Multiplication and Division

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It sure is fun when Math Methods course work is immediately applied to a classroom. This past two weeks in math we introduced unit 7 multiplication and division to our 5th graders. It was helpful to teach a lesson, go back to our methods class and design the unit, and then go back and teach some more.

It has been exciting to see all the ways in which students see the math problems. As we continue this unit I get to find fun ways to preview work for the next lesson.

Yesterday our worm up problem was: There are 123 students going o a field trip and I want them to be distributed evenly into four buses. How many students will be on each bus?

Students had about 3 minutes to work independently at their tables. Then they had a chance to discuss in the table groups. This was a very fun problem for students to solve because they wondered what to do with the other three students and wondered why the problem said evenly.

I went around the classroom and students said, “You can put them on top of the bus…,” “You don’t go on the field trip…,” “You can’t chop a student in half!” and “You can put one more in each bus.”(Part of the enthusiasm about the problem could have been because they are going on a field trip next week.) As the students solved the problem they wondered what to do with the remaining students. After a few more minutes of group work we started to share out different ways of solving the problem.

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 12.18.20 PM remainder    photo 2 (1)     photo 1 (1)

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Una niña con una visión

First week back after brake and students are jumping right into learning. It is a long and full day, right after school ends we have the Student Scholars and today it is just three girls. Student Scholars is a time for students to get the extra help in math, reading and writing. Today they review vowel combinations, check out mystery books, and do a lesson to challenge and increase reading level.

The girls get a preview of the books that they will be reading for the mystery unit. They are exited! My CT shares with them that they will have their first choice of book from the list of books that they made before brake. I truly appreciate that my CT does what is possible to help her students. By this I mean that she has made two of the books for the girls available in audio books, and since they were not available in school she got them from the public library.

After my CT shared the mystery books she starts reviewing vowel combinations. She pulls out a mini white board and starts by pointing out some of the words and asks them to make the sounds and think of other words that have that same sound. She writes “ai” and asks what other words can you think of and says, “Tail good one but oh… it is also spelled tale what is tale… dew and due.” She continues for a little while and reminds them that the sheet will be on the wall if they need to refer back to it. My CT also points out that it was great that someone reminded her about reviewing the vowel combinations. She also reminded them that they learned vowel combinations in the third grade; however they were also learning how to speak English. She says, “Sometimes it is hard to keep up with everything.” Because of that many important details such as vowel combinations could have been forgotten or not yet understood.

The last part of the hours is spent reading. The book they read today for the lesson is called “Girl with a Vision” by Julie Winterbottom, and the teacher tells them that the book is a biography about a woman that loses her sight at a very early age. They do some eco reading, read the titles of the chapters and go over some vocabulary. I learn so much from listening to the conversations that the students are having. Adriana (pseudonym) for example fake reads and Monica is learning how to decode vocabulary with the help of text. I see that all of them make mistakes with words that are unfamiliar to them because they are not part of their vocabulary and one word like customs can turn into costumers in the blink of an eye. All of them however are making wonderful progress and are very motivated to learn. Using sticky notes to jot down notes, asking questions, and discussion are really helping.

I am curious how much progress they will make by the end of the year. I know that they are working hard and it is really paying off.

Lectura Persuasiva

Eliminar comida basura            Jane Goodall

The first week back at my MP I was able to do some practice teaching two mini lessons. Both were read alouds one was a persuasive letters and the other was about the power of persuasive writing. The first was an article called “Elimina comida basura.” The second was a short article about Jane Goodall and the many letters she wrote in defense of animals and the environment.

It was a great experience to have my first week back. Teaching two mini lessons gave me some idea of how one lesson builds on another. I also really appreciated working with my CT side by side because I knew that if I needed help she would jump right in. It felt good just to teach. For each read aloud I was able to elicit student thinking and with help from my CT write students thinking.

Some of the challenge for me the first day was definitely using my teacher voice while also transitioning from recess to Lectura Persuasiva. Also while planning the read alouds, I debated what were good stopping points and turn and talk. It turned out that what benefited the students the most was stopping and doing turn and talk, when key points were made. Letting students discuss among themselves lent itself to figuring out the meaning of words on their own. I did not have to stop and explain every new word that they were reading. The students figured it out on their own using the context of the writing, with the help of each other and the class discussion. I also did a lot of thinking out loud, while I read I highlighted on the smart board some of the ideas that stood out to me and let students discuss.

It is all still rough but is work in progress.