Friday, April 3, 2015

Math Expressions - Grade 3

Math Workshop Model - using Math Expressions curriculum:

Below you will get the idea of the Structure behind the guided math groups using the Math Expressions curriculum.

Week #1 - Lessons 1-2:

Day 1

  • INTRODUCE:  The purpose of introducing the concepts in lessons #1-2 is to teach to the high end and for those students who catch on quickly. These students can then spend more of their week in enrichment activities and can have their needs STRETCh'ed during small group instruction. For those who will need review and reinforcement, the general overview they receive will expose them to concepts, with the time built in for more focused small group instruction. 
Use class MathBoard  and model steps of repeated addition and equations as in the lesson (use math talk and look for patterns that the students see) Lesson 1 - Activity 1 -(20 minutes)

Use the class multiplication poster and follow pages 6 & 7 - make sure to review symbols and vocabulary!  Lesson 1 - Activity 2 - (10 minutes)   *save practice worksheet p.6 for station rotation

Introduce the Home Practice and Study Plan - Lesson 1 - Activity 3 (5 minutes) 

Explore Equal Groups by working through p.7 of the Student Activity Book Lesson 2 - Activity 1  (10 minutes) - stress the importance of drawings

Work through "Make a Math Drawing to Solve Problems" with lemons and briefly explain model example on Student Activity Book p.9 of Equal Share Drawings. (10 minutes)

Formative Assessment check for Lesson 1 & 2 (click here for a free "exit ticket") - 5 minutes

** You will use this FA check to place students in appropriate starting stations for the next two days.

Day 2 & 3
  • Start class with a quick practice (5 minutes - however, if students are not used to being student leaders, it may take a bit longer to model) - Lesson #2 (repeat on Wed)
Break into stations: (station should be fluid, as some students may work through them quickly, while others may take longer) In a guided math approach, it is not the time  in each station, but the perseverance and task completion that is needed. When students finish a task, they should move to a new station. Practice and expectations of stations should have taken place the first week of school. However, just adjust your schedule accordingly if students have not yet done this. Start your stronger students in the Games, Explain or Writing rotations. Students that struggle should start with Help or Observation. Explain that ALL students must complete the Practice station within the two days given.
  • GamesUse the Ready-Made Math Challenge Center "Beat the Calculator Game."
  • Observation - Set up a computer workstation in your room where students can view a lesson on the same topic again. Khan Academy videos ( or having students use the "Soar to Success" or "MegaMath lessons could be done in this station. Other ideas include peer tutoring or using older students to tutor so that they could see the lesson and observe again. You could even search for YouTube videos or create one yourself!
  • PracticeUse student activity book page 6, 8, & 9 (provide answer keys for students to check their own progress) - click here for gamified progress monitoring tool!
  • Help Guided groups occur in this station. Based on your formative assessment check, use the leveled differentiated activity cards for students as they cycle through your guided groups. This would also be a time to check in with students on their "practice" progress. 
  • Explain - Here is where an iPad or two come in REALLY handy. Put the Educreations or Showme App on the iPad. Use the "Exit Tickets" that were created from the Math Expressions "Formative Assessment - Check Understanding." Have students work with partners or individually to solve and explain their answers using the record button to capture their solution and conversation. Teachers can then listen and evaluate at a later time. Growth in their ability to communicate and explain can be concretely documented and shared with parents.
  • wRiting The differentiated Math Writing Prompts can be used in this station. For graphic organizers that help students structure thinking and help struggling here (lesson 1)  - click here (lesson 2)

Day 4:
  • Start class with a quick practice (5 minutes) - Lesson #3
  • INTRODUCE the signature and study sheets - Lesson #3 - Activity 1- 10 minutes
Explore and use Arrays - go through student activity book page 19 
Discuss Comparing Arrays pages 24-25 -(do not do student activity book p. 20)
Commutative Property of Multiplication - briefly review example and definition on page 22 of student activity book. 
 Lesson #3 - Activity #2 & 3 - 30 minutes

Formative Assessment check for Lesson 3 (click here for a free "exit ticket") - 5 minutes

Day 5 & 6:

  • Back to GOPHER stations!

    Monday, September 2, 2013



    With the shift toward CCSS and the mathematical practices, what better way to incorporate them! In this gamified version, students WHACK the gopher over his head once they master the mathematical practices. Check out this great resource for Mathematical Practice "Look Fors." 

    What does it mean?

    • Understand the meaning of the problem by looking for entry points to its solution
    • Analyze the information (givens, relationships, constraints, outcomes)
    • Design a plan  
    • Monitor and evaluate the plan and change course as necessary
    • Checks for understanding by asking "Does this make sense?"
    • Sticks with the problem - Does not give up easily.

    How do I solve it?

    • Makes sense of quantities and relationships
    • Represent a problem symbolically
    • Considers the units involved
    • Understands and uses properties of operations
    • Considers many different strategies when deciding how to solve the problem

    Application of strategies

    • Looks for patterns or structure
    • Uses models to solve problems
    • Looks for the big picture or overview
    • Knows and can select the appropriate tools for the problem (calculator, ruler, pencil/paper, concrete model, compass, protractor)
    • Notices repeated calculations and looks for general methods and shortcuts
    • Makes assumptions and estimations to make a problem simpler

    Check for accuracy

    • Calculates accurately and efficiently
    • Labels accurately when measuring and graphing
    • Uses appropriate unit labels
    • Checks to see if an answer makes sense, and changes model/strategy when needed

    Knowledge I used

    • Uses definitions and previously established causes/effects (results) in constructing explanations
    • Communicates answers by using appropriate mathematical vocabulary
    • States the meaning of symbols
    • Communicates and defends mathematical reasoning using objects, drawings, diagrams, actions
    • Decides if the answers of others make sense
    • Asks questions needed for clarifying and understanding

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013

    I GOPHER Math!

    Starting out the school year, I will be helping teachers gamify their math instruction by using

     "I GOPHER math!"

    Using a guided math approach, the stations for "GOPHER" will be...

    1. Games

    2. Observation (of the instruction in a different format)

    3. Practice (via computer or paper)

    4. Help (from the teacher - guided math groups) 

    5. Explaining (students explain answers and evaluate the answers of others) 
          *Our district used Math Expressions and this would be the MATH TALK

    6.  wRiting -
    (students will be able to explain answers using numbers, pictures and words)

    Posters for these stations can be found here!

    Monday, August 26, 2013

    Gamification Background

    Gamification and education. I have been spending a lot of time studying the effects of gamification in a business setting this summer. Seems like many companies are jumping on the bandwagon by offering points to accumulate or coupons to collect. I have to admit that when we stop at Culver's on our way "up north," we collect the coupons off of the kids meals. For every ten meals you purchase, you get one free! Great incentive, especially when you have four kids. 

    As an educator, I am a proponent of guided reading and guided math groups. Ten to fifteen minutes with small group instruction helps me zero in on individual student needs. Well, here goes my venture for the 2013-14 school year..."Gamification of my Guided Math Groups!