Thursday, June 12, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapter 3

Was Chapter 3 speaking directly to anyone else other than me?? I feel like this chapter saw me coming from a mile away!   It's funny because the last week of school, as my students and I were wrapping up the loose ends of the the year, I began thinking about next year and the things that I want to keep the same and things that I would like to change.  My morning work has been something that I have been thinking about since then. My students begin arriving in the classroom at 7:50 AM and continue to arrive until 8:20 AM.  Our reading block begins at 8:30.  So my dilemma is, how do I give my students constructive work to during this time so that the students who arrive at 7:50 are engaged until reading and at the same time not give so much work to do that those students who don't arrive until 8:20 are not overloaded with work from the get go? If you have suggestions feel free to comment, because I truly do not know!  However, having said that, I feel that chapter 3 has given me some insight of how to change/ improve my mornings.

To answer this question honestly I would have to say no, our morning does not consist of much more than a worksheet.  We normally do two, a Math Minute and a Grammar Minute. By the time that breakfast is complete, bags are unpacked, lunch choice is made, and just overall settling in for the day, there isn't much time for anything else.  The only math connection that I feel is made, other than the worksheet, is the student who counts up the lunch choices. Is this ok? Maybe to some people, but personally, I don't like it.  I don't think the students are getting anything out of their morning work. Even though the worksheets do consist of important skills that are either review of something that we have done, or a preview of what we will do, I don't think it is quality work.  That is nothing against the worksheets themselves, they are great resources. However in the mornings the students are rushing to get them done to receive their "check" saying they have completed it and then  they go about their social business until 8:30.  Chapter 3 has really given me some ideas of how to incorporate quality math into a short amount of time.  I love the ideas of having a problem of the day, mathematical current events, how families use math in the evenings, data collection, patterns, and a number of the day.  Now let's see how I can fit this in to a 20 minute time slot!!! I look forward to the challenge. 

As an adult you "just know" that math is all around you.  You "just know" that you use it everyday.  I wonder though, if we would be surprised if we asked the adults around us to give 5 examples of how they use math everyday, if they could name them quickly or would they have to think about it to come up with an answer?  We all know math is used everyday, all around us, until we are asked to give examples and then it becomes a little harder to realize how math is actually around us.  Even as a teacher, I don't think I really realized it until recently my 3 year old showed me through his own experiences and problem solving. 

He has learned how to count to 10, sometimes 13, depending on the day.  He has also been learning his ABC's. Until just recently he has been content with just saying his numbers or singing his ABC's.   Now, anytime that we are together, which is always now that I am out of school, he is constantly finding numbers and and a few letters and asking me what they are, some of which he has begun to recognize without my help. Now I am not just talking about when we are reading books or playing "school".  He notices them E-VE-RY-WHERE!! In the car, in the bath, on toys, on his baseball bat, on the TV, in the grocery store, on shoes.  You name, it he finds numbers! Now, why am I talking about my 3 year old? I believe he is the one that really has it figured out. He can see very quickly all the examples of math being used around him.  Does he know what all of it means? Of course not, he is only three.  BUT, he has re-taught me that there truly is math everywhere in the world around us.  Your eyes just have to be open to see it.  I am not saying that he has better eyesight then me but right now these numbers and letters are what he is experiencing for the very first time. Therefore, he latches on to every ounce of it that he can and absorbs it.  We were like that once too, we just need to be reminded every now and then to see things as if it for the first time and we will realize that math is just as consuming now as it was when we were 3 and experiencing it for the first time. 

It is important to show the link of math and our own lives especially to elementary students, because I feel that they are walking that fine line of still experiencing things as if it were the first time and possibly forgetting why it is important all together.  If we are able to keep the excitement of learning to that compared of a 3 year old and keep math current/relevant to students today, then I don't think students will ever get to that moment of dreading math and trying to avoid it at all cost.

Thus far in my own classroom, I try to keep the connections flowing by having students do real life math problems.  I try to get them to solve problems that they might actually encounter in their own lives at some point or another. I also try to keep math as fun as possible.  We do a lot of activities and we play games.  One thing that my students love the most is using dry erase boards.  I mainly just try to keep things fresh and fun.  I would like to make my connections stronger by incorporating math warm ups and real life connections in my teaching every single day.  I don't think I will be able to get it exactly the way I want right from the start, but I would like to set a good foundation so that I may add to it or revise it at any time.  

Thank you for reading!!!!  

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1 comment:

  1. I felt like this chapter was written just for me too! A lack of math in the morning or a good calendar routine were things I knew I needed to change and this chapter hit the nail on the head for me!

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