This week the topic is math programs and organization.
My district (Davis School District, UTAH) decided to write their own math program about 5-6 years ago for K-2. I was given the opportunity to be a lead writer for the project and learned a great deal... about mathematics and lesson writing! Since then, math has become one of my favorite subjects to teach. Funny, as a child and teenager... it was my LEAST favorite and my grades showed it ;) I guess it's true... we are never too old to learn and appreciate new things.
Our program went through a little 'revision' when the Common Core was introduced.
I made an outline of the curriculum to help me visualize the basic structure of our project. Below shows the 4 terms and when I plan to teach each CC standard.
One piece of the program is math journaling each day. We focus on the concept we are teaching and give the students an opportunity to share in words and pictures their understanding. For years our journal was a full page. Recently, we have been trying to cut back on paper and copying so last year I tried to revise the assignment BUT stick to what the district expected us to cover.
I found that inexpensive notebooks (17 cents at the BTS sales) and math prompts on mailing labels made for an easy, effective student math journal. Above you can see an example of how we worked the journals. Some days required a picture, other days number sentences, tally marks, charts, graph or sentences. Some days we took a few lines other days 1/2 the page. We were flexible... I wanted to be thorough and wanted the kids to understand the concepts and be proud. Many students chose to show their math journals during SEP conferences and it was nice because the parents could easy thumb through the pages and see the concepts being covered and their student's understanding.
Another piece of my math is math stations.
For the first 17 years, I never tried or had the desire to implement them. That was until Deedee Wills invited me to participate in a summer blog party reading and discussing Debbie Diller's math station book. It was a wonderful personal and professional opportunity. I gained a true appreciation for structured math stations. I understood the importance of students sharing math conversations and accomplishing mathematic tasks together. I enjoyed them so much I created math stations for each month of the school year. They build upon each other... progressively getting harder as the students become more independent with each concept.
Each month the students receive a new partner to work with and complete the stations. Expectations are to complete a hands on activity using the task card (instructions and hints), include 'math talk' cards during their work time, complete a journal/share page in the class booklet and then finally to complete an independent assignment on the specific concept. With each month I have also created a student booklet for the independent assignments. (trying to save paper there, too). There are many ways to create math stations, I know that many teachers have creative math tubs for their students... this was the route that I learned a few summers ago and found successful. I uploaded a version of my simple ;) rotation chart for my math stations if anyone is looking for one and wants to save a few minutes.
This upcoming year I am excited to try yet another math piece in my classroom. Our district math program has a homework page for each night of the school year. It is a simple task that should only take a minute or two. I believe it's purpose is to keep the communication open between school and home... hoping the parents will take a minute to see what their students are learning and IF they understand the concept OR need additional help.
Again, I liked the idea BUT was concerned with the amount of paper I was using... SO ... last year I began contemplating the idea of a weekly Math Homework page. 1 page/week! This is how it turned out... a game board on one side (dealing with the weekly concept in our lessons) and one side stating the Common Core standard and 9 choices for math homework, including the game board, an online game or activity around the house. I am expecting the students to choose 1 a night. I always have a couple of students that want MORE homework... they will be encouraged to complete more or all the boxes. Parents and students sign their weekly progress/ work and return the page on Friday.
My thought is have the student place these pages in a 3 prong folder each week after returning them... compiling a folder of 36 math game boards by the end of the year. As a gift at the end of the year... I give them a set of dice, spinner and transparent chips along with their MATH Games to play over the summer to stay polished up on their new skills.
We'll see how it goes... I'm excited. My 3rd grader has been playing them throughout the summer with the neighborhood girls. It is fun to hear them use 'math talk' and review their math understanding.
Daily Math is a spiral review that I have used with my kiddos for over 10 years. It has changed names and graphics but this set has been around for a few years and seems to be the favorite. It is simple with 10 questions each day created a spiral, independent review. This is actually what my students walk into each morning to complete.
Lastly... I love to have fun with math.
I want my students to enjoy their math experiences... a whole lot more than I did mine ;) That is why I tend to find the time to do FOOD MATH or activities that seem a bit 'fun'... however, I always try to make sure it is to help their math understanding and success.
I will forever be grateful for Deedee and the opportunity she gave me to learn a new trick for my students and classroom. I love to learn and look forward to hearing your mathematical words of advice. Please feel free to share your ideas below.
Friday... I will share
2 copies of my Common Core Math Stations for SEPTEMBER ( I have 1st and 2nd grade... so leave your email and grade level ;),
2 copies of STICKING WITH MATH JOURNALS,
2 copies of MATH HOMEWORK
2 copies of FROOT LOOP Math and
2 copies of SHOPPING SCOOT.
Until then be sure to grab yourself a set of Math Flashcards, Apple Bump (skip counting), School Bus Bump (skip counting), Beep Beep Game board (basic math facts), along with many monthly (holiday) FRUIT SNACK FOOD MATH freebies in my store.
Krystal over at GOOD ENOUGH TEACHER is giving away my Homework to a few winners along with other Morning Starts and Homework idems... stop by for more ideas and freebies ;)