
beliefs as a teacher. As Ive seenboth as a student and a teacheranxiety
can pose detrimental effects in the classroom. If we work to foster our students
self-efficacies in the classroom, they will then have a greater chance at

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academic success. This particularly applies for those who already have low selfefficacy. Teachers do not simply serve to educate content; they aim to help
students grow as people.
Geist, E. (2010). The anti-anxiety curriculum: combating math anxiety in the
classroom. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 37, 1, 24-31. Retrieved from
Geists article explores the root of math anxiety and the detrimental
effects it can have on children. For many children, negative attitudes towards
mathematics begin as early as the first few months of life, as the educational
context at home can also affect a childs attitude. With regard to family
income, the trend seems to be that the lower the income, the lower the
mathematical achievement. As a teacher, I believe it is essential for me to be
aware of these factors while teaching. In comparison to Beilocks study, Geist
states that while females have a similar aptitude for mathematics, they are more
likely to experience math anxiety as they are weary of comparisons and high
stakes testing.
This article notes that timed tests create anxiety in students as it
undermines childrens typical thinking processes when doing mathematics. It is
said that time requirements not only increase anxiety, but also create a
negative attitude and decreases accuracy. In school systems across the United
States, there has been a heavy reliance on timed tests and various high stakes
approaches, and this, in turn, has heightened a negative attitude towards
mathematics. Relying on a traditional skilled based model, such as
memorization and rote learning, also influences math anxiety. Although there
may be a place for some memorization, I believe that mathematics should be
an active learning process. Geist references an intriguing study in which groups
of students were either to complete a Minute Madness worksheet or a much
more relaxing Multiplication Puzzle on the computer. Those were not pressed
by time answered more answers correctly than those working on the paper and
pencil activity.
Similar to Beilocks article, Geist notes that children may internalize
attitudes and beliefs that they see from their teachers, causing them to be less
confident in their abilities if that is what they witness from others. Overall, this
article was very beneficial to my research. It provided comparisons to my
previous article, and made me aware of aspects to consider in my classroom.
The author was strong in providing his own personal experiences, especially
when remembering the star chart in his classroom. He rarely received stars on
his math test, and this was clearly noted on a Star Poster display. It is essential
that, as teachers, we do not undermine our students or make them feel poorly

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about their performance. Students will only be motivated if we respond kindly
and positively to them. This is particularly important in the mathematics
Ramirez, G., Gunderson, E. A., Levine, S. C., & Beilock, S. L. (2013). Math anxiety,
working memory, and math achievement in early elementary
school. Journal of Cognition and Development, 14, 2, 187-202. Retrieved
Ramirez et al. note that although many studies have been conducted on
older students with regard to math anxiety, few have been explored with young
children in Grades 1 and 2. It is important to acknowledge whether or not
students are experiencing math anxiety at a young age as it may influence
dislike and avoidance of math as they get older. In this study, the researchers
predict that children who have high working memory may be most prone to
math anxiety. This is assumed because math anxiety particularly affects the
working memory system.
Participants in this study were children from five public schools in the
United States. 94 students were from Grade 1, while 68 were from Grade 2. These
students received a variety of tests, ranging from the Digit Span subtest to the
Child Math Anxiety Questionnaire. Students worked one-on-one with an
experimenter early in the school year.
The findings of this study displayed that those children who were higher in
working memory experienced greater math anxiety. The researchers suggest
many explanations for this result. Children who rely more on their working
memory face issues with math anxiety as concern about their work interferes
with the cognitive resources that support their learning. As children with low
working memory are using less sophisticated problem solving methods, they are
less affected by math anxiety. In addition, children with high working memories
are more emotionally aware of their math challenges; this in turn would lead to
a more accurate report on anxiety.
This article is quite useful in my research and teaching as it allows me to
understand what kinds of development affects anxietys impact. As the
researchers rightfully note, teachers should not consider math learning in terms
of content and pedagogy, but also the anxieties that children bring into the
classroom with them. It is essential to determine these anxieties early on as they
later may grow into something more serious in the future.

