Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What is Common Core 4?

While teaching and exposing our students to the Common Core Standards we felt it important for our students to work independently and take ownership for their own learning. While students are working independent to reinforce their CCSS skills we are then able to conference with kiddos individually or even in small groups. We have come up with the name Common Core 4 which refers to the 4 independent practice activities our students work on within our math block. Each of our 4 independent practices relate to what the Common Core State Standards would like to see students mastering.

What types of independent practice you we have? 

1. Flash Cards (for fact fluency)
2. Mathematical Practice (pencil / paper work) 
3. Technology Time (working on math with calculators , computers , i pads etc..)
4. Games (math games from your series or that supplement and correlate with the Common Core State Standards) 

How does Common Core 4 fit in my math block?
Think about it like this... if you have a math block of 60 minutes this is how we break it down

15- 20 minutes : Start Class with a mini lesson
15 minutes: Then, a round of independent practice (Common Core 4)
10 - 15 minutes: Another mini lesson
15 minutes: round 2 of Common Core 4
 5 minutes: Wrap up and review concepts from the day as well as how the independent practice went

 Of course this does not mean that EVERY day you will have the time to do 2 full rounds of Common Core 4. We know this first hand. Things come up, lessons need to be longer but for the most part 2 rounds should be an expectation for your day. This way you have enough time to meet with students individually and students are able to have quality time with their math learning.
Here are 2 quick videos of what Common Core 4 looks like in our classroom. The first video has Kelly's 3rd grade students hard at work. The second is of Diane's 2nd grade students working on Common Core 4.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What is the GNOMe?

When we first encountered the Common Core Standards like most, we felt overwhelmed by the amount of information and jargon being thrown at us. We immediately decided that we needed a one page document that would be a snapshot of what our students were expected to learn and us to teach. ENTER THE GNOMe...GNOMe stands for Geometry, Number Sense, Operations, and Measurement.  These relate to the four categories that the Common Core Standards utilize in organizing the standards.  We then rewrote the standards in student-friendly, short phrases that were grade level appropriate (without loosing the mathematical terms we felt students still needed to be exposed to).  Throughout the school year, as we introduce and teach these standards, we place each of the standards under the corresponding category. We are then able to refer back to standards that had been previously taught throughout the school year. We wanted the Math GNOMe to be readily available to us as teachers, our students, and anyone who walks into the classroom. We have found that posting the standards in this manner is a great motivator for the students as well as it helps to keep us on track with our math instruction. You can see all of our GNOMe charts (grades Pre-K to Sixth) in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store. Below are pictures of what our GNOMe boards look like in our own classrooms. 

Michele's First Grade Classroom GNOMe Board           FYI: We all have many more strategies added to our boards - these pictures were taken earlier in the year

Diane's 2nd Grade Classroom GNOMe Board - The stars are sticky notes for the category or stategy a particular student is working on

Kelly's 3rd Grade Classroom GNOMe Board

This is a sample of what our Common Core GNOMe chart looks like. Again visit our TPT store and you can have your grade specific chart in your hands in a matter of seconds :o)