Welcome back for Chapter 3 in The Primary Gal's Guided Math Book Study!
This has been my favorite chapter so far. Laney Sammons provides some practical ideas for "Math Stretches" as part of a daily math warm up that everyone can easily include in their day. I know that I will be making a lot of significant changes to my math instruction next year, but this part will just need a little tweaking. I already provide morning work for my students that is often math-based, so to make it more Guided Math-based, I just need to include more open-ended questions and problems that lend themselves well to class discussions.
The other focus of this chapter was on including a Calendar Board in daily math warm ups. I have always done some form of a calendar, so finally a point for me! :) Since Promethean Boards have been installed in our classrooms, I have used a flipchart for Calendar Math activities instead of a bulletin board, so it's not something you would see when you walk in the door, but it's happening.
Let's get right to the reflection, shall we?
It's important for students to make connections in all aspects of their lives, including math. We often focus so much on making connections in reading that we forget that the same strategies can be applied in math. Kids need to see the connection between math and their "real lives" so they learn to take ownership of their learning and realize that what they are learning in school doesn't just stay at school. Just as making text-self, text-world, and text-text connections improves comprehension while reading a story, making math-self, math-world, and math-math connections will improve students' math comprehension as well. There is a purpose behind their learning, and when they can make that connection, their new knowledge will be more meaningful to them. Authentic learning at its finest, folks! :)
I love the idea of including family members in the "How Did My Family Use Math Last Night?" Math Stretch by asking students to write down a way their family used math at home. Sammons suggests assigning this for homework, but it may also be effective to simply include the question in a weekly classroom newsletter. Even better, parents and kids can BOTH write down various ways in which they use math at home, and you could create weekly charts or graphs using the sticky notes or note cards or whatever they use to record their math activities. Then in class, students can compare and contrast the different math activity descriptions and make observations about any patterns they notice from week to week or draw conclusions about why a particular math concept/skill is important (not just to earn a passing grade).
This is DEFINITELY something I want to include more next year!
This year when my students entered our classroom, they always had some kind of morning work waiting for them. Often it was math-related, but not every day. They also had tasks like choosing their lunch, putting folders and behavior sheets away, turning in homework, etc. I would like to incorporate some of the "Math Stretches" that Sammons suggests in this chapter, like a daily graph/data analysis question, a number of the day, the next numbers in a pattern, etc. These would all be simple additions to our morning routine that are meaningful and will enhance our mathematical discussion.
Sammons emphasizes that these warm ups need to be simple and require only a few minutes for students to complete independently. They should also lead to more student questions and observations they can record in a math journal and can discuss later in the day. She describes the role of the teacher as the discussions progress and the gradual release of responsibility necessary for student independence and success.
I am loving this book and can't wait to incorporate some of these strategies and ideas in August!
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