Thursday, June 26, 2014

Guided Math Chapter 5!

So the thing I love about blogging is I feel I can give it to you straight...I sorta suck at small group instruction, I know what to teach and how to teach it, what assessments to use to move students in and out BUT what causes problems for me are the other students who are not in the small group at the time.  I think self reflection is something I do well and I'm always wanting to evolve and change to try and be the best teacher possible, So hence why I'm reading this book, trying to "better" myself as a teacher. 

 It has been hammered into my head DATA, DATA, DATA...what does the data tell us? It's so important to keep a record of pre-tests, post-tests and informal tests to of course guide instruction. I think it is very important to use informal and formal assessments in tracking students strengths and weaknesses. I think it's best that groups are flexible for the most where students can move in and out based on their needs. Lower students may meet with the teacher 3, 4, 5 times a week for a bit longer period of time where higher may only meet with the teacher once or twice. It's very important to be giving small assessments (quizzes or exit tickets) to make sure students aren't falling behind or in need of a reteaching. Having the data to back-up the educational decisions you make is really important not just for you but for parents and principals too.  My math curriculum changed again today :/ so I'm not sure if pre-assessments exist or not...anybody out there using EngageNY?....
This is a super good question right now I don't have any idea about pre-assessments for EngageNY, within the curriculum there are exit tickets, mid-module assessments and post assessments. I will be looking for others things to use!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Classroom Decor!

So many classroom is in shambles right now cause I had to move :( Fortunately I get to stay in first grade but moving classrooms was a must. I HATE moving be it school or home, it's so NOT fun. It could be worse though, right? But anyway I am excited to get to redecorate! So I'm loving the black and bright look so I created these new Alphabet cards

Aren't they cute?! Oh I love them! I also made new group numbers and student numbers.

I print my student numbers in various sizes for various things 1) book basket numbers 2) lunch choice/attendance magnets (about an inch and a half) 3) backpack/coat label

This is a mini pack but I'm might be inspired to add other stuff later. You can check it out on TpT by clicking the picture below :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Stock-Up!

Today I'm blogging about my Best Selling Item in my teachers pay teachers store, my MATH STRATEGY POSTERS!
But before I get to the posters I'll explain a little about how they came to be and how to use them.  So nearly 2 years almost I was on cloud 9 because I had FINALLY got a teaching job and I was enrolled in this class called MTI, or Mathematical Thinking for Instruction. This class was unbelievably powerful and I just pretty spend the next few months in awe. This class taught me so much about number sense and different ways to solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. And the whole time all I could think was "I wish someone would have taught me math this way" everything just made so much more sense to me. That is why I created these posters! They are specifically for 2nd and 3rd but can be applied to 4th and 5th as well. 

You can get all of my posters here!

But here is a freebie for you! I'm giving you my addition on a number line for free!
Go to my facebook page and like it to get your freebie, click here!

I hope you enjoy your freebie, go back and find more freebies, click the picture below!

Guided Math Chapter 4!

(I think I answered both of these questions...) Most of us grew up (and teach) using whole class methods, if you're reading about Guided Math and these posts you are probably interested in expanding your strategies so you aren't teaching whole group the whole time (the entire reason I am reading it...HELLO!) This past school year was particularly hard to me to do anything but teach whole group. NOT how I wanted it to go but sometimes things just seem too complicated and hard to change.  I had a rough group of kids and not much support to help with the behaviors in my class. It's not an excuse at all but it definitely made for a challenging year. You can't change everything all at once, nor should you try! 

I did many activating activities and then most of the time we did some work together and then the students worked independently while I worked with a few students individually or a small group, but not in a real structured manner.

So this brings me to GUIDED MATH! I really think it's becoming more and more doable for me, YAY! 

So you might be wondering what things are appropriate for whole-group instruction... 

So how many whole group activities are you doing with your class? 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Guided Math Chapter 3!

How do you start your school day? I personally have struggled with this, this year. I believe in students having an entry that needs to be completed when they arrive, after hanging up backpacks and choosing their lunch, but what my kids were doing each day wasn't exactly what I had envisioned. They just completed a worksheet, either math or spelling practice AND I as the year ended I knew I was in need of something different. So I have decided to try Reagan Tunstall's Rise and Shine Binder! Read about it here!

