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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Eureka... 5 weeks in.

Well, we are on our fifth week of school.  Today I completed lesson 14 in Module 1.  Yes, I am sticking to one lesson a day, for four lessons a week.  I decided to leave Friday open for review and diving deeper into problems that require RDW.

I am not in full swing with my math stations on how I want them to be.  I am doing, for the most part, three group rotations.  I don't really like it.... if I had a lower class size, yes.  With 32 students, three groups still makes for a large number of students in my groups.  The benefit of lower group size is that you can see how they are performing right in front of you.  10-12 in a group, I can't see each and everyone's work.  I need four groups, numbers wise.

The trick is getting my lessons down to 20 minutes each.  I know my group of higher level students can plow through the lesson in no time.  My lower group needs more reinforcement, for them I might have to go slower through the week or not follow lesson to lesson for them.

** On a side note, someone asked how I group students... we use NWEA MAP testing.  I group my students according to their RIT score.  Another way you can do grouping is by pre-test scores.**

Here is what I will tell you... with my old math program EDM, I absolutely could get in my lesson in 20 minutes.  When you are teaching small group, you actually go much quicker through the lesson and examples.  I like to follow the lesson format of I do, we do, you do.  First I'll demonstrate the math concept, introduce terminology, etc.  Then I will have the students complete the problem with me on white boards, then I have them try it on their own.  Plus, in all honesty... do students really have the attention span to listen to a full lesson lecture for over 20 minutes, especially in the primary grades?

Remember this is my year to figure this all out and write about my journey.  There might be things I don't know how to incorporate yet and things that are going really well.

Here are some Eureka newbie observations...

1.  When you start a program in fourth grade, for example, there is a certain background knowledge from the previous grades they miss.  RDW is a prime example.  I love how the lesson says to use RDW for a problem but there is not a single bit of formal instruction to teach, model, and practice RDW.  In fact, it really should be a whole week of lessons on it's own.

2.  10 minutes for problem sets is very unrealistic.... do I have to say anything more on this?

3.  I like how the problem set closely correlates to the homework.  At least the students are taking home examples of problems they are going to have to do on their own.

4.  I miss the hands-on games that help reinforce skill/concepts.  Hence the reason I need my fourth math station up and running... math game/card station.