For the next week or so, our curriculum has me scheduled to work on subtraction with regrouping. As you can imagine, I have students at ALL levels of sophistication with that skill--so there is no real way I can teach for a week or more whole class! My goal is always to maximize the amount of time students spend on "just right" instruction, so here's what the next week will look like.
1. Pretesting and regular formative assessmentsAlthough I don't do them every day, doing quick progress checks are SO important to me. Based o what I find, I can group students in different ways on different days to make sure that everyone gets as much "just right" instruction as possible. Everyone leans at different rates--and waiting until the end of unit is simply not an ok time for students to get feedback on their performance. These quick checks literally take minutes and can help me see who is getting it--and what types of mistakes students are making. This error analysis is so important in helping us streamline instruction.
2. Full class and partner warm upsTo warm up our brains each day, I make a choice of a warm up activity. Some days it might be a number talk, other days it may be a review problem or two--but one of my favorite warm ups is a challenging word problem! I LOVE using word problems to warm up because it sets the stage for thinking all day! I often have them try a problem alone first where they try to implement all the strategies I have taught to "dig in". After a bit of work time, I offer up the option to pair up to continue. Some choose to keep working on their own, others like the collaborative part. I circulate and check for understanding, encourage organization and precision, and hunt for interesting work to share under the document camera. What problems am I using? Thanksgiving problems, of course! I love these because they are filled with cool facts--and each has two levels of challenge. I use several as warm ups, and then the rest of them get put on the wall in a pocket chart for students to do when they have time--or as a rotation in math workshop. I try to have other problems available that might be more "accessible" as well--so that those "wall problems" are not seen as something for only my top students. ALL students can easily access word problems to do during their math choice times.
|These Thanksgiving problems are fun because students LOVE some of the cool facts they include--and each has an "extra" part to allow those students who are ready to add a level more challenge!|
3. Small group, targeted instructionFor these weeks, the lessons focus on subtraction...starting small (even with base 10 blocks for some) and then eventually moving through subtraction across zeros with increasingly large numbers and money problems. I definitely will need to be grouping over the next week or so--and I am planning on two different approaches to this. Some days I will be splitting my class in half and teaching the concept at two levels. This allows me to spend more time with my struggling students and to use more hands on teaching methods to help build their conceptual understanding. When I do this, I do NOT meet with my two groups for equal amounts of time...my mini lesson for my "on track" students might be 10-12 minutes followed by some supported practice while my strugglers might get my full attention for 25-30 minutes.
Other days I might teach the lesson to the entire class (I did this today) and then I either assess or have students self-assess and I follow up the lesson with a second "reinforcing" lesson. I often call this "coaching time" where I invite (or mandate!) students who might have struggled during the minilesson to come do some additional work with me. Students who are ready to roll can do some independent practice, make sure they are on track, and then move to some differentiated activities that are a good match for them.
4. Differentiated activities during workshop time
So...if I am only working with a part of my class at a time, I need some quality independent or cooperative work for them to do. I have a HUGE problem with doing math "fillers", so I am always looking to find engaging work that my students love and ask them to really apply math skills--or to practice fluency on skills they need. Here are some of the options we will be using during that workshop time. Some things may be required (like my top students are required to work on this Thanksgiving Feast Thinker Task and some of my students needing fact fluency are required to do some of the fluency games), and other activities are offered as choices. Here they are!
First, this is an differentiated problem solving task that has many parts--so students who solve the first part can continue on. Almost all students choose to work together and I just LOVE the conversations they have. They truly "teach" and coach each other as well as any adult can...and they really are pretty independent so I can focus my attention on specific students or groups.
The next option that I have ready for my students is a set of Thanksgiving games...it comes in both addition and multiplication--and each of THOSE has two levels of challenge. My students LOVE this game (We started it last week) and they get tons of fact fluency practice. It's also a super easy one to copy and send home...just a few dice and markers (even pennies or paper scraps) and they are ready to roll! I have had students begging to stay in for recess to play!
I have a recording sheet that students use--or they can simply do their work on the cards or in a math spiral. Although this is a more traditional computation practice activity, it's far more fun than a worksheet--and when you involve partners and error analysis, it's WAY more than a worksheet!
When I am not teaching my small groups, I am circulating and coaching as students do these different activities--and my goal is also to pull a few intervention groups along the way as well. I still have a number of students FAR below grade level who need work on basic number sense and fact strategy work, so while students are busy during math workshop, I have time to pull them and work on their varying needs.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek at my next week and a half or so of math workshop as we dig into our subtraction with regrouping review. If today was a sign, I know I am going to have a pretty sizable group needing enrichment during this time--not a bad problem to have, right?
Interested in any of the resources mentioned above? Just click the photos above or these images below. Thanks for stopping by!