Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year, new math set up!

2016 has been off to a good start so far for my third graders! We started off the first week with some team builders and review of rules and reviewing some of the standards we've worked on. We also started with a new type of math block for us- a small group model instead of my whole group followed by centers. So far, I've seen great results and responses!

For the first half of the school year we followed a model of math block which involved a quick warm up and a 30 minute whole group lesson. We then had about 45 minutes of centers. These centers would be 3 rotations of things like independent practice, group games, math writing, technology, and I would meet with small groups at this time. We finished our math block with a 10 minute closing and reflection. 

Here's some things I was noticing and reflecting on over break..
-I wasn't able to meet with each math group in this time
-the higher students were bored during whole group, and the lower students had to work harder to keep up
-during whole group I may miss a student who's got a misconception, if they're able to look at neighbors during a group activity (and not ask for help)
-because I will not meet with every student every day, I may miss something

I believe I'm being harder on myself than it actually is.. But because of the varying levels within one class I really feel the need to have more face to face time with my students. However as much as I'd love to have 3 hours for math that's a little unrealistic hehe. So I started researching different set ups for math block to see which one would best suite my students' needs. 

That's when I came across the small group model! The set up is starting with a 5-10 minute number talk/strategy talk which is super important for building number sense. Then, we have 4 centers, each 20 minutes. My students have the same centers, except that I can meet with each of my four math groups! During the 20 minutes I can teach the lesson and work some same problems with my small group of 5-6 students. After centers we spend 5 minutes reflecting/closing.

Here's what I'm loving so far..
-I'm meeting with every student every day
-I'm catching any misconceptions as they arise
-I can instantly differentiate my lesson based on how the 6 students are doing, so if they're having trouble I take it down a notch, if they're flying through it I can add a challenge
-It is impossible for my students to ignore me or zone off if I'm sitting right across from them :)

The kiddos are also loving the new rotations! They ask more questions as I teach and are actively participating. They also get to sit on bouncy chairs at small group so that's a pretty sweet deal! 

So far so good! I hope to continue to tweak the model and its flexibility but I'm really loving it so far. Definitely worth considering if you're looking for a change up!

Rock on,


1 comment:

  1. Diana I struggle with the same things. I like this idea and I am going to slowly give it a try. I am constantly changing things up and I am never 100% happy with it. And yes, I am hard on myself too. It's a sign that you care and want to do the best you can for your students. I wish I could come observe you. Seeing it is so much better for me. Keep doing what you do, your students are lucky to have you!