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Tooke, D. J., & Lindstrom, L. C. (1998). Effectiveness of a mathematics methods
course in reducing math anxiety of preservice elementary
teachers. School Science and Mathematics, 98, 3, 136-139. Retrieved from
Although Tooke and Lindstroms study was conducted in 1998, I feel it is
very pertinent to explore in comparison to Beilock et al.s study. Tooke and
Lindstorm explore mathematics anxiety in preservice elementary school
teachers. The researchers note their concern that teachers attitudes not only
affect their students attitudes towards math, but also the teaching itself.
Although preservice teachers anxiety is not greater than the general public, it
rises upon supervisor evaluation. Many researchers have explored ways to
reduce anxiety, either in preparing the teachers to learn math, or explaining
how to teach math to their students. It has been suggested by the NCTM to
incorporate exercises to familiarize teachers to mathematics concepts.
Teachers can reduce students anxiety through the use of manipulatives, a
supportive classroom environment, and a variety of teaching strategies. Prior
research to this study has suggested that preservice teachers need to be
introduced to the material slowly, and encouraged to talk about their own
thoughts in learning.
The study looks at 4 year teaching and 5 year teaching programs at the
University of Nevada. Prior to the study, the researchers administered The
Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale for Adults to all students at the beginning and
end of their courses. The new 5 year program consists of teachers requiring 6
credit hours of Mathematics for Elementary Teachers, while the prior 4 year
program requires none. As the methods courses seen in the 4 year program try
to cover the same material as the Math for Teachers course, the researchers
decided to see which approach reduces anxiety. The first section in the
Mathematics for Teachers course taught in a non-traditional manner by
incorporating open ended questions, group work, and the use of manipulatives.
The second section in the same course taught in a more traditional style that
consisted of homework, lectures, and exams. The methods courses included the
same mathematical content, but addressed appropriate ways to instruct the
material to students.
Although the two courses had different approaches, the results indicated
that there was no significant difference in the anxiety of the students among the
two courses. In the methods courses, however, students anxiety did reduce.
Overall, this study proved that taking a mathematics course prior to teacher
training does not necessarily influence teachers anxiety. I believe this study was
very useful to explore as it mentions ways in which anxiety can be reduced in
the classroom. I can relate well to what is perceived as stress reducing: clarity of
instruction and a variety of teaching methods.

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Algebraic Thinking NCTM Critical Reviews

As I recently completed a math unit plan on algebraic thinking in third
grade with fellow colleagues, I thought it would be intriguing to pursue research
in this field. What I discovered was quite fascinating, and definitely provided me
with new insight when teaching algebraic thinking in the future. I aim to create
a focus on change, and promote algebraic thinking in my classroom as much
as I can.

Patterns to Develop Algebraic Reasoning

Stump, S. L. (2011, March 01). Patterns to develop algebraic reasoning. Teaching
Children Mathematics, 17, 7, 410-418.
Patterns have always intrigued me; however, prior to reading Sheryl
Stumps article, Patterns to Develop Algebraic Reasoning, I had not fully realized
how essential it is truly examine how you are presenting patterns to students
patterns should be explored and taught in a way that supports high-order
thinking. This article sets out to prove the importance in focusing on change
when exploring patterns as opposed to relying on stasis. Stump begins by
explaining that students begin to develop algebraic reasoning in elementary
school, but there are indeed disagreements into how this should be taught and
explored. To clarify for the reader, Stump presents Kaputs two core aspects of
algebra. Essentially, core aspect A is generalization (patterns), while core aspect
B focuses on the symbols themselves (symbol manipulation). It is important for
both aspects to be acknowledged; however, many educators disregard
patterns as symbolic manipulation tends to hold more importance in instruction.
This overview and explanation then leads into Stumps main objective
patterns are of course meaningful and needed in the curriculum, but they must
be presented in a way that allows students to develop a meaningful
understanding of algebra. Stump argues that simply focusing on stasis (the
current state of the pattern) will not promote higher-order thinking skills. Stump
provides an excellent visual and problem that clearly addresses this notion. In
supporting this importance of change when studying patterns, Stump and
colleagues worked with both preservice and inservice teachers to survey and
enhance their experiences with elementary algebraic reasoning. In this article,
there is a visual provided with a specific pattern and questions, both stasis and
change orientated, that the teachers were provided with during their session.
Examples of stasis questions revolved around what type of pattern was
displayed and how it was constructed, while change questions explored how
many of each shape was used to create the pattern, as well as what shape the
48th block would be. I found that this example was very clear in determining the

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difference between the two types of focus, and was quite insightful for meas I
had recently explored patterns in my previous internship, I was able to use this
article to determine what kinds of questions I was asking the students.
Overall, this article was extremely beneficial, and would be an excellent
resource for other teachersespecially new teachers. I note this as I had not
fully realized the different focuses in patterns, nor the importance in creating a
greater focus on change. It has definitely influenced my thinking and has
adjusted what I will teach when I explore patterns in the future. This article was
well-researched and sourced, therefore making it quite credible, but also
challenging to comprehend in earlier sections as rich academic language is
used. However, the tone begins to shift when focusing on the teachers
perspectives during Stumps workshop. I appreciate being able to read firsthand various teachers thoughts and opinions once finishing the session. Stump
presents a strong, intriguing and insightful argument. I look forward to using these
notions and concepts when teaching patterns in the future.
Technology to Develop Algebraic Reasoning
Polly, D. (2011, April 01). Technology to develop algebraic reasoning. Teaching
Children Mathematics, 17, 8, 473-478.
Technology is becoming increasingly popular within 21st century
classrooms. This is of course exciting and useful for teachers and students alike,
but it is important to ensure that technology is being used in a purposeful way. In
Technology to Develop Algebraic Reasoning, Drew Polly discusses an interesting
program from the Illuminations website that is used to teach algebraic reasoning
in third grade. Polly states that it is essential that students are able to work to the
highest levels of Blooms taxonomythat being to create, evaluate and analyze
concepts. Polly argues that technology in the classroom can allow for just that.
To support this notion, Polly co-teaches a lesson with a teacher to a group of
third grade students.
By adding and removing shapes on a balance scale, students are able to
explore equality when using this program. This article states how this program
was explored with the children. Polly first modeled how to use the program, and
then proposed a number of questions to the class. Upon placing various shapes
on the beam, Polly asked the children about observations, values, and
statements regarding what was seen on the screen. Students then worked in
pairs, but did not simply move shapes aroundthey developed high order
thinking skills. By writing descriptions, determining values of shapes, and creating
equations about what they saw, students were able to work with algebraic
concepts in a way that allowed them to analyze, evaluate, and create
equations. Technology was thus used not only to engage and intrigue students,
but to also support the type of thinking we strive for daily in the classroom.

