## Reflection: Lesson Planning Words and Abstractions - Section 1: Opener: Complete the other number trick, with symbols and algebra

I am a tireless tinkerer.  I can never quite "leave well-enough alone" with any lesson plan.  My decisions about precisely what to teach are always based on the real students I have in class and the practical concerns of what's going on in school.  I make changes to my lessons based on experiences from last year, not just with a lesson itself, but also where it contributed to getting us by the end of the year.

Capturing all of it to share with you, here, is difficult.  As a teacher, I hope you can relate!  If you've ever tried to describe your days to someone else, and just felt like they're not quite getting the full scope of everything you do, then you know what I'm talking about.  Even from teacher to teacher, how can we possibly share every idea we have?  That's why I'm going to be as open with you here as I can possibly find the time to be.  I hope that it's helpful, and I hope that some of these reflections help to start their own round of conversations.

To summarize as briefly as possible, I should let you know that I added a lesson in between the previous one and the one you're reading now.  I was able to gain access to the computer lab immediately this year, while last year I didn't get the kids to the lab until the second week of November.  Here's my first computer-based lesson from a year ago, with an introduction to Delta Math; this year, some of that getting started stuff happened today.

Today was the fourth day of school, and we got into the computer lab.  I was able to administer this survey (please feel to take a look, and fill it in with nonsense in order to see all three pages) and to get kids up and running on Delta Math.  The assignment was brief: just some practice translating from words to algebraic expressions and some multiplication drills.  That work with algebraic expressions serves as background knowledge for getting into the Number Trick Project and SLT 1.1, and now we've established this tool and classroom structure two months earlier than last year.  I'm excited to see where we're going.

Of course, one change always leads to another, so let me share one more little tweak that has me pretty psyched for class tomorrow.  Using the data from the survey, I'm giving the kids a temporary seating arrangement based on their answers to the prompt: "On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love math?"  I made homogenous groups and as I distribute class folders tomorrow, I'll give kids a few minutes to discuss why they answered the question like they did, and then they'll share out.  Then we'll see where it goes.  On the seating chart slide, I used all the crazy nicknames kids provided for themselves.

That's why I love this job: I find it so engaging and exciting to figure out what works, by tinkering year after year.

Tireless Tinkering
Lesson Planning: Tireless Tinkering

# Words and Abstractions

Unit 1: Number Tricks, Patterns, and Abstractions
Lesson 4 of 12

## Big Idea: In order to figure out how to represent number tricks, we'll have to build up a language for doing so.

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Standards:
Subject(s):
Math, Algebra, Need to Know, symbolic abstraction, number tricks, translating expressions, Algebraic expressions
45 minutes

### James Dunseith

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