Week Three 2012

September23

Green Canister Buoy Number 3 in the Morro Bay, CA Harbor Channel adjacent to Morro Rock, inside the breakwater.
Beware the shoals was this week’s theme. It was the third week, but the first week of our grade-level mathematics swap. It was like starting the school-year all over again. It’s in the middle of the school day, after recess, but before lunch — a conspicuous time in the schedule of the day, which had some repercussions in both the end of the morning period before recess (preparing for the swap), and after lunch with the kids coming in buzzed with the change in routine. In addition, I have to put desks into groups to fit the math class in, and my class was not quite ready for that full time. I’m now having them move out of groups for direct instruction and immediately after lunch, and back in at specific group work times. I’m also having the kids do a short SSR when we come in from lunch to settle-down.  Due to scheduling, I will never be able to do a full 20-30 minute SSR, but 15 four afternoons a week should be good enough.

Other than classroom management issues  around the math swap, it’s been okay. I’m on top of a routine of lesson delivery, giving work, and checking it in, so a routine has begun. I even managed a lemon to lemonade transformation, when one of my brighter but more challenging students expressed a skepticism about the replacement of “x” for the multiplication with the “•”. It was the end of the day, and I had to cut him off, but I thought about it. This is farther along into Algebra than I’ve ever taught, and the kids really have to let go of a lot of what they’ve been taught as “normal” up to this point. So I checked in with him the next day before a lesson that was about algebra expressions, and had him model a traditional multiplication problem, “3 x 5” and had him replace the numbers with variables (something that 5th grade mathematics does, but not as quickly as in sixth), “x” and “y” so he and the kids could see it would not work to write “x x y” as a problem. I then had the kids come up and write the various ways to show “x times y”, and told them to get ready to see those more often, and the “x” less.

The other news is that I’ve started having students comments on our class blog. They were all appropriate, but many were not complete sentences, etc. so have to be redone. I expect this as part of the process of them learning what I expect. This year I’ve created logins on the edublogs domain for all of them, and it is MUCH easier once they are logged in. I’m hoping to have them do put their writing for the first unit, a narrative essay, on the blog.

Two big regrets about this week. Prior to this, I had a good routine for assigning work, giving kids enough time to finish it, and checking it in, outside of math. That was out the window this week. Because of that, we didn’t finish one of the better stories in the language arts anthology, an excerpt from Julie of the Wolves, which I would have liked to have spent more time on.

Photo Credit: Green Canister Buoy Number 3 in the Morro Bay, CA Harbor Channel adjacent to Morro Rock, inside the breakwater. by mikebaird, on Flickr

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