Thursday, June 19, 2014

Guided Math Book Study - Chapter 4

Welcome Back to The Primary Gal's Guided Math Book Study! 

This week we read Chapter 4, which delved into teaching math in a whole group setting. This is the go-to method for most teachers who are short on time and feel pressured to "get it all in" (myself included). Although this isn't necessarily the best method for teaching math, Laney Sammons presents situations where whole group teaching is ideal.

She says the best times to teach math whole group are when you are:

*presenting mini lessons
*using activating strategies to tap into students' prior knowledge
*reading aloud children's literature related to mathematics
*setting up Math Workshop
*conducting a "Math Huddle" (time to discuss mathematical thinking and learning)
*practicing and reviewing
*giving formal assessments

Teaching all of your math lessons to your entire class is challenging because you likely have a wide range of ability levels in your room. Some kids may already know how to do the particular skill you are teaching, while others are seeing it for the first time. It is difficult to keep an entire class engaged for very long when you are teaching them in a whole group setting. Sammons suggests using the whole group method when you are doing any of the above activities but using small groups, individual conferences, and Math Workshop for everything else. 

I was happy to see that she provided a sample mini-lesson in this chapter, including the teacher's dialogue. I really need specific examples in order to implement something in my classroom. She also included several "activating strategies," such as a K-W-L chart, anticipation guide, and "word splash," where you "splash" the vocabulary words you will be teaching in the next unit all over the board or chart and ask students to predict how they are connected. I was thinking that Wordle would be a great tool for this, so I made one using some of the vocabulary from Topic 15 in Envision Math for first grade: 

My favorite reason to teach math in whole group is to read aloud math-related children's literature. Sammons emphasizes the need for students to make mathematical connections and learn that math doesn't just happen during "math time" at school. Using children's literature allows children to see their favorite characters using math in stories and allows teachers to make cross-curricular connections between literacy and numeracy. Sammons writes, "This integration of disciplines reinforces the message that mathematics is a part of our lives, not an isolated subject only directly linked to the textbook." One example she gives that I absolutely love is to model a think aloud as you read a story, describing the mathematical connections you find as you read. Eventually, the responsibility shifts to the students, who will find their own mathematical connections as they read their favorite trade books. 

I created this little freebie for you to use to allow your students to find their own math connections as they read. Click on the picture below to download a copy! 

I can't wait to use this with my kids next year! 

Thanks for reading! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below and then check out the other fabulous bloggers to read more about Chapter 4! Check back next week for Chapter 5! :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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