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I believe that some of Pollys greatest strengths within this article were his
clear explanations and the actual questions and answers provided among
students and teacher. This article is easy to comprehend and follow, as the
language is engaging and relatable. Pollys argument for what technology
adds in the classroom is also extremely valid and strong. Polly argues that the
pan balance allows for easy manipulation and immediate feedback, presenting
concepts in a manner that is engaging, and easy to understand. In accordance
with Polly, I believe that students must work with manipulatives themselves
before creating and evaluating equations. This program allows for both aspects,
and is something I would love to use within the classroom. I would ensure that
proper questions are posed, and that students are working at a means that
supports higher order thinking skills and processes.
I strongly suggest that all teachers read this article and try out the
program for themselves. Polly provides an engaging and beneficial program to
use within the classroom that integrates technology in a meaningful and
purposeful way.

The following is the link to this program, for those interested:


Developing Elementary Teachers: Algebra Eyes and Ears

Blanton, M., & Kaput, J. (2003, October 01). Developing elementary teachers'
"algebra eyes and ears". Teaching Children Mathematics, 10, 2, 70-77.
Retrieved from
Although this article is dated from 2003, the title and authors involved
piqued my interest. Developing Elementary Teachers: Algebra Eyes and Ears
by Maria Blanton and James Kaput connects well to the previous article I had
read by Stump. Blanton and Kaput state that developing early algebraic
thinking is important; however, many elementary teachers have had little
experience with algebra since they were in high school. Similar to Stumps
article, this piece also explores how elementary teachers should introduce
algebraic thinking in the classroom. With this in mind, Blanton and Kaput decide
to conduct a study in which they algebrafy elementary school mathematics.
Working with first and third grade students, Blanton and Kaput aim in this study
was to assist teachers in identifying and creating opportunities for algebraic
thinking as a routinely part of classroom activity. Students should work with
problems in a way that allows them to generalize their thinking and then justify

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those generalizations. The authors note that algebrafied practice takes a variety
of forms in school in that algebraic themes are not isolated to one lesson, and
that algebraic conversations are regularly and spontaneously incorporated.
Algebraic thinking extends that much further when teachers can take arithmetic
tasks and algebrafy them, and as well as apply this thinking across school
culture with support and assistance from other staff members.
Blanton and Kaputs article is quite strong as it provides numerous
examples and insight into the studies conducted with teachers and students.
The handshake problem provided, for example, is clear in that it shows the
divide between an arithmetic problem, and a problem that has been
transformed to promote algebraic thinking. This section is particularly engaging
for the reader as it provides a screenshot of the handout as well as photos of
students completing the handshake problem. I would most certainly
recommend this article to other teachers simply based on these problems
provided; however, there is even more that enhances this article. Blanton and
Kaput provide a section that states how teachers can support students
algebraic thinking by asking the following questions: Can you tell me what you
were thinking? Did you solve this in a different way? How do you know this is
true? Does this always work? (Blanton and Kaput, 2003, p. 73). I appreciate that
this article explores both first grade and third grade examples of algebraic
thinking as it allows teachers to understand how it can be applied at a lower
and higher elementary levels. Referring back to previous articles read, I believe
this study promotes higher order thinking skills and focuses on the notion of
change in patterns. Students are asked to analyze and evaluate their thinking,
and focus on how the equations change when greater numbers are added to
the problem. Despite being an older article, I believe it quite nicely ties in both
ideas mentioned in Stump and Pollys research, which is intriguing, as the more
recent articles were published in 2011. I strongly feel that this article would be
beneficial for all teachers to explorenot just those who are beginning their
teaching careers. It provides insight for all who are in this profession.

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Review of Math Manipulatives

Snap Cubes

In my teaching experience so far, students faces have lit up when

theyve heard the words snap cubes. There are many benefits to using snap
cubes in the classroom. One major benefit is that it supports a tactile, kinesthetic
learning style: students can manipulate the cubes themselves and visually see
various numbers represented. Snap cubes are quite versatile and can be
incorporated into a variety of lessons, such as addition/subtraction, patterns,
and measurement. In my first internship in a grade one classroom, I used snap
cubes quite frequently when working on nonstandard measurement. Students
would create snap cubes trains of 4-20 cubes long, and then compare their
trains to various objects in the classroom. Using proper terminology (such as
longer than, shorter than, and the same length as), students explored the room
to see how their trains measured up. I found that they really loved this activity
because they had choice, as well as the option to move around the classroom.
I would love to use snap cubes in my classroom and particularly apply them
when teaching about patterns. Snap cubes not only assist instruction, but are
quite fun!

