Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tuesday Ramblings

I have just finished reviewing my plans and materials for my observation tomorrow. In my county, teachers in years 1-4 have 3 observations a year, one announced and two that are a surprise. I'm feeling pretty good this year and told my principal she could come whenever she wanted... not knowing she would choose two days later. Although I was able to pick the date, she decided she wanted to see a whole group math lesson and at least one guided reading lesson. Moving down from third grade, I feel pretty great about my whole group lessons.. but some days I struggle with guided reading and what these little babies need. 

I've spent most of the night cutting and preparing centers from Cara Carroll and I can't wait to see how engaged my students are. 

Another thing I have been concentrating on a lot lately is my whole group math time. My team decided to use the EngageNY math lessons for our whole group math time (our county doesn't have a set math book). This is going quite well but I am having to eliminate bits and pieces due to time constraints. I have strongly considered only doing a 5-7 minute whole group math talk and then breaking into small groups to teach the meat of the lesson.

 Does anyone else do this?!? 

I feel like I can really see which of my students are getting it and which are still struggling! The other great thing about math groups is my assistant also pulls groups during this time. He always sees the one group that I do not see, plus two others. I want to think that my students are benefiting from this smaller instruction, but I don't want them to be shafted from their whole group time either. 

Incorporating math talks has been a rocky start, but my students are picking up on it quickly. For those of you who have seen or who use the EngageNY program, I'm using problems similar to those in the "application" section as our number talk. These are usually a review from previous lessons and allow my students to think deeper about the problem. 

What do you think? Suggestions about whole group/small group? 
Anybody else use EngageNY?? Thoughts? Advice? 

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