Monday, June 15, 2015

Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics Book Study- Chapters 1&2

I am linking up with Sarah and Courtney today from Adventures in Guided Math to discuss chapters 1 and 2 of the book Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics by Van de Walle, Lovin, Karp, and Bay-Williams. This book is a great read, if you can I would encourage you to read it. It is already opened my eyes to new ideas regarding guided math.

Chapter 1: Teaching Mathematics for Understanding

Chapter one begins by explaining that understanding is "being able to think and act flexibly with a topic or concept. It goes beyond knowing; it is more than a collection of information, facts , or data. It is more than being able to follow steps in a procedure. One hallmark of mathematical understanding is a student's ability to justify why a given mathematical claim or answer is true or why a mathematical rule makes sense (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010)." This statement is powerful because it made me think of my accomplishments and struggles this year in the classroom. I took from this that students need to know the how and why of a problem, instead of just the answer. They have to be able to justify an answer. This year we focused on this in my classroom. I noticed that many of the students are better at memorization or they focus on strategies that they have been taught but can not explain their thinking with them.

One of the biggest challenges that I found in 2nd grade at my school is that the students want to use the regrouping strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems. They can not explain why they regrouped. Even after giving the students many different strategies to use they wanted to go back to that strategy. This chapter made me realize that most of my students in my classroom were use to the instrumental approach of understanding for these type of problems and that I had to take them to the relational approach of understanding by the end of the year. One great way to help with this situation was to incorporate daily number talks. It does help the students begin to think differently about math.

Chapter 2: Teaching Mathematics through Problem Solving

Problem solving helps children develop relational understanding. In reflection, I took from this chapter that we should find task that challenge the students to problem solve. Also, make sure that these task or activities do not lend to memorization or procedures that do not lead to mathematical connections. We need to allow the students opportunities to solve and explain the problems without necessarily giving them the answers all the time. 

Please come back Wednesday to see what chapters 3 and 4 are about.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Guided Math in Action Book Study- Chapter 5

 I am linking up with Sarah and Courtney from in Adventures in Guided Math to discuss chapter 5 of the Guided Math in Action Book Study.

Chapter 5 focuses on assessments. In this chapter Dr. Nicki Newton discusses how to balance assessments in guided math and the reasons why you should use a variety of different assessments. The type of assessments she mentioned were:
Math interviews
Math conferences
Entrance and exit slips
Math running records
Math surveys and questionnaires
Math profiles
Question 1: I give pre-assessments at the beginning of each unit, this helps to determine which groups the students need to be in for that unit. It also helps me understand what parts of the unit the students have mastered and need help on. The ongoing assessments that are used in my classroom are journal reflection entries, tickets out of the door, quizzes, observations, and conferences. One of the major ongoing assessments that I use in my class is student portfolios. The portfolios are composed of beginning, middle, and end of the year assessments that we do county wide throughout the year, with a few weekly assessments. We confer about the assessments, results, and graph the data. The students use the data to make goals throughout the year. The portfolios are also used to conduct student led conferences in the classroom during the second round of parent teacher conferences. As far as summative assessments they are done grade level wide and are the pencil and paper formats. They are generally conducted at the end of each unit. We also give benchmarks throughout the year.
Question 2: I gained a few new ideas from this chapter. I plan to implement math interviews and student profiles in classroom.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Guided Math in Action Book Study- Chapters 3 & 4

I am linking with Sarah and Courtney today from Adventures in Guided Math for the Guided Math in Action Book Study. Today we will be discussing chapters 3 and 4.

Chapter 3 focuses on managing the math workshop. The first thing Dr. Nicki Newton mentioned in the chapter is to start with clear rules and expectations. She also suggest that you start immediately. Every year I start introducing my workshops the first week of school. Usually I introduce them using a mentor text and having a discussion about what the workshop should look like. 

Question 1: My teacher toolkit in the past was housed in a bath caddy from WalmartSterilite Ultra Caddy, Large because it was portable and convenient. I kept my whiteboards, markers, and materials in it. Last year I started organizing my small groups materials in this book and binder holder system from Really Good Stuff .Store More® Durable Book And Binder Holders With Stabilizer Wing Storage Rack – Primary I really like organizing my small group materials in this system because it allows me to differentiate for each group. In addition to using this book and binder holder system I plan to have a small drawer system to house all the manipulatives and games that I will be using with the small groups so that everything is together in one central location next to my small group area. 
Question 2: My students toolkits were a math journal, dry erase marker, and eraser. After attending math institute this year for my county I will be developing math folders that will become part of the students toolkits. 
Question 3: Routines and expectations are established in my classroom from day one . They are established through modeling, practice, mentor texts, and anchor charts. I launch math workshop similarly to the Daily 5 reading model. I only focus on one aspect of the workshop a day. I use the acronym M.A.T.H for my workshop, which I found on Pinterest. M-math facts, A-at your seat, T-time with teacher, and H-hands on. 

