I can't believe it is already the 4th Quarter. I have been super busy and way bummed that I haven't had time to blog for a while. A lot has been going on in my room and I am so excited about the progress my students have made this year in the first three quarters of this school year.
All of my "out of the box" ideas have been truly effective in helping my students with the rigorous concepts they are facing this year in 8th Grade Common Core Math. I have made great progress with my Collaborative Teams idea, and in getting the students to read, think and write in Math. There is no better feeling than to see your students embrace challenge and enjoy learning in a math classroom... :o)
This year I have put a lot of time and thought into everything that I do in my classroom. And one of the most important things is how I structure my class. Our Math periods are only 50 minutes and I have such a short amount of time to get in a lot of curriculum and teaching. So it was imperative that I structured my lessons to maximize the learning of all my students. The key to this is my Collaborative Teams. I have been tweaking my vision of effective "Collaborative Teams" for the last 4 years, and I finally made enough tweaks that they are extremely effective. This is a strategy that I could never do without. :o)
This year my Students are not afraid of "Reading" and "Thinking" in math. All of the math problems I give my students require them to Read and Think. My students do not have a problem with Math Word Problems, in fact they actually like them. Everything my students do in my class requires them to read and think.
My Solve It! PROVE It! daily warm-up problems require my students to read and think.
My Recorder/Reporter Collaborative Team problems require my students to read and think.
My Worthwhile Wednesday Task require my students to read and think.
and ... My Concept Quizzes require my students to read and think.
Another reason that my Collaborative Teams are so effective is the consistency in my expectations and procedures from day one. I am clear about my expectations. My Collaborative Teams have structures and procedures that the students understand and use. This year I have also incorporated the Math Practices into my teaching methodology and refer to them throughout the day. This has helped the students understand why I put an emphasis on attention to precision and justifying their reasoning.
Here are some examples of my students working together in Collaborative Teams; discussing, solving and justifying in Math.
My Students are not afraid of writing in Math. My students write a lot in my math class. They write in the Solve It! PROVE It! They write on all of their Team Tasks. They write on of their Concept Quizzes to support their answers and justify their reasoning. They write on the Worthwhile Wednesday TASKS. And they write a lot on their Benchmark Performance Tasks. :o)
My students write to justify their reasoning...
My students write to reflect on their learning....
They also write digitally to justify and explain their reasoning using my favorite app Showbie.
All of these classroom structures were created with the intent to help prepare my students for the new Common Core way of testing and the CAASPP Summative Test that they will be taking in a few weeks.... I am hoping that my student's willingness to read, think and write in math class will help them be successful on Californias Summative Test. :o)
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