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Pan Balance Scale

A common misconception among children is that the equal sign means

answer. I believe this misconception can best be challenged by using visual
manipulatives, such as the pan balance shown above. During my first internship,
I had the opportunity to observe a grade 2 class. They were focusing on the
equal sign and what it meant. The teacher first wrote an equation on the board,
explaining to the children that the equal sign means that a number sentence is
the same on both sides. To further support this understanding, she then used the
pan balance. With student assistance, this teacher showed students that both
pans needed to have an equal amount of bears (another terrific manipulative!)
in order for it to stay balanced. Students practiced placing more bears in one
pan than another, and counted how many bears were in each pan. One
student even exclaimed that this makes so much more sense now!. I would
love to use this in my classroom to demonstrate the concept of the equal sign. It
is not only engaging, but kids truly grasp a greater understanding of this
challenging concept!

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Foam Counters

Foam counters may seem like a simplistic math resource, but they can be
used for a variety lessons. In my grade one internship, we used counters in
combination with ten frames. Students were to use the counters to create
different amounts on two sets of ten frames, while the other student was to state
what number was represented in total. Counters are excellent manipulatives
that are easy for children to handle. Not only can they be used with ten frames,
but can also be used in early algebraic thinking. As the counters have two
different coloursred and whitethis manipulative can help represent an AB
pattern. These counters are multipurpose too, as they can be used as a tool for
other activities, such as Bingo, for example.

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Ten Frame Treasure Chest

Ten frames have hold many benefits in the classroom! For early grades, it
not only helps develop number sense, but also addition and subtraction in the
same coin. During my first internship, the grade ones loved ten frames. When I
was in the classroom with them, we used to ten frames to help develop number
sense up to 20. This manipulative supports childrens learning as they are able to
visually represent the numbers that they are working on, as well as enhance their
kinesthetic learning styles. I would use this in my classroom to not only help
develop early addition and subtraction strategies, but also to reinforce base-ten
number concepts. Ten frames are not only wonderful as a 3D manipulative, but
also as an online resource. In my class, we used the following YouTube link to
support number sense:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVjvswqL-Ow
The video is entitled Ten Frame Fun Flash to 20. In watching this video, students
were able to see how fast they could figure out what numbers were
represented on the ten frames! Students found this very engaging and wanted
to practice daily to improve their skills.

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Number Lines

I believe the use of number lines in the classroom is sometimes

underestimated in the elementary classroom. Number lines hold many purposes.
Not only do they support visual learners, but also give children a greater
understanding of number concepts. Number lines can be used for addition and
subtraction, and can also be extended to estimation. I think this is very important
as estimation is an extremely difficult concept for children to grasp. If they can
visualize the estimate they are making on the number line, I believe this would
help them better understand this concept. A number line is also essential when
learning fractions. As fractions are parts of a whole, using a number line in the
classroom can be essential in helping students visualize this idea.

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Mathematics and Technology

Musical Fun with Fractions! Instructional Video
In the first semester of my elementary mathematics methods course,
myself and Kelsey MacLeod created a SMART Board lesson which incorporates
both music and math in an engaging and interactive context. This activity was
quite an adventure for us as it was the first time we had used the SMART Board
technology. For this project, we decided to take this activity and turn it into an
instructional video that explains how this activity is used, and how mathematics
and music are connected. This lesson can be used in a grade 3 classroom to
introduce fractions, or in a grade 4 classroom to activate prior knowledge.
Please visit the links below on my Weebly page to view the video and SMART
Board activity.


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Ten Frame Fun!
During my first internship, the grade one students were working hard on
number sense: recognizing, at a glance, numbers up to 10, and exploring
numbers to 20. Many of my morning messages and quick reviews prior to a math
lesson consisted of a ten frame flash check: I would have two ten frames with a
particular number represented, and the students were to tell me that number.
Students enjoyed this activity, and it allowed them to practice this important
concept. As many of these exercises were done with either physical ten frames
or the SMART Board, I was inspired to create a SMART Board lesson which
discusses ten frames and values from 10 to 20. This activity could be used in a
variety of circumstances: it could be used to support existing ten frame
knowledge, or even as a remediation tool for those who are struggling with this
concept, as it outlines ideas in a chronological, step-by-step order. Below are
some screenshots of the SMART Board file; I invite you to click the link below
document on this Weebly page to access the file and try for yourself!

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Number of Days in School
My co-operating teacher had an excellent way of consistently
developing place value knowledge and understanding. Each day, she would
have the special helper tell the class how many days we had been in school.
However, the student had to place the proper base ten pieces to represent that
number. For example, if we had been in school for 75 days, the student was to
write down the number 75, and drag pieces to their proper place (in this
instance, it would be 7 tens in the tens place, and 5 ones in the ones place.
Students loved this activity and I thought it was a terrific way of practicing this
concept on a daily basis. I enjoyed continuing it while I was teaching during my
internship. For this resource, I decided to create my own version, as well as a
blank template for other teachers to use within the classroom. I believe it is a
great tool to help reinforce base ten concepts at the early elementary level. I
invite you to click the SMART Board link below this document on my Weebly

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Starfall www.starfall.com
In my grade one internship, we used the Starfall Calendar on a daily basis.
I found this was very engaging for the students as they were able to interact with
the program and move numbers around to show the proper date. The calendar
also goes through all the days of the week, and provides the specific holidays
for each month. I believe this is a beneficial tool to use in the classroom as many
mathematical questions can be derived from it. As the program highlights the
day of the week (Friday, for example), and the numbers that correspond to it,
students can be asked to identify particular patterns they see with the numbers,
and at what rate the number is changing. Starfall also provides other math
activities for preschool and early elementary students, but unfortunately, some
can only be accessed with a membership. However, the activities that you can
access are quite beneficial for ESL students in particular. There are many
repetitive and eye-catching activities that I think second language learners
would find interesting and helpful. Although aimed for any child, my experience
teaching English as a second language really drew me to these activities due to
their clarity, repetition, and engaging style.

