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A Look inside Math Workshop
A Look inside Math Workshop
Julie Dorsey
Monday, December 10, 2018

Many parents often say, nowadays they don't teach math the way I learned it!  Let's take a look inside a math lesson at LaPerche so you can see it from start to finish.  

At the start of the lesson, fourth grade teacher, Mr. Medeiros shares the I Can statement with the students.  These are kid friendly statements that help students understand what they will learn by the end of the lesson. The students in this class repeat it back to ensure they are all focused on the goal.  

Next, Mr. Medeiros teaches the mini lesson which is a focused time of teacher directed work.  On this day he is reminding students how to use the distributive property to make multiplication more manageable.  He has the information displayed on an anchor chart which provides a visual reference for the students to use during independent work and to self check their skills. 

The students then practice what he just taught them, breaking larger numbers into "friendly" more manageable numbers they can use to easily multiply with.  (Student may change a 19 into a 10 and a 9). Students use individual white boards to practice right then and then have an opportunity to explain their thinking to a partner.  In this format, students have to think about their work. They explain how and defend why they chose the numbers they did and see what their classmates were thinking as well. (One student broke 18 into 9 and 9.  He explained that once he did the multiplication once, he already knew the answer for the second problem since he was multiplying it by 9 again).

The kids come back together and discuss what they learned and strategies they tried and then Mr. Medeiros sends them to try another and explain their thinking to a partner. 

After independent practice, Mr. Medeiros tells the students it is time for math rotations. During this block of time, students move from teacher time, to computer time and partner work.  During computer time, the students build their math fact fluency and engage in online math games chosen by the teacher.  The goal is to know each fact in no more than three seconds per fact. 

During the partner game, students battle each other as they practice multiplication facts in Multiplication Face Off. Student engagement and focus is very high during all rotations as students have opportunities for movement, conversation with a partner, direct feedback from a teacher and technology time.

During teacher time,  Mr. Medeiros works with small groups of students on the skill he taught that day.  The small group instruction meets students right at their present level of understanding.  He is able to provide specific feedback to the individual to help him or her move to the next level of understanding. These groups are always changing depending on the quick check from the day before.  Notice that the anchor chart that Mr. Medeiros introduced that day has been moved to the back of the room for the students to reference during this independent practice time. 

At the end of the lesson, Mr. Medeiros hands out a "quick check" which is a one or two question quiz for the kids to complete so he can see the level of understanding for each individual.

At the bottom of the quick check, the students rate themselves on their comfort with the skill. 

How do you feel about this skill? (circle answer)

4

3

2

1

I am an expert.  I can teach this to someone else.

I understand this and I can do this on my own.

I am beginning to understand this, but I still need some help.

I am just starting to learn this.  I don’t understand this yet.

Do you have any questions about how math is taught at LaPerche?  Shoot Mrs. Dorsey an email at jdorsey@smtihfield-ps.org!