Posts Tagged ‘math’

Co-planning makes Teachers Great

I’m always trying to be a better teacher. Always reworking my plans, reading new teaching material, and questioning what students really need to learn about.

As a newish mom, I was in a teaching slump. I was still trying my best and teaching well but knew there was better out there.

I decided to reach out to other teachers to help me teach better and I’m so lucky to have connected with 3 amazing teachers in 3 different subjects.

Luckily this year, a teacher who I knew at teacher’s college came to work at my school and teach the same grade as mine. We decided immediately to team up and plan a spiral math curriculum together.

Also my school is in it’s year to get a lot of new technology for its students. Luckily for us, that comes with training from our board’s technology coaches. They presented at our staff meeting and that sparked an idea. Why not ask one of the coaches to help me plan the way I want to. I’ve met with Louise several times now to plan Science units and luckily for me she is helping me plan using Overarching Inquiry.

I’m also working with another teacher and we are joining our classes together to work on a ‘Dream Journal’ with our students. The ‘Dream Journal’ is working on creating the life we want through reflecting, goals and learning from experts.

Co-planning is great for so many reasons.

1) Keeps you accountable

Teaching is a demanding, busy and draining job. We all have days where we want to take it easy and relax. By co-planning with a colleague you have to keep on track to keep up with the other teacher and class. Of course, if you are meeting your students where they are you are going to differ slightly but you’ll for the most part keep up the same pace.

2) Helps you problem solve

Don’t worry alone. You aren’t solving any problems all by yourself.

When you are co-planning you, of course, try your best to plan for all your students but nevertheless something comes up to throw you for a loop. If you’re planning together, you are going to check in on each other and ask each other questions about how that lesson worked or didn’t work. As a team, you can easily problem solve together and even reflect on how the unit went and makes notes for the next time you teach it.

3) Makes you happier

When planning with a colleague, you feel a sense of teamwork. We, as teachers sometimes feel really alone in our classrooms because it is just us with dozens of kids. We need to plan with other teachers so that we can feel supported. When we feel supported, we feel better and we do better.

4) Less stress

If you are making time each week to plan together, you are planning in advance. You know exactly what to do next and you can easily plan for that day or week. This makes you stress less as you know where you are headed, you know you have help, you know the big picture idea of what you are trying to cover so you know what you’re trying to accomplish and can easily adapt.

5) More willing to try new things

If you have a strong support system you feel more comfortable to take risks and try new things. This year for science my class and I learned about and tried out microbits. It was a new idea that I’ve never considered before and my students loved using them! And I loved learning with them too.

Questions about Planning Math for Grade 6

This year I really want to plan incorporating student choice and voice in my classroom. The only place I’m really stuck is Math.

In Math I really want to practice Problem Solving every day, do real world applications, and allow my students choice in how they learn and practice the math skills.

I thought about doing a task list of tasks the students can accomplish to show and practice their learning. Here is the idea below.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 7.32.03 PM

Also I wanted to do more self assessment and more accountability in their learning. So I created this.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 7.32.10 PM

This is a very rough idea but I would really appreciate your feedback.

Focusing on the “Big” Stuff, Keynote by Marian Small

Today I had the honour of watching a keynote by Marian Small and also having a chat with her!

As a primary teacher, we should be focusing on subitizing, getting our students to look at dots (like dominoes) and be able to know right away how many there are without counting. Help them understand that went we group our dots or tallies that it helps is see the number quicker.

We need to stop looking on marking if our students have the right answer, we need to look at their thinking!

Number Lines:

When you place 2 numbers on a number line, the numbers are instantly scaled.

Such as:

Where does 10 belong?

——2———————————-12

———3———-5———————-

——3————————————-100

In some situations 5 and 10 will be close together or far apart

ex: 0——5——-10

0—5—10——————-100

USING A NUMBER LINE IS ALWAYS AN ESTIMATION!

Number Recognition/Decomposition:

Ask your students: How can you break up 24 to see it is even? a multiple of 8? between 2 tens and 3 tens?

Ask your students: Show 2/3 is less that 3/4, or that it is 2 1/3, or it can be a little or a lot.

**How can you make the ideas come out, not just say it!**

Measurement:

*Measurement is always a comparison!*

Measurement questions: Which apple is wider? Which apple is shinier? How funny is he? Which apple is more than 10 cm tall?

You can make any measurement sound really big or small by playing with the unit. eg: I once saw an ant that was 2000000 nanometres.

Perimeter:

A shape might have a whole lot of perimeter but not a lot of area. What might it look like?

Patterns:

There is NEVER only one way to continue a pattern that is started 2,4,6-options to continue are 6,4,2 or 8,10,12 or 2,4,6

Ask your students: think of 4 different ways to contnue this pattern: 7,10,15…

What is the BIG STUFF

It’s not definitions

It’s not calculations (only estimations)

It’s not formats and details (ex lining up equal signs)

IT IS A SENSE OF HOW AND WHY IT WORKS

IT IS AN ABILITY TO “ESTIMATE” AND “PREDICT”

IT’S A FOCUS ON COMPARISIONS AND RELATIONSHIPS AND NOT ISOLATED PIECES OF INFORMATION

IT’S A CONSCIOUS DECISION

IT’S ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK IS IMPORTANT AND WHY AND THEN FOCUSING ON THAT IS YOUR QUESTIONS.

How do we get there?

Focus on the thinking!

For her full presentation: go to —> http://www.onetwoinfinity.ca/presentations/COMAmini.pdf