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Prodigy Math www.prodigygame.com
As you will see later on in this project, I interviewed an eleven year old
about her views on mathematics. She has highly stressed how engaging and fun
prodigygame.com is, so I decided to take a look through the website myself.
This website is quite an excellent resource. It is a fantasy-based game, similar to
Zelda, where children are to create their own character and travel through a
fictional world. In this world, characters run into many obstacles that provide
them with challenges. In order to make it past said obstacle, players are to
answer a math question. This program not only incorporates math, but also
language arts, as students read a storyline that carries them on their journey.
What is also wonderful about this math resource is that it allows for
differentiation. If students struggle with a question, the game automatically pulls
students back to prerequisite questions. The game aligns itself with the Ontario
curriculum for grades 1-8. I would recommend this website to any child who
needs remediation or enrichment in mathematics! What an excellent resource!

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Math Interview
It is important to connect with students and find out their views on mathematics.
I interviewed an 11 year old to see how she feels about this subject. After grade
4, she switched from public school to home schooling. At the end of this
interview is a beautiful image that she created of her own version of Math
Planet. While in previous grades, she experienced some anxiety towards
mathematics, but is beginning to feel more secure as she has been exposed to
different online resources that she finds engaging and helpful.
1.) Do you enjoy Math? Why or why not?
I used to hate Math, but now I enjoy it a bit more now because I learned
more about it, and I do it in my free time a little.
2.) What is your favourite subject in Math?
Since math has never really been my thing, I like easier things, like adding
and subtracting, but multiplication can be fun too. I also like difference
sometimes and where you have to convert something into something like
tenths (I kind of forget how to explain it).
3.) How do you learn Math best? Do Math games help you learn?
Yes, Math games do help! Usually I would hesitate from Math, and I would
never want to it, but then my mom found prodigymath.com and its so
much easier now. I learned so many things that I never heard of before
(although I still need to practice).
4.) What do you think teachers could do to make Math more fun?
I think they could try taking more pressure off; maybe instead of having to
do the calculations in their head they could have a few small objects and
include those in the math somehow. Prodigy actually has a student thing, I
5.) What would you like to know more about in Math?
I think I really need to learn multiplication more, but I would probably just
like to try and understand it all.
6.) What grade did you enjoy most in Math? Why?
Ive never really liked Math, so if I were still in school, I probably would
have said Kindergarten. Grade 3 was seriously hard! But I know that this
grade is definitely my favourite (Grade 6). The resources I have now make
it much easier.

McCorriston 24
7.) Do you like doing Math by yourself or with a partner?
Definitely by myself, because if I were in math class and I were paired with
someone, it would be embarrassing to get a question wrong in fear of
being laughed at (or being paired with someone who you fight with all
the time).
8.) What would you like to do to showcase your understanding of Math?
Im not sure, because I dont really like presentations or Math.
9.) How would you teach Math to a group of students?
It depends on what grade they were in, but I would try to make it easy
and simple for them to understand. For younger kids (preschool,
kindergarten, etc.), you could tell them to count cookies or candies for an
easy reward, and then reward them with one (you would have to be
careful the others wouldnt feel left out though. If the kid got it wrong, you
could give them a quarter or half of the cookie, although that would not
work with cookies or most candy). The same thing would work with older
kids, maybe somehow with money. If they got the question wrong, they
could be given 5 cents? As the grade gets higher up, the questions get
harder; this method can be used with other kinds of math other than
addition and subtraction (multiplication, dividing, and such).
10.) If Math Planet were real, can you tell me what it would be like?
It would probably have a grid background, and everything would be
identified as a shape in everyday objects (like a top hat can be looked at
as two rectangles, or a drink coaster can be looked at as a circle).

McCorriston 25

Math Activity Journal

After three peer teaching modules were taught during second semester, I
decided to write an activity journal entry for each. This allowed me to explore
these concepts in more detail and find exciting, engaging activities that apply
to these areas. I focused on the following concepts: fractions, decimals, and
geometry. All of the activities I have found are from Pinterest.
26 January 2015
Math Journal: Fractions
Fractions were always something that intimidated me as a child. Upon
studying fractions as a teacher, I wonder if it were my past teachers attitudes
towards the subject that influenced how I felt about it. I remember my Grade 3
teacher saying this might be our most difficult topic! and since then, I was
unsure about fractions.

