August 1, 2011

A peek into my classroom--Part 2

Everyday Math is the program my school currently uses and has used since I started working there--about 9 years ago! Needless to say the students are very familiar with the program and find ways to excel despite the program's difficulty.

There are mixed feelings about the program; I, myself, do like it! As a struggling math student, I like that the program offers many different ways to solve a problem.

I've learned over the years that supplements are needed, especially when comparing the program to the state standards and previous years' tests. One area I've worked hard on is helping my students write about their math thinking. (I had read a Marilyn Burns article many years ago from an Instructor magazine, which helped me.) To start, I'd look at the EDM lessons and write questions to go with each one. Not only was that part time consuming, so was the grading!

After talking with my math coach, she came up with the 'writing in math' paper and the Instructional Team created the rubrics. I took it a step further and linked my bulletin board to NCTM's Guiding Principles
At the top of the board are the content strands and the yellow cards show problem solving strategies. Both are important because the students read the question and identify the content strand, then as they begin to try out the problem, they choose the problem solving strand they're using.

The beauty of this bulletin board is that I'm not only featuring students with the highest grades. There are 3 categories: Communication (showcases students who did an excellent job explaining their mathematical thinking), Representation (students who showed their work completely or ones who solved the problem using different methods), and Problem Solving (students who chose and used appropriate problem solving strategies to figure out the problem.)

I give one, possible two, of these per unit. As the year progresses, the quality of writing improves and the students become more aware of their thinking as mathematicians.

Here are the headings:
Problem Solving

I'd love to hear how others adapt their math programs to meet their students' needs!


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