Skip to main content


1st Grade Math - Developing Student Understanding of Non-Standard and Standard Measurement

Clip 2/17: Measurement Lesson Part A1


Tracy Sola begins her lesson on non-standard measurement with the first-grade students, highlighting that they will be using language like “longer and shorter.”

She asks them to work with a partner to count how many “footsteps long this tape is.”

Teacher Commentary

My goal with the kids was to start to try to develop community quickly and get to know them, have them get to know me — but more importantly, to convey to them how I hoped we would operate together as a group: “What are some norms that we will use as we work together?”
A very important norm was that a mistake was useful to all of us and that, when people made mistakes, we would start talking about them so we could all learn more. Basically, a mistake is a chance to learn. That was a big one. 

Also, I spoke of developing some hand signals that would help us work together. It was the little “me too” signal and just the “quiet” signal. I also set the expectation that I wanted them to talk a lot about math to me and to one another so that they would be resources for one another— just setting that expectation right up front so they knew that they had a role to play, and that I would really be asking them a lot of questions. They were very receptive. They just jumped right in. 

That proves to me that really, any student can cooperate like that. It's using methods that include them and activate them as resources for one another. The students did that immediately. I didn't have to start at the beginning of the year with them. They just did it from the first time they met me because I asked them to do so, and it worked right away.