Saturday, September 15, 2012

Math Routines and Settling In

Things are finally starting to feel class is settling in and we are getting down to the business of curriculum. Things are feeling good in Grade 3. I was very nervous (and still am a little) about teaching such young friends but I must say that apart from a few moments of frustration I am really enjoying being a primary teacher. Now, I will fully admit that things are slooooooooow going. How can it take that long to write one journal entry?? I mean, really? But I am getting used to it. On the flip side, my former teaching partner moved from Grade 4 to 8 this year and he is shocked by how fast his students complete their work and how much he has to have ready for them to do!


Math!! I am loving it. Who knew that I would ever love teaching math? Not me. But in the past year or so I have learned so much from other blogs and professional reading that it has become one of my favourite parts of the day.

I have fulfilled a few of the goals I created for myself after reading Guided Math as part of this summer's book study already. We have been doing Math Stretches every morning when my students enter the portable. I have a dry erase easel that I have been using for this and planned to take pictures of the different stretches we did each day this week but, unfortunately, I kept forgetting and erased it at the end of the school day in order to get ready for the next day! So sorry! I am going to try to remember all next week to take a picture each day and post it for you. Here is the last one we did this week.

My students were struggling with the concept of "place value"- the idea that the location of a digit determined its value, or how much it was worth. This Math Stretch and the following discussion really seemed to help cement the idea for my students.

The discussion that follows each of the Math Stretches is one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole exercise. So far at least one student has made a small mistake each day but that seems to really be a good thing as it gives us a chance to talk about how to correct mistakes and re-clarify our thinking. I have also been able to see which students are hesitant about math and or are struggling with certain concepts. Isn't amazing how much information can be gathered from such a simple exercise? 

We have also been doing our Number of the Day exercises each day. I am not loving this. 

It takes a long time unless I pick a pretty simple number. I can't even imagine how long it would take if I asked my students to write down anything during this time! Here's a picture of what it looks like so far. It's my own adaption of other Calendar Boards and Number of the Day's I've seen posted in a variety of places. This will definitely be a work in progress and something that will probably change relatively frequently in my classroom as I try out new ideas and bring in new concepts. I welcome any and ALL suggestions people may have for things they are doing in their class that's working for them. 

We have also got our Math Journal up and running. I used the amazing posts from Janaye over at Frogs and Cupcakes to set up and organize my journals this year. I loved all the organizing tips and ideas she has shared.

Tales of Frogs & Cupcakes

This is inside the front cover- the rules of our math journals and the start of the Table of Contents.

I also saw a great post awhile back about creating a web of numbers that related to each student as the cover of their Math Journal and I loved the idea....unfortunately I can't remember where it came from. If you know, please leave me a comment so I can give credit where credit is due. Here are some pics of how ours turned out.

Our first two entries include an anchor chart and a short check in question so I can assess how they are doing so far with place value.

 And that's it so far!! On Monday I am going to try a mini-workshop type class. I will be having different groups of students playing some math games while I call others over for a lesson on number lines. It's a little warm up for me before I dive in full force with a math workshop structure. Wish me luck!

2 Brilliant Teaching Thoughts:

Emily said...

I really want to introduce math workshop when things start to get a little harder for them - right now it's still pretty easy... but at the same time I like having everyone doing everything at the same time too, and then just working with the kids that have a hard time at a later moment... I'm conflicted. With the different aspects on my math time, it takes different amounts of time, so just rotating through doesn't seem like it would work out. I'm leaning toward integrating the 2 - and doing full class introduce the concept, then rotation for math facts, independent work, math review game, and teacher conferences/reteaching. I just don't know... and then I think that maybe I should wait until next year since this year I just got going on CAFE and don't want to put too much new stuff on my plate....

Beth said...

Emily, I hear you!!! For right now using a math workshop model is going to be an "as needed"/ "as able" part of my math class. I also don't want to dive it and end up over my head, plus there are times when a whole class lesson will work best. I am going to view it as a process...a slow process!!!

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