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August 2007, Volume 13, Issue 1


Focal Points—What's Next for You?
Francis Fennell
This article, the first in a series, discusses how to put the new NCTM publication, Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematic A Quest for Coherence, into practice.

It's All in the Cards: Adding and Subtracting Integers
Gregorio Ponce
Conceptual misunderstandings students have about integers.  Article describes a hands-on activity using a regular deck of playing cards that facilitates class discussion about integers and adding and subtracting integers. Included is a PowerPoint presentation of the rules for the game.

Issues of Language: Teacher Insights from Mathematics Lessons in Chinese
Cynthia Anhalt; Matthew Ondrus; Virginia Horak
A professional development experience in which teachers from schools with Latino student populations participated in two mathematics lessons taught in Chinese. Teachers experience linguistic challenges similar to those that many ELL students face. Article discusses teachers' reflections and insights about teaching ELL students and aspects about learning mathematics in a second language.

Masterpieces to Mathematics: Using Art to Teach Fraction, Decimal, and Percent Equivalents- FREE PREVIEW!
Christopher Scaptura; Jennifer Suh; Greg Mahaffey
A way to introduce fraction, decimal, and percent equivalents by linking student-created Op Art with examples of twentieth-century abstract painting. Article discusses differentiating instruction according to student ability level. Includes examples of student work and worksheets.

Using Pattern Tasks to Develop Mathematical Understandings and Set Classroom Norms
Margaret Smith; Amy Hillen; Christy Catania
The use of geometric pattern tasks for developing students' capacities to reason algebraically and establish classroom norms at the beginning of the school year.  Article discusses one middle school's pattern-revolution unit on patterns that is used to launch each school year. Includes lesson plan and examples of student work.

A Context for Integer Computation
Jeff Gregg; Diana Underwood Gregg
An instructional sequence  to help students understand why integer operations work the way they do. Discusses the idea of an integer as a composite unit and uses a debit/credit model in an "allowance" context.  Includes different representations of integer values using the model.