I was a guest teacher in a Fourth grade room at Pine Glen. The students had been using the 2-column notes from KTL but the teacher did not feel comfortable with the Top-Down-Topic Web, so I was charged with introducing Top Down Topic Webs (TDTW) to her class. Because the students were new to TDTW, I started with an everyday example of a TDTW by showing my weekly schedule.
Students talked to their partners about observations and structure of the web. The students quickly saw the shape structure of headings, subheadings, and details. They also noticed the ease in which to read the web and organize information.
Since the students were working on Multiplication Strategies and Properties and were near the end of the topic, I thought it would be a good time to review some of the concepts by doing a Top Down Topic Web on Multiplication Properties and Strategies.
This is my third version of this TDTW:)
KTL says, “The person creating the web is the one doing the thinking and the work!” Well, I did A LOT of thinking and work to create this one!
Once the web was created, I used it as my answer key to help create the sorting cards. I created cards that were organized by heading, subheadings, and details by color and shape. I talked to the students that some cards might fit in more than 1 category and that the most important thing is that you have a reason why you placed the card where you did. The students were paired up and sent off to find a place to sort the cards.
And then something amazing happened, the students started talking about multiplication properties and strategies! They were engaged and listening to one another reason and problem solve how to organize the web. They were sharing their ideas and experiences about multiplication strategies and properties. Not all of them were correct, but I could easily see and hear, without giving an assessment, what each student’s understanding is about multiplication strategies and properties.
I was beyond excited! In fact I was so excited that when I left the room I told everyone in the hallway about the amazing experience I had just had. I want to have more experiences like this. I feel that this really helped students grapple with some complex conceptual ideas in a non-threatening environment which is not alway the case in Mathematics, YET!