Build / Draw / Record


Welcome to the first UCDS immersiFIRE. Created by teachers for teachers. Multimedia experiences, group conversations, and
individual coaching are all facets of our new approach
to professional development.

You’ll find we’ve included many avenues to explore information. Hands-on experiences to try on your own, grade level videos to watch at your leisure, informative text to read, voice over to ponder, lists of helpful hints to reference and access to an educational community of invested teachers are all here to support your continued excellence and growth as an educator.

Teacher discusses math problem with children Students and teacher working together

This initial series focuses on Math. We’ll look at instructional techniques, ways to build classroom culture and strategies for differentiation that teachers from around the world can try. A live group chat option will follow each immersiFIRE.

Today, explore the site, let us know what you think and consider joining us for our follow up conversation in the next couple of weeks.

The teachers at UCDS created immersiFIRE and all of us are excited to connect and learn beside educators like you.

We look forward to talking with you soon.

Philosophical and background information to ground today’s experience.

Closeup of child recording an equation


Every student and teacher is a mathematician. Every school can create its own unique math culture grounded in enthusiasm, energy and ownership. Math instruction can be adapted to allow for multiple entry points so that every student feels like a successful mathematician.

Two students use manipulatives to build a model of a problem


As a result of participating in this web experience, you will have new strategies to help your students document their mathematical thinking and new strategies to help you assess your students’ mathematical understanding. We will offer examples of students working with teachers in the classroom and explain why it is helpful to Build, Draw, and Record across grade levels. You’ll deepen your understanding of how and why to integrate manipulatives and art into your math documentation.


Closeup of Unifix cube manipulatives


The Build, Draw, and Record process supports mathematical documentation and assessment. We use this process with every student at UCDS. It is something that can easily be added to any curricula and it serves many purposes, some of which include:

  • Anecdotal and daily assessment in the classroom
  • A tool for parent conferences
  • Enhancing student understanding of math concepts
  • A resource for report documentation

Our goal is for every child to leave math activities
feeling like a strong and capable mathematician.
There are many entry points to learning, and we set out
to embed those learning approaches into our math program.

We take time to notice how students
choose to begin.
Children who see things visually tend to start with building their thinking
(interesting assessment in itself!), while those who tend to gravitate toward
artistic representation usually begin with a drawing.

A teacher helps students work through a problem

Every classroom will have several students who like to talk and process their thinking aloud while some can “see” the numeric equation and start with that part of the process.  The magic of Build, Draw, and Record is that students get to feel the success of completing a task first in their area of strength and then get to broaden and deepen their skills by also completing the other steps of the process.

How Do You Start Projects? Watch this video and reflect on your own approach. When you are given a new project, how do YOU begin? Stop and consider your own learning style approach. What if someone asked you to…

You can use these tools to document
student learning style approaches in your classroom.

Learning Style Approaches Download PDF (101kb)

Assessment In the following three videos, you have a chance to see teachers from each grade level analyze and assess student work from the videos you just viewed.

When students Build, Draw, and Record their work, teachers gain insight to their understanding. We try to help students focus on having all three pieces of documentation align with one another as that demonstrates a deeper understanding of the concept. For example:


This work sample shows a student who is learning to understand the concept of multiplication.

She has built and drawn 4 groups of 3 cookies showing that she understands that multiplication is about grouping numbers.

When she writes her equation, she shows she is still learning what the symbols for multiplication mean, writing, “3 x 4 = 12” for 3 groups of 4 cookies instead of “4 x 3= 12” for the 4 groups of 3 cookies that she actually built. While correct in her product of 12, her equation does not match the other components of her work.

Down the road, we certainly want her to understand the commutative property but right now, we want her to understand that the multiplication symbol really means “groups of.” This inconsistency is not only an opportunity for discussion with the student, but serves as a wonderful anecdotal assessment piece for the teacher to build upon during future lessons with this child.

Spark Strategies Now that you have experienced
Build, Draw, and Record, here are some things
to take back to your classroom.

  • Narrate what you see students doing.
  • Give students time to explain their process to you.
  • Have documentation and building supplies accessible to kids.
  • Use what you have! Everyday materials like pencils, beans, building blocks, paper clips, etc. can be used as manipulatives.
  • Give room and time for kids to do each step.
  • Take pictures to help with the “recording” step.
  • Take dictation.
  • Consider saving or displaying the work to promote a math community and share with parents in conferences.
  • Use highlighters to document numbers and words that kids can trace to support beginning writers.
  • Kids love to make copies of work. Send them to the copier to make copies of great work.
  • If the manipulatives you are using are new to your class, give kids a day or two to explore them before you ask them to work with them.

Want to talk to UCDS teachers and learn more about
how to implement this in your own classroom?
Meet us in the Green Room

alt text goes hereJoin the Conversation

The Green Room is a space for exceptional educators like you to share ideas,
ask questions and connect with one another. You are a resourceful and
curious educator. We can’t wait for a conversation with you all!

Here are some things to hear about and discuss:

  • Get ideas and tools on how to implement these strategies in your classroom.
  • Share Build, Draw and Record experiments you’ve tried in your classroom.
  • Hear from other educators about what worked in their classrooms.
  • Questions you have.
  • Suggestions you have.
  • Get more one-on-one interaction with UCDS faculty.
  • Find out about upcoming immersiFIRE experiences.
  • You can also earn Washington State clock hours for your active participation.