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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Eureka Math.... A Journey and a Start

Yesterday marked day 10 with my new group of student.  All 32 of them.  Yes. 32 of them!  It took a few days to get over the claustrophobic feeling of having that many desks and bodies in a room all day.  However, they are a fantastic group that I have the pleasure of calling mine this school year.

Eureka Math... I jumped right in on Day 2.  Let me say that the very first lesson in fourth grade is quite a doozy!  Wow!  I prepped and read the lesson but miserably failed at teaching it.  I will full on admit that yes, my lesson was bad. (I'll explain why in just a bit).  I could see the looks on their faces, like I was speaking a different language.

So I thought,  "Ok.  Let's do this again."  I'm going to retry the lesson the next day.  No go.

Oh man.  Things are not looking good.  So I sit and reflect, what is happening here.  **Lightbulb**
I need to ditch the script.  The script was killing me and my teaching style.

Third day... I have this in the bag!  I ditched the script.  Made it my own, presented the concept in my own words, and there we have it.  I was back on track.  The kids responded well too!

Note, if you follow the WHOLE lesson from beginning to end, especially for Module 1, Lesson 1 for fourth grade, it WILL take over two hours.  Realistically, that is not going to happen any day or anytime in my classroom.  If you follow the script and rely on your manual for all the wording, you are going to sound like a drone and who wants to listen to that?  Lesson learned for me!

By the end of the first week, even though I figured out I needed to ditch the script, still use the examples and vocabulary, I was drowning with trying to reach 32 kids.  I never.  I repeat. NEVER start stations without proper training.  I had already introduced the math card station the first week and wrote the expectations.  The kids had two days of practice.  By the beginning of the second week, I knew I had to make a decision to do something rather than whole group.

I decided on a slight modification to start.  I broke the kids up into three groups.  They were going to rotate between the three stations, around 20-25 minutes each stations.  The three stations I had were... meet with teacher, independent (practice pages) and then computer station.   It was a glorious first day of stations.  It was so much easier to teach a small group of 10.  The kids loved the computers and it was quite quiet the whole math block!

So that is where I am at right now.  I have three temporary groups rotating between the three stations.  I'm eventually going to move to my traditional four stations.  That is my goal for September.  I'll keep in the loop as I go along on this Eureka Math journey!

I hope you are all off to a good start or about to have a great start of the school year!