Monday, July 28, 2014

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. Life got in the way (new car shopping and I had to finish purging and organizing my old 5/6 grade files into the new 4th grade files for next year). But, here it is: my reflections on Chapter 2 (Organizing and Managing Math Materials) from Math Work Stations: Independent Learning You can Count on , K-2 by Debbie Diller

1. Which ideas in this chapter on organization did you find most helpful?
I liked the Classroom Math Corner, and purging the manipulatives. I do that regularly, but probably not as much as I need to. I know I still have too much - way too much of a pack rat. I should bring some home (most of the manipulatives I have are my own personal property) before I toss them.
2. Create a plan for organizing your math materials. Where will you begin? What's your goal? Who might help you? Start small.
I don't know really, I've gone through so much in my move from 5/6 to 4th. But, I think I can go through more and bring some home. I'll work on my press and organize one shelf at a time. My goal is to be able to see what I have when I open up the press without loose baggies, and each shelf for a strand (Num/Op, Geom/Meas, Data Analysis/Prob, Algebra)
3. Which math space do you want to organize first? Choose one.
Even though I need to do my press, I'm going to start with the shelves I was going to use as the classroom math "corner" (mine may not be in an actual corner).
4. Which categories of math manipulatives do you have too many of? Not enough? How can you work together to get the materials you need for teaching math?
Too many? Possibly Base 10 pieces, although already gave a multitude to 3rd grade when I moved in. Next might be geometry.
Not enough? Measurement (plenty of linear & money, not of other types). Also, don't have calculators.
I can borrow from teachers in other grades to get what I need, and I can make what I need or ask my principal for some. Calculators are on my list already.
5. Make plans for a classroom math corner.
I have 2 possibilities. First: two metal shelves I have lined up in a row. They act as a divider between the computers and the teaching space. I like putting a rug there, but putting a lamp would mean stretching a cord, which I don't like. Second: the taller black metal shelf by the window next to my desk. I was going to use it for indoor recess games storage, but there I could place a lamp and plants as well as the rug, to make it more inviting. Doesn't seem as centrally located, though. I think the first option is better.
6. Think of a lesson you've taught in which use of manipulatives went well. What did you do that made this lesson successful? Then think of a lesson when manipulatives were a nightmare. What went wrong? How could you restructure that lesson to improve it, and still use manipulatives?
Well, the best example I have is a centers activity I developed for 5th grade for geometry. It was structured, well thought out, and students knew what to expect. They had experience with the concepts beforehand. I can't think of a specific "nightmare" lesson, but the ones that do are the ones that aren't as structures or thought out, or where students are wanting to play with the materials instead of work with them. Giving students that exploration time was still important, even in the upper grades, and will be necessary in 4th grade, as well. I like the idea of having a station as manipulative exploration station. If I know I'll be using a manipulative in the near future, I could use a station for just shear exploration.
7. What tips on using manipulatives will you try from the end of this chapter?

  • exploration beforehand
  •  use of math mats
  • setting the purpose (also something my AP mentioned in a post-ob that she'd like to see me do more of - I hadn't realized that I wasn't explicitly doing that)
  • asking students for feedback on how or if the manipulatives helped them learn the math concept - that's a total new one on me, and I really like it. Students need to be more invested in their education, and not feel like it's being done to them but that they're an active participant.
This chapter on managing manipulatives was good. But, I really hope there's a chapter devoted to all the FILES I've accumulated, too. How do I determine how much of THAT I need to keep? I've purged and organized a bunch, but every other summer or so it seems I purge and re-organize into a different system, hoping this works for me. Crossing fingers...


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