I aim to be enthusiastic and supportive when teaching fractions, as I

understand that my attitude will influence how my future students will feel about
the topic. I feel it is important to make fractions engaging, and as applicable to
childrens lives as possible. On Pinterest, I found a very fun and interactive
activity that would be beneficial to explore further in a fractions unit. The game
is called the Fraction War Card Game. The goal of this game is to develop a
quick comparison of fraction values. Essentially, students take turns playing war
using a deck of cards and a pencil that stands as the fraction line. Students play
in pairs, and the student that has the larger fraction gets to keep all the cards.
The player with the most cards at the end wins the game. If students have
equivalent fractions, there is a fraction war. At this point, each student places
two new cards face down, and then a third and fourth card faced up. At that

McCorriston 26
point, whoever has the highest fraction wins all the cards.
To assist students in this game, a teacher may develop a sheet entitled
Fraction War Tips and Tricks. The rules would be essentially as follows:

If two fractions have a common denominator, the fraction with the

larger numerator is the larger fraction (4/5 > 2/5)
If two fractions have a common numerator, the fraction with the
smaller denominator is larger (1/3 > 1/6)

This game allows for differentiation as well. Students can use fraction strips
to compare, and can also use these cards below instead of playing cards:

I would like to use this activity in a math class as it further develops

students understanding of fraction comparison. That can be one of the most
challenging aspects of the unit; I feel that this activity would be engaging and
interesting for students.

McCorriston 27
27 January 2015
Math Journal: Decimals and Percents
Decimals are essential in many occupations. For instance, nurses require
precision when measuring liquids and medicines for their patients. Many
teachers and students have shown greater difficulty understanding decimals
than fractions. I believe it is important to connect decimals to fractions so that
students develop a better understanding of them.

McCorriston 28
The above images are activities I found on Pinterest. I believe that the
Introduction of Decimals on the far right is a clear picture of what each baseten unit represents in decimal form. In combination with this display, I believe
that actual 3D manipulatives should be used to further support understanding. In
the beginning of a unit, I believe the bottom photo (featuring the name Erin)
could be used to help strengthen understanding of decimals to base-ten values.
In this activity, students write out their names in a hundreds chart, and then write
the fraction that is represented by their name. Completing this activity while
referring to the Introduction of Decimals sheet could be a helpful introduction.
Towards the end of a unit, I feel that the puzzle piece game could be a
collaborative and interactive activity. There could be pieces split up in centers,
and students could work together in groups to create one equivalent puzzle
04 February 2015
Math Journal: Geometry
It is very informative and practical to be learning the theory behind
various mathematical concepts. Prior to completing my Education degree, I did
not know much about Van Hieles theory of geometry. Students go through the
following five levels: visualization, analysis, abstraction, deduction, and rigor.
Looking through resources online, I found a few activities that can apply to
different levels:



McCorriston 29

For 1, I would apply this to the level zero: visualization. However, I would
adapt the shapes used in the model. As students may only be familiar with
squares, circles, and triangles at this stage, I would include only those shapes
when first introducing this to a Kindergarten or preschool level class. Depending
on students understanding, this activity would be excellent to differentiate as it
can support both those students who we want to enrich, and those who require
remediation. I believe this activity is beneficial as it also integrates art curriculum
As learners begin to recognize the relationships between shapes during
the second level, analysis, I believe that activity number 2 would be beneficial
to use in the classroom. It incorporates both squares and rectangles, and
students can be required to use both shapes in their dream home layout. This
activity is also quite useful as it can incorporate lessons on area as well. I believe
activity number 3 would also fit into this category as students are discussing
many of the shapes properties. Students at this level may be able to
comprehend the related properties between a square and a rectangle. This
lesson would be beneficial as it includes Language Arts outcomes as well.

McCorriston 30

Integration of Mathematics into Other Subject Areas

To increase motivation and interest in mathematics, I believe it is
important to integrate other subject areas while teaching. Conducting research
on math anxiety has shown me that it is quite prevalent in elementary students; I
aim to lessen this anxiety in students, and show them how mathematics is
applicable to their lives (as well as how it can be fun!). Below are ways in which
mathematics can be integrated into art, literacy, drama, and music. These
resources are ones that Ive created, or ones that I am reviewing from online.

Mathematics and Art

In my Music and Art class at St. Thomas University, I was fortunate enough
to have been exposed to a wonderful art and math lesson by a fellow
colleague. This lesson was called pattern pillars. In this lesson, students are to
create their own caterpillars that have particular patterns. In my first internship, I
was placed with a Grade One class, and we had just finished patterns when I
arrived. As a reviewand to show how it can be applied to artI decided to
incorporate this pattern pillar lesson into art class. Below is the lesson plan, as well
as some pictures of the beautiful pattern pillars that were created!

