Tuesday, September 27, 2016
If you have followed me for any length of time, you may have seen me post about "Mind Boggling Math", a resource I created about three years ago to help provide me students with a challenging way to practice their addition, subtraction, estimation, and perseverance skills. I have used it in different ways--sometimes as an activity for fast finishers, sometimes I have done it cooperatively, and sometimes I introduce it to the entire class and just see what happens!
That's what happened this year. I explained the tasks to my class...explained that the goal was to improve their math organization, to work on their addition with regrouping fluency and accuracy, and to persevere with challenging tasks. I was kind of anticipating using it as a part of math workshop...where students could be working on something meaningful while I pull small intervention groups. That's how it started.
I had a group of four girls working together when one of them came up to me and said, "Mrs. A, we have been working really hard on this page--but we have four different answers."
I asked them what they thought they could do to try to find their mistakes...and one suggested the start with one column and see if they could get agreement on that one. I thought that sounded like a great idea--and let them get back to work.
I sat down next to him and asked what he thought he could to to organize his thinking. He thought for a minute and then said, "Maybe I should cross off numbers I use so I can easily see them." I thought that seemed like a great strategy--and let him get back to work.
One replied, "---- has a different answer than we have so we are trying to help him find where he went wrong."
The "victim" chimed in with "I think THEY are wrong and I am right!". I asked how they planned to figure out the correct answer...and they thought for a bit. One said, "Let's try adding them up in a different order and see what we get." I smiled and asked them to let me know what they found out.
I watched the students start to understand this...and to be proud of the struggles they had. This is why I teach. I. Love. These. Moments. I reminded my students what we had learned about the brain and how it grows from mistakes--and how proud I was that they were sticking with the task despite it being challenging and frustrating--and that their hard work truly was paying off...even if they NEVER find the correct answer. #teachablemoment
Mind Boggling Math) and also a "Money" edition to add decimals and also a 2 digit version...I may replace this one with the two digit version for some of my struggling students. I may also have a few use a calculator to check their work as they go so they don't get too frustrated...the activities are so valuable and I want all my students to have access. See what you think!
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Today is my day to blog over at Upper Elementary Snapshots, and I'm chatting a bit about the importance of teaching students how to work in partners. Want to read more? Check it out by clicking the image below! Thanks--and have a great day!
Saturday, September 10, 2016
first 6 days of school...and we have been working hard to learn some routines, get to know each other, and establish some positive classroom culture "vibes". I thought I'd share a few snapshots of some of the things we did to build our new community!
Of course, there were tons of things we did that I haven't included...lots of anchor charts about expectations, shared picture books, body breaks (thanks, GoNoodle!), and more...but each of the things I have pictured did SOMETHING to move us forward in our attempt to build our classroom family. We have started talking at length about "growth mindsets" as well--and a post will be coming soon about that!
The first thing I want to establish early on is collaboration--in my class, we work together ALL THE. TIME. Asking students just coming off of summer break to work in groups is not always reasonable...so I always start by establishing partnership expectations. We talk about how to work together...how to invite your partner to participate...how to make sure we know how to help and ask for help, and so on. This simple "making words" activity was a simple way for partners to work together and practice that "give and take".
|This is a part of a building classroom community resource. Click HERE to see this one and the other activities included in it.|
|This project is another part of my resource with ideas to build classroom community. Click HERE to see more.|
shy ------- outgoing
rarely participate in class ------- participate a lot
leader --------- follower
We came back together as a class and had a discussion about these ideas--and how they impact learning and how we need to understand and appreciate each other. We talked about positive leaders and negative leaders. About ways to participate in class--even when it's hard. How to help shy students feel more comfortable--and how to not be overbearing if you are outgoing! I am hopeful that all students have done some thinking about their role in our "family"--and how to make sure they can help others feel valued as well.
HERE. Students got SO excited to see all their options and to grab their first book. We are off are ready to read now!
|This form is from my "Getting Ready for a Year of Reading" resource.|