As an EL specialist, I get asked this question often, especially by people who are not teachers or who are not in my building.

Below is a small snapshot of some of the things I did last week:

- Data, data, and more data. I work with our other EL teacher and our reading specialist to compile a list of our EL students, gather their scores in other areas, determine which classrooms they are in, other services they receive, and who needs which type of support. This year we have over 200 ELs in our building of 450 students, so that's a LOT of data! You can see a snapshot of how we set up our spreadsheet here.
- Scheduling. Since I co-teach in different classrooms, scheduling can sometimes be a logistical nightmare. This year it hasn't been too bad. I try to plan once a week with each teacher I work with - we use one of their planning periods. I also try to be as consistent as possible in each classroom. This means being in the classroom for the full class period every day. Sometimes this is not possible because of other scheduling conflicts, but that is the ideal goal.
- Planning. I have been gathering information, ideas, and materials to use in my classes this year. I also have been working on a conferring form, using Google Forms, for use during individual math conferences. Look for that resources coming to you soon!
- Testing. When we have move-ins from out of state, I grab our WIDA screener and get them tested. This gives us an idea of where they are at in each language domain, and what support they would benefit from. This year, our new move-ins have been VERY low, especially in literacy. Looks like we have a lot of work to do!

So, there you have it! A full week's worth of work, setting us up for success for the rest of the school year.

What do YOU do the first week of school?

1. Stand up, put your hand up

2. Find a partner and give them a high five

3. Share answers

4. Repeat

5. End with praise: Praise "gambits"

Technology:

- online timer,
- record conversation using: ScreenChomp, Quicktime on Mac, website Vocaroo

1. Think about your answers

2. Write your answer

3. Share your answer with your group

Technology:

- Capture responses using Padlet - private "wall" for your class. All responses are saved at the URL you create
- Online timer

1. Students each get a different question on a card

2. Use Stand Up - Hand Up - Pair Up to find a partner

3. One partner quizzes the other, then partners switch roles

4. Partners trade cards and thank each other

5. Repeat

Technology:

- Online flashcards - Quizlet You can create questions and print them off, as well as games students can practice with online

1. Divide into 2 groups

2. Stand in 2 circles - the inside circle faces the outside circle

3. Share answers to a question

4. One circle rotates, the other circle stays still. Share again with a new partner

Technology:

- Short text - like a mini-blog. You can post a question, students can answer on that same page

]]>

I decided to take some time and develop a planning form that would allow me to easily bring all of these elements to the forefront, keep me organized, and help me plan.

After a few tweaks here and there, I finally have something I LOVE. It is so easy to use - I just pull up the form in Word, fill in each box, click a few check boxes, and done! It helps me think through what vocabulary I'll be addressing each lesson, and how to address that vocabulary. It goes through each stage of lesson implementation, with simple checkboxes for ideas in each stage, and reminds me to incorporate all 4 language domains. I also learned a fair amount about Word's "developer" tab, which made me feel super smart :)

Here is an example of a recent plan for 3rd grade:

Here is an example of a recent plan for 3rd grade:

Your free download will look something like this:

Click on the links below to download and use whatever files will be most useful for you. There is one for unit overview and daily whole group lessons, one for daily small group lessons, one for planning your assessment, and one with helpful hints.

math_lesson_plans_fillable_with_5_days.docx |

zones_lesson_plans_small_group_fillable.docx |

zones_lesson_plans_assessment_page.docx |

zones_lesson_plans_helpful_hints_and_credits.docx |

I have found these so helpful when planning my instruction. If you use any of these files, I would love your feedback! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

]]>Since testing has been so exciting(?), I have taken some time to reflect on what has been going on in each of my math classrooms. As I previously posted, we use Evernote on the iPads, plus sentence frames, for students to write about their work in math. The only problem is that I wasn't getting the deeper, detailed responses I was looking for, or that our standards require.

For example, one sentence starter said: "If someone were absent today, I would tell them______" The response I got was "... that we did multiplication."

Ummm... yes, you did do multiplication. But how? Why? What strategies did you learn? What strategies did you try? How did you solve the multiplication problem today?

I went back to my

I created about 10 sentence starters for math journals. The way I have used these is to laminate them, and have students use a dry-erase marker to write their responses. Then the students take a picture of their response and put it into Evernote. I generally let students choose which sentence starter they want to use, since they may have had an "ah-ha" moment, or may still be struggling with something.

Click on the image to download all 10!

I'm looking forward to putting these to use once testing is over. I'm so curious to see if these will help guide students towards the more thoughtful responses we are looking for.

If you use them, please comment here and let me know what you think!

]]>If you use them, please comment here and let me know what you think!

Today in 4th grade, we played a game called Remainders Wanted. I found it for FREE at this Teachers-Pay-Teachers shop, and it was a gem.

What I loved about it was not the fact that it was a fun game, but the way my teaching partner and I set it up.

The students played in pairs and followed the directions for the game. The student whose turn it was solved the problem on his/her whiteboard. The other student was responsible for coaching her/his partner. So, they had to watch each part of the process carefully and look for mistakes. Since they were using the partial quotients ("Big 7") method, the coach could suggest something like, "I think you can make a bigger guess." Or, "I think your answer is going to be too big." Or, "You need to check your subtraction. You should regroup."

The students played in pairs and followed the directions for the game. The student whose turn it was solved the problem on his/her whiteboard. The other student was responsible for coaching her/his partner. So, they had to watch each part of the process carefully and look for mistakes. Since they were using the partial quotients ("Big 7") method, the coach could suggest something like, "I think you can make a bigger guess." Or, "I think your answer is going to be too big." Or, "You need to check your subtraction. You should regroup."