Chapter 4 focuses on forming guided math groups. This chapter discusses using data to help you form groups. Dr. Nicki Newton suggests that flexible grouping is utilized to help with fluid movement and that you uses a record keeping system. I really like she mentioned that the students were group using the four main levels:
1. Novice - I don't understand the concept.
2. Apprentice - I understand the concept but need some help.
3. Practitioner - I am working on grade level and could work on the concept independently.
4. Expert- I am working above grade level and could be challenged.
This is how I group my students. This year I would like to make an anchor chart like this one that I found on Pinterest.Assess Yourself! chart  I'm making this tomorrow! :)

Question 1: I meet with small groups everyday. Usually I only meet with one group a day. 
Question 2: The groups are very fluid. I use the flexible grouping style that Dr. Nicki Newton mentioned in the book. A pre-test is given to my students at the beginning of each unit. I use the data to put the students into groups. The groups usually stay the same throughout that unit and change every new unit. I also use the data to see what strands each student needs to focus on and sometimes pull remediation groups based on the strands. For example, I noticed that 5 students did not understand expanded form from the place value unit. Then I would pull the 5 students even if they were in different groups for the unit to work on that strand.
Question 3: Last year I started using this record keeping template from Terri Thornton from The Creative Apple. If you click on the image you can grab your own copy.
I like this template because I allows me to keep track of what each student needs to work on individually as well as in small groups. I tried the sticky note method of record keeping but had a hard time keeping up with all the sticky notes. I keep this on a clipboard and it is much easier for me to manage. I use the same template for a whole unit as opposed to weekly, that way I can track the notes for an entire unit.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guided Math in Action Book Study- Chapters 1 & 2

I am linking up with Sarah and Courtney today from Adventures in Guided Math to discuss chapters 1 and 2 of the book Guided Math in Action by Dr. Nicki Newton. This book is a great read, if you can I would encourage you to read it. It is already opened my eyes to new ideas regarding guided math.

My thoughts on stretching your own pedagogy fall in line with Dr. Nicki Newton's from the book.In the book she says that " This really means that teachers reflect on their usual practice, take notes about what is working and what is not working, and then stretch out of their own zones of comfort in order to devise new and engaging ways to help everyone learn." I am a firm believer in reteaching and finding different ways to teach until the students get it. There is a nothing more rewarding for me than to see when students reach that aha moment.

Perseverance in my classroom is promoted through number talks, encouragement, and positive reinforcement. Last year was the first year that I implemented number talks on a daily basis. Through the number talks the students were able to persevere through using different strategies and being able to explain how they solved the problem using that strategy. It also promoted positive communication among the students by the end of the year they were able to correct and defend each other.

Chapter 2 begins with a scenario of a little girl giving an answer to a math question but is unable to prove why her answer was right. At the beginning of the year last year I noticed that my students could not prove  their answers either. Explaining your thinking is hard! Sometimes I struggle justifying my thinking as an adult. One way we overcame this in the classroom was by using math thinking stems as mentioned in the text. 

I create a numerate environment in my classroom through the use of:
*anchor charts
*math vocabulary
*math journals/interactive notebooks
*number talks
*math mentor texts
*number of the day

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Guided Math In Action Book Study Kick Off!

Good Afternoon!
I am so excited! Today is the kick-off of the Guided Math in Action Book study with Sarah and Courtney from Adventures in Guided Math.  I am joining this book study and can't wait to use this gained knowledge in the classroom. I have been utilizing the guided math model my whole teaching career so far but am always looking for new ideas and strategies. If you would like to read along you can get a copy of the book from Amazon or the kindle copy. Please feel free to comment and leave your thoughts as you follow along. I would love to hear your feedback!

You can find the schedule below. Come back Wednesday July 16th to check out the posts on chapters 1 and 2. 
Please be sure to stop by the pages of the other bloggers in the book study.