Saturday, April 28, 2012

Math as a Teachable Moment: Weekly Set Up

OK, I wasn't as quick posting this as I would have liked but. . . better late than never. :)

 The math program I use comes with a suggested yearly plan for each grade level that addresses all the prescribed learning outcomes (standards) for my province.  I keep the monthly plans in the math section of my teacher organizer/daybook and refer to them often, just to make sure I am staying on track.  The plans are by no means a prescribed program (it's actually very open-ended, allowing for what actually happens in the classroom and based on student needs/weaknesses) but I find it's nice to have some kind of frame to work with.

We have an hour long daily math block, which is split into 3 parts, allowing me to incorporate a number of activities into each math session. In planning the week, I choose 3 out of 5 possible activities to do each day.  I find this works really well in: 
  1. keeping students focused and 
  2. allowing for the diversity of learning strengths and interests in the classroom
The 5 activities I choose from are:
  1. Problem Solving (PS)
  2. All the Facts (AF)
  3. How Many Ways (HMW)
  4. Weekly Graph
  5. Games/Project
This year the weekly schedule looks like this:

Monday        - Weekly Graph, AF, HMW
Tuesday        - PS, HMW,  Game/Project
Wednesday   - PS, AF, Game/Project
Thursday      - PS, AF, HMW
Friday           - PS, AF, HMW, Game

I'm pretty happy with the way it's set up but I think I would switch the weekly graph to a different day and start with problem solving on Monday, as the problem on Monday can be a springboard for the rest of the week's problems.  And I'm not happy with the way the game/project activities are going. . .or not, as the case may be. <sheepish grin>  Needs some tweaking in that dept., FOR SURE!

Friday activities are used for assessments.  I mark the PS, AF, and HMW activities and record them in my Math Assessment & Evaluation Binder.  Each student has a binder pocket where we keep the samples of their work.  I'll write about this in a separate post.

Next time, I'll go into more detail about each of the activities and how it looks in the class and what I'd like to change/keep the same. . .there's always room for tweaking. :)

Note: Please ignore the grid below...I tried to remove it from my post but can't seem to.  Not sure why, I can't??

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mathematics a Teachable Moment

Our district uses a text-based math program called "Math Makes Sense", which isn't too bad, but I really don't like curriculum that is driven by a text book.  First of all, there is a fair amount of reading involved which isn't so great if you are a student who is reading 2 grades below grade level!. . . and let's face it we have a few of them in our class every year.  And secondly, I always find that in a text-based math program you tend to teach the unit and then kind of forget about the concept. . . except for an occasional review.  Can you tell I'm a bit dissatisfied with the program?

Last summer, I decided to look at a program that I had hanging around for a few years. . . I had used parts of it in the past, but didn't really incorporate the whole system as I was a bit afraid thinking I would ease into it gradually.  Because I was switching from intermediate to primary, I thought this might be a good time to revisit the program. . . because you know . . . they do things more 'wholistically' in the primary grades <grin/smirk> and I wanted to embrace my "primariness" (invented vocabulary):))

The program is called Mathematics As A Teachable Moment and was a resource developed in my province by a very talented man named Trevor Calkins.  To make a very long explanation/introduction short . . . I LOVE his way of teaching math.  I think I will have to spend a number of blogs going through all the specific things I do during our math time, but I will let you know that my hour long daily math block goes by sooo fast and we cover so many concepts through the variety of routine activities we do daily that it is awesome . . it's one of those 'where have you been all of my life' kind of things.

If you're interested in brain-based learning, meeting the needs of all learners, want to know how you can meet all your state/province standards, or you're just plain curious,  check out the above website and stay tuned as i attempt to share how the program is working in my classroom. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

TBA Birthday Giveaway

I can't really keep up with all the blog sites that are having a giveaway but this one is pretty sweet!  Teaching Blog Addict is having a giveaway to celebrate their 1 year anniversary. . . congratulations!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Who doesn't like Skittles?

My apologies for not posting sooner, but I had a wicked head cold this past week, so spent it nurturing myself back to health...thank goodness for Oil of Oregano...I swear by that stuff!

Anyways, I just wanted to share what we did for part of our math session yesterday. (I wanted to post this yesterday but it was one of those thing led to another and before I knew it, it was time for bed!LOL) Monday we always do a graphing activity.  Usually I have a survey question on the board and students use magnetized name tags to identify which option for the survey they've chosen.  We've looked at the data generated and created fractions and graphed the results using bar graphs and pictographs. 

Yesterday, I decided to do something that I know the kids would LOVE...and that was working with FOOD...Skittles to be exact! Yumm!!

Here's a photo of the sorting and tallying that was going on.  I also had them create fractions and graph the results.  And then, of course, they got to eat the skittles!

If you're interested I'm including a .doc file of the activity here Graphing with Skittles