McCorriston 31
Lesson Plan
Name: Alisha McCorriston

Date: Friday, November 14th, 2014

Time: 9:30 am 10:00 am Grade: One

Subject: Art

Curriculum Outcomes:
NB Outcomes:
GCO: Patterns and Relations (PR): Use patterns to describe the world and solve
SCO: PR1: Demonstrate an understanding of repeating patterns (two to four
elements) by:
creating patterns using manipulatives, diagrams, sounds and actions
NCTM Standards:
In prekindergarten through grade 2, all students should:
- sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties
- recognize, describe and extend patterns such as sequences of sounds and
shapes or simple numeric patterns and translate from one representation to
- analyze how both repeating and growing patterns are generated
Materials and Techniques
Manipulate and experiment with art materials such as pencils, paint, wax
crayons, pastels, markers, computer software, paper, clay and paste.
Drawing Explorations:
- produce different line densities by drawing with light and heavy pressure
- experiment, using crayons and pastels, with overlapping colours to create
additional colours and textures
Elements of Art and Design
Recognize and discriminate among the art elements (colour, line, texture,

McCorriston 32
shape) in their art work, the work of artists, in nature and other objects in their
total environment.
- create various line patterns, e.g., stripes, spirals, zig zags and jagged lines
- create designs with different simple shapes
Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to integrate both math and art by utilizing patterns in this
activity. This will give students creative expression as they are able to create any
kind of pattern they would like, and any kind of style. Students will be able to
review and apply what they have already learned about patterns from
mathematics class.
- Black construction paper
- Pastels
- Chart paper
Procedure (Beginning, Middle, Closing):
Beginning (5-10 minutes):
1.) Tell students that we will be working on something called a pattern pillar.
Explain that this is a caterpillar filled with patterns.
2.) Show students my example of my pattern pillar. Explain that you draw circles
with pastels for your caterpillars body. Model an example of a pattern pillar on
chart paper.
3.) Explain that the length of the pattern pillar should take up the length of the
4.) Explain to students that, if time, they can create a scene to their picture as
5.) Review with the students what kind of patterns they could put in their pattern
- Pattern must be an ABC pattern
- Pattern must repeat three times
Middle (15-20 minuteslonger if need be):
1.) Students will be working on their pattern pillars
2.) I will be circulating around the room, assisting students who may need help
Closing (5-10 minutes):
1.) Students will come to group time with their pattern pillars. With the person
beside them, they will share some details about their pattern pillars for about
1 minute. Afterwards, those who feel comfortable will share them with the
whole group and explain some details about their picture (what pattern they

McCorriston 33
have chosen, and any other details about the caterpillar).
Modifications/Classroom Management Notes:
I will be circulating around the room to make sure that the students remain on
task. For those who struggle to understand the task, I will assist them and
reinstruct what it is they have to do. Remind students to focus during group time
by telling them to participate in criss-cross apple sauce and whole-body
This lesson will feature an informal assessment. As the children have already
been tested on patterns, I will take a close look at the patterns in their artwork,
but I will not formally assess this work. I will look to see if they have created an
ABC pattern with three attributes.

McCorriston 34

Mathematics and Literacy

Math in Your Hometown
My hometown in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia holds a special place in
my heart. It is a historical town, rich with stories and thoughtful people. Working
as a Curatorial Assistant with the Annapolis Heritage Society allowed me to tell
the towns history to a number of children that came in to visit. Many times I tried
to adjust my tours based on what the children were most interested in.
Reflecting on this, I wanted to create a story about my town that integrates
mathematical concepts. This is a piece I would love to share with future
students. It would not only give further insight to who I am, but also display
mathematical conceptsspecifically geometry in a fun, literary context. I
would love to have students create their own stories about the math they find in
their city or town!
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy this story!

Please note:
These photos were taken by my friend, Megan Cooke. When we went
to visit my town four years ago, we went to areas of the town that I
thought she would take particular interest in. As she is a photographer,
she quite enjoyed the sights within Annapolis Royal.

This has also been created into a flipbook online at the following link:

McCorriston 35

Mathematical Adventures in Annapolis Royal

Written by: Alisha McCorriston

Pictures: Megan Cooke

McCorriston 36

Miss McCorriston sits on a bench and stares off into the

distance. She is on a missiona mission to find shapes! As she
continues to sit, she wonders if there are any shapes nearby.
Hmm, she thought. I dont see any in the distance. All I see
are clouds and houses!
She looks around, unaware of any shapes behind her.
Can YOU help her? What shapes do you see in this picture?

McCorriston 37

As Miss McCorriston leaves the bench, she walks past Fort Anne,
Canadas oldest national historic site.
Yay! She exclaims excitedly. I see three rectangular
She looks around some more.
Wow! She said. I also see three flags!
Can you help Miss McCorriston find more shapes? What shapes
do you see in this picture?

McCorriston 38

Before Miss McCorriston can leave Fort Anne to explore other

parts of the town, she must determine what she sees around the
yellow bridge.
Hmm, this is a tough one, she thought. I can only see two
picnic tables past the bridge!
Unsure, she starts to walk the other way.
But, wait! YOU can help Miss McCorriston! Can you find any
shapes in this picture?

McCorriston 39

As Miss McCorriston leaves Fort Anne, she thinks of a wonderful

idea. One of her favourite places in the whole wide world is nearby.
I could go to the dock! She says. There are many beautiful
buoys near the boats! Im sure Ill see shapes there!
Happily, she skips along the boardwalk, excited to see the
colourful buoys.
Before she continues on her journey, how many long rectangles
do you see in this picture? What other shapes do you see?

McCorriston 40

Wow! She says, smiling. I love all these wonderful buoys.

