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!! ;)