Sunday, March 3, 2013

Making T.I.M.E. for Math

I have to say first that I just love this blogging community. I have "met" some of the most amazing and helpful people in the half year-ish that I have been doing this. One of these amazing people is my friend Jenn at Rowdy in First GradeDon't know her? You are missing out! Jenn was so helpful in my math small groups. See she knew that I could not get a grasp on small groups/rotations and I had no one to help me. She sent me a few page document explaning exactly how she does her math time full with pictures. It took me seeing her chart to make it all click. And now...Now I am obsessed with my math time. I used to be this stellar math teacher. Not trying to brag or anything but I love math and was good at teaching it. And this past year or so things have just gotten to be too much and I haven't been feeling so great about it. Now..I am loving it again.

So what do I do now? I copied Jenn's concept and ran with it. On Mondays I don't meet with small groups because, well, I am lucky to even get math and reading taught since I have such limited time with my kids. But Tuesday-Friday I work with each group. Their rotations are simple. Me, math tubs, or independent work. I start with a 20 minute mini lesson. After that we split into our groups. Here is my rotation board.. nothing near as fancy as Jenn's but it works. And the colors make me happy.

TIME= Teacher+Independent work+Math tubs= Excellance in math!

The order of rotations does not switch. I ALWAYS meet with my pink group first, green group second, and purple group third. What does switch is what math tub the students are doing. To change the tubs, I leave the student names where they are and just rotate the tub labels. Easy management for me.

The tubs have different activities. Tub 1 is double dice fact families. Students roll two dice (which each have another die inside them). They add the sum of each die (this way they aren't just doing their 1-6 facts) and then multiply the sums. Then they complete a fact family. And repeat until their 20 minutes are up.

Tub 2 has Lisa's Roll and Cover multiplication games. We changed the rules/how to play and play it the same way we play Roll, Read, Repeat. It just makes it easier for them to not have to remember any new rules. Tub 1 and 2 are not going to switch (other than changing seasonal themes for tub 2) because the students really need to work on their math facts and this is a way to make sure they are practicing them at least twice a week.

Tub 3 changes. Right now it is fraction hot dots. But as our units change this tub will change. It may be something like a file folder game, other hotn dots, or some other activiy that can relate to the entire chapter.

Tub 4 will change weekly or biweekly depending on the skill. Right now it is fractions on a numberline. Students have to identify the numerator and denominator in the fraction and then plot them on a number line. I will probably keep this in for an extra week (possibly adding more cards) because they REALLY need the practice with this...especially with mixed numbers.

Now... I am crazy about knowing what I am doing each day. And I knew I needed a way to plan my lessons so I could look at what I wanted to do. And so came a chart. I don't have a picture of this but it is basically just a 4x3 grid. Across the top I list the groups and down the side I list the minutes. I fill in the top with my whole group plans then each group's individual plans go in the boxes. I just print these and stick them in a binder that I keep at my table with me. It helps me also know who should be doing what activity/tub. (The first week this really helped because my kids were a little confused about what they were supposed to be doing.)

I am so far really enjoying it and I think my kids are too. It helps to have only 6-8 kids sitting in front of me so I can see who really isn't getting it and WHY they aren't getting it. Which at the same time, is VERY frustrating. This week, the kids who I thought wouldn't get the lesson AT it. And the kids who I thought would, DIDN'T! Isn't that how it always goes?

The first day this took us about an hour and 40 minutes. I am hoping once we really get it going we can get it down to an hour to an hour and 20 minutes. An hour would be ideal, but I know sometimes that isn't going to happen.

Thank you TONS and TONS to Jenn for helping me!

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