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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Learning: (Part 2) Considerations for Change

As I went through Thinking Math training these last two weeks I began to make a list. This list would be changes and/or absolutes for my classroom for the 2014/15 year.


1. Routine


I had a routine last year for calendar and added in a few problems. This year the routine will be much more purposeful. I want everything I do to serve a purpose for my students to gain math understanding. It will include mental math, working with numbers and counting. These concepts will be built on as we move through the year. Through these routines I want to increase number sense and understanding of the flexibility of numbers.


2. Inquiry


I modeled and shared strategies for addition and subtraction the last two years in my first grade classroom. The students listened as I instructed them on the process of these strategies. I taught them the steps. This year they will explore and discover these. I will use situational stories and manipulatives and watch, take note and focus on what they are doing. This will be used to direct lessons and create discussions.


3. Anchor Charts


I will record and gather the evidence of their thinking and use of strategies. I will name those strategies using the student's names and honor their thinking. These anchor charts will serve as a reference to students as they continue to stretch their thinking and try out other's strategies. Their thinking will be made visible.


4. Math Talks


Students will be explaining and sharing their talking. I will work hard to use the important precise mathematical language. I will coach and model and help them to be able to justify and reason through problems and math tasks. We will learn to listen and support one another.


5. Games/Centers


Part of the math practice will be games and centers. These games and centers  will be purposeful and I will choose them for a reason. I learned about 9 new games to add to my resources. These will build fluency with strategies and understanding. I will build on their intuitive knowledge.


6. Situational Stories


I have used these of course....but this will increase A LOT! I will use their names, interests and hobbies to engage them and motivate them. I love the idea of using situational stories WITHOUT numbers so they can discover what they do to solve, rather than just plug numbers into an equation.


7. Exploration of Assessment


I do not like using curriculum based assessment.  I want to explore other ways to assess, formal and informal. I want to use the journal as a piece of assessment like a portfolio. I want to use more rubrics. I want to be sure I am assessing understanding and not just the process.


8. Teaching Addition and Subtraction Together


Any curriculum I have seen teaches them separately. If I want to students to come to a true understanding of the relationship between addition and subtraction, it makes sense to teach them together. How many times do I see them confused on which operation to use because I just taught the other? There will be no more tricks and tips like fact families. I want to teach the concepts and give them understanding.


9. Math Practices Come to Life for the Students


I will be teaching them to be mathematicians with the same fervor I teach them to be readers. I will allow the struggle that will push them to explore, discover and use strategies. I will introduce the math practices to them and they will come to understand what they are and identify when they are using them. I will be putting up student friendly posters and celebrate when they act as mathematicians and use those practices.


10. Reflect as a Teacher


What I am feeling right now reminds me of 10 years ago when I wanted to truly understand how to teach students to comprehend. I sought out with a fervor and read, studied and tried things out. I reflected and adjusted. I shared and celebrated what was happening in my room. I stepped back and quieted myself as I watched them learn, discover and share their thinking. It is exactly what is now happening to me as a mathematics teacher. I will journal, blog and reflect on my teaching practice. I expect to stumble and reach out for help. I am excited! I am about to change as a teacher and apply new learning.


No matter how long I teach or what curriculum or standards come or go...I want to always learn and I want to always improve. I love learning and growing...and I am ready to see what happens.


Please share with me your learning and questions....it is always best to journey and learn together.