Hey friends! Today I'm sharing about a math-transition our classroom has made since Winter Break. Having a 2 week break I was able to really reflect on our learning, what was going really well, and what still needed to be tweaked. By far, reading is our strongest subject and our reading growth has been amazing. While we were growing in math, it was definitely not at our reading rate. So, I started to compare the 2 blocks. For reading, we use a Daily 5 model, so 80% of my instruction is in small groups during guided reading. Rather, in math, 80% of my instruction was whole group with enough time for a math center 3-4 times a week.
Realizing that a majority of my instruction was not targeted and after reading several books (Number Sense Routines, It Makes Sense!, Number Talks), I knew it was time to transition to Guided Math in which whole-group instruction was traded for small-group instruction. Our math block takes a little longer (around 75 minutes), but it is completely worth it! Our math routine looks like this - Number Talks (5-7 minutes), 3 Rotations of Small Groups/Technology/Centers (17-20 minutes/each), Reflection (5 minutes).
I'll be honest, it's definitely messy. My teacher table routinely looks like this - piles of unifix cubes, ten frames, and number lines strewn about...but that's okay! We accomplish so much in our 17-20 minutes together, and I am loving teaching targeted skills to my small groups. For my classroom and my group of kids this year, guided-math is the answer!
So, the question- What are students doing when they're not with the teacher? While I am working with a group of students (6-8 students at a time), my other friends are working with technology or working with a partner at centers. Each day students visit all three rotations - me, technology and a center. I offer students 5 centers a week and students choose which center to visit each day. One center is always math notebook, one center is always Versatiles, and one center is always a Solve the Room; so I am only introducing 2 new centers each week (although we have practiced these activities in small groups at some point, so they're not completely new).
I store our math centers in large Sterilite containers with all the materials students might need. Our number lines are hung in the front of the room for students to grab, and our manipulatives are to the left of the math tubs for easy access. Students know they can grab whatever math tool they need to do their work.
As I do with reading, students have a math color (green, yellow, or blue). When they visit the individual centers/pick a tub, they know to grab their colored folder. Each bin contains the same activity, just a different set of numbers or a different pack of dice. (Green = approaching grade-level, yellow = on-grade level, blue = above-grade level)
Since I picked up this set of dice on Amazon for $20, differentiating has been especially easy. Each colored set of dice came with 6-7 dices with 3 sides to 20 sides.
So, what's in those bins?! Great question. Here are pictures of some of the activities we're using or have used in the last 4-5 weeks. As a number-sense review, we've been rebuilding the 120s chart. I copy charts on color card stock and then, cut them into pieces. I color-coded the puzzles ROY-G-BIV with red being the most difficult and purple being the simplest (the more pieces/the more intricate the cut the more difficult). My kids are so 'gamey' that they love the idea of leveling up!Making Math Magic program (THE most fabulous number-sense program), we are also enjoying Making 10/15/20 Go Fish with our math center partners.
Crazy for 1st Grade and Thank God It's First for many of our solve-the-room cards.
foam dominoes for sorts. They're perfect for adding and sorting types of strategies we might use to solve the addition sentences. For my above-grade level friends, they will often use double dominos and then, create word problems to accompany the sorts.
Use our DI dice, one of my favorite centers is Add my 3 Numbers! Students roll 3 dice (the number of sides are based on their color group). Their first step it NOT to go to a number line; rather choose 2 'easy' numbers to add. Once they've turned the 3 addends into 2 addends, they may go to their favorite math tool. It's really neat to see what relationships the students see (counting on, doubles, doubles plus one, etc.) and it is great fluency practice. We use this recording sheet to save our answers.
Starting 2 weeks ago, we've also started practicing with nonstandard measurement! It isn't a skill we've explicitly taught, but it is a skill where students can get perfect, hands-on practice within centers. I use a recording sheet from my Math Centers pack to guide what objects students measure, and the last 2 objects are their choice!
Well friends, this is what our center choices look like when friends aren't with me. I'll be back in the next couple of weeks to talk about our technology choices, as well as, what my guided-math teacher-table looks like! In the mean time, what questions do you have? I'd love ideas for future blog posts. :)
I've complied many of our favorite centers, visual directions, and recording sheets into a 1st Grade Math Centers pack. If you're looking to add to your math-center repertoire and just-starting to dabble in centers, this pack is for you. You can snag it here or by clicking below!