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  • Katrien Vance

    September 7, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    The school year has begun!  The rubber has met the road.  The money is where the mouth is . . . etc.

    Math class is completely different this year for me.  First, I begin with a number sense warm-up every day.  I silence all the internal worry about not having enough time (I have 45-50 minute classes), and I just do it, because it’s that important.  Lucky for us, Steve Wyborney has “20 Days of Number Sense” completely mapped out, so ready to go and easy to use, that this is painless to accomplish.  I’ve done 2 days, and it’s already so interesting.  The best part about this warm-up, which has so far focused on estimating, is that the kids get practice being WRONG over and over.  In 2 days, we have taken more “sting” out of being wrong than I’ve ever managed to before.

    After the warm-up, the kids have some kind of task.  I give them a question; they work in pairs at a whiteboard at our tables or a VNPS (Wipecharts are the bomb!); we share, discuss, and consolidate.  I “teach” only for a very few specific moments, as needed.  For example, we were measuring angles, and the kid didn’t know how to use a protractor.  I let them productively struggle for a minute or two, and then I showed them.  The gasp of excitement when they saw that the tool confirmed the answer they had gotten by other means was amazing–I said, “Never has a protractor garnered that much excitement in any math class ever!”  

    And then we’re finished.  And I assign no homework.  This is completely new for me, and I’m very interested to see how it goes.  Will they retain what we’re doing?  Can they really do it independently?  I’ll find out soon!

    Fridays are “Fraction Fridays,” where I do one of Nat Bunting’s “Fraction Talks” with them.  My colleague and I identified fractions as being one of the weakest areas for our students, year after year, so we’re making sure to give them practice thinking, writing, and talking about fractions. 

    We’ve had only 5 days of school, so it’s all very new, but it’s really exciting.  I am committed to having each and every student build confidence in math this year and become a more resilient problem-solver, knowing what to do when they don’t know what to do.

    Thanks, Jon and Kyle, for lighting the path on this journey!