Guided Math- Chapter 7

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Hello all! I am back for the Guided Math in Action Book Study, for Chapter 7!

Conceptual Understanding- It seems as though we always hear to make teaching relevant to the real-world.  But how often do we actually do it?  We may think we do it every moment of every day, but that is not the case!  When I was student teaching, our 4th grade team broke the classes into 5 different math groups.  One group went to the Gifted/High Ability teacher and the other 4 groups were divided by need among the 4th grade teachers.  Want to guess which group I had?  Yep!  The lowest!  Boy, oh, boy, that was a learning experience.  I had to keep everything at a bare minimum with these kids!  I recall one lesson, where I had to teach elapsed time.  They struggled with time, so we came together as a group and practiced the basics first.  What time do we start school, What time do we eat lunch, What time do we leave, etc.  Then we went back to the beginning and counted by hours to figure out how much time had passed.  I used a large Judy clock to show the students, then they would count the time with me to figure out how many hours.  Relating this to the students, so they they can grasp the concept of time, while relating it to their world helped them achieve success, when it was their turn to use clocks to practice.

Problem Solving- In the past 4 years, our school "coaches" have said to make 1 day a week a focus on problem solving.  ONE DAY?!  How about EVERY day?  This is something that I want to make sure we do!  Our math series comes with a Problem of the Day, so I will be putting that to go use.  However, I did not think about HOW they should be modeling their thinking.  This was an eye-opener for me.  I tell students that there are many ways to solve problems in math, so they should be learning and using those ways.  One of the items I want to incorporate into my classroom is using interactive notebooks.  It would be great to have the students cut/paste a problem at the top of the page, with space to solve.  On the bottom half of the page, the students can use numbers, words, and pictures to explain how they solved the problem.  This is a struggle for students every year.  (The explaining part of process).  And it is ALWAYS on state tests, so practice we must!

See you on Sunday for our next chapter.  Only 2 more left!  One more week before school starts!  EEK!

Guided Math- Chapter 6

Monday, July 28, 2014
Hello all!  I am a day late posting my study of chapter 6, but for a good reason!  A mini-vacation with my spouse and his family!  We had a great time celebrating his parents' 50th!

Now for the book study...

As I have stated before, this will be my 1st year back in the classroom!  I feel like I am starting from scratch.  Even in the media center I created lesson plans, but my template was very basic.  It's important for me to feel organized (maybe a little OCD at times)!  After reading the chapter and looking on Pinterest and TPT, I decided to make my own lesson plan template.

I made it basic for my first year and I will adjust as needed.  I do not anticipate meeting with small groups every day, but kept this as an option for my plans.

As for teaching with different levels, I plan to use as many manipulatives as possible.  Our math series came with manipulatives, so I will be creating baggies for the students to keep these at their stations.  I will post pictures when available!  I would like to use digital tools as well, because the students have used them on the state test in the past.  

I think that is all for now!  See you back here on Wednesday!


Guided Math in Action- Book Study, Chapter 5

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It seems like this is a topic that is always a discussion when it comes to education.  Is there any way to avoid it?  No, but there are many ways to assess a student's learning and growth.

Question 1: What types of pre-assessments do I use?

I think it is important to know where a students strengths and weaknesses are before beginning a unit.  In regards to math, pre-assessments are imperative.  Our corporation gives a test called STI, which I have been informed by other teachers, is AWFUL!  It is required by our administration, so we don't have a choice.  There is also a post-test.  There are given at the end of the month.  However, the teachers have stated that the tests do not always match the curriculum.  So, what can I do?

I think the first thing on my list will be to give the students a pre-assessment based on the curriculum we will be covering for the month.  I will be using Envision Math, so I will look into whether they have created a pre-test or if I will need to create one.  Since multiplication is a big component of 4th grade math, giving the students a test on multiplication facts will be something to assess throughout the entire school year.

Dr. Nicki Newton also gives other examples of pre-assessments, such as a survey about how students feel about math, a mini math interview, and a running record.

Question 2: What types of ongoing assessments do I use?

It is important to keep the groups flexible, even within the same unit.  Once a student has mastered the concept, they should be moved to a more advanced group.  There are many ways to assess students, but making notes, conferencing with students, keep running records, and using exit slips are the ways that I foresee working with the students.

Question 3: What types of summative assessments will I use?

I do not see anything wrong with giving an end of chapter test, but making sure to go over it with students and correct mistakes is beneficial to their learning.  I like the idea of the students completing a self reflection, so they can take part in their own learning.  I think this will be a good way to get students to self-assess.  I would also like to keep student portfolios so that the students have a folder for them to refer back to for their learning and achievements.  

Question 4: What new ideas have I gathered from this chapter?

I'm not sure that I have gathered any new ideas, but I liked how the chapter was broken into sections.  It is important to remember that students should be assessed constantly, but that it does not need to be a written version.

See you on Sunday for the next post!


Guided Math in Action- Book Study, Chapters 3 & 4

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Welcome back to our book study!  This week we read chapters 3 & 4.  Check out my answers to this week's questions, below.

Question 1

This week I purchased a plastic bin from Big Lots for my teacher toolkit!  What do I plan to put it it?  As of right now, I plan to have the following:

  • whiteboards
  • dry erase markers
  • erasers
  • paper
  • number lines
  • grid paper
  • tracking sheets/progress monitoring forms
  • place value mats
  • rulers
  • protractors
  • fraction bars
  • flashcards
  • manipulatives 
I am sure the list could go on, but I will end with those.  I can see my toolkit expanding throughout the year, depending on what we are covering for our curriculum.  

