Monday, October 8, 2012

Math, Math, Math

How do you teach math? In the past I have always done math rotations ( I guess this may be similar to math workshop). Prior to discovering blogs and even before I ever knew about tpt I started doing what I call math rotations. Its really a simple concept that matches its title, the kids go around and rotate to different activities. Since my first year of teaching this is just what worked and made sense for me. I would begin with a whole class lesson introducing my topic. After this introduction of the topic we did a lot of practice together using whiteboards. I would simply just present students with various problems, have them write the answer on their boards and show them to me. This way I was able to see who understood, who didn't, as well as any misconceptions my students had. I would then address any misunderstandings I saw happening. From this first day of whole class practice I would take notes and form my groups. The next day I would do a quick review (about 5 minutes) then introduce the stations that students would be rotating through. Since I only had 3 groups they would usually go to the computers and review past skills ( I would provide review sheets for each quarter for them to work from), work with me at the carpet (usually reinforcing the concept with manipulatives for those who needed or providing enrichment opportunities for the advanced group) then independent work. I also included some hands on stations where they could play games or use task cards (this would be switched out with computer time). This has worked wonderfully for me and my students always loved math.

This year..I have the largest class I've ever had. I'm currently at 26 students and I just couldn't figure out how to make math rotations work with ALL those kids. I've never done four different groups/rotations and couldn't fit the time into my math block. My low group is extremely low and always took up way to much time..I couldn't get to any other groups sooo I trudged on through the first quarter trying to teach whole class lessons the ENTIRE quarter....If you can imagine 26 students, all at different levels trying to all do the same thing. It was really a disaster and I continued to let it happen each day because I just couldn't figure out how to make it all work in the little amount of time I had. I feel that many students struggled and that I wasted a ton of precious time. 

Fast forward and it's second quarter..yes SECOND QUARTER! I can't believe it's here so quickly. I reflected back on how first quarter went and told myself there is NO WAY I am continuing teaching the way I did all of first quarter. I was struggling and so were my kids. Today I spent a ton of time working out a math schedule and activities to use with math rotations. I made a cute little math rotation board that I will display for my kiddos to know exactly where they will be heading...

I'm going to do the same as I did in the past except this time I'm providing a hands on station (at all times) for all kids. They may not be working on the exact skill we're learning about but they will be reinforcing something we covered in the past. I had to take each rotation down to only 15 minutes, so I hope I'll be able to stick to those times...I cut down the workload and am breaking my lessons down. I've also heard word that we may just be getting a much needed tutor for 40 minutes each day!! Woop whoop!! This will definitely help to make my math block run low kids needs lots of guidance and reinforcements this year. 

My kids this year are really struggling with subtracting. I have a handful of kids who couldn't figure out 80-1. I'm trying to teach them part whole models so that they understand what they're doing when adding and subtracting. I created a simple sheet that you can pick up at my tpt store if you do part/whole models. :) 

How do you teach math?? 

No comments:

Post a Comment