Friday, July 20, 2012

Guided Math: Chapter 9

Adding rigor to any classroom can be challenging for students.  But adding rigor to a mathematics classroom where students already struggle can be frustrating.  Many students come into a math classroom with previous experiences {a lot of them bad} and attitudes and feelings of defeat.  Other than learning to read, mathematics is a subject area that most students are not comfortable with.  Many have learned their frustrations from elders in their home, while others just struggle.  Implementing math workshop in a classroom can help eliminate harsh feelings students may have towards math.  I've had SEVERAL students tell me that they hated math... until they had my math class.  This makes me feel accomplished as a teacher.  I have learned a method that works for helping my students develop a love for math like I have.  I've always been a math geek, and I guess that's why I love it so much....  I always have :)

Many may be skeptical by this method, and I've even heard some say that it seems like a lot of wasting of time.  Students are playing games, talking, and moving about.  What can you possible get accomplished?  Well, All I have to say to that is A LOT!!  Here are my state assessment results for this past year (this is math only).  I taught my students using the math workshop model for the entire school year (except for the amount of time I was on maternity leave).

Last year, I taught 39 students total (3 were special education students).  Here were my results.
Level 1 (Does Not Meet): 2% (one student)
Level 2 (Meets): 30%
Level 3 (Exceeds): 68%

98% of my students passed (with most of those exceeding) the state assessment.  This is PROOF that this model works indeed.  I'm not here to brag, but when these results came back, I felt like a proud Mama.  We all worked hard, and I was so pleased to announce our scores to my students.  The other 4th grade math teacher had similar results.  She also had several students who failed the previous year and several special education students.

As a current math workshopER {I guess this can be my new word.. lol}, the most difficult thing about math workshop is sticking with it.  It is SOOOO easy to give up and quit.  Honestly, it is not easy.  Especially in the beginning.  You will want to quit because the students have NO.IDEA.WHAT.TO.DO!  It's okay... take a deep breath and stick with it.  You will be so glad you did!

Perhaps the most meaningful concept from this chapter is to take the time to slow down, listen to your students, and get to know them.  Even though we have one million + one things to do, it is important to acknowledge them and their interests.  This sounds a lot easier than it actually is, especially with the stress of NCLB.  Try to make some type of personal interaction with at least one student a day.  It was difficult to create something for this chapter, but I will leave you with an idea to help you develop relationships with your students.  Create a classroom roster.  Go down the list each day and make an effort to have a 'student of the day' {only you have to know this!}.  This student of the day can be your contact for the day.  Regardless of how your day goes, make yourself have a non-school related conversation with that student.  I think I'm going to try this!  What a great idea :)

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  1. I am really interested in reading this book and seeing how I can use the ideas in my classroom!

    I have nominated you for an award! Swing by my blog to pick it up!

    Craft of Teaching

  2. You have every right to feel like a proud mama! Those results are fantastic! Thanks for sharing that. I confess one of my biggest issues is probably TAKING TIME. I really like your suggestion of choosing 1 student a day & have a non-school related conversation. I'm going to make an effort to do that this year!
    Please stop by & link up!
    Primary Inspired

  3. I'm just reading your blog for the first time. I found it in pinterest. I have to say thank you! I'm wondering tow things, one how do the kids know where to go, like what workstations to do and number two what happened to the chapters between 4 and 9. Again thank you you're a fabulous inspiration to me.


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