Friday, July 15

Math Overhaul

After teaching Everyday Math for six years I am ready for something different!  I think many of the lessons on their own are great, but I'm not a huge fan of the overall system.  It moves at a fast pace and isn't very hands-on.  Plus that spiral gets really annoying.

So...the first grade teachers at my school have been working hard to re-vamp our math block.  We've met each Wednesday to plan, using resources like Everyday Math, our old Investigations materials, Debbie Diller's ideas, North Carolina's math program (which I'm very impressed with), and lots of great blog ideas.  We've planned up to February so far and I'm really excited about math next year!

We also decided that we wanted math to be more of a focus than it has been in the past.  Reading always seems to get the most attention (especially in first grade).  We increased the time we spent teaching math from 60 minutes to 90 minutes each day.  I'm hoping this will pay off in my classroom this coming year.

This is what my math time will look like:
7:55-8:35- (40 minutes)- math tubs / small groups with me
8:35-8:50- (15 minutes)- whole group lesson
8:50-9:10- (20 minutes)- math notebook
9:10-9:30- (20 minutes)- calendar on Promethean Board

I started doing math tubs in February of last year after reading Cara Carroll's post about how she does them. I LOVE MATH TUBS and the kids love them too! I have four activities for the week (many of these come from Blog Land). The children are divided into four groups. They will go to one tub each day. It generally takes them 20 minutes to finish the activity. They are allowed to work with a partner or by themselves.  I always let one group sit out in the hall and work-- really helps to cut down on the chatter in my small classroom.  

After their "tub work" they go to a second activity. They use the chart to see where they are going. At the beginning of the year the four choices are MATH GAME, PATTERN FOLDER, COMPUTER, and EXPLORATION. All of these choices are open-ended and don't require work to be turned in to me. And, they can end at any time so I don't have any late finishers during math. Later on in the year the choices change to MATH GAME, COMPUTER, NUMBER SCROLL, and NUMBER FAMILIES (Here's a link to the number families- created by Kathy Gursky. I modified it a little to meet the needs of the kids in my class, but it is a fabulous FREE resource to help children learn their addition facts.)

I really like the way we're planning to do the math notebook this year.  (I secretly get tired of doing problem solving every single day).  Plus, we need time to practice these other skills each week too. 

Monday- number talk- at the beginning of the year, we will actually start with "quick images"- lessons from Investigations.  After a couple of weeks we will start doing "Ways to Make ___".  Each week the children will think of 10 addition or subtraction problems to make the number given.  I'm planning to start with the number 5 and work one week at a time until we get to 20.  Towards the second semester, we'll stop doing Ways to Make and start doing more of a true number talk, with problems such as 5 + 8 =  The children will find multiple ways to solve the problem, then come back and share as a class.  Each of these lessons will take lots of modeling, but I think it will be great math discussion.

Tuesday- problem solving (CGI style).  We will start with simple addition, then move to other types of problems such as addition middle unknown, simple subtraction, subtraction middle unknown, addition beginning unknown, subtraction beginning unknown, comparrison, multiplication, and division (dividing into groups).  I love the conversations we have after the children have solved the problems.  They always amaze me with their thinking.

Wednesday- graphing- each child will complete their own graph as we collect data as a whole class.  My team has thought of a different graphing question for each week.  I'll use the document camera to create a graph as they make it with me in their notebook.

Thursday- estimation- each week I will choose a child to bring in items to estimate.  I decided to stop doing Star Student (gasp!), so this will be a way for one child a week to bring in something special.  This is a great time each week to practice counting by 5s, 10s, and especially 2's.

I've been slaving away (ha!) creating lots of new math activities to put in these tubs (since I didn't start them until later in the year last year).  The Christmas math activities turned out really cute.  They need a little more work, but I'm very close to listing them as my first item for sale!  I can't wait to finish.  Hopefully, I'll have it ready for purchase tomorrow-- perfect timing for the TBA Christmas in July!


meesabelle said...

I may have to try this schedule! I like it.
First Grade Frame of Mind

Dana said...

Another great resource is Marilyn Burns. She has great ideas, stations, and books.

Sherrie said...

I teach 7th grade math and am really looking at doing some major changes in my classroom this year. I really want to get things organized this summer. Good luck on your overhaul! ;)