Question 2

As far as the students having toolkits, I saw an idea on Pinterest.  This teacher has 3 drawer containers and has a drawer specifically for math tools.  I like this idea of having the tools they need in the drawer, so they know exactly where to find them!  I think I am also going to do the same with their science materials!  I think they will need a lot of the same things that I keep in my teacher toolkit.

  • whiteboard
  • markers
  • erasers
  • rulers
  • protractors
  • place value mats
  • manipulatives
  • paper

Question 3

As any teacher will/should tell you, establishing routines is important starting on Day 1.  I can see establishing guided math time the same as Daily 5.  It is important to go over what the students should be doing and what the teacher will be doing.  (Perfect time to create a T Chart!)  I would like to start my math block with the math meeting that I mentioned in my post last week!  Then we dismiss into our rotations.  Obviously, the first day/weeks it is going to be important to teach them how to work in pairs, individually, and with me.  We will use the same chimes as we will be using during Daily 5.  This should make it an easy transition for the students.  I am all about using my Smart Board, so I think we will display our rotations in that manner!

Question 1

As I stated in my last post, I am transitioning from the media center to a 4th grade classroom.  I am planning on meeting with students in small groups for math and reading.  I think this will help the students be better learners, especially if I can adjust lessons to meet their needs.  We have a 45 minute math block, so hopefully I will be able to meet with 2 groups per day!

Question 2

The groups will be very fluid!  They will be constantly changing depending upon the needs of the students and assessments!  How often will depend upon the material being covered!

Question 3

Thinking about the kinds of records that I will keep, I will keep a pencil/paper running record.  I found a great resource on TPT for a Guided Math binder!  I LOVE BINDERS!  I am all about purchasing other teachers already made resources as this point, until I get through my first year in the classroom.  Then, I can work on resources for future years, when I know more specifically what I want!

Thanks for reading and see you next week!


Guided Math in Action Book Study- Chapters 1 & 2

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I am so glad I decided to join this book study.  I am coming from the media center to the classroom after 7 years, so I am in need of some structure in the classroom.  Now on to the book study...

Question 1

How true it is that we MUST stretch our own pedagogy.  In order to meet the needs of students, we have to be willing to find different ways to reach students so they understand concepts.  The saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again" comes to my mind when I read this paragraph.  I have told students for years that we all learn and develop at different levels and in different ways.  What works for one student, may not necessarily work for another student.  

As an educator, we are responsible for helping the students develop and learn.  I think it is important for other students to show how they came up with answers or collaborate with other teachers about different approaches to help students learn.

Question 2

I am having a hard time answering this question, since I have not been in the classroom in years.  I only saw students for approximately 30 minutes in the media center, therefore perseverance was not always a topic of discussion.  

Any way that you can give me ideas or guidance in this area would be appreciated!  I am interested in the bucket filler classroom ideas, which I think you could incorporate perseverance into.

In thinking about my upcoming school year, I have spent a lot of time on blogs and Pinterest to find ideas of how to utilize math in the classroom.  Here are my ideas of how I am going to create a numerate environment in my classroom:

  • Calendar- even in upper elementary grades, it is important for students to know how to read a calendar.  In the book, Dr. Newton describes having upper elementary students recording the daily weather and using that for fractions and percentage.
  • Interactive Notebooks- WOW!  These are EVERYWHERE and for all subjects.  I love the idea of the students being able to create INBs for a more hands-on approach to learning.
  • Math Word Wall- In our school, we have a specific file that we use to discuss math vocabulary.  They are like cheat sheets for the words.  For example: coNgrueNt is one of vocabulary sheets.  I have inserted the file, if anyone would like to look at more!  All you need to do is click on the link for the word congruent above!
  • Exit Slips- I am currently working on an exit slip board, which will be posted beside my door.  I will post a picture when it is ready!
  • Math Meeting- I found this idea from 4th grade frolics.  Click on the link to read her post!
  • Number of the Day- adapt for upper elementary
  • Other Subjects- including math in other subject areas as well!
I am looking forward to continuing this book study and reading everyone's ideas!


Guided Math in Action Book Study

Saturday, July 12, 2014
Hello!  If you are not already aware, Courtney and Sarah, at Adventures in Guided Math are having a book study!  It's not too late to order the book and join our study!

Here is the schedule for the book study!

Check below to link to others participating in the book study!


A Change is Coming...

Thursday, July 3, 2014
Well, I have some bittersweet news!  Due to budget constraints and a hiring freeze, I have been removed from the media center and moved to a classroom.  I have really enjoyed working in the media center and will truly miss my time there BUT I am thrilled to be going back to the classroom!  I will be in the 4th grade and have spent the past few weeks blog stalking , I mean researching for my new classroom!

I am going to have to spend quite a bit of money to go back into the classroom.  I have already purchased a lot of books! Luckily I know the teacher that retired, so she left a lot of stuff in the classroom for me to browse through.  If there are any 4th grade teacher bloggers out there that can help me, please give me pointers and resources that you have found useful!

My first question is this...I am interested in incorporating Daily 5 into the classroom.  However, our corporation uses basal readers, so I am still trying to figure out how that would work.  Also, I am loving the idea of Interactive Note Books, so more information on that would be great as well!

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more!
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