Thursday, June 12, 2014

Chapter 3- Math Stretches

Once again I am going to include my thoughts from the first time I participated in the book study for Guided Math- you'll find my first thoughts in italics and pink. 

This chapter was my aha! chapter. I loved everything about it and it really made me feel like this something I can implement into my class next year. Not just something I can implement, but something I WANT to implement. For me, Math Warm-ups will be my number one goal to start in September. 

Looking back at this post makes me feel very proud because Math Stretches have been the most successful thing I implemented into my math program after reading Guided Math the first time around. I loved starting my day on the carpet with my students discussing such a wide variety of math topics. I really found that this routine set the tone of the day, and our whole year, and the students believed and acted like they were mathematicians. 

I have tried many different types of "bell work", "minds on" and other such activities in the morning but nothing really worked well or at least well enough that I was happy with it. Last year, after the Book Whisperer Book Study, I tried having my students independent reading every morning when they arrived at school before we started class. I really liked it. It worked well, the students knew what to do and they easily transitioned into the school day. But...then I would stop them reading and start Math class! So after my students were in a literacy frame of mind, we would immediately start math. Needless to say, we didn't keep up the reading all year because it just didn't make sense.

Now, I have a new plan. Math Stretches!!!

If I plan to start my teaching day with math then it just makes sense that my students should start their day warming up to math. I will keep the independent reading routine in place as well, but instead I will move it to the beginning of my literacy block...where it should be.

And boy did that plan work!!

I also wrote...

 On page 69 I highlighted almost the entire 2nd paragraph and wrote "MY GOAL" in bright marker. How amazing would it be to be able to describe your math class with words like "respectful ambience", "student participation", mathematical vocabulary", "big ideas". I want to be able to recognize the value in my students' comments and construct meaning that prompts students to dig deeper. 

After reading this chapter for a second time I think I am even more excited than the first time through. I made so many notes in the margin and have a thousand ideas swirling through my head. 

In my class we do what I call Morning Math Meeting. In the past it has consisted of part calendar time and part math stretch. My favourite part was always the follow up class discussion around the math concept we were looking at. That being said there are a lot of things I would like to change in order to make the program more efficient. 

Here's a brief snapshot of my thoughts so far- on what I've done in the past and what I want to do in the future:

1. The data collection and analysis stretch was by far one of the easiest to use in my class, quick and simple. I would like to create a more permanent method of collecting the data so I am not creating a new graph all the time. I also like it as an opportunity to integrate other subject areas by asking my students to rate how well they know a topic from science or social studies and then use that data in a math mini-lesson. I also want to brainstorm a huge list of possible data collection topics with my class and keep them in a jar for use throughout the school year. 

2. I need to create more time for my students to reflect on our math stretches in their math journals. I would also like to create a tracking sheet so record how often my students complete these reflections according to the different math strands.

3. The What's Next? math stretch was by far my favourite. I love teaching patterning to students and creating different patterns for them to figure out. 

Check out a post I did on them here

4. I really wanted to use the How Did My Family Use Math Last Night? stretch but never seemed to get it off the ground. Definitely a goal for the coming year.

5. I like how Sammons discusses using a different stretch each day of the week but after reading 100 Minutes for my current book study I think that it needs to be reinvented in order to deepen and enrich the experience throughout the year. I also think that it would be beneficial to spiral through the 5 strands of math found in the Onatrio curriculum in order to consistently strengthen my student's skills in all the areas of math. Some thing to think about for sure.

6. Mathematical Current Events- this is a must do goal.

7. CALENDAR- this has become my new pinterest obsession. I really, really, really want to implement a successful calendar program into my grade 3 math class. I have been searching for examples of upper primary math calendars but haven't found exactly what I am looking for. The search will continue and I will be back to post about this more I am sure.

If you know of an example or have an example of a Grade 3 math calendar PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave me a comment. I'd love to see it. 

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8 Brilliant Teaching Thoughts:

The Meek Moose said...

Very interesting about how you had your literacy warm-up and then math followed so you had to drop it. My problem is that my schedule has a two hour literacy block FIRST. So I'm sort of thinking, how can I do a math warm up, and then jump into literacy? Feels like a bad match-up, but I guess I need to test it before I really form an opinion.

I switched up the weekly plan as well- I put How Did my Family Use Math Last Night? as Last Week and had it as my Monday morning. My thinking is I want to give the kids a chance to find something across the whole week and weekend as opposed to one night. Also, I could send a list home on Mondays or Tuesdays to parents as to what sorts of math activities would be going along with current or past content that they could easily make time for at home.

And I kept Data Collection as Friday, thinking that if I used that as a week long collection or art glyph project, we could go over our observations in the math huddle.

Calendar math is something I'd done religiously in the past with my second grade, but not this past year. But in my experience, I could use a whole 45 minutes at calendar time! So this will be a challenge for me to pare down to just ten minutes. And I'm thinking that actually I might have to merge the math stretch with the calendar time. The program, Calendar Counts! has K-6 series, and I used this program as a fourth, fifth, and second grade teacher. I'm planning on adapting it to this Guided Math attempt.

It was indeed, and awesome chapter. I devoured this book in two days flat. The math current events and mathematical job responsibilities also inspirational. I went ahead and got the Arthur Hyde book she referenced on different occasions and am now eating that book up. It gives me new insight into the idea of a problem of the day.

Kinda sad I can't wait for school to start so I can try it out, eh?

Beth said...

@ The Meek Mouse- Not sad at all. A part of me (a small part) almost wants the summer to fly by to get started. I am going to go and check out those books you mentioned. Looks like I'm going to be doing some more reading.

Elizabeth said...

I have the same thing written all over my margins! :)

Elisabeth said...

I haven't heard of this book! I must be under a rock!!! I am looking it up on Amazon and getting it. I am such a reading guru, that math often gets overlooked. Oh and I'm your newest follower :)

Twins, Teaching and Tacos.

kilgosclass said...

I created a flipchart and powerpoint for math stretches. Here it is, if you're interested:


Tara said...

Hi Beth,
I am glad you addressed The Book Whisperer....I started that last year and what a diff.! The kids came in quiet, focused and their reading improved:) I am not sure I am ready to give that up BUT we have the same line up as you....we go straight into Math block....what to do?????? AHHH! Help???

4th Grade Frolics

Brandi said...

Beth, I made this Calendar Math after reading this chapter. I plan to use it for 3rd grade. Let me know if you're interested.

Swinging for Success
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Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas! Including your students' names and interests makes math so much more relevant to your learners.
Laney Sammons

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