Now What? 5 Tips for When You Finish Your Math Series

7:12 PM

When I first started teaching, finishing the math book was a different story than it was today.  To be honest, it was the Holy Grail of teaching.  If you finished your math book, you were doing something wrong.  Your students were missing out on mastery of key elements.  Today, you are in bad shape if you don't finish the math book by testing.  For many, that means RIGHT NOW!  APRIL!  This leaves many of us in a confused and frustrated state.  We think, "Now what?"  I have a  month+ left with these kids, what am I supposed to do now.  Here are some suggestions for you!

1.  Work on a Project! 

Look for your toughest skill and prepare a project to practice that skill in real life situations!  We use  Go Math! in my district, and there are plenty of project ideas in their testing information that you download from their site.  These are not the greatest, but it is a place to start.  You can jazz them up, adapt the rubric, and go for it!  Or, check out the Internet for some awesome math projects to do with your students!  We complete our Florida Standards Assessment in just a few days.  After that, my students will be participating in this project!  

It is so much fun because it offers kids choices!  That is key in Project Based Learning.  Try not to determine everything for them. So, when you are looking for a great project, look for one with choices!  

2.  Practice Old Skills in a New Way!  

One of the most frustrating parts of the new way that we teach math is the overall lack of mastery.  There just isn't time!  We have to start acknowledging this and finding ways to conquer skills in every grade level.  Use this last month or so to back up and practice old skills, even if it is from the grade before you!  My students still need serious practice in addition and subtraction.  As warm ups, students will be completing this!

Once they are completed, we will play BINGO.  I do this in conjunction with working on the project.  They must have their BINGO page done by Friday each week!  This BINGO comes with 25 student pages with 25 problems a page.  That's five problems a day with BINGO on Friday!  This is a perfect way to upkeep an old skill in a fun way!  (More Addition, Subtraction, and More Subtraction are available in my store too!)

3.  Play Games!  

There are SO many games out there to choose from!  Find some great games that your kids love to play and play them!  Here is an example from Instagram of a simple game you can play with a variety of skills or levels!  

4.  MAKE Games!  

One of the best ways for a student to internalize a skill is to create!  Creating takes the knowledge gained to the highest level in the higher order thinking skills needed for our students to gain 21st Century Skills.  It is highly prized by employers.  It is our job to start the creative process.  With so little time in the "real" school year to do this, now would be the perfect time!  One way to differentiate this process would be to have students work in the area that they are the weakest in as far as standards go.  This way, students will build better understanding as they build a game! Don't give them everything!  Make them struggle through the process of building the game and creating the problems.  I can help you along with this with this product!

Students are given basic information and boards and cards to complete the process.  I'm actually super excited to finally get to this myself!  I had goals earlier in the year that got completely shot down by deadlines and quarterly assessments.  I'm making my groups now, so that when they finish their Area and Perimeter Project they are ready for game creation!  (I'll be sharing about it over at my blog!)

5.  Bridge the Gap 

When I taught Second Grade, I walked myself across the hall and knocked on the Third Grade teacher's doors.  I specifically went to them with the question, "What skills do you need them to have when they walk in the door?"  You see, Go Math!  has a "great" Great Ready for... in their books.  IT IS TERRIBLE IN SO MANY WAYS!  I have tried and tried to use it, but they just look at you, because it is above their heads and you can't do anything in one lesson to actually help them-nor should you!  Some of these skills are much too advanced for where students are at and you could literally scare them into disliking math!  When I walked myself across that hall, I wanted to hear the beginning of the year issues and work on them.  It was then that I was told that rounding was a HUGE concern.  Why?  It is introduced in third grade for the FIRST TIME!  UGH!!!  This is one of the VERY WORST things about Common Core!  They won't expose kids till they feel like it is the best time.  Second graders have and CAN round numbers.  In fact, for years they have, and had FUN doing it!  Yet, now we must hit Third graders with rounding both numbers to the 10's place and the 100's place.  So, why not bridge the gap.  I used this that year and boy did it help my kid be prepared for Third Grade!

How do I know-I moved to Third that year and my kids rocked this skill while the others struggled to comprehend.  My former students had two weeks more of exposure and growth built in, making them shining stars that year!  Bridge the gap-it is SO worth it!

Pin for Later!

I hope this helps you with some ideas of how to fill that last month or so of time without overwhelming our students with skills they are not ready for.  I'd love to hear about your ideas, so drop a comment below!  Summer will be here before we know it, so enjoy your remaining time left of this year!  I'll be blogging again soon, so come on back or check me out over at my blog, The Best Days!  

by Julie from The Best Days Classroom

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