we are doing expanded form also. i told my kids to picture a slinky! because a slinky expands- its gets longer. so when i give my students an number on the board, tell them to expand it- if they are stuck, i tell them to think of the slinky, then it's like a light comes on for them, and they can remember to "make the number long"

I tell my kiddos that are struggling to write the digit and fill in the places behind it with zero. For example, 5,672 in expanded form... write the digit 5 and change the digits behind it to zeros. (5,000+), then write the next digit (6) and changed the digits behind it to zeros... you get the picture. Also, we have to teach value, so they know it is just the value of each of the digits with + signs in between. I teach third and they all caught on pretty fast.

Do they have a good grasp of finding the value of each digit? We worked for a long time on just finding the value of each digit. I gave the kids number cards (1-9) and a stack of cards with zeros on them. I asked them to make a certain number with the cards. Then I would call out a digit and they would have to write the value of that digit. They would check by turning over all of the cards in the number except the digit I called and then covering the turned over numbers to the right of that digit with zeros to check their answer. (It seems a little complicated, but it really helped my kinesthetic learners.)

When we moved on to expanded form, I had them write the number from right to left beginning with the ones place. They would cover the rest of the number with their finger. Then they would put a plus sign before the ones digit they had written, move their finger, and write the tens value, then put the plus sign to the right, move their finger and write the hundreds value. It helped them to keep track of what place value they were in so they knew how many zeroes to add.

DPERRY...and my kids are getting it for the most part. We have one kid in our class who plays the accordian, so I tell them to imagine we are pulling the accordian out. You just have to practice, practice, practice...we do it a few times a day, and they seem to have it down okay for now.

My kids are struggling with the same objective. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. I have tried all the strategies you have. I liked the websites and hope I can play whole group. Another way is I refer to them as "houses" I tell my kids only one number can live in the house. I keep the "houses" posted in the room.

My kids are understanding expanded form but WILL not write word form! They know how to...I just think they are being lazy...any ideas on how to get them to do it? Thanks!

Do you have base 10 blocks? It might help to have students build the number first, and then physically separate each type of block. They'll have a visual for 1000s, 100s, 10s and 1s.

Of course, if you're like me, you have nowhere near a class set of base 10 blocks, so you'll have to just model it and then do it with small groups. I hate that junior and intermediate classrooms have so many fewer math manipulatives!

There's probably a website out there somewhere that allows children to manipulative virtual base 10 blocks.

bby publications they have a set called What's my Place? What's my Value? You only have to do it for 5 minutes everyday and your students will amaze you with what they know. My first graders will know and understand place value into the thousands place. Not only that- I have kids who will learn how to multiply and divide. Our math curriculum director sat with her mouth open in my room. She came back day after day. Finally she said, I taught 6th grade for 25 years and they never could figure out this concept and your kids understand it. Why? I don't get it. I was asked to present the program to the staff and it was implemented in all the elementary and some of the middle school buildings.

It is so easy! The reason? It's visual. It uses base ten. I can't push this program enough. It will solve so many of your problems. You can cover many aspects of math. You will need to purchase the book and the kit. It will make your life easier if you do. For 4th grade they have an intermediate level of kit.

One more thing...no I don't work for the company, but I'm wondering if they need anyone in my area

Last edited by Azure; 08-28-2008 at 05:34 AM..
Reason: typo

I have my students cover numbers as they move on down the line with the number. (I know it's poor grammar.) They start at the left end of the number and write the first digit. Then, they vertically write (I put this on centimeter graph paper which helps a LOT with my lower students) the number. Once we've written the value of that digit, we cover it with an object (bookmarks work great) and move to the next one. Once it's covered, it helps them delineate what needs to be written.

In 5th grade, we go to the billions so it gets a little complicated. It really helps the students, though.

To help them put numbers in written form, we surround each place value period with a 'transparent wall'. If it goes through a comma...it won't disappear from sight b/c it's transparent. (I teach Science too so it's a great way to throw in extra vocabulary.) Moving on, they write the number they see within the period and then name the period. For example, if the number is 657,890,004,018...they will name six hundred fifty-seven...then, they will name the billions period b/c we focus on 'comma names' when we're learning about each period...and then we proceed to the next period until we are finished.

I hope that doesn't sound too confusing. It's helped a lot of my struggling math students and I hope it helps some of you as well!

Thank you Lorrclar! I printed the chart and I can't wait to introduce it tomorrow!

We can expand small numbers like 9,218, but once we get into the 10 thousands, they start to lose grasp of "value".

I used to teach it like this:
If there is a 5 in the ten-thousands place, then there are FIVE ten-thousands. 10,000 + 10,000 + 10,000....etc. etc. ad nauseum....

Didn't always work, and struggling math students would lose stamina.