This year I’ve made an attempt to follow the “Sisters” in implementing the Daily Five and the Literacy Cafe. So far, I’m happy with what is starting to take shape. Conferencing is more focused. Tracking those kids who need more than a once a month reading conference, keeping kids accountable through the Literacy Cafe Menu, all are clearly going to be helpful when presenting a case at an RTI meeting.
Now if the Daily Five can help me with getting to those students who need some extra one-to-one support, maybe it can help with meeting the needs of students in mathematics. The Sisters are way ahead of me on this one — the Math Daily Five provides a way to organize “guided mathematics”. In my classroom, the five categories that I’m playing with are: Math Fact Drills, Landmark Math Games, Exploring Data, Problem Solving, and Featured Activity. The math fact activities are games – electronic and otherwise – that provide fluency practice in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Landmark Games are the “go to” games we teach throughout our third grade Investigations in Number, Data, and Space units and include games like “Close to 100/1000”, “Capture on a 300 Chart” and “Fraction Cookies”. Exploring Data is a new category — our school has identified interpreting, representing, and constructing data as a focus for this year. Activities in these categories will provide students with activities for practice. I want my students to solve problems in context and I have been providing a problem for students to solve and later share solutions in this category. Finally, in the Featured Activity category, we will work on explorations that accompany the launches for the daily Investigations lesson.
I want to keep the launches down to about 15 minutes – whether it’s a model launch or a discussion. This isn’t easy for me. But by limiting my talk, and getting kids actively involved in activities while I meet with smaller needs-based groups, we should be able to make some progress toward students meeting Grade 3 Math Standards.
Will it be noisy? I’m sure it will be. Just like the Daily Five and Literacy Cafe, I’ll need to build students’ stamina for staying on task. But in the end it should be worth the time it will take – hopefully we can work smarter not longer.