I will be teaching math in a self contained 5th grade class. I am curious to find out what you have thought to be the best practices. Do you send lots of homework home? If so, what do you consider a reasonable amount of time for kids to work on hw at night? Also, how do you do lessons? I want hands on activities, but not sure what or even how?
How are your math classes structured? What procedures do you have? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

We teach math for 60 min a day and follow our state curriculum.

To start the math class, I usually put up 2-3 review math problems & then we go over them together. I allow 5-10 min for this. I plan on adding in more writing to this part next year. I just got this list of prompts (attached) from here today!

I do a lot of hands on math with manipulatives, kids coming up to the board/ dukane/ or smartboard. All my kids have dry erase boards and white boards to do problems on too.

They have workbooks which we do some together & some independent.

Homework is practice & we correct together. There are anywhere form5-10 problems. I do make additional challenge packets on the chapter topic. I assess with quizzes, tests, and daily work mentioned above.

I usually save math games for Fridays. This is also a great time to pull students who didn't grasp a concept & review. There are a ton of math games online to print. Just google math printable games!

We are required to have guided math daily. Our math usually last from one and a half hours to two hours daily.
We start out with a problem solving (4 square method). This will last a good 20 minutes.
Followed by the mini-lesson --which we use either chart paper or the promethean board. This will last at least 20 minutes. I require my students to keep a math notebook where they copy whatever I put on the chart paper with the standard at the top.
Then we move to groups. I have a small guided math group (about 5 kids), our EIP teacher has a guided group (about 5 people), 4 are on the computers and the rest are working on independent work. Each of the groups last about 20 minutes and we rotate.
We are suppose to have a wrap up at the end...but that sometimes gets over looked.
I also have math games that supplement the standards, so if they are finished with independent work, they may get with a partner or two and play a game. These games were first taught in small guided groups.

To help the kids be independent, I give each student a math activites sheet that helps them keep track of what they need to have accomplished during the week. I'm not sure how to attach it or I would. All I see if for links (http)?

Homework--I give about 5 problems nightly that reviews that days standard.

I do math through reform mathamatics, which is a problem solving approach to math. My Math periods are at least 75 minutes in lengh. You need a big block of time but you fit so much curriculum. I have a mini-lesson at the beginning of the block which works on mental math strategies or a strategy that I want the kids to try. This is done with math strings. (Read Cathy fosnot for ideas). I then move into a contextual problem for the kids to explore. They work in homogenious partnerships (partners at teh same ability level) and have to create two strategies with an explanation as to why they thought of it. I then have them prepare a chart poster to present to their peers in a congress. During the time I am walking around facilitating their thinking through questions. During the congress we present two to three strategies that show progression from simple to the most effient. I have the kids present and the group asks questions. This takes time to set up. In the beginning we work on partner skills first and how to work in groups. I model what their posters should look like from what the kids present and finally we talk about good questions versus bad questions. I also model questions from what I ask teh children. I try to have thme figure it out with me leading only they don't know that I am leading them to a strategy. In the end all my kids, ESL and IEP students find out standard algorithms and can expain why we do things. Its a wonderful way to teach but can be very challenging to the concepts of how teachers teach. Very trying at the beginning but so worth it. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

The 4 square method is pretty easy. The main thing is for the kids to use consistency when problem solving and for them to do more than just staring at the problem.

FOr the 4 square, the kids draw a large cross or plus on their paper, dividing it into 4 squares. I have the kids paste at the top the problem, but that is optional.

In the first upper left square, the kids write the question that is being asked. THe upper right hand square the kids write the key words (area, how much more, as well as 10 grams etc),
In the lower left hand square is where the kids show the work (the steps needed to solve it) and the last lower right hand square, the kids answer the question of the problem.

I found great success in using this model. The kids are paying attention to what the math problem is actually asking them as well as to key words. I do not do this for a grade for a couple of months. What worked great in my room was that this was up on the promethean board when the kids came in from specials. As soon as they finished their restroom break, they got out their math journal and problem solving journal and got to work. THey were allowed to use their math journal notes for help, especially being any of these problems reviewed previously taught standards. THen for the first three people that filled in all 4 squares correctly got a ticket. The tickets went into a jar for a Friday drawing for a prize. That was a great motivational factor!

I can not say enough about the power of Calendar Math. It is BY FAR the most useful thing I do in my math block. Here are a few links to where I have explained what I (and other people as well) do during this time.

I have made up my own CM based on the standards I am supposed to teach in 5th grade (the linked discussion is from a few years ago when I taught 3rd, so the attachments have changed just a bit since then). It is the most rewarding and productive use of my math time. I spend a lot of time teaching concepts through it, causing me to not have to do formal lessons on many very important concepts. I HIGHLY recommend implementing it in your classroom.

Here is the current one that I am using. For the "Daily Division" section, I usually take the Big # and divide it by the # of days in school (ie: 53,110 divided by 93 or whatever the numbers happen to be. Sometimes I add a decimal in there as well, just to spice it up)

This may not work for everyone, but it works for me. It might seem a bit odd but I do nearly everything whole group. That time is spent going over the previous day's homework (math is assigned nearly every day) and then the rest of the time is spent on the lesson. I try to stay away from what I call "monkey see monkey do mathematics" where I tell the kids how to do a problem and then they do it. I want the kids to discover the various algorithms. In fact, I never tell them anything. I try to act dumb and the kids come up with the rules. When they do, it is forever referred as their rule. For example, we have a "Adrienne's rule" that a fraction where the top and bottom numbers are the same is equal to one whole. The easier rules like that one are suggested and owned by the lower students.

If particular kids are having trouble understanding something, I pull them back after the whole group lesson, but I try to avoid doing that. I try to have the kids explain to the kids because then it isn't seen as magical.

My class is mixed with very low and extremely high and each works to their level. Math problem solving challenges at all levels are placed on the side of the board to be done in their leisure. Some are extremely difficult while others are easier. That way, everyone has the chance to get their name on the board next to the problem when they solve it.

StephR, thank you sooooooo much for sharing your ideas for Calendar Math!!! I am already "pumped up" about my math classes for this year...and we still have a lot of summer vacation left! I can't wait! Thanks again!!

StephR...I absolutely love your calendar math idea! I am a second year fifth grade teacher and would really like to hear more about how you incorporate this idea into your 5th grade class. Would you be able to explain how you use the the 5th grade student sheet in a little more more detail? Any other information you can give me would be appreciated! Thanks so much!

Last edited by pantherteach1; 06-23-2010 at 02:14 PM..

Thank you for sharing information about how Calendar Math works in your room. I had just posted on the 4th grade board about this subject.
I love the way you set up the form for students to use. In reading the past post that you provided the link for on this post...... I see one year you taught 4th grade. Do you mind posting the student sheet that you used in grade 4.... the one that you said had fractions and number line on it?