4th grade math and center ideas - ProTeacher Community





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4th grade math and center ideas
Old 07-23-2009, 11:37 AM
 
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I will be teaching math only next year for a 90 minute class period to 2 classes. I need some ideas on how to set this 90 minutes up. They want us to do stations (centers) and also some small groups teaching and whole group.

What are your ideas on centers? How to set up? How many per group?
What are some good resources I can buy or find on-line that would be good engaging and some hands on learning stations?

Thanks in advance for all your suggestions!


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Math Centers
Old 07-23-2009, 11:50 AM
 
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I like to use the Evan Moore Take It To Your Seat Centers:

http://www.amazon.com/Take-Your-Seat...8378471&sr=8-2

I will have 3 math groups, one group is in small group with me, one is doing math games or computer, and the last group is doing math centers. I am not sure how many students I will have, so I don't know how many will be in each group. I will probably divide each group in half, so there will only be 3-4 students at each center.
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Lots of time!
Old 07-23-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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Wow, it would be great to have 90 minutes! I just took a math class this week that was all about small groups, differentiation, math stations, etc. So, now I'm wishing I had more time than I do right now to fit everything into my math block.

I would also be interested in any on-line resources! Luckily our class instructors for the week let us photocopy a bunch of their math station activities....about 55 different activities that cover 5 different NCTM strands.

I plan to start with doing some mental math problems with the whole class (8 problems & then we discuss answers/strategies) and then do a whole-group mini lesson (15-20) minutes. After that I will start meeting with probably 2 groups a day, 3 if I can squeeze in extra time. The others students will be working with math station activities (most of them are partner activities or games), an independent assignment, a problem-based task, or a long-term problem based on the chapter/unit. I would like to have a brief sharing/reflection time at the end of class, but since all these ideas are in my head still....I'm not sure how that will work out. Might just need to do the sharing in small groups the next day.

One thing I did learn that was really helpful from this class that I was taking is that short, frequent, formative assessments are necessary for doing flexible groups. Small groups should change & not be set in stone. I have done pre-tests for the whole upcoming chapter in the past. But now I think I may separate them into sections and just give fewer questions at a time and then do another short assessment later to regroup the kids. I'm also going to make sure to have plenty of opportunities for students to "show their work" or "explain their answer" so I can see what they were really thinking or if they had a strategy, instead of just seeing that they happened to get the right answer.

Centers could be set areas in the room with different activities to choose from, or they could just be things that students could pick up and just find their own space in the room to work.

I look forward to reading the rest of the posts to come because this is exactly what I'm trying to think about this week, too!!
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scroll down and check some other posts
Old 07-23-2009, 02:36 PM
 
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This topic or one very similiar was covered in another post either last week or the week before. If you scroll down you can surely find it.
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90 Minute Break Down
Old 07-23-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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I plan to break my 90 minute Math block into these segments:

15 min Warm Up - Mental Math, Facts Practice

15 min Mini Lesson - I'm planning on using Interactive Notebooks, so I'm designing my mini-lessons with these in mind

45 min Work Period - I'll meet with small groups during this time. The students will work on Musts and Mays. The Musts will be short assignments to practice the skill for the day or short (10 item) review sheets or quizzes as well as the respose in their notebooks. The Mays will be from a menu of activities. I'm planning on using a combination of performance tasks, problem solving, and games. I am trying to stay away from short closed ended tasks that require me to do a whole lot of work!

15 min Closing - Share reflections from notebooks, work additional examples, question/answer session, discuss the essential question

That's the plan anyway!


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My Math
Old 07-23-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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We are required to teach math for 90 minutes out of the day - some days too long, others not enough . Anyways, I start with 20 minutes of problem solving, then 30 minutes of whole group teaching, practice, etc... and then 45 minutes of small groups - students work on math centers/games/computer while I pull groups for about 15 minutes each. If you find you need more time for the whole group, just switch the times around.
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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We do a math fact drill - 5 minutes.
Quick spiral review - 10 minutes

To open a new lesson, I usually start with a problem and let them grapple with it. Once students think they've solved it, I go around checking and usually I'll need to add a bonus to the original problem to differentiate. - 10 minutes

That is basically a formative assessment and tells me who needs what. For those students that can be exempt from the lesson, I send them back to work on higher level type problems in a group while I teach the lesson to the whole group. From that point, I can determine via very informal formative assessments who is ready to work at their seats and who needs more time with me. 30 min.

So now everyone is busy and instruction is scaffolded.

I usually use centers when I have lots of ideas and resources and I want the kids to experience all of them. Like I'll have some kids on the computer, working in a small group, or doing a more creative math project or integrating writing with it.

Centers to me is another tool not necessarily an on-going structure that I have to have every week. I use it when I need it.
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:23 PM
 
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I use a lot of Marcy Cook materials in my centers -- especially the tiles and sets of problem cards. Students can work independently or with a partner to solve and then bring up for me to check and mark their tracking sheet. I have about 10 different sets of cards they can work on ranging from multiplication review to variables. The best part is that the kids love working with them.
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:48 AM
 
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I am actually doing research for a class that I am currently taking. I suggest looking into Problem Based Learning. It isn't exactly what you are asking for in that it isn't centers but the NCTM jas suggested since its report in 1980 that we teach this way and the Japanese have been teaching this way since 1950.
Pretty much the premise- mathematics understanding will only come from their exploration, communication and reflection of mathematics not from a teacher having them memorize algorithms, etc.
Please look into this and spread the word!
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math centers
Old 06-15-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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Did you do your Math Centers this past school year? How did it go? I want to use them next year; however, I really need ideas. Any help would be appreciated!!
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