Outsmarting Common Core

After the arrival of my sweet baby girl, I took an extended maternity leave for 5 months. I came back to school a few weeks before the end of the year. People were buzzing about Common Core and these new modules and Engage New York.....meanwhile I was nodding my head with absolutely no idea what was going on. After the panic officially set it, I began the daunting journey of reinventing the way I teach math.

I worked all summer on creating projectable math lessons for my little learners. (Through trial and error, I have found that this is the best way for me to teach math.) At the beginning of the year, I was totally filled with doubts- Could I explain this right? If it doesn't make sense so me, how will they ever get it? Is it too hard for these little ones?

After 45 days of school, I can officially answer those questions. YES- I can explain this in a way that makes sense to me and to them! NO- it's not too hard, they are rocking the socks off common core! #yayyy! We are having a lot of success so I wanted to share what we are doing with you. I model most of my lessons after EngageNY, but sometimes the order is different or we add things that are lacking. 


Each of my lessons has 6 components. I have a promethean board in my room that I use for my math lessons. I wanted to give you a glimpse how how math looks in my room. Here is how I taught addition using a numberline....

It all starts with a Warm Up! This is usually a game or partner activity that builds math fluency. We teach math at the end of the day so it gets everybody alert and focused before the lesson starts. We really do warm up our brains! (My common core calendar companion kit comes with a set of math games that we use for warm-ups.) 

This is followed by the Brain Stretch when we do an application word problem together. We are working on solving our problems by drawing a math picture, making a number bond, or writing a number sentence. We practice different ways of thinking and explaining. 

Next, it's on to the Pep Talk! This is when we get excited about learning something new! I introduce the skill and vocabulary. We practice together at the board and prepare for how the work will look on paper. (In the past, it drove me crazy when we learned something one way, and then the practice page or test was formatted completely different!)



Now it's time to Huddle Up! Each pair of learning partners works together to practice or to solve problems. Learning to talk about math can be harder than actually doing it so it's a great thing to practice each day! We share some solutions aloud and record them on the board.



Now we are onto Practice Time. Sometimes we have an independent job to do, and sometimes we play a new game before it gets put into a math center. If we do an independent job, I can project it . I love this because we can work through the page together, check our work, and talk about the process.


As the kiddos finish they move onto their WORKOUT, which is what I call our centers. (Look for a blog post about them soon!) We wrap things up with our Cool Down. You can print this slide and use it as an assessment or just practice together. 
A full math lesson for us takes about 45 minutes, including our WORKOUT at centers. Having all of the components of the lesson ready before we start means that we don't waste any time. I am so impressed by my little learners this year, and I hope you feel the same way. If you would like to try this lesson with your kiddos for FREE, you can grab it here!
Addition Using a Number Line Projectable Lesson and Practice Page

4 comments

  1. Seriously I want to come watch you teach math. My little learners are doing an amazing job with math this year too, and I struggle with fitting it into a 45-50 minute math block. Heck, more than watching you teach it I would just like to pick your brain. :)

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    1. It would be awesome if we had more time to sit down together! Hopefully soon that will be happening- I would love to hear about the awesome things going on in your classroom too! :)

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  2. We use Engage NY! Thanks for an awesome post, seems like I am turning into your biggest fan!!!

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    1. Awe thanks!! We are little behind our pacing guide, but I feel like my little learners understand math so much better this year. I'll keep trying to send new things your way :)

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