We have one week left of school before 2014 comes to a close and 2015 brings on new learning, new challenges, and new successes. My mind is buzzing with holiday lists, music, and activities. But reflection, as well.
Jess (my math teammate) and I have been working really hard to improve number sense and math fact recall this year. And we have tried a lot of new things:
number sense activities
how I see numbers: part-part-whole
connecting addition and subtraction
Students have been working on math facts at their own pace and we tried assessing them through flash cards.
That didn't work.
It was a nice try but we just couldn't get to everyone in a timely manner. We had to change it up. And I really think it is working out well. I hope I prove to be right when the end of the school year rolls around.
First change: "My Number Time"
We are giving the students time to "play" with manipulatives for their specific number. They can decide what materials they would like to use. Here are some examples:
|House with beans|
|Plate with colored chips|
|Colored cubes and crayons|
We tell them that if the self assessment is not quick and easy, then they are not quite ready to move on. Our firsties have really done a great job with this self assessment. They are honest and I think it is really helping them to realize what they know and don't know (quite yet).
This sheet allows us to determine who we need to meet with the following day.
Third change: When they ARE ready to take an assessment, Jess and I pull over an individual or a small group of students to give them a fact assessment. They look like this:
While the students take the assessment, we watch them and time them. Jess and I decided not to set an exact time that each student needed to finish the sheet by but we really hope for it to be under 1 or 2 minutes (depending on the student). We are trying to make sure that they don't use their fingers or another strategy. We want them to KNOW these parts. And for some students they just need to be reminded (they need the confidence) that they do KNOW the parts.
But some students do not know the parts automatically.
I created these intervention sheets and they have really, REALLY helped. These half-sheets help to illustrate how the parts of a number are connected. I think they help because it is pretty explicit and concrete for them. There are two different types of sheets, depending on what the individual student needs.
This routine has been working so well for our first graders. They are feeling successful and enjoy this individual time. For Jess and I, it is a time that we can provide differentiated, individual instruction.
We plan to continue this routine in 2015 but will continue to add components as we see the need for individual students.
If you would like to try this out with your students in 2015, it is half off right now.
What do you think? Is there anything we could add to this instructional time?