Hi Friends, Please enjoy this great guest post from Tessa Maguire. She's got some great ideas for looking at math in a new way!
Math. What do we do about Math? There are tons of great resources from knowledgeable experts like Fountas & Pinnell, Richard Allington, the Two Sisters, and Debbie Miller for reading instruction. They offer tips for structuring your day and tell you how you need to meet with small groups of students to ensure you are reaching your students' needs. They give you ideas on how you can still, just maybe, use your basal. But that's reading. What do we do about Math? Where are those great resource books that tell us how we can structure things to better differentiate for our students in Math? I haven't found anything that I've really loved. And I don't know about you but I've always struggled with those students who breeze through the work in .2 seconds and are done and you haven't even had time to pull the students who need extra support yet. What's a teacher to do? I'd like to share with you two common, but different, ideas my teachers have begun to use after we researched and tried some things out.
A couple of my teachers have built in game time during their math block. We have 90 minute blocks and they are able to get through the lesson and guided practice within the first hour. The last 20-30 minutes of time is spent to review, reinforce, and enrich. The teachers, with the help of myself, find games that practice skills they are working on each week. Does this take time? Absolutely! But after a year or so they will have a great resource file and won't spend as much time looking. They can pull out games from previous weeks to build in a spiral review, and this also helps keep them from finding different games for every day of the week. Sometimes the games are just simple gameboards with different cards so rules don't need to be reviewed. For those higher students, they can briefly meet with them one day during the game time to explain a new, higher level skill, and the students can spend time that week playing games reinforcing it. The teachers are able to choose which games they think will most benefit their students. If you're using Everyday Math, it's part of the basis of the series. My teachers find additional games outside of what EM suggests.
Have you heard of BUILD? I first learned about it from Adventures in Teaching. It is set up much like Daily 5. I shared it with my kindergarten team and they were ecstatic to try it with their students since they already do Daily 5 and their current math centers weren't as effective as they used to be.
B- Buddy Games
U- Using Manipulatives
I- Independent Reading/Independent Work
L- Learning about Numbers
D- Doing Math
Like Daily 5, you need to spend some time getting materials ready for your tubs in the beginning, but you don't have to spend the time each week changing it up. It's also very flexible so you can make it work for your classroom. You want students to go to 3 stations? Sure! You want them to go to 5 so you can meet with 4 or 5 small groups? Sure!
I created posters for each of the BUILD buckets similar to the ones above. Mine are set up like Uno cards, though. If you'd like them, click on the picture below to download them for free. There's another BUILD freebie for you on my blog if you'd like to stop over and grab it.
I hope I've been able to share a few new ideas with you. Have you found something that works well for you and your students? Do you do something similar to BUILD? I'd love to hear more new ideas!
Tessa Maguire is a former reading teacher and differentiated instruction coach. She currently is in a dual role administration and curriculum coaching position. She spends her days helping her K-3 teachers find what works best for them and their students. She blogs about the resources she finds and creates and she shares tips and strategies for effective instruction. You can find out more information on her blog Tales from Outside the Classroom: http://talesfromoutsidetheclassroom.blogspot.com