Monday, September 28, 2015

Running the Math Block ~ Part 2: The Daily Grind

Welcome to part 2 of how I run my math block! Part 1 is all about why I needed the change, and some things I did about it :)

For my daily math block, I start off each and every day with my calendar. We do calendar during snack time, but kids are expected to pay attention and participate.
Common Core-Aligned SMART Board Math Calendar for Grades 4-5
You so totally need this calendar if you have a SMART Board-it's amazing. She also has it bundled for the year, and one for the lower grades as well (which our 3rd grade team has after seeing me use mine during walkthroughs!)

Starting off with calendar, we do the number of the day by finding the factors, deciding what type of number it is, and then I have the kids come up with 3-5 ways to get that number as an answer and we share out (which I love hearing about, they try and make them complicated, and I often remind them that simple ones work just as well. It's naturally differentiated to them, and they can make it as hard or as easy as they need!:)

We record all of this in our Numbers Notebook, and then work our way through the rest of the calendar, and the daily component as well.

Next, I do (or try to!) the lesson of the day. I stick to the Math in Focus structure for this, but I try to keep it short, so I have more time to meet with students, and they have more time to practice.

Sometimes, it'll be a longer lesson because of manipulatives, but I try to keep the main lesson under 20 minutes (less if possible!), so they have at least 30 minutes of practice time.

After I finish the lesson, I put up the work schedule.

Students are allowed to work on whatever they choose, as everything is practicing the skill we are learning.

Some kids go straight for the task cards-

While others go straight for their workbooks.

We haven't done an independent journal center yet-but that may become the '1st choice' once we do. Right now, I use the whole class lesson for journal instruction sometimes, until we get a little more comfortable with it.

While students are working, I'm either floating around the room, or pulling students to the back table to work.

How do I know which students to pull?

Well, there is where my masterpiece comes in!

Usually, skills will take us a few days (most MiF lessons are 2, if not 3 days). I give an exit slip at the end of the previous lesson, and look them over.

I check to see which ones need practice and where, and they go on my list to work with.

I'll also throw an entrance slip at them for morning work if it's a one day lesson, and do the same thing.

Once we're at the back table, I model the skill, and then we work through it a few times. Once they've shown me that  they can do it independently, I release them to choose a center.

I then use Google Spreadsheets (again!) to record who I worked with and what skill we hit-so I have the data to back me up if needed. (Students also have their own Evernote notebooks where I take notes)
Each cell is a different time I've met with them-sometimes we cover more than one skill in a lesson!

When there is about 5 minutes left, I hand our the exit slips and have them start cleaning up. I do have them turn in the exit slips into a different bucket than my turn it bin-just so they don't get lost! :)

Stay tuned for part 3, how I trained the kids!

Smiles and Sunshine,

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