Monday, September 7, 2015

Built In Placeholders and a Number Line!

Apple Tree is an Animated Step-by-Step Poem™ that is available in three versions: Regular, SymbolStix, and PCS Symbols).

 It is a counting poem, great for autumn, that lends itself beautifully to working on simple math concepts. With the earlier grades, the design encourages counting to six with each click bringing in and announcing a numbered apple. With slightly older grades the pen tools of the interactive whiteboard (IWB) can be used to write math equations and model the use of a number line.

You will note this version of the poem includes apple cores as functional place holders. Each time an apple falls from the tree, it rolls off page where you can hear it being eaten. Eventually the remains of that fallen apple, i.e., the apple core, will fly in from the right and land at the base of the tree. For children that struggle with math concepts, the apple cores can scaffold the process by providing a concrete placeholder for the apples that have already been removed from the tree.

“ Okay this page has three apple cores. 
We had six apples to begin… (write 6 on IWB).
We ate (take away) (write -)
three (write 3)
equals (write=)
three (write 3). There should be three left on the tree.

Let’s see if we were right (remote switch is offered repeatedly for the count; there is a distinct sound that occurs at the end of the count). Yes! We were correct.

As an alternative, consider using the pen tools to draw a number line directly on the page.

“We started with six apples.” (circle the number 6 on the number line)
“ Let’s count how many apples we’ve eaten. I see three apple cores so let’s count back three.” (count the cores) ... 1 … 2 … 3.  That means we should have three apples left in our tree … Let's see if we were right (remote switch is offered repeatedly for the count)

If drawing in a number line just takes too much time, you can click on the sun icon in the upper left corner of each page to access a pre-made number line!  Use the pen tools to write on that number line. When finished, simply click on the large sun icon to be sent back to the page last viewed.

And what about the birds? 

Birds were included to add interest to the activity and provide an additional forum for working on colors. Truth be known, however, they also help to get me ‘off the hook’ for my biodegradable littering!  : )

…’til the next post (new posts every Monday)

© 2015 Carol Goossens', Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Specialist
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator