Classes reorganized this past week. I had a new class list on Monday, and about 1/2 of my class is new since the first day of school. The dynamic shifted. Though it wasn’t exactly like starting over, it was enough like starting over that I didn’t feel like I could move forward as quickly as I wanted to. I decided, therefore, to do activities that would sort of take us back in time to the first week while also moving us forward.
These are three of my first 2 weeks goals that I needed to accomplish in just this past week – the 3rd week: really work on how to use the manipulatives without driving our teacher bonkers, work on what to do during Number Talk/Number Sting time, and practice working respectfully with a partner. The friends who stayed with me had already practiced this for 2 weeks so I couldn’t simply start over. And they didn’t need me to anyway. The friends who moved in had already practiced some of this with their “first 2 weeks” teacher, but we needed to do it the Room 16 way. I realize that makes it sound like I have some control issues, but I assure you I do not. Really. I don’t. Please believe me!
So…here’s what we did.
Guess my Number: This is an activity from the Effective Guide to Instruction in Mathematics. I displayed a hundred chart on the projector (This one, from Mathies.) I had a number on a post-it note in my hand. They had 20 guesses or questions to figure out my number. At first, they were guessing one number at a time, but then one of them asked (I think it was accidentally, but I’m not sure) if it was one of the 10’s. I turned over an entire column and a new strategy was born! To make it a bit more fun, I was keeping score. If they could get my number in 20 guesses or less they got a point and if not, I got a point. By the second day we realized I had no chance of getting a point so we reduced the number of questions to 10, and they improved their strategy at the same time. By week’s end the score was 6 to 2. But their questioning strategy had improved so much that I’m not sure I’ll ever get another point. They are starting off every time with “Is it higher than 50?” They can turn over half the board this way! It’s a great first question. Next, they start asking, “Is it in the 30’s?” or 20’s or 80’s or whatever they need to get a whole row turned over at once. We had to talk about the word “teens” and “single digits”. And we talked about being a gracious loser. Or rather, I modelled being a gracious loser. And they practiced not rubbing it in when they won. Sort of. And we practiced not shouting out but raising our thumb to indicate, “I want a turn.” We also talked about tally marks. I kept score with tally marks, which I discussed on the 3rd day, and a student used tally marks to keep track of how many questions had been asked.
Find it on the 100 chart: I gave them hundred charts, in groups of two. I gave them containers full of counters. I called out clues, from “Find it on the 100 chart” by Marcie Cook which I have owned for approximately 100 years. I called out clues, they had to cover the number I clued and in the end the manipulatives would have built a picture. They had to cooperate with their partner and share turns. They had to clean everything up, even off the floor, when we finished, and put it all away.
Counting Necklaces: You’d think they’d be getting tired of this by now. But they are not. Not even close. I’ve written about it before here, so I’m just going to say that we ended our math class with this all week and by the end of the week nobody was getting too upset about not getting a necklace because they realized there would be more turns on another day. Once again we had many opportunities to talk about what patterns we were seeing, and what happens to the pattern if someone leaves the circle to use the washroom or if someone moves to another spot.
Usually by this time on a Saturday morning I have a goal for the following week. In fact, I always start writing my lesson plans by writing my math plans for the week. I’m not ready today. We accomplished some good goals for the week, but we needed more repetition to get there. That means I am not where I wanted to be on my curriculum map. I’m generally okay with that, but I also think there might be a way to still get there by next Friday as planned. I’m following the TIPS spiralled math document and even though I know I need to be flexible with the timing, I also want to try to trust the timing. We’ll come back to all of our content again. I don’t need to teach to mastery the first time for every skill. I think I’ll move forward with our 100/200 chart puzzles. I think we’ll move forward with the estimation and counting jars/bags. I think it’s a 4 day week with no other interruptions so we should be able to do that. Maybe I am more ready to write my plan than I thought.