In Shrewsbury this year, we have adopted a brand new math program. After a year long trial and pilot program, Math In Focus was chosen for our district. Being my first year with the program, I did not know what to expect. It is very different from our previous program, Everyday Math. In this program we are teaching to mastery before moving on to the next skill. This program follows the Singapore Math ideology, and it begins with building a strong number sense with numbers 1-10. We spend a lot of time on how to solve things instead of what the actual answer is. We spend a lot of time on how to explain our thinking and working with math buddies to solve problems. Yesterday, the question of the morning was, "What is your favorite thing about math?" About 80 percent of them wrote "number bonds" and the rest specified that they loved the math journal/math book. Some even wrote, "math with a buddy!" I have noticed that their ability to talk about math and proving how they solved a problem is much more advanced then previous years.
We have just finished chapter two on number bonds. They have come to understand the vocabulary of part, part, whole and number bond, to which they could explain the definition to you. We have learned to solve for the whole and for the missing part. We have even learned to solve 3 part number bonds. Recently we worked on solving a "mega" number bond. This is attaching many number bonds to each other to form one BIG number bond. The strategy of choice for solving these equations are our cubes. Each child has a tool kit. In their tool kit they have a tens frame, two trains of 10 cubes, a dry erase marker, and eraser. Each math lesson they bring their tool kits to the rug. Throughout the lesson we talk about the best and easiest way to solve a problem. Some children are ready to solve with out the number cubes, but for a majority of students, these manipulatives really help. We even made our own number bonds. They took them home today. You can practice with these using any small household item. Some examples are, cheerios, legos, buttons, goldfish. Have them make you some number bonds to see how it works! Take a look what first graders are doing!
Here are our tool kits and their vocabulary rings. Each chapter we introduce key vocabulary math terms and they are added to their rings. These are kept in their math tool kits for them to use as a resource!
It is very evident to me that they are really starting to understand the relationships between numbers. I even have some kids who are working in a challenge journal, working on the same skills, with higher level thinking problems. Although I do feel like I am teaching a lot of whole group math, as I become more familiar with the program and the kids become better readers and more accustomed to reading directions, I will be able to do more small group work with independent and buddy math. I am very proud of their hard work so far! Here they are working in their 1st grade math journals!
In other news, Daily 5 in room 8 is in full gear. Here are some pictures of the children working hard and independently! Some pictures show the kids going book shopping. They were looking through books in my room to find some "just right" books for their book box. They did a really great job finding books at their own level. We talk a lot about how everyone learns differently and they should not worry about anyones level except their own. We talk about how some friends can read chapter books and some friends read non-fiction books, but the only thing that is important is that it is "just right" for you! During Daily 5, their ability to work quietly, independently, and with purpose, gives me the ability to finish up my reading assessments and to begin small group guided reading! A reading log and folder will be coming home starting next week. Stay tuned!
Finally, THE BOYS AND GIRLS OF ROOM 8 have earned 10 DAZZLES!!!!!!
This is quite an accomplishment. They earn dazzles as a whole class. They earn a dazzle if they are caught doing the right thing, if they are following the rules without having to be reminded, walking quietly in the hall, showing VBW behavior, and if another teacher gives our class a compliment. They all know they can not ask for a dazzle, it needs to be earned. So, we had our vote today and the class voted for EXTRA RECESS as their special surprise! One day next week, hopefully during a beautiful day like today, we will take our extra recess in the morning. Please give your kids a HIGH FIVE for a job well done!