Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy birthday to me! (day 4)

Day 4

I really didn't get much done before school because people kept popping into my room to wish me happy birthday, which I thought was very sweet.  My new grade level brought me balloons and cupcakes, along with decorating my room.  Wasn't expecting that from a team I've worked with for basically a week, but it's great to feel so welcomed.

In math, we talked more about persevering through problems, did our number talk, then I introduced them to one of my favorite math games 20 wins.  Basically they are placing digits (0-9) into boxes and trying to make a square equal 20 with any operations.  For the first day, I modeled with me against them before letting them try with a partner.


We came back together and talked about strategies that were used:

While they played, I walked around making observations.  For the most part, my class seemed very comfortable with addition strategies.  A few groups tried multiplication to make 20.  They'll play again tomorrow and their weekend homework will be to play with a family member.  I don't think I'll have much trouble getting them to want to play math games.

What they don't realize is how much math they're doing.  Yes, they're adding for the most part. But they're also thinking strategically and looking for patterns with numbers.  They're having to predict what their partners might do and prevent that from happening.  They're using multiple operations, practicing order of operations, and often times trying several different strategies until they can make 20.  I love tricking them into learning!

After that math fun, we went over phrasing with fluency.  I had them do a sort with their table teams to pre-assess them and for the most part, they know what fluency is so I'm not starting instruction from the beginning.  Of the four components of fluency (rate, expression, accuracy, and phrasing) I decided to model one.  If I modeled all 4 in one day, they'd be bored and probably confuse the components.  I'd rather go a little slower to make sure they've all got it.

I modeled several different times (incorrectly) and had them give me feedback.  They did a really good job with picking out the errors.  We made a chart together in our notebooks before moving to the carpet for today's skill lesson.

I modeled metacognition, which is thinking while reading, using The Lightning Thief.  The first time I read, I modeled great fluency.  Afterward, I asked them how I did to which they responded great!  Then I let them in on a secret: it's not enough to just read the words.  You've got to think about what you're reading.

I modeled again, this time tapping to the book whenever I was "in the text" and tapping to my head, modeling a think-aloud, whenever I was practicing metacognition.  I had two students keep score:

We talked about how we have to think while reading.  Some of them got it, some didn't.  That's okay, it's day 4.  We've got time. 

We also went over what it means to be a good reader, which was part of their homework:

I'm trying to color code my anchor charts (reading being teal) to help my students.  We'll see how long I can keep up this goal!  I had them brainstorm independently, talk as a table team, then add their thoughts on post-its.

In writing, they're continuing to work on their letters to self.  In science, they're having a great time with the mystery bags.  I also had them draw pictures of what a scientist is:

Then we had the conversation that women can be scientists too, since many drew men.  I talked about how I am a scientist whenever I step into the kitchen.  I am a chemist, hoping my ingredients combine the way they're supposed to.  I have to be accurate in my measurements and ensure my oven is preheated to the proper temperatures.  I test my experiments by eating them :)  I also shared that of the real chemists I know, the highest ranking ones are women.  This was very surprising for them but part of my job is to destroy their gender stereotypes about scientists.

All in all, it was a great day.  My biggest concern so far is I've had to move one student's desk twice already, but I think that's just an adjustment back to school and realizing my expectations of listening to instructions the first time they're given.  

Four days down!

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