This chapter has got me thinking about not only entry tasks but also my morning meeting in general.  I have been trying to have a "responsive classroom" approach to my morning meetings where we greet each other everyday and read the morning message. After we would complete our calendar and days of the week, etc.  Chapter 3 puts a huge emphasis on starting the day off with math warm-ups and math stretches. I'm not exactly clear on how to make them work however. I do however want to change things up a bit and try teaching math in the morning rather than the afternoon. I think it would be great with the calendar activities to move into a problem-solving task or work problem and then get into the math lesson.  When do you teach math? Morning or Afternoon?

I'm always telling my students how important math and reading and that they take practice like learning to be good at a certain sport, but it's hard so students just why they need to know this stuff. I talk a lot about real life math when teaching about fractions and data but not so much when adding or subtracting.  One thing I love that I learned from this chapter is about the math stretch's that Laney recommends. They include Number of the day, What's Next? (a pattern activity), How did my family use math last night? (DING, DING, DING! We have a winner!), ____ makes me think of...., and Data collection. All of these are great! But my favorite is "how did my family use math last night?" because they make connections between what they are learning at school and then seeing it at home. It seems so simple! Using measuring cups to bake, setting the temperature on the oven, figuring out how many minutes before going to bed, oh it's endless!

I feel like I have so many changes to make in my math instruction, the structure of my day and pretty much everything about my teaching and it's only chapter 3! 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Guided Math Chapter 2!

So I was kind of shocked when Laney (the author) mentioned how rich our classrooms are with "literacy" but may be lacking "numeracy." I caugth myself thinking...OMG, that's so true! We have word walls, bins of books, student writing displays, alphbets but what is there to represent numbers and math? In first grade it is more common to see calendars, place value charts, 100 charts were students gather at morning meeting or math meeting to discuss the days of the week, the date, days in school, etc. I'm not sure if these things are seen too much outside of kindergarten and first grade classrooms. And maybe they are there...but are students gathering to talk about it? I don't know. I didn't last year when I taught 3rd grade...  
Anyway this chapter got me thinking about what I have in my classroom and is helping provide students with a "rich numeracy environment" I have the things stated above but there is much more I could be doing for sure! My plans for the coming year include a pocket chart word wall with the math vocabulary that we can add to and review the words every day. I also plan to use math journals, something that I have used in the past with older students, so I'm still sorta on the fence about how and what to do with them :/ I will be spending most of my summer working on my math curriculum-planning and organizing! I really loved the idea about using the Frayer Diagram model for vocab in math! I think firsties could do this with some help and then eventually maybe on their own. 

Classroom set-up and arrangement have a huge impact on students and I've been thinking about making some changes to my set-up next year (and because I have no choice cause I'm moving rooms..AGH!) So moving has got me thinking about better ways to arrange everything to make it all more students friendly. My meeting area is very important and where I do a bulk of my instruction and I plan on making the most changes there. (I would love to show you a picture, but it's all packed for the time being!) 

You really need to get this book because it's hard to explain everything that you will learn by reading it!

Here are the principles just in case you were wondering...1. All students can learn mathematics, 2. A numeracy-rich environment promotes mathematical learning by students, 3. Learning at its best is a social process, 4. Learning mathematics is a constructive process, 5. An organized classroom environment supports the learning process, 6. Modeling and think-alouds, combined with ample opportunities for guided and then independent problem solving and purposeful conversations, create a learning environment in which student's mathematical understanding grows and finally 7. Ultimately students are responsible for their learning

I am drawn to #6-Modeling and think-alouds...something I do not feel are strong techniques that I use, but definitely need to learn and teach myself so I can better help my students. It makes me think back to my childhood and learning to go the  algorithm but never understanding really why it worked or bothering to care. I just "did it." I have made the mistake of thinking that my students have seen something or learned something previously but their understanding not concrete or there are many misconceptions. Modeling and think-alouds give students a starting place, a way to think about something and try it for themselves. It's not about giving the answer but learning the process of how to get to the answer.  

I definitely feel that I work hard to create a sense of community in my classroom, I spend a lot of time working at the beginning of the year doing different activities to try and establish such a feeling. However there are a lot of changes that I would like to make in the coming year. Morning meeting or math meeting is a very important in our schedule and I would encourage everyone at all grades levels to try some sort of morning meeting. It's great way to come together each day and talk about what's happening in the classroom or school. I really like the Responsive Classroom stuff, you can read about it here and visit their website. As for how the meeting integrates math, I do daily counting and caledar concepts. This next year I'm going to try hard to have my student's run the meeting. FINGERS CROSSED! What do you do in your classroom for community building? 

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