August 2015

Classroom Setting

The first week of school flew by quickly.  Students loved doing an adaptation of the Blanket Flip challenge – using beach towels.  After drawing images that came to their minds when they thought of math and doing a gallery walk, the class brainstormed what they want math to look like in fifth grade.  (See the photo of the chart).


I set up the room in 5 table groups of 4 to 5 so students can work together in groups, partners and have their best view of the interactive screen in our room.  Students loved using the “magic pens” to demonstrate arrays.  We also have an ovalesque shaped open space in the room that we can use for math counting circles, number talks and other minilessons.


It was exciting using some of the great ideas I discovered in the first Math Rocks sessions and from the Problem Solving training I took this summer.

Mission #5

Would you rather has some great examples. I think it would be a great way to start the morning.

Womac Rocks

I love Open Middle for fun problem solving questions! I also really enjoyed the site Would you Rather. I think it would be fun to have one question on the board every morning and have them solve and explain in their math journals! The students could even discuss with their table groups before coming to a conclusion about what/why they would choose one or the other. Go check this website out! Math Mistakes is a cool resource for teachers. I read a post about kids recognizing keywords instead of actually understanding what is going on in the problem. I see this all the time in my classroom. We used to push key words so much in math, but we have stopped and push more discussion about WHAT is happening and HOW do you know that? Math Mistakes website could help with ways to promote discussion and ways to talk through  mistakes…

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Math Rocks Mission 5

I introduced our team to Estimation 180 and we are going to use one Explore some websites to use with our students as an introductory way of modeling and practicing ways to discuss math in our classrooms this year.

I explored and set up an account on 101 Questions.  I thought some of the questions/images were interesting and creative and like the way that viewers can see other questions that have been asked.  I am planning on checking out if I can link this site to Google Classroom for students to explore to discuss questioning.

I am impressed with the math thinking and analysis of corrections organized by grade level at Math Mistakes.  I find it helpful to see other professionals analysis of what students could be doing – I think that analyzing mistakes in student work can be difficult and it is great to know there is a place to practice this needed skill.

Anne Brady Walker

2015-16 will mark my sixth year as a fifth grade teacher at an IB, PYP school in Round Rock Texas.  Previous to that, I taught Special Education in Inclusion and Resource settings in different Round Rock schools.

This year I am participating in a district math cohort with other K-5 teachers and district leaders.  I am planning to remodel the way math looks and feels in my classroom and am excited about the process.

My classroom will be an Inclusion and ESL classroom and we have 1 to 1 devices – Samsung Galaxy tablets.

Math Rocks Post 3

This year, I want to do a major remodel of what my math class looks like by:

  • incorporating ideas on effective math intentional talk
  • facing math anxiety head on with enthusiasm for using imagination to solve perplexing problems and grow as mathematicians
  • set up a mission statement and vision of what my future class wants math to look like and revisiting this frequently
  • set up routines that students can use with predictability such as using Estimation 180, Quick Images, Gallery Walks with revision, Counting Circles
  • incorporate writing into math daily – notice and wonder, what students discovered, big ideas – I want to give students wait time by giving them a chance to write down their ideas before they share with partners or the class and a chance to solidify their learning at the end of activities or a lesson
  • focus on a goal of using “perplexing” problems and discussion sharing strategies routinely

The biggest obstacle that I feel I face is time and pressures to cover everything – I worry that my team will be focused on trying to cover everything rather than choosing the best activities.  I truly want my math classroom to have an enthusiastic energy with a supportive, collaborative discussion atmosphere so that students who are anxious about math become more confident in their mathematical thinking. I have created some anchor charts listing the Intentional Talk processes and plan to develop more with my class and revisit these quickly with them to remind us all of our mission.  I purchased my own copy of Powerful Problem Solving and intend to use some of the many wonderful resources I found to create the fun challenges and learning I want for my class.

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