There are so many shapes and colours.
Did you know that yellow is Miss McCorristons favourite colour?
Can you point to the yellow circle?
Miss McCorriston stands close to get a better look.
Hmm, she begins. I wonder how many buoys there are in
She starts to count slowly and decides on six buoys.
Did Miss McCorriston miss any buoys while counting?

McCorriston 41

In the fall, many houses are decorated with pumpkin people.

Since Miss McCorriston has always loved seeing all of the beautiful
decorations, she decides to walk down George Street. Since
pumpkins are round, she knows she is bound to see some circles!
She stares at the pumpkin people in amazement.
I see so many shapes here! She exclaims.
Can you help Miss McCorriston find the shapes? How many
circles do you see? What other shapes do you notice?

McCorriston 42

She walks away smiling, amazed at all the shapes she has
found throughout the town.
I cant believe it! She cries. I have found so many wonderful
shapes all around me! Who knew all the different numbers I would
come across? Who knew that math could be found right here at
Suddenly, she sees a number of birds above her.
Wow! She shouts. Look at all of these crows!
Can you help Miss McCorriston count the birds?

McCorriston 43

Tired but happy from her exciting day, Miss McCorriston sits
down on the bench that started it all.
I think I will find shapes wherever I go! She says, staring off into
the distance.
In fact, she exclaims, I think Ive found some now! I cant
believe I didnt see these before!
What does Miss McCorriston see?

McCorriston 44

Thank you for helping Miss McCorriston!

McCorriston 45

Mathematics and Drama

I am passionate about drama and hope to incorporate it into my lessons
as much as I can. I believe that drama can be especially beneficial in
mathematics as many visual and kinesthetic elements can be applied to various
concepts. While exploring online, I found a resource from Scholastics in the UK. It
is very similar to a drama game called Zip Zap Zop. This activity in particular is
called Two, Four, Six and is for early elementary. Students begin by standing in
a circle. One person makes eye contact with someone else, steps forward,
claps, and then points at another person while saying the number two. The
person receiving the two steps forward doing the same actions, but instead says
the number four. This continues onward as a skip count by twos. The goal of
this game is to pass around the numbers and energy as quickly as possible! This is
something that I think most students would love; having played Zip Zap Zop with
many children, I have found that they quite enjoy it. Tying it with mathematics
would be that much more interesting! This could also be adapted to explore
different math concepts, such as skip counting by 5s, 3s, 10s, and so on. If you
want to view this resource, I invite you to click the following link:
Another interesting activity I would love to try with students would be to
incorporate drama and geometry. I have played a game called Pass the
Energy Ball with children in the past. In this game, they are to hold an imaginary
ball and pass it to someone in the circle. They have to hold the ball the way in
which they imagine itfor example, if it is a heavy, large ball, children must act
as though they passing someone that type of ball. To adapt this to fit geometry, I
would have students pass particular shapes such as circles, rectangles, and
triangles. They would have to describe the shape, but not say what the shape is.
Once it has been passed around the circle a few times, students would be able
to guess the shape.

McCorriston 46

Mathematics and Music

While working with grade ones during my first internship, I found that they
learned best through music. Many times during math class I would try to
incorporate music as much as I could. This would range from singing and
moving to various skip counts of 2s, 5s, and 10s, to listening and responding to
YouTube videos. Below are some excellent resources that I had used with this
class. The final resource is one that I found particularly beneficial with my nieces
and nephew. I believe that engaging visuals, catchy lyrics, and clear
explanations are what students benefit most from YouTube videos.

The Friends of Ten

This video was a hit with the grade ones! I believe they were drawn to the rhyme
scheme of the songit was fun, and quite easy to remember. As students are to
quickly recognize arrangements of ten and begin to learn what components
make ten, I believe that this resource is excellent for the early elementary
grades. I invite you to view this video at the link below, or on my Weebly page:

McCorriston 47

Place Value Math Song

This video was a blast to play during my internship! Students were working on
place value daily through counting how many days they were in school (please
see my SMART Board activity for more information). This song again provides a
catchy, friendly, and easy to remember tune that the students just loved singing.
Almost every class I had with them they asked for this song to be played. It was
so exciting to see how happy they were whenever this song began. I believe
that the visuals in this video are also beneficial for students. There are bright
colours and clear explanations that are easy for students to understand. I invite
you to go to the link below, or watch the video at the bottom of this Weebly
page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W47G-h7myY
Below is a screenshot of another video that I found by the same YouTube user,
Mr. Rs Songs for Teaching. He has another video to count by 5s. This song has a
familiar and catchy beat that I believe students would really enjoy. It also
features the ever-popular rubber duck shown in previous videos (the grade one
students loved this character!).

McCorriston 48

Five Little Speckled Frogs

I have two nieces and one nephew that are very close in age8, 6, and 4. As
theyve been growing up, Ive noticed that they too most enjoy math when it is
integrated with music. My niece, Parker, who is 6 years old, loves the song Five
Little Speckled Frogs. Her reason as to why is as follows: I can sing AND do
math! I would love to use this song in a Preschool or early Kindergarten setting. I
believe it is important to promote early number sense in a way that is interactive
and engaging for young children. I invite you to go to the link below, or scroll to
the bottom of this page to view the video: