Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My math group is in the groove

At long last, I have settled into a routine with regard to my elementary school interventions, and finally have a few minutes where I’m not feeling overwhelmed.  Since this is only my second year in this capacity, I still have so much to learn.  In particular, I’ve been planning for next week’s small group of fifth graders needing extra help in math.  The stated goal is to get them up to speed with measurement, converting units and data graphing.  However, I’m finding that they are also in need of extra instruction regarding fractions and number sense.  Last year, we’d spend our whole hour covering one topic together, strictly following the curriculum book and adding nothing creative.  I wanted to do something different this year. 
Two weeks ago, I thought, naively that I could cover three short mini lessons in the hour that I am with them twice a week.  But I failed to realize how much time the guided practice and scaffolding would take.  I now feel quite comfortable dividing our hour together by only two ways. 
The first half hour will focus on some concept of number sense.  This could include multiplication, divisibility rules, fractions,etc.  The second half will focus on some other data concept such as measuring, graphing, estimating or geometry.  This year, I’ve ben feeling much more confident about supplementing the provided curriculum book with extended, hands-on activities.  In two weeks, I’m going to be using Julie’s Hershey’s Hershey's Fraction Bar Activity.  One of my students is still a little foggy about rounding, so I used this freebie from The Math Coach’s Corner.  Most important, however, is that I want to facilitate meaningful discussions with students instead of just feeding them algorithms.  I must say that I’m not always so successful with this.  I only hope I can improve with practice.  If anyone has thoughts or suggestions, would love to hear them.  
Happy teaching.

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