My class structure has been much nicer this year compared to my first year teaching. Well, it had a structure. So that’s a plus. There are still things I wish were different looking back, but I was pretty happy overall. Math in my school is blocked so I have 75 minutes with each class every day. If you walked into my classroom on a random day, it is likely you would observe:
- Students walk into the room with a message on the board to pick up their exit slip that I have left comments on and take out their Daily Warm Up Sheet. By the time the bell rings, they *should* be in their seats with their Daily Warm Up Sheet out. The “Focus Question” is written on the board as well.
- Daily Warm Up for that day. [5 min]
- My Favorite No from one of their exit slips. I project a picture of one (or sometimes a compilation of many) exit slip and block out the name. Students discuss good things this student did and what this student could have improved in their work. [5 min]
- Homework questions – I circulate the room checking homework for completeness while students check their answers that I project on the board. Afterward I ask the class if there were any problems they still couldn’t get after checking. Students answer each others’ questions with hopefully little scaffolding from me. [5-10 min]
- Launch to lesson – My school uses CMP3 so there is always a Launch provided in the teacher’s edition. Sometimes this consists of reviewing what they did in the previous unit. Usually it involves setting the context for the problem (a bike tour or picnic or some other *real world* situation with characters with purposely hard-to-pronounce names). [5 min]
- Student work time – This is the bulk of the time in class. It is always in partners or groups that change by investigation or by week or by day or by whenever I felt like changing. I tried to never leave students with that partner or group for more than a week at a time. Students are working to complete a worksheet or a problem in their book. CMP is really discovery-based so the problems usually start pretty simple and then get increasingly more difficult. All students are expected to call me over when they have finished a certain amount of the problem (“Raise your hand when you’ve worked through Part C”) and then the rest of the problem is usually more advanced and can be an extension. [30-35 min]
- Summary – Class discussion about certain parts of the problem and the focus question. [10-15 min]
- Exit Slip – Directly related to the focus question or reflection on the lesson. [5 min]
- Students turn in their exit slips as they leave the room when I dismiss them.
This worked pretty well. I am lucky to have so long with the kids every day because I can really fit in my different procedures but I do also have to make sure that somewhere in there is a little movement/brain break for the kids. Seventy-five minutes is a really long time to be sitting for 11 and 12 year olds. But usually that break is when they are moving to get to their partner/group. I try to make sure every student is getting up, even if it is just to stand and sit back down because their partner is coming to them.
I’ll write more about what I’d like to change next year in another post.
Ma classe a un système compliqué mais c’est bon pour moi et mes étudiants.