Before the students played, my teaching partner and I spent some time modeling how to be a good coach. We modeled how to say thing like, "Look for a fact family." Or, "Check your subtraction." This gave the students a guideline of how to interact with each other as they played.

If I were to use this game again, I would also provide some sentence stems/examples with more specific math vocabulary. The sentences would include things like, "I think your product will be too big." Or, "Your remainder is bigger than your divisor. You can divide again." Or, "Your partial quotient can be bigger/smaller." These could also be student generated during a whole group discussion before they played the game.

How do you see this game being used in your classroom?

]]>If I were to use this game again, I would also provide some sentence stems/examples with more specific math vocabulary. The sentences would include things like, "I think your product will be too big." Or, "Your remainder is bigger than your divisor. You can divide again." Or, "Your partial quotient can be bigger/smaller." These could also be student generated during a whole group discussion before they played the game.

How do you see this game being used in your classroom?

We use Evernote as a way to develop academic langauge. Students usually need to complete an assignment with manipulatives, take a picture of their work, and then write about, or make an audio recording of what they did. While their answers are not incredibly insightful or in-depth, they are using math language in a real and authentic context.

(For more on using Evernote, see my previous post here.) Our goal is to continue to provide support and scaffolding that will develop students' ability to express their thinking in math.

Here are two of my favorite examples from this past week's work:

Diego - The audio record feature in Evernote allowed him to record his thoughts 4 times over. As I listened to each one, I heard his fluency improve. He went from stumbling and groping for words to being completely fluent in his thoughts. Click on the image to hear his recordings.

Jaritza - She not only wrote out what she did, but also used the audio record to say what she did. I love when students are able communicate using more than one language domain! Click on the image to see her full note.

How do you get students communicating in the classroom?

]]>My students constantly struggle with number sense, and understanding what algorithms really mean. So, before we could dive into the Big 7 method, we had to make sure the students had a solid understanding of what division is, what the remainder represents, and have exposure to some division terms.

Bring in... the Blocks in Groups activity! You could also call this Chips in Groups, Bears in Groups, Legos in Groups... it just depends on what manipulatives you choose to use. We used unifix cubes because that's what we readily had on hand.

Here's how the activity works:

1. The student grabs a handful of cubes/blocks/chips (we'll just call them blocks from now on). The student counts the blocks and records that number in the first column. This is the dividend.

2. The student rolls a die. We used 10-sided dice, without the zero, to incorporate a larger range of numbers. Regular 6-sided dice will work just fine too. The student records the number rolled in the second column. This is the divisor.

3. The student divides the big pile of blocks into the number of groups rolled in step #2. So, if you rolled a 4 in step #2, then you would equally distribute your blocks into 4 groups. The number of blocks in each group is recorded in the third column. This is the quotient.

4. The number of blocks left over is recorded in the fourth column. This is the remainder.

After students had a while to play, we came back together as a large group. We had the students look for any patterns they saw in their charts (ie: the remainder is always smaller than the divisor; the divisor is always smaller than the dividend; patterns when dividing by 1; etc). We even had some students who were able to describe how, mathematically, the 4 parts of the division problem fit together!

The only thing I would add to this activity is to expand it and add a writing component. To really stretch it, I would have students take one of their rows and write a story problem using those numbers. Then we would have ready-made story problems for others in the class to solve, and it would be great mathematical writing practice.

If you use this activity, I would love your feedback!

]]>The only thing I would add to this activity is to expand it and add a writing component. To really stretch it, I would have students take one of their rows and write a story problem using those numbers. Then we would have ready-made story problems for others in the class to solve, and it would be great mathematical writing practice.

If you use this activity, I would love your feedback!

I would encourage you to check out the "12 Days" by clicking on the button below. Enjoy! ]]>

One of the tools we have been using for the "Explore" or "Using Maniuplatives" station has been Evernote. This allows students to document their work as well as explain their thinking. In 3rd grade, students take a picture of their work, and complete a sentence frame to help document their thinking. The process is SO simple, as it supports students' language, and requires NO typing! Here is an example of what one student did:

Here is another example from a different student and different problem. I like this one because it shows how he used the manipulatives to solve the problem, but he still doesn't understand how it all works. This is an easy flag for me to know that I will need to follow up with him during a 1-on-1 conference.

I'm hoping to be able to use more open-ended questions as we advance, and / or have a blank t-chart where students can record "What I Did" and "Why I Did It", putting into writing the steps they took to solve a problem.

Here are the instructions our students follow in order to complete their Evernote documentation. Having students tag their work makes it so easy for us to find what they've done on a particular topic.

Here are the instructions our students follow in order to complete their Evernote documentation. Having students tag their work makes it so easy for us to find what they've done on a particular topic.

And there you have it. Evernote + writing in math. How would you use this in your classroom?

]]>Factor #2: Michigan has joined the WIDA consortium, which means we will be giving the ACCESS test this spring.

Factor #3: All of my gen ed co-teachers want to implement math workshop this year.

1+2+3 = me co-teaching in ALL math classes this year! Who would have ever thought I would be a "math" teacher?!? Not me, that's for sure!

However, I am LOVING it. Mostly because I really like the people I work with. But, I also get bored quickly, and so I love to try new things. This gives me the chance to try something new and challenging without actually having to find a new job. Yay!

This past week has been a lot of training for students, and building stamina for each workshop station. This will continue throughout the month, very similar to what you do for Daily 5 reading. So, nothing really exciting to report there.

But - in my 5th grade class, one of the stations will be a notebook station. So we have been very busy setting up and adding to the math notebooks. This has been SO exciting that my co-teacher created a video about it! Check it out:

Have you tried math notebooks? What do you love about them?

]]>