This year I added some new "tricks" to our math program. One of my favourite purchases so far this year is Number Talks by Sherry Parrish. We have set Operational Fluency as a school goal this year, and using the lessons and questions in our daily number talks are DEFINITELY increasing the students' number and mental math skills. It's an amazing program. The book even has a DVD that models number talks and lessons. My students love this time of the day. I set up a quick one page template on the smartboard, and this is what we use everyday. We started our daily number talks in early October and haven't looked back.
Once this was running smoothly, I added in a daily Error Analysis question. Every day the students have a simple skills question in their agenda. In the morning I take a quick peek at their answers, and choose one error to go through together. I set up another quick template on the smartboard with the question and the error, and each day a student volunteers to come up to the board, identifies the error, and takes us through the correct solution. Together, our daily number talk and error analysis take about 15 minutes. This doesn't happen in our math block, though (couldn't spare a second there) - I "borrowed" that 15 minutes from a different block.
And then ... last week, one of my followers on facebook shared an AMAZING video that changed my math block yet again. It's brilliant - quick, simple, effective, and BRILLIANT. The reflection on the question, the error, the communication ... I LOVE it.
I added a few things to make it a perfect fit for my classroom. I wanted students to be able to track their progress through our math units, so I set up a quick spot on our math bulletin board for this purpose. I put up a library card pocket with each student's name on it. This is where we will put the cards at the end of the activity each day. At the end of the unit, students will collect all their cards, reflect on their growth and learning, and then I can file the cards in their portfolios (GREAT for parent conferences) and start fresh with a new math unit.
This is the question we used today (we're currently studying linear measurement and metric conversions). This was a multiple choice question from EQAO, but I took off the multiple choice answers. I put it on an index card and put it under the document camera. I gave students 4 minutes to answer - an answer plus explaining their thinking.
Right before I collected the index cards, I asked the students to add a "traffic light comprehension dot" to the corner of their card. If you click the link, I have a freebie poster at my TPT store for this. Basically, students add a small red dot if they had a lot of difficulty with the problem, a yellow dot shows they think they could master it with a little more practice, and green dot shows they solved the problem with ease (more reflection). It also makes a quick visual for me to see who to pull for a quick minilesson or guided math lesson.
This was my favourite "no" from the today. This student thought the question was pretty easy (green dot). He knew what the marks on the ruler represented, just needed to check his answer (counted 85 cm instead of 75 cm). My students were quick to point out the strengths on the card (clear explanation, using the marks on the ruler), but were just as quick to point out the corrections needed - CHECK YOUR WORK! (lol). When we were going through the solution, I highlighted the information / corrections we made on the card. (I did rewrite the solution on the back of the question card so the student couldn't be identified from their printing).
My students LOVED every part of this today. Maybe even as much as I did ... maybe ... I am a big reflection nerd, after all. ;)