Thursday, April 25, 2019

Math routines that matter

Yesterday as I pushed students a bit out of their comfort zones in math, I thought about daily, weekly, and year routines that matter--the kinds of routines that ensure that most of math class is spent in meaningful learning endeavor.

Yearly Routines and Focus
We are a math team that knows everyone is capable of learning math, and when it comes to optimal learning our attitudes, questions, collaboration, perseverance, and connection making matters. 
  1. Have students create a math learning supply bag before the start of school.
  2. Give students an optional summer study packet that reviews the factors and multiples of numbers 1-100.
  3. Start the year with a focus on apt math attitude, teamwork, and the knowledge that everyone is capable of learning math.
  4. Give a few assessments to gain a baseline of students' current knowledge, skill, and attitude.
  5. Establish extra-help times, days (October)
  6. Review easy numbers by introducing and teaching students to use a number of math online and offline tools/practice sites, model making skills, and games.
  7. Teach each unit with a focus on exploration, project based learning, explicit instruction, practice, assessment, more practice, and a performance assessment.
  8. Assess periodically.
  9. Take yearly tests in spring. (Extra help sessions end at April break)
  10. Integrate end-of-year teaching into STEAM projects.
  11. Summer assessment of student/teacher efforts, successes, and need for revision.
Unit Routines (About one unit a month)
  1. Explore the topic via a number of investigations and/or projects.
  2. Explicit instruction - about 15-20 minutes at the start of each class.
  3. Practice via a large range or online and offline tasks with a range of grouping from independent work to partners and teams of three or more.
  4. Performance assessments, argument, and share - a chance for math talk and presentation.
  5. Assessments/Reflections
Daily Routine
  1. Get your supplies and needed materials from your math drawer.
  2. Listen to the ten-to-twenty minute explicit instruction.
  3. Engage in hands-on learning efforts.
  4. Lesson ending, clean-up, final share (last five minutes)
A quick assessment of this year's efforts leads me to the following summer efforts:
  • Organize all learning tools & materials on the grade-level math website and in the class cabinets.
  • Organize an order of teaching for each unit.
  • Review project based learning activities and build in a few more.