This is the point in the Winter Break when I have started to think about sitting down to do some lesson plans. Instead, I just spent 30 minutes on social media reading garbage, and am now writing. My lesson plans will wait until Sunday night, right?
I have started to work on report cards this week though. This always gets me in a reflective mode. Mainly I am asking this: Have I covered something from at least 4 strands of the math curriculum in a way that will allow me to write a good report card? I still have 4 weeks to go, so if the answer to this is “no” then I have time to make up for that. I know we have done plenty of Number Sense and Numeration, and lots of Patterning and Algebra. I think we have done enough Geometry, if I spend another day or 5 (or 6) on that, and I am going to comment on Measurement this term too, but will need to spend a few days doing some of those activities. We did a lot of measurement in science, but I haven’t asked them do anything lately. I want to make sure I have done something recently that I can comment on.
That leaves Data Management. We have done quite a few things that are part of Data Management, but I don’t feel like I have done enough to comment on this strand yet. One of the things I have been working on this year is integrating math into other parts of our day. We did lots of measurement in science, for example. I wanted to do more data management in science as well, but we got side tracked. I have not taught a single measurement lesson during math though, so I feel good about that.
Number Sense and Numeration, as well as Patterning and Algebra, are the areas I have always felt I needed to spend a lot of time on during math. As a result, I have often rushed through Measurement and Data Management/Probability. It’s not that I don’t think these are important. It’s just that I was prioritizing one over the other. By thinking about how to teach these outside of my regular 60 minute math block, I think I am seeing connections that will help my students build connections and we can all use math in more meaningful contexts. For science, we were growing plants on the window ledge. For 3 weeks, every couple of days we pulled out the rulers, measured the height of our plants, and recorded that in our journals. That’s meaningful. I also recorded the results of a mould growing experiment on a chart as part of our science learning. But we haven’t taken the next step and graphed any of this, and that is why I’m feeling like I am not ready to report on this yet. I could get there by the first of February if I really wanted to, but I have other plans for this so I’m not going to rush it.
In the coming term, we are going to be learning about Movement, and Strong & Stable Structures. February and March are really interesting months to track weather in Ontario. These are things that will give us a context in which to use some data management and probability related math. I’m not worried about making sure we get enough practice with these concepts.
To get ready to finish first term reports, I guess my math month long plan will look something like this:
Week 1: Measure things, like temperature & time (January is an interesting time for this, I think. We’ve talked about time on a clock a fair bit, but need to talk about this human way of measuring the passing of our lives.) (This will also lead us into a social studies connection since we will be learning about Canadian Communities 1780-1850 in Social Studies during the second term.)
Week 2: Use pattern blocks to measure length, width, area, etc. Talk about why we get different answers when we use different pattern blocks to measure the same thing. (geometry connection…this will give me a chance to check in with a few kids who were having trouble naming attributes of some 2D shapes and see if they’ve met that goal.)
Week 3: We’ll do this part during our science time: Build 3D shapes using stuff (cardboard, spaghetti & marshmallows, etc.) and start talking about strong, stable structures (science connection for 2nd term) In math we will start our next Context For Learning math unit (“Measuring for the Art Show”).
Week 4: By this time I need to be finished with all of my math recording, and should be able to write everyone’s math report card comment. Should. 🙂 I really want to sit down with each child and ask them some of the questions from our first math assessment in September, but realistically I’m setting an “end of February” deadline for that. If the Polar Vortex (is that what were are calling it this year?) continues to churn over North America, we’re likely to have some bus cancellation days. This will help me meet that goal since I’ll only have a few students each of those days, but will also hinder me in meeting that goal because I tend to have the same few students each of those days.