This week, I was in the math classroom on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesday, the students took their first math test of the year.
On Tuesday, we reviewed. It was a bit chaotic, but I took some groups of students to review rounding, addition, and subtraction – it ended up being three groups or maybe four that I worked with. I gave students a few exercises and then asked if they wanted to challenge each other, so they wrote numbers to round or add. Each had a turn and seemed to enjoy the power / responsibility.
On Thursday, I led the hands-on game during centers. Many students had struggled with translating between standard, expanded, and verbal forms of numbers. The teacher, made a sorting game for them with three forms for each number. I found that the game worked best if three or four students laid out all of the cards face up and just went at it – trying to find as many matches as they could. They were pretty good about sharing and helping each other as well as being competitive. Then after a few rounds, they started dragging, so I asked if they wanted to make it into a “Memory” game and that upped the challenge a bit but seemed still fun for them. (Starting out in “memory” mode did not work well!)
On Friday, the fourth grade classes did a cross–class remediation. 22 students from two other classes came to my teacher’s classroom, and all of her students left for other classrooms. We worked on place value. I led a dice game where partners or triples would roll three ten-sided dice twice and try to write a number that was closest to a goal. The goals were written on their “score sheets” as: “closest to 0,” “closest to 1,000,000,” “closest to 500,000,” “closest to 250,000, and “closest to 750,000.” The game sort of worked but because I had 11 students at a time and because I don’t know them, it was fairly chaotic. (see more description of this game: Task: Place Value Dice Game)
Looking back, I should have shared clear expectations by asking students: “What should I hear? What should I see?” The teacher has a poster about “hands-on expectations” so I could have gone over that. But, the first group was way too wild. I tried to compensate with the second group by telling them I would take the dice away if they were throwing or playing with them. That led to about five minutes of answering questions like “What if I shake the dice and one falls out?” “what if I roll the dice and one rolls too far and falls on the floor?” Poor kids!