Thursday, October 25, 2012


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Ditto that Barbie.

Math is even harder to teach.

At our district, we teach using the Everyday Math Program.

If you are unfamiliar with the curriculum, here is a synopsis: If you look at the "Big Picture" it is a great program, providing intense spiraling of skills, but if you glance at a day in the life of a first grade teacher, it looks more like a nightmare.

After 2 years of teaching with it, and trying almost every possible teaching format, I am here to announce that it cannot be done I still haven't found the exact formula- BUT I am getting closer!

What is the most effective way to teach math in first grade?

What have you tried that works?

What have you tried that doesn't work?

What about centers? whole group lessons? small groups? conferences? math tubs?

Here's what it looks like for me at this point in the school year:

Calendar Morning Work (5 minutes) 
Check calendar work/ addition speed drill (10 minutes)
Math Mini Lesson (10 minutes if I'm short winded- which never happens!)
 Math Guided Practice/Independent Practice in their math Journal (10 minutes)
RECESS BREAK (aka put my head back on and find all of my hair that I pulled out)
Center Rotation 1 (teach small group or one on one)
Center Rotation 2 (teach small group or one on one)

The way that we introduced Centers this year was much like the way we introduced The Daily Five in Reading this year.  There are 4 skills that we knew our firsties needed to practice weekly.  We wrote out an anchor chart for each and gradually introduced them to our students- building their stamina for each.

M-math manipulatives
A- math alone
T- math together
H- helping build math

They rotate to 2 centers a day, which *almost* means they get through everything twice a week. (I've added iPods and computers to the mix which slows things down a bit).

Here's more on the actual centers:

Math Manipulatives is a place where students can explore certain math tools for learning.  I usually put the manipulative here a few weeks before we use it in a lesson.  This cuts down on the desire to play with the tool during the lesson. Brilliant!

Math Alone began with students scrolling on a 100s chart.  I have to brag and say I have students who are currently working on numbers past 1,000!  We have since introduced their math journal and math boxes to the center.

Math Together is for playing math games with a partner.  I am thankful that Everyday Math provides a lot of game ideas.

Helping Build Math is exactly what it sounds.  In the beginning, when our first graders had not gained the independence, we included puzzles.  Currently, we have students building linking cube patterns, but the possibilities are endless.

I  still have not perfected pulling my small groups yet.  It seems there is always something that takes my attention and squishes my teaching time.

With the help of this book:

I plan on mastering the art of teaching math. 

How do you make math work in your classroom?  

1 comment:

  1. Ironically I sent you a belated email about can ignore now that I read this post. :) Thanks so much for the wonderful explanation! It helps me to picture this in two different instructional chunks!

    I'm happy to be your newest follower!
    Growing Firsties