Sunday, June 24, 2012

Math Workshop: Whole Group

Oh whole group. I have a love/hate relationship with it! I love being able to teach one concept in one swing, cutting down on prep work and planning. I hate when I see students start to stare off... or in my second graders case- making EVERY single thing in their pencil box turn into an airplane/spinning top/microphone! (Oh yes, I had one student who just LOVED to sing silently into his eraser)

Chapter 4 in Guided Math is all about whole group lessons. The lovely Sweet Seconds and Once Upon a Teaching Blog are hosting the chapter. They have some great ideas, and are hosting a link exchange, so definitely check them both out!

One of my favorite things about this book had to be the way in which they help you wrap your brain around a math mini lesson. This is something that was absolutely impossible for me to understand as a beginning teacher! Here are the 4 components Laney outlines as a minilesson. Underneath I have put a few examples of what I might do.

CONNECTION - How will you hook your students?
  • I will use my dogs (Hunter and Max) a lot and tell a story about a problem they encountered that pertains to the math concept being taught.
  • Show a picture/prop, or some sort of visual to get students thinking about a concept. For example, when teaching area/perimeter I will show them some real life examples where this is used. Like apartments! Many of my students live in them, and knowing perimeter/area helps place furniture, know the space in a room, etc.
  • Restate a math concept from the previous day and expand on it today. Sometimes I'll let them know we are doing third grade work! And having taught third grade previously, some of my lessons I actually USED in third grade!
TEACHING POINT - How will I model the concept?
  • I will ALWAYS introduce our objective for the day. "Mathematcians, today we will...." After they hear it, I will read it again while students repeat after me. I use a wonderful Whole Brain Teaching method here called "Mirror". (I LOVE WBT!!!)
  • Model, model, model! Just like in reading! The teacher thinks aloud! I usually have my students sitting on the carpet while I use a whiteboard or chart paper to map my thinking and create anchor charts!
  • Students listen! Many of my mini lessons go over because we start going off on a tangent talking! I really need to work on keeping talking to a minimum, and focusing on getting the main point of the lesson across.
ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT - How will students participate?
  • Think/pair/share - I always have students sitting next to an assigned math partner.
  • Whiteboards!!! Such a great and easy way to assess students. Perfect for knowing which students will need extra help, and which are getting it.
  • Visual Cues - Have students hold up cards (A B C D), or fingers, or hand motions for true/false to quickly assess understanding.
LINK TO ONGOING WORK - How and why does this fit in to our math learning?
  • I'll be honest, I need to work better at closing a lesson. I'd like to have students retell what it is they learned. Perhaps we can review the objective.
  • Most of the time I have explained how this will fit in with their rotations today, and our expectations on what students will be doing during math workshop. I expect students to understand their mathematician JOB for the day before letting them go. If anyone does not understand, they can stay on carpet for clarification, as well as talk to their math partner.
I also found a wonderful writing mini lesson template that follows a VERY similar format to Laney's. I now try to make ALL my mini lessons in ALL subjects match this outline. Check out the Writing Mini Lesson Template HERE.

Although my math workshop (which you can read about how I organize it here!) uses mostly small group, there are times when I will take a whole day doing a whole group lesson. I usually refer to this an an anchor lesson. One of my FAVORITE lessons is when introducing 2-d geometry. Laney mentions using math literature, and I use it frequently!!! Here's a short outline of a sample anchor lesson I use with the WONDERFUL book The Greedy Triangle.

Hook/Prior Knowledge- I always start asking students what they KNOW about shapes. Laney mentioned KWL charts, and this is a great prelude to 2d and 3d geometry. We brainstorm shapes we know, and discuss what we know about them. It's a great way to see which students might already know the 2d shapes we will encounter in the book.

Goal/Objective- Here I will explain to students their mathematician job for the day. We will describe 2-dimensional shapes using The Greedy Triangle and a foldable. After we have gone through the objective, I will give them a 6 flap foldable. First I fold it in half hamburger style.

Then I fold the sides into meet the half fold I made.

Next I cut each flap into thirds, so there is a total of 6. I definitely premake these for my second graders, so they don't worry about cutting or folding. On the front we will write 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. These will be the number of sides on each shape.

Inside we will draw and write the name of the shape as we learn about it in the book.

After students have folded and written their numbers on it, we walk to the carpet (where they, as always, sit by their math partner) and get ready to listen to the story. They bring a book, pencil, and their foldable so they can write as we read.

Active Engagement - When finished with the story, students will be going on a scavenger hunt around the school to find the 2d shapes in real life! This a great way to get them actively engaged, and looking for the shapes on their own! We use this table below. Before going out, we review the shapes we learned, draw a picture, and write the number of sides again. FIND IT HERE (I still have no clue how to embed google docs... anyone help?)

Then we line up and head out!

Closing - Upon coming back to class we discuss what we found. I always close the lesson by discussing what shape was the easiest to find, and which was the hardest. We talk about why we think some were easier than others.

Every year I teach this anchor lesson, and every year I LOVE it! Something I did not do but would like to do is create an ANCHOR CHART. I'm not sure it would be beneficial to do it during the read aloud, the next day, or after the read aloud? Do you have any thoughts?

I hope this was helpful! :) Can't wait to hear what everyone else thought of Chapter 4! :)

Oh and I MUST give a big thank you to Brandi at Sucess in Second Grade, Jodi at Southern Sweetie in Second, Amy at Where Seconds Count, Katie and Lisen at Second Grade Smarty Pants and Heather at Teach It Today for awarding me :
I cannot express how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness! I'll be passing it along this week! :)


The Meek Moose said...

Awesome sauce! Loved seeing how you broke down the lesson in an example. I have enjoyed reading this book, and received a lot of inspiration from it- but even in m y read through, I wasn't thinking about having a recurring connection like your idea of telling stories about your dogs. That is very clever. I'm going to go write that down in the margin of my book.

Tania said...

I love using literature to introduce a topic. Awesome post!
My Second Sense

Katie said...

Thank you for linking up! I love the Mirror idea and the mini lesson template.

Sara at school said...

Lots of great ideas - I appreciate how you shared different ways you do things for your math lesson.

Patti Wilson said...

I can totally relate with you about spending too much time with mini lessons. I, too, spend way too much time discussing examples and losing focus. Thankfully, this is something that can be easily fixed. Thank you for sharing the mini lesson template. I will definitely be using it!

So glad to have found your blog! I am your newest follower.

On The Road To Success

kilgosclass said...

I can also relate to the mini lesson time issue. I think it's just a matter of practice and focus. It sounds like you've really got yours together, though! I love WBT and use mirror with my 4th graders. Thanks so much for sharing your actual lesson. Fabulous!


Heather's Heart said...

This is a great lesson. I love all of Marilyn Burns' books. =)

Heather's Heart

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Jen said...

You have done an amazing job summarizing the ideas in the book and incorporating practical ways that you use these ideas in your classroom. I am teaching a 5th/6th split this year but can see how I can use MANY of your ideas! Just wanted to say Thank You!