Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's Time for Math--Part 2? 3? 4?

So, the title is really only funny to me.  And maybe Annie or Jillian if they have noticed that I've tried to write about this several times.  I always end up deleting the drafts.  Each time I felt like the post was too long and rambled.  It didn't really share what I wanted to communicate.  As I was meandering around the house this morning, I was rattling some ideas around, and feel like I have a direction now.

A few years ago, I was working on a Professional Growth Option for my district's evaluation process.  I decided to focus my efforts on my math block.

I built a set of professional resources to use.  These are some of my favorites.

These are some of my favorites.  
This year I'm also getting a lot of good use out of this one:
At first, I thought I wouldn't need this resource.  I'm so thankful I have it this year.  
After reading and studying these resources, I have organized a routine that looks like this:

1.  A Warm Up.   I might use a calendar, some mental math exercises from our district materials, or a math writing prompt from our materials.

2.  A Core Lesson.  I try to limit this to 15-20 minutes where we are working through the main concept for the day.  

3.  "Have tos."  This usually (not always) is a quick written assignment.  It might be a worksheet or a work book page.  Typically it matches with what we have experienced in our core lesson.

4.  Stations/Partner Work.  This has changed every year.  This year, due to some Social-Emotional needs of the class, the students work in partners during math.  For each unit, I have organized about 15 stations. (one-ish per day)  At first I thought this would be overwhelming, but it's not. I'm using the resources from our district materials (the games and explorations) and some ideas from Math Work Stations.  I'm focusing on concepts rather than the station, and that has resulted in authentic work taking place.  

While students are working in partner work, I use that time to conference or pull students in groups.  It's been allowing me to reinforce skills as needed, and extend some concepts too.  

Depending on the day, this routine works out well for us in my corner of first grade.  What does your math block look like?


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