Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Math on The Brain!!

 I have been attending a math conference this week and man oh man…I never thought I could spend 8 hours a day learning about math AND then coming home to want to work on how this is really going to look in my classroom, but here I am!! 

Again, my school is going to start Investigations in the fall. So far I have noticed that there are 2 major points that are different in Investigations than what we are used to and currently doing.

1 WHAT concepts are taught (quality vs. quantity) Number sense is done over and over and over again because research shows this is where kids get completely lost in the older grades if not mastered in the beginning. No more fact memorizing…this does not transfer when kids are asked to do higher level thinking. I honestly wish I was taught with a bigger idea concept in mind way back when I was a little one. I feel as if I have to un-learn most of what I know about numbers and their relationships with each other. 

2. HOW the concepts are taught. Investigations is taught through the Math Workshop format as opposed to whole group instruction.

What does this mean for the teachers at our school?! I think it means we really need to re-learn mathematical concepts to make sure we are confident in the content we will be teaching. The leaders from the Institute of Math Teachers have really emphasized that perseverance is a giant component of math. They keep telling us to not be so quick to “help” the child that is struggling because students need to understand that working towards the answer is a KEY part of the process. If they don’t get the answer the first, second or maybe even third time they need to have the resilience to continue trying. Patience will need to be a priority for sure!

 I also think it means we need to be ready to experiment, practice and MAKE MISTAKES! For many of the teachers at my school (myself included) this will be the first time doing a true Math Workshop format. It is much less teacher based and MUCH more student centered. I know I’m behind on the times, but hey it’s never too late…right? :/

That sounds all great, but WHERE DO WE START?!

I think the first place I need to start is setting up the classroom to fit a Math Workshop learning environment. This is where I come to you my bloggy friends…How do you organize your math manipulatives? Does each table/group of students have their own container with each different set of manipulatives or do you have math tubs with baggies of the manipulatives separated for each group?

Investigations is big on student choice stations. Again, that sounds wonderful, but how do you manage and track which station each child has visited? A work board or individual tracking sheets?! I’m sorry if I sound like I am over thinking this…I just know come September I am going to be so overwhelmed with setting up my classroom, back to school routines, meeting my new little babies etc. I want to try and map this out now and not wait until then. 

In preparation for the first unit: How Many of Each? I have taken the game Collect 20 Together and tweaked it a bit. I hope you can use this with your kids!

Thank you for listening to my rant-haha! Sometimes I just need to get it out and then I am ready to plan my next move!

I am looking forward to this new adventure, but definitely have my work cut out for myself!! DEEP breaths Erin- I can do this!! ;)


caroline said...

I have always struggled with math and have clear memories of getting very frustrated if i didn't get the answer right on the first or second try. I'd give up. I wish I had a teacher who encouraged to push through the frustration. Maybe i'd be better at math today.

Tracy said...

we use Everyday Math in my district so I do not know HOW different it is from your series. We started the "workshop" format at the tail end of this year.
After a whole group mini-lesson on skill we are working on I had 3 stations of kids going at a time...
1. working with me (our mathbook page regarding the lesson)
2. Promethean board (with a game or activity on a previous lesson/skill)
3. Games (a fact game &/or game based on skill/concept)
I ranked the kids in 2 columns the kids high to medium and medium to low...then i put the te columns next to eachother.
Jane Holly
Mike Jose
Kelly Logan
Lance Tyler
the second column is my mid to low kids. then I go across to make groups or partners (jane with Holly, Mike with Jose etc.) this way a high student is with a mid student and NOT a low.

Hope this me if you need anything explained further

Ms. Wiley. New York, NY said...

@Caroline...I completely understand you. I feel like I have learned more about math this week than I did throughout my entire academic career and the reason why? It's because I looked at math from a totally different view point. Math was presented like a puzzle waiting to be solved with many different path ways to solve it and NOT like a big scary monster waiting to just trap me. Does that make sense? haha.

@Tracy- I've never taught Everyday Math so I'm not sure if they're the same, but thank you for the advice. I know it sounds strange, but I almost can't wait to get back in the classroom to set up for Math Workshop and try all the stuff I've been learning about out on the kids! Until then I will try to rest and enjoy my break!

Tracy said...

@ Ms.wiley...I feel the same....TRYING to enjoy break but looking forward to new year of kids n ideas

Jackie Jenkins said...

As much as you are dying to get back in your classroom, you really don't want to right now....I was just in there...wires everywhere and the ceiling is down! I promise it will be beautiful when you get back!

Ms. Wiley. New York, NY said...

Ahh Jackie!! I can only imagine...well thanks for reminding me about reality and I will stay away (for now), I promise! ;)

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