Sunday, January 8, 2012

Math Work Stations Journey

What is your math curriculum like?  Do you ever feel like there is never enough time spent learning/working on a concept before you need to move on so that you keep pace with the pacing charts provided from the powers-that-be?
I have and I do!  I feel it more and more each year and I struggle with it!  I don't know much about the Common Core Standards or how it will affect our profession and student learning.  What I do know, is that I have felt that I need to find a better way for students to practice what they have learned so that they will retain what they have learned and develop stronger strategies for problem solving.

I have read Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations, and I intend to create some of the activities she suggests, but I took a short cut this weekend and visited another website which has activities that are aligned with the Common Core!  I felt it might be easier for me to start with pre-aligned activities then add to it as I create/find more activities.
I spent  much of yesterday and today organizing games I found at k-5math teaching resources.  I found that each game or activity is easy to find materials for and  hopefully the students find them engaging!
So here is what I have so far for 'organization'.  BTW...if you are looking for ideas, support or motivation to get organized, you should join the Clutter-free Classroom Project.

I copied each activity onto cardstock, inserted it into a plastic sleeve and placed it into my 3-ring binder.

Having each activity/game in a sleeve will make it easier to just place it into one of my Math Work Stations
bins once I have taught the students how to use the materials.

My next goal is to use plastic tabs to divide the activities into the different standards.  Then I can just add to it as I find or create more activities to support student learning. 

I will keep you updated on student response! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Math Work Stations Journey

One of my goals this school year has been to incorporate Guided Math into my instruction.  It really has been a goal for a long time!  I have really been mulling, reading, pondering, wondering for a few years now...that's what I do when I cannot visualize something.  When I found out Debbie Diller was publishing her book for Math Work Stations, I knew I would finally have something that would help me along.  This past summer I began pulling things together, but, continued to feel stuck so I went searching on the web.  I started with Debbie Diller's site.  THAT is when I discovered blogging!  I was beyond excited to find out that teachers were sharing thier learning, thier work and their advice!  WHAT!?  This is how teaching should be!  Of course I had been visiting websites that other teachers had created and shared gobs and gobs of their materials...does ring a bell? But blogs?  I had no idea!
Anyway, I am  on the journey to better math learning in my classroom (I hope!)   Last spring I applied for and was granted  a Fellowship to do action research in my classroom and my Math Work Stations are my focus!  How is that for accountability!  Now I am going to be accountable here, on my new blog, to anyone who may come along and read it...

I have decided on this forum because, perhaps, I will do a better job keeping up with my 'Journaling' about what is happening in my classroom, and maybe, just maybe, I will help someone else along on thier journey.

There  many other teachers whom I have never met,  who don't even know that they have been my teachers!  Once I figure figured out the "link up" thing on blogs, I will re-scoure will continue to scour the blog world and give a shout out to each and every one I can find!   Honestly, so many teachers share their teaching life and put it out I will too!

Math Work Station Tubs

I have my Math Work Station tubs set up just inside my door on 2 shelves I bought a few years ago.  I raided my local Staples for the Really Useful Boxes. I love the boxes for several reasons: they are clear, they have locking handles, they stack really well, can be carried by little hands and can be packed away with ease!   My blue tub on top holds the Math Journals we will be using more diligently in the new year!.  My prompts right now are from my math series, on the web, and random teacher resource books I have collected over the years.  I would like my journal prompts to have more order too! (on the to-do list). The blue tubs are from the ever wonderful IKEA.

Hey! This linking thing is working out! 

So here are the first few blogs I found on Debbie Diller's site:
Lory's Page

From hopping around from site to site I was amazed at how many teachers have blogs, then I discovered that it is a business for some!  Wow!  Who knew?!  You did, now I do and hopefully more will!  This is fascinating stuff!

Ok, back to the Math Work Stations...
I am in the process of updating them for Monday, and I will take pictures and share with you what each contains and why I make my choices. 
Please, if anyone out there reads my blog and has something to share, a comment, a bit of advice,  PLEASE feel free! 

I will also share the books and reading I have done in preparing for my action research in a later post. 

Math Work Stations

One area of focus for me this year as a teacher is Math.  I read Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations, Guided Math, some of the Number Sense Routines, and Math Exchanges.  I really think these books are a great package of information and each seems to dive into an area all their own, but is connected beautifully to the whole picture of differentiating for our learners in a very intentional way. 

Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction               

I also wanted to share a site that I often refer to as I brainstorm my work stations.  It is helpful for materials and games.Math Teaching Resources

math manipulatives and books sorted by concept

Once I feel more confident and sure of my management of Math Work Stations and Guided Math, I want to learn more about using Literature in Math. 

What do you do to incorporate Literature into Math? 

Clutter Free Classroom Project

I am new to blogging and am 'learning the ropes'. I missed adding a link in my last posts, so.... Please head over to
the Clutter-free-classroom-project  to see what others are sharing in their own quest to be more organized in the new year!  It is pretty cool!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Clutter Free Classroom Project Part 2

I will admit that I am very proud of what I accomplished in 2 days!  I was not alone though!  I had my sister, and 2 daughters, age 11 and 13 for the first day, my 11 year old for 2 hours on Friday.  I am not 100% finished, but, I think I accomplished alot!

Same doorway, different view! 

Math corner, to the right as you enter the room.

My desk/small group area. 

The Library, Word Wall, meeting area.

A nice big closet, double deep shelves; the bottom 4.

Debbie Diller inspired Math Stations

My math literature on top, math manipulatives and a small reading
nook to the right of the shelves. 

I want to finish labeling the manipulatives and keep my desk/small group area under control.

Clutter Free Classroom Project

I am just getting started blogging and have been enticed into this because of all the cool things I have been learning as a 'blog stalker' over the past several months.  I am super excited to be participating in  the Clutter Free Classroom project, which was the final push I needed to join the blogging world.

Click on the the above link or the picture below to check out the Project!

Our school got new floors over the break and we had to completely pack up our room because the old floor removal involved asbestos (sp?).  So, this is what greeted me Thursday morning 1/5/12 @ 7 a.m.!  I can tell you that I was very conscious of being organized and making sure everything has a place!  Maintaining it?  Well, only time will tell.  It is my desk/small group area that is most often in need of a "organization makeover".

The view from my door.  I can barely get into the room!

This will transform into a library/word wall/meeting area!

My desk/small group area to the left and a very ugly board.