Hello, and welcome to our book study featuring Chapters 3 and 4 of Dr. Nicki Newton’s, Guided Math in Action K-5!
Chapter 3 Reflections:
Establishing Routines in a kindergarten classroom can be daunting, but if done with anchor charts, modeling and practice, your group will be humming along in no time at all. It helps that we also have the same routines for reading stations. During the first week of school, we read great books about rules, sharing, making friends and working together. We talk about rules for our math lesson time, record things we should see going on, and things we should not see going on during math time. We practice transition to stations several times.
Our rotations work just like our reading station, so no mystery there. I pre-program tubs with leveled activities, then put tubs on my tables. (see THIS post) Math groups rotate to a different table each day with tubs on the table that have a color dot for their level. Blue group looks for blue dot activities, green looks for green dot activities, etc. I allow students to choose a different color dot activity after they complete the one that is their level. This keeps the color coding system more ambiguous. I rotate groups to the next table, and the next until all have rotated through all four table’s activities. This sometimes means they will take a tub to an area with more space, but many activities can be completed at tables which keeps noise down and keeps students on task. Students have choice, but they are choices I can live with because I gear them toward student need. Here is a picture of my reading rotation. Math will be stored in a cart or tub cabinet. There are four different stations to complete each week, so I have sixteen station tubs/activities to rotate through. This can sound ominous, but in kindergarten, math station tubs can be building blocks, sorting, manipulatives for counting…many things that all students can complete. I have a drawer for each group for each week with Must Do activities. These are to do first along with leveled tub. When those must dos are done, students can choose the other activities on the table. I have mixed grouping at each table. Students move together with that week’s group to table 1, 2, 3 and 4. The next week, I will assign a different group combo to go to tables with. This keeps kids aware they must work with all students in our room. Here are the anchor chart pieces I use for introducing Math Stations/Math Time:
Where is my guided math table and rotation chart?
My table is located back by my word wall at the back of my classroom…away from a lot of the noise and movement that will ultimately distract my small groups. My rotation helps students know which table they will go to, then they simply remember they go to the next table (I use animals to identify tables). Students are expected to visit all four tables by Friday. It works well. It is just too complicated, too noisy, too distracting to allow students to choose tubs each day, and it is also hard to monitor if they have completed all differentiated tubs they NEED to complete if they have too many to choose from. This is what makes sense for me. Every teacher has their own comfort level. Here is a pic of where my table is located, however I am losing the horseshoe shaped table and putting a narrow long table in its place. These elephants take up too much space, space we need for other more important things. My rotation is on the left, my word wall on the right. My theme will change this year, so this area will look different in August (check back later for photos–after August 1).
What do I keep at my table? What’s in my toolkit?
1. Manipulatives for sorting, grouping, comparing, etc.
2. Dry-erase boards and markers.
3. Boogie Boards (Jots) that can be electronically erased.
4. Math Journals–journals have our skills pages for differentiated response (provides a good clue about what students
5. A file folder pocket chart with each day’s math lesson worksheets from our series (we have to use them, but have freedom
to omit pages when we have a better way to show the work.
At least five buckets for seating because they make the students sit taller for table work.
The table skirt provides for more storage of needed/available items under the table. 🙂
Math Tubs are Differentiated (see my post from reading tubs above). Here is a freebie math station activity! I use math links to hang from each section of the strip. The blue spot is where you punch a hole. Just laminate, cut strips apart, and place in a tub with plastic links! This works for all levels since they must count (easiest), recognize the number associated with it, and recognize/write the number word (most difficult).
What do I keep for recording progress? I have a Color Coding System
I was asked in a recent chat about how I keep track of each day’s progress. It can also be a daunting task in the daily frenzy of classroom work. No one has time to sit and reflectively write anecdotal notes about students. Dr. Nicki has a great system of using post-it notes each day, and this would work well. My system consists of a stack of group progress recording sheets with a spot for names in the group, name of skill or skills addressed in small groups that week, and notes (very brief notes). The color coding happens after a group time ends. I quickly highlight names in the group color if the students were working on level. I also highlight a name in red if that student struggled during that lesson. Over the course of the week I meet and observe, and highlight in color the progress I see as an informal way of observing. This DOES NOT take place of formal assessments and observations. It basically shows me when a student is TRENDING toward having difficulty, or is consistently on level and ready to move to a higher group. In the case of my top achievers, I may assign project based learning tasks to get them to assimilate the learning that has occurred. They are not going to be happy just working through the skills. They need more!
Students trending in red are students who need intervention. See how I do this in this FREEBIE.
I had a difficult time keeping up with needs before the color coding. Now I can see who I need to assess again with ESGI in order to provide concrete data for student progress.
Let me know how you plan to implement Dr. Nicki’s plan. What do you think will work for you?
Be sure and visit the posts on our linky as well as check back for posts about Chp 5 and 6